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The state of Oklahoma became the 30th in the nation to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes on Tuesday.

The Associated Press projected that State Question 778, which legalizes the growth, sale, and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, had been approved by voters.

According to Forbes, the measure was approved by a 10-point margin, with more than 85 percent of precincts reporting.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R), who opposed the measure because she believed it would create a gateway to legal marijuana for recreational use, said she would likely convene a special legislative session to design a framework for the law's implementation, The Associated Press reported.

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Oklahoma primary voters were weighing Tuesday whether to approve one of the least-restrictive state laws allowing medical marijuana, the nation’s first cannabis ballot question of the year.

State Question 788 , the result of an activist-led signature drive launched more than two years ago, would make it legal to grow, sell and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The proposed law outlines no qualifying conditions, which would allow physicians to prescribe its use for a broad range of ailments — a fact that has sparked bitter opposition from law enforcement, business, faith and political leaders.

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Associated Press via WTOP.com ~ 

U.S. military veterans would be allowed to receive recommendations for medical marijuana from government doctors under legislation approved by the Senate on Monday.

The provision, part of large-scale legislation to fund parts of the federal government including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through Fiscal Year 2019, would also protect veterans from losing their government benefits as a result of cannabis use that is legal under state law.

The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 86 to 5. The House and Senate have previously adopted versions of the cannabis recommendation rider, but it has never been enacted into law. 

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~

Only five states specifically allow autism patients to legally access whole plant cannabis, so long as they get the appropriate doctor recommendations.

The Arizona chapter of MAMMA, Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, is working hard to make their state the sixth on the list—and they’ll take their case to state officials in Phoenix this week.

This will be the group’s second meeting with officials from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which regulates the list of qualifying conditions.

In early May, MAMMA members convened for three days with ADHS officials to consider the organization’s petition to let medical professionals recommend medical cannabis for autistic children.

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New York moved a significant step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, as a study commissioned by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will recommend that the state allow adults to consume marijuana legally, the governor’s health commissioner said on Monday.

The announcement by the commissioner, Howard Zucker, signals a broad turnaround for the administration of Mr. Cuomo, a second-term Democrat who said as recently as last year that marijuana was a “gateway drug.”

“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Dr. Zucker said, adding, “we have new facts.”

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Jesse McKinley and Benjamin Mueller ~ NYTimes.com ~ 

South Carolina Democrats gave medical marijuana a landslide victory Tuesday, with 82 percent declaring in an advisory vote that doctors should be allowed to prescribe the drug.

The question “Do you support passing a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients?” was approved by Democrats in all of the state's 46 counties during Tuesday's primary.

The nonbinding ballot initiative is the latest boost for legalized medical marijuana, which has been embraced by key committees in both the S.C. House and Senate.

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Jeff Wilkinson ~ TheState.com ~ 

Former Ohio Republican Congressman and Speaker of the House John Boehner joined several U.S. mayors this week in telling the federal government to get out of the way of marijuana legalization.

Boehner, a longtime staunch opponent of marijuana, joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a cannabis investment firm that pursues cultivation and dispensary businesses in addition to touting cannabis’s “transformational power to heal and change the world.”

Speaking with WCPO-TV on Monday, Boehner touted the effectiveness of medical marijuana treatment for military veterans, opioid addicts and children with epilepsy.

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Benjamin Fearnow ~ Newsweek.com ~ 

A strange-bedfellows mix of powerful state governors and members of Congress signed on to end the decades-old war on marijuana – via the newly introduced STATES Act.

Momentum seemed to build over the weekend for the bill, introduced Thursday by Sen. Corey Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

On Friday, the governors of California and New York, as well as their counterparts in ten other states, urged Congressional leaders to advance the bill.

California Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed the plan to exempt legalization states from federal pot law in a joint letter with Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Washington Gov. Jay Isnlee and others.

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A group representing mayors of cities across the country is pushing the federal government to enact a series of major marijuana law reforms.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is also calling on cities in states that have legalized cannabis to expunge people’s past convictions.

“The looming threat of federal prosecution or shutdown lends uncertainty to states and local governments and legally compliant commercial cannabis business operators, patients and adult-use consumers, and harms state and local efforts to regulate cannabis for the safety and health of its residents,” reads one of the two measures adopted by the mayors group on Monday.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

A key U.S. Senate panel voted on Thursday to allow doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue medical marijuana recommendations to military veterans.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the amendment, offered by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), on a voice vote.

The measure “simply allows veterans to discuss that option [medical cannabis] with their VA doc or physician,” Daines said during a brief debate.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives introduced a bill  that could change the cannabis legalization landscape across the United States.

