Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

UPDATE: Maine Campaign Files Lawsuit Challenging Initiative Disqualification

March 10th, 2016 2 Comments » Morgan Fox
me
Scott Anderson and David Boyer

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot. According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Two Good Bills Passed the Oklahoma House This Week

March 10th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Two moderate marijuana policy improvement bills passed the Oklahoma House this week, and will now move on to the Senate. One, HB 2479, would reduce Oklahoma’s draconian penalties for marijuana possession.Seal_of_Oklahoma.svg It would cut, from two years to one year, the mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent marijuana possession conviction within 10 years of the first. It would also reduce the maximum sentence for such a conviction from 10 years to five years.

The second bill, HB 2835, which has been improved by amendment, would add people with numerous additional medical conditions to the list of patients given limited protections for possession of CBD cannabis oil. Although the bill still limits such oil to 0.3% THC and fails to provide in-state access, it is an acknowledgement by the legislature that cannabis can help patients with many different conditions, including chronic pain.

While both of these bills are limited in scope, this is a rare opportunity to see the Oklahoma Legislature reform the state’s marijuana policy.

If you are an Oklahoma resident, please urge your senator to support both of these common sense reforms.

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Prohibition

New Hampshire House to Consider Marijuana Bill This Week

March 8th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

It’s been a tough year for marijuana policy reform efforts in New Hampshire. The House has already killed several bills seeking to improve the state’s marijuana laws, including two bills that would have made marijuana legal for adult use.

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 5.36.17 PM
Rep. Adam Schroadter

Fortunately, there is one important bill that still has a reasonable chance of passing into law. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), HB 1631 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable only by a fine.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please send your representatives an email in support of this bill today!

Every other New England state has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the Vermont Senate recently passed a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults. New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support legalization, as evidenced by a recent poll that found 62% support and only 30% opposed. However, it should be stressed that HB 1631 does not legalize marijuana — it would merely reduce penalties for possession, putting New Hampshire’s marijuana laws more nearly into line with those found in neighboring states.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Pledge 4 Growth Campaign Can Help Marijuana Businesses Support Reform

March 2nd, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana sales in states such as Colorado are almost measuring in the billions. Unfortunately, little of that money is going towards promoting further marijuana policy reforms that create new business opportunities and, more importantly, will stop marijuana consumers from getting arrested.

MedMen.Pledge4Growth.LogoFinalwo420-01 copy.pngThe Marijuana Policy Project has been working to revamp state-level marijuana laws for the past 21 years. We’ve had some amazing success in the past five years, but there’s still so much more to do. We need to continue our push to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with sensible regulations — regulations that will allow legitimate businesses to thrive.

If marijuana businesses donate just 0.420% of their gross revenue to MPP, they can support the organization’s lobbying and coalition-building work, its tax-deductible public education projects (MPP Foundation), and its political action committee (MPP PAC).

The Marijuana Policy Project also supports ballot initiatives via separate campaign committees in several targeted states.

If you work in this burgeoning industry, please make the Pledge 4 Growth and help us end marijuana prohibition.

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Prohibition

Urge Republican Presidential Candidates to Address Marijuana Policy at Nevada Caucus

February 22nd, 2016 1 Comment » Robert Capecchi

On Tuesday, individuals across the Silver State will gather together to caucus with their friends and neighbors during the Republican presidential caucus. MPP encourages all of our supporters in Nevada to use this opportunity to caucus for sensible marijuana policy reform!

You can start by reviewing the responses of some of the Republican candidates to the following question:

“If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?”

This question, which to date has not been specifically addressed by Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) or businessman Donald Trump, was asked as a direct result of our partnership with Change Politics. Please visit our page on their site and continue to “up-vote” all of our questions to be sure all the candidates’ views on marijuana policy reform are thoroughly addressed.

If you’d like more in-depth information, please see MPP’s presidential report card, which has information about both the Republican and Democratic candidates. Of those still in the race, Donald Trump leads the Republican pack having earned a C+; Sen. Ted Cruz is close behind with a C.

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Prohibition, Research

Legal Colorado Marijuana Market Hurting Drug Cartels

February 2nd, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

According to a story published today by Fox News Latino, the legal marijuana market in Colorado is partially responsible for decreased Mexican drug cartel activity within the U.S. and along the border.

