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Medicinal & Recreational Marijuana: Status of Legalization in USA States

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The United States, with twenty four state legal medical marijuana regimes, and four states with legalized recreational marijuana laws, has arguably gone further in normalizing cannabis use than Canada in recent years. This week brought good news for states like California, Oregon, Ohio and Alabama. However, the battle continues in many states to pass even medical marijuana bills, demonstrating the work cannabis activists have left to do.

Case in point: Missouri.

On May 12, in a vote 85-71, the Missouri House of Representatives killed a bill legalizing medical marijuana – for the second time this year. The first was in April 2016.

Even if the bill had passed in the House of Representatives, it would have faced a tough time in the State Senate, the Cannabist reports:

http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/05/12/missouri-rejects-medical-marijuana/54060/

In Colorado, where marijuana use is legal for medical and recreational purposes, police and DEA agents are still cracking down on growers operating outside the lines drawn by the state. Two bills recently made their way into the Colorado state legislature concerning marijuana: one, related to organic certification for marijuana growers, failed to pass, while the other, permitting students to consume non-smokeable forms of cannabis with a medical license in school, remarkably passed. Police insist that constantly changing laws surrounding marijuana use and production are confusing and a moratorium on arrests and prosecution should be put in place while the legalization regime is better sorted.

For more information on the police statement and laws in Colorado this week, see here:

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29883976/colorado-police-ask-break-new-marijuana-laws

http://www.boulderweekly.com/features/weed-between-the-lines/a-hit-and-a-miss-for-colorado-marijuana-legislation/

Elsewhere in America cannabis legalization is advancing with great momentum. For instance, the state of Alabama recently passed a measure allowing patients with epilepsy to access CBD oil produced out of state.

“As a physician, I believe it is extremely important to give patients with a chronic or debilitating disease the option to consider every possible option for treatment,” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a statement. For more information on Alabama’s slow but steady progression in cannabis legalization, see the Cannabist article here:

http://www.thecannabist.co/2016/05/11/alabama-medical-marijuana-gov-bentley-mmj-oil-bill/53600/

In Ohio, House Bill 523 to legalize medical marijuana passed on Tuesday, May 10, 71-26. The bill, which is relatively conservative and only allows cannabis to be vaporized and not smoked, permits licensed physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients with 19 conditions, including cancer, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. Patients can grow their own marijuana or purchase from licensed retailers after obtaining a medical permit.

Activists like Ohioans for Medical Marijuana hope the Senate passes and even expands the bill.  But if not, the group is proposing its own November ballot initiative.

If the bill proceeds in this fashion, Ohio will be the 25th state in the U.S to legalize medical marijuana use and sale. For more information, look here: http://www.worldcannabis.net/2016/05/ohio-legislators-pass-medical-marijuana-plan-in-historic-vote/

Meanwhile, Oregon, which already enjoys extensive freedom compared to places like Ohio, Alabama, and others as far as cannabis is concerned, can now legally enjoy edibles and concentrates like shatter and budder as well:

https://www.civilized.life/oregon-legal-market-edibles-1790892643.html

Likewise, in legalization-powerhouse California, the “marijuana superstore” Weed Mart – which is the largest licensed dispensary chain in the United States, located in Oakland and San Jose – won a suit against the federal government, which was trying to shut it down in spite of the fact that medical marijuana has been legal under California law since 1996.

A measure passing marijuana use for recreational purposes in California is also on the state ballot and up for referendum in the approaching November 2016 election.

Steve D’Angelo, Weed Mart’s executive director, described this as “the beginning of the end of federal prohibition.” He notes Weed Mart brings in $28 million a year and is the second largest retail taxpayer in Oakland.

For more news on the positive developments in California, head to World Cannabis:

http://www.worldcannabis.net/2016/05/marijuana-superstore-wins-legal-battle-over-medical-pot-shops-in-california/

On that note, a recent study finds that marijuana legalization is more popular than any of the current American presidential nominees in three key swing states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Freeing the weed is supported by 56 percent of voters in Florida, 52 percent in Ohio, and 57 percent in Pennsylvania – and not just for medical purposes. In comparison, Hillary Clinton received approval ratings of 37, 34, and 37 percent in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively. Donald Trump ranked similarly at 37, 36, and 39 percent in each state (in the same order).

Only Bernie Sanders approached Mary Jane’s popularity, coming in with approval ratings of 43, 45 and 50 percent in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

For more information:

http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/05/legal-marijuana-is-more-popular-than-presidential-candidates/

Finally, the world rallied on Saturday May 7 for the Global Marijuana March. For instance, in Colombia, citizens smoked in the streets out of fruit crafted pipes of pineapple, watermelon and apple; even though cannabis laws in Colombia are relatively lax, smokers there continue to push for a global end to prohibition. In Vancouver, World Cannabis and Cannabis Culture shut down Cambie Bridge. Toronto, Fort Worth Texas and many other cities around the world participated in the growing annual march and protest.

For more coverage, see the Merry Jane:

https://www.merryjane.com/news/colombians-rally-for-cannabis-reform

http://www.marijuanatimes.org/on-the-streets-of-the-global-marijuana-march-of-2016/

Let the good times roll!

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