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Legalization news from around the globe

Cannabis news followers know that New York’s recent failed legalization bill is a setback for the cannabis cause, but don’t lose heart. There’s good marijuana news coming from every corner of the globe. Take a look at these legalization efforts from the United States and beyond!

United States – Senator and Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand recently unveiled her marijuana legalization plan on Twitter, which is just how politicians communicate with their public these days. Gillibrand not only plans to decriminalize marijuana, but to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from people’s criminal records. If you’re having a hard time finding work because of that holding charge, Gillibrand’s your girl. The plan also involves building a national process to regulate and tax cannabis companies in the same way that other industries are treated, meaning equal access to banking and credit, especially for communities that have been harmed by marijuana prohibition.

The proposal even includes investment in medical marijuana research and coverage of medical marijuana under health insurance. Imagine strolling into your favorite dispensary and getting your wax and edibles covered under Blue Cross! A similar plan called the Marijuana Justice Act is currently in Congressional legislation, backed by Gillibrand and other Senators/candidates including Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris. (Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/447067-gillibrand-unveils-marijuana-legalization-plan )

Michigan – Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a letter to Congress asking for the banking and credit industry be opened to legal marijuana businesses, joining Attorney General Dana Nessel, who signed a similar letter to Congress in May. Recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, with users allowed to possess up to 10 ounces of weed at a time at home. Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry is slated to get going in late 2019 or early 2020, but even medical dispensaries in the state have to deal in cash. This is not optimal in places like Detroit, where even the all-night diners keep their cash registers behind bulletproof glass. (Source: https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/gov-whitmer-signs-letter-in-support-of-marijuana-banking-regulations/Content?oid=21914809 )

Illinois – The House passed HB 1438, a proposal to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over. Illinois residents will be allowed to have no more than 1 ounce of marijuana, which the House decided was equivalent to a month’s supply. Tourists are only allowed 15 grams at a time, which seems like an odd double standard. Marijuana sales are expected to make Illinois $500 million per year, but it might be more if they let people, y’know, buy more? Just a thought. (Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/illinois-marijuana-legalize-cannabis-weed-us-states-a8940071.html)

Kentucky – The Public Safety Committee of Louisville’s metropolitan council voted for a marijuana decriminalization ordinance. Right now, having three ounces of weed can get you 45 days in jail, and being caught with plants more than once can get you five to ten years. The new ordinance wouldn’t exactly change that, just tell police not to bother if they have more important things to do—unless you’re selling it, driving while smoking it, or a minor. (Source: https://hightimes.com/news/louisville-public-safety-committee-advances-marijuana-decriminalization-ordinance/ )

Alabama – Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill that aims to create a new medical marijuana commission to study medical marijuana, help draft legislation on cannabis for next year, and extend a program that provides CBD oil to patients through the University of Alabama. Sounds progressive, but it’s actually a compromise on a bill that would have legalized medical marijuana outright if it hadn’t stalled in the House. Proponents of the bill were hoping that a medical marijuana program would alleviate the opioid crisis in Alabama. A recent research program has allowed Alabama farmers to start planting industrial hemp, which can be made into paper and cloth but is not all that fun to smoke. Source: (https://mjbizdaily.com/alabama-lawmakers-panel-study-medical-cannabis-legalization/)

Mississippi – Exactly 86,185 signatures are required for a petition to make its way onto the ballot in Mississippi. That’s a very specific number, but a petition to put medical marijuana on the ballot in 2020 is nearing that amount. A poll in January found that 2/3 of Mississippi residents support the legalization of medical marijuana in the state. The state has over 2 million registered voters. If you live in Mississippi and you haven’t had someone earnest come up to you with a clipboard recently, it’s time to get involved before the petition is sent to legislation in September. (Source: https://mississippitoday.org/2019/06/12/mississippi-medical-marijuana-initiative-closes-in-on-enough-signatures-for-2020-ballot/)

Mexico – The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, recently introduced a plan to decriminalize all drugs for our friends south of the border. It’s an impressive piece of legislature spanning from 2019 to 2024. It’s doubly impressive that he debuted it just three days after Cinco de Mayo, when most people are still sleeping it off. Mexico’s Supreme Court already declared marijuana prohibition unconstitutional in 2018, and a legalization bill introduced by Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero is currently in legislation. This National Development Plan nixes prison for detox, offering prescription doses and medical supervision to those suffering from chemical dependency. This policy is also expected to de-escalate the “war on drugs” that’s plagued Mexico for decades, which is good news for ordinary Mexicans and the tourist industry, and bad news for hipsters who make sensationalist documentaries about blinged-out drug lords. (Source: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/mexican-president-reveals-plan-to-decriminalize-all-drugs)

Zimbabwe – The Ivory Medical company has purchased a 10-hectare plot of land in the Buffalo Range prison in Chiredzi for marijuana farming. They’re currently working on getting another 80 hectares and making their fortune with extracts and oils. Zimbabwe legalized marijuana for medical and scientific use in 2018, but recreational use could still get you up to 12 years in prison. The company says it’s for scientific and medical research, and that it chose the prison to grow in because of its high security. It seems like a dick move to plant that crop right under the noses of prisoners who are likely in there for smoking up. Googling “Ivory Medical Zimbabwe” gets you a lot of results about elephant poaching, which is also a dick move. Better to make that money from weed than from killing elephants! (Source: https://southerntimesafrica.com/site/news/zimbabwe-approves-first-cannabis-production-project)

England – The Church of England runs an investment portfolio that’s worth 8.3 billion pounds, or over $10 billion. They’ve finally been given the go-ahead by the Queen (who reportedly prefers cocktails to weed) to invest in cannabis companies. The Church will focus on companies that work with medical marijuana, but won’t rule out companies that produce it for recreational use as well if that revenue isn’t more than 10% of their profits. Medical marijuana was legalized throughout the United Kingdom in 2018. The Church of England’s portfolio commissioners are pretty careful about what they invest in, only choosing stocks that don’t contradict the morality of the church’s commitment to social and spiritual health. That means no tobacco, gambling, or pornography stocks. Given the C of E’s origin story in one king’s desire for serial monogamy, we’re not sure if they invest in no-fault divorce legal services, but we hope they do. (Source: https://www.ft.com/content/297f3234-88fa-11e9-97ea-05ac2431f453)

Israel – This April, Israel decriminalized marijuana use, allowing citizens to own home-grown marijuana plants and downgrading the penalty for unauthorized public use to a fine. In March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he would look into marijuana legalization during a live Facebook stream, but that was right after the libertarian party leader, Moshe Feiglin, promised to decriminalize marijuana if elected. Israel was the first country to legalize medical marijuana over a decade ago. The Israeli cannabis industry is already strong, but this could bring in a billion shekels per year (that’s about $300 million) for the country’s economy. Decriminalizing marijuana in Israel is going to make a lot of people’s Birthright trips much more fun, especially if you choose the package that lets you go to raves in Tel Aviv instead of backpacking through the Negev. This is also a reminder to observant Jewish people that marijuana is considered parve and you can smoke up all you like without disappointing God, but that doesn’t mean you won’t disappoint your mother if she catches you with a blunt. (Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarabrittanysomerset/2019/04/05/israel-decriminalizes-adult-use-cannabis-during-cannatech-conference-in-tel-aviv/#711784ae5dff )

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