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New Jersey Legalization Bills Held Up Over Punishing Children
Two bills that would legalize marijuana possession and establish a regulated market are being held up in the New Jersey legislature due to concerns from Gov. Phil Murphy.
The decriminalization bill as written would eliminate criminal penalties for the possession of up to six ounces of marijuana. Murphy wants that bill amended to provide penalties for minors who are found in possession, similar to New Jersey laws on alcohol possession.
Murphy wants to sign the decriminalization and the regulation bills at the same time. Regardless of Murphy’s action or inaction, legalization of the possession of one ounce by adults goes into effect under the state constitution on January 1, Marijuana Moment reports.
Minnesota Legislative Panel Backs Decriminalization and Expungements
The House Select Committee on Racial Justice of the Minnesota Legislature is recommending the end of adult marijuana prohibition as a step toward addressing systemic racism, according to Marijuana Moment.
In order to “address disproportionately harmful impacts on communities of color” in the legal system, the legislature should pursue cannabis decriminalization and clearing the records of those convicted on non-violent marijuana offenses, the report states.
To that end, panel members are calling for their recommendations to “be at the center” of the legislature’s work to put together a budget in fiscal year 2021, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) said in a press release.
Winkler filed a bill earlier this year to fully legalize marijuana in Minnesota, describing it as the “best” in the country in part because it would have prioritized social equity in the industry. It did not move in the legislature, however.
D.C. Decriminalizes Drug Paraphernalia
That’s Queen Adesuyi, policy manager of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, speaking to WJLA about a drug decriminalization bill recently signed by the mayor of Washington, D.C.
The measure not only decriminalizes the possession of paraphernalia for personal use, but also allows for possession of testing equipment for users and advocates to determine the purity and quality of illicit drugs.
Montana Prohibitionist Sues Legalization Fund to Disclose Donors
Steve Zabawa, the Montana car dealer who is currently suing the state over the marijuana legalization initiative that passed in November, also filed a lawsuit against North Fund, a political committee that contributed over $4 million to the campaign.
Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices has ruled that North Fund improperly registered as an incidental political committee when it actually qualifies as an independent committee. The difference is that the latter type of committee is required to disclose the identities of its donors, which North Fund has not done.
NBC Montana reports that the commissioner will ask the Lewis and Clark County Attorney to decide whether to prosecute. Should the attorney say no, the commissioner says he reserves the right to file a criminal complaint in Montana’s courts.
Arizona Lawyer Explains Drawbacks of Legalization
Arizona NORML Attorney Tom Dean spoke with KTAR News on Wednesday about the details of Arizona’s new marijuana legalization under Prop 207, which went into effect earlier this month, and how the state’s decade-long medical marijuana program provides better protection of tokers’ rights.
Dean explained how existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be the first to receive recreational sales licenses, sometime around the end of March. Until then, medical marijuana patients are the only ones with legal access to marijuana.