Jun 032015

A new poll from the Behavior Research Center discovered that a slight majority of Arizonans favor ending the prohibition on marijuana. Results from the Rocky Mountain Poll released Wednesday indicate 53 percent popular support for legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal possession and use. A total of 39 percent are opposed to the idea. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, backed by Marijuana Policy Project would allow users over the age of 21 to be able to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from licensed dispensaries. A 15 percent tax would direct revenue to regulation costs and public health education. Specific cities would still have discretion to ban sales of the drug. If the initiative receives 150,000 signatures from registered voters, it will qualify for the ballot in November of 2016. Arizona is home to two competing legalization campaigns. The second, called Arizonans for Mindful Regulation, is run by dispensary owner Jason Medar, who filed paperwork last week to authorize signature collection for a separate initiative. Their proposal allows possession of up to twelve plants, while MPP only permits six.

Language in a proposal to amend Ohio’s constitution and legalize sale, use and possession of marijuana in the state has employers antsy over the impact it could have, despite a legal analysis that says they will retain strong workplace control. The amendment’s backers said they sought to protect employers, writing in language stating businesses should not have to accommodate use of marijuana products in the workplace. But a provision that appears to provide an exception for patients certified to use medical marijuana has stirred questions that one legal expert suggests might not be cleared up without court rulings. There is growing expectation that an issue backed by ResponsibleOhio will land before voters in November. The petitioners have already collected well over the 305,000 or so they will need to get on the ballot.

Delaware House lawmakers on Tuesday approved legislation that would treat simple marijuana possession and personal use by adults like a traffic violation, replacing criminal penalties with civil fines. The bill passed the House by a 24-14 vote, and now heads to the Senate. Gov. Jack Markell supports decriminalization. No House Republicans voted in favor of the legislation on Tuesday. Some opponents said decriminalization would embolden drug dealers operating in a black market. Others say it could prevent police from initiating important searches on suspicion of simple marijuana possession. The legislation would only impose $100 civil fines on adults found with up to an ounce of marijuana, or those found using the drug privately. Police could still confiscate the drug when imposing a civil penalty.

Oregon Lawmakers are considering a bill that would temporarily halt hemp production and force the state’s first hemp farm near Grants Pass to yank its plants out of the ground, albeit with compensation from the state. The bill would also put stricter controls on hemp in areas of the state – such as southern Oregon – where marijuana farms are plentiful. Marijuana growers say they worry that pollen from hemp farms could wreak damage on prized female cannabis flowers, cross-pollinating them and producing a seedy crop with weaker THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance responsible for marijuana’s high. The legislation – contained in proposed amendments to House Bill 2668 — has infuriated the state’s small number of hemp farmers, who say they are threatened with being shut out of the best growing areas in the state. Seth Crawford, an Oregon State University marijuana policy researcher, says he’s heard concerns from some growers that the hemp farms are a form of “biological terrorism.”

Although Alaska voted in favor of legalizing marijuana in November, it was still up to individual towns to decide whether or not possession of cannabis for any adult at least 21 years old would be legal. Monday night, the North Pole city council met to decide the fate of marijuana in Santa Claus’s hometown. And Santa himself showed up to weigh in. A North Pole resident whose legal name is Santa Claus showed up at the North Pole’s City Council meeting and dropped his two cents. “I am a medical marijuana patient,” Claus continued. “I would like to have access to medical marijuana here in North Pole and not have to travel to Fairbanks to get it.” Eventually, an ordinance to ban marijuana dispensaries by Councilwoman Sharron Hunter was voted down, 5-2. Claus could not be reached for further comment.