Marijuana Policy Growing in 2015 as More States Preparing to Legalize
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Marijuana policy has increasingly developed through the years. Today, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states have approved recreational marijuana, including D.C. During 2015, the country and foreign nations will see big changes involving marijuana policies, according to a recent Brookings Institution report.New States are Planning and Preparing for Legal Marijuana.In November 2014, recreational marijuana was legalized in Oregon and Alaska. During 2015, state legislatures in their respective state and alcohol regulatory bodies will work side by side to design regulations governing legal marijuana. It is important to watch what these states decide because it may determine whether the states marijuana policy will succeed or fail.Oregon is making history by becoming the first state to border another who has already legalized marijuana. The border between Oregon and Washington will bring insight into what extent states will go for marijuana market advantages regarding bordering states.Which States will be the next to Legalize Marijuana?This year will show which states are taking steps to initiate ballots in 2016 to legalize marijuana. California and Florida are two of the states expected to advance an initiative, and other states are likely to follow their lead. Ballot initiatives are expensive to determine who is pushing follow the money.Getting Past State Legislatures.During the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana the difficult part of the process is getting it past the state legislature. Throughout 2015, it is important to determine which state legislatures have proposals involving marijuana policy and to keep track of their progress during legislative sessions. Some states, like Tennessee, may propose relaxing bans on hemp production, while others may seek to reaffirm legal bans on marijuana.Marijuana in the Courts.During 2015, numerous high-profile lawsuits centered around marijuana policy are likely to be settled. One of the more recent court decisions is Coats v. Dish Network. This case involved a Colorado man was let go from Dish Network after testing positive for the substance. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Mr. Coats. The court held that employees who engage in medical marijuana use that is allowed by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by Colorado's "lawful activities statute." To read a past blog we published on the case Coats v. Dish Network, click here.Current Marijuana Data is Imperfect and Incomplete.It is too early to make conclusive claims about recreational marijuana because there is not enough data. During 2015, and subsequent years, steady flows of data from Colorado and Washington will surface. This data will provide a better idea about the impact of legal recreational marijuana on society.Marijuana as a Topic During the Presidential Campaign.Marijuana will definitely be a hot topic during the 2015 presidential campaign. Unlike most political issues, marijuana policy is not determined by political party. Thus, it will be interesting to hear the presidential candidates opinions during 2015 because it will be a big part of the campaign.Comments: What are your thoughts on more states preparing to legalize 2015? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Source:Hudak, John. "Marijuana Policy in 2015: Eight Big Things to Watch." Brookings Institute. (January 8, 2015). From:http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2015/01/08-marijuana-policy-2015-things-to-watch-hudak
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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