Australia may legalize medical marijuana in August
A Senate committee representing all Australia’s major parties is preparing a Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill to legalize medical marijuana, despite warnings of regulatory complications with both Australian and international law, a report says.
The committee includes the Coalition (the Liberal Party, the National Party, the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party, and Queensland Liberal branch the Liberal National Party), the Labor Party and crossbench senators. They will “strongly recommend” parliament pass a cross-party bill setting up a medical marijuana regulator, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, citing Fairfax Media sources close to the legislation debate.
Today, over two-thirds of Australians support the idea of medical marijuana use and only 9 percent oppose it, a recent survey by Palliative Care Australia has found.
The leader of Australia Greens, Richard Di Natale, initiated the bill in November last year. The committee received the bill in February and after conducting public hearings and attracting nearly 200 public submissions, it is set to present its report on August 10.
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Ohio marijuana proposal in danger of falling short
CINCINNATI — The marijuana legalization effort in Ohio is in danger because it does not have enough signatures yet to put a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“We’re coming in lower than we were expecting,” said Ian James, executive director of ResponsibleOhio, the private investor group that wants to legalize marijuana this year.
Ohio’s secretary of state is expected to announce as early as Monday whether ResponsibleOhio gathered enough valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to get the measure before voters in 2015. ResponsibleOhio needs 305,591 signatures to qualify. On June 30, the group turned in 695,273 signatures with the goal of ensuring it would have the right number, 50%, to qualify.
In four southwest Ohio counties, final counts show the petition campaign had a majority of valid signatures only in Warren County, at 53%. Hamilton County had a 33.74% validity rate. Butler and Clermont counties came in at 41%.
If the secretary of state finds that ResponsibleOhio did not get to 305,591, the group has 10 calendar days to send out its army of signature gatherers in hopes of hitting the target.
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Crowds count down to legalization of marijuana in Oregon, then light up
PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Crowds counted down the minutes to midnight then lit up joints as smoking marijuana became legal in Oregon on Wednesday, part of a growing legalization movement spreading down the United States' west coast.
Hundreds gathered on the Burnside Bridge in downtown Portland and smoked under the glow of a neon city sign, marking the moment that the law allowing recreational use, backed by voters in November, came into effect.
The legislation opens the way for shops to sell marijuana by next year - though some lawmakers say they will still try to block retail outlets.
Similar legislation is already in force in Alaska and Washington State, reflecting a shifting legal landscape for a drug that remains illegal under federal law.
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