Can Decriminalizing Marijuana Lead to Higher Wages? Study Says Yes.

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IRVINE, CA — Reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with greater overall employment and higher wages, according to data compiled by economists at the University of California.

Researchers at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Research Policy Institute at the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between statewide marijuana decriminalization laws and labor outcomes.

Authors reported that decriminalization is…

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Tennessee Governor Signs Law Repealing Citywide Decriminalization Statutes

NASHVILLE, TN — Governor Bill Haslam signed legislation last week repealing municipal statutes in Memphis and Nashville that reduced local penalties for marijuana possession offenders.

House Bill 173 nullifies both cities’ decriminalization ordinances and preempts any other city from enacting similar reforms.

City council members in Nashville and Memphis both passed ordinances last fall providing local law enforcement the discretion to cite and fine minor marijuana…

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Israeli Cabinet Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization Plan

JERUSALEM — Israeli lawmakers have signed off on legislation decriminalizing offenses involving the possession of personal use quantities of marijuana.

Under the new policy, first and second time possession offenders will face a fine, but no criminal penalties.

“The Cabinet approval is an important step on the way to implementing the new policy that will put emphasis on explaining and treating rather than on criminal enforcement,” explained Israeli Public Security…

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New Hampshire House Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

CONCORD, NH — The state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve House Bill 640, bringing New Hampshire one step closer to becoming the final state in New England to decriminalize marijuana possession.

The bill, which was approved by a vote of 318-36 by the House, will now be considered by the Senate.

HB 640, sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) and a bipartisan group of 10 co-sponsors, would reduce the penalty for possession of one…

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Israeli Cabinet Approves Proposal to Decriminalize Marijuana

On Sunday, Israel took a big step toward decriminalizing adult marijuana use. The Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal that would replace criminal penalties with fines for people who are caught using marijuana in public. The proposal from the Ministries of Justice and Public Security has received support from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but still requires approval of the Israeli Parliament before becoming law.

Some Israeli marijuana reform advocates worry that the plan…

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New Hampshire Marijuana Bill Decriminalization Advances; Legalization Bill Killed

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire won’t be joining neighboring states of Maine and Massachusetts in legalizing marijuana, but the Granite State could soon follow the rest of their New England neighbors in treating marijuana possession as a violation, rather than a crime that carries a penalty including the possibility of jail time.

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 14 to 2 on Tuesday to advance a bill to decriminalize marijuana…

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Tennessee Could Reduce Some Marijuana Possession Penalties

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NASHVILLE, TN — Penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee could soon be reduced to a low-level misdemeanor, punishable by only a fine without the possibility of jail time.

Two lawmakers from Nashville, both Democrats, have filed joint legislation to reduce marijuana penalties statewide in direct response to a Republican lawmaker’s attempt to nullify their city’s recently passed ordinance that gives police officers the option to…

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Tennessee Lawmaker Wants to Nullify Local Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinances

NASHVILLE, TN — A Republican lawmaker has filed a bill in the Tennessee legislature to prevent local communities from relaxing local marijuana laws — and to nullify those ordinances that have already been passed in the state’s two largest cities.

State Rep. William Lamberth (R-Cottontown), a former Assistant District Attorney for Sumner County, filed House Bill 173 this week.

The intent of the bill is to override and nullify ordinances passed in the state’s two largest…

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North Dakota Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Introduced

BISMARCK, ND — Lawmakers in the North Dakota House have filed a bill to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and marijuana-related paraphernalia.

If passed, House Bill 1340 would amend the state’s existing law so that activities involving the possession of marijuana, marijuana-related paraphernalia, or the internal possession of marijuana are reduced from criminal misdemeanors to non-criminal infractions — punishable by a fine only, no arrest, no jail, and no…

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Could New Hampshire Finally Decriminalize Marijuana Possession?

CONCORD, NH — Despite years of attempts to decriminalize marijuana possession in New Hampshire, the Granite State remains the only New England state where marijuana possession brings the possibility of jail time.

The New Hampshire House approved decriminalization bills in each of the last five years, only to see those bills die in the Senate.

