Group Takes Step Toward Legal Marijuana in Ohio

A group pushing for legalizing marijuana in Ohio began the formal process to send proposed legislation to the General Assembly.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted the language of its plan to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The submission of the first 1,000 signatures, according to group spokesman and attorney Tom Haren, will require Yost to review and approve the petition language within 10 days.

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FBI Tapes in Federal Corruption Trial Casts Florida Political Players in Unflattering Light

This week’s witnesses in the federal corruption trial of J.T. Burnette, a Tallahassee businessman standing trial for federal extortion and racketeering, described the “dirty politics of getting things done” in Tallahassee.

The testimony exposed some of the true “power behind the throne” like that wielded by Burnette and his wife, Kim Rivers, CEO of the mega medical marijuana company, Trulieve, and by a former “rising star” in Florida Democratic politics, Scott Maddox.

Burnette is facing federal charges of racketeering, and extortion stemming from a multi-year FBI investigation into political corruption in Tallahassee. Government prosecutors are trying to prove Burnette arranged bribes for Maddox, through Governance Services, LLC, a lobbying firm owned by Maddox’s close friend and business partner Paige Carter-Smith.

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Bill Proposes Voter Poll on Legalization, Decriminalization of Medical or Recreational Marijuana in Tennessee

Tennesseans may have the option to weigh in on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana: medical, recreational, or both. State Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) introduced bill HB 1634 on Wednesday to include a voter opinion poll on the subject within the November 2022 ballot.

The poll would ask voters if Tennessee should legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and legalize and regulate commercial sales of recreational marijuana.

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Some Virginia Colleges Will Continue to Prohibit Marijuana on Campus to Protect Federal Funds

Virginia Commonwealth University

Some Virginia universities intend to prohibit marijuana on campus grounds after it becomes legal for recreational use for adults age 21 and older in the state.

Although the commonwealth will allow legal possession beginning in two weeks, the plant still is illegal at the federal level and a schedule I drug under the controlled substance act. If a university allows marijuana on campus, some universities worry it could threaten their federal funding.

A spokesperson from James Madison University told The Center Square the Office of Student Accountability and Restorative Practices will continue to address incidents of marijuana on campus because use and possession are illegal under federal law.

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Minnesota House Approves Legal Marijuana; Dead Upon Arrival in Senate

green cannabis plant

The Minnesota House voted 72-61 to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and expunge minor marijuana convictions.

The Senate leader, however, designated the bill dead upon arrival.

“The war on drugs is a failed policy,” House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler said. “The harms caused by current cannabis laws cannot be allowed to continue. Minnesota’s illegal cannabis market creates bad outcomes for everyone. Responsible regulations and safeguards to prevent youth access are a better solution to address the harms our current laws fail to address.”

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Marijuana Legal to Possess After July 1, But Still Illegal to Buy or Trade in Virginia

Possessing marijuana in amounts of up to one ounce will be legal July 1, but sales will still be outlawed in Virginia until 2024. That means there will be no clear legal way to acquire marijuana or marijuana plants, despite possession itself being legal.

“Outside of the medical cannabis program, there remains no legal access to marijuana in Virginia,” Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini told The Virginia Star.

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Effective in July, Virginia Legalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

RICHMOND, Virginia Simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, effective July 1. On Wednesday, the Virginia General Assembly approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to expedite legalization from 2024 to later this year. But legislators warned that doesn’t mean there will be a marijuana free-for-all.

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Online Sports Betting, Marijuana Legalization Unlikely for Minnesota in 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states are turning to new revenue sources in an attempt to avoid raising taxes while filling a projected gaping budget deficit.

For Minnesota, that number is a $1.3 billion projected shortfall for fiscal year 2022-2023.

But top lawmakers say two revenue sources that have been popular in other states are unlikely to be signed into law this year; namely, the legalization of recreational marijuana and online sports betting.

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Bill to Legalize Marijuana Clears First Hurdle in Virginia Senate

Legislation that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Virginia jumped another hurdle Friday when lawmakers advanced the bill through the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee.

Senate Bill 1406, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, would legalize the recreational sale and use of marijuana for adults age 21 or older in the commonwealth. It narrowly advanced through the committee on an 8-7 vote with support from every Democrat and opposition from every Republican.

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Governor Northam Says He Supports Marijuana Legalization in Virginia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said Monday that he supports the legalization of Marijuana use for adults in the commonwealth.

“Legalizing marijuana will happen in Virginia,” the governor said during a briefing on Monday.

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Newly Proposed Law to Reduce Traffic Stops Relating to Marijuana and Other Traffic Offenses, Law Enforcement in Opposition

A bill that aims to reduce unnecessary and targeted traffic stops by limiting what police officers are lawfully allowed to pull drivers over for recently passed the General Assembly and is now awaiting a decision from the governor. 

Nevertheless, law enforcement opposes the legislation on the grounds that it would hurt public safety and lead to more dangers while driving. 

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Kamala Harris Had Nearly 2,000 People Locked up on Marijuana Charges: Report

Sen. Kamala Harris, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, reportedly prosecuted nearly 2,000 people on marijuana-related charges during her time as California attorney general.

A total of 1,974 people were sent to state prisons for marijuana-related offenses during Harris’s 2011-2016 tenure as the Golden State’s lead prosecutor, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

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Dave Yost Stopped an Amendment Seeking to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected a proposed marijuana-related constitutional amendment Monday that aimed to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Yost halted the amendment proposal because it did not gather enough valid signatures.

“Because your submission did not contain the verified signatures of at least one thousand qualified electors, we must reject it,” Yost wrote in the letter to the petitioning committee. “Finally, because the petition failed to meet the signature threshold, I have not made any determination concerning the fairness and truthfulness of the proposed summary.”

