Chronicle AM: DC MJ Sales Appear Blocked Again, RI Senate Leader Says No Legalization Next Year, More... (12/18/19)

It looks like Congress will once again block the District of Columbia from taxing and regulating legal marijuana sales, a key Rhode Island senator just says no to legalizing pot there next year, and more.

Congress still blocking DC from full legalization
Marijuana Policy

Indiana Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) filed a marijuana decriminalization bill Monday. She said it was appropriate because neighboring Illinois and Michigan have already legalized marijuana. Her bill would make possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana a ticketable infraction with a small fine and no jail time; instead of a misdemeanor crime with penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense. The bill is not yet available on the legislative web site. The ten-week Indiana legislative session begins January 6.

Rhode Island Senate Leader Says No Marijuana Legalization Next Year. Senate President Dominic Ruggiero (D) said Tuesday there would be no marijuana legalization bill passed in the legislature next year. "No," he said when asked whether 2020 would be the year it happens. "I want to see what is happening in Massachusetts. I am not crazy about the medical marijuana program in this state. I don't think people have a handle on it... If we can't handle medical marijuana, there is no way we can enforce the laws for legalization." Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has said she plans to propose legalization in her upcoming state budget -- as she did last year, only to see the proposal die in the General Assembly.

Washington, DC, Likely Won't Get Legal Marijuana Sales Next Year. On Monday, House Democrats unveiled their 2020 appropriations bill for the District of Columbia, and the bill continues the ban on DC creating a regulated and taxed market for legal marijuana. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) criticized the bill and said the District should have the same right to implement marijuana legalization as anywhere else in the country: "Well it's just another reason why we have to march towards statehood," she said. "Until we are autonomous and a state just like everyone else in America, we can always have this interference from Congress!"

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