Delaware House panel approves marijuana legalization bill

DOVER, Del. – (AP) – A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Delaware has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The legislation, which was released Wednesday by a House committee and now goes to the full House for a vote, regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.

The bill doesn’t allow people to grow their own marijuana but allows adults over age 21 to legally possess less than an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The legislation would create a commission to regulate, license and tax the marijuana industry, allowing licenses for up to 40 retail stores.

Consumers would pay an excise tax of $50 an ounce, while businesses would pay an application fee of $5,000 and a $10,000 licensing fee every two years.

Congress Hands A Mixed Bag to Marijuana Movement

The year-end spending bill gives momentum to the marijuana movement, plus a painful setback

For the marijuana legalization movement, 2014 ends the way it began: with legal changes that showcase the movement’s momentum alongside its problems.

Tucked into the 1,603-page year-end spending bill Congress released Tuesday night were a pair of provisions that affect proponents of cannabis reform. Together they form a metaphor for the politics of legal cannabis—an issue that made major bipartisan strides this year, but whose progress is hampered by a tangle of local, state and federal statutes that have sown confusion and produced contradictory justice.

First the good news for reformers: the proposed budget would prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to prosecute patients or legal dispensaries in the 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, that passed some form of medical-marijuana legalization. The provision was crafted by a bipartisan group of representatives and passed the Republican-controlled House in May for the first time in seven tries. If passed into law, it would mark a milestone for the movement, restricting raids against dispensaries and inoculating patients from being punished for an activity that is legal where they live but in violation of federal law.

“The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana, and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said in a statement to TIME. The California Republican’s work on the issue reflects the strange coalition that has sprung up to support cannabis reform as the GOP’s libertarian wing gains steam and voters’ views evolve.

At the same time, the House chose to overrule Washington, D.C., on the issue. Last month voters in the District chose to liberalize its marijuana laws, passing an initiative that legalized the possession, consumption and cultivation of recreational marijuana. The move, which was supported by about 70% of the capital’s voters, paved the way for D.C. to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington State by establishing a tax-and-regulatory structure for cannabis sales in 2015.

Source

Wisconsin legalizes medical use for children

The discovery that an oil extract from marijuana was successfully treating extremely serious, life-threatening seizures in children with rare disorders has prompted some changes in the way people think about the drug (except, perhaps, for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie).

Medical marijuana is not legal in Wisconsin, but yesterday Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill making it legal in the state to use cannabidiol, a drug made from cannabis, to treat seizure disorders. This particular, singular type of medical marijuana is approved because there’s no chance anybody would enjoy taking it. From the Journal Times of Racine, Wisconsin:

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill legalizing cannabidiol, or CBD, which has reportedly been shown to work for children in Colorado. It was illegal in Wisconsin because it contains a small amount of THC, the component present in marijuana, but advocates noted that CBD could never be used as recreational marijuana.

The bill was written narrowly to apply only to CBD, which must be administered by a physician and is not considered by advocates to be “medical marijuana.”

Baby steps, anyway. At least there’s another state where parents won’t have to pack up their families and move to Colorado if one of their children turns out to have the disorder. But Wisconsin may not be alone. Several other states that haven’t legalized medical marijuana are nevertheless considering legalizing this one particular marijuana extract for treating this particular rare illness.

From Reason.Com
By Scott Shackford