Recreational Marijuana

As previously reported here, on November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), which allows for, among other things, the recreational use of marijuana. The Act became the first law of its kind in the nation to protect employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana.

Simply stated, the Act prohibits employers from refusing to employ or otherwise taking any adverse action against any person age 21 or older based on that individual’s off-premises marijuana use. However, the Act permits employers to bar the on-premises use and possession of marijuana and to discipline employees for being under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may no longer test job applicants for marijuana. Moreover, according to the Maine Department of Labor, for purposes of a reasonable suspicion drug test, an employee’s positive drug test, by itself, will not be sufficient to prove that the employee is “under the influence” of marijuana.

Continue Reading Maine Employers Receive Little Guidance From Department of Labor on New Recreational Marijuana Law

On March 9, 2018, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (“CCC”) filed its much anticipated recreational marijuana Regulations with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.  According to the CCC, the Regulations are on track to be published in the Massachusetts Register on March 23, 2018.  The Regulations will become effective upon publication.  While the Regulations are comprehensive in many ways, for most employers the Regulations are most notable for what they lack, namely guidance regarding employer-employee rights and responsibilities. Continue Reading Massachusetts Recreational Pot Regulations Offer Little Guidance To Employers

On November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), which allows for, among other things, the recreational use of marijuana. The Act contains within it an anti-discrimination in employment provision, which is effective today, February 1, 2018, making it the first law of its kind in the nation because it protects employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana.
Continue Reading Maine Employees Now Protected From Repercussions of Off-Duty Marijuana Use

With only a week until Election Day, we continue our coverage of state ballot initiatives proposing to legalize recreational marijuana use:

MASSACHUSETTS:  Massachusetts’ Question 4 would permit people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public and up to 10 ounces at home. Massachusetts residents would be able to grow up to six plants and give one ounce or less of marijuana to a person at least 21 years old without payment.  A Cannabis Control Commission would regulate legal marijuana commerce.

A city or town could hold a local vote to determine whether to permit the selling of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises at commercial establishments.  That would mean that if state marijuana regulators choose to license cannabis cafes for on-site consumption, local referendums would determine whether cities or towns could host them.

Employers could still prohibit the consumption of marijuana by employees in the workplace.

The measure would impose an additional 3.75% to the state’s 6.25% sales tax, for a total tax rate of 10%. Localities can ban legal marijuana commerce or add local taxes.

If it passes, the law will take effect December 15, 2016.

A recent poll by WBUR/MassINC Polling Group shows increasing support for legalizing recreational marijuana on Election Day. Fifty-five percent of likely Massachusetts voters said they favor allowing adults to use recreational marijuana versus approximately forty percent who oppose the measure.  There is also citizen support for stores selling marijuana. Fifty-nine percent of poll respondents said it would not bother them if a store selling recreational marijuana opened in their community.

Likely Massachusetts voters were also okay with people using marijuana at home: Eighty-four percent said they would not be bothered by people using marijuana inside their home.

NEVADA:  The Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana, or Question 2, would allow adults aged 21 or older to possess, consume, and cultivate marijuana for recreational use.  Individuals could possess up to an ounce and grow up to six plants at home — if that residence is more than 25 miles away from a licensed dispensary.  Cannabis consumption would be restricted to private premises, which could include a retail marijuana store.

The initiative would impose a 15% excise tax on wholesale marijuana sales, with revenue from the tax being spent on enforcing the measure and schools.  Retail sales will be subject to the regular state sales tax.  It would also authorize and regulate marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and distributors.

Likely Nevada voters narrowly support Question 2, according to a poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  Forty-seven percent of respondents support the ballot measure according to the poll of 800 likely voters by Bendixen & Amandi International between October 20 and 23. Forty-three percent oppose the measure, and ten percent said they are still undecided or didn’t answer.

With only a month to Election Day, The Blunt Truth turns its attention to the ballot measures in nine states that would expand legal access to marijuana.  This week we look at two of the five states— Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada —with ballot measures proposing to legalize recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 and over: Continue Reading RE[e]FERENDUMS: 2016 Marijuana State Ballot Initiatives

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legal marijuana.

It’s not just for Microsoft anymore!  Is global technology giant Google the latest major U.S. corporation to kick the tires of the marijuana industry? It could be. Signs suggest the Mountain View, California-based company is exploring the opportunity to work with cannabis businesses.

Under proposal, bars and other businesses could create “consumption areas” — but only with neighborhood backing.

The state’s highest court has cleared the way for a question that calls for legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts to appear on the November ballot.

