Legalization Bills Introduced at the State and Federal Level: Week In Review

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In the past week, bills to legalize medical marijuana have been introduced in Kentucky, Utah and Tennessee; adult-use legislation was introduced in New Jersey; federal bills were introduced to prohibit the federal government from intervening in state-legal marijuana operations and to let states decide their own cannabis laws and a House Version of the Marijuana Justice Act to federally legalize marijuana was introduced.

  • It has been announced that New Jersey State Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 9, the same day the new session of the state legislature convened. Scutari said the state will move forward with legalization despite the Department of Justice recently overturning Obama-era guidelines that protected state-legal cannabis businesses from federal prosecution. Read more
  • Adult-use marijuana could be coming to New York. Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra announced a plan to legalize cannabis and use the tax revenue generated from it to pay for key subway improvements. Read more
  • U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) have introduced a bill that would effectively restore the protections granted to state-legal marijuana operators under the Cole Memo. The REFER Act would limit the discretion of U.S. attorneys in marijuana cases. Read more
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced a new bipartisan bill that will give states more power when it comes to deciding on their own marijuana laws. More details should emerge in the next few weeks, according to a spokesperson. Read more
  • A judge has ordered Illinois officials to add intractable pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, a ruling that could greatly expand access to the drug. A health department spokesperson said the agency will appeal the ruling. Read more
  • Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin and 18 other attorneys general urged Congress to advance legislation allowing states with legalized medical or recreational marijuana access to banking. A multi-state letter requests legislation that would provide a legal “safe harbor” for depository institutions that provide a financial product or service to a covered business in a state that regulates its marijuana industry. Read more
  • Kentucky State Sen. Dan Seum introduced an adult-use marijuana bill one week after counterparts in the House of Representatives introduced a medical marijuana bill. The cornerstone of Seum’s argument are the estimated 15,000 cannabis-industry jobs that Kentucky could see and the estimated $100 million in new state revenue. Read more
  • Utah medical marijuana advocate Rep. Brad Daw has proposed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Rep. Daw is also proposing legislation to allow farmers to grow and study industrial hemp under close supervision of the USDA. Read more
  • U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act to the House of Representatives. At its core, the bill would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and give the right to dictate marijuana policy to the states. Read more
  • The Medical Cannabis Only Act was filed by Tennessee lawmakers, who led a task force last year looking into the issue. The legislation will be accompanied by an opioids bill that is expected to be introduced next week. Read more

Top image: © underworld | Adobe Stock

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Source: Cannabis Business Times