Lawmakers Not High on Marijuana
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Lawmakers Not High on Marijuana');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Lawmakers Not High on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2019 at 12:17:57 PT
By Claire Hansen, Staff Writer
Source: U.S. News & World Report
USA -- Legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey seemed all but inevitable earlier this year: The state's Democratic governor campaigned on the issue, polling showed the public was on board, and a measure was winding through the Democratic-controlled state legislature led by lawmakers who backed the effort.But in March, hours before a scheduled vote on the legalization bill, the measure was yanked for lack of support in the Senate. And despite tepid promises from top state lawmakers that they would continue to push for it, the state's Democratic Senate president declared the legislation dead last week.
Instead, lawmakers will try to put the legalization question on the 2020 ballot where voters – not politicians – can make the call, he said.What New Jersey pledged to do – legalize recreational marijuana use and set up a regulated retail market through legislation – is unprecedented. Of the 10 states that have legalized cannabis, nine of them have done so at the ballot box. The other, Vermont, did so through legislation, but the measure did not outline a legal, regulated retail scheme.Several other states with Democratic legislatures are attempting to pass recreational legalization measures and are running into roadblocks.In neighboring New York, a push for legalization has slowed, plagued by some of the politicking and in-fighting that surrounded the New Jersey bill. A legalization effort in New Mexico petered out before the legislative session ended in March and will be re-introduced next year. Illinois, which preemptively factored revenue from future marijuana sales into its budget, is trying to pass a sweeping legalization measure before the legislative session ends in two weeks, despite cries from critics that lawmakers are moving too fast. And a bill that would set up a retail market in Vermont still needs support from the state Senate and Republican governor.It remains to be seen if the collapse of the New Jersey bill foreshadows the failure of similar measures in other blue states, but the decision to move the effort from the statehouse to the ballot box, coupled with the fact that no state has yet legalized marijuana through legislation, begs the question: Is it possible in the current political climate to push legalization through a state legislature – or is the only viable path to recreational use and regulated sales through voters?"This is still not an easy issue to get through a legislature," says Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group that has worked with states on drug reform. "Even when it seems that conditions are very favorable, it is still an issue that many elected officials are cautious about."Among lawmakers who are generally supportive of marijuana legalization for adult recreational use, fierce debates continue over how exactly to do so, including disagreements over tax structure and provisions focused on social equality – debates informed by the issues faced by states that have already legalized through ballot referendums, like Colorado and California.In New Jersey, lawmakers squabbled over how to tax marijuana sales, arguing about what rate would be high enough to generate revenue but low enough to ward off an illicit, underground market.Also at issue was an expungement provision aimed at rectifying the harm caused by marijuana prohibition on communities of color. The New Jersey measure would have expunged the criminal records of people caught with up to 5 pounds of marijuana – an amount that many conservative and moderate lawmakers felt was too much. And, like other legislative priorities from education to taxes, the bill also fell victim to old fashioned political bad blood between the state's Senate president and its governor."We're talking about replacing a decades-old, ingrained prohibition model ... It's not surprising that lawmakers are taking their time."In New York, politicians have, in one case, disagreed over a proposal to earmark a certain percentage of marijuana tax revenue for communities impacted by the war on drugs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed language that would give his office more control over those investments.But while the infighting over provisions within legalization efforts has slowed legislation in New Jersey, New York and other states, some advocates say the spats and delays are typical of those surrounding any large piece of legislation – and, therefore, actually demonstrate the progress the country has made on the issue of cannabis legalization."We're talking about replacing a decades-old, ingrained prohibition model with a complex regulatory system and tax structure," says Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization organization that has played a role in key legalization efforts. "It's not surprising that lawmakers are taking their time on this. … Legislatures were designed to be deliberative bodies that don't make change on a whim but do so through this structured process. That's what we're seeing play out."Tvert added that he believes it's no longer as much debate over whether marijuana should be legal but over what legalization looks like."They're airing out all sorts of issues that previously were not being widely discussed among lawmakers or in the media, in particular these issues like equity," Tvert said.Despite debates around the specifics, Scotti says the measure in New Jersey simply didn't have enough votes in the Senate on the legalization question in general. Some lawmakers from minority communities are worried about how legalization would affect their constituencies, while other politicians are concerned about the impact on health and safety. Others are just morally opposed.A ballot referendum, then, is usually more expedient than legislation as public opinion is often way ahead of where lawmakers are, advocates say – and that pattern helps to explain why all states with both legalization laws and a retail market have done so through the ballot. Several polls show that support for legalization tops 60 percent nationwide.The gap between public opinion and legislative action also happened with medical marijuana, Scotti says. Despite high public support, it oftentimes took years for states to get medical marijuana programs on the books, and many