Cannabis Legalization: What You Need to Know
As of February 22, 2023, adults 21 and over are now able to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and legally cultivate up to eight plants in the State of Vermont, as HB 100/SF73 was passed. In addition, municipalities and counties are allowed to own and operate government dispensaries, and individuals with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. Furthermore, HB 639 renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Commission to regulate the commercial marijuana market and issue business licenses, while sales to adults would be subjected to the 8.5% Meals and Rooms Tax.
In addition, HB 344 permits adults to possess up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis, 5 grams of hashish, and certain cannabis-infused products. It also legalizes the home cultivation of up to six plants, of which three can be mature. The recreational cannabis law was also designed to give “social equity” applicants easier access to new dispensary licenses.
With the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York City, the first cannabis supplier opened for business in the Queen City on Friday, February 7, 2023. This launch comes a year after New York State legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over.
In Washington State, Senate Bill 5123 was passed to protect most job applicants from being discriminated against for using marijuana outside of the workplace. The proposed policy states that employers are allowed to conduct drug tests and may refuse to hire an individual if the result is positive; however, employees will not be penalized solely on the basis of a positive drug test result. Certain jobs are excluded from the bill, including those in the airline and aerospace industries and those requiring a federal background investigation or security clearance.
Finally, Evans and Ford have both introduced bills to create a cannabis oversight commission in Illinois, with the aim of steering the burgeoning industry’s expansion in a business-friendly way while still satisfying the equity goals of the landmark 2019 legalization law. The measure seeks to prohibit local law enforcement from making low-level marijuana-related arrests and stipulates that police cannot “consider the odor of marijuana or hemp to constitute probable cause for any search or seizure”. Public assistance benefits and parental rights will not be denied for lawful use of marijuana.
0. “State Policy Weekly Update 2/22/2023 – NORML” norml.org, 26 Feb. 2023, https://norml.org/blog/2023/02/22/state-policy-weekly-update-2-22-2023/
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5. “WA Senate passes bill to bar hiring discrimination for cannabis use …” www.seattletimes.com, 26 Feb. 2023, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/wa-senate-passes-bill-to-bar-hiring-discrimination-for-cannabis-use/
6. “Texas: San Antonio Voters to Decide on Marijuana Depenalization …” communitynewspapers.com, 26 Feb. 2023, https://communitynewspapers.com/featured/texas-san-antonio-voters-to-decide-on-marijuana-depenalization-ordinance/
7. “Recreational cannabis sales to start Feb. 6 | News …” www.thesalemnewsonline.com, 26 Feb. 2023, https://www.thesalemnewsonline.com/news/article_f7c2618e-a17e-11ed-971b-3713c6fb8fa4.html