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Idaho Activists Launch Medical Marijuana Petition Drive
On Monday, activists with Kind Idaho launched the petition drive for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act Initiative for 2022. Jackee Winters, the chief petitioner of the act, needs to collect 64,946 signatures from registered Idaho voters by May 1, 2022—six percent of the registered voters from last election—to place the initiative on the November 2022 ballot.
Additionally, by law those signatures must also meet a six percent threshold in eighteen of Idaho’s thirty-five legislative districts, though there is legislation pending that would increase that requirement to all thirty-five districts.
The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act would create a medical marijuana program similar to most medical marijuana states, with dispensaries supplied by Idaho growers; in-state access to all forms of cannabis medicine for adults, children, and out-of-state cardholders without any criminal exposure; and limited home cultivation for patients who demonstrate a hardship need.
New Mexico Lawmakers Debate Marijuana Legalization Bills, With Vote Planned on Monday
New Mexico lawmakers on Saturday considered a pair of competing bills to legalize marijuana but failed to hold a vote after the hearing ran long. The committee will return to issue on Monday when members are also expected to take up possible amendments to the proposals.
Lawmakers have introduced a bevy of legalization legislation so far in the state’s 2021 legislative session, which is approaching its midpoint and is scheduled to end on March 20. In addition to the two House measures weighed at Saturday’s three-hour-long Health and Human Services Committee hearing, three others have been filed in the Senate.
All five bills would legalize use and commercial sales of marijuana and set tax rates between 16 and 20 percent.
Mississippi Senate Rescues Medical Marijuana Bill After Midnight
In Mississippi Thursday, Senate Bill 2765, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, failed in a 30–21 vote. The bill was authored by Senator Kevin Blackwell who said the intent of the bill was not to replace or overshadow Initiative 65, but to offer an alternative program for the state in the event the Supreme Court invalidates Initiative 65 in upcoming suits that have been filed.
Major changes were made to the original bill in the form of amendments and the bill was ultimately held on a motion to reconsider.
But after officially adjourning on Thursday at 11:45pm, the Senate returned at 12:01am on Friday morning, a procedural move that allowed them to take up items on the Motion to Reconsider calendar.
Making their way through the list they came to SB 2765 shortly after 12:30 a.m, and the bill passed by a vote of 30 to 19. It will now move to the House.
20-Year-Old Kansas Lawmaker Files Drug Decriminalization Bill
A 20-year-old Kansas lawmaker introduced a bill on Tuesday to broadly decriminalize drug possession in the state.
Rep. Aaron Coleman (D), who defeated a seven-term incumbent in a Democratic primary last year, filed the legislation. He told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Wednesday that he was inspired by a voter-approved initiative in Oregon that ends the threat of jail time for simple drug possession.
Under his proposal, possession of controlled substances for personal use would be considered a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.
For people caught in possession of drugs other than marijuana, prosecutors would also refer them to mandatory treatment—and failure to comply could result in a misdemeanor conviction that carries up to five days in jail, a maximum $250 fine, and six months of probation.
Little-Noticed FAA Memo on Marijuana Emerges Amid Local Airport Controversy in Arizona
After receiving multiple inquiries about leasing airport land to businesses that grow marijuana, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said doing so “presents serious problems under federal law.” That revelation came in a little-noticed 2019 memo.
The FAA memo is creating complications in Springerville, Arizona, where the Town Council rezoned former municipal airport land and approved a lease agreement late last year with a cannabis company that plans to cultivate marijuana on the property, as first reported by The White Mountain Independent.
“The primary purpose of a cultivation operation is for commercial production and distribution of marijuana. A commercial marijuana distribution operation violates the Controlled Substances Act and constitutes a felony under Federal law,” the memo says. “Consequently, a lease to cultivate marijuana for public distribution would be unlawful.”