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New Jersey Lawmakers’ Marijuana Talks Break Down Months After Voters Approve Legalization
Following weeks of negotiations with the governor, a top New Jersey lawmaker said on Wednesday that he is abandoning revised compromise legislation to implement marijuana regulations in the state.
It’s been more than three months since New Jersey voters approved an adult-use cannabis legalization referendum. In December, lawmakers sent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) a pair of bills to implement legal sales and decriminalize possession, but a dispute with the governor over his desire to see penalties instituted for underage people has stalled the process.
There have been repeated attempts to reach an agreement on the issue—including the introduction of an earlier version of a “clean up” bill that cleared an Assembly committee late last month—but a top senator signaled that negotiations are over with respect to his chamber’s measure.
Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved in First Committee Vote
A bill to legalize marijuana in Minnesota was approved by a House committee on Wednesday—the first of up to a dozen panels that are expected to take up the reform legislation in the weeks to come in advance of a floor vote.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers filed the measure earlier this month. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.
The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee passed the bill in a 10-7 vote.
A second hearing on the proposal is scheduled in the Labor, Industry, Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy Committee for February 23.
Hawaii Senate Panel Approves Bills to Legalize Marijuana and Increase Decriminalization Limit
Lawmakers in Hawaii voted to advance two marijuana bills on Tuesday, one to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older and another to increase the amount that is covered under the state’s existing decriminalization law.
A separate proposal to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use, meanwhile, is set to be heard on Friday.
Hawaii decriminalized up to three grams of marijuana—enough for a few joints—under a 2019 law that took effect last year, replacing criminal penalties with a $130 fine. This year’s bill, SB 758, would increase the possession threshold to one ounce, or about 28.5 grams.
A separate bill, SB 767, would legalize marijuana and allow licensed businesses to cultivate, produce and sell cannabis products. It would also allow adults to grow up to three mature plants for personal use.
North Dakota Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances as Activists and Lawmakers Push Legalization Measures
A bill to significantly expand marijuana decriminalization in North Dakota cleared a key House committee on Tuesday while a proposed resolution to have voters decide on legalizing cannabis in 2022 was defeated by the panel.
That said, the sponsor of the decriminalization legislation said she’d ask the legislature to defeat it if a separate bill to legalize adult-use cannabis ends up getting approved.
Under the current statute, possession of half an ounce or less of cannabis is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, with no jail time. The new proposal would make possession of up to an ounce a non-criminal offense that carries a $50 fine.
Further, possession of more than one ounce and less than 250 grams would be treated as an infraction, rather than a class B misdemeanor, as it is currently classified.
California Activists Gear Up For 2022 Push to Legalize Psilocybin Mushrooms
California activists are taking another shot at placing a ballot initiative before voters to legalize psilocybin mushrooms statewide, this time in 2022.
Decriminalize California attempted to get a similar measure on the November 2020 ballot, but they faced signature gathering complications due to the coronavirus pandemic and ultimately abandoned that effort. Advocates recognize that they will face similar challenges as the campaign gets running for the upcoming cycle, but they’re confident that they will have the resources and experience to prevail this round.
Unlike Decriminalize California’s earlier 2020 initiative, however, this new one would only allow adults 21 and older to engage in such activities, rather than those 18 and older. It was also changed to stipulate that the process for getting prior psilocybin convictions expunged would be voluntary instead of automatic, which would reduce the projected cost of the measure in the ballot title and summary that voters will see. Finally, certain definitions were revised when it comes to therapeutic use of the psychedelic.