Cannabis News of the Day

The Green Mountain State lives up to its name and joins the fray: In a tight vote, the Vermont Senate agreed to legalize cannabis, clearing the first legislative hurdle in that state. Governor Shumlin has urged the lower house to follow suit. Detractors argue that the measure will hurt minors and encourage disregard for federal law.

In California, NORML has endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, the frontrunner among the various legalization efforts in that state. They join the litany of other organizations.

Elsewhere around the country, though, the intrinsic and often unexpected negative effects of legalization are being felt. The legal cannabis industry used $6 billion worth of electricity last year, a figure that continues to cause consternation in the media. New research suggests a correlation between cannabis and the use of other drugs, bolstering the often-ridiculed claim that marijuana is a gateway drug. This bad news was compounded by recent research on the neurological effects of teenage cannabis use. Plus, emergency room visits among Colorado pot tourists suggest a sinister trend. In light of all of this, it is unsurprising that insurance companies aren’t anxious to cover the burgeoning industry.

It’s a mystery whether voters will take these potentially damaging factors into account in two states with nascent legalization campaigns. In Arizona, activists battle over exactly what legalization will mean at a local level, and in Ohio, the Marijuana Policy Project hopes to get things started on the right foot this time.

Southern drawl: In Arkansas, the state’s top lawyer has again rejected the text of a proposed legalization plan. And in Louisiana, it seems unlikely that legalizing green will put the state back in the black.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the Liberal government claims to have “no schedule” when it comes to legalization.