Category Archives: Legalization

Vermont May Legalize Recreational Cannabis

By Jason Liu, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image used under the Creative Commons license.

Vermont, home state of presidential Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, currently has a senate bill that would legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use and create a framework for retail sales. Senate Bill 241 or S.241, recently passed the Committee on Judiciary with a favorable report, and is currently referred to the Committee on Finance. Continue reading

The Iowa Caucus and Marijuana: 2016 Candidates Weigh in on Cannabis

By Daniel Shortt

As the election cycle accelerates into high gear with the Iowa Caucus, our readers may have questions on what the major presidential candidates think about marijuana. In this post, we complied some quotes and policies from the four most viable presidential hopefuls.

Used under CC license. Image by Fickr user DonkeyHotey.

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Cannabis Cafes and Clubs – Nuisance or New Thing?

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

In every state that has legalized marijuana, consuming it in public is still illegal. Further, every state besides Alaska has outlawed private cannabis cafes, clubs, and any other establishment in the business of having customers consume marijuana on the premises. Since many landlords don’t allow smoking in their residences, this can leave users that don’t own their own home in a legal bind. Should states allow cannabis clubs?

© Oakland Museum of California

© Oakland Museum of California

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Marijuana, Marihuana and Mariguana: What’s in a Name?

By Daniel Shortt

Photo by Didier le Ger, used under Creative Commons License.

Photo by Didier le Ger, used under Creative Commons License.

Cannabis is known by many names in the US. The most popular moniker is “marijuana” and has been for some time. In 2013, AlJazeera America documented the history of the term. In the 19th century, cannabis was the preferred term, found on medicine bottles throughout the country. The switch to marijuana occurred around 1910, at the time of the Mexican Revolution. The war displaced thousands of Mexican peasants, who migrated to the American south and brought with them “mariguana.”

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DEA Raid on Menominee Tribal Land Sparks Lawsuit

By Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project

In the wake of a recent raid on their land of 30,000 plants by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Menominee Indian Tribe in Wisconsin has filed suit, demanding declaratory judgments that its cultivation of hemp was legal and asking for declaratory relief and attorney’s fees. Interestingly, the tribe claimed no monetary damages. The tribe claims that the crop was to be used as hemp fiber for use in manufacturing to improve their local economy, and that no plants exceeded 0.3% in THC, a level set by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”)1 and by Tribal law. It’s been reported that the DEA claims that the plants were high-grade marijuana.

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Tribal chairman Gary Besaw. (Photo: Press-Gazette Media)

The THC level of the marijuana is an important factual contention, and one that could lengthen a case considerably. Perhaps that is the reason why the tribe is only seeking a declaratory judgment that their cultivation of hemp is legal, the success of which would allow them to begin another crop next year. The tribe hopes to have a court decision by spring.

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Why Oregon’s Coming Sales Tax on Cannabis May Be More “Taxing” than Anticipated

By Jeff Bess, second-year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton School of Law. 

Image taken by 401kcalculator.org.

Image  by 401kcalculator.org, used under Creative Commons License.

Oregon has long been known (and loved) for its lack of sales tax. It is one of five states that does not tax the sale of goods. However, Oregon will make an exception to its tax policy when it comes to cannabis.

A major rationale for state-level legalization of cannabis is the promise of tax revenues that can help fund education, infrastructure, drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs, and other social services.  Oregon’s northern neighbor Washington is projected to exceed one billion dollars over the next four years in tax revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis.  Oregon’s new sales tax, which will apply at a rate of 17-20% (localities have discretion to add up to 3% on top of the 17% state-level tax), is also expected to be a boon to the state’s budget.  Effectively implementing and enforcing any tax of that scale and actually realizing these anticipated fiscal benefits, however, presents challenges.

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Holland’s Cannabis Law

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

As Washington, Colorado, and other states set forth legislation regulating cannabis, it is important to remember how institutions in the past dealt with cannabis. Review of a veteran of cannabis policy, such as Holland, could offer wisdom and useful model.  After all, no need to reinvent the wheel?  For many, Amsterdam immediately comes to mind as a bastion of legalized recreational drugs.  So, how do they handle legalized cannabis in the Netherlands? Continue reading

Looking Abroad for Regulatory Guidance: Legalized Cannabis in Uruguay

Image used under Cre­ative Com­mons License.

Policy makers across the country are being faced with the need to develop systems for regulating cannabis as there are few places that can serve as regulatory models.  When looking abroad to examine these systems of legalization, Amsterdam is well-known for its coffee shops and cannabis tourism.  But, as the first nation to officially legalize cannabis, Uruguay provides an example of a pragmatic national cannabis regulation program designed to address public health. Continue reading

Green Friday: What Post-Thanksgiving Sales Tell Us About the Future of Legal Cannabis in Oregon and Beyond

By Jeff Bess, second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law. 

Photo by Flickr user *sax, used under Creative Commons license.

Photo by Flickr user *sax, used under Creative Commons license.

As Thanksgiving 2015 approaches, the unexpected effects of state-legalized cannabis are most salient in Oregon.  As bargain shoppers in the state are prepping for the Black Friday gauntlet, a group of recreational cannabis dispensaries are getting into the consumer action with deals of their own.

On Friday, November 27, more than twenty dispensaries in Oregon will host a “Green Friday” event that advertises a quarter ounce of cannabis flower sold for $20 to recreational customers over the age of 21.  Despite some concern over an oversaturaturated cannabis market, the Green Friday deal represents a discount that is at home in the ecosystem of Black Friday door-buster advertisements.  Green Friday deals apply to one hundred pounds of cannabis that have been distributed to participating dispensaries; once that inventory is gone, the deal is finished. Continue reading