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PNS Daily Newscast - August 24, 2017 


Featured on today’s nationwide rundown Florida set to execute the first white man for killing a black person; A new study finds a minimum-wage bump of just a dollar an hour could reduce the number of child-neglect cases; and we’ll tell you why the growth of backyard chickens is hatching a salmonella outbreak.

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Maryland Just One State Debating Marijuana

The debate over marijuana is just one topic where voters decisions and states' implementation of them don't always line up. (cdc.gov)
The debate over marijuana is just one topic where voters decisions and states' implementation of them don't always line up. (cdc.gov)
August 4, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – States are passing laws about recreational and medicinal marijuana use, but the debate rages on - including in Maryland. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission approved the state's first medical marijuana dispensary just last month.

It's one of the situations examined in the online research blog Stateline, about states where voters' and lawmakers' views don't always line up. Maryland's commission has awarded 15 preliminary growing licenses and 15 preliminary processing licenses.

Scott Greenberger, Stateline executive editor, says the state continues to see push-back over the issue.

"In Maryland, there's been accusations that the licenses that have been handed out to people who will be allowed to dispense it, that that wasn't done fairly; that African American business owners who want to have those licenses didn't get a fair shake," he explains. "So, there's been a lot of debate over that."

Florida voters approved the use of medicinal marijuana, but state lawmakers unhappy with that decision tweaked the law, saying medicinal marijuana can't be smoked in the state, just consumed. Those who backed the marijuana campaign there have promised lawsuits.

Greenberger says the Stateline research found multiple examples of states overruling what voters decided.

In South Dakota, residents approved campaign-finance and lobbying restrictions, but lawmakers repealed them. In Maine, lawmakers repealed a tax that voters approved on the wealthy.

"Just because citizens approve something at a ballot box doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be implemented the way they envisioned - or in that case, implemented at all," he adds.

The Stateline report also looks at reproductive health, and how states are addressing the issue of reducing recidivism.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD