This Weed in News is Monterey Bud’s weekly column offering his thoughts on the crucial stories of the week. Each Saturday, Monterey Bud recaps the news and tells us why he cares — and why we should, too.
The anticipation of greater legalization spread dramatically during the week ending Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018.
A Missouri poll indicates likely voters back amending the state’s constitution to legalize medical marijuana. Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee supports expansion of the state’s medicinal cannabis program, as well as the decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis. Again, another question for the voters to settle. And North Dakota’s recreational marijuana initiative qualifies for the November ballot.
With some good news for politically ambivalent times, here is a closer look at the week’s marijuana headlines.
Medical Marijuana in Missouri: The Show Me State Shows It Cares
A majority of residents in Missouri support marijuana reform, according to a survey conducted by Real Clear Politics between Aug. 8 and 9, 2018. Of 1,785 likely voters, the poll found that 54 percent support amending the constitution to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. And in a crimson red state, that support for real medical marijuana is likely good news for Democratic US Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Up for her third term, McCaskill is running neck-and-neck with the state’s Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley. While McCaskill told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I do think medical marijuana should be passed,” Hawley has only recently stated that he’s “inclined” to support one of the three medicinal cannabis initiatives on this November’s ballot, according to the Perry County Republic-Monitor community newspaper.
Missouri, which initiative do you think works? The choice is yours:
- Amendment 2: The Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Services Initiative would legalize medical marijuana for medicinal purposes, tax all sales at 4 percent, and allocate funds for healthcare services for veterans.
- Amendment 3: The Medical Marijuana and Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute Initiative would legalize medical marijuana for medicinal purposes, tax sales at 15 percent, and allocate funds to establish a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute.
- Proposition C: The Medical Marijuana and Veterans Health Care Services, Education, Drug Treatment, and Public Safety Initiative would legalize medical cannabis, tax sales at 2 percent, and allocate revenue on veterans services, drug treatment, education, and law enforcement
The poll found strong support for legalizing medicinal cannabis. But while the medical marijuana question was responded to definitively in the August poll, many of those surveyed remained confused over who could best represent the will of the people in the Show Me State. According to the poll, both McCaskill and Hawley polled at 47 percent.
With less than 80 days until the election on Nov. 6, 2018, a majority of voters in Missouri are hoping to convert this green wave of support into real reform come November. If there was ever an issue to help a red state turn blue, the reform of marijuana law is definitely it.
Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Expansion of Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization
Under Georgia’s current medical marijuana law, qualified patients are allowed to possess no more than 20 fluid ounces, or 591.5 milliliters, of low-THC oil – provided that they can find it.
Passed and signed into law by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal in 2015, Haleigh’s Hope Act allows the use of the therapeutic oil at any given time for certified patients. But while the legislation made it legal to possess the oil, it also made it illegal for patients to grow medicinal cannabis or buy the oil in state.
And that’s a problem Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams aims to fix.
“Currently, Georgia allows registered patients to use cannabis oil – but the sale and transportation of cannabis oil is illegal,” Abrams tweeted on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. “I support legalization of medical cannabis, expansion of in-state cultivation of medical cannabis, and decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis.”
Currently, Georgia allows registered patients to use cannabis oil—but the sale & transportation of cannabis oil is illegal.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 15, 2018
Meanwhile, Abrams’ Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, voiced a slightly more conservative opinion on the topic. Kemp said that he would defer to the state’s newly appointed study commission findings, and said “I’d definitely be open and supportive” should the commission’s recommendation be to expand the state program, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Politically Georgia page.
Notoriously labeled “the worst Secretary of State in the US” by Better Georgia, a left-leaning affiliate of the national progressive advocacy organization ProgressNow, Kemp is purportedly ready to turn his questionable attention-to-detail from safeguarding the state’s election infrastructure — breached data, tampered elections, and lawsuits galore — to Georgia’s executive branch.
Oh, and another thing: according to a 2018 survey performed by AJC Poll, 77 percent of Georgians support an expanded law to distribute medical marijuana. In other words, vote Abrams in 2018 if you support greater access to medical cannabis
Vote for Brian Kemp if you like explosions and chainsaws.
North Dakota Voters Cast Their Ballots On Legalization This November
Legalize ND has successfully submitted more than 14,000 valid signatures to the office of the Secretary of State, mandating their marijuana legalization initiative is placed on the ballot Nov. 6, 2018.
The ballot measure, officially titled the North Dakota Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, would establish one of the least restrictive marijuana laws in the US. In addition to legalizing all forms of marijuana – including concentrates – it would allow adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate, and distribute marijuana for recreational purposes to other adults.
Additionally, the expungement of past marijuana records would be implemented for any violation of a controlled substance that has been legalized.
Legal weed and your life back? That’s a win-win.
Between 2014 and 2016, more than 7,000 North Dakota residents were arrested for simple marijuana possession, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. By expunging past marijuana records, those with past offenses would no longer face the revocation of a professional license, the denial of access to public housing, or the suspension of their driver’s licenses.