The next 11 states to legalize marijuana
It is legal to purchase marijuana in four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — as well as in the District of Columbia. Prior to the legalization, all of these states had already reduced the penalties for possession and use of small amounts of the drug or introduced policies permitting medical marijuana use. To identify the states most likely to legalize marijuana next, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 11 states where by law residents in possession of small amounts of the drug are not punishable by jail time, and medical marijuana use is permitted.
A large share of U.S. states, including all 11 on this list, have decriminalized marijuana at some point. The widely-referenced, but confusing term actually means a different thing depending on where it is being used. Not to be confused with legalization, states that have decriminalized marijuana have in some way reduced the penalties for for those caught with the substance. In most cases, this means the state will no longer prosecute or jail those caught with small amounts of the drug for personal use. In some cases, getting caught with a few grams of marijuana is as serious as a traffic infraction.
Other states that have decriminalized, however, still have relatively harsh penalties for possession. In Nevada, for example, the state no longer can assign jail time for those caught with a small amount of the drug, but violators can still be arrested, fined heavily, and charged with a misdemeanor.
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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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