New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempts to run the clock out on medical marijuana continue. On Tuesday, the governor says he’ll not sign the latest iteration of the medical marijuana bill that was amended late Monday to make the Thursday legislative signing deadline. Lawmakers took out coverage for diabetes, lupus, and post-concussion syndrome and reduced the possession limit from 2.5 to 2 ounces. But Gov. Cuomo complains that not including a ban on marijuana smoking and a five-year sunset provision is a deal breaker. Lawmakers have pressed the governor’s office to provide medical marijuana language that the governor would approve, but the governor explained “I don’t want to get into the negotiations with the Senate leadership and the Assembly leadership.”0 Medical marijuana is supported by 88% of voters and 93% of Democrats in recent polls, but it remains unclear whether the legislature will put Gov. Cuomo in the uncomfortable position of vetoing a popular issue in an election year.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christine Amanpour that there “should be availability” of medical marijuana for patients in “extreme medical conditions”. Secretary Clinton’s latest remarks represent an “evolution” in her position that evokes comparison to President Obama’s “evolution” on the topic of gay marriage, as majority public support for both topics continues to grow. “At the risk of committing radical candor,” said Secretary Clinton, “I have to say I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes. I don’t think we’ve done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances. But I do think we need more research because we don’t know how it interacts with other drugs.” When Secretary Clinton was running for president in 2008, she shared her opinion on marijuana legalization when she said, “I don’t think we should decriminalize, but we ought to do research into what, if any medical benefits [marijuana] has.” In her latest interview, Secretary Clinton said, “On recreational, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is.” As for whether she, like her husband, “tried marijuana and didn’t like it, didn’t inhale, and never tried it again,” Secretary Clinton emphatically stated, “Absolutely not. I didn’t do it when I was young, I’m not going to start now.”
Lawmakers in Delaware have amended a marijuana legalization proposal to be just a marijuana decriminalization proposal. Democrat Rep. Helene Keeley is sponsoring the legislation that would reduce Delaware’s criminal misdemeanor for marijuana possession, which could lead to six months in jail and $1,150 in fines, to a non-arrestable civil citation with a $250 fine that doubles if unpaid in ninety days. The legislation had proposed to simply legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, but that was strongly opposed by the Delaware State Police, who, along with other law enforcers, made over 2,600 arrests for marijuana possession in 2013. The new decriminalization proposal has made it out of committee and awaits a vote of the full House, which is only in session for another week.
North Carolina is stumbling in its attempt to enact the strictest CBD-Only medical marijuana law in the nation. A hearing scheduled yesterday to discuss CBD-Only legislation was cancelled just before it was to start, with no indication that the hearing would be rescheduled any time soon, if at all. The bill would allow for the use of high-CBD / low-THC cannabis oil only by people suffering from intractable epilepsy. It would not be available for epileptic children, only adults eighteen years of age or older. The epileptic adult must have first been evaluated by a neurologist and must have tried at least three non-cannabis treatment options before being allowed to try non-psychoactive CBD oil. Patients would also have to pay $50 to be tracked in a state database accessible to law enforcement.
Residents of York, Maine, could be voting on a symbolic marijuana legalization measure in this November’s election. Petitioners from Marijuana Policy Project collected over 200 signatures to present the legalization initiative to the Board of Selectmen, the city council that must approve petitions for the municipal ballot. Similar petitions are ongoing in the cities of Lewiston, where 350 of 850 signatures have been gathered, and South Portland, with 200 of 950 needed signatures. The petition asks that possession of an ounce or less of marijuana for personal purposes be made legal for adults 21 and over. Last election, voters in Portland approved a legalization petition, but law enforcement explained they would still enforce Maine state laws on marijuana. Maine as a state has already decriminalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use, with no arrest and a civil fine costing $600.