Kennebunk Maine voters approve marijuana moratorium

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Those who cast ballots at a referendum-style town meeting Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a moratorium on retail marijuana stores and social clubs.

There were 366 votes in favor and 83 against the proposal, according to election results provided by Deputy Town Clerk Carrie Weeman.

The moratorium is designed to give municipal planners time to study the town’s current codes to determine the land use and other regulatory implications of retail marijuana establishments.

Under the Marijuana Legalization Act, municipalities are authorized to regulate the number of retail marijuana stores, and the location and operation of such retail facilities, within their jurisdiction.

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Bill to ban smoking marijuana advances

By John Lyon / Arkansas News Bureau
LITTLE ROCK — A bill to ban smoking marijuana in all locations in Arkansas cleared a Senate committee Wednesday.

In a 5-2 vote, the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to Senate Bill 357 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow. The bill goes to the Senate.

Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana in November.

Rapert told the committee Wednesday that people should not be allowed to smoke the drug because smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke are unhealthy. He noted that the state has spent millions to encourage people to quit smoking tobacco.

“I can’t understand anyone on the Public Health Committee agreeable to smoking when we have spent so much time and effort … to stop people from smoking even tobacco smoke,” he said.

Melissa Fults of the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care said after the vote the bill is contrary to the will of the voters, who she said voted for the amendment with the belief that people with certain conditions would “be able to smoke it to use it for a medicine.”

Because it would amend a voter-approved constitutional amendment, the bill would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber to pass.

The committee rejected SB 238 by Rapert, which would delay the medical-marijuana amendment from taking effect until medical marijuana is legalized in federal law. The bill failed for lack of a motion.

Also Wednesday, the House Rules Committee approved House Bill 1580 by Rep. Douglas House, R-North Little Rock, in a voice vote. The bill would require marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries to charge a 4 percent tax on marijuana sales, in addition to local and state sales taxes.

House said the state needs the tax to help support the cost of the medical-marijuana program. Fults said the tax is unnecessary, would raise the cost of marijuana for patients and would encourage a marijuana black market.

The bill goes to the House.


Virginia congressman wants to change marijuana policy

BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ7) A congressman who represents part of our region wants to change federal law when it comes to marijuana.

Representative Tom Garrett is sponsoring legislation that would decriminalize pot and give states power to regulate the drug as they see fit. Right now marijuana offenses are prosecuted at that court house and every other one in Virginia. But Garrett’s bill could change that. If the legislation becomes law, marijuana could be treated just like alcohol and tobacco in the eyes of the law.

Legislators in eight different states have passed laws that allow recreational use of marijuana, but under federal law it’s illegal for any private individual to have the drug in their possession.

“What we have now is a system where the Federal government does not uniformly enforce its own laws,” Rep. Tom Garrett (R) Fifth District said.

Garrett, who represents parts of central and southern Virginia, wants to change marijuana policy altogether.

“Young people in Virginia are held to a different standard than young people in a different state. That is ridiculous and it is, by definition, not justice,” Garrett said.

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Springfield shop gives away marijuana as gift

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WHDH) – A shop in Springfield has been shut down after investigators say it was giving away marijuana as gifts.

Officials say the shop, called Mary Jane Makes Your Heart Sing, was trying to skirt the state’s recreational marijuana law, by charging an entry fee and giving customers ‘free’ marijuana samples.

No criminal charges will be filed.

Marijuana can’t be legally sold or purchased in Massachusetts until next year.


Donald Trump won’t “turn his back” on Colorado when it comes to legal marijuana, GOP lawmaker says

A top Republican lawmaker in Colorado is casting doubt on whether Donald Trump’s administration will crack down on the legalization of marijuana, saying the new president wouldn’t “turn his back” on states’ rights.

Colorado Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican and a Trump supporter, reacted after the statement from White House spokesman Sean Spicer that recreational pot will face “greater enforcement.”

“I’m not sure I’d put too much thought or too much credit into what he was saying,” Sonnenberg told reporters Monday morning. “This president has been all about federalism and giving the states more authority, this just flies in the face of that. So I would anticipate not much coming from that.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper downplayed the suggestion a day earlier in a “Meet the Press” interview, affirming that he didn’t believe the federal government would target states like Colorado that legalized weed.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has suggested a change in federal policy toward states on marijuana is unlikely, but Sonnenberg’s comments are the most forceful Republican pushback against the White House on the issue since the announcement Thursday.

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