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Feds Shouldn’t Waste Resources on Marijuana Enforcement in Legal States, Biden AG Pick Says
President Joe Biden’s pick for attorney general said on Monday that he doesn’t believe it wise for the federal government to prosecute marijuana crimes in states where it is legal.
That view is consistent with policies put into place under Obama—known as the Cole memorandum—and then rescinded by President Donald Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.
Garland also said earlier in the hearing that he thinks the enforcement of marijuana criminalization is the “perfect example” of how the criminal justice system is racially biased and disproportionately impacts communities of color.
New Jersey Governor Signs Marijuana Bills After Lawmakers Send Him Latest ‘Clean Up’ Measure
The governor of New Jersey signed legislation on Monday that paves the way for the voter-approved legalization of marijuana to proceed.
The long-delayed action came moments after lawmakers sent to his desk a new proposal concerning penalties for underage cannabis possession—the absence of which in separate legalization implementation legislation caused Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to refuse to approve the program’s launch.
The latest compromise bill that the Senate and Assembly approved on Monday makes it so youth would be subject to a written warning if they’re caught with cannabis. That was the final step needed in a tumultuous legislative path for Murphy to sign the implementation bill, as well as a separate piece of legislation concerning the decriminalization of possession.
South Dakota Medical Marijuana Activists Propose Alternative Legalization Timeline After Governor Pushes Delay
As marijuana reform advocates prepare an appeal to a court ruling invalidating a voter-approved recreational legalization initiative, they’re also hoping to reach a deal with South Dakota’s governor and lawmakers over the timeline to implement a separate medical cannabis reform measure. And they want legal protections for patients in the interim.
As passed by voters in the November election, regulators are required to develop rules for a medical marijuana program by July 1. But Gov. Kristi Noem (R) proposed legislation to delay implementation by an additional year—a request that advocates say is excessive and puts patients at risk of ongoing criminalization.
As a compromise, reform groups New Approach South Dakota and South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws have put forward an alternative plan that would still push back the effective date of the legalization measure, but by less time. Simultaneously, it proposes amending the governor’s legislation to offer legal protections for medical cannabis patients even before they’re formally registered.
Patients Flock to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Program, Driving Surge in Job Growth
The medical marijuana market in Florida created nearly 15,000 new jobs in 2020 and employs an estimated 31,444 state residents, according to a new analysis.
Florida recorded nearly $1.23 billion in marijuana sales in 2020, according to the report posted by Leafly and Whitney Economics. Florida’s sales were more than every state except California and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adults.
Medical marijuana patient registrations surged in Florida last year, with 170,000 new patients in 2020. According to the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s (OMMU) Feb. 12 update, 485,693 state residents are “qualified” patients who can receive prescriptions from 2,644 licensed physicians to purchase marijuana at 313 dispensaries statewide.
That growth is expected to continue, with sales projected to top $6 billion in annual sales by 2030 in Florida.
Legal Marijuana States See Reduced Workers’ Compensation Claims, New Study Finds
Legalizing marijuana for adult use is associated with an increase in workforce productivity and decrease in workplace injuries, according to a new study partly funded by the federal government.
In a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, researchers looked at the impact of recreational cannabis legalization on workers’ compensation claims among older adults. They found declines in such filings “both in terms of the propensity to receive benefits and benefit amount” in states that have enacted the policy change.
Further, they identified “complementary declines in non-traumatic workplace injury rates and the incidence of work-limiting disabilities” in legal states.
These findings run counter to arguments commonly made by prohibitionists, who have claimed that legalizing marijuana would lead to lower productivity and more occupational hazards and associated costs to businesses.