Prohibition

MPP Launches ‘Pledge 4 Growth’ Campaign to Build Support Among Marijuana Business Community

November 4th, 2015 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

We’re excited to announce the Pledge 4 Growth campaign to benefit the work of the Marijuana Policy Project. The concept is simple: industry business owners can donate 0.420% of their gross revenue to MPP on a quarterly basis to help end marijuana prohibition in the U.S. We want to make it easy for you to change laws and change history!MedMen.Pledge4Growth.HorizontalLogo-01

MedMen, a marijuana consulting and management firm, is a founding partner and donor to Pledge 4 Growth.

The legal marijuana industry exists today because of the hard work of advocates over the past few decades. And the industry’s outlook is better than ever. In order to keep that outlook positive, industry leaders must support advocates’ ongoing efforts. By pledging to donate just .420% of your gross revenue to MPP, you can help support the organization’s lobbying and coalition-building work, its tax-deductible public education projects (via MPP Foundation), and its political action committee (MPP PAC).*

MPP is dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a regulated marijuana market for adults and medical patients. You can help us continue to build an environment in which marijuana businesses can operate legally and be treated fairly.

Will you join Pledge 4 Growth and support our work alongside industry leaders like MedMen? Let your customers know that you are committed to improving and advancing marijuana policy reform by displaying the Pledge 4 Growth seal on your website, social media, company collateral, or storefront.

To learn more about the campaign, please visit www.pledge4growth.com or email Chris Rempert at [email protected].

* The Marijuana Policy Project supports ballot initiatives via separate campaign committees in each of the states in which it works.

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Prohibition

Huckabee, Clinton, Sanders Improving Positions on Marijuana

October 27th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

MPP has upgraded Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders in its report card-style voter guide to the 2016 major party presidential candidates. The voter guide can be viewed online at http:// mpp.org/president.

More changes could follow the Republican candidate debate scheduled to take place Wednesday in Boulder, Colorado, where the candidates are likely to discuss the state’s laws that regulate marijuana for adult and medical use.

From The Hill:

huckabee
Mike Huckabee (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

“This idea of recreational marijuana, let’s let Colorado have at it for a few years and let’s see how that works out for them,” Huckabee told a local Iowa television station earlier this month. “I’ve been to Amsterdam a few times; I don’t want us to look like Amsterdam. And a lot of people in Colorado aren’t liking the way that’s headed either.

“I’m willing to let states operate under the 10th Amendment,” the former Arkansas governor added. “I’m willing for the states — if they think that marijuana and the legalization of it is a great thing — I’m willing for them to experiment and find out. And if it works and it turns out that the presence of recreational marijuana makes them a more prosperous state … well heck, we may just all want to reach out there and grab that.”

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Prohibition

Canada, Mexico to Consider Making Marijuana Legal

October 20th, 2015 3 Comments Morgan Fox
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

On Monday, the Liberal Party in Canada won the national elections by wide margins, promising an impending shift in a number of policy areas, including marijuana. Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that the Canadian government would quickly begin the process of making marijuana legal for adults.

USA Today reports:

Trudeau promised that under his leadership Canada would create a system to tax, regulate and sell marijuana, along with stiff penalties for anyone giving pot to children or caught driving while stoned. The Liberal Party’s cannabis legalization statement echoes the language used by many U.S. legalization advocates.

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work. It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug,” the party’s position statement says. “To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

This development could have a serious impact on marijuana policy in the United States.

On top of that, Mexico’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on October 28 to determine whether federal policies banning the possession and cultivation of marijuana are unconstitutional. Soon, the United States may be the only large nation on the North American continent to carry on the failed policies of marijuana prohibition.

 

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Prohibition, Video

MPP’s Dan Riffle Discusses Impact of Marijuana Initiatives on Presidential Election

October 16th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

MPP has been paying close attention to the slate of candidates running for president next year. Marijuana policy reform has been coming up more and more as the hopefuls try to adjust to increasing public support for ending prohibition, but could the issue have an impact on who is the next leader of the United States?

Last night, MPP’s Dan Riffle spoke with Fox News about how marijuana initiatives could affect the 2016 presidential election.

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Prohibition, Video

Marijuana Policy at the Democratic Presidential Debate

October 14th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

Last night, the first Democratic Party national presidential debates took place, and as expected, the issue of marijuana policy was addressed. Bernie Sanders stood out by becoming the first mainstream, major party presidential candidate to publicly support regulating marijuana.

CNN has the video:

After hearing these responses, MPP has updated our Presidential Report Card and upgraded Bernie Sanders to “A”, elevating him above Rand Paul to the head of the class. Hillary Clinton was also upgraded to “B” for her support of medical marijuana.

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Prohibition

Justice Dept. to Release Thousands of Low-Level Offenders

October 7th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that it would be releasing approximately 6,000 federal prisoners early as a means of alleviating some of the damage done by years of overly harsh drug sentencing.

Washington Post reports: 

The early release follows action by the U.S. Sentencing Commission — an independent agency that sets sentencing policies for federal crimes — that reduced the potential punishment for future drug offenders last year and then made that change retroactive.USSC_Logo

The panel estimated that its change in sentencing guidelines eventually could result in 46,000 of the nation’s approximately 100,000 drug offenders in federal prison qualifying for early release. The 6,000 figure, which has not been reported previously, is the first tranche in that process.

… 

The releases are part of a shift in the nation’s approach to criminal justice and drug sentencing that has been driven by a bipartisan consensus that mass incarceration has failed and should be reversed.

