This week’s legislative roundup leads us to believe that the majority of state lawmakers have thrown in the towel this year; said to hell with all of the stiff neck Mormon and Republican politics; waved their sticky middle fingers in the sky and set sail for home for the holidays. We can’t say that we blame them.
Here is what some of our more ambitious lawmakers were up to last week:
New York: Bill to Legalize Marijuana Introduced
Of course, the biggest news in the grand scheme of last week’s American marijuana legislation was a new bill introduced by Senator Liz Krueger aimed at legalizing weed across the state of New York.
On Wednesday, Senator Krueger proposed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which would serve to govern the marijuana industry in New York in the same manner that the state currently uses to regulate alcohol.
“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” said Krueger. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars.”
Those that support the bill are optimistic about the level of tax revenue that is predicted to be generated from the proposed tax: $50 for every ounce… an estimated $431 million for New York City alone.
The latest bill is the third attempt in 2013 to get New York to lift the ban on marijuana prohibition, but the Senate hasn’t taken any of the proposed measures very seriously. Yet.
Michigan: Medical Marijuana Edibles Could Soon Be Acceptable
Earlier last week, the House of Representatives passed two bills that would benefit medical marijuana users in Michigan. The first would allow local communities to regulate local medical marijuana dispensaries, and the second would permit users to benefit from the use of marijuana edibles and topicals.
A third bill, which was passed 87-22, would allow growers to cultivate pharmeucuetical-grade pot and supply local pharmacies with their product.
These bills will now move to the Senate for their approval.
Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced Next Session
Lawmakers in Minnesota say they intend to resurrect a bill this session that would legalize medical marijuana.
Several years ago, in 2009, a medical marijuana bill managed to gain the approval of the Minnesota Legislature, but was squashed by a veto by Governor Tim Pawlenty. This was mainly due to Pawlenty seeking council from state law enforcement to develop his position on the issue.
Supporters plan to revisit the bill next session and if all else fails, they plan to bypass the Governor and put the question in the hands of voters.
Denver, Colorado: Legal to Torch on the Porch
After much debate, the Denver City Council voted last week in favor of permitting adults to smoke marijuana on their front porches – even if toking takes place in plain sight of the public.
In a vote of 10-3, the City Council finally sided against the controversial front yard pot smoking ban that was introduced last month.
"Fortunately, common sense ultimately prevailed," said Mason Tvert, communications director of Marijuana Policy Project. "If adults are able to consume alcohol -- and even smoke cigarettes -- outside on their private property, there's no logical reason why they should be prohibited from using a less harmful substance."
Recreational marijuana officially becomes legal in Colorado on January 1.