NY Marijuana Legalization Agreement Reached, VA House Speaker Wants Early Legalization, More... (3/29/21)

New Jersey's governor has signed a bill regarding parental notification for teen pot busts, the North Dakota Senate kills marijuana decriminalization, and more.

An embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has reached agreement with legislative leaders on marijuana legalization. (CC)
Marijuana Policy

Iowa Poll Has Majority for Marijuana Legalization. A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll has support for marijuana legalization at 54%, with 39% opposed and 6% undecided. That is about the same results as in the same poll last year. Bills to legalize marijuana have gone nowhere despite popular support.

New Jersey Governor Signs Parental Notification Bill for Teen Pot Busts. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has signed into law a bill that requires that parents be notified if their minor child gets caught buying or possessing marijuana. Lawmakers had passed a "cleanup" bill last week to redress a provision in the state's marijuana legalization law that blocked police from telling parents if their children had been popped for pot.

New York Governor, Legislature Reach Agreement on Marijuana Legalization Bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and legislative leaders have reached agreement on a marijuana legalization bill that is expected to pass the legislature this week. The bill legalizes the possession of marijuana by people 21 and over and allows for the home cultivation of up to six plants, three of them mature. It also sets up a pathway to a taxed and regulated legal marijuana industry. It includes social equity provisions as well as funding for expanded traffic safety and the development of roadside drug testing technology.

North Dakota Senate Kills Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. The state Senate last Friday voted 32-13 to kill a marijuana decriminalization bill, House Bill 1201. The vote came a day after the Senate killed a marijuana legalization bill. The moves in the legislature make it more likely that the state will see another marijuana legalization initiative campaign in the near future.

Virginia House Speaker Calls for July Effective Date for Marijuana Legalization. With a Wednesday deadline for Governor Ralph Northam (D) to either sign or request amendments to the marijuana legalization bill passed by the legislature, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said last Friday that she supports moving up the date for legalizing recreational use to July -- not waiting for 2024, as the bill currently does. "The time is now for us past to act," she said. She is also calling for amendments that would automatically seal marijuana convictions and allow for home cultivation.

Medical Marijuana

Kansas Medical Marijuana Bill Wins House Committee Vote. The House Federal and State Affairs Committee voted Monday to approve a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 2436. The bill would create a medical marijuana program for patients with one of 21 specified medical conditions, but would ban smoking or vaping it. The legislation would establish a medical marijuana program for qualified patients. As drafted, it listed 21 conditions that would qualify patients for the program, including chronic pain, HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it was amended on Monday to expand that list. Smoking and vaping products would be prohibited. It would also not provide for home growing.

International

Grenada to Move Toward Marijuana Decriminalization. A member of the island nation's three-person Marijuana Decriminalization Committee has said that legislation to decriminalize small-time marijuana possession is now before the Cabinet of Ministers for discussion, and the next step will be a public consultation. Last December, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said the country would develop its own model for regulating marijuana: "Just like alcohol, like a cigarette, marijuana days for decriminalizing, for legalizing is coming too, that is a fact, the question is how it is done, what extend we go in dealing with the law as it relates to that drug use is something that will come forward," he said at the time.

Indian State of Himachal Pradesh to Legalize Cannabis for Medical, Industrial Use. Under India's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act of 1985, cannabis is illegal, but the law includes a provision that allows individual states to "permit and regulate" all aspects of a drug, and the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh is now moving to allow for the medicinal and industrial use of cannabis. The states of Uttarkhand and Madhya Pradesh have already made similar moves, and the western state of Gujarat has legalized bhang, a traditional marijuana-based concoction, since 2017.

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