Marijuana would be legalized for recreational uses and taxed at a rate of 16% under a petition which was turned in to the Secretary of State on Friday.
In the event that the state Board of Canvassers approves the petition, the group driving the initiative ? the Coalition to Regulate Marijuan Like Alcohol will have 180 days to gather 252,523 signatures from valid registered voters in Michigan. As a way to get a cushion to account for signatures which may be thrown out, the group is establishing a target of accumulating 350,000 signatures.
That?s a job which will require money, said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Coalition. The group hopes to raise between $8 million and $10 million as payment for people who will gather the signatures needed to get on the ballot and to wage a campaign to get the measure passed in November 2018.
?Prohibition is a failed big government program,? said former state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who?s the political director of the coalition. ?We have 20,000 individuals detained every year in Michigan. And we?re now going to be in a position to provide our citizens an option to stop that.?
The Safer Arizona Cannabis Legalization Political Action Committee joined groups around the country and marched as part of the Million Marijuana March last Saturday in Phoenix.
The Arizona group?s march is aiming to legalize, decriminalize and repeal prohibition of cannabis in Arizona for recreational use for those age 21 and older.
?In our perspective, it?s unfair, immoral and unethical that anybody goes to prison for a plant,? said Alex Gentry, chairman of the Safer Arizona Cannabis Legalization Political Action Committee.
Paperwork has been filed by the committee with the Arizona Secretary of State?s Office to start gathering signatures to get on the November 2018 ballot. It would have to accumulate 156,042 signatures from valid Arizona voters by July 5, 2018, to qualify.
It was proposed by the Safer Arizona Legalization Act to legalize ?the possession, consumption, cultivation and sales of cannabis for adults? at least 21 years old, decriminalize cannabis-related violations and replace prison sentences with fines and misdemeanors.
Gov. Rick Scott is called upon by the supporters of legalized marijuana to order a special session after state lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would have implemented a ballot measure approved by 71 percent of voters in November. In the constitutional amendment, it?s in the discretion of the Florida Department of Health to make rules that would let patients with ailments like HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis access to marijuana.
However, a few patient advocates and some marijuana activists are afraid that the DOH won?t make suitable rules.
?DOH has an obligation to implement this,? said Ben Pollara, among the writers of Amendment 2 and executive director of Florida for Care. ?That?s all the more reason that people really need implementing laws.?
Pollara joined a group of lawmakers and lobbyists who say that the Legislature has to play a part ? even if it?s in the following legislative session, which commences in January.
Sen. Rob Bradley, who had driven a medical marijuana bill, said he isn?t assured that the DOH rules will be in line with bills the Legislature put forward, which had a wide-range agreement on many problems, even though they couldn?t achieve a final deal.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Monday proposed a fresh approach state officials could do regarding how to regulate the new legal marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
The ballot law that legalized adult use of marijuana and set up a regulatory framework for the market calls for a Cannabis Control Commission within Treasurer Deborah Goldberg?s office. The Legislature agreed to delay execution of the law and its new Marijuana Policy Committee has been considering alterations to it, including creating a more independent commission and possibly removing the panel from Treasurer Deborah Goldberg?s purview.
DeLeo said he believes the state ?can do a combination of both.?
?Our conversations today were attempting to get an amalgamation, in the event that you will, without coming to any final conclusion, to try to find out what can work in relation to marijuana,? DeLeo said.
Goldberg called the meeting ?a great first conversation? and said discussion covered ?a lot of the technical facets.?
?I think this was merely a first conversation, and there?s an acknowledgement that we will all be working collaboratively, and with the members of the committee since they have done a large amount of work to try and determine how to satisfy the needs of and the will of the people of Massachusetts and the way in which they voted,? Goldberg said.
Anybody who has stood a little too close to Willie?s tour bus or has drifted through the vibrant wonderland that is Eeyore?s Birthday Party understands that pot use is big business in Austin. The city?s enormous student population, sprawling music scene and Dazed & Confused vibe allow it to be fertile soil for herbal treatments.
