House passes modified version of marijuana legalization bill

Today the House Judiciary Committee passed a version of S.241, six votes to five, that does not legalize marijuana as proposed by the Senate’s version of the bill.  It does however create a commission that will recommend to the Governor and General Assembly pathways for the eventual legalization for adults over the age of 21. 

The AAPVT is concerned that the version of S.241 passed by the committee is legalization, just by another name.  The commission it creates will be tasked with considering “how” to legalize marijuana, not “if.”  

For example, among its duties will be to propose a “comprehensive regulatory structure that establishes controlled access to marijuana in a manner that, when compared to the current illegal marijuana market, increases public safety and reduces harm to public health.” 
 
We will be working to make sure that legislators are aware that a vote for this bill IS a vote for legalization, not simply further study as advocates of legalizing marijuana will suggest.  

Additional details of S.241 as passed by the Judiciary Committee

In addition to establishing the commission, the Judiciary Committee’s version of S.241 also:

  • Allocates $350,000 for marijuana youth and prevention programs;
  • Prohibits the manufacture of concentrated marijuana or hemp by means of any liquid or gas;
  • Stipulates penalties for possession and being under the influence of marijuana while driving; and, 
  • Allocates $647,500 for the development of a forensic laboratory and Drug Recognition Expert training.

Earlier in the day, the committee considered and voted down (5 to 6) a version of S.241 that would have reduced penalties for possession of between one and two ounces of marijuana, and would have decriminalized the possession of up to two marijuana plants and the crops derived from them. 

To view the bill passed by the committee, click here

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