I am typing out this week’s legislative roundup from the basement of my home here in Southern Indiana, where today has become a wild and treacherous ride full of violent storms brought on by an Indian Summer that continues to spawn devastating tornadoes within miles of my immediate residence.
The latest weather report indicates a heavy line of twisted doom is headed directly towards me at speeds between 65 and 100mph; so, it appears as though I am on a tight deadline with Mother Nature’s schizophrenic sister to finish this week’s roundup before being hurled into The Land of Oz or worse -- rendered homeless.
But fear not stoner nation -- regardless if I have to type out this week’s legislative summary using Morse code from the back of a Red Cross emergency vehicle or send a series of post-it-notes to New York using a squadron of extremely athletic pigeons, my report will undoubtedly make it to HIGH TIMES headquarters before morning.
With that being said - here is quick look at what our pot-friendly lawmakers were up to last week:
Michigan: Pot for Sale in Pharmacies
Marijuana will soon be for sale in pharmacies across Michigan.
Last week, the state senate voted on a bill 22-16 in favor of allowing medical marijuana to be cultivated and sold in pharmacies all over the state.
Supporters of the bill say this piece of legislation will provide a safe alternative for medical marijuana patients, while opponents argue that it will put a stranglehold on home growers.
However, under the bill, home growers will still be permitted to carry on with business as usual.
The bill now seeks approval from the House.
Colorado: Denver Gets High on the Front Lawn
The Denver City Council has given preliminary approval for a looser set of rules aimed at making it legal for pot smoking citizens to fire it up on their front lawns.
According to the proposal, homeowners would be permitted to smoke weed on their personal property, and renters would too, as long as they first obtain permission from the property owner.
The City Council is attempting to better define the term “open and public” when it comes to marijuana consumption. A final vote on this issue is scheduled for early December.
Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced -- NORML Gets Behind Candidate for Governor
Republican state Senator Mike Folmer announced last week plans to introduce a bipartisan medical marijuana bill today in Harrisburg, Penn.
According to a new release, Folmer has teamed up with Montgomery County Democratic Senator Daylin Leach to present a bill for the legalization of medical cannabis in the Capitol on Monday afternoon.
However, any pro-pot measure will likely be useless until the next election brings about some change in state leadership. Governor Tom Corbett has made it clear that he will reject every piece of marijuana legislation sent to his office for final approval -- even in the case of medical marijuana.
So, it makes sense that if the people of Pennsylvania have any hopes of seeing progress come about with regards to the legalization of cannabis across the state, voters are going to have to get serious about getting Gov. Corbett out of office.
Marijuana supporter John Hanger just may be the man for the job: last week, Hanger received a campaign endorsement from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in support of his bid for governor of Pennsylvania.
Hanger, one of eight candidates duking it out over the Democratic nomination, says that if elected, he plans to fully legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania by 2017.
"This is becoming a real political and policy action issue and public opinion is moving," said Mr. Hanger. "It's the right thing to do, and it's smart politics."
Interestingly, this endorsement is the first time NORML has gotten behind a candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, which could be a sign that pot-proponents are finally prepared to do whatever it takes to dethrone the current Republican regime, specifically Tom Corbett.
Massachusetts: Legalized Recreational Marijuana in Three Years
Even though the medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts are not yet open for business, marijuana supporters are jumping the gun in hopes of legalizing weed for recreational use in 2016.
The Bay State Repeal recently filed the necessary paperwork with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance to get an initiative to repeal current marijuana laws underway.
Committee members say they plan to put a non-binding ballot into effect during the 2014 election in order to gauge how voters feel about full-on legalization of marijuana in the state.
Florida – Clarity Needed
Some lawmakers in Florida are wanting to put a leash on proposed medical marijuana legislation because they say the wording in the documentation is not clear enough for them to proceed comfortably.
“The proposal hides the fact that the amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, allowing use for limitless other conditions specified by any physician,'” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “With no condition off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time, to anyone, of any age. But rather than tell voters of this extraordinary scope, the summary uses language to prey on voters’ understandable sympathies for Florida’s most vulnerable patients -- those suffering debilitating diseases.”
This issue is set to go before the Florida Supreme Court on December 5 to determine if voters will have a say on the measure come next election.
Mike Adams also writes for Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler magazine. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.