Illinois Democrats are again pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. | AP File Photo

POT TOPICS: Bill to legalize industrial hemp cultivation clears IL House

SHARE POT TOPICS: Bill to legalize industrial hemp cultivation clears IL House
SHARE POT TOPICS: Bill to legalize industrial hemp cultivation clears IL House

Illinois House passes bill to allow hemp cultivation

In a 106-3 vote, the Illinois House passed a measure Wednesday to allow hemp cultivation for commercial use.

Hemp—a non-psychoactive form of the cannabis plant distinct from marijuana— is often used in food and clothing. In 1937, hemp was banned nationwide for its relation to the marijuana plant.

Former President Barack Obama started allowing states to legalize industrial hemp in 2015, removing opposition from Illinois Republicans who had blocked previous attempts to legalize the plant in the state.

The bill was approved last month by the state Senate, which will now consider an amendment House members added to the measure.

Anti-pot group in Michigan backs legalization effort

A group dedicated to fighting marijuana legalization in Michigan changed its tune and will now back a proposal for legalization — but only if the state legislature takes it up and amends the proposal.

TheCommittee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools — a political action committee formed to fight a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana — has urged Michigan lawmakers to take on the measure, amend it and pass a law that would allow adults in the state to use pot recreationally.

The group hopes the bill will include regulations as stiff as those imposed on the state’s medical cannabis industry.

If lawmakers decline and it’s placed on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot, the group will revert to opposing legalization.

Women deal with ‘grass ceiling’ in male-dominated weed industry

Despite the drug becoming more mainstream, cannabis remains a male-dominated industry.

How much so is unclear because the legal pot industry is so new. Since only nine states have legalized the drug for recreational use, there’s little data on the so-called grass ceiling for women or minorities in leadership roles.

Marijuana Business Daily surveyed 567 senior executives, company founders and those with ownership stakes in marijuana businesses, and found the percentage of women in executive roles fell from 36 percent in 2015 to 27 percent in 2017.

A state that has legalized pot, Massachusetts, has announced it will conduct a study breaking down license holders by race and gender and looking at possible barriers to getting into the industry. Licensing in that state is expected to start this summer.

NY Democrats want to legalize, tax pot

New York Democrats approved a plan Wednesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Lawmakers claim marijuana sales could create millions in revenue for the state if the drug were taxed like alcohol at a 13 percent rate, according to CBS New York.

Bill de Blasio, New York City’s Democratic mayor, tweeted last week that the NYPD would be overhauling its pot enforcement policies.

De Blasio then directed the city’s police force to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public, according to the New York Daily News. In addition, he announced a task force of city officials to lay the groundwork for full pot legalization—something de Blasio hasn’t formally endorse.

Actress Cynthia Nixon, who de Blasio says can beat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, has made marijuana legalization a cornerstone of her campaign.

Upcoming cannabis events in Chicago area:

• Ronald Aung-Din, MD — one of the few doctors licensed to prescribe cannabis in the country —speaks at 10:30 a.m. on May 25 at the 2018 AutismOne conference at Westin Lombard Yorktown Center, 70 Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard.

• Ellementa Chicago hosts “Women’s Wellness and Cannabis Conversations” at 7 p.m. on May 31 at The Living Room, 2423 W. North Ave.

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