It’s time for your monthly roundup of all things pot politics. With rapid change in the cannabis industry, it can be hard to keep track of what big steps have taken place. To make it easy, we'll be providing you with a recap of the most notable decisions and events affecting the world of cannabis.
This month, there were three fairly large headlines related to policy change that you should know about. We've broken them down here for your reading (and educational) pleasure.
Oregon Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
Photo Credit: Ian Ransley
The tax-free state just became a lot more popular as they have legalized cannabis for recreational use. This makes them the fourth state to do so behind Colorado, Washington and Alaska. Marijuana users are now allowed to possess eight ounces at home and one ounce outside of their home. Using cannabis in private is a-okay, however, it's still illegal to smoke in public spaces. In addition to this, you can’t just walk into a store and buy the flower. Rules and regulation of the industry still need to be discussed and written (especially when it comes to edibles), but since the first and biggest step has already been taken, the people of Oregon won’t have to wait too long. Plus, adults are able to grow their own plants, making Oregon even more "Portlandia' than even.
All we can do is hope that more states follow suit and the United States can be, well, a bit more united.
Legalization in Danger for Ohio
Photo Credit: BenjColl
The state of Ohio may have to wait a while longer for another chance at legalizing marijuana. Unfortunately, the recent proposal doesn’t have enough signatures to put it onto the November 3rd ballot meaning it's back to the drawing board.
This proposal, brought forward by ResponsibleOhio, outlines grow limits for commercial growers as well as license fees and limits for those who plan to grow at home. As of the writing of this article, the signatures are being validated and counted. If the proposal does not have the required 305,591 signatures, ResponsibleOhio will be given a 10-day grace period to find enough to meet the minimum. If the proposal does not make it to the November 3rd general election, then the citizens of Ohio will have to wait at least 365 days—until the state's 2016 general election.
Senate Wants Banks to Accept Marijuana Industry’s Money
Photo Credit: geralt
Banks are still not allowed to deal with those who wish to open up a commercial bank account for a dispensary, which makes the multibillion-dollar industry relatively dangerous (and susceptible to theft) if you’re the owner of a store. With that in mind, six senators are hoping to pass a bill that will allow banks to take on these clients and instead of owners storing cash in safes, they can store it in the bank—like every other business owner. The bill is titled “Marijuana Business to Banking Act,” and it hopes to make the industry safer as well as easier to regulate. One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Sen. Jeff Merkley, was quoted in the SFGate article stating, “Forcing businessmen and businesswomen who are operating legally under Oregon state law to shuttle around gym bags full of cash is an invitation to crime and malfeasance. That must end.”
Safety is one of the biggest reasons behind marijuana reform and if legalization still can not achieve that for growers and sellers it will allow opposition parties to easily poke holes in reform arguments.
Fortunately for marijuana, July was a month where there was more good news than bad. Although many politicians and reform parties are gaining traction, there is still a lot of work to be done to create a national unity over the legalization of cannabis. Progress is made month by month when it comes to policy reform and we can only hope for more months like this one. With this in mind, we believe (hope!) that progressive states such as California and New York will be the next to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.