[author: Susan Ryan]
Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
We bring you an update on Virginia and New Jersey. New bills appear in New Mexico and Minnesota. Lawsuits hover over the rollout of legalized marijuana in South Dakota and Mississippi. Will an amendment banning future legalization succeed in Idaho? Democratic Senate leaders express support for federal legalization. And finally, Martha Stewart promotes her CBD products for pets.
Adult-use legalization bills advanced out of both House and Senate committees this week. That sets up a floor vote today. Assuming the bills pass, a bicameral conference committee would then sort out the differences in the bills. This looks promising for proponents of legalization, but one should not count ones’ chickens before they’re hatched.
Which brings us to New Jersey. Back in November, a legalization ballot measure passed easily. And then, the legislature started the process of enacting legislation, which so far, has gone nowhere. The latest development involves a vote on a clean-up bill dealing with underage possession. Further bulletins as events warrant.
Momentum is on the side of legalization in the Land of Enchantment. Five bills could appear this term, and the Governor is strongly in favor of adult use. Voters also support some form of legalization or decriminalization.
The road to legalization looks a bit rockier in Minnesota. House Democrats began a campaign this week to pass legislation, although the Republican-controlled Senate seems unlikely to go along. Partly a response to legalization in South Dakota, and partly out of concern for social justice issues, Democrats say marijuana is coming. Republicans say the focus should be on recovering from COVID.
Speaking of South Dakota, even after a successful ballot initiative, the courts can still get involved. A judge heard oral argument this week on whether the ballot initiative passed in November is unconstitutional. There’s no timeline for a ruling, and the case is ultimately expected to wind up in the state’s Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Mississippi Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on overturning the medical marijuana ballot initiative on April 14.
Perhaps a more efficient way for opponents to prevent legalization is to make it illegal. As we’re reported before, an Idaho state Senator seeks to do just that. The state Senate passed Senator Grow’s measure on Wednesday. It now goes to the state House. And yes, we’ve noticed the irony of the sponsor’s last name.
Now that Democrats control the U.S. Senate, will federal legalization happen? Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) hope so. Stating that the “war on drugs is a war on people,” the three promise legislation in a matter of weeks.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!