Tags Posts tagged with "Connecticut"

Connecticut

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Democratic state legislators in the state of Connecticut presented a budget proposition this past Tuesday that involves regulating and taxing the use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. In the first year under the proposed system, those who are 21 and over would be able to buy controlled quantities of marijuana from existing medical marijuana dispensaries, and sales would be subject to a 25% tax in addition to the standard 6.35% state sales tax.

Once the state has licensed adult-use businesses, marijuana would be subject to an excise tax of $50 per ounce in addition to the standard 6.35% state sales tax on retail sales. Oregon and Nevada have adopted similar approaches, allowing early adult sales in medical marijuana businesses. An analysis of the plan believes it would generate roughly $60 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first full year and $180 million in the second year.

“The Democrats’ proposal to regulate marijuana for adults would generate significant new tax revenue in addition to creating jobs for residents and business opportunities for other local industries,” stated Sam Tracy, director of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in annual marijuana sales have been taking place in Connecticut each year, and the state has not received a dime in tax revenue. If the Legislature moves forward with this plan, the state could be bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue within just the next two years. This is not the only reason or the best reason to regulate marijuana for adult use, but it is one of several good reasons,” says Tracy.

“Regulating marijuana would come with several public health and public safety benefits in addition to the economic benefits. It would take marijuana out of the criminal market and ensure it is tested, labeled, and sold only to adults who show proof of age. It would also allow law enforcement officials to spend more time addressing serious crimes instead of enforcing failed prohibition laws. Most Americans recognize that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and they want to see it treated that way. Kudos to the Democrats for proposing a plan that would do just that and bring a variety of benefits to the people of Connecticut,” Tracy added.

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Following the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, there are at least eleven other states considering changing their policies this year.

1. Connecticut
Not only are lawmakers expecting to expand Connecticut’s five-year-old medical cannabis legislation, but Martin Looney, the state’s Democratic Senate President pro tem, introduced a bill recently that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

2. Missouri
The Missouri Recreational Marijuana Legalization Initiative did not make the ballot in 2016, however the state did pass medical use. Missouri’s secretary of state, Jason Kander, has endorsed a petition behind the initiative pushing to legalize recreational use.

3. New Hampshire
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn said he would introduce recreational legislation this year, but first, a group of legislators introduced House Bill 215 on January 4, commissioning a study of the current cannabis laws in other states. Results of that research will be released on December 1, 2017.

4. New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a measure that would decriminalize cannabis, according to the Washington Times. In his 2017 legislative agenda, he wrote, “Data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.”

5. Rhode Island
For seven years, Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the use of marijuana recreationally. It would impose a 23% tax.

6. South Carolina
South Carolina passed a bill in 2014 allowing cannabis oil for medical use, however lawmakers recently introduced the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize cannabis for terminally ill individuals, as well as people with “debilitating medical conditions.”

7. Tennessee
Two cities in Tennessee have already decriminalized marijuana; recently, Representative Jeremy Faison told The Marijuana Times that he wants full medical use across the state and plans to introduce a bill in the 2017 legislative session to legalize medicinal use.

8. Texas
On the first day of the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers in TX filed multiple requests to decriminalize cannabis. Instead of being thrown in jail, anyone caught with minor amounts of marijuana would be charged with a civil infraction and a $250 fine.

9. Utah
House Speaker Greg Hughes told the Deseret News that medical cannabis could be the biggest issue of the session. However, word on the street is that most legislators in Utah think it is smart to wait for the federal government to act.

10. Virginia
Governor Terry McAuliffe stated he wishes to legalize medical cannabis this year, and legislators in Virginia are following through. They filed a bill this month to decriminalize cannabis and only fine for possession.

11. Wisconsin
Medical cannabis is only legal for people suffering from seizures in Wisconsin, but lawmakers hope to expand the current law to make medicinal marijuana legal for all.

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Staff at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford (the country’s first hospice center) stated they are hoping to advance pain management while cutting down opioid use in treatment. They plan to study how medical cannabis can help the fated patients.

Doctor Wen-Jen Hwu, professor of medical oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, stated that the target of this revolutionary medical cannabis study will be to ease end of life patients’ discomfort and improve their quality of life. They also want to decrease nausea while improving patients’ appetites and well-being.

Hwu stated, “Connecticut Hospice has the vision of trying to better fulfill their mission in palliative care and symptom control to improve the quality of life of those with limited time but it’s still very important. Everybody deserves to die with dignity.”

The first federally approved medical cannabis study was announced by CT. Governor Daniel Malloy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal at the news conference. Blumenthal stated, “It’s about pain management at the end of life or during medical procedures, and that can transform the quality of life for people undergoing medical procedures no matter how serious or at what stage and it can reduce the costs of health care.”

