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Reports US

US stock market daily report (July 08, 2014, Tuesday)

July 8, 2014, Tuesday, 23:58 GMT | 18:58 EST | 03:28 IST | 05:58 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

The revenue bounty from taxes generated from the sale of legalized marijuana continues to make many states take a longer look at reform bills or ballot initiatives for upcoming elections.

Behind alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana over the past year. Despite the fact that pot is illegal for recreational use in 48 states, over 14 million Americans regularly use it.

Colorado is projected to rake in over $40 million in tax revenue from legalized marijuana during calendar year 2014 - that's not something to sneeze at. Its expected that within 5 years at least 15 more states will have legalized marijuana for recreational use with remaining states to follow, not too long after that. States need additional revenue and marijuana activists show no signs of easing up their fight for legalization. NORML, founded in 1970, is a large advocacy group for the legalization and policy debate for Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. They provide a vast amount of information regarding pot as well as states positions on the drug. The number of Americans fighting for legalization is huge. During 2012 over 749,000 people were arrested in the USA for marijuana-related offenses.

States are on the move in various ways toward legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Three states that are considering industrial hemp cultivation include Indiana, New York and Tennessee. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The measure grants state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity. The House version of the bill, HR 525, has 41 cosponsors and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. The Senate version of the bill - S. 359 - has four co-sponsors and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to a Congressional Research Service report, "The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop."

States that have passed laws decriminalizing marijuana - which means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount of pot for personal consumption, treated like a minor traffic violation - currently include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland (October 2014), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. The District of Columbia and other states considering decriminalizing marijuana include: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Currently there are 23 states and the District of Columbia which allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes - more are expected to follow. States with reform bills or ballot initiatives on the table for the approval of medical marijuana include: Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

A few states in the pipeline for lifting the prohibition on marijuana in the very near future...

ALASKA - Ballot Measure 2 is set for a vote during the November 4, 2014 election. If approved by voters, the measure would allow adults age 21+ to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (28 grams) and up to six plants. Adults could use marijuana legally and purchase it at state-licensed stores. Use of marijuana in public would remain illegal.

ARIZONA - The Arizona Legalization of Recreation Marijuana Amendment could appear on the ballot in November 2014 as a state constitutional amendment. The measure would change the state constitution to allow citizens age 18+ to grow, smoke and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

CALIFORNIA - The California Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Initiative was approved for circulation as a potential proposition on the November 2014 ballot. Sponsors however have slowed down efforts with the idea that they will have a better chance at success in 2016 when the presidential elections bring out more liberal voters. The measure, which currently exists in two versions, would legalize limited amounts of marijuana for adults age 21+.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - The D.C. Cannabis Campaign says the group submitted 55,000 signatures for a legalization initiative on Monday — twice the number required to put the issue before voters. If approved, the measure would allow individuals to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. In June, the Republican-controlled House took a big step toward blocking a decriminalization bill passed by city lawmakers. The measure, if passed, would be one of the lowest offences in the country by making possession of marijuana a civil offense subject to a $25 fine. Congress used a similar amendment to block the District from implementing its medical marijuana program for 10 years.

FLORIDA - In November, the sunshine state will need at least 60% of voters to support passage for use of medical marijuana. In a survey, 9 out of 10 voters committed their support for approving marijuana for medicinal purposes with 80% of all age groups chiming in with approval. Florida state lawmakers voted in 2014 to legalize a low-potency strain of marijuana to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

NEW YORK - Recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, though the state will have one of the most restrictive programs in the country. It is expected to take almost 2 years for the state to work out regulations. The law states that Patients with one of 10 specific diseases will be allowed to use marijuana but, it must be ingested or vaporized as smoking it remains illegal.

MAINE - Portland legalized possession of less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana for residents age 21+ during 2013. A popular statewide bill that failed last year is expected to be reintroduced in 2014.

OREGON - The Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative will appear on the ballot in November 2014. Advocates have submitted over 90,000 signatures - more than required but, state elections officials have yet to validate them. If approved, the recreational use of marijuana would be legal for adults age 21+. While the use of marijuana remains illegal, possession of a small amount is punished with a citation and fine. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize small-scale marijuana possession in 1973.