Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
This week, the big news comes from Minnesota, where legislators are rushing to pass a legalization bill before time runs out on the legislative session. In New Hampshire, Governor Sununu appears to be re-thinking his opposition to cannabis. Meanwhile, in Florida, a familiar pattern seems to be playing out around a legalization ballot initiative. And finally, could marijuana be coming to the U.S. Botanic Gardens?
As The Blunt Truth goes to press (goes to blog?), Minnesota lawmakers are preparing to vote on a legalization bill. After the House and Senate passed two different versions of the bill, a conference committee drafted a compromise bill, which now must pass the two chambers before heading to the Governor. All signs look favorable for passage.
The old adage “never say never” was proved true this week, as Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH) announced that he thinks legalization of cannabis is inevitable. Long an opponent of marijuana for adult use, it looks as if the Governor has had a change of heart. This came on the heels of the New Hampshire Senate voting against the most recent incarnation of a legalization bill.
That is why, with the right policy and framework in place, I stand ready to sign a legalization bill that puts the State of NH in the driver’s seat, focusing on harm reduction—not profits. Similar to our liquor sales, this path helps to keep substances away from kids by ensuring the State of New Hampshire retains control of marketing, sales, and distribution—eliminating any need for additional taxes. As such, the bill that was defeated in NH this session was not the right path for our state.Gov. Chris Sununu, statement on marijuana legalization
Cannabis initiatives often take a roller coaster ride to the ballot. A group gathers signatures, and challenges follow. Once that hurdle is cleared, there’s the disagreements over whether the language meets state guidelines. Sometimes, outdated laws impede the process (Mississippi) and sometimes, initiatives are overturned after they’re passed (South Dakota). In Florida, enough signatures have been obtained to set a Supreme Court review in process. As is many times the case, those opposed to legalization claim that it violates the “single subject” rule for ballot initiatives. In 2022, the Supreme Court invalidated an earlier proposal – will 2023 bring the same news?
It is thanks to Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC) that hemp is now on display at the U.S. Botanic Garden – see our report on her efforts here. Now, she would like to see some marijuana in the garden as well. One wonders if the fact that it is illegal under federal law might make that request a bit more difficult to grant…
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!