More States Move To Legalize Marijuana
Add Virginia, Texas, Montana and Alabama to the growing list of states that are loosening or considering changes in restrictions on marijuana use.
Virginia Legislature Speeds Up Pot Legalization To This Summer
The Virginia Legislature voted Wednesday to accelerate its timeline for marijuana legalization to July 1 instead of January 2024. Personal possession and home cultivation would be legal starting in July. Marijuana sales still wouldn’t start until 2024, giving the government time to set up a cannabis regulatory agency to oversee the new industry. (Zhang, 4/7)
Dallas Morning News:
Texas House Committee Passes Bill To Expand Medical Marijuana Program
The Texas House Committee on Public Health passed a bill Wednesday that would include more patients in the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) for medical marijuana. House Bill 1535, authored by Fort Worth Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick, would grow the Texas Compassionate Use Program by including patients with any type of cancer, not just terminal, PTSD in veterans and chronic pain that would otherwise be treated with an opioid. (Briseno, 4/7)
Montana House OKs All 3 Marijuana Bills
House Republicans on Tuesday endorsed all three GOP-sponsored marijuana implementation bills, meeting the party leadership's expectations to propel each proposal to the Senate. After a rapid-fire round of amendments during the chamber's third floor session of the day, House bills 701, 707 and 670 still require third readings in the House on Wednesday before they will be passed over to the Senate. Thursday's transmittal deadline has kicked the process into high gear, which stirred some concern among several lawmakers that committees did not have time to properly vet the proposals and introduced some uncertainty as to the fate of each bill before the House floor vote on Tuesday. (Larson, 4/6)
Alabama House Committee Advances Medical Marijuana Bill
A medical marijuana bill on Wednesday cleared its first major hurdle in the Alabama House of Representatives. The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill after lengthy debate and multiple amendment attempts. The bill now goes to the Health Committee after House leaders decided the controversial bill must go through two committees before going to a floor vote. A version of the proposal has already passed the state Senate. (Chandler, 4/7)
The Baltimore Sun:
Maryland’s Medical Marijuana Rollout Was Blasted For Its Lack Of Diversity. Meet A Woman Helping To Change That.
Venushki “Venus” Hemachandra has made it her mission to diversify the often white and male dominated medical marijuana industry. The founder and owner of Herbiculture, a 4,000-square-foot dispensary housed in a business park in Burtonsville, Montgomery County, says she’s used to surprising people by going against age, gender and ethnicity expectations. Already licensed as a dispenser, the Randallstown resident, 31, last year became one of the few women in Maryland also licensed as a grower and processor. She’s now poised to open just such a facility in Baltimore. (Williams IV, 4/8)
Where Weed Is Legal
The acceptance of legal weed by governors and state lawmakers in 2021 — without the explicit blessing of voters — marks a turning point. Until this year, only two states had legalized recreational marijuana programs through the legislature: Illinois in 2019 and Vermont in 2020. “The sky hasn't fallen in those states that have legalized,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for legalization advocacy organization Marijuana Policy Project. “It doesn't hurt that these laws generate a lot of economic growth in the way of new jobs, new small businesses and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that states could really use as they recover from Covid.” (Zhang, 4/7)