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April 26, 2021 Group Watch: Gambling & Medical Marijuana Votes Likely Weeks Away

Recently, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said bills authorizing medical marijuana and establishing a lottery and gambling won’t come up for a vote in the chamber for a few weeks. The medical marijuana bill may not go to the floor until the last week of the session, expected in mid-May. Neither bill appeared on House committee agendas for last week. The gambling bill was transmitted to the House late last week after passing the Senate, along with companion bills on the regulation of casinos and distribution of proceeds. The combined package would establish a state lottery and six gambling establishments in the state. The medical marijuana bill, which passed the Senate in two previous years, passed the upper chamber in February with little debate or pushback. However, the bill has always experienced a rocky path in the House, and this year is no different. The bill was assigned to two committees instead of the usual one. The bill would authorize the use of medical marijuana for more than a dozen conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, sickle-cell anemia, and depression. Special dispensaries would distribute cannabis as tablets, capsules, gelatins and vaporized oils. The bill bans smoking or vaping cannabis or putting it in baked goods. Patients are required to have recommendation from a physician to obtain medical marijuana and would have to register as cannabis patients.

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