In a move that’s been anticipated for weeks, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Entrusting States (STATES) Act this morning on Capitol Hill.

The measure would exempt state-legal marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing every state to legalize and regulate cannabis (or keep it illegal) as they see fit.

In a joint press conference, Sen. Gardner emphasized that the Act would not mandate full nationwide legalization. Rather, it would allow each state to legalize or prohibit cannabis on its own. 

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The Michigan Legislature on Tuesday decided to punt the issue of legalizing marijuana for recreational use to voters to decide in the November election.

Senate Republicans had wanted to take up and pass the measure so they could amend it and keep it off the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

But they deferred to the House of Representatives to see whether Republicans could muster the votes — 55 needed for passage — and they never got close.

"There's simply not support in the chamber to pass this right now. The voters are going to have to decide," said Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt. 

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With 61 percent of Americans now in support of cannabis legalization, it should come as little surprise that pot-positive candidates swept to victory in Tuesday’s Primary Election in the progressive bastion of California.

In every important race, winning politicians knew which way the cannabis smoke was blowing.

California’s June 5 primary vote determines which two top candidates face each other in the General Election in the Fall.

All 80 seats in the state Assembly, plus 20 of the 40 seats in the state Senate, all 53 US House seats, and one US Senate seat is up for grabs. 

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that smoking marijuana is "morally acceptable," while 31 percent disapprove of pot on moral grounds, according to a new survey released Monday by Gallup.

That's a sharp jump from 2013, when a similarly worded question in a Public Religion Research Institute survey found that slightly fewer than half of Americans said it was morally acceptable to smoke marijuana.

The shift in moral acceptance of marijuana mirrors the shift in support for legalization over that time period, which rose from 48 percent at the end of 2012 to 64 percent last fall, according to Gallup.

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Washington Post via AL.com ~ 

A powerful congressional panel is set to weigh four marijuana measures next week.

One proposal would allow military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Another would protect veterans from losing access to their VA benefits as a punishment for medical marijuana use.

A third would shield VA employees who are veterans and who use marijuana in accordance with state law from being fired. And another concerns water rights for marijuana and hemp growers. 

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From decriminalization to opening up the banking industry, both sides of Congress are preparing cannabis bills – but with much different approaches.

Over the past decade, marijuana legalization has happened at break-neck speed at the state and local level.

And yet, pot-related reforms have moved glacially at the federal level, especially since prohibitionist Jeff Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.

But his staunch opposition and attempt to roll back Obama-era protections for local marijuana businesses has actually attracted new support to a flurry of marijuana related bills that have been picking up support in this Congress.

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Veterans groups across the country are building alliances to end cannabis prohibition in order to enable research and save lives.

Mike Krawitz, 56, is a disabled US Air Force veteran who believes in medical cannabis’ ability to save lives by keeping people off the drugs with dangerous and deadly side effects — primarily opioids.

Krawitz believes there is a correlation between the number of opioid prescriptions and suicides among veterans. “Use cannabis, die less,” Krawitz told Marijuana.com, his tone completely serious.

“The scientific community has confirmed that cannabis saves lives by avoiding overdoses. VA [Veterans Administration] doctors know this but are obliged not to recommend cannabis for pain and PTSD. And that is unethical.."

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More than 200 cannabis industry leaders from almost half the states in the country are converging this week on Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers it’s time to modernize federal marijuana laws.

As part of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s (NCIA) lobby days, taking place Tuesday and Wednesday, marijuana business owners will hold at least 200 separate meetings with U.S. House and Senate offices.

They are seeking support for a number of far-reaching bills that would limit or end the federal government’s interference with state cannabis laws and allow state-legal businesses to use banking services and be taxed more fairly.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to instruct the New York Police Department to stop arrests of New Yorkers smoking weed in public while additionally forming a task force to ease what he sees as an inevitable full legalization of recreational marijuana.

De Blasio will direct the NYPD to hand out summonses to people caught smoking pot by officers in public areas across the city, but not arrest them, aides told the New York Daily News Sunday.

The move is partially a follow-up on his announcement last week to "overhaul and reform" enforcement that has created a wide racial disparity in marijuana arrests.

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Benjamin Fearnow ~ Newsweek.com ~ 

Supporters of an Ohio marijuana legalization measure can now collect signatures to put the proposed constitutional amendment on a future statewide ballot.

The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday approved the "Marijuana Rights and Regulations" amendment as a single issue.

The amendment would give people age 21 and older a constitutional right to possess, produce, transport, use, and share cannabis.

The amendment allows the state legislature to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation and sales.

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