And in what seems to be an annual rite of passage, lawmakers in the New Hampshire House have once again introduced a bill that would remove…

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Virginia Senate Committee Kills Two Marijuana Decriminalization Bills

RICHMOND, VA — Two proposals to decriminalize marijuana possession in Virginia have been sent to further study, effectively killing the bills for the 2017 legislative session.

On Monday, the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice voted 15-0 against advancing Senate Bills 908 and 1269, assigning both bills the ominous designation of “passed by indefinitely.”

Both proposals would have reduced the penalty for possessing marijuana to a civil violation, punishable by only a…

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Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Introduced

RICHMOND, VA — A bill has been filed in the Virginia Senate that would decriminalize marijuana, reducing the penalty for possessing marijuana to a civil violation, punishable by only a fine without arrest, jail time, or criminal record.

State Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) introduced the measure, Senate Bill 1269, last week. If passed, SB 1269 would set fines for marijuana possession at $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, or $500 for a third or subsequent…

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New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Study Commission Proposed

CONCORD, NH — A bi-partisan group of lawmakers in New Hampshire has filed a bill that would create a commission to study the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana in the Granite State.

House Bill 215 is sponsored in the House by Reps. Robert Cushing (D) and John O’Connor (R), and in the Senate by Sens. Dan Feltes (D) and John O’Connor (R).

If passed, the commission created by the legislation would “examine the possible impacts of changing state policy to treat…

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New Hampshire Senate Minority Leader to File Marijuana Legalization Bill

CONCORD, NH — With two neighboring states having just legalized marijuana, a high-profile member of the New Hampshire Senate — where marijuana bills usually go to die — will push for the Granite State to follow suit when the legislature convenes in January.

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) told the Concord Monitor on Friday that he intends to file a bill to legalize marijuana in New Hampshire, the only New England state where marijuana possession remains a…

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Tennessee: Cities Move to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties

Tennessee: Cities Move to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties

Members of the Nashville metro council and the Memphis city council have given final approval to municipal legislation providing police the discretion to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders.

Nashville city council members voted 35 to 3 in late September in favor of the new ordinance. It provides police the option of issuing $50 citations for those who possess up to a half-ounce of marijuana.

By contrast, under state law, the possession of small amounts of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one…

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Pennsylvania Bill Would Raise Fines for Marijuana Possession

Pennsylvania Bill Would Raise Fines for Marijuana Possession

Advocates urge decriminalization as House Judiciary Committee plans to raise marijuana fines

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on a bill, House Bill 1422, that seeks to massively increase fines for marijuana possession.

Although HB 1422 downgrades 30 grams of marijuana or less from a criminal misdemeanor to a summary offense, those convicted will live with the burden of a criminal record.

Legislators, marijuana reform advocates and potential medical marijuana patients will speak in Harrisburg…

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Pennsylvania Could Soon See Reduced Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Pennsylvania Could Soon See Reduced Penalties for Marijuana Possession

HARRISBURG, PA — Now that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill to make the Keystone State the 24th state to enact a comprehensive medical marijuana program, one of the bill’s primary supporters in the House plans on filing a proposal to reduce penalties for anyone caught possessing small amounts of marijuana in the state.

State Representative Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny County), a key advocate for the recently passed medical marijuana bill in the House, on Thursday announced his intentions to file the proposal in the…

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More Municipalities Move Forward With Marijuana Decriminalization

More Municipalities Move Forward With Marijuana Decriminalization

Local legislators in New Orleans, Louisiana and Tampa, Florida voted last week in favor of municipal ordinances to halt minor marijuana possession arrests within city limits.

Members of the New Orleans city council voted 7 to zero in favor of legislation permitting police to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders (defined as those who possess 14 grams or less), including repeat offenders. First-time violators are subject to a $40 fine while subsequent offenders may face fines of up to $100. Under state law, first-time possession…

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More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization

More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization

Local legislators in New Orleans, Louisiana and Tampa, Florida voted this week in favor of municipal ordinances to halt minor marijuana possession arrests within city limits.

