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Headlines: SCOTUS Rules States Are Free To Legalize

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Headlines: SCOTUS Rules States Are Free To Legalize

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The Supreme Court has expanded upon the Constitution’s anti-commandeering doctrine to declare that the federal government cannot force states to maintain prohibition laws. The 7-2 ruling concerned the state of New Jersey voting to legalize sports betting. A federal law had banned states from authorizing sports gambling. It had been previously established that the federal government couldn’t force a state to make laws criminalizing something. However, it was open question as to whether the feds could force a state to keep its own law criminalizing something. In ruling for New Jersey, the court clearly indicated that the Congress may criminalize something, but it cannot force the states to do the same. The implication for marijuana policy is that states can neither be forced to prohibit marijuana nor prevented from legalizing marijuana.

It’s all but official – Michigan voters will have the opportunity to make it the 10th state in America to legalize marijuana. Speaking to Michigan News Network, Speaker of the Michigan House Tom Leonard said that the Republican-led legislature showed no support to take up the issue. Activists turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but Michigan law allows the legislature to review, amend, and pass such voter initiatives within a 40-day period. When that period passes without legislative action, the measure automatically goes to the voters this November. If passed, Michigan would legalize 2.5 ounces of flower, 15 grams of concentrate, 10 ounces of flower at home plus the results of the harvest of 12 marijuana plants at home. Commercial sales would be taxed at 10 percent excise. Microbusiness licensing would allow one to be a small-scale grower and seller. Recent polling by Michigan State University found 61 percent of respondents support legalization.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is slowly evolving on marijuana legalization as the rest of his party threatens to leave him behind on the issue. Yesterday, Cuomo updated the press about the legalization study he commissioned in January. [CUOMO CLIP: “That report should be done shortly.”] Also yesterday, the New York Democratic Party announced its intention to endorse marijuana legalization in the party platform. [CUOMO CLIP: “The facts changed on this issue, and the facts changed quickly.”] One of those would be polling showing 63 percent of New Yorkers and 71 percent of New York Democrats favor legalization. Another would be legal marijuana in Massachusetts and soon in New Jersey. [CUOMO CLIP: “You’ll then have two border states where it would be legal. To say well, it won’t be in New York I think is to avoid reality at that point.”] A third could be Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon, who poked fun at Cuomo’s marijuana evolution at a show on Friday, joking that “At the rate Cuomo is changing, I expect that he’ll be rolling a joint in his first campaign ad.”

Oregon marijuana regulators ratified the license suspensions of three recreational marijuana businesses, including one selling CBD oil. Jenny’s Dispensary in Deschutes County and Medigreen Collective in Multnomah County failed to keep surveillance recordings for 90 days. That was Medigreen’s third violation. Jenny’s also failed to store marijuana properly. The third business, a processor called CBD Oil, was sacked over four violations. Two violations concerned advertising their recreational product as having medicinal effects and selling it to non-marijuana shops. The other two violations concerned fraudulent entries in the seed-to-sale tracking system in order to divert product. Jenny’s will recover its license after a 37-day suspension and payment of $6,105 in fines. The other two entities are allowing their licenses to expire without renewal.

The anti-medical marijuana campaigners from Drug Safe Utah are up to more shenanigans. In their effort to have enough signatures removed from the medical marijuana initiative in Utah to take it off the ballot, they needed to have their forms turned in by the end of the business day Monday. Drug Safe Utah members asked to turn their forms in after 5pm, but County Clerk Curtis Koch refused. So, the campaigners took the forms to Koch’s home and dropped them off there. Later, Koch went in to the office to work late on an unrelated matter, leading pro-medical marijuana observers wondering if Koch had actually accepted the forms after hours.

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