Happy Friday again everyone, it’s time for the top 5 cannabis news stories of the week. This is your managing editor, Richard Lowe. We have some big federal news and some state news to cover, so let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
- House Approves McClintock-Blumenauer Amendment
- New York Failed to Legalize Adult-Use Again this Week but Furthered Decriminalization
- Maine is Finally Getting the Recreational Marijuana They Voted for in 2016
- Illinois Adult-Use Marijuana May Be Ready for Sale by January, 2020
- In Colombia, Recreational Marijuana Remains Illegal but Public Consumption is Not
House Approves McClintock-Blumenauer Amendment
In a great move for marijuana reform, the House of Representatives voted 267-165 yesterday to approve the addition of the McClintock-Blumenauer amendment to an appropriations bill that will fund parts of the government in 2020. It will prevent the Department of Justice, and therefore the DEA, from accessing funds to go after U.S. territories or states that have legalized medical or adult-use marijuana, cannabis businesses, or their consumers. Specifically the bill prevents the DOJ from accessing funds to stop states from, “…implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana.” The Senate will be voting on a companion bill in the coming weeks so we still need to see if this legislation will be fully enacted. A similar bill sponsored by former California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer has been blocking the DOJ from accessing funds to go after state medical marijuana programs since 2014. The fact that this new bill could protect recreational marijuana businesses and consumers s well is a big step.
New York Failed to Legalize Adult-Use Again this Week but Furthered Decriminalization
I have to give props to New York for all it accomplished this week in terms of marijuana law reform. Just in the nick of time, lawmakers were able to further decriminalize marijuana in New York on the very last day of the legislative session. Now possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana is no longer a crime, only a violation. But, even more importantly they were able to pass legislation that will automatically expunge the records for those convicted or low-level cannabis related crimes. Of all things, clearing the records for people convicted of crimes such as possession is one of the best things lawmakers can give to the people. Also, last weekend Governor Andrew Cuomo got the State Assembly together to try and put together a piece of legislation by Monday to legalize adult-use marijuana. His hope was that it could be voted on by Wednesday, but lawmakers could not come to terms on a deal. It will have to wait until next year which may end up being a major miss financially for New York with the huge 4/20 month long celebration that is anticipated. All the same, we have to applaud New York lawmakers for getting the decriminalization deal done.
Maine is Finally Getting the Recreational Marijuana They Voted for in 2016
It’s hard to believe that nearly 3 years have gone by since Maine voters decided they wanted an adult-use commercial marijuana market. Yesterday, on the very last day of the legislative session, the Senate voted 26-9 to approve legislation that will create a recreational marijuana market in Maine. The House approved it without even having a roll call and so now it is on the way to Governor Janet Mills desk where she will assuredly sign it. Her predecessor, former Governor Paul LePage, hated marijuana as much as former AG Jeff Sessions and vetoed every single adult-use bill that lawmakers put on his desk despite it being the will of the people. Once Governor Mills signs the bill, licensed adult-use dispensaries will be able to start selling recreational marijuana. The bill for taxing adult-use cannabis sales is still pending, but there could be as much as a 12%.
Illinois Adult-Use Marijuana May Be Ready for Sale by January, 2020
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is supposed to sign the bill to legalize adult-use marijuana on Tuesday. He campaigned hard last year to legalize adult-use and he is delivering on his promise. Illinois is the first state to legalize recreational cannabis through its legislature and sales could start six months after he signs the bill, which means January. Assuming that Illinois does not have the same problems as Massachusetts did in actually selling cannabis when they legally could, Illinois will be ready for next April when marijuana enthusiasts around the country are expected to party all month long due to it being the only 4/20 that will happen again until 2120.
In Colombia, Recreational Marijuana Remains Illegal but Public Consumption is Not
Down in Colombia where the climate is just so perfect for growing weed, adult-use marijuana is illegal but consuming it in public is not. According to an article in Forbes, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled this week that a ban on smoking marijuana in public is unconstitutional. Three years ago Colombia legalized medical marijuana but made its public consumption illegal to curtail recreational use and try and drive more people to get medical marijuana cards. Colombia is already a big part of the global export business for cannabis.
Today is the first day of summer, so I hope you all enjoy your weekend! Remember to follow our Youtube channel, The National Marijuana News, along with our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages @NationalMJNews. Check out Christine Sclafani’s culture page too, @Culture.TNMNews, she’s great! I hope everyone enjoys the weekend!