Legalizing marijuana is looming as a next big political showdown at
the Minnesota State Capitol.
Fully legalizing marijuana in Minnesota is looming as a next big
political showdown at the Capitol, as a growing number of states are
ending bans on recreational cannabis.
Gov.-elect Tim Walz, who favors ending marijuana prohibition, will
replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who doesn't. A new Democratic House majority
will debate proposals to legalize next year and will likely take votes
on the issue as soon as 2019 or 2020. And, not one but two legal pot
parties -- the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party and Legal Marijuana
Now Party -- emerged with 5 percent of the vote in statewide
elections, giving them "major party status," which means automatic
ballot access and the chance for campaign subsidies.
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NEW YORK - One of the world's biggest tobacco companies is diving into
the cannabis market with a $1.8 billion buy-in.
Store manager Stephanie Hunt posed for photos, in July 2015, with a
pack of Marlboro cigarettes, an Altria brand, at a Smoker Friendly
shop in Pittsburgh. Altria is diving into the Canadian cannabis market
with a $2.4 billion investment in Toronto-based medical and
recreational marijuana provider Cronos Group.
Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in
Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider
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DETROIT - Michigan is officially the first state in the Midwest to
allow marijuana for more than medical purposes.
Today marks the first day for the legal recreational partaking of pot
in Michigan following voters' strong endorsement in the Nov. 6 election.
Staff at the Lansing City Pulse, a weekly alternative newspaper,
marked the day by handing out free joints across the street from the
Michigan is now among nearly a dozen states and the District of
Columbia with legalized recreational marijuana. Still, retail shops
are still months away and must involve state regulators.
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As dozens of states move toward legalizing marijuana -- for both
medical and recreational purposes -- scientists and parents have asked
what the impact might be on children. Will more teens use pot? Will
doing so cause behavioral problems? Will they develop a substance-use
According to a new study published last month in the journal Addiction:
yes, probably not, and maybe.
The study, led by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University
of Pennsylvania, found that marijuana use among teens does not lead to
conduct problems. In fact, it's the other way around. Adolescents with
conduct problems, like cheating, skipping class, and stealing, are
more likely to gravitate toward marijuana use.
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TRENTON -- New Jersey lawmakers have unveiled their latest proposal to
legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 and over. A joint
Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committee is expected to discuss the
One bill provides for legalizing an ounce of marijuana for adults 21
and older, setting up a five-person cannabis commission, and taxing
the sale of the substance at 12 percent.
That rate includes the 6.625 percent sales tax. The draft also permits
local governments to apply up to a 2 percent tax on cannabis. An
earlier measure called for gradually increasing tax rates.
The legislation also calls for expediting expungements for people with
marijuana-related criminal backgrounds.
Gov. Murphy supports marijuana legalization. His office did not
comment on the new legislation Wednesday.
Barbara Tillis isn't sure when she'll get to see her son, Corvain
Every few months for the past four years, Tillis, has driven five
hours with her husband, daughter and Cooper's oldest daughter, making
the trip from Rialto to the federal prison in Atwater, near Merced.
They'd spend the day visiting and chatting, and guards would let each
family member give Cooper exactly one hug. When the visit was over,
they'd reluctantly pile into the car and drive home.
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Six days after confirming approval of medical marijuana dispensary
bans in Northboro and Bellingham, Attorney General Maura Healey's
office reversed its decision.
In an Aug. 25 Telegram & Gazette story, a spokesperson for the AG's
office confirmed that the office in June approved bylaws passed in the
two towns that ban medical marijuana dispensaries. The 2012 Medical
Marijuana law originally prohibited any municipality from banning
medical marijuana dispensaries. An AG spokeswoman said at the time the
approval was based on Section 56 (subsection d) of Chapter 55 Acts of
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SARASOTA -- Several panelists made their cases in a Thursday forum for
why marijuana should no longer be classified by the federal government
as a Schedule 1 drug as dangerous as heroin.
The program focused on the Herald-Tribune project "Warriors Rise Up,"
which found a gaping rift between what many combat veterans want to
treat their post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries
and what they can legally get.
Rather than a cocktail of painkillers, many veterans prefer the relief
they receive from marijuana. Because of marijuana's Schedule 1
designation under federal law, however, the VA has not considered it
an option -- even in states that have legalized the drug for medical
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As Louisiana's medical marijuana program takes shape some patients
might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights
or participate in the program.
Louisiana is one of 30 states that have approved medical marijuana
laws in some form. Although the state's nine dispensaries won't open
until later this year, patients who qualify for medical marijuana
under Louisiana law may be surprised to learn that federal law
restricts their ability to purchase a gun if they use marijuana.
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Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions' decision to withdraw an Obama-era directive
discouraging the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that
have legalized pot shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Sessions'
views on drug laws.