There are 66 patients that will help determine the safety and benefits of using medical cannabis for pain management. Most of these patients need opioids. Their conditions usually worsen and almost always see an increase in addictive painkillers. Those participating will receive the medical cannabis in the form of a pill.
Governor Malloy also announced that a state approved study will be performed at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. This study will be related to the treatment of traumatic injuries. They would like to see how well the cannabis pill replaces addictive painkillers.

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2016 broke records for legalization of marijuana with four more states going legal. Sixty five million people currently live in states where adults 21 and over can possess weed and medical marijuana. A record that will be held for at least two years. AlterNet points out that 2017 is not an election year; therefore, there will not be many voter initiatives and definitely no major ones that require big turnout such as legalization.

This signifies that any advancements to be made regarding drug policy will need to be made by policymakers and elected lawmakers on the state level. Considering that for a law to pass it requires legislative approval as well as the signature of a governor and since politicians (greatly depend on relationships with police for their political livelihood) have proven to be the least likely to get anything done on this issue; this does not look good for the marijuana industry.

Mix this with a Donald Trump administration who is likely to have a negative impact on drug policy reform (considering his choices for attorney general and Secretary of Health) and it could be a torturous two years. There is still a chance. Currently some states have advanced through the normal professional lawmaker process, some limited medical marijuana programs or low-to-no-THC-only laws, such as the ones in Hawaii and Texas.

Even though cannabis is a bipartisan issue with a winning record this year in red states, the best indicators of legalization appear to be regional. In 2014, Oregon and Alaska followed Washington and Colorado and this year, legalization conquered in two New England states as well as two western states. On this note, AlterNet points out five states with a high probability of being the next ones legalizing, to which we added a sixth suggestion.

Connecticut

Legalization has two precursors: legal medical marijuana and decriminalized possession. For example: if an adult can have a specific quantity because they are ill and a specific quantity already will not result in an arrest and a prosecution; the next step is to allow all adults to possess that amount. Seems simple and considering Connecticut has implemented the first two, it makes sense to assume the third may come next. A few days following Massachusetts legalization; immediately on the state’s north, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy stated that a reexamination of “our position of enforcement” would be likely “based on what some surrounding states are doing.” AlterNet believes that having Malloy on board is important because it would eliminate the need of overriding any potential veto.

Maryland

Most people who work in Washington, D.C., where adult-use marijuana is legal, either live in Virginia or Maryland. If they are pro-cannabis they favor Maryland where medical marijuana was legalized in 2014 and where decriminalization took place in 2015. Republican Larry Hogan; the current governor, is against marijuana, but polls are in favor of legalization. AlterNet noted that only a few obstructionist committee chairs stopped legalization bills from advancing in both of the state’s legislative chambers.

New Hampshire

Newly elected Republican governor Chris Sununu “is clearly on record in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession,” as per the Marijuana Policy Project and nearby states Massachusetts and Maine both appear to have legalized recreational marijuana. (Massachusetts did handily; a recount is underway in Maine.)

If decriminalization comes fast, there should be more momentum in the state House of Representatives to revisit the legalization bill passed in 2014. The state’s lower chamber approved a bill that January that would have legalized, taxed and regulated cannabis in the same way it is being approved by voters across the country.

That bill was dead after the then-governors threat to veto and efforts to revive it went nowhere, but it reveals support that has definitely increased in the ensuing three years.

New Mexico

Besides California; New Mexico is the bluest state in the Sun Belt. New Mexico’s neighbor to the north is Colorado, where legalization is a success. New Mexico has had medical marijuana since 2007. Polling is strong with medical cannabis at 61 percent. That generally signifies a ballot initiative would be a good bet. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz said he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment that would initiate a legalization vote. New Mexico also has a lawmaker focused on legalization in the state house. Rep. Bill McCamley is promising to introduce a legalization bill for the third time.

Rhode Island

Usually what happens in Massachusetts happens in Rhode Island even though one could argue that pot is a Rhode Island thing. Decriminalization passed here four years ago. AlterNet points out that even though they have never been voted on, legalization bills have been introduced in the state legislature yearly over the last six years.

Vermont

In the Left Coast of New England; Vermont gave us U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Vermont was on its way to legalizing through the state house before a legalization bill died in the lower chamber. Despite the roadblock, both houses of the legislature agreed to keep the issue alive. According to a 2015 report from the RAND Corporation, Vermonters love pot. The study found that approximately 12 percent of the state’s residents are regular cannabis consumers. Also, cannabis is a $175 million annual business for the state of fewer than 630,000 people.

