This Weed in News, May 25: AZ Justices Allow Weed Back on Campus; US Senate Decriminalization Bill Gains Supporter; NY Dems Call for Legalization

Arizona’s high court rules medicinal cannabis is legal on college campuses, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley cosponsors a proposal to end federal marijuana prohibition, and New York’s Democratic Party endorses legalizing adult-use marijuana.

Already legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia, adult-use marijuana has provided verifiable economic benefits for those states that embrace reform, according to a new report released by the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Arizona Supreme Court High-Five’s Medical Marijuana on College Campuses

The Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, reversed a 2012 law that criminalized the use or possession of medical marijuana on the grounds of any public college in Arizona. A salient victory for student-patients, the court found the 2012 law was unconstitutional and violated the intent of Arizona’s medical marijuana program.

Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales and five associate justices concluded elected officials lacked the legal authority to enact the 2012 prohibition because it effectively changed the state’s medical marijuana law, a move that stood in direct violation of Arizona’s constitutional protections for voter-approved laws. While the state supreme court ruled colleges and universities can’t prohibit the use of medical marijuana, they also ruled they could “forbid” possession of medical cannabis.

Oregon Senator Cosponsors Marijuana Justice Act

US Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon announced his co-sponsorship of Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. The fifth Senator to co-sponsor Sen. Booker’s proposal, Merkley has now joined fellow Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Kamala Harris of California, along with Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in support of Booker’s bill.

In his press release announcing support for Booker’s bill, Merkley on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, noted that “more than half of the United States has enacted legislation allowing for either medical or adult-use of cannabis, yet federal law remains in conflict.” A major issue for minority consumers, Merkley said “This creates significant problems, not only with the prosecution of nonviolent cannabis crimes — which disproportionately hurts people of color.”

New York Dems Endorse Legalization

The New York State Democratic committee passed a resolution on Wednesday that calls for legalizing adult-use marijuana in the Empire State.

The resolution, uploaded by Tom Angell on Scribd, notes that legalizing marijuana is an important social issue that affects millions of New Yorkers. Arrested, imprisoned, fined, criminalized, and stigmatized over simple marijuana possession, 16,925 were arrested in 2017 in New York City. According to the resolution, conservative estimates indicate legalization of adult use marijuana in New York state would generate roughly $500 million in revenue and would “spur development of marijuana-based agribusiness in rural areas.”

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