Of the four principal marijuana bills filed at the statehouse this year, only one has gotten a favorable committee vote ? it?s yet to receive a full House vote. That proposed law would ease the law so no one with less than an ounce of grass would face arrest or jail time. Recreational marijuana like they have in Colorado appears to be a pipe dream in Texas.
Dallas city council members, in a way, have recently passed a law that decriminalizes possession. Those caught with less than four ounces get order to appear in court and a ticket instead of being booked and arrested in jail.
Texas lawmakers have brushed aside proposals to legalize marijuana fora long time. And, it was not until 2015 that the state passed a law allowing for a very limited use of cannabis oils for individuals who have epilepsy and suffer from seizures.
Some doctors in Toledo are already giving patients cards enabling them to buy medical marijuana, and classes are popping up for Ohio physicians in this new legal field.
But proper rules to help physicians sail these uncharted waters are still months away. No physician has been certified in Ohio to recommend cannabis, and no continuing education seminar has been formally sanctioned.
Omni Medical Services, which began in Michigan and runs in Florida and Illinois, also provides doctors to clinics in Toledo, Lima. Qualifying patients walk away with ?affirmative defense? letters as well as a list of Michigan dispensaries where they may buy marijuana to bring back to Ohio, without hindrance by law enforcement.
It could be as late as September 8 before Ohio?s rules for physicians are finalized, and the program?s deadline to be completely functional isn?t until a year after that. Marijuana still cannot be lawfully sold or bought here.
The Ohio State Medical Association has advised members to wait until rules are finalized before stepping into this overcast legal territory.
Michigan recently created the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to centralize all facets of medical marijuana regulation, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reports.
The brand new agency, placed in LARA, combines the present supervision functions of the state?s patient and caregiver registry with the recently established statutory requirements for medical marijuana facility licensing.
?BMMR?s organizational structure places Michigan at the forefront of state medical marijuana regulation,? LARA Director Shelly Edgerton said. ?Many other states have various licenses and patient programs spread throughout different departments and bureaus.?
Centralized services will improve patient protections and make regulations more efficient for business customers.
BMMR is in the procedure for executing the regulatory framework made by legislation signed by Gov. Snyder in September 2016. Regulatory functions comprise the investigation, licensing and enforcement of medical marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters, provisioning centers and security compliance facilities.
The law requires the agency to make licensing programs accessible by December 15, 2017.
Lawmakers are debating whether to delay licensing of marijuana ?social clubs? in Maine, following the lead of other legalization states confronting unwanted scrutiny from federal officials or concerns about public health.
But legalization advocates warn that it?s better to have licensed, closely regulated marijuana clubs than illegal places running in the shadows.
?These clubs will pop up. They already are, and delaying isn?t going to prevent any of that activity,? said Becky DeKeuster, a consultant on cannabis issues who formerly ran medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine and California.
The legalization referendum narrowly backed by Maine voters in November contains references throughout the ballot initiative to ?social clubs? where adults age 21 and over purchase and consume on shop premises. The fully accredited social clubs were pictured as places where users could lawfully assemble ? similar to a bar or smoking lounge ? to use marijuana in a carefully regulated and monitored setting.
Yet Maine could be the first state to allow marijuana clubs ? a prospect that certainly concerned some lawmakers on the committee in charged with preparing the state for retail sales.
Alaska marijuana regulators have delayed discussions about onsite marijuana consumption until next month.
The state?s Marijuana Control Board was expected to consider whether to move forward with proposed rules for letting retail cannabis customers to consume their purchases on site
It?s something that no other state that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana has permitted.
The board used its two day meeting to go through a backlog of permit applications for retail stores and manufacturing facilities.
?They really wanted to concentrate on approved applications at this meeting so people could begin with their businesses as we move into summer,? said Erika McConnell, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board. ?Onsite consumption was kind of the big time-consuming issue that they pushed until the end and then we ran out of time. ?