DENVER (AP) — Governors from the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana are asking the Trump administration to let the pot experiments continue.
The governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington say that marijuana legalization has expanded their economies.
The governors also say in Monday’s letter that legal weed can be regulated to protect public safety and that legalization reduces “inequitable incarceration,” or people of color being disproportionately jailed for pot crimes.
The letter was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The governors say they opposed legalization at first, but warn that a federal pot crackdown now “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market.”
The governors also ask for the Treasury Department not to change instructions to banks for handling marijuana money.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Several thousand people gathered last week on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor to celebrate marijuana.
The annual Hash Bash started Saturday afternoon on the school’s Diag and has become a rallying effort for legalizing marijuana use.
The Ann Arbor News reports that attorney and activist Jeffrey Hank released a pair of white doves Saturday as symbols of the fight to legalize pot.
Michigan bans marijuana use and possession unless it’s medical marijuana.
Voters in six Michigan communities passed marijuana decriminalization measures in November 2014. Voters in two Oakland County communities passed similar measures that August, while voters in Lansing were among residents in three cities who approved decriminalization proposals in 2013.
An estimated 8,000 people attended last year’s rally.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill legalizing the use of cannabis oil and other marijuana derivatives for medicinal purposes, and setting up a regulatory framework for the state to prescribe and distribute them to patients.
The legislation approved by senators Wednesday also creates a medical marijuana research program at the Health Ministry, which must “guarantee free access” to cannabis oil and other derivatives to patients who join the program. The legislation was passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier.
“In history, the big things always come in small steps,” said Valeria Salech, president of a private pro-medical marijuana group called Mama Cultiva Argentina, which has argued that cannabis can radically change the quality of life for children suffering everything from HIV to epilepsy.
Her group is already lobbying to push the legislation further, to permit the families of patients to grow their own marijuana.
Under the new legislation, government agencies will be authorized to grow marijuana for research purposes and to produce cannabis oil and derivatives for patients. The state can import cannabis derivatives until they can be produced locally.
Other nations in Latin America are also debating allowing medical uses of marijuana. But Uruguay is the only country in South America that has legalized recreational pot.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — As some states and cities around the nation look to ease criminal punishment for marijuana possession, Tennessee’s conservative Republican legislature is blocking that trend in Nashville and Memphis.
As a result, police in those cities could soon lose their option of giving minor citations for carrying small amounts of marijuana.
Tennessee lawmakers have agreed to bar cities from issuing civil citations for marijuana possession, and GOP Gov. Bill Haslam is deferring to the legislature, said spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals.
In recent months, Memphis and Nashville authorized their police officers to issue a civil citation for a $50 fine or community service to someone caught with a half-ounce or less of marijuana. However, police in the two cities have rarely used the option.
Penalties are much stiffer under Tennessee law, which imposes a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine on people caught with a half-ounce of marijuana or less.
Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd, a Democrat serving in the nonpartisan office, likened state lawmakers to the “bullies in the yard” for pushing legislation to pre-empt city authority.
He said rural lawmakers need to learn the issues that face Tennessee’s cities. Getting a criminal marijuana citation can mean some opportunities, including school loans and fair housing, are “gone down the drain,” Boyd said.
“It’s different legislating to farms and pastures versus legislating to an urban city,” Boyd said. “We have different issues and they don’t deal with our issues.”
Supporters of the bill said it will prevent a patchwork of laws defining criminal conduct. They also cited a November opinion from Tennessee’s attorney general that said the city marijuana ordinances conflict with state law.
“If we’re going to have a criminal law, it ought to be enforced uniformly throughout the state,” said Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston. “No exceptions.”
DENVER (AP) — Marijuana use shouldn’t be banned while people await trial. That’s according to a bill that passed the Colorado Legislature last week.
The bill applies only to medical marijuana patients, not all defendants. But the bill forbids a court from saying that criminal defendants who are marijuana patients must abstain from pot as a condition of bond.
The measure has already passed the Senate and now awaits the signature of Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is expected to agree to the idea.
Colorado has already decided that marijuana use shouldn’t be off-limits for people on probation.
A fiscal analysis prepared for lawmakers says the bond measure won’t cost any money. That’s because pot abstention isn’t usually a condition of bond.