did so through the ballot. Thirty-three states have medical marijuana programs, with California being the first to allow medical use in 1996.Electoral politics contribute to that lag, Scotti says. Driven by political concerns, several communities in New Jersey and New York have said they would opt out of a marijuana retail program, as many districts in California have done."I think most elected officials care most about what people in their districts think," Scotti says. "You would well have a lot of elected officials, a lot of folks, who are hearing voices in opposition in their particular districts. It's just more complicated because you have all those local pieces when you move something through the legislature."But ballot referendums come with their own set of complications and can both allow more expansive legalization measures as well as necessitate more restrictive bills, depending on the state's referendum rules and its political landscape. Scotti says the number of states that allow for ballot measures on policies like cannabis legalization are dwindling.Still, advocates say that, despite recent challenges to legalization efforts, there's progress being made. Though the legalization measure has been tossed by New Jersey, a conviction-expungement measure and a medical marijuana expansion are moving through the legislature."I don't want to downplay the frustration that people have," Tvert says. "But at the same time, it's pretty remarkable. … The fact that it took a state, like, three years of deliberation to develop this law is going to seem like it was a relatively quick thing."Claire Hansen is a reporter at U.S. News & World Report. Source: U.S. News & World Report (US)Author: Claire Hansen, Staff WriterPublished: May 24, 2019Copyright: 2019 U.S. News & World ReportWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #15 posted by afterburner on June 07, 2019 at 04:02:07 PT
Hope #14
Looking at the situation you describe from a lawyerly point of view, I see lukewarm acceptance of a medical cannabis program. The framers of such a Medical Cannabis Law seem to be conflicted and reluctant to give full support to something they have feared for so long. On one hand, the Missouri State Government seems to accept that there is medical utility to the use of cannabis to treat certain difficult conditions that may be otherwise difficult to treat by other methods. As such, those in the Missouri Government who crafted this law felt obligated to make such medical cannabis treatment available for the sake of their constituents. On the other hand, apparently the same lawmakers have been so brainwashed by years of Prohibitionist Propaganda that associates Drugs with dangerous Armed Gangs, that said lawmakers have so far been unable to disconnect guns and drugs in their own minds, leaving their constituents with a half-baked law that as you say takes away one right while granting another. During Prohibition of Alcohol many in governments and citizenry did associate guns and alcohol with each other due to the speakeasy culture of resistance and its reliance on armed criminal gangs to supply the illegal booze. After Prohibition ended, years passed as a patchwork of Federal, State and Local Governments slowly developed enough courage and trust to reconsider the place or not-place of legal alcohol in society.As far as Tylenol goes, because it has never been illegal, it is easier for lawmakers to succumb to the lobbying of pharmaceutical interests without thinking of any connection to drugs, crime and weapons. Now, we are in the midst of such a rethink of the place or not-place of cannabis (medical, agricultural and social or adult use) in society once again. It's annoying and at times infuriating for those of us who for so long have been researching and championing the needed changes to have to endure such obvious, to us, foot-dragging by lawmakers. Growing pains all around, pray for guidance and understanding.  
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 06, 2019 at 13:53:24 PT
I was talking with someone from Missouri recently. He told me that that one stipulation of using medical marijuana in their state was that they could no longer possess a firearm and that concealed carry would be revoked. What is this? Give back a natural right to the people's possession of an herb with one hand and take away the same citizen's constitutional rights to be in possession of a firearm with the other? And why tie these two together? Is a person really more likely to turn dangerous under the influence of cannabis than under the influence of alcohol or Tylenol? 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by afterburner on June 03, 2019 at 05:32:20 PT
Freedom of Religion Includes Freedom of Medicine
IMNSHO, the requirement by the FDA that medicine is only chemicals that have gone through the gold standard double-blind trials qualify as medicine is a medical overreach that violates the prohibition of a state religion in the First Amendment. The U.S.A. is the great melting pot of immigrants from many cultures that allow the use of natural herbs and plants to be used as medicine. As such, freedom of religion in the First Amendment protects those other religions from dominance by another religion that interferes with the beliefs and practices of natural healing. The religious bias against healing herbs and plants is evident in witch trials in Spain (Spanish Inquisition), Germany, and the United States (Salem Witchcraft Trials)."Amendment I"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
--First Amendment | U.S. Constitution | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute separation of Church and State is a fundamental principle that the Founding Fathers included in the U.S.Constitution to prevent the very use by Government to restrict the rights of followers of another religion as they had experienced in England.The main issue there had been Catholic Monarchy ruling that Protestants were not allowed to own guns or even hunting dogs to manage the food supply, but in actuality was a defense tactic by Catholic King Charles II to remain in power. Catholic King James II went further using the standing army to raid houses searching for forbidden weapons. These unpopular Royal rulings led to the 1688 people's revolt, the abdication of the Catholic King James II, and Protestants William III and Mary II "came to power by agreement. That agreement included creation of the English Bill of Rights which was established in 1689. The influence of the English Bill of Rights on America’s founding documents is evident." 