Legal marijuana in Colorado seems to have helped with resolving the problem of drugs in Mexico, says the report, citing the pro-marijuana Weed Blog, which says that over the past two years trafficking of the drug by Mexican cartels has dropped by “up to 70 percent.”Mexico_Flag_Map.svg

An official report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in October 2015 confirmed the reduction, showing that in 2014 there had been a year-on-year 23 percent drop in border smuggling.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

D.C. Voters Want Mayor to Work Around Congressional Ban on Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

January 29th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

A survey release this week by Public Policy Polling showed that 66% of voters in the District of Columbia support Mayor Muriel Bowser pursuing legal methods to allow D.C. to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol despite a Congressional ban.Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC

Voters overwhelming approved Initiative 71 in 2014, which made marijuana legal in the nation’s capital, but Congress passed a budget rider that prevents the implementation of regulated commercial cultivation and retail establishments. Provisions related to personal possession and limited home cultivation were unaffected by the law and are currently legal in D.C.

This poll shows that the vast majority of D.C. voters would support the mayor using reserve funds to implement a system to tax and regulate marijuana. This would not only show that D.C. rejects Congressional interference with the will of the voters, but also bring the illicit marijuana market out of the shadows and reap millions in tax revenue.

In addition, 61% of voters are in favor of giving adults a safe and lawful place to consume marijuana outside their homes. Supporters including MPP met with the mayor last week, and she said she was open to working with us and our allies on the D.C. Council to move forward on a compromise that would end the blanket ban on use outside the home, currently set to expire on April 13. This will help restore the rights that D.C. voters supported when they voted yes on Initiative 71.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Marijuana Policy Bills Progressing in Kansas

January 28th, 2016 1 Comment » Kate Bell

Two bills that would improve Kansas’ marijuana policies have passed the House and are moving in the Senate.

The first bill, now called SB 147, would permit patients with seizures to access low-THC cannabis, called medical hemp preparations in the bill.Seal_of_Kansas.svg While it is not a full medical marijuana law and would leave many patients behind, the bill proposes a workable system to provide immediate relief to some seriously ill Kansans. In addition, by passing the House, it has advanced much further than any medical marijuana bill ever has in Kansas.

The second bill, which is currently designated as the Senate Sub. for HB 2049, would reduce the penalty for first, second, and third-time marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail, and a second offense would no longer be a felony, removing many of the associated collateral consequences. The Senate combined the marijuana-related provisions with another bill that increases penalties for burglary, on which MPP does not take a position.

If you are a Kansas resident, please urge your senators to support common sense reform.

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Prohibition

New Orleans City Council to Consider Reducing Marijuana Penalties

January 26th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke
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Councilwoman Susan Guidry

Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. CST, the New Orleans City Council will consider whether to pass a new bill that reduces the penalties for possession of marijuana. Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s bill calls for law enforcement to give a verbal warning instead of an arrest on a first offense marijuana possession charge. The council chamber meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, will take place at:

1300 Perdido Street, Second Floor West
New Orleans, LA 70112

In addition to turning up to show support at the hearing, let your council members know you support Councilwoman Guidry’s bill by sending them an email letting them know where you stand on this important issue.

 

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Prohibition

Maryland Lawmakers Override Veto of Marijuana Paraphernalia Decriminalization

January 21st, 2016 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

The Maryland General Assembly voted this week to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of SB 517, decriminalizing marijuana paraphernalia.

SB 517, introduced by Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County), removes criminal penalties for possession of marijuana paraphernalia. The measure also imposes a new civil fine of up to $500 on public cannabis consumption. Gov. Hogan vetoed the bill in May 2015, after it was approved 32-13 in the Senate and 83-53 in the House of Delegates. MDCoalition2

Maryland adopted a law in 2014 that was intended to decriminalize simple marijuana possession, but it did not include marijuana paraphernalia.

The work is not over, however. Until cannabis is legal and regulated for adults, Marylanders who choose to consume a substance safer than alcohol will still be stigmatized as lawbreakers, racially biased enforcement of marijuana laws will continue to result in unequal justice, and the marijuana market will continue to be in the shadows.

The Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland believes that regulating marijuana like alcohol is the best policy option — and a new poll released Thursday shows that 53% of Maryland voters agree.

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