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  1. #21
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    The Little Black Book of Billionaire Secrets
    These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

    Tom Angell , Contributor
    I cover the policy and politics of marijuana
    Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

    After four of five statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiatives were approved by voters in 2016, no additional states ended cannabis prohibition in 2017 (though New Hampshire did decriminalize possession of the drug and West Virginia allowed its medical use).

    Now, a number of states are poised to legalize marijuana and approve other far-reaching cannabis measures in 2018.
    TOM SYDOW

    TOM SYDOW

    If marijuana policy advocates' plans come to fruition in the new year, 2018 will bring about the first legalization laws passed by lawmakers; to date, all eight states to end cannabis prohibition did it through voter initiatives.

    Here's a look at the states that are most likely to enact marijuana reforms in 2018:

    Vermont

    The Green Mountain state appears ready to legalize cannabis very soon. House and Senate leaders and Gov. Phil Scott (R) have signaled in recent weeks that they are prepared to legalize marijuana shortly after the legislature reconvenes on January 3. Because the state operates on a biennium, all that is needed is one more House vote in favor of a previously-Senate-passed bill that the governor has pledged to sign.

    The legislation is different that other existing legalization laws because it would not create a system of taxed and regulated cannabis sales, at least not initially. It would instead legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana as well as low-level home cultivation, while a study commission would examine potential future legal commercialization.

    New Jersey

    Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) campaigned on legalization, and the Senate president says he’s ready to pass a bill in 2018. While some key lawmakers have signaled that they'd prefer not to rush into passing big changes to marijuana laws, the sponsor of a Senate legalization bill says he wants to get it to the governor's desk within the first 100 days of the new administration.

    Murphy consistently pledged to end prohibition on the campaign trail, often describing it as an important piece of a broader criminal justice reform agenda, in addition to touting the tax revenue it would generate. Failing to shepherd a legalization bill to enactment in the Garden State would amount to a broken promise and likely be somewhat of an embarrassment for the new governor.

    Michigan

    Advocates are poised to place a marijuana legalization measure on the state's November ballot.

    A similar proposal fell just short of qualifying in 2016, but the new effort is better-funded and has the support of national groups like the Marijuana Policy Project. Several surveys have shown majority support for legalization, including one this May that found likely voters back ending prohibition by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent.

    Continued from page 1

    Oklahoma

    Activists have already succeeded in collecting enough signatures to place a medical cannabis measure before voters. There was a chance the measure could have gone on the 2016 ballot but, because a dispute over the measure’s official ballot title with then-Attorney General Scott Pruitt (now U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator) was not resolved by the state Supreme Court in time, its consideration was delayed until the next election.

    Gov. Mary Fallin (R) says she will announce after the new year whether it will appear on the June primary ballot or will be considered during the November general election.

    A 2013 poll found that 71 percent of the state’s likely voters support medical cannabis.

    Utah

    Activists are mounting a well-funded effort to qualify a medical marijuana measure for the state's November ballot. If approved, the proposed measure would allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, chronic pain and other specifically enumerated conditions to use medical cannabis preparations, but they would not be allowed to smoke the drug.

    An October Salt Lake Tribune survey found that 75 percent of the state’s registered voters back medical marijuana. If the conservative state, along with Oklahoma, approves medical cannabis it would send a strong signal that the issue is not a partisan one.

    Missouri

    The Show Me State could potentially see three separate medical cannabis ballot measures qualify in 2018.

    Competing teams are currently working to collect signatures for measures that would allow patients to use medical marijuana with their doctors' recommendations. If one or more of the measures pass, the result could be in flux. Whereas the measure with the most votes usually prevails in instances of same-topic questions appearing on the same ballot, in this case two of the measures are constitutional amendments and one is a statutory change. Enacted constitutional provisions take precedence over statutes, of course, but if the statutory measure gets more votes than either of the proposed constitutional changes, it's not clear which would be enacted. Litigation would likely ensue.

    A July 2016 survey found that voters favored an earlier proposed ballot measure by a margin of 62 percent to 27 percent.

    Virginia

    Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece of his campaign, often describing the issue in stark racial justice terms.

    Removing criminal penalties for cannabis appears to have bipartisan support in the state. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has pledged to file a decriminalization bill early in 2018.

    And the effort could get an additional boost by Democrats' surprising number of wins in House of Delegates races this past November. Depending on the results for two still-pending seats under review, the party could either have a narrow majority in the chamber or be tied with Republicans. The GOP has a two-seat majority in the Senate, but tie votes there would be broken by the Democratic lieutenant governor.

