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Cannabis reform across America: a look at pot legislation in 26 states

Posted on March 11, 2013 by News Admin

 The movement to reform our failed cannabis policies has grown tremendously in recent years and months. It's not slowing down anytime soon. Cannabis reform is a mainstream issue, and frankly, there's no denying it. A majority in the county support legalizing cannabis, and 81% support its legalization for medical purposes.

On top of this, a majority of states in our country (27 in total) have either decriminalized cannabis possession (14), or legalized it for medical and/or recreational purposes (18). The remaining states are hard at work towards reform, and advocates in the states mentioned above are vehemently trying to improve their situation. For those who have been on the line about getting involved in helping bring cannabis law change, now is absolutely the time to jump in.

Below is a breakdown of efforts going on around the country:

In Alabama, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition has announced that they're working on 5 cannabis-related bills; everything from simple (though substantial) patient protections, to full legalization. The first of these five to be filed, House Bill 315, has been assigned to the House Committee on Health. The bill would provide prosecution protection for patients who possess and cultivate cannabis, as long as they get a recommendation from a doctor, and then a license from the state's Department of Health (which will determine the possession limits).

In Arizona, Republican representatives are attempting to repeal the state's medical cannabis laws, by putting it, once again, to a vote of the people. Arizona residents should be prepared to once again have to defend their right to use this safe and non-lethal medicine.

Last year Issue 5, which would have legalized medical cannabis in the state, lost 49% to 51%, surprising many in the political world that it had such a strong showing.
Just last week, proponents of this effort have filed a new initiative, aiming for the 2014 ballot.

In California, activists are working towards the Regulation of Medical Cannabis Act, an act that would expand upon California's current medical cannabis law and is being worked on for the 2014 election.

Beyond this, some activists will begin collecting signatures starting in May for the California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative, which would legalize cannabis in the state, including possession of up to 12 pounds, and the home cultivation of up to 99 plants. Richard Lee, the proponent of Prop 19, is working on an initiative aiming for the 2016 ballot.

Regulations are currently being established for legal cannabis retail outlets after the passage of Amendment 64 in November. If the federal government minds their own business, and all goes as planned, cannabis stores will be opening in the state either by the end of the year, or early next year. Cannabis clubs have already began to spring up, with more in the works.

All the clutter aside, here's what's important: If you're 21 or older in the state, and possess an ounce of cannabis and are growing 6 plants at home, you're not breaking state law.

Recent polling has shocked many in the state, finding that 70% support legalized medical cannabis, with less than 1 in 4 being in opposition.

In the state's legislature, both the Senate and House are currently discussing bills to legalize cannabis. Florida Senate Bill 1250 has been assigned to the state's Health Policy Committee; its companion bill in the House is House Bill 1139.

These measures would allow qualified patients to possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis, grow up to 8 plants, and directs the state to license and regulate medical cannabis dispensaries.

Page down for more states with pending cannabis legislation.

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