All posts by Morgan Fox

Illinois House Approves Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Kelly Cassidy
Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Illinois Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s bill to reduce penalties for possessing a personal amount of marijuana reached a critical milestone today when it passed the House of Representatives in a 62-53 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate.

If you are an Illinois resident, please help keep up the momentum and ask your senator to vote in support of HB 218 today. Let them know it’s time to reduce the penalty for simple possession of marijuana to a reasonable fine, not life-altering criminal penalties and possible jail time.

Statements offered by nearly a dozen legislators on the floor spoke to the widespread support for the bill’s goals of bringing consistency and fairness to possession laws across Illinois — and in making sure law enforcement focuses on serious crime.

DEA Director Michele Leonhart Expected to Resign

Michele Leonhart is expected to resign from her position as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a report from CBS News.

Leonhart
Michele Leonhart (Photo: Reuters)

The Marijuana Policy Project called for Leonhart’s resignation last year in a Change.org petition which now has more than 46,000 signatures. Continue reading DEA Director Michele Leonhart Expected to Resign

Georgia Governor Signs Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

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Gov. Deal (Photo: David Goldman/AP)

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law HB 1, the Haleigh’s Hope Act. This new law, which was sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, will allow qualified patients to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC cannabis oils with their doctors’ recommendations. While this is an improvement to current law, it leaves the vast majority of medical marijuana patients without legal protections for using and possessing the medicine their doctors think is best for them. It also forces patients to smuggle the oil back from other states in which medical marijuana products can be legally produced.

If you are a Georgia resident, please email your lawmakers today. Thank them for taking this modest first step, and encourage them to support a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.

Georgia took a step forward this year, but the law is so incomplete that MPP will not be counting it as a “medical marijuana state.” Nonetheless, in some ways HB 1 is better than the 12 other CBD-focused laws: It includes eight medical conditions, while most of the other CBD laws only protect patients with intractable epilepsy, and it allows up to 5% THC, which is more than most of the other states with CBD-focused laws.

For more information, please see our summary of the law.

Unified Coalition Files Arizona Initiative to Regulate Marijuana in 2016

The ballot initiative campaign to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is officially underway! 

11138549_384476455065413_4683620496115184291_n.jpgThe Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona filed an initiative with the Secretary of State’s Office this afternoon that, if approved by voters in November 2016, would legalize marijuana for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

In summary, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

–       allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public);

–       create a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana;

–       provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses; and

–       establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes.

Once the Secretary of State approves the initiative, the campaign must collect 150,642 signatures from registered Arizona voters in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Far more will be needed to ensure enough of the signatures are valid, so the campaign will need as much help as it can get.

President Obama to Restate Support for Medical Marijuana

This Sunday, President Obama is expected to voice his support for allowing medical marijuana and moving away from jailing people for drug abuse.

The Daily Caller reports: 

In a CNN special to be aired on Sunday, not only will President Barack Obama state his full support of medical marijuana, he’ll also advocate for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don’t involve incarceration.

The television special, called “Weed 3,” features CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who came to support medical marijuana after reviewing the evidence. This time around, he’ll be delving into the politics of medical marijuana research and interviewing President Barack Obama, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Obama has previously predicted that more states will follow the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, and confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, the Department of Justice will look the other way.

You can read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s newest article on medical marijuana here.