Recreational marijuana bill approved by Massachusetts Senate
Although recreational marijuana use was approved by the residents of Massachusetts, there has been some political bickering among lawmakers. The Massachusetts House recently voted to repeal and replace the laws approved by residents through Question 4. This week, the Massachusetts Senate voted to keep the original bill, albeit with some regulatory changes.“We should not repeal and replace … we should amend and improve,” said Sen. Patricia Jehlen, co-chair of the Legislature’s Marijuana Policy Committee. “That is what this bill will do… we need to try to restore some trust in government by not overriding the will of the people.” Lawmakers are hoping to finalize the debate and deliver a bill to Governor Charlie Baker by July 1.
Legalization Fails in Vermont
Vermont was expected to become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use through the legislative process and not through a ballot initiative. However, those plans appear to be on hold, at least for now. Governor Phill Scott has vetoed the recreational bill and state Republicans blocked a new bill from coming to a vote. It sounds as if recreational legalization is a given, at some point in the future. “Everybody in this state understands that marijuana is going to become law in Vermont at some point,” said House Republican Leader Don Turner, (R-Milton) according to The Burlington Free Press. “Someday it’s going to be here,” Turner said. “But is this the time? I don’t know.”
Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana
The government finally has recognized the medicinal benefits of marijuana use. Unfortunately, it is not the U.S. government. This week, Mexico legalized medical marijuana. A bill passed in Mexico’s Lower House of Congress by a 371-19 margin. The bill passed the Mexican Senate in December 98-7. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had previously been against marijuana reform. However, his views seem to have shifted recently, possibly as marijuana remains more popular than Peña Nieto himself among Mexican citizens. At a speech to the U.N. last year, Peña Nieto came full circle and declared “So far, the solutions [to control drugs and crime] implemented by the international community have been frankly insufficient [and we] must move beyond prohibition to effective prevention.”