General, Tax and Regulate

D.C. Department of Health Recommends Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

June 28th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

Flag_Map_of_Washington_DCIn an exciting new development, the District of Columbia Department of Health issued a report that, in its conclusion, recommends the legalization of the sale of marijuana within D.C.  The 32-page report calls on the District to “[i]mpose state taxes on production, distribution, and sales along with a licensed market participation, age restriction, and prohibitions on advertising and marketing to minors” and to “[u]se current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls under District of Columbia laws”.

Additionally, the report urges the strengthening of addiction recovery programs, the improvement of marijuana education–especially for expecting and new mothers–and the monitoring of alcohol and tobacco use among both users and non-users of marijuana.

The D.C. Department of Health’s recommendation is highly encouraging, but is currently met with obstacles put in place by Congress. Check out our D.C. page to learn more about the situation

You can read the full D.C. Department of Health report here.

Read more



General, Tax and Regulate

Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine Will Appear as ‘Question 1’ on November Ballot

June 27th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

10985909_566442143496233_947244275936798915_nOn Monday, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced that the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol will appear as Question 1 on the November ballot.

Question 1 will read:

“Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting Question 1, issued the following statement from campaign manager David Boyer:

“The wording of our ballot question is far more important than the order in which it will appear. It conveys to voters that the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use will be subject to regulation, taxation, and local control. We are pleased, as those themes comprise the core of our initiative and help explain the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition. Residents of Maine will be hearing a lot more about regulation, taxation, and local control as we spend the next four months encouraging them to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1.”

MPP is supporting the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and its efforts to encourage voters to vote “Yes” on Question 1 in November.

Read more



General, Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

DNC Calls for Reform of Marijuana Laws

June 27th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Drafting Committee established a party platform calling for states’ rights to decide their ownjzH0I1Ka marijuana laws, allowing for greater research on the medical properties of cannabis, and protecting the rights of legally established marijuana businesses:

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates.”

An earlier proposed measure called for the total removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but that measure did not make it to the draft that was unanimously approved by the drafting committee.

Click here for more information on the DNC’s new marijuana plank.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

D.C. Council Primaries Bode Well for Marijuana Policy

June 15th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

The District of Columbia held its Democratic primary yesterday, and the results are mostly good news for supporters of marijuana policy reform.Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC Below are the (unofficial) results, along with the grade the council candidates received in MPP’s voter guide:

Ward 2: Jack Evans (A+) won (unopposed)

Ward 4: Incumbent Brandon Todd (F) beat challenger Leon Andrews (A), 49% to 41%

Ward 7: Challenger Vincent Gray (C+) beat incumbent Yvette Alexander (D), 60% to 33%

Ward 8: Challenger Trayon White (C+) beat incumbent LaRuby May (D), 51% to 42%

In the at-large race, all the candidates received an A or A+ from MPP. Challenger Robert White beat incumbent Vincent Orange 40% to 37%.

As the general election on November 8 approaches, MPP plans to update our voter guide to keep you informed on all the candidates’ positions, so stay tuned!

Read more



Tax and Regulate

West Virginia Legislators Propose Bill to End Marijuana Prohibition

June 6th, 2016 17 Comments Matt Simon

The West Virginia Legislature failed to reform its marijuana policies in the 2015-2016 legislative session, primarily because House Speaker Tim Armstead continues to oppose even the most modest, incremental reforms.Seal_of_West_Virginia.svg Fortunately, now that a special session has been called, five delegates have decided this is an opportunity to raise the issue of marijuana legalization. Del. Mike Pushkin (D-Charleston) and a bipartisan group of four co-sponsors have introduced HB 114, which would make marijuana legal on a limited basis in West Virginia.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail published an editorial praising these legislators’ efforts, calling legalization an “excellent idea.” The Gazette-Mail noted that the bill “has no chance” of passing in the special session, but it still presents an important opportunity to raise the issue with elected officials.