    Other Possibilities

    A team of wealthy individuals in Ohio announced this month that they will work to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state's 2018 ballot. A 2015 initiative pushed by the same group was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. That campaign generated opposition from many longtime legalization activists because it proposed creating an oligopoly on cannabis cultivation for the very investors who paid to put it on the ballot. Advocates were also turned off by the campaign’s usage of a cartoony mascot, “Buddie,” which raised concerns about appealing to children. The team has said that it learned from those mistakes.

    While Vermont and New Jersey are seen as most likely to pass marijuana legalization bills through their legislatures in 2018, advocates are also working to build momentum for bills to end prohibition in a number of other states next year. Among those are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois and Rhode Island, any or all of which could potentially send legalization legislation to their governor's desks in the coming months.

    2018 is likely to be one of the most active years to date for marijuana legislation, and lawmakers in a number of states have already gotten a head start and begun prefiling bills for new sessions that begin in January.

    If the measure is approved, Michigan would be the first state in the Midwest to end cannabis prohibition.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomange.../#61e1a8b11b04
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  2. #22
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map

    Thirty states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.

    Eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, sales of recreational-use marijuana in California kicked off on Jan. 1. In Massachusetts, retail sales of cannabis are expected to start later this year in July. Voters in Maine similarly approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana in 2016. The state, however, has not yet adopted rules for licensed marijuana growers or retailers, nor has it begun accepting licenses. Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have established a legal framework for sales of the drug.

    The vast majority of states allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Louisiana, West Virginia and a few other states allow only for cannabis-infused products, such as oils or pills. Other states have passed narrow laws allowing residents to possess cannabis only if they suffer from select rare medical illnesses.

    A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    Our map shows current state laws and recently-approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Final rules for recently-passed medical marijuana laws are pending in some states.

    Information is current as of Jan. 8, 2018.

    Marijuana Legalization Status

    Medical marijuana broadly legalized

    Marijuana legalized for recreational use

    No broad laws legalizing marijuana

    Some states shown above with no laws broadly legalizing medical marijuana provide limited access under certain circumstances. States like Alabama and Mississippi, for instance, maintain laws permitting medical marijuana for severe epileptic conditions.

    Other states, such as Virginia, enacted laws decades ago allowing for the possession of marijuana if individuals received prescriptions from doctors. Federal law, however, prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana, rendering those laws invalid. Doctors can only write a recommendation for medical marijuana, which is different than a prescription.

    http://www.governing.com/gov-data/st...reational.html
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  3. #23
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    30 states have broadly legalized marijuana in some form. Of the other 20 states who haven't, several have legalized certain uses but in narrow form for specific illnesses and applications. This year 8 more states will have either ballot or legislative agendas to legalize marijuana in their states.
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  4. #24
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    Law of the land: Sessions is right to enforce federal marijuana law

    THE EDITORIAL BOARD
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


    An unwarranted firestorm followed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision last week to give federal prosecutors more leeway in enforcing federal marijuana laws. Mr. Sessions did not order a crackdown on the drug, as his critics from both political parties would have the public believe, only unshackled his prosecutors to react to local circumstances and bring charges when warranted. This is prudent law enforcement.

    Across the country, many states have legalized medical marijuana and a handful allow the drug’s recreational use. In California, recreational use became legal Jan. 1. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that some states are eyeing expanded recreational use in public spaces, such as at “pot cafes” and “marijuana-friendly lounges.” Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana, though it’s not yet available, and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale last year recommended legalizing and taxing recreational use to gain a share of what is shaping up to be a lucrative industry elsewhere.

    While there may be legitimate uses of marijuana for medical reasons, there is dissonance between the nation’s headlong rush toward recreational pot and the raging opioid epidemic. It is difficult to see the sense in legalizing recreational use of the drug in the many parts of the country already devastated by opioids, especially when marijuana could become another link in the chain of abuse. It is difficult to see the logic in cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that have flooded communities with opioids while opening the door for marijuana proliferation. After years of campaigns to limit drunken driving, recreational use of marijuana raises the specter of a new fight against another type of impairment.

    Mr. Sessions didn’t cite any of this in his decision to end an Obama administration policy that generally prevented U.S. attorneys from interfering with the states’ marijuana policies. He merely said, “It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission.”

    His point is well taken. Federal prosecutors should be empowered to enforce federal laws.

    The government framed Mr. Sessions’ order as returning “trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis and dismantle criminal gangs.” It’s unlikely that U.S. attorneys would use this authority to crack down on the legitimate use of medical marijuana or even the casual recreational user.