Members of the New Orleans city council voted 7 to zero in favor of legislation permitting police to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders (defined as those who possess 14 grams or less), including repeat offenders. First-time violators are subject to a $40 fine while subsequent offenders may face fines of up to $100. Under state law, first-time possession…

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New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

HB 1631 would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine for possession of small amounts of marijuana

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday evening in a voice vote that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine.  The measure will move to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 1631 would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first…

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New Hampshire to Consider Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Today

New Hampshire to Consider Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Today

CONCORD, NH — Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House are expected to consider a bill Wednesday that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the Granite State.

If passed, House Bill 1631, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana from current criminal penalties to a violation punishable only by a fine.

In addition to the marijuana being confiscated, offenders would be levied a fine of $100 for a first offense, a fine of $200 for a…

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Maryland Lawmakers Override Veto of Marijuana Paraphernalia Decriminalization

Maryland Lawmakers Override Veto of Marijuana Paraphernalia Decriminalization

SB 517 removes criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, which was not included in the 2014 law that decriminalized simple marijuana possession

ANNAPOLIS, MD — The Maryland House and Senate voted 86-55 and 29-17 Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill intended to fix the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

Senate Bill 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), removes criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia. The measure also imposes a new civil fine of up to…

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Pittsburgh Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

Pittsburgh Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

PITTSBURGH, PA — Without any press or fanfare, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed into law an ordinance passed by the city council to decriminalize possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana in Pittsburgh just before Christmas.

The ordinance was signed by Mayor Peduto on December 22, the day after it was passed by the city council by a 7-2 vote, according to a report by longtime marijuana activist Chris Goldstein at Philly.com.  The city’s website confirms the mayor has signed the bill.

There is no timeline in place for the full…

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Marijuana Decriminalization in Pittsburgh: What Does It Mean?

Marijuana Decriminalization in Pittsburgh: What Does It Mean?

Having been in the front lines of the fight for marijuana legalization in the state of Pennsylvania, I am naturally excited by the recent events in Pittsburgh. The City Council voted in favor of decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana and hashish within city limits this week.

This is a big step forward in the fight, make no mistake. It will also be a relief for citizens, the court system and police. No longer will the police and the courts be tied up dealing with simple possession charges, which will translate to an estimated annual…

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Pittsburgh Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Wins Final Approval

Pittsburgh Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Wins Final Approval

City Council gives final approval to decriminalization ordinance by a 7-2 vote

PITTSBURGH, PA — The city of Pittsburgh will soon become the second major city in Pennsylvania to treat marijuana possession as a fine-only offense, instead of a criminal misdemeanor, joining Philadelphia, who passed a similar ordinance last year.

After receiving preliminary approval on a 6-1 vote last week, the City Council gave final approval to the decriminalization measure by a 7-2 vote on Monday.

Councilwomen Theresa Kail-Smith and Darlene Harris voted…

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Pittsburgh Poised to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana

Pittsburgh Poised to Decriminalize Small Amounts of Marijuana

PITTSBURGH, PA — The city of Pittsburgh is poised to become the second major city in Pennsylvania to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Following a hearing on Tuesday, where about 40 people testified in favor of the proposal and no opposition was voiced, the Pittsburgh City Council is expected to give preliminary approval Wednesday to an ordinance that will allow police in the city the option to cite individuals found in possession of a small amount of marijuana, instead of arresting them and charging them with…

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Pittsburgh City Council to Hold Public Hearing on Marijuana Decriminalization Tomorrow

Pittsburgh City Council to Hold Public Hearing on Marijuana Decriminalization Tomorrow

PITTSBURGH, PA —  The Pittsburgh City Council will host a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to decriminalize marijuana possession in the city on Tuesday.

The hearing, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 1:30 pm on Tuesday, December 15 in the Council Chambers, located on the 5th Floor of the City County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh.

