Proponents of Measure 91, which would make marijuana legal for adults in Oregon and regulate cultivation and retail sales, are up in arms at the discovery that federal funds are being used to bring drug warrior Kevin Sabet and company to their state to fight against the initiative.
While being billed as nothing more than an educational tour, the two-day conference in Oregon will spend at least half that time focusing on marijuana and providing law enforcement and other prohibitionists with tools to use against the Measure 91 campaign. The tour is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to the Willamette Week, the event will also be spearheaded by Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, who says the “Oregon District Attorneys Association plans to invest in the No on 91 campaign…”
[Anthony] Johnson, the chief petitioner for Yes on 91, says the tour appears to skirt campaign finance law, if not outright break it.
“It’s a misuse of federal taxpayer dollars to campaign against a state ballot measure days before people start voting on it,” he tells WW. “Calling this an ‘education campaign’ is preposterous, and if it is legal, it shouldn’t be.”
MPP has long contended that public funds should never be used to campaign against legislation and ballot initiatives, including the use of on-duty law enforcement. Such behavior is a violation, in spirit if not in law, of the democratic process.
Congratulations to organizers Debra Young and Tim Beck and to the many activists who helped make these victories possible!
Hazel Park and Oak Park represent the first of 17 cities in which similar measures either have or will likely be added to the ballot. For a complete list of cities and the measures’ current statuses, click here. These wins in Oak Park and Hazel Park follow an uninterrupted streak of victories in Michigan cities in recent years, including Lansing, Ferndale, Jackson, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Flint.
These votes do not change state law — which still makes criminals of people who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol and many prescription drugs. But they send a very important message to local law enforcement authorities, elected officials, and state government: Voters are sick and tired of the failure of the prohibition on marijuana and want change!
In other good news for sensible marijuana policies, Congressmen Justin Amash (R) and Dan Benishek (R) — who co-sponsor the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act — survived primary challenges.
Initiative 71 will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants — with no more than three being mature — in their private residences. Adults will also be allowed to give away up to an ounce of marijuana, but any sales would still be criminal. The initiative would also remove penalties for using and selling marijuana paraphernalia.
D.C. law forbids imposing a tax via the ballot initiative process, so Initiative 71 does not set up a Colorado like system of taxing and regulating the production and adult retail sales of marijuana. MPP will continue to work with D.C. Council, the mayor’s office, and our allies to see to it that marijuana is treated like alcohol.
Adults should be allowed to use and consume marijuana – which is safer than alcohol – free from penalty, and responsible businesses and the community at large — not criminals — should benefit from the sale and distribution.
A report released today by Dr. Jon Gettman shows that despite increasing support for ending marijuana prohibition, arrests for possession are actually increasing in some states. The report and other information can be found on Dr. Gettman’s new site, RegulatingCannabis.com.
From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Hopefully this will change as more states consider reforming their marijuana laws. The District of Columbia in particular should begin to see significant declines in marijuana arrests since a law removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce went into effect on July 17.
The good news: South Portland officials have informed us that we collected enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana legal for adults. We also expect to qualify a similar measure in Lewiston next month.
The not-so-good (but not-too-bad) news: Getting on the ballot in York just got a little more difficult, and we need your help to do it. Last night, the town Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against putting our measure on the ballot, which means we must collect 613 signatures within the next 30 days to get it on the November ballot.
There are two ways you can help us make this deadline:
1) Collect signatures — You don’t need to be a York resident to circulate a petition and putting in just a couple hours could make all the difference. Please contact Maine Political Director David Boyer at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a petition.
Passing the initiatives in South Portland, Lewiston, and York will build the public support we need to legalize marijuana for adults at the state level in 2016. So, even if you don’t live in these cities, I hope you will join us in supporting these important campaigns.