    But it’s easy to imagine scenarios in which they would use it. If a state legalizes and taxes recreational marijuana, only to ignore resulting crime or social problems because of the income stream, federal authorities could step in. If states fail to police the medical marijuana industry and the drug is used by people whose conditions don’t call for it, federal prosecutors could intervene.

    The order puts marijuana on prosecutors’ radar screens in more ways than one. Big business, as recreational marijuana has the potential to be, invites political corruption, tax evasion and other white-collar crimes. U.S. attorneys need to be aware of these problems and their responsibility to tackle them.

    Mr. Sessions didn’t declare war on marijuana, his critics’ fearmongering aside. He reasserted the Justice Department’s prerogative to intervene when necessary. There is nothing wrong with that.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/...s/201801310020


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  5. #25
    MW
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    HAMMER: Jeff Sessions Is Right to End Obama's Unlawful Approach to Marijuana Enforcement

    Prosecutorial discretion does not extend this far.

    PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images


    ByJOSH HAMMER@josh_hammer

    January 4, 2018

    Today, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an intention to overturn an Obama-era Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement policy with respect to marijuana:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to rescind an Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country, prompting quick pushback Thursday from at least two Republican senators from states that allow its use after the plan was first reported by the Associated Press.

    The Justice Department chief plans to leave the decision of how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law up to federal prosecutors, two sources with knowledge of the plan told the AP.


    Sessions is a well-known hardliner on drug issues, and I suspect my policy preference (shared by, e.g., Ted Cruz) that Congress amend the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so as to remove marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic and entirely devolve the drug's regulation to the states is a normative position at loggerheads with Sessions' own.

    But Jeff Sessions is absolutely correct to overturn this Obama-era DOJ enforcement policy. In so doing, he is vindicating the Supremacy Clause in Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution against those who would subvert it to an overly broad and misguided conception of the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion — a conception, incidentally, which happened to identically mirror the Obama Administration's proffered apologia for its defense of its lawless DACA and DAPA immigration edicts.

    Let's start with some law.

    The Supremacy Clause (Art. VI, cl. 2) of the U.S. Constitution, as originally promulgated and as survived through the John C. Calhoun-led 19th century nullification crisis, unambiguously establishes the supremacy of federal law over any countervailing state law.

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.


    Consequently, it is thus a legal truism that (justified!) conservative and libertarian concerns for federalism and respect for the 10th Amendment must be seen through this prism. Where Congress has legal authority, via its strictly enumerated powers, to speak, and where Congress has indeed spoken, the states may not explicitly countervail or override. Much of the conservative argument against "sanctuary city" policies rests on precisely these grounds.

    At the same time, the basic federalism construct embedded in the U.S. Constitution indeed does establish dual spheres of positive sovereignty as between the federal and state governments. (Normative sovereignty in our system of governance, by contrast, rests, as the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution makes clear, with "We the People.") It is not an exaggeration to call this unique American application of the subsidiarityprinciple the most distinct contribution the Founders made to the Western political theory canon; whereas the Frenchman Montesquieu had laid the foundation for a tripartite separation of powers construct as among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, it was James Madison and his fellow Framers who birthed the concept of true federalism. And liberty-minded patriots are all the better for it.


    Under this idea of dual spheres of sovereignty, a state (such as Colorado) may indeed pass legislation to legalize marijuana within its jurisdiction. But here, "legalize" only means that the state will not expend any state resources to prosecute or police the underlying conduct. Crucially, because of the Supremacy Clause, the state cannot "nullify" or actively hinder DOJ's enforcement of duly enacted federal law. Again, when conservatives rail against "sanctuary city" policies under which local and state law enforcement agents actively block Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from doing their jobs, they are making this precise point.

    Enter the Obama Administration. The Obama-era DOJ, over and over again, famously took an exceptionally broad view of prosecutorial discretion. They did so with the DACA immigration edict of 2012. They did so with the DAPA immigration edict of 2014. And they did so here, in the context of marijuana enforcement, by effectively issuing a top-down departmental order precluding DOJ enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, with respect to marijuana. In doing so, the Obama-era DOJ made it easier for the states to justify their own state law experiments with marijuana legalization.

    Here is the problem. As every first-year law student taking criminal law learns, prosecutorial discretion is a wholly legitimate doctrine. It is simply true that a given prosecutor's office is seldom (if ever) capable of prosecuting (as a purely fiscal matter) every single possible crime falling under his geographic jurisdiction, and over which he has legal jurisdiction. Federal and state prosecutors thus make ad hoc, case-by-case assessments as to prosecutorial priorities each and every day.