This signifies there is a natural, built-in constituency for any pro-weed politician—one of whom, Sen. Dick Sears, referred to Massachusetts’ legalization as a “game-changer.” Even the Republican governor, anti-regulation Phil Scott, says he “can appreciate the discussion around ending the prohibition of marijuana.” If we had to bet on the next state to go legal, we would put our money on Vermont.

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In spite of the fact that Connecticut has turned out to be to some degree progressive on the issue of weed. Regardless, it has a great deal of opportunity to get better. The New England blue state voted therapeutic cannabis into law in 2012 and just barely passed up a major opportunity for passing recreational this year. While the insurance capital of the nation winds up on the rundown of states that have legalized the therapeutic utilization of cannabis, it’s the one, and only that doesn’t describe provisions for youngsters who may require the medication. As the law right now expresses, nobody less than 18 years old in Connecticut can take part in the state’s medicinal cannabis program, and that is an issue.

Despite the fact that legislators and promoters unsuccessfully pushed for new enactment on the matter in 2015, they now have significant support set up that is giving new hope for reform. A standout amongst the most imperative people to switch their position on the issue was the state’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who needed a Pediatrician on the decision-making Board before offering their backing for the new ordinance.

This proposed Board would be tasked with choosing what parameters would qualify a minor to get a therapeutic cannabis prescription, including what sicknesses would or would not meet the prerequisites. The Executive Director of the state’s chapter of AAP, Jillian Wood, told the Wall Street Journal she and different individuals had an intense time choosing the matter, for the most part since they had concerns with respect to the impact of pot on a kid’s creating mind. Wood said the gathering chose to push ahead with their backing of the activity in light of the fact that the potential prize far exceeded the danger, particularly while considering the choices.

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A group composed of lawmakers from Connecticut have come together in a strong effort to stop prohibition in The Constitution State. Juan Candelaria, a representative from New Haven recently stated that he and a rabid group of nine activists submitted a brand ned proposal in the General Assembly calling for the legalization of recreational cannabis. As a result, the proposal would make a fully legal marijuana industry that would allow adults 21 or over to buy cannabis from dispensaries throughout the entire state without any worries of law enforcement officers standing by waiting to incarcerate them.

Albeit Candelaria is under no impression that his goal to legalize marijuana, similar to the one currently going on in Vermont, will be simple, he will be doing his best to at the very least encourage leadership to allow a public hearing on the issue. But the lawmaker has not given any signal as to what he may be ready to do in order to keep his current proposal from ending up like one that was discarded immediately last year. However, he was never given the chance to be chewed on by the leaders of the committee. Even then, supporters of this legislation say that they will lean on Connecticut’s debt of more than $500 million as a key incentive.

“I think the fiscal situation the state finds itself in is fertile ground for discussing the legalization of marijuana,” co-sponsor of the bill, Representative Ed Vargas, said to the Hartford Courant.

It makes sense to put a price on cannabis that will result in a huge amount of tax revenue from a state that is facing large deficits. For instance, Colorado was the first state to allow cannabis to be cultivated and distributed for capitalism and is now selling more than $1 billion worth of marijuana products annually.

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Most Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana, and it’s only a matter of time before the herb becomes legal in all states. The only states that have legalized the use of marijuana recreationally are Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. However, according to sources, eleven more states may soon legalize the plant.

These predictions were formed from two facts: where medical marijuana is legal and where tiny amounts of marijuana is not punishable by jail. Other considerations put into play were the amount of marijuana arrest in the area, and how many of the state’s residents use marijuana. Most of the states on the list have a high number of marijuana users. Here’s the list:

1. Massachusetts

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana Related Arrests in 2012: 2,596
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 39
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Offense

2. Nevada

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $600
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 8,524
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 309
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor

3. California

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 21,256
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 56
Minimum Penalty Classification: Infraction

4. New York

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 112,974
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 577
Minimum Penalty Classification: Not Classified

5. Vermont

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $200
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 926
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 148
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

6. Minnesota

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $200
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 12,051
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 224
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor

7. Connecticut

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $150
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 3,747
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 104
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Penalty

8. Maryland

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $100
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 22,042
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 375
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Offense

9. Rhode Island

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $150
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 2,320
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 221
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

10. Maine

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $600
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 3,202
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 241
Minimum Penalty Classification: Civil Violation

11. Delaware

Maximum Fine for Small Amount of Pot: $575
Marijuana-Related Arrests in 2012: 2,912
Marijuana Arrests per 100,000: 318
Minimum Penalty Classification: Misdemeanor

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