The news in state cannabis law is: Maine’s potheads got to hold off a minute, Coloradans are about to get their weed at the touch of a button, and Virginians are just shit out of luck. This nation’s lawmakers have weed on the brain apparently. In just one day, the Associated Press ran stories on four different state cannabis laws which were either proposed or denied.
In my Maine state, they legalized bud more than a year ago, but while lawmakers hemmed and hawed over just how to sell legal cannabis in their fair state, they put in an interim retail ban. That ban is up on Thursday, but the state congress still can’t agree on how to run their marijuana market. Their isn’t even a way for potential cannabis businesses to acquire licenses at the moment.
Last fall, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill to regulate cannabis sales. Now he says he supports delaying the start of sale until Spring, but the AP notes that it’s unlikely a framework will be in place by that time.
Meanwhile, two time zones over, one of the most weed-friendly states in the union is aiming to get even more amicable. A new bill in Colorado would create a cannabis delivery pilot program in the state, for both medical and recreational varieties. Mirroring the state government mechanics of Maine, this bill is also a reaction to a previous Governor’s veto.
Gov. Hickenlooper turned down a bill last year that would have made cannabis delivery legit, on the grounds that it was a “hazard” and that it might make federal agencies teed off. If the new bill passes, cannabis delivery would start in the fall, and Colorado would join the ranks of Oregon, Nevada, and California.
But even if the measures don’t go through, both states will still be in a much better place than Virginia. Down there, a modest bill to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis couldn’t clear a state Senate committee. The measure would have reduced the penalty for cannabis possession from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty. But now it won’t.
Photo via Flickr user Brian Shamblen