And one more item, just for grins:

The Jamaican government is considering installing kiosks at airport arrival halls and seaports for tourists to get a license to buy and consume up to two ounces of marijuana during their stay on the island.

Anything we missed?  Let us know in the comments.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at the world of legalized marijuana.

Nebraska and Oklahoma may not have had their day in (Supreme) Court, but they are undeterred in their fight against Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

A judge in Illinois’ Cook County ordered the state’s medical marijuana program to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for MMJ within 30 days.

An initiative has officially obtained enough signatures to be placed on November’s ballot. It would allow adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

Authorities say they have arrested a man on suspicion of driving while high on pot after he crashed into a Happy Valley marijuana dispensary.

That last item was more for fun than real news value, but it’s Friday, it’s a long weekend, and how could we resist?

Anything we missed?  Let us know in the comments.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the U.S. is engaged in picking a new President.  Although issues such as immigration, income inequality, foreign policy and religious freedom have dominated the headlines, all the candidates are on record regarding marijuana: its medical uses, whether it should be rescheduled, how the federal-state legal discrepancies should be handled.  See below a round-up of the candidates statements (note: candidates are listed in alphabetical order):

Hillary Clinton (from her website, https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/criminal-justice-reform/)

  • Focus federal enforcement resources on violent crime, not simple marijuana possession. Marijuana arrests, including for simple possession, account for a huge number of drug arrests. Further, significant racial disparities exist in marijuana enforcement, with black men significantly more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, even though usage rates are similar. Hillary believes we need an approach to marijuana that includes:
    • Allowing states that have enacted marijuana laws to act as laboratories of democracy, as long as they adhere to certain federal priorities such as not selling to minors, preventing intoxicated driving, and keeping organized crime out of the industry.
    • Rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. Hillary supports medical marijuana and would reschedule marijuana to advance research into its health benefits.

Bernie Sanders (from his website, https://berniesanders.com/issues/racial-justice/)

  • We need to turn back from the failed “War on Drugs” and eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between black and white people.
  • We need to take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs.
  • We need to allow people in states which legalize marijuana to be able to fully participate in the banking system and not be subject to federal prosecution for using pot.

Donald Trump (Marijuana is not discussed on his campaign website, but he has made public statements on the topic.)

It will be interesting to see how the issue might play into the election going forward.  If it gets any discussion time at the nominating conventions or in the debates, we’ll let you know!

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your source for articles on legalized marijuana.  Supporters of full legalization had a “one step forward; one step back” week.  It looks like a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana will qualify for the November ballot in California, but in Vermont, legislation that would have legalized cannabis was defeated.  You win some; you lose some.  Also, in Hawaii, nurse practitioners would be allowed to certify patients to use medical marijuana, what the article calls medi-juana.  We’ve not heard that term before, but we like it very much.

 

Supporters of a recreational marijuana ballot measure in California handed in more than 600,000 signatures, indicating the initiative is virtually assured of going before voters in November, local media reported. Supporters amassed a comfortable…

 

State lawmakers have tweaked a medical marijuana bill to allow advanced practice registered nurses to certify patients to use medical marijuana. Previously, only physicians were allowed to qualify patients for the drug, which has been legal for…

 

As reported in this local NPR article, headlined “House Snuffs Marijuana Legalization, Issue Dead For 2016 Session,” the only state legislature that seemed to be seriously consider legalizing recreational marijuana via traditional…

 

Something important we missed?  Let us know in the comments.

Readers will recall that the District of Columbia is 1) a jurisdiction in which marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, 2) a jurisdiction with an unusual system of governance, involving the United States Congress and 3) a jurisdiction in which the use of marijuana in public places is still illegal.

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post on the question of whether private clubs were public or private spaces for purposes of the marijuana consumption laws.  Are these establishments public places where smoking is illegal, or private spaces where members would be free to light up or eat up?  At the time, it appeared that the District government was unsure about the answer to that question and appointed a task force to study it.

Fast forward to yesterday, April 5, 2016, when the D. C. Council appeared to reverse itself and voted to make cannabis consumption at private clubs illegal.  The vote was close, 7-6, which shows how divided even the city government is on this question.  And where does this leave the task force, appointed so recently to study the issue, especially since the Mayor, who is opposed to marijuana clubs, still supports the idea of a task force?  Good question for which we do not have an answer at this point.  This means that other jurisdictions grappling with the question of whether to allow marijuana clubs that were looking to the District for guidance will have to look elsewhere.

The Washington Post (registration required) has an article that’s worth a read: D.C. Council bans pot clubs, reversing itself — again.

Rest assured, we’ll keep following this situation; further bulletins as events warrant!