GOP Voters Support Ending Fed Ban On Marijuana, RI Goes Legal On Dec 1, First Responders Want Equal Cannabis-Use Rights

Nearly Two-Thirds Of GOP Voters Support Ending Federal Ban On Marijuana

The majority of American voters would like to see the federal ban on marijuana ended, a November 2022 survey from Data For Progress showed.

The proposal is supported by 74% likely U.S. voters with bipartisan approval. The idea is most popular among Democrats, with 81% of those asked supporting it. Seventy-six percent of Independents think the same, followed by 65% of surveyed Republicans.

The voters also strongly support the expunging cannabis-related convictions and the key components of the SAFE Banking Act that would protect financial institutions that provide banking services to cannabis-related ventures and ancillary businesses.

The results build on a recent survey from Pew Research Center revealed that 88% of U.S. adults think cannabis should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legalized only for medical use (30%).

Rhode Island To Kick Off Rec Marijuana Sales

To that end, Rhode Island is about to launch the long-awaited recreational sales, which are expected to yield $300 million within a few years. Five licensed medical cannabis compassion centers have gotten the green light to begin sales on or after December 1.

The following five applicants were approved for "hybrid retail licenses," which will allow them to sell both medical and recreational cannabis to Rhode Island's adults over 21:

  • Aura of Rhode Island (Central Falls)
  • Thomas C. Slater Center (Providence)
  • Mother Earth Wellness (Pawtucket)
  • Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center (Portsmouth)
  • RISE Warwick (Warwick)

Rhode Island lawmakers gave the green light to a pair of identical companion bills to legalize adult recreational cannabis use in May. Governor Dan McKee signed into law the Rhode Island Cannabis Act shortly after, legalizing and safely regulating recreational adult-use cannabis in the state.

"This milestone is the result of a carefully executed process to ensure that our state's entry into this emerging market was done in a safe, controlled and equitable manner," McKee said recently.

Veterans, First Responders Still Facing Workplace Discrimination For Using MMJ

Meanwhile, it seems that a measure seeking to protect first responders from being discriminated against in the workplace for choosing to become marijuana patients will likely be up for discussion yet again.

A bill from Democratic Representative Mandie Landry from New Orleans, which would be a step in that direction, didn't get votes last year.

However, Landry is optimistic about the bill's passage this session, reported KSLA News. In addition, her legislation providing workplace protections for state employees who are registered as medical marijuana (MMJ) patients was signed into law by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in June.

"I mean, we're always going to try to expand it and clarify issues in the next session," she said. "And I think this group, it's such a diverse group, they've been working really hard. I think they're going to come up with some good practical suggestions."

So far, the state's legislative task force assigned with setting up a medical marijuana program with its required rules and regs has already held several meetings to create recommendations to resolve various issues.

A number of former military members and first responders gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday to share their testimonies.

"I think that we should be able to make that choice without repercussions," Alex Tony, a former Army medic serving in Afghanistan and a firefighter, told the Employment and Medical Marijuana Task Force during a recent meeting. "Because I work in a field where psychological issues such as PTSD are not only commonplace but they're actually presumptive. Meaning at some point in my career, I will see something, be involved with something, do something that I will be mentally and emotionally accountable for...for the rest of my life."

Navy Veteran Tony Landry said without cannabis as a treatment option, the overall health of first responders would be significantly affected.

"By eliminating that option for our police officers, firefighters, and EMT...we could be drastically affecting their health long term," Landry said.

Photo: Courtesy of Ramdlon, ganjaspliffstoreuk by Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralAlex Tonycannabis regulatory updateJohn Bel EdwardsLegalizationMandie LandryRecreational MarijuanaRhode IslandSalesTony Landry
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