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Florida Congressman Proposes First Marijuana Reform Bill of 2021
Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) has filed a bill to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the first marijuana reform submitted to the new Congress.
Text of the legislation, which has not yet been posted on Congress’s website but was shared with Marijuana Moment, states that “the Attorney General of the United States shall, by order not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this section, transfer marijuana…from schedule I of such Act to schedule III of such Act.”
While Steube’s new bill would not end federal prohibition in the way the MORE Act would, it would protect federal employees who use marijuana, it would allow cannabis companies to deduct businesses expenses from their taxes, it would make scientific research easier, and it would end threats from the U.S. Postal Service that publishers have faced over the mailing of newspapers containing marijuana advertisements.
Nevada Governor Touts Marijuana Tax Revenue for Schools in Budget
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said on Tuesday that his budget proposal contains provisions to keep marijuana tax revenue flowing to schools in the state.
Marijuana Moment reports that for fiscal year 2021, Nevada had already taken in more than $36 million in cannabis tax revenue as of September.
Sisolak has also committed to promoting equity and justice in the state’s marijuana law. Last year, for example, he pardoned more than 15,000 people who were convicted for low-level cannabis possession.
That action was made possible under a resolution the governor introduced that was unanimously approved by the state’s Board of Pardons Commissioners.
Virginia Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Amendments
A Virginia Senate subcommittee focused on marijuana policy met for a second time on Wednesday, agreeing to a set of amendments to a cannabis legalization bill that are expected to be formally adopted by a full committee on Friday.
One of the decisions the subcommittee made was to recommend that an independent agency be responsible for regulating the marijuana program, rather than the state’s existing alcohol control department as would be the case under the governor’s bill as introduced. That also means that the timeline for sales implementation would have to be pushed back to 2024 instead of 2023 to provide time to stand up a new regulatory body.
The panel also narrowly agreed that the home cultivation option for adults should remain in the bill, according to Marijuana Moment.
In terms of local control, members said that they would prefer for municipalities to have to opt out of allowing cannabis businesses in their areas if they didn’t want them, instead of being required to proactively opt in as is written in the current legislation.
South Dakota Lawmakers Will Not Meet July 1 Legalization Date
Voters in South Dakota became the first in the nation last year to approve both medical and adult-use marijuana on the same ballot. Those wins mean the sale, possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana will become legal for all adults 21 and over as of July 1, 2021.
But lawmakers are slow to file any bills to regulate that market, with only one bill filed so far in the 2021 session. A group of 15 Republican lawmakers have formed what they call a “Cannabis Caucus” to address marijuana issues this session. One high-ranking Senate leader said enacting a regulatory framework for legal marijuana will probably require more than one session of work and will likely spill into the 2022 session or require a special session to complete.
That won’t stop legalization from going into effect, however. It just means adults in South Dakota will get their processed marijuana and cannabis plants from illicit sources. Also, since Amendment A only allows adults to cultivate cannabis at home if there are no licensed stores in their jurisdiction, the legislature’s delay will effectively grant all adults the right to home grow starting in July.
Floridians Learning That Medical Marijuana Can Get You Fired
Floridians have been legally prescribed medical marijuana since 2017, but there’s nothing in state law that prohibits employers from discriminating against patients.
Advocates are hoping 2021 will bring employment protections for the state’s nearly half-million medical marijuana patients.
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said medical marijuana employment discrimination is affecting almost every industry.
Employment protection legislation was filed in the Florida Legislature last year but never got a committee hearing.