Cannabis Headline News is heard at the top of every hour on RadicalRuss Radio and Friday’s news is contained within the free The Russ Belville Show live podcast. For daily downloads of Cannabis Headline news podcast to your device every morning, subscribe by becoming a Patron of RadicalRuss Radio.
Democrats Take Control of the US Senate
Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock have won their elections to the US Senate.
As of press time, with 98 percent of the vote tallied in Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock leads incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler by over 53,000 votes. CNN has declared him the victor with 50.6 percent of the vote. Warnock now becomes just the 11th Black senator and the first from Georgia.
Incumbent Republican Senator David Purdue is trailing challenger Jon Ossoff by a little over 16,000 votes. Ossoff leads with just 50.2 percent of the vote, leading him to declare victory. CNN is not yet calling the race.
One-Third of New York Senate Signs on to Legalization Bill
New York lawmakers representing nearly a third of the state Senate on Tuesday prefiled a bill to legalize marijuana, according to Marijuana Moment.
Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and 18 cosponsors filed the legislation, which is identical to a bill she sponsored last year and has now been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. It would make it so adults 21 and older would be able to purchase cannabis and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
This is the fifth version of the legalization bill that the senator has introduced since 2013. But advocates are hopeful that, given the evolved marijuana policy landscape in the region and nationally, as well as the governor’s embrace of reform, this year will see the measure advance.
Minnesota Lawmaker Files Legalization Bill
Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D) told WCCO-TV that he is again filing a bill to legalize marijuana.
But legalization will be a tough sell in the GOP Senate, which has historically resisted cannabis reform.
If Winkler can’t get the Senate to go along for passing legalization in 2021, he hopes they’ll be amenable to putting it before the voters, as New Jersey did, in 2022.
New Jersey Lawmakers File Bill to Punish Young Adult Tokers
Marijuana Moment reports that New Jersey lawmakers plan to send Gov. Phil Murphy (D) a marijuana “clean-up” bill to address a number of his remaining policy concerns around cannabis, including how the state would deal with people under 21 caught with the drug.
The legislation, which both chambers are expected to take up in the coming week, is believed to be a final step in securing Murphy’s approval as the state scrambles to establish a regulatory framework for legal marijuana. More than two-thirds of state voters approved legalization at the ballot box in November.
Under the new bill, A5211, people between the ages of 18 and 20 would be subject to a $250 civil fine for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, regardless of whether the cannabis was obtained through a licensed store or an illegal dealer. Possessing between one and six ounces would carry a $500 fine.
People under 18, meanwhile, would not be fined but would instead be sent to a juvenile justice court.
Kentucky Lawmakers Resist Tax on Medical Cannabis
In an interview with Kentucky PBS station KET, lawmakers discussed the potential for passing medical marijuana legislation this year.
That’s Kentucky Republican Senate President Robert Stivers II, who also expressed reservations at the governor’s suggestion that medical marijuana be heavily taxed.
Democratic Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey agreed with his Republican counterpart.
A poll from last February found that nine out of 10 Kentuckians supported legalizing medical marijuana and nearly six in 10 (59 percent) felt cannabis should be legal “under any circumstances.”