Here are a few cannabis-related news and updates across the United States:
Pennsylvania lawmaker calls for patients’ marijuana convictions to be expunged
State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) introduced a bill that would give medical cannabis patients a chance to have their records expunged if their conviction was a result of cannabis possession and use for medical purposes.
The bill still does not have the support of Republicans, who currently control the state’s legislature.
Under the bill, patients need to prove that at the time their conviction they had been diagnosed by a doctor to have one of the 21 qualifying conditions as listed by the state. Patients also need to provide evidence that they were consuming cannabis as part of their treatment for the said medical condition.
The qualifying conditions under Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program include cancer, ALS, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and glaucoma.
In a statement, Leach said that people who have used cannabis to treat their medical ailments don’t deserve to have criminal records on account of their using the drug. According to him, he has met many Pennsylvanians who told him that weed is the one drug that relieves them of pain.
The bill, Leach said, will give people the chance to go to court and prove that they are not criminals.
In 2016, Pennsylvania’s police arrested around 19,700 people for cannabis possession. That number is according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
Medical cannabis has also been legalized in the state in 2016.
Georgia adds PTSD and pain to qualifying conditions for medical cannabis
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed into law a new bill that adds intractable pain and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in the state.
For a while now, the state has been easing up cannabis penalties. But it was only last year that the capital city of Atlanta passed a referendum for the decriminalization of the drug. Atlanta residents can no longer be placed behind bars for possession and the maximum fine they would have to pay is $75.
Lawmakers have since introduced new legislation that is going to extend the cannabis decriminalization to the entire state. The first bill was to reclassify the possession of 2 oz. as a misdemeanor. Another bill sought to decriminalize up to half an ounce of weed, as well as to lower the fine.
Georgia legalized medical cannabis in 2015, but its list of qualifying medical conditions continues to expand. This list includes HIV/AIDS, autism, Tourette’s Syndrome, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, and epidermolysis bullosa.
To date, there are around 4,000 residents who have medical cannabis cards.
Selling, growing, and transporting cannabis remains illegal in the state.
Colorado recreational cannabis legalization off the table
Legislative leadership said that the issue of recreational cannabis legalization in Connecticut is “off the table” for now, with only one day left in the legislative session.
This means that proponents of legalizing recreational pot in the state will have to wait for at least another year before they can see it becoming into law.
Rep. Matt Lesser, who introduced the bill in the House this session, said that it’s a shame that the issue has been put off again because it is widely popular in the state. According to him, they could find a way legalize recreational cannabis safely and to make sure they are regulating its use.
Supporters of the bill are positive that allowing the use of cannabis for recreational purposes would bring tens of millions of dollars into Connecticut’s coffers and that it would create thousands of new jobs. They acknowledge, though, that the bill just did not have the needed amount of support this year.
Meanwhile, lawmakers who oppose the proposed legislation said that the more their colleagues learned about all that goes into creating the cannabis industry for the state, the less support the bill received.