Despite some huge gains as far as pot policies go in the last few weeks, cannabis campaigners have not slowed down at all. Organizers are already hard at work to make sure initiatives for legal bud are on ballots in 2016. Fueled by the success of legalization initiatives that passed in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. has sent organizers to the streets collecting signatures and lawmakers have started pre-filing measures to be discussed in the next legislative session.
Staying on top of all the green gossip can be overwhelming:
New York: Decriminalized Cannabis in NYC
Wandering the streets of NYC with less than 25 grams of ganja is no longer grounds for being arrested. Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton put that into affect last week. Those caught with less than 25 grams will be given a fine of $100 and a court summons.
Florida: Medical Marijuana Failed but Will Try Again
Medical marijuana initiatives failed in November by a very slim margin in Florida. But advocates are already going to try again. They need to get 683,149 signatures to get a measure on the ballot. The legislative session starts again in March and advocates will be putting pressure on legislators to pass a full-scale medical marijuana bill at that time.
Kansas: Decriminalization Initiative in Wichita will be on Ballot
Residents in Wichita will see an initiative in favor of decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana on the April 2015 ballot. If passed, it would remove criminal penalties and instead offenders would get a $50 fine.
Nevada: Recreational Marijuana Initiative Meets Deadline
According to the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, they have collected more than 145,000 signatures, which is more than needed to make the petition legitimate. There is talk that the initiative could be approved by the Nevada State legislature early next year. If that’s the case, then Republican Gov. Sandoval would have to sign off on the bill. If that doesn’t happen, it would be on the 2016 ballot.
Connecticut: Adds More Approved Conditions to Medical Marijuana Program
A hearing will be held with the Department of Consumer Protection soon to talk about adding sickle cell disease, Tourette’s syndrome and other conditions to the list of approved conditions. The meeting will take place on November 26th.
Georgia: 2015 Medical Marijuana Bill
Lawmakers in the state of Georgia are continuing to work hard on creating a medical marijuana bill for 2015. Despite efforts by lawmakers to create a bill, the ideas in the bill so far are so conservative that even if a bill was passed, most medical marijuana patients wouldn’t benefit from it anyway.
Virginia: Filing A Decriminalization Bill
Senator Adam Ebbin last week introduced Senate Bill 686, which would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Instead of criminal penalties for marijuana possession, it would be a civil infraction and a $100 fine. The money from the fines would go to the state’s Literary Fund. The bill, which is the first of the its kind in the state, will be discussed in the next session of the state legislature which begins in January.
Arkansas: Initiative for Legalized Marijuana Approved
The Arkansas Citizens’ for the Legalization of Marijuana has had their initiative approved by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. They can now start preparing to get the 85,000 signatures they need to have the initiative get a spot on the 2016 ballot. If the initiative would pass in 2016, Arkansas would then establish a recreational marijuana market. The wording on the petition still needs to be approved by the Secretary of State.
Missouri: Advocates have filed an Initiative to Legalize Marijuana
Organizers with the Show-Me Cannabis group have officially filed a petition to legalize marijuana in the state. The petition has been submitted to the Secretary of State, which now has to be reviewed. The group needs to gather 165,000 to get the measure on the 2016 ballot. If it makes it to the ballot, it would have to be approved by voters.
Rhode Island: Hoping for Marijuana Legalization in 2015
Organizers with Regulate Rhode Island are feeling hopeful that the state legislature will make an attempt at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2015.
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