The attorney general has every right to enforce federal drug laws as
vigorously as he sees fit. But just because he can doesn't mean he
should. The truth is that resuming the discredited war on marijuana
would be neither a smart step nor welcome policy, and just the threat
of it is a reminder of the shortsightedness of the federal
government's approach to drugs.
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OTTAWA - The federal government's crackdown on drug-impaired driving
has taken a big step forward, as the Justice Department is set to give
its blessing to Canada's first roadside saliva test.
Once in use, police officers will be able to swab a driver's mouth to
test for the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Roadside saliva-testing devices were authorized by Bill C-46, a
massive overhaul of Canadaas impaired driving laws that passed in
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An LDS missionary passes by the Salt Lake Temple at Temple Square in
Salt Lake City. Voters this fall in Utah will cast ballots on a
measure that would allow medical marijuana. (Isaac Hale / For The Times)
Brian Stoll faced a dilemma as his wedding day approached. For more
than a year, he had been smoking marijuana to treat severe back pain,
but to remain in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints and get married in the temple, he had to stop using
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JERSEY CITY - Every city in America knows that it's a bad idea to
prosecute low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses. It wastes scarce
municipal resources and does nothing to enhance public safety. What's
more, even though whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates,
blacks are more harshly punished for it.
That's why, on July 19, marijuana offenses were effectively
decriminalized in Jersey City, New Jersey's second most populous city.
Prosecutors treated every marijuana case that day as a violation
instead of a misdemeanor, unless driving under the influence was
involved. We told our prosecutors to ask for no more than a $50 fine,
or just five hours of community service if the defendant couldn't pay
that fee. Instances like the absence of any public nuisance or a low
likelihood of re-offense would warrant outright dismissal. We also
stressed the importance of diverting people with an obvious drug
addiction toward social services.
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The federal government should follow the growing movement in the states
and repeal the ban on marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end
Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise
law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and
flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the
current ban on marijuana, inflictingA great harm on society just to
prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
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Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view
of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can
reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety,
depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new
online survey of 9,003 adults.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the
District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, that have legalized
medical marijuana. But scientists say hard data on the health effects
of pot -- both positive and negative -- are largely missing. Because
marijuana is considered an illicit drug by the federal government,
research has been scant, though there are efforts underway in
Pennsylvania and nationally to remedy that.
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Jersey City's mayor is planting himself at the forefront of a national
movement to stop destroying people's lives for having a little marijuana.
Steven Fulop is firmly on the right side of this issue, and Gov. Phil
Murphy's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, is not fighting him on it --
once again demonstrating that he is not just concerned with law and
order, but justice.
Grewal has been receptive to reform efforts in general, creating a
statewide team to investigate wrongful convictions, for instance,
after a bungled murder case in Passaic County.
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New Jersey's attorney general has announced an immediate adjournment
of all marijuana cases in municipal courts statewide until at least
The decision was included in a letter state Attorney General Gurbir
Grewal sent Tuesday to municipal prosecutors in the state. It asked
them to seek an adjournment until September 4 -- or later -- of any
matter "involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal
court," a move that will allow the attorney general's office time to
develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors.
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State lawmakers and advocates pushing to legalize marijuana this year
aren't just touting legalization as a way to raise tax revenue and
regulate an underground pot market. They're also talking about fixing
a broken criminal justice system and reinvesting in poor and minority
communities that have been battered by decades of the government's war
The focus on justice and equity has sharpened over time, longtime pot
advocates say, as it's become clear that such issues should be
addressed and that doing so won't alienate voters -- most of whom,
polls consistently show, support legal marijuana. Civil rights groups
also have raised their voices in legalization discussions.
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July 1, a fated day in Massachusetts for advocates of recreational
marijuana, came and went. The first day that stores were allowed to
sell nonmedical cannabis passed without so much as a joint sold. No
retailers had been licensed, and July 1 turned out much like any other
day since December 15, 2016, when it became legal in Massachusetts to
possess, grow and give away small quantities of cannabis.
But in the intervening year-and-a-half, no retailers have begun
selling the drug. Advocates of its recreational use have grown
frustrated at the retail rollout's plodding pace.
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LOS ANGELES - A slight marijuana smell wafted out as a steady stream of
customers walked into a warehouse, its doors and windows covered by
Suddenly, police swooped in.
"Sheriff's department! Search warrant!" a Los Angeles County deputy
shouted as the team thundered through the front door and began hauling
out people in handcuffs.
The Compton 20 Cap Collective just south of Los Angeles that was
raided earlier this spring is one of hundreds of illegal marijuana
stores operating in LA County, where marijuana is legal for anyone 21
and over and retailers must be licensed to sell to them.
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