Public Opinion on Marijuana Evolves Quickly, Politicians Struggle to Keep Up

Yesterday’s News – April 15, 2015

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Hillary Clinton’s announcement last weekend that she will run for president in 2016 guarantees that she’ll have to enter the conversation about marijuana and drug policy soon. She has consistently avoided taking a stance and has opted for the “wait and see” mentality so common among our leadership. But with cannabis legalization a reality in several states and advocates preparing for ballot initiatives in several more, and with a majority of American voters, including those in key swing states, ready to legalize it, no presidential candidate will be able to remain silent on the issue. Read more in this piece from Bustle:

bustle.com/articles/75776-whats-hillary-clinton-stance-on-weed-shes-been-tight-lipped-but-needs-to-make-up-her-mind

 

Chris Christie, on the other hand, said in no uncertain terms that if he’s elected president, he will “crack down and not permit” legal cannabis, even where states have voted to allow it. Apparently Mr. Christie has not seen information below, which indicates that this position could negatively impact his chances at winning the presidency. The Huffington Post has more on his mind-numbingly ridiculous ideas about marijuana:

huffpost.com/us/entry/7066636

 

The Pew Research Center polled Americans back in March and found that public opinion around cannabis legalization is quickly shifting and that 68 percent of Millennials are in favor of ending prohibition. Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana, and 63 percent think alcohol is more detrimental to society than legal cannabis would be. The majority of people still want folks to confine their use to their homes, and most wouldn’t be bothered if a pot shop opened in their neighborhood.

pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/6-facts-about-marijuana/

 

Major changes to regulations at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver are causing some businesses to reconsider their participation in the weekend-long celebration leading up to 4/20. On April 3, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) issued a bulletin that clarifies the law around what licensed marijuana businesses are and aren’t allowed to do at such events and states that “marijuana produced within the regulated system must remain in the closed system…until final sale to a patient or customer.” This means no off-premise sales and no free samples. Such restrictions ensure a vastly different experience for those visiting the Cup this year; you can still bring and consume your own pot, but you’ll be disappointed if you were expecting to make your way from booth to booth to try out all the offerings. The Cannabist has details on this most unfortunate development:

thecannabist.co/2015/04/14/marijuana-samples-cannabis-cup-denver/33153

 

Washington’s state Senate approved a bill that dramatically alters the way medical marijuana will be sold, phasing out collective gardens and expanding the highly regulated recreational system to include medical dispensaries as well. Patients would be allowed to possess three times as much product as recreational users and could grow up to six plants (current recreational law in Washington does not allow for personal cultivation). Evan Bush at the Seattle Times reports on this and other changes to the state’s cannabis regulations:

seattletimes.com/seattle-news/marijuana/medical-marijuana-headed-for-tighter-oversight-in-state/

 

Meanwhile, Oregon’s lawmakers are deciding whether medical dispensaries can begin to sell recreational cannabis as early as this summer. Because possession of marijuana will be legal in the state as of July 1 but a regulated retail market for adult-use cannabis will not be permitted until 2016, some see this as the best way to dissuade people from buying on the black market. The proposal would allow for the sale of cannabis flowers and possibly plants but not edibles on the recreational side. Noelle Crombie for The Oregonian has the full story:

oregonlive.com/marijuana/index.ssf/2015/04/oregon_lawmakers_mull_proposal.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in The Informant.

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