In OR Recreational Marijuana Legal July 1st – But You Can’t Sell It?

That’s right folks.  Come July 1, 2015 you may legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in Oregon for recreational use.  However, the voter approved law did not implement how this law would regulate the sale and distribution of marijuana.  This creates an interesting quagmire, where residents can grow their own, but technically, there is not a aaagirl-scout-cookies-strain-budmechanism for licensed sale and distribution.

When Oregon voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014, legalizing recreational marijuana possession, they left the job of writing rules for pot shops to the Legislature and the state liquor control agency, which so far haven’t gotten it all figured out.  So come July 1, users won’t have a legal way to buy what they can use legally.

In 1973 Oregon was the first state to impose lighter sanctions for small amounts of marijuana, what many refer to as “decriminalizing” it.  By 1998 Medical Marijuana was legal in the state.  Then, in November 2014, voters approved Measure 91 by 12 percentage points, 56-44.  This was a measure legalizing recreation marijuana

SO WHEN THE HELL ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE IT LEGAL TO SELL WHAT IS ALREADY LEGAL?

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is writing rules for growing and selling legal pot. It plans to accept applications from prospective farmers January 1, 2016. Retail sales could start in early fall. Last week, the Legislature’s joint marijuana committee voted to start retail sales sooner, by Oct. 1 this year, by going through the existing medical marijuana dispensaries, now more than 300 strong. Legislators say it will take a few months to write rules for the medical dispensaries to sell to non-patients, but the fall crop should be in by Oct. 1, ensuring enough for recreational and medical customers alike.

Some cities are restricting the placement of pot businesses or passing odor ordinances to thwart outdoor gardens. Also unhappy are advocates of hemp, the marijuana strain that doesn’t get you high but is good for clothing, food, rope and other utility purposes.

SO WHO IS NEXT?

A legal pot measure will be on the ballot next year in Nevada.  The national advocacy organization NORML reports there are plans or hopes for 2016 initiatives in four to six more states. In California proponents hope that shifting opinion and the presidential election will attract young voters. Votes are also possible in 2016: Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Arizona, and Missouri.

Many people may not realize this because it snuck under the radar, but so is the case in our nations capital, Washington DC.  You can possess it, but you can’t sell it.  So in theory, the politicians that rail against legalizing marijuana could step outside the doors of congress and blaze up a fatty on their way home.  Hypocrisy much?

POT IS STILL ILLEGAL IN TEXAS

IF YOU ARE CAUGHT WITH POT – CALL LEGRANDE LAW!

If you’ve been accused of an offense involving Marijuana (possession of Marijuana)

or any drug crime,  contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

TX Marijuana Bill: Fine-Only For Possession of Small Amounts

A new bill proposed by  Texas State Rep. Joe Moody would make the possession of up to one oz. punishable with a $100 ticket.  Moody contends that the current marijuana policy in Texas isn’t working, and that a new approach would allow us to more effective utilization of the limited resources in our criminal justice system.

Currently, Possession of a usable amount of marijuana less than 2 ounces is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to six aaagirl-scout-cookies-strain-budmonths in jail time and a $2,000 fine. The new proposal would mean being issued a $100 ticket, similar to a parking violation.  However, possession of larger amounts would still lead to criminal penalties. The measure would make Texas the 20th state plus the District of Columbia to remove the threat of jail time for the possession of small amounts of weed.

The bill is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the pro-legalization group that spearheaded the passage of Colorado’s historic legalization measure. The bill is also the first in a series that the MPP expects to be introduced in Texas this year, the next attempting to legalize medical marijuana and the third attempting to legalize recreational marijuana.

The subsequent legislation is highly unlikely to be passed, not with the staunch old-school Republican-controlled legislature. Texas Governor Rick Perry has gone on record with an erroneous commentary with regard to decriminalization of marijuana: the state has “kind of done that.” In 2007, Texas passed a measure giving local governments the power to respond to marijuana possession with a summons rather than an arrest, but few counties have adopted it and someone issued a summons may still end up in jail.