If you are a West Virginia resident, please take a moment to contact your delegates and senators today and urge them to consider the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

California Initiative to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana is Headed for the November Ballot

May 5th, 2016 12 Comments Marijuana Policy Project
The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act announced today that it has collected more than enough signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.13051785_1561302290867287_3261976781645789533_n
If you want to see California end marijuana prohibition this year, please sign up for the campaign to follow its progress and show your support for the initiative.
The Los Angeles Times reports:

A measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California appears headed for the Nov. 8 ballot.

A coalition that includes former Facebook President Sean Parker on Tuesday said it has collected 600,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify the initiative. …

The coalition, which includes some law enforcement and civil rights leaders, needed to collect 365,880 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative, which would also place a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read more



Research, Tax and Regulate

Maine Marijuana Initiative Officially Approved for November Ballot

April 28th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.ME Release Header - NEW

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at here.

Read more



Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

D.C. Council Bans Marijuana Consumption Outside Private Residences

April 20th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Tuesday afternoon, the D.C. Council voted to permanently ban any social consumption of marijuana other than inside a private residence, despite a public forum being scheduled that evening to explore the merits of continuing the ban.Flag_Map_of_Washington_DC

Among the concerns voiced by activists is that the ban forces people who live in public housing, where consuming marijuana can lead to eviction, to break the law by smoking in public. This policy predominantly impacts poor people of color in the District, and many residents think that allowing social use clubs would go a long way toward addressing this issue. There may be options to overturn the ban, however.

DCist reports:

Numerous people brought up the racial disparity in marijuana-related arrests, which continues even in the era of decriminalization and legalization—81.9 percent of the 259 public consumption arrests from July 17, 2014 (when public consumption became a criminal offense) to the end of 2015 were of black people, according to data from the Drug Policy Alliance.

Kate Bell, an attorney for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the ban isn’t the end of the road. “There are other avenues D.C. could explore,” she told DCist. “We’re not just talking about clubs. It’s a much broader issue.”

Nikolas Schiller of DCMJ has already written a draft referendum on the ban. But it’s an open question whether the referendum, if passed, could be implemented given the Congressional rider that hamstrings the city’s ability to regulate drug legalization. Bell says that MPP is working to ensure that the rider doesn’t appear in next year’s Congressional budget.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read more



Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Vermont House Committee Revives Marijuana Bill

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

Last week, some observers appeared to give up on Vermont legalization bill S. 241 after it was gutted by the House Judiciary Committee. Not so fast! Today, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to amend S. 241 and restore core legalization provisions. 2000px-Vermont_state_seal.svgThe bill would not only legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older, but it would also allow personal cultivation of up to two plants. Next, the bill is expected to be considered by the Appropriations Committee.

In order to legally cultivate two plants, a person would be required to purchase a permit from the Department of Health for $125. Permits would be good for one year, and information on permit-holders would have to be kept confidential by the department (no fishing expeditions by law enforcement would be allowed).

We will continue advocating for a regulated market approach, but we are very pleased with this development, and we will continue to push for improvements as the process continues.

If you are a Vermont resident, please contact your lawmakers and tell them to support this measure.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Policy Bills

April 5th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed four pieces of cannabis-related legislation this year, including two on Monday. One of the bills signed this week, HB 4094, will ensure that financial institutions that serve both medical and nonmedical cannabis businesses will not be subject to state criminal laws. The other, SB 1524, makes it easier for veterans who receive services from the VA health system to renew medical marijuana registrations.

Her signatures follow last week’s signature on SB 1511, the second of two broad cannabis bills passed this year. That bill includes provisions that will allow businesses serving adult consumers to provide medical marijuana products. It also allows medical marijuana dispensaries to sell concentrates to adult consumers.

The other broad marijuana bill, HB 4014, allows out-of-state investors for marijuana-related businesses along with other changes, and was signed on March 3.

With these signatures, attention can now turn more fully to the roll-out of licenses for businesses that will serve the adult consumer market. Many of the changes that came from legislation this year will make it easier for that transition to take place, including provisions that help established medical marijuana businesses enter into the adult retail market.

Read more