Governor of New York Presents Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York presented his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state on Tuesday. The governor outlined highlights of his proposal in a written message that was distributed to lawmakers as part of his State of the State address.

Under Cuomo’s plan, a state Office of Cannabis Management would be created to regulate the recreational cannabis industry. The new agency would also be tasked with developing a plan to review and seal past convictions for marijuana offenses.

Cuomo’s plan would include licenses for cannabis cultivators, distributors, and retailers. Marijuana cultivators would not be allowed to own retail dispensaries. A twenty percent state tax and 2 percent local tax would be imposed on transactions from wholesalers to retailers and cultivators would be assessed taxes on a per-gram basis. The governor said that the tax rates of neighboring states were a factor in determining the rates for New York.

“The how is something that we’re talking about right now,” Cuomo said. “I think you have to look at New Jersey and you have to look at Massachusetts. They are natural competitors in the marketplace.”

State taxes in Massachusetts on recreational pot total 17 percent and local governments

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B.C. Cancer to Lead First National Cannabis Clinical Trial for Symptom Relief

A Health Canada-approved Whistler medical cannabis producer will donate the oil extracts to be taken by cancer patients in nine cities across Canada.

B.C. Cancer will lead a first-ever, national clinical trial that aims to answer whether cannabis plant extracts truly help with symptom relief.

Recruitment for the 48-day trial in 150 patients will begin soon after the expected Health Canada and ethics approval is obtained. Patients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Prince George, Victoria, Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto will be enrolled in the trial investigating whether cannabis properties reduce cancer-related symptoms including pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety and nausea.

– Read the entire article at Vancouver Sun.

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Brantford City Councillors Say No to Retail Cannabis Stores

Brantford city councillors voted 7-4 Tuesday night to opt out of permitting legal cannabis stores to operate within the municipality.

They also voted in favour of having staff monitor the experiences of other municipalities and report back to council prior to November.

“The province needs to improve the system and the question is how do you get a better system,” said Mayor Kevin Davis, who voted to opt out. “The way you do it is to opt out temporarily and try to get a better deal.

– Read the entire article at News.

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Legislation Filed in Virginia to Legalize Marijuana

A legislative proposal that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older, while decriminalizing it for those under 21, has been filed in Virginia’s House of Representatives.

House Bill 2371 was filed by Delegate Steve Heretick (D) along with four cosponsors. The measure would remove all criminal penalties for the personal possession of marijuana for those 21 and older, while legalizing marijuana retail outlets. These outlets would be taxed at 9.7% in addition to the state’s current sales tax. Around 2/3rds of the tax revenue would go to the general fund, with the remainder going to public education.

According to the bill’s official summary, it “also decriminalizes marijuana possession for persons under 21 years of age and provides a civil penalty of no more than $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation, and $250 for a third or subsequent violation.”

A separate but similar legalization measure, House Bill 2373, was also filed recently in the Virginia House of Representatives. Both House Bill 2373 and House Bill 2371 have been assigned to the Committee for Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1.

For the full text of House Bill 2371, click here – for House Bill 2373, click here.

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U.S. Attorney General Nominee Says He Would Respect State Marijuana Laws

U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr said during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday that he would not target marijuana businesses that are operating in compliance with state laws that allow them, whether for medical or recreational purposes.

William Barr.

If confirmed, Barr said his “approach to this would be not to upset settled expectations and the reliant interests that have arisen as a result of the Cole memorandum.” He later added that he “is not going to go after companies that have relied on the Cole memorandum.”

The Cole memorandum was issued in 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole and provided marijuana enforcement guidance to U.S. attorneys. It stated that the Justice Department would not enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medical use as long as certain federal priorities are addressed, such as preventing interstate trafficking and sales to minors.

Barr also expressed frustration with the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, calling the current situation “untenable.”