The proposed ordinance was introduced by District 6 Councilman and Public Safety Chair Daniel Lavelle in November.  If passed, the proposal will allow police in the city the…

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Pittsburgh City Council to Consider Ordinance Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

Pittsburgh City Council to Consider Ordinance Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

PITTSBURGH, PA — On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Councilman and Public Safety Chair Daniel Lavelle is expected to introduce an ordinance that will allow police in the city the option to cite individuals found in possession of a small amount of marijuana, instead of arresting them and charging them with a criminal offense.

Local advocates at Pittsburgh NORML, who have been working with Councilman Lavelle to craft the proposal, say the ordinance would create a civil fine of $25 for possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of…

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NM: Albuquerque Mayor Vetoes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance (Again)

NM: Albuquerque Mayor Vetoes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance (Again)

Mayor Berry’s Veto of Marijuana Decriminalization Lags Behind History and the Public’s Will

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana for personal possession as well as a resolution that would have made marijuana a low priority for law enforcement.

The vetoed ordinance would have made possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and possession of any drug paraphernalia a civil infraction with a fine of $25. A civil infraction is not considered a criminal conviction, and would have taken away the potential for jail time. Currently a violator could spend more than two weeks in jail for a first offense and 90 days for a subsequent offense.

“Mayor Berry, in his public statement on why he…

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Study: Changes in State Marijuana Laws not Associated with Greater Acceptance by Young People

Study: Changes in State Marijuana Laws not Associated with Greater Acceptance by Young People

AUSTIN, TX — The use of marijuana by younger adolescents is falling while their perceived disapproval of cannabis use is rising, according to data published this week in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Investigators from the University of Texas at Austin evaluated trends in young people’s attitudes toward cannabis and their use of the substance during the years 2002 to 2013 – a time period where 14 states enacted laws legalizing the medical use of the plant, and two states approved its recreational use by adults. (Six…

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South Dakota Voters Could Decriminalize Marijuana Possession in 2016

South Dakota Voters Could Decriminalize Marijuana Possession in 2016

PIERRE, SD — Supporters of a proposal to decriminalize up the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in South Dakota can soon begin collecting signatures in an attempt to place the issue before voters in November 2016.

On Wednesday, as required by state law, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley issued an explanation for the proposed initiative measure and filed his explanation with the Secretary of State, the final step before supporters can begin collecting signatures.

The Attorney General’s statement will appear on…

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Florida: Miami Beach Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

Florida: Miami Beach Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

MIAMI BEACH, FL — City commissioners in Miami Beach have unanimously passed an ordinance that will allow police to give $100 citations to people caught possessing small amounts of marijuana instead of arresting them and sending them to jail.

The 5-0 vote Wednesday comes just a week after county commissioners in Miami-Dade County approved a similar proposal.  Both proposals give police the option of issuing a $100 civil citation to those caught possessing up to 20 grams of marijuana.

As part of Miami-Dade County, police in Miami Beach could have issued citations instead of arresting offenders under the county proposal. But by enacting the city-wide ordinance, fines collected from citations issued by Miami Beach Police will go to the city instead of the county.

Under Florida law,…

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Chile Moves Closer to Decriminalizing Marijuana Nationwide

Chile Moves Closer to Decriminalizing Marijuana Nationwide

SANTIAGO — Chile took a step forward in decriminalizing the use of cannabis on Tuesday after the lower house of Congress approved by a wide margin a bill that seeks to change the law in the South American country.

Although socially conservative Chile is not following Uruguay’s lead on full legalization, it is considering decriminalizing it for personal use and cultivation.

To loud cheers from the public gallery, the lower house voted 68 votes in favor versus 39 against to push forward with the reform in general terms.

Chile mapAs it stands, the bill would allow the possession of up to 10 grams (0.35 ounce) of cannabis and the growing of up to six plants.

But it still has some way to go to become law. A health committee will study the bill before the lower house votes again on each of the…

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Florida’s Largest County Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses

Florida’s Largest County Depenalizes Marijuana Possession Offenses

MIAMI, FL — Police in Florida’s largest county will soon have the option to cite, rather than arrest, minor marijuana offenders.

