It’s been a busy week in state marijuana news.
- New York
- New Jersey
- Other Statewide Votes
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo just signed a bill into law that will allow medical marijuana to be used as an alternative to opioids for patients who need on-going pain management. The law formalizes a change made earlier this year by the Department of Health that added opioid use to the list of disorders that allow New Yorkers to qualify for a marijuana prescription. Cuomo has also formed a working group to come up with a bill to legalize marijuana across the board.
In Michigan, some lawmakers are actually putting the brakes on the legalization effort. Recreational marijuana is on the state ballot on November 6th. But with just over a month to go, Commissioners in Grand Rapids are putting a moratorium on the medical marijuana ordinance the city adopted back in July. This 6-month moratorium on allowing medical marijuana facilities is not going over well with growers and distributors. They were supposed to start applying for their licenses on November 1st.
New Jersey is expected to pass a recreational marijuana bill sometime late this year, but talk has already turned to how it will affect those with drug convictions during the days when it was illegal. Assemblywoman Annette Quijano introduced a bill that would expedite the expungement process for offenders whose past act is no longer considered to be a crime or offense. Automatic expungement might also be included in the marijuana package that state lawmakers will vote on at the end of the year.
Other Statewide Votes
In addition to Michigan, North Dakota will also be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana in November. Utah’s ballot will ask voters if they want medical marijuana. Missouri actually has three separate medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot. Two of the propositions would legalize state-licensed physicians to recommend medical cannabis to qualifying patients, but they would be implemented differently and have different tax rates and uses for the revenue. The third would slap a 15% sales tax on the drug to establish a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute that would use the money to find cures for cancer and other diseases.