Merry Cannabis America -- despite the fact that the holidays have put a bit of a Grinch wrench in the progress of marijuana legislation across the nation, a recent survey indicates that the public has finally embraced the leaf.
According to a poll released last week by the Associated Press, fewer Americans are against marijuana legalization than they were just three years ago. In fact, new statistics show that only 29 percent of the US population is against legalization, down from 55 percent in 2010.
Here is what your pot-friendly lawmakers were up to last week:
New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Bill Advances Despite Gov. Christie
Even though Governor Christie has insisted he will veto a measure to expand on the NJ's current medical marijuana law, Democrats decided last week to advance it anyway. The Assembly voted 50-23 in favor of Bill A4537, which would give medical marijuana recipients in New Jersey the ability to purchase their medication from other states.
The measure must now pass before the state Senate; however, Governor Christie remains adamant that he will not sign off on any measure to expand New Jersey’s MMJ laws.
Michigan: Two Bills Passed to Improve State Medical Marijuana Laws
The Michigan House of Representatives approved two pieces of marijuana legislation last week that would serve to make the state’s medical marijuana laws better for patients.
The first bill, House Bill 4271, would allow local communities to once again regulate their own dispensaries. Earlier this year, county prosecutors were given permission by the Michigan Supreme Court to shut these facilities down, calling them public nuisances.
The second bill, House Bill 5104 -- also known as the medibles bill -- would give medical marijuana patients the ability to use edibles and topicals as an alternative to smoking marijuana. Representative Eileen Kowall says her bill is one of the most important pieces of medical marijuana legislation for the state, because it gives patients the capacity to “choose the delivery method that works best for their afflictions.”
Seattle: Public Pot Smoking Fines Set at $27
Last week, the Seattle City Council gave approval on legislation that makes fines for smoking marijuana in public the same as public consumption of alcohol. Council Bill 117989 states that a fine of $27 will be set as a penalty for those caught smoking cannabis in public. Interestingly, the legislation also states that the Seattle Police Department will issue warnings before citations.
The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.
Wyoming: Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Introduced
State Representative Sue Wallis announced last week plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session aimed at legalizing medical marijuana. Wallis admits that the recent death of her husband is what caused her to take an interest in the issue, adding that medical marijuana helped her husband immensely during his final days.
"And as a result of that experience, and the research that I've done since then, I have become absolutely convinced that what killed him was prescription painkillers," she said.
Wallis will need to gain two-thirds vote to approve the introduction of her bill.