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Legalizing Marijuana Is One Of New Connecticut Governor’s ‘Priorities’

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The effort to legalize marijuana in Connecticut will get a boost in 2019 from the state’s incoming governor, who says that the policy change will be one of his priorities in the new year.

“It’s something I would support, and I don’t want the black market controlling marijuana distribution in our state,” Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D) told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “I think that’s a lousy way to go.”

“We’re going to have a legislative session. It’s going to be one of the priorities.”

Lamont suggested that legalization in nearby jurisdictions provides extra incentive to legalize cannabis sooner rather that later.

“Canada, Massachusetts, others are doing it,” he said. “That’s going to lead to some enforcement things. In the meantime we enforce Connecticut laws.”

Watch Lamont’s new marijuana comments roughly 17 minutes into the video below:

During his gubernatorial campaign, Lamont said that legalizing marijuana is “an idea whose time has come” and suggested that cannabis is not a gateway drug.

Legal recreational cannabis sales are set to begin in neighboring Massachusetts on Tuesday.

A report to Lamont’s transition team from the state Office of Policy and Management last week said that Connecticut “could also access additional revenue from any newly authorized activities such as…recreational marijuana sales.”

Current Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy signed the state’s marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis policies into law but has opposed broader legalization.

A poll this summer found that 59 percent of Connecticut voters support legalizing marijuana.

Lamont is one of several new incoming Democratic governors across the country who campaigned on marijuana legalization.

Marijuana Won The Midterm Elections

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Politics

UK Lawmakers Reject Marijuana Legalization In House Of Commons Vote

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Lawmakers in the British Parliament defeated a move to legalize marijuana in an early stage vote on Tuesday.

The proposal to “legalise the possession and consumption of cannabis” and to “provide for the regulation of the production, distribution and sale of cannabis” was rejected by a vote of 66 to 52.

Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat MP, put the idea before the House of Commons under a so-called “ten minute rule motion” through which lawmakers conducted a brief debate before deciding whether to allow the proposal to advance to the next stage of the legislative process.

During the debate, Lamb said that the UK government’s recent move to allow limited access to medical cannabis is inadequate. Saying that it only helps a “minuscule” number of patients, he spoke about constituents of his who find it easier to access the powerful opioid fentanyl.

“It is total hypocrisy that the most dangerous drug of all, in terms of harm to yourself and others, alcohol, is consumed in large quantities right here in our national Parliament, whilst we criminalise others for using a less dangerous drug – with many using it for the relief of pain,” Lamb said in response to the result.

The Labour Party reportedly pushed its members abstain on the vote, rather than support legalization.

The party’s whip operation tweeted in advance of the vote that the proposal “has no realistic chance of making it into law regardless of the result.”

“It is shameful that we continue to criminalise people who use cannabis for the relief of pain,” Lamb said. “It is equally shameful that we criminalise many young people for using cannabis, when many people in Government will have themselves used cannabis at some stage of their lives.”

See the video of UK lawmakers debating and voting on marijuana legalization below:

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Read: Here’s The Final 2018 Farm Bill That Will Legalize Hemp

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The final text of the 2018 Farm Bill was released on Monday, and industrial hemp legalization made the cut. Votes to send the legislation to President Trump’s desk are expected this week.

The bipartisan provision, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will enable U.S. farmers to cultivate, process and sell hemp, the market for which is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

Following the announcement last month that lawmakers in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees had reconciled their respective versions of the agriculture legislation—with hemp legalization in the mix—questions remained about a controversial provision in the Senate version that would ban people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry.

But a compromise was reached and the final version will allow such individuals to work for hemp businesses after 10 years.

Read the text of the final 2018 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions here, followed by explanatory statements from the conference committee:

Farm Bill Hemp Provisions by on Scribd

Marijuana Moment excerpted the above sections dealing with hemp from the full 807-page Farm Bill and committee explanatory documentation.

“While this Farm Bill is a missed opportunity, there are some good provisions,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said in a press release. “One of those provisions is to roll back our senseless hemp prohibition.”

“Our forefathers would be rolling in their graves if they saw us putting restraints on a versatile product that they grew themselves. We have farmers growing thousands of acres of hemp in dozens of states across the U.S. already. You can have hemp products shipped to your doorstep. This is a mainstream, billion-dollar industry that we have made difficult for farmers. It’s past time Congress gets out of their way.”

Under the legislation, hemp would no longer be in the jurisdiction of the Justice Department. Rather, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will lightly regulate the crop.

If the bill passes and President Trump signs it, hemp legalization will go into effect on January 1, according to VoteHemp.

Watch: Sen. Mitch McConnell Uses Hemp Pen To Sign Farm Bill Legalizing The Crop

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Watch: Sen. Mitch McConnell Uses Hemp Pen To Sign Farm Bill Legalizing The Crop

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signed off on the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill on Monday…and he used a pen made of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, hemp, to so do.

The senator has been the leading proponent of an industrial hemp legalization provision, which recently made its way into the final version of the wide-ranging agriculture legislation.

“Making it official with my hemp pen,” McConnell wrote in a tweet that includes video of him signing off on the proposal. “Proud to have served as conferee on Farm Bill & to fight for Kentucky priorities.”

“With today’s signature, my provision to legalize industrial hemp is 1 step closer to reality. Looking forward to voting YES on this bill & sending to [President Donald Trump].”

The full text of the final Farm Bill legislation is expected to be publicly released on Tuesday, with votes anticipated in the House and Senate in the coming days.

Lawmakers Reach Compromise Over Controversial Hemp Legalization Felony Provision

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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