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House to Vote on MORE Act Tomorrow; KY, SC Medical Marijuana Bills Face Obstacles, More... (3/30/22)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Consequences of Prohibition

The House is set to approve marijuana legalization for the second time tomorrow, Mississippi lawmakers approve a bill criminalizing the possession of pill presses if not registered with the state, and more.

A pill press machine. A new Mississippi law criminalizes their possession if not registered with the state.
Marijuana Policy

House Committee Clears Way for Floor Vote on MORE Act Tomorrow. The House Rules Committee on Wednesday formally advanced a marijuana legalization bill, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3617), clearing the way for a House floor vote tomorrow. The committee also accepted a number of amendments while blocking others. One accepted amendment would provide relief to people denied security clearances because of marijuana while another would lower proposed marijuana tax rates in the bill. The House approved similar legislation in 2020, only to see it die in the Senate.

Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill Appears Dead. The House approved a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 136, earlier this month, but it now appears the bill will go nowhere in the Senate even though polling shows it has the support of nine out of 10 Kentuckians. Senate President Robert Stivers (R) said he wants to see more testing before moving the bill forward. And Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R) said that while most of his constituents support medical marijuana, he does not, and if voters don't like it, they can "take it out" on him in the next election. He added that he does not think the bill has enough support to pass in the Senate, but advocates are demanding it get a vote anyway.

South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Faces Determined Opposition in House. A medical marijuana bill, the Compassionate Use Act (Senate Bill 150) easily passed the Senate earlier this year, but has been stalled in the House and faces a significant challenge if it moves there. Although the bill went over to the House Medical, Military, and Public and Municipal Affairs Committee on February 15, it will only get a committee hearing tomorrow, six weeks later. While the bill likely has sufficient support to pass in the House, opponents plan on stalling it by loading it down with superfluous amendments. One representative, John McCrory (R), is reportedly poised to offer up to 150 amendments if the bill makes it to the House floor, delaying its passage or frustrating supporters to the point they decline to take it up.  

Drug Policy

Mississippi Lawmakers Approve Bill Criminalizing Pill Presses. The House and Senate on Tuesday both adopted a conference report approving legislation that criminalizes the possession of pill presses, which can be used to manufacture controlled substances or counterfeit controlled substances. The measure, House Bill 679 requires that all pill presses or similar devices be registered with the State Board of Pharmacy. Under the bill, possessing an unregistered pill press is punishable by a $5,000 fine or up to five years in state prison. Supporters portrayed the bill as a means of reducing opioid overdoses. 

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