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Biden Cabinet Pick Defends Proposal to Use Marijuana Tax Dollars to Fund Schools
President Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of the Interior Department, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), got in a heated exchange with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) on her past campaign promise to support marijuana legalization as a means to diversify her state’s economy and help fund public education.
Sen. Barrasso’s line of questioning seems to indicate Republicans think Rep. Haaland’s support of marijuana legalization will damage her chances for confirmation in a nation where polls show two-thirds of the people agree with her.
Connecticut Governor Touts Marijuana Legalization Bill Ahead of First Hearing
At a press conference on Wednesday to build support for his plan to legalize marijuana in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and other backers described the proposal as a thoughtful, data-driven measure designed to address decades of disproportionate harm to the state’s Black and brown residents.
Lamont introduced the legalization proposal as part of his budget plan earlier this month. Under SB 888, Connecticut’s existing medical marijuana businesses would be able to begin selling to adults before the rest of the legal market is up and running, a head-start intended to begin legal sales as soon as possible.
Alabama Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill
The Alabama Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
Weeks after the chamber’s Judiciary Committee advanced the legislation, it cleared the full floor in a vote of 21-8 following a brief, 15-minute discussion.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R), would allow people with qualifying conditions to access cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
To qualify for the program, patients would have to be diagnosed with one of about 20 conditions, including anxiety, sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress injury and intractable pain. Regulators would not be able to independently add additional conditions, leaving that decision up to lawmakers.
The bill also prohibits raw cannabis, smoking, vaping and candy or baked good products. Patients would instead be allowed to purchase capsules, lozenges, oils, suppositories, and topical patches.
New York Marijuana Legalization Proposals Get First Joint Legislative Hearing of 2021
New York lawmakers on Tuesday held the first public hearing of the year on proposals to legalize marijuana, specifically focusing on budget implications.
In a joint session with members of the Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways & Means Committee, legislators heard testimony from two pro-legalization industry representatives and one opponent, Kevin Sabet of the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.
This is the third year in a row that Cuomo has included a legalization proposal in his budget plan. The last two times, negotiations with the legislature stalled amid disagreements over certain components such as the tax structure for the market and funding for social equity programs.
Regardless of which direction the legislature ultimately goes on this issue, there’s growing recognition in the state that legalization is an inevitability.
Bipartisan Pennsylvania Senators Team Up on New Marijuana Legalization Bill
A bipartisan duo of Pennsylvania senators rolled out a bill on Wednesday that would legalize marijuana in the state. And it’s that bipartisan component that advocates hope will convince the GOP-controlled legislature to advance the policy change.
Sens. Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) are introducing the legislation, which would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess cannabis from licensed retailers. The possession limit would be set at 30 grams, and only medical marijuana patients would have an option to cultivate up to five plants at home.
This marks the first time that a Republican legislator in Pennsylvania has sponsored an adult-use legalization bill—a significant factor given that the legislature under GOP control has long resisted legalization. Laughlin says that he’s not necessarily in favor of cannabis use, but he views regulating the market to be “the most responsible approach” to the issue and a superior alternative to criminalization.