“We are pleased to hear Mr. Barr intends to respect state marijuana laws if he is confirmed as our next attorney general”, says Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana

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Oklahoma Students May Now Use Medical Marijuana in Schools, But School Staff May Not

One Oklahoma public school district is taking steps to ensure students can access medical cannabis treatments while at school. On Monday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted to approve a policy protecting students, staff and caregivers who have a medical cannabis license. The Board’s action marks progress on an issue that has prompted ongoing controversy and debate since Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis last June.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Approve Medical Cannabis Policy for Students

Last June, Oklahoma voters roundly rejected the state government’s prohibition-oriented policy by approving State Question 788 to broadly legalize medical cannabis. Immediately after the referendum passed, however, state lawmakers and officials began pushing back with measures aimed at restricting the program. Public opposition to those efforts eventually forced then-Gov. Mary Fallin to back down. But just as those restrictions fell, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced policies banning access to medical cannabis on campus.

The state’s two biggest public universities banning medical cannabis prompted intense public debate about whether schools should accommodate medical cannabis patients and if so, how. The question has been a vexed one nationwide, with school districts adopting a variety of policies to both shield students

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Former President of the Philippines Reveals She Uses Medical Marijuana

The Philippines has seen a rapid reversal in attitudes towards cannabis among its political elite. President Rodrigo Duarte joked that the stuff helps him stay alert last year. On Tuesday, former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo hyped marijuana’s power to vanquish her persistent neck pain.

“As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put [on] a pain patch,” Arroyo told ABS CBN News. “But here in the Philippines I cannot do it.” Macapagal — the country’s former president — is one of the co-authors of House Bill 6517 a.k.a. the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill.

“I authored that bill because I believe that it can help me and many other people but there was a lot of objection to the bill from the House and from the Senate,” Arroyo told reporters. “That’s why we are just letting the legislative process take its course.”

Her neck pain bombshell may be seen as a further motivator for her fellow legislators, who are considering the bill for passage during the current congressional session.

It will not meet any resistance in the presidential palace. Duarte, well known for his horrific battle

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Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations

A court in Massachusetts has ruled that police can make arrests for drugged driving based on their personal observations. The state Supreme Judicial Court made the ruling on Monday in the case of Mark J. Davis, who was pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike and arrested by Massachusetts State Police in July 2015.

Troopers said that Davis had been driving at 80 mph and tailgating other motorists, according to the ruling. Davis, who was driving, and two passengers were in the vehicle. The car had a “strong odor of burnt marijuana and an odor of fresh marijuana,” according to media reports. The trooper said that Davis smelled like pot, too. Davis also had “red and glassy” eyes, which he had trouble focusing and struggled to keep open. The trooper also noted that Davis had difficulty following “simple directions.” He had also apparently admitted to recent cannabis use.

“The defendant told the officer that he had smoked marijuana earlier that day, before he left to drive to Somerville,” the ruling states.

Police then searched the car and found oxycodone, cocaine, and a firearm. Davis was arrested and later tried on drug possession, drugged driving, and gun possession charges. He was convicted of drug possession by

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High-Level Coalition Launches Campaign Supporting Legalization in Minnesota

As a congressman, Tim Walz pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis for military veterans. And now, as the newly elected Governor of Minnesota, Walz wants to make it the next U.S. state to legalize marijuana. In fact, Walz’s tax-revenue-generating, economic-opportunity-creating, racial-disparity-reducing stance on legalization led Forbes to predict that Minnesota would indeed be the next legal-weed state. But Gov. Walz will need the help of state legislators to get there. So far, however, lawmakers aren’t making legalization one of their 2019 legislative priorities. But a newly formed coalition of legalization advocates, calling themselves Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR), is working to change that.

Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR) Wants to Accelerate the State’s Legalization Timeline

State lawmakers aren’t making cannabis legalization a priority in 2019. But Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform say the time for creating an adult-use industry is now. “We believe Minnesota is ready to enact sensible marijuana regulations,” said Sarah Walker, MRMR Steering Committee co-chair. And on Tuesday, MRMR announced the beginning of a statewide, multi-partisan coalition and campaign to support the legalization and regulation of marijuana for safe adult recreational use in Minnesota.

So just who are the Minnesotans for Responsible

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Federal Legislation Introduced To Protect State-Level Marijuana Legalization Laws

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced House Resolution 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

As reported by NORML, The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act essentially would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000+ workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty, and that is what states and businesses would have with Congressman Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential rouge US Attorneys under a Department of Justice likely to be led by known drug warrior William Barr.

To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abusehospitalizations, and mortality.

It is critical that federal officials protect our progress. Send a message

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