Rhode Island Considers Recreational Marijuana Legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 6th 2015 by THCFinder
Rhode Island state lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday that would end marijuana prohibition and establish a system to regulate and tax the weed.
“Marijuana prohibition is an ineffective and wasteful policy, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer," state Sen. Joshua Miller (D), sponsor of a Senate bill, said in a statement. "The legislature is perfectly capable of creating a system that will work for Rhode Island.”
Rhode Island legalized medical marijuana in 2006, and recreational marijuana appears to be supported by a majority of the state's voters. A 2014 poll found 52 percent in favor of changing marijuana laws, mirroring national trends. This is the fourth year that legislation to regulate and tax recreational marijuana has been introduced. It's unclear whether state lawmakers will support the new measure.
Legalized marijuana would boost the state treasury by $58 million a year in taxes, the Marijuana Policy Project projected.
The Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, introduced in the state House and Senate, would legalize the possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for those age 21 and older. Adult residents could possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow one marijuana plant for personal use. Cultivation would be limited to secure, indoor facilities.
Retail stores and facilities to grow and test marijuana would be overseen by the state Department of Business Regulation. Of the taxes generated on marijuana sales, 40 percent would be earmarked for substance abuse treatment, anti-drug public education and law enforcement training. The measure proposes an excise tax of $50 per ounce of marijuana flower, $10 per plant and $15 per ounce of any other marijuana product sold wholesale from cultivators to retailers. A 10 percent sales tax would be applied to all retail sales.
Smoking marijuana in public would remain banned.
“Regulating marijuana will take sales out of the underground market and allow authorities to keep tabs on the product,” state Rep. Scott Slater (D), sponsor of the House bill, said in a statement. “In a legal market, products are tested, labeled, and packaged appropriately, and consumers will not be exposed to other more harmful substances. Taxing marijuana will generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue that can be invested in our communities.”
Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) has said she's taking a "wait and see approach" on marijuana legalization, but added, “If we think it is inevitable and if there is a way to do it that is properly regulated so people don’t get hurt, we should take a look at it.”
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
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Committee approves bill to decriminalize marijuana
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Bill would make possession violation, rather than misdemeanor
CONCORD, N.H. —New Hampshire may soon join other New England states in loosening the law when it comes to marijuana possession.
The Committee on Criminal Justice voted overwhelmingly Thursday to support a measure making it a violation, rather than a criminal offense, to possess a half-ounce or less of marijuana.
Under current law, possession of an ounce of marijuana or less is a Class A misdemeanor that carries with it a possible year in jail, but some believe that when it comes to societal problems, there are bigger fish to fry.
"We should be better spending our limited time and resources, and on top of that, the New Hampshire Constitution says the penalty ought to fit the crime," said Rep. Adam Shroadter, R-Newmarket.
Under Shroadter's bill, possession of a half-ounce would carry a penalty of a $100 fine for the first offense. Violators would not have a criminal record.
"I've been a cop for 43 years, and I've never seen anybody go to jail for a first offense," said Rep. John Tholl, R-Whitefield. "So reducing it to a violation is a good fit, I think."
"This is a good idea, whether New Hampshire is going to legalize marijuana next year, in 20 years or never," said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project. "It's just about, what should our priorities be?"
Read more: http://www.wmur.com
Recreational marijuana lawsuit: Colorado sheriffs and prosecutors challenge Amendment 64
Category: News | Posted on Thu, March, 5th 2015 by THCFinder
Sheriffs and prosecutors from across Colorado and neighboring states filed a lawsuit Thursday in Denver federal district court challenging the constitutionality of Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use and sales.
"This suit is about one thing — the rule of law," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a news release. "The Colorado Constitution mandates that all elected officials, including sheriffs, swear an oath of office to uphold both the United States as well as the Colorado Constitutions."
Amendment 64 established a new right under the state constitution to engage in an activity that is in violation of federal laws, he said.
"It mandates that the state government and its subdivisions actively support this activity through a regulatory process," Smith said. "As a sheriff, it obliges me to protect this newly established right."
Gov. John Hickenlooper was named as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will contest the lawsuit, said Carolyn Tyler, Coffman's spokeswoman.
"The Colorado Attorney General will defend the Colorado law from this challenge," Tyler said. She said she could not comment further because Coffman has not yet been served with the lawsuit.
The lawsuit follows another legal challenge filed in December by Nebraska and Oklahoma, which asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the history-making law. Two lawsuits filed earlier this year by the anti-legalization group Safe Streets Alliance on behalf of several Colorado residents are also pending against the state over Amendment 64.
Similar to the previous lawsuits, the new suit seeks to close all of Colorado's recreational marijuana stores — while leaving medical marijuana stores unchallenged. But, what makes the new suit especially unique, is that it is also asking a federal judge to overturn Amendment 64's protections for marijuana use and possession. The law enforcement officials' suit claims that federal law makes local officers duty bound to seize marijuana when they find it.
"By not seizing or by returning marijuana they encounter, the Colorado Sheriffs further violate their duties of office because they are placing the residents of their County and other citizens who they serve and are duty-bound to protect into increased jeopardy by allowing controlled substances to remain in increased use and commerce," the lawsuit argues.
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