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Audit Finds Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program Lacks ‘Adequate’ Internal Controls

A new report found that the Minnesota Department of Health’s “internal controls” for its medical cannabis program “were generally not adequate to safeguard financial assets and ensure compliance with selected legal requirements.”

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Michigan’s New Marijuana Laws: What Consumers, Business Owners Should Know

by Scott McClallen   The agency that regulates the marijuana market in Michigan has clarified rules to sell product legally to adult residents, making it easier for small businesses to enter the market. Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency said it plans to accept business applications through Nov. 1 and are required to…

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Arizona’s Tucson Border Chief Villareal: Drug Traffickers Using Migrant Crisis to Import Illicit Narcotics

by Jason Hopkins   Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Roy Villareal broke down how drug traffickers are taking advantage of the immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border, a situation he said will continue without help from Congress. “This appears to be a growing trend — something that we experienced before, but…

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Just Half of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Patients Are Actually Buying the Product

  Only 49 percent of Ohioans registered with the state’s medical marijuana program are actually purchasing the product, according to the latest numbers released by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. As of April 30, there were 31,075 registered patients in the program with recommendations from a doctor, but only…

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Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Allow Marijuana-Related Businesses to Access Banking System

  Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined a coalition of 38 states urging Congress to grant federal banking system access to marijuana-related businesses. The coalition is working on getting Congress to pass the Federal Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595). Although many states have legalized medical marijuana,…

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Illinois Governor Pritzker Announces Plan to Legalize Marijuana

  Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday that he’d reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year. The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess…

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Ohio Republican Joins Cannibus Caucus in Pushing for Greater Marijuana Protection from Federal Government

Ohio Republican Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), along with the entire Congressional Cannabis Caucus, introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to protect state marijuana policies by strengthening states’ rights. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, the “STATES Act” for short, would function to amend existing laws, specifically the Controlled…

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Despite Growing Support for Hemp Legalization, Ohio Government Cracks down

As the Ohio Senate considers legalizing hemp and hemp byproducts in the Buckeye State, the Ohio Department of Health, along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is simultaneously cracking down on any form of sale of the substance. Currently, hemp is trapped in a complicated legal limbo and while state legalization will alleviate many of…

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Recreational Marijuana Bill Dies in Minnesota Senate Committee

The Minnesota State Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly voted to kill a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana throughout the state Monday. Senate Bill, SF 619, would have made it legal for individuals “21 years of age or older to cultivate, consume, use, and possess cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis accessories,” as…

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First Medicinal Marijuana Processor To Open in Ohio

Friday, Ohio’s state Commerce Department awarded the first medicinal marijuana processor its certificate of operation. This processor will allow medicinal marijuana to be processed, refined, and distilled into cannabis-infused products. These products include: ​oil, wax, ointment, salve, tincture, capsule, suppository, dermal patch, cartridge or other product containing medical cannabis concentrate, or usable…

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Republican-Backed Medical Marijuana Bill Clears First Hurdle in Georgia

by Evie Fordham   A Republican-backed bill to make it legal for Georgians to obtain, not just possess, limited amounts of medical marijuana oil cleared its first hurdle in the state’s House of Representatives Tuesday. The bill is sponsored by five Republican state representatives and one Democrat. Republican state Rep.…

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Ohio Sells 42 Pounds of Medicinal Marijuana in First Weeks of Legal Sales

Ohio sold $330,000 of medicinal marijuana in 12 days. According to the Marijuana Business Daily, that’s almost double the sales rate of, both, Hawaii and Massachusetts when they legalized the drug. These strong numbers are made all the more impressive by the fact that Ohio marijuana prices are almost five…

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DFL Lawmakers Introduce House Bill 420 to Legalize Marijuana in Minnesota

DFL lawmakers took the first concrete steps to legalize recreational marijuana in Minnesota Monday by introducing companion bills in the Minnesota House and Senate. House File (HF) 420, sponsored by Rep. Mike Freiberg (D-Golden Valley), and Senate File (619), sponsored by Sen. Melissa Franzen (D-Edina), would make it legal in…

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Pro-Legalization Protesters Mock and Shout Down Minnesota Mother Who Lost Son to Impaired Driver

A Wednesday press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol kicked off what is sure to be an emotional and divisive debate over the legalization of marijuana. The press conference was called by Smart Approaches to Marijuana Minnesota, and both Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie…

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Ohio Officially Opens Three Marijuana Dispensaries, But Most Doctors Aren’t Prescribing Just Yet

After being delayed by more than a year, legal medicinal marijuana will finally be available in Ohio. Medicinal marijuana prescriptions, however, will be much harder to come by. 80 percent of doctors who are eligible to prescribe the drug have yet to register in the program. Of the few that did register, many only…

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Ohio State Board Considers Approving More Conditions for Marijuana Treatment

With medicinal marijuana sales imminent in the Buckeye state, the Ohio State Medical Board is currently considering a slew of additional medical conditions for medicinal marijuana treatment. Currently, 21 conditions are approved for the controversial treatment. A number of the conditions cover a wide swathe of ailments. For example, cancer…

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With Legal Marijuana Sales Imminent in Ohio, Demand Skyrockets

In as early as the coming days, the first legal marijuana dispensary will open for business in Ohio. Fifty-six sites have received approval for sale and several others are only waiting to receive the product before beginning distribution. However, many Ohioans are concerned that, even with legal certification, they won’t be able to…

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Rutherford County District Attorney Jennings Jones Drops All Charges in ‘Cannabidiol’ Arrests and Product Seizure

The District Attorney’s office announced in a statement Tuesday that all criminal charges filed in connection with allegations of selling products containing a substance closely related to the active ingredient in marijuana called ‘cannabidiol,’ commonly known a CBD, against store clerks and markets will be dropped and the records expunged . In…

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