Along with the commission’s action, the Justice Department has instructed its prosecutors not to charge low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no connection to gangs or large-scale drug organizations with offenses that carry severe mandatory sentences.

It is unclear how many of the prisoners being released had been sentenced for marijuana-related violations, but this is surely a step in the right direction toward more just and humane drug policy.

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Prohibition

FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Increased Last Year for First Time Since 2009

September 28th, 2015 12 Comments Morgan Fox

The annual number of arrests for marijuana offenses in the U.S. increased last year for the first time since 2009, according to the Uniform Crime Report released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

UCR

An estimated 700,993 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana-related offenses in 2014 — up from 693,058 in 2013 — of which 88.42% were for possession. On average, one person was arrested for a marijuana-related offense in the U.S. approximately every 45 seconds (every 51 seconds for possession).

From U.S. News & World Report:

It’s unclear why the number of arrests increased last year, particularly given the nationwide sea change in attitudes about the status of marijuana and political actions that decriminalized or abolished penalties for possessing the drug.

Retail marijuana shops opened in Colorado and Washington state in 2014, where most adults are allowed to possess small quantities of pot. In November, voters in Alaska, Oregon and the nation’s capital voted to legalize it, too — though penalties technically weren’t ditched right away.

Maryland, meanwhile, decriminalized small-time pot possession in October 2014, replacing arrests with citations. The nation’s largest and fifth-largest cities made similar moves, and monthly marijuana arrest rates reportedly fell about 75 percent after New York City and Philadelphia implemented the policies in November and October, respectively.

With several states — including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — preparing to vote on legalization in 2016, following Ohio voters this November, Angell says arrest numbers should soon drop significantly.

National polls generally show majority support for marijuana legalization, with larger majorities supporting states’ rights to legalize the drug or believing legalization is inevitable. 

While law enforcement was busy making nearly three quarters of a million marijuana arrests, more than 35% of murders went unsolved, the clearance rate for rape was less than 40%, and for robbery and property crimes, it was below 30%. 

The full report can be read here.

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Prohibition

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Debate Marijuana Policy

September 21st, 2015 14 Comments Morgan Fox

Last week, Republican presidential candidates were asked about their positions on marijuana policy reform. While most of them responded that they would let states determine their own policies, they also stated their opposition to making marijuana legal for adults and revealed their serious misunderstandings of the relative harms of marijuana compared to alcohol and other drugs.

Here is the portion of the debate concerning marijuana policy:

Vice‘s coverage included some great comments from MPP’s Dan Riffle:

Riffle added that he was disappointed that “scientifically incorrect” information mentioned during the debate was not challenged, particularly Christie’s assertion that marijuana is a gateway drug.

“It’s troubling to have presidential candidates to be so misinformed on marijuana,” said Riffle. “The Institute of Medicine, the nation’s foremost authority on science, medicine, and health, has said there’s absolutely nothing about the physiological properties of marijuana that leads people to use other drugs.”

Riffle noted that he agrees with former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina’s comment during the debate that young people are being misled “when we tell them that marijuana is just like having a beer,” but not for the reasons she implied.

“It’s not like having a beer,” he said. “It’s safer. And there’s an abundance of medical and scientific research that has shown this.”

Click here to see MPP’s guide to the 2016 presidential candidates.

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Prohibition

Missouri Man Serving Life Sentence for Marijuana Released Today

September 1st, 2015 8 Comments Morgan Fox

In August, a Missouri man serving a life sentence for a non-violent marijuana violation was pardoned after an outpouring of public pressure. Today, Jeff Mizanskey walked out of prison a free man after more than 20 years of incarceration.

KRCG reports:

Jeff Mizanskey walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center and into the arms of more than a dozen family, friends and supporters Tuesday morning. Mizanskey was granted parole on Aug. 10 after Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence to life with the possibility of parole in May. The only person in Missouri serving a life-without-parole sentence for a marijuana offense, Mizanskey had been the focus of an intensive lobbying effort. When Mizanskey was arrested in 1993 after selling 6 pounds of marijuana to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels, life without parole was an option for repeat drug offenders. State lawmakers repealed that provision in 2014 as part of a broader overhaul of the state’s criminal code.

Mizanskey said he plans to continue to advocate for marijuana legalization and prison reform.

 

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Prohibition

New Hope for Casualties of Georgia’s Failed Prohibition Policies

August 28th, 2015 No Comments Chris Lindsey

Georgia has begun releasing marijuana and other drug offenders who were sentenced under the state’s harsh sentencing laws. The new law allows those facing life sentences for illicit sales to be considered for parole. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to those facing sentences just for possession.

Following adoption of a misguided “get tough on crime” campaign in the 90’s, many Georgians found themselves in horrifically long prison terms for nonviolent offenses, including the sale of marijuana. Journalists with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that black people were an astonishing 26 times more likely to receive life sentences than were whites under these laws.

For many, the war on marijuana seems to be winding down. But for those who languish in prison under long sentences, the war could mean a life sentence.

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Darion Barker (Photo: Bob Andres)

The first person to benefit from the new law was Darion Barker, sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for sale of marijuana and other drugs. Officials released him in July after serving 20 years.

But while the new law is a major step forward, there is more to do. Others just like Darion remain behind bars, many for lesser charges, including marijuana possession. If you are a Georgia resident, please ask your representative and senator to include those subject to long prison sentences for possession to be eligible for parole like Darion.

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