I admire the ambitiousness of the legislation, but sadly, it is probably just for show.  As I have said before, there simply is not widespread legislative support for legislation such as this.  Movement in this area of the law (at least in this state) will be slow.  I am not discounting that this is a positive step – I am merely asserting skepticism at the likelihood of its success.  Medical Marijuana…RECREATIONAL marijuana…in TEXAS?  Not likely.  Not anytime in the near future anyway.  Texans will still have to take a roadtrip to Colorado to get stoned without the man being there as a buzzkill.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, another pro-legalization group, says that Texas is in a tier of states that are the least likely to ease marijuana restrictions. These “third tier” states, he says, are ones in which “the legislature has never shown any want to move in this direction and/or there is an executive at the top who is going to oppose and veto any reforms.”

What about popular support…? Well, 61% of Texas residents would support a penalty reduction like the one Moody is proposing, while 58% would support the legalization of medical and recreational weed.

At a press conference on Monday, Moody was joined by representatives from other groups who support the bill, such as the ACLU of Texas and Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. Support from such libertarian-leaning conservatives will be crucial in the heavily Republican state.

“Texas doesn’t seem to be ready for a full legal market,” acknowledges Heather Fazio, a representative for MPP in Texas. “That doesn’t mean that the conversation shouldn’t be happening.”

CAUGHT WITH POT?

If you’ve been accused of an offense involving Marijuana (including possession of Marijuana)

or any drug crime,  contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

http://www.houstondrugattorney.net

Houston Drug Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Smoke ’em if you got ’em – Legal Weed for sale in Washington

Today Washington became the second state in the US to begin sales of marijuana for recreational use.  Granted, it began with a sputtering start – only a few licensed places around the state began sales today, with limited supplies.  In addition, licensed growers have not had time to bring in a full crop of product that is “certified” for sale in the state.

Ironically, many news reporters today that interviewed those purchasing the marijuana said the reason they were there was to acquire pot leaf WAmarijuana for purchase.  Many noted that they could already do that – just today they could do it legally.  Another irony of our drug prohibition is that making something prohibited has little to no effect on whether or not it is available for purchase on the black market.  All it does is make criminals out of people for their personal decisions.

This is movement in the right direction.  Regulating peoples personal habits has seen dismal results in the United States.  Take the case study of prohibition.  During prohibition use of alcohol increased.

Possessing marijuana and consuming it at home has been completely legal in Washington for almost two years, since voters passed Initiative 502 in 2012, and local law enforcement agencies had mostly backed off even before that. It has not, however, been legal to sell it for recreational purposes until now.

For now, the illegal market still has most of the benefits, non-licensed marijuana is cheaper and more convenient, and with its high state taxes, 25 percent on every purchase.  But this is just the beginning.  Once the market has stabilized it will become cheaper, just as in Colorado.

So far, the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which regulates recreational marijuana, has said that 24 of the 334 licensed dispenseries have opened so far.

Voters in Colorado approved marijuana legalization at the same time that Washington did in 2012, but then went down a much different regulatory path that moved much faster, with stores open since January.

Colorado also created the first recreational marijuana shops from the medical marijuana dispensaries that were already in business, so many of the first wave of operators were already in the marijuana trade. Washington, by contrast, started from scratch, throwing open the application process and giving medical marijuana dispensary operators no edge in the competition for licenses.

Hopefully this will be the catalyst for a greater movement nationwide.  But tokers be patient, this will likely be a long road.  It will also very likely be a state by state battle unless the Supreme Court takes up the issue.  With the social conservative legislatures in many states, and the social conservative dominance on the Supreme Court, this is likely just to be the starting point that we can look back on way down the road as a day that Americans began the process of getting back the personal freedom to do with their own body and mind as they see fit, so long as they do not hurt someone else.

Arrested for Possession of Marijuana or Driving under the influence of drugs?

If you’ve been accused of any offense involving Marijuana (including possession of Marijuana) or any drug crime,  contact attorney Tristan LeGrande by calling 281-684-3500.

http://www.legrandelaw.com

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Tristan LeGrande