On 4/20 Eleven Years Ago There Were 0 Legal Marijuana States, Now There’s 21

11 years ago today – on 4/20, 2012 – there was not a single state in the US that had legalized recreational marijuana.

Fast forward to today and people in 21 states are enjoying legal marijuana this 4/20, with Delaware poised to become the 22nd legal marijuana state by the end of the month. This is an incredible and rapid change in public policy, with over 40% of US states now with legalized marijuana. This comes after decades of propaganda, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the drug war which has focused heavily on maintaining marijuana prohibition.

Leading the way, Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize in November, 2012. A decade later, Maryland and Missouri were the most recent to legalize in November, 2022 via a citizen initiative. Also in 2022, Rhode Island lawmakers legalized marijuana in May.
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Washington Bill to Protect Marijuana Users When Seeking Employment Sent to Governor

Legislation that would provide protections to marijuana users seeking employment has been sent to Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5123 would prohibit employers from refusing employment based solely on someone’s off-the-job recreational marijuana use. The measure passed the House in March, 63 to 32, and passed the Senate earlier this month, 37 to 12. After concurrence the measure was signed by the House Speaker on April 14, signed by the president of the Senate on April 18, and today it was officially sent to the governor.

“The legislature finds that the legalization of recreational cannabis in Washington state in 2012 created a disconnect between prospective employees’ legal activities and employers’ hiring practices”, states the preamble to the bill, introduced by Senator Karen Keiser along with nine cosponsors. “Many tests for cannabis show only the presence of nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites from past cannabis use, including up to 30 days in the past, that have no correlation to an applicant’s future job performance.”
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CA Committee Votes to Allow Marijuana Consumption Lounges to Sell Food / Beverages, Host Live Events

California legislation that would allow marijuana consumption lounges to sell freshly made food and beverages (including marijuana-infused products) and host live events, has been passed by a California Assembly committee.

California’s Assembly Committee on Business and Professions has voted 15 to 2 to pass Assembly Bill 374. Filed by Assembly Member Matt Haney, the measure has now been sent to the Committee on Governmental Organization.

Under current California law cannabis consumption lounges are not allowed to sell freshly prepared food, a rule that many call arbitrary and unnecessary. A November 2022 rules change allowed lounges to offer prepackaged food and beverages on a limited basis, but nothing freshly made or beverages ready to be consumed without opening.

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Florida Medical Marijuana Telehealth Bill Passed Unanimously by Senate Committee

Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services has voted 16 to 0 to pass legislation that would allow physicians to renew patients medical marijuana cards via telehealth.

The passage of Senate Bill 344 through the Senate Appropriations Committee comes roughly three weeks after a companion bill (House Bill 387) was passed by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The vote in the Health and Human Services Committee was also unanimous, 20 to 0.

Under the two bills a licensed physician would be allowed to use telehealth options such as Zoom when renewing a patient’s medical marijuana authorization card during annual renewals. Physicians would still be required to meet a patient in-person to authorize their medical marijuana use for the first time.
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Report: Legal Marijuana Will Add $100 Billion to US Economy in 2023

The economic impact generated by marijuana in states where it’s legal is expected to top $100 billion in 2023, up more than 12% from 2022.

This is according to the MJBiz Factbook 2023, an annual report conducted by MJBizDaily, one of the most trusted sources within the marijuana industry. The report found that the economic impact of marijuana will be $100.8 billion in 2023, with it expected to grow to $115 billion in 2024 and $132 billion in 2025.

Looking ahead, the report anticipates that upward of $170 billion in additional spending will be added to the U.S economy in 2028. The increase is in part due to the “opening and/or expansion of new recreational and medical markets in states such as New York, Maryland, Missouri and Kentucky.” Continue reading

Over $100 Million in Legal Marijuana Purchased in Arizona in February

There was just shy of $110 million in marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in February in Arizona.

According to data released by the Arizona Department of Revenue, licensed marijuana dispensaries in Arizona sold $28,202,481 worth of medical marijuana, while marijuana retail outlets sold $80,887,002 worth of recreational marijuana. These numbers include the sale of dried marijuana flower, as well as marijuana concentrates and infused products.

The nearly $110 million sold in February brought in $21,752,278 in tax revenue for the state. $2,341,776 from medical marijuana, $6,468,582 from adult-used marijuana and $12,941,920 in marijuana excise tax revenue.
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Study: Medical Marijuana Improved Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms in 87% of Patients

Medical marijuana “may improve motor and nonmotor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease and may allow for reduction of concomitant opioid medication use”, according to a new study.

Published by the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Neuropharmacology, the study was conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and DENT Neurologic Institute. In the study, 87% of Parkinson’s disease patients “were noted to exhibit an improvement” in their symptoms.

“Medical cannabis (MC) has recently garnered interest as a potential treatment for neurologic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD)”, states the study’s abstract. “A retrospective chart review was conducted to explore the impact of MC on the symptomatic treatment of patients with PD.”
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Rhode Island: $8.7 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in March, $23.5 Million So Far in 2023

In March there was $8.7 million in legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in Rhode Island, according to data released by the state’s Department of Business Regulations.

In March there was $5,381,556.56 in recreational marijuana sold at licensed retail outlets. This is in addition to the $3,359,873.02 in medical marijuana sold during the same period. In terms of recreational marijuana sales, the numbers for March are the highest since the start of legal sales in December.

The total legal marijuana sales in Rhode Island Between December 1, 2022 (the start of legal sales) and March 31, 2023 is $30,965,333.
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Minnesota Senate Taxes Committee Passes Marijuana Legalization Bill

Minnesota’s Senate Taxes Committee has advanced a measure that will make marijuana legal for all uses, with just one more committee vote needed before it can reach the Senate floor.

Passage of SF 73 through the Taxes Committee comes the same day as the House Ways and Means Committee passed companion bill HB 100, the 15th committee to do so, allowing it to receive a forthcoming vote by the full chamber.

The legislation would legalize the personal possession of up to two ounces of marijuana if you’re at least 21 years old. The cultivation of up to eight plants would also be allowed at personal residencies.
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Bipartisan Federal Bill Introduced to Provide Tax Relief for Legal Marijuana Businesses

Members of the US House of Representatives have introduced the Small Business Tax Equity Act, meant to level the playing field for legal cannabis businesses by normalizing their federal taxes.

The Small Business Tax Equity Act provides an exemption for state-licensed cannabis businesses from federal tax code 280E. That particular code explicitly prevents anyone involved in the distribution of a federally prohibited substances from deducting business expenses, even if the substance they sell is legal under state law. The bill was filed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), David Joyce (R-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Nancy Mace (R-SC).

“NORML commends the sponsors of this legislation for their efforts to end the unjust federal overtaxation of licensed, state-regulated cannabis businesses throughout the country,” said NORML Political Director Morgan Fox. “Allowing them to take the same federal tax deductions that most other businesses enjoy will facilitate new opportunities in the legal cannabis industry and make it more competitive with the unregulated market, which will directly benefit consumer health and public safety.”
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