These States Might Legalize Marijuana Next

medicalmarijuana January 14, 2017 Comments Off on These States Might Legalize Marijuana Next
These States Might Legalize Marijuana Next

New England could become a completely recreational marijuana zone if lawmakers have it their way. Massachusetts and Maine, along with three other states, already passed laws legalizing adult use of the plant following the election, and now Rhode Island and Connecticut are eyeing recreational laws, too.

Sen. Joshua Miller, D-R.I., and Rep. Scott Slater, D-R.I., said Tuesday they would introduce new legislature that would allow adults 21 and up to consume marijuana recreationally within the state. They would also impose a 23 percent tax on the drug. The main reason the lawmakers are pushing for recreational legislature is to prevent residents from traveling to neighboring states to purchase their marijuana, according to reports.

“Our constituents think it’s time for lawmakers to pass this legislation, and we should listen to them,” Miller said in a statement to Reuters. “If we fail to pass the bill this year, we will lose significant ground to Massachusetts.”

The bill has not been formally submitted, however, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said she would consider legalizing recreational use of cannabis following the passing of laws in Massachusetts and Maine.

A recreational bill was also introduced in Connecticut, which would also give adults legal access to consume cannabis. Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney submitted the bill and told Wall Street Journal Wednesday that he was “hopeful” he would be able to change Connecticut’s Gov. Dannel Malloy’s stance on full legalization, especially since the state is facing a $1.5 billion budget deficit.

Malloy, who approved medical marijuana measures, told local reporters in December that he didn’t “think the people of Connecticut want dispensaries up and down the streets.”

However, Looney isn’t letting the governor’s disapproval stop him from jumpstarting the road to recreational pot.

“There seems to be a national trend moving in that direction,” Looney said to WSJ. “I’m hopeful that we might get him to change his mind, especially given the fact that it could be a significant revenue source.”

If Connecticut and Rhode Island manage to pass recreational pot laws, that could open the door to legalization in Vermont. Vermont’s House tossed a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana in April 2016 following Rhode Island’s failure to pass recreational measures in early 2016. However, Vermont has had a ton of success decriminalizing cannabis, which led to the pardon of 192 marijuana convictions by Gov. Peter Shumlin in the beginning of 2017.

Texas and Virginia are considering decriminalizing marijuana and reducing possession penalties.

As for the medical marijuana front, advocates are hoping to get further approval of the plant for medicinal purposes after creating a successful program that allows a marijuana extract to be used for seizure treatment.

Lawmakers still have opposing views on fully legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin. However, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Fox News Wisconsin affiliate he’s open to legalizing medical marijuana.

“I’m not an expert on medical marijuana, but I certainly have no problem saying, if you have a sincere medical need and your doctor prescribes it, and it’s done under the normal process of any other opiate, I would be open to that,” he said.

Comments are closed.