Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. That left-leaning Vermont is poised to join them is hardly a surprise.
But unlike the other states, which all legalized pot through ballot measures, Vermont lawmakers are taking the lead.
On Wednesday, the state Legislature became the first in the United States to approve a bill legalizing recreational marijuana. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has indicated he will soon sign the measure into law.
Gov. Jerry Brown estimated Wednesday that the state will receive $643 million from excise taxes on marijuana during the first full year of legalization in California, much more than the cost to the state of issuing licenses and enforcing new rules.
Brown’s estimates are contained in the budget he proposed for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and fall short of some past state projections that legalized cannabis could eventually bring $1 billion annually to the state’s coffers. This year, with only six months of taxing, the budget estimates $175 million in pot taxes.
“The amount and timing of revenues generated from the new taxes are uncertain and will depend on various factors including local regulations, and cannabis price and consumption changes in a legal environment,” Brown’s budget says.
California’s historic law permitting the retail sale of recreational marijuana took effect New Year’s Day. Voters chose in 2016 to legalize recreational pot — creating the largest such legal market in the country. Now, we want to hear from you. We’re looking to speak to marijuana novices. Do you plan on smoking marijuana – or buying edibles – for the first time now that it's legal for adult recreational use?
Keyboard confessional: I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life. I don’t care for kush. I hate its smell. Edibles scare me. I can’t tell the difference between THC and TBS. The one time pals offered me a joint, I declined and drank Cactus Cooler instead.
At 7 feet tall, Brad Miller's adult life has been spent towering above most other. Now he's working on a different way to get high.
The former Sacramento Kings center's new company, CHC California City, broke ground Friday on its cannabis manufacturing facility in eastern Kern County.
The plant will put out 38 different cannabis products including edibles, water-soluble THC and vaporizer cartridges under the name Mountain Chief Products, California City Chamber of Commerce announced in a news release. Miller is the principal in CHC California City but will leave day-to-day operational oversight to deputy Ricky Mauch.
Proposition 64, approved by California voters in 2016 to legalize recreational pot use, allows people to petition the courts to have past convictions for marijuana offenses expunged from their records. But the process can be difficult and expensive, according to supporters of pot legalization.
In response, Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) on Tuesday proposed legislation that would make it easier to have criminal convictions removed from the records of marijuana users, potentially opening more doors to employment and housing.
Rather than require people to petition the courts for a determination, Assembly Bill 1793 would require criminal convictions for marijuana-related offenses to be automatically expunged, placing the burden on the courts, Bonta said.
Most Californians with an urge to smoke a joint will enter the state's legal marijuana marketplace through a single doorway — at a retail shop.
But out of view of those day-to-day sales, the state is ushering in a sprawling, untested system to move pot from place to place that will also serve as a collection point for taxes, a gateway for testing and a packaging center for the plant's fragrant buds.
The so-called marijuana distributor is a kind of skeleton connecting the state's emerging industry of growers, sellers and manufacturers. It's envisioned as a vast back office where the grunt work of keeping track of cannabis and getting it from farms to store shelves will take place.
When Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions green-lighted federal prosecutions of marijuana lawbreakers, the vast majority of U.S. states that allow some form of medical marijuana were unexpectedly placed at risk of a crackdown and are warily watching developments.
Forty-six states — including Sessions' home state of Alabama — have legalized some form of medical marijuana in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eight of those states also allow recreational marijuana.
Among the guidance that Sessions rescinded was the so-called Ogden Memorandum of 2009 that instructed federal prosecutors not to pursue cases against medical marijuana patients and distributors who complied with state laws.
Whether to crack down on marijuana in states where it is legal is a decision that will now rest with those states' top federal prosecutors, many of whom are deeply rooted in their communities and may be reluctant to pursue cannabis businesses or their customers.
When he rescinded the Justice Department's previous guidance on marijuana, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions left the issue to a mix of prosecutors who were appointed by President Trump's administration and others who are holdovers from the Obama years.
Legal experts do not expect a flood of new cases, and people familiar with the job of U.S. attorney say prosecutors could decide against using already limited resources to seek criminal charges against cannabis companies that abide by state regulations or their customers.