    But this traditional, and more modest, view of the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion is at irreconcilable odds with the Obama-era conception of prosecutorial discretion, which paved the way for wholesale rewritings of underlying law — a task that incontrovertibly falls to the Congress, under the Vesting Clause of Art. I of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution's basic tripartite separation of powers construct was thus breached. I made this point this morning as part of an extended Twitter dialogue with my good friend (and fellow Daily Wire contributor) Elliott Hamilton:

    4 Jan
    Elliott Hamilton
    @ElliottRHams


    Replying to @josh_hammer
    I don’t believe prosecutorial discretion counters the power of the Supremacy Clause since the former doesn’t operate on the premise that those laws don’t exist. PD is necessary to prioritize which individual cases are worth pursuing given a lack of resources.


    Josh Hammer
    @josh_hammer


    Your conception of prosecutorial discretion is overly broad and is precisely what Democrats and Obama apologists argued with respect to DACA and DAPA. If you are comfortable with that, fine, but be intellectually honest and consistent.
    10:19 AM - Jan 4, 2018





    4 Jan
    Elliott Hamilton
    @ElliottRHams


    Replying to @josh_hammer
    I think the *use* of such discretion has been abused to cover for lawlessness (e.g., executive issuance of permits under DACA/DAPA) but the concept of prosecutorial discretion remains the same. It’s a necessary tool for prosecutors who lack unlimited resources.


    Josh Hammer
    @josh_hammer



    Yes, at the individual prosecutorial level, on a case-by-case assessment. Not via wholesale top-down departmental rewriting so broad so as to effectuate a change in federal policy.
    10:25 AM - Jan 4, 2018





    Conservatives properly rejected — in unapologetic and quite emphatic fashion — this Obama-era conception of the prosecutorial discretion doctrine during the DACA and DAPA public debates. As I wrote at RedState at the time, in the immediate aftermath of Obama's DAPA ukase, I viewed the unilateral DAPA amnesty and breaching of our national sovereignty as such an unforgivable sin so as to clearly fall under the Constitution's prescribed "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" criterion establishing the grounds for presidential impeachment:

    This offense falls squarely within the original meaning of the Constitution’s language of limiting presidential impeachment to “treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." In Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton describes the jurisdiction of impeachment proceedings as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.” And in a 1989 law review article, the esteemed Judge Frank Easterbrook defines the scope of Congress’s impeachment power as being intended for mere constitutional violations.


    As constitutional law professor (and my good friend and fellow Texan) Josh Blackman blogged extensively about and testified before Congress about at the time, the President of the United States' solemn duties under the Take Care Clause of Art. II of the Constitution ("[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed ...") necessarily exists to guard against precisely the theory of prosecutorial discretion that the Obama Administration repeatedly invoked. Here is the way that Blackman and his fellow libertarian-leaning legal eagles Ilya Shapiro and Randy Barnett put it in a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief (emphasis added):

    To put this in constitutional terms, courts should ask whether the president is acting within the realm of prosecutorial discretion that Congress contemplated when it enacted the statute. If the answer is yes, the deviation from the law is in good faith, and is thus permissible. However, if the departure from the law is “used to recapture opportunities forgone upon contracting” — to accomplish ends rejected by Congress — then the action is not in good faith. When the president bypasses a statute by relying on a claim to authority Congress withheld from him, this is evidence that the president is violating his constitutional duty...Motivation is therefore the factor that distinguishes genuine prosecutorial discretion from a pretextual usurpation.


    This is spot-on legal analysis, and it is wholly applicable to Attorney General Sessions' action today to rescind the Obama-era DOJ prosecutorial discretion policy with respect to marijuana. The Controlled Substances Act is entering its 48th year of existence; if Congress wanted to remove marijuana as a regulated Schedule I narcotic under the statute, it could plainly have already done so. That Congress has not done so does not mean that the President of the United States — with his "pen" and his "phone," as Obama famously put it — may unilaterally do so. And with respect to prosecutorial discretion, Sessions' move actually restores a proper view of the doctrine: As the Politico piece initially quoted here says, "The Justice Department chief plans to leave the decision of how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law up to federal prosecutors." Indeed, that is precisely how prosecutorial discretion has always worked, and how it ought to always work.

    Good for Jeff Sessions.


    https://www.dailywire.com/news/25389...h-josh-hammer#

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