--Cited in The English Bill of Rights, AmendmentII Imagine an American Revolution with no guns. I don't think it would have gotten very far. Therefore, the right to bear arms was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by the Second Amendment.Imagine living in the Land of the Free and yet being unable to use your traditional healing practices due to domination by someone else's religious beliefs in contradiction to the Religious Freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. Yet, here we are until the citizens and their smart lawyers overturn the flagrant violations of the rogue FDA.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on June 01, 2019 at 08:30:52 PT
great news for Illinois
That is great news for Illinois. The law also calls for automatic expungement for low level cannabis convictions. "The measure would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 30 grams, or about an ounce. Those who had previously been convicted of possessing less than that amount would have their records automatically expunged". Now we're talking.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on June 01, 2019 at 08:29:00 PT
re comment six
With regard to my previous comment about home grown, I think that states adjacent to “legal” states are concerned that a spirit of enterprise is inspiring some people to supply what is now an under-served market, which is a normal economic response. The prohibitionist states take offense at this activity. They can complain, tweak up law enforcement and do a court thing or two, but they can’t stop it. I would advise them to “get over it”. Cannabis re-legalization is a good thing. It will increase prosperity in your state. Do it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by John Tyler on June 01, 2019 at 08:17:13 PT
re comment six
With regard to my previous comment about home grown, I think that states adjacent to “legal” states are concerned that a spirit of enterprise is inspiring some people to supply what is now an under-served market, which is a normal economic response. The prohibitionist states take offense at this activity. They can complain, tweak up law enforcement and do a court thing or two, but they can’t stop it. I would advise them to “get over it”. Cannabis re-legalization is a good thing. It will increase prosperity in your state. Do it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by Hope on May 31, 2019 at 17:16:38 PT
Arkansas has a long sad history of prohibition.
Most of us are aware of at least some of the struggle they have been through. So this is such good news. This is a very interesting article, I think. Arkansas legal marijuana sales began two weeks ago. How's that going?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Hope on May 31, 2019 at 15:50:44 PT
Great news!
Illinois Legislature legalizes recreational marijuana, 11th state to OK such use
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on May 31, 2019 at 10:06:23 PT
Apparently, Weenies have pockets!
I didn't know that! But they must. They keep pulling the most atrocious crap out of their pockets and waving it around as reasons for them to keep hurting people over cannabis.One of the strangest things is that they absolutely will not believe the testimony of people and science that reveals they were wrong, wrong, wrong in their beliefs about cannabis.The weenies are wrong! They are dead wrong. But they made all these idiotic vows to hate cannabis and fight it every step of the way back in the day and you know, their personal vows to a wrong headed situation, are way more important to them than the truth. I guess they really are unable to hear to the truth. Like, "None so deaf as those who will not hear." They have destroyed people's lives and torn apart families. They've lied... for the greater good, you know. Any means were acceptable to them in attaining their desired ends. I mean, they have killed and imprisoned people over their wrong headed attitudes, believing lies, and their personal vows. Self righeousness and arrogance are wicked bad and they, like we used to say, are "Eat up with it". No doubt about it. They seriously lack the sheer mentality or integrity, to step up and say, "I was wrong. We were wrong. Let's get this travesty corrected. And oh yeah... I'm sorry."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on May 31, 2019 at 08:41:14 PT
home grown
To grow at home or to not grow at home, that is the question. Home grown is a bogus argument. It would be only a tiny fraction of the market in any case. Does someone charge friends and neighbors for extra tomatoes he has grown?  The cost of production is so low that it makes no sense. I think it has more to do with people trying to strangle the market and get every penny of taxation out of it they can.
Even with home grown, everyone would still buy from retail outlets, just like they buy veggies, beer and wine to day. Why, because it is convenient. Maybe, growers could sell at “farmer’s markets”, but they would have to pay a local sales tax like other produce. What’s the big deal?I will take re-legalization one way or the other. We can work on the details later. It is happening. Keep up the good work. 
I like the weenie roast idea. Roast the Prohibitionist Weenies on Election Day.   
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Soup Herb on May 30, 2019 at 11:31:09 PT:
The Tide is Shifting
There is money to be had from both hemp and cannabis and the republicans are in head hands and feet for the smell of the greenback. They have been positioning for years. Slowly but surely the efforts are showing huge cash cows for each state that gets on board. As it should has always been about the money or power and never ever about who burns flowers or makes rope...Dem, Rep, Whip...
Therefore we go into the future in agreement on how cannabis helps even during a time of fierce division at every level in the USA political arena. Not. It's of the money, by the money for the money...follow the money.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 30, 2019 at 11:21:54 PT
We have too many weenies running the legislature in my beloved Texas.Hopefully, there will be a flaming big weenie roast in Texas come election day. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 30, 2019 at 11:15:35 PT
Justice and sanity coming to Illinois!
Illinois Senate approves recreational use of marijuana after settling home grow issue
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Hope on May 30, 2019 at 10:57:23 PT
You'e right John Tyler. Weenie is another word for coward, I think. The weenies are still cowering before the powerful and powerfully misled prohibitionists.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on May 28, 2019 at 18:31:19 PT
What a bunch of weenies. The legislatures did not think twice about making cannabis illegal years ago when their thinking was clouded by propaganda and racism and now when they should be thinking more clearly they can’t move forward. Keep working on it. Keep the pressure on your representatives.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment