Weed is legal in at least some form in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Most allow it for medical use only. Colorado and Washington this year enacted laws that allow recreational use by adults. But more than two dozen states are considering new or expanded marijuana reform legislation, including complete legalization for adults, medical marijuana, hemp use and decriminalization. Which are the next five states likely to legalize marijuana?
The GOP-controlled House voted in favor of blocking the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana. The surprising 219-189 vote came as the House debated a bill funding the Justice Department's budget. The amendment by conservative GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California -- the first state to legalize medical marijuana -- came as almost half the states have legalized marijuana for medical uses. "Public opinion is shifting," Rohrabacher said, noting a recent Pew Research Center survey that found 61 percent of Republicans support medical marijuana. (See also: Is Congress finally catching on about medical marijuana?)
At the first Cannabis Conference held at the University of the West Indies, stakeholders have called for the criminal records of persons convicted for smoking small amounts of ganja to be expunged and are calling for the laws to be amended to allow for the personal use of small amounts of ganja in private. But while they want ganja to be decriminalised for personal use by adults and for religious purposes, Government must maintain its ban on the smoking of all substances in public and must put in place safeguards and education programmes to reduce juvenile use and demand for ganja.
Vor zehn Jahren startete in Frankfurt der Modellversuch, Heroin an schwerkranke Junkies abzugeben. Nun diskutieren Stadtparlamentarier über die Verteilung von Cannabis. Durch eine kontrollierte Abgabe von Cannabis könnten die "verheerenden Folgen" des illegalen Marktes eingedämmt werden. Man könnte einen "wirklichen Verbraucherschutz" einführen und Personen mit problematischen Konsummustern gezielt ansprechen. "Es geht darum, den im Moment ungezügelten Schwarzmarkt zu kontrollieren." (Mehr dazu: Cannabis auf dem Prüfstand)
When the law on medical marihuana came into force in February of last year it seemed that the way was now open for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases to use the drug under medical supervision without having to acquire it secretly in violation of the law. However, despite the good intentions of MPs who pushed through the legislation, little has changed in the past year and cannabis remains unavailable legally.
A Colorado marijuana innovation is changing the way lawmakers in even the most conservative parts of the country talk about cannabis and is poised to create a rapid expansion in the number of states that have legalized marijuana in some way. But many marijuana advocates view the new political campaign with skepticism, fearing it could halt their movement's momentum. Taken to its logical conclusion, medical marijuana could be a "box canyon" for broader legalization efforts.
In Saint Vincent and across the Caribbean, marijuana is illegal, yet it is widely used, freely sold and openly puffed. It’s evidence of the shifting attitudes over pot. Now, for the first time, Caribbean leaders — much like a growing number of American and Latin American lawmakers — are considering loosening restrictions to control and capitalize on the popular crop.
Legalizing medical marijuana causes no increase in crime, according to a new study. In fact, legalized medical pot may reduce some violent crime, including homicide, University of Texas at Dallas researchers wrote in a journal article published this week. The study appears to settle concerns, simmering since the first states approved medical marijuana nearly two decades ago, that legalization would lead to more crime.
Researchers with a Caribbean trade bloc have found that decriminalizing marijuana and exploring its use for medicinal purposes could help boost the region's sluggish economy. Caricom leaders are expected to talk about the preliminary report in a two-day summit that begins Monday in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
Cannabis was condemned by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a psychoactive drug with “particularly dangerous properties” and hardly any therapeutic value. Ever since, an increasing number of countries have shown discomfort with the treaty regime’s strictures through soft defections, stretching its legal flexibility to sometimes questionable limits.
Jamaica is to decriminalise ganja by year end as the government moves to capitalise on the booming marijuana trade internationally, said Science and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell. The minister confirmed that ganja will be decriminalised this year in keeping with parliamentary approval. Paulwell, late last year, had come out in full support of positive developments in ganja locally and internationally and said that "Jamaica will not be left behind" as interest and movements in ganja law reform and research and development grows rapidly. (See also: Ganja green light this year)
La légalisation du cannabis en Maroc à des fins thérapeutiques et industrielles permettra les familles de vivre dignement. Après le Parti de l’Istiqlal, le PAM s’apprête à déposer lui aussi une proposition de loi en ce mois de février après avoir terminé ses consultations avec les agriculteurs. Le sujet en tout cas n’est plus tabou, et les parlementaires eux-mêmes, au-delà des calculs électoralistes et politiques que peut revêtir leur initiative, demandent à juste titre un cadre législatif pour son exploitation à des fins médicales et industrielles.
Turin's city council has approved a motion in favour of making the drug legal for therapeutic purposes, making it the first of Italy's large cities to do so. The proposal is an appeal to the Italian parliament that they "move from a prohibitionist structure to one where soft drugs, particularly cannabis, are legally produced and distributed". This means that while the vote doesn't make it legal to consume, buy or sell cannabis for individual use yet, it paves the way for a more tolerant view of the drug in the eyes of the law.
According to La Vie Eco, the Istiqlal Party has recently proposed a draft law to decriminalize and regulate the cultivation of cannabis for medical and pharmaceutical ends. The Istiqlal Party thus becomes the first party to take this issue to the parliament. The objective is to delimit the cultivation of cannabis to certain regions, namely Al Hoceima, Chaouen, Tétouan, Ouezzane and Taounate. Beyond these regions, the cultivation of this plant will be prohibited.
An estimated 1,000 Israelis attended a rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Saturday night to support the legalization of marijuana. As the crowd chanted phrases like "The people demand legal marijuana," the speakers at the rally sought to frame pot smoking as part of Israel’s national culture, as a unifying factor among the country’s disparate groups and even as a security issue. Medical marijuana, which is hard for patients to receive permission to access, was central to the rally. (See also: Cabinet approves Health Ministry rules on medical marijuana)
One of Morocco’s main political parties, the Party for Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), established by a close adviser to the king, started the process of legalizing marijuana cultivation with a hearing in parliament over its industrial and medical uses. The hearing is the first step in eventually introducing a draft law, aiming to help small farmers who survive on the crop but live at the mercy of drug lords and eradication by police. "We are not seeking to legalize the production of drugs, but to search for possible medical and industrial uses of this plant and create an alternative economy in the region," said Milouda Hazib. (See also: Morocco lawmakers stoke cannabis debate)
Israel's Health Ministry has expressed opposition to granting general practitioners the right to prescribe medical marijuana. Instead, the ministry will certify 10 doctors during the first half of 2014, allowing them to prescribe medicinal marijuana to the growing number of patients who currently use it. These 10, newly certified doctors will join the 20 doctors currently permitted by the Health Ministry to prescribe the drug.
History is expected to be created next week when Jamaica's first medical marijuana company, which is intended to be instrumental in extracting the medicinal value from the addictive elements of ganja, comes into being. Internationally renowned Jamaican scientist Professor Henry Lowe, the brainchild behind the initiative, has high hopes for the use of medical marijuana in Jamaica.
The Czech Republic’s parliament legalized medical marijuana this year by an overwhelming majority, with the law becoming effective April 1. But some 20,000 patients who are estimated to be eligible for cannabis treatment have no chance to get it legally — although so far police have largely ignored renegade growers who technically would face prison. Patients and medical experts blame interference by the Health Ministry, which has long fiercely opposed legalizing medical marijuana.