With multiple states poised to legalize marijuana by 2016, (joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C.), there can be no denying it: The legalization of marijuana is a white-hot topic these days.
An April 2015 poll conducted by Fox News (under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research) showed that 51 percent of Americans polled were in favor of legalizing marijuana, while 44 percent opposed it. This is in contrast to last year, in which 50-43 percent were in favor of legalization, while in 2013, 49-46 percent were in favor of keeping weed criminalized.
Well, the times, they are a-changin’. Here’s what’s happened over the last month in the world of marijuana legalization.
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1. Women are making their mark on the cannabis industry.
As put by Julie Berliner, founder of marijuana edibles shop Sweet Grass Kitchen, “In six months, things may be very different. It’s not just about getting high or the sex appeal of getting into the industry. It’s about being part of history. I really love that aspect. It’s a social movement like suffrage or civil rights.”
2. The Illinois Senate approves marijuana decriminalization bill.
The state legislature passed a measure that means possession of small amounts of marijuana will result in a fine instead of an arrest. Instead of $2,500 fines and up to a year in a jail, low-level cannabis possession now means penalties more along the lines of a standard traffic ticket.
3. Bill allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans is passed.
Veterans Administration (VA) doctors are now allowed to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. This vote is the first time the U.S. Senate has ever moved marijuana law reform legislation forward.
4. City laws changed to fine pot-smoke perps.
Authorities in the city of Pendleton, OR have labeled the smell of marijuana a nuisance and plan to fine residents should the scent travel to a neighbor’s property. The resulting fine could cost marijuana smokers up to $500. However, marijuana will be legal in the state of Oregon on July 1st, 2015.
5. Kelly Clarkson speaks out in favor of legalization.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone the pop star stated, “I’m not even a pothead, I just think it’s funny that we legalize something as destructive as alcohol or pills and not that [marijuana].”
6. Legalization = cheaper weed.
With a little help from Priceofweed.com, Forbes recently released this infographic detailing the different prices for an ounce of weed in each of the 50 U.S. states. Incidentally, the states where recreational marijuana use is legal are also the states where marijuana is least expensive.
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