Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is the latest potential 2020 presidential candidate to support marijuana legalization.
The California senator announced on Thursday that she is signing onto a far-reaching bill to end the federal prohibition of cannabis, The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced last year by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do,” she said in an interview with NowThis. “And I know this as a former prosecutor, I know this as a senator, and I know it when I just look at what we want as a country and where we need to be instead of where we’ve been.”
Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do. Today, I’m announcing my support for @CoryBooker’s Marijuana Justice Act. pic.twitter.com/cOh3SjMaOW
Harris has now joined the ranks of other potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders who’ve endorsed the legislation, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kirsten Gillibrand(D-NY). Booker himself is believed to be exploring a run for the party’s nomination as well.
Harris has faced criticism from legalization advocates for recently making public statements about the importance of federal cannabis reform, while until now declining to introduce or co-sponsor legislation that would actually accomplish that.
The Marijuana Justice Act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act so that states could legalize without federal interference, and would withhold funding from states that maintain criminalization and continue to have racially disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates for cannabis.
The legislation would also direct federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions and allow people punished under disproportionately enforced cannabis laws to file civil lawsuits against those states.
Money withheld from states with discriminatory marijuana policies would be used to fund job training and libraries.
It’s time to not only legalize marijuana, but to expunge the records of those who have been carrying the burdens of past convictions for too long.
The Thursday announcement about signing onto the bill represents a stark reversal for Harris who, as California attorney general in 2014, simply laughed in a reporter’s face in response to a question about her position on marijuana.
Nevertheless, Harris’s move serves as yet another example of the rapid evolution in U.S. marijuana politics, with a growing number of high-profile lawmakers apparently recognizing the political capital of taking a pro-legalization approach to federal marijuana policy.
The head of a top Democratic-affiliated political organization says that the party can use marijuana to its political advantage.
“I don’t think there’s any question that in the places where we’ve seen legalization on the ballot that it has increased interest in the election on the part of young voters in particular, that it’s increased turnout in those states,” Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, a well-funded organization that backs Democratic candidates.
Its sister group, Priorities USA Action, is a super PAC that supported President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection effort as well as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. It is now focused on trying to help Democrats retake the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
But Cecil said that even though marijuana is good politics for Democrats, there are other reasons to support legalization.
“That’s not the reason somebody should be for it, but I certainly it’s a winner in terms of just the pure politics of it and the election,” he said. “Especially again when you’re dealing with a midterm where we’ve seen participation rates drop pretty steeply.”
The comments, part of a C-SPAN interview taped last week that aired on Sunday, come as a growing number of prominent Democratic lawmakers are getting on board with legalization.
Younger Democrats like Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who are both reportedly considering 2020 presidential runs — are way out front on legalization.
Cecil, who previously served as executive director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and as field director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said that support for ending marijuana prohibition is strong across the country.
“Certainly nationally you’re well over a majority of folks that have expressed approval for legalization,” he said.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Contrary to fears raised by marijuana opponents, teen use of cannabis is trending downward in most states that have legalized it for adult use.
According to new data from the federally-funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the percentage of Colorado teens who used marijuana in the past year is down more than two points in the 2015-2016 version of the study as compared to the 2014-2015 edition.
The same is true in Washington State. In Washington, D.C., the drop was nearly three points. A smaller decline was seen in Oregon, while Alaska showed a slight rise.
Annual teen cannabis use is also down across the U.S. as a whole, but the drop was less significant than that experienced in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana.
Percentage Of 12-17 Year-Olds Who Used Marijuana In The Past Year
District of Columbia
Similar drops were seen in most legalization states for monthly teen cannabis use as well.
Percentage Of 12-17 Year-Olds Who Used Marijuana In The Past Month
District of Columbia
Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana in 2012, with Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. ending cannabis prohibition in 2014. (Four additional states voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, but those programs weren’t running when the new survey was completed.)
While legalization opponents have long argued that ending prohibition would lead to skyrocketing use by young people, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Advocates, on the other hand, have maintained that regulating and controlling the cannabis market and instituting strict age restrictions would actually give teens less access to marijuana than they had when it was illegal and there were no checks for age at the point of sale.
In a Facebook post, cannabis consulting firm Freedman and Koski, Inc, which is run by Colorado’s former top marijuana official, said that the drop in teen use in the state “coincides with an increase in funding prevention programs from cannabis taxes.”
“Colorado is effectively regulating marijuana for adult use. Teen use appears to be dropping now that state and local authorities are overseeing the production and sale of marijuana,” said Brian Vicente, partner at Vicente Sederberg LLC, and one of the lead drafters of Colorado’s legalization measure. “There are serious penalties for selling to minors, and regulated cannabis businesses are being vigilant in checking IDs. The days of arresting thousands of adults in order to prevent teens from using marijuana are over.”
The new state numbers are part of a state breakdown of NSDUH data that was released last week.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the first time Donald Trump said something that was actually true, if he said he'd leave us alone on our marijuana decriminalization?" Watch Gov. @JayInslee on last night's #RTOvertime: 420 Edition. pic.twitter.com/6J9oxEKJEU
This new study of all 50 states shows California is ranked second (behind Hawaii) in life expectancy of its residents. California also has one of the lowest rates of dying young. https://t.co/4yD79OGdCl
And let's not forget: California has Disneyland, Yosemite & amazing cannabis
Marijuana flower is certainly big business in Colorado, but that flower has some stiff competition from its more potent relative: dabs.
Dabs or cannabis concentrates, the modern form of hashish, have seen an astounding rise in Colorado’s legal cannabis market over the last couple of years. This April, Colorado reportedly sold an astounding$27 million worth of retail dabs.
That significant figure represents a quarter of the Colorado retail market’s total sales for April. It’s also a 133% rise in sales numbers in contrast to last year’s April concentrate sales in Colorado. On 4/20 alone, concentrate sales rose 250% from their average daily numbers.
Clearly, while concentrates have yet to surpass flower, consumers are seeking this more potent, faster-acting alternative to dried herb. This modern marijuana market is an ever-evolving one that has expanded far beyond your mom and pop’s “weed.”
From edibles to tinctures to yes, marijuana for menstrual paints, the future of marijuana is unwritten.