Public Policy Polling has found that Colorado’s support for marijuana legalization has risen since the state legalized in 2012. While Amendment 64 passed by 55% for vs. 45% against, a ten point margin, the latest poll shows support at 57% with only 35% of the public thinking marijuana should be made illegal again, a 22 point margin. Coloradoans are divided about whether legalization has made the state better (31%), the same (30%), or worse (33%), or another way to look at it is that only one third of the voters think legalization made things worse. It doesn’t seem as if legalization has had a huge impact on use rates, with just 8% of respondents claiming they have used marijuana since it has been legalized, a figure commensurate with the annual rate of marijuana use in Colorado prior to legalization. A majority of the people polled were over the age of 40.
The Utah State Senate unanimously approved a bill to allow for the use of cannabidiol oil by those patients with intractable epilepsy. The bill awaits the signature of the governor, who is expected to make Utah the 21st state to legalize some form of medical cannabis use. The law, called Charlee’s Law, comes too late to save its namesake, little Charlee Nelson, who passed away this week. The cannabis allowed by the law must contain less than 0.3% THC and can contain up to and exceeding 15% CBD. The law makes no provision for patients to acquire the oil aside from importing it from nearby Colorado, where its production is legal. However, the Utah law, like the Georgia CBD bill passed last week, essentially encourages citizens to migrate to Colorado, establish a temporary address to establish Colorado residency, violate Colorado law by taking medical cannabis out of state, and violate federal interstate trafficking law, all to acquire a medicine that has no psychoactive properties.
A Kentucky Senate committee has unanimously passed a bill for the use of cannabidiol oil as well. The newly named Clara Madeline Gilliam Act, SB 245 would allow only physicians at the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky research hospitals to recommend the use of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil for patients with intractable epilepsy.
An Oregon gubernatorial candidate is calling for the legalization of marijuana and using its proceeds to help the homeless. Portland Republican Tim Carr told the Oregonian newspaper he would prefer the tax revenue to be specifically earmarked for the homeless and other people in need, saying, “I don’t want that money siphoned off” to other state funds like employee pensions. Carr’s support stands in contrast to the non-committal attitude of the leading Republican candidate, State Rep. Dennis Richardson, who stated, “What we have presently with Oregon’s medical marijuana cards has failed,” and “We would be wise to wait a year and watch what takes place in Colorado and Washington. We could learn from their mistakes or their successes.” Incumbent Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber supported legislative efforts to legalize marijuana, saying, “I want to make sure we have a thoughtful regulatory system. The Legislature would be the right place to craft that.”
Colorado’s governor has signed a new law meant to address some loopholes in marijuana legalization. The new law mandates that the packaging for edible marijuana is sold in opaque, child-proof containers. Other changes include allowing pot shops to confiscate the identification of those attempting to purchase with a fake ID and allowing local jurisdictions to submit fingerprints for the purpose of background checks.