Commissioners for Miami-Dade county voted 10 to 3 this week in favor of a countywide ordinance to treat marijuana possession offenses involving 20 grams or less as a civil infraction, punishable by a $100 fine — no arrest, no criminal prosecution, no incarceration, and no criminal record. The new ordinance takes effect late next week.

Under state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. According to an analysis by the ACLU, an estimated 60,000 Floridians are arrested for cannabis possession violations annually — the third highest statewide total in the…

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Florida: Miami-Dade County Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Florida: Miami-Dade County Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

MIAMI, FL — County commissioners in Florida’s largest county voted Tuesday to allow police the option of issuing a civil violation instead of arresting an offender caught possessing small amounts of marijuana.

On a vote of 10-3, Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved the measure, which will give police officers the option of issuing a $100 civil violation to offenders caught possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana, essentially treating the marijuana possession as they do other minor offenses such as littering or loitering.  Those offenders who can not afford to pay the $100 fine can elect to provide two days of community service instead.

Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County

Supporters of the ordinance said the new approach to handling minor marijuana possession offenses will free up police…

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Florida: Miami-Dade County Close to Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

Florida: Miami-Dade County Close to Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

MIAMI, FL — Florida’s largest county is close to allowing some people caught possessing small amounts of marijuana to receive a $100 fine instead of being arrested after a key legislative committee in Miama-Dade County gave preliminary approval to the plan Wednesday.

Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County

If enacted, the proposal would rewrite county law to give police the option of issuing a civil citation instead of arresting an offender who is caught possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana.  The civil violation would be punishable by a $100 fine, or two days of community service.

Under Florida law, possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and fines up to $1,000.

Police would still be allowed to place an offender under arrest under state law…

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Source: The Daily Chronic

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Vote Expected Next Week

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Vote Expected Next Week

CONCORD, NH — The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote next week on a bill that could make New Hampshire the final New England state to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, despite a recommendation against the bill’s passage this week by a key Senate committee.

House Bill 618, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House 297 to 67 in March, would replace penalties for marijuana possession, which currently could land an offender in jail for up to a year, with a fine-only offense. New…

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Maryland Governor Vetoes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Paraphernalia

Maryland Governor Vetoes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Paraphernalia

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) announced Friday that he has vetoed a bill that would remove criminal penalties, including potential jail time, for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

The bill, Senate Bill 517, was intended to fix a law that was adopted last year to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but did did not include marijuana paraphernalia.

Senate Bill 517 was approved earlier this year by a near veto-proof majority of 32 to 13 in the Senate and 83 to 53 in the House of Delegates….

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Marijuana Decriminalization; Legalization Bills Die in Texas

Marijuana Decriminalization; Legalization Bills Die in Texas

AUSTIN, TX — Two bills aimed at reforming marijuana laws in Texas have died in the legislature, when the deadline for advancing bills out of committee for consideration by the House passed last week.

Both bills, one that would have decriminalized marijuana possession and one that would have legalized marijuana for adults, were left pending in the House Calendar Committee when committee chair Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) refused to schedule the bills for consideration by the full House.

House Bill 507, introduced by Rep. Joe Moody…

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American Academy of Pediatrics Says Medical Marijuana Could be Good for Some Kids

American Academy of Pediatrics Says Medical Marijuana Could be Good for Some Kids

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which has the largest pediatric publishing program in the world, recommends decriminalizing marijuana and says it could be good for some kids in a new policy statement.

“The AAP opposes ‘medical marijuana’ outside the regulatory process of the US Food and Drug Administration,” says the new statement. However, it recognizes certain situations could be benefitted by marijuana.

“Notwithstanding this opposition to use, the AAP recognizes that marijuana may currently be an…

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American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Rescheduling Cannabis

American Academy of Pediatrics Calls for Rescheduling Cannabis

CHICAGO, IL — An updated policy statement issued Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls for the rescheduling of the cannabis plant under federal law to better facilitate clinical trial research and to promote the plant’s eventual pharmaceutical development.

The new position statement resolves: “The AAP strongly supports research and development of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and supports a review of policies promoting research on the medical use of these compounds. The AAP recommends changing marijuana from a Drug…

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