Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
New Jersey (finally) passes a legalization bill. South Dakota and Montana continue to struggle with implementing the will of the voters. North Dakota, on the other hand, moves forward with legislation to allow adult-use cannabis. On the federal level, members of Congress ask President Biden to grant clemency to those with marijuana convictions. Merrick Garland gets a Senate hearing and discusses enforcement of marijuana laws. And finally, we have some movie news, with a New Jersey angle.
The Garden State finally got off the legislation roller coaster this week and passed a bill allowing adult use of cannabis. If you want a look at the ups and downs, just check out The Week in Weed for the past three months.
south dakota & montana
We’ve discussed South Dakota almost as much as New Jersey this year. As we reported last week, the legislature is debating a bill that would delay implementation of medical marijuana for a year. Now, those in favor of medicinal cannabis have a proposal that would shorten the delay in setting up a program and provide those with “debilitating medical conditions” a way to avoid criminal penalties in the interim.
As for Montana, Rep. Bill Mercer (R-Billings) wants to delay the sale of adult-use marijuana until 2023. He says the ballot initiative’s requirement that systems be in place by October of this year is unworkable. He’s also concerned that a court challenge will invalidate the entire measure. As always, further bulletins as events warrant.
In the marijuana realm, it’s important not to mix up your Dakotas. We’ve chronicled South Dakota’s many issues in many blog posts, but haven’t devoted as much time to their neighbor to the north. Here’s where things stand now: In response to a push to put adult-use legalization on the ballot in 2022, legislators took up a legalization proposal themselves this week. The House passed the bill, which now goes to the Senate.
Let’s turn our attention to the federal government. 37 House members signed a letter to President Biden, asking him to pardon those convicted of federal cannabis offenses. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) led the group in asking for clemency for those in prison for activity now legalized in so many states.
President Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, Merrick Garland, answered questions on enforcement of federal cannabis laws. He spoke against spending limited resources on prosecutions in states with legal marijuana. He also said that stopping the “overemphasis on marijuana possession” would help to address systemic racism.
In the time it’s taken for New Jersey lawmakers to pass a cannabis bill, Kevin Smith has written a new “Clerks” movie. In what will come as no surprise, Jay and Silent Bob now run a weed store.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!