Tax and Regulate

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom Releases Marijuana Regulation Report

July 22nd, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

As several coalitions are busy crafting language for a ballot initiative to make marijuana legal for adults in California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been studying the issue, and today released a report that he hopes will help inform the debate:

In a report released Wednesday, the group lays out 58 recommendations and goals for implementing general legalization — an issue expected to go before voters next year.

The document offers broad principles –“protecting California’s youth” — as well as nitty-gritty suggestions for collecting data and limiting advertising.

Gavin Newsom
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

Newsom said in an interview that he hopes the report offers guidance to proponents of a legalization initiative aimed at the November 2016 ballot, as well as to help lawmakers and officials who would have to implement it if it passed.

The report does not explicity endorse or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, although Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, has been outspoken in support of legalization and is the highest-ranking California official to take that position.

MPP is currently working with a broad coalition of advocate groups to draft an initiative that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol, which should be completed in the near future.

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Tax and Regulate

Michigan Legislature to Consider Bills to Regulate Marijuana

July 21st, 2015 No Comments Chris Lindsey
Jeff_Irwin_front
Rep. Jeff Irwin

Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin believes in regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, and he is now in the process of introducing a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in Michigan and treat marijuana similarly to alcohol. Rep. Irwin is now seeking representatives to co-sponsor this historic bill, and you can help.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take just a few moments to send a message to your representative to ask that he or she sign on as co-sponsor to this bill, which we believe is the first of its kind in the Great Lakes State.

Voters in Colorado support marijuana legalization more today than when their law was passed in 2012. Both national and Michigan polls regularly find majority support for this better approach.

In addition to Rep. Irwin’s legislation, three organizations have either begun gathering signatures for a legalization ballot initiative for the 2016 election or announced possible interest in doing so. For more information on the different efforts, take a look here.Whether through the legislative process or a voter initiative, legalization is the future of marijuana in Michigan.

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Tax and Regulate

Marijuana Taxes for Colorado Schools Set Record

July 16th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A portion of the taxes collected from adult retail marijuana sales in Colorado is earmarked for schools under the law, and the amount collected so far this year is already more than was collected in all of 2014.

The Denver Post reports:

In the first five months of 2015, the state’s pot-funded excise tax that collects money earmarked for school construction capital brought in more money than it did in all of 2014. While that specific school tax’s 2015 take may not reach the $40 million number used to lure voters toward the state’s pot-legalizing Amendment 64 in 2012, its recent growth is exciting to lawmakers and industry alike.

school construction
(Image: Dan Gross)

“It sounds very encouraging,” said state senator Pat Steadman, D-Denver. “Voters wanted the school capital construction program to benefit, and despite some bumps in the road at the beginning, it looks like what was intended is coming to fruition.”

The money from the excise tax has grown to $3.5 million in May from $2.5 million in March. This year, the excise tax has brought in $13.6 million through May; the same tax drew in just $13.3 million in all of 2014. The jump is partly because there are more marijuana stores and partly because shops benefitted from a one-time tax-exempt transfer.

Hopefully, other states with cash-strapped education systems are taking notice.

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Tax and Regulate

Washington Marijuana Sales Generate Millions in Tax Revenue

July 14th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Voters in Washington made marijuana legal for adults2000px-Flag_of_Washington.svg in 2012, but they could not purchase marijuana in regulated retail stores  until mid-2014. Since then, the legal industry has been raking in money for the state, in addition to providing jobs and depriving criminals of profits.

Reuters reports:

Washington state took in $65 million in tax revenue from the recreational marijuana market during the first 12 months since it became legal to produce and sell, according to data released by state regulators this week.

The revenue was generated by cannabis sales of more than $260 million from June 2014 to June 2015, according to data released by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which oversees the distribution of cannabis.

Retailers sold more than 23,000 pounds of marijuana of the 31,000 pounds produced in Washington during the year, state data showed.

This is just more evidence that shows regulation works.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Marijuana Officially Legal for Adults in Oregon Today

July 1st, 2015 17 Comments Robert Capecchi

Last November, 56% of Oregon voters approved Measure 91 — choosing to regulate marijuana like alcohol and allowing adults to use, possess, and cultivate it. Today, legal protections for adult possession, use, and cultivation official take effect!

As of 12:01 a.m., individuals 21 or older may possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants in their household.10995393_10152839035666816_1877561359108028132_n Adults may also gift up to an ounce of marijuana to other adults. The state is setting up regulations that will govern the production and sale of marijuana, so access is currently limited to home cultivation. However, the state is considering legislation that will allow medical dispensaries to sell limited quantities of marijuana to any adult 21 and older starting this October.

Measure 91 resembles ballot measures that have removed penalties for adults’ possession and use of marijuana in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. Colorado and Washington have implemented effective public health and safety regulatory structures governing the production and sale of marijuana, and Alaska and Oregon are in the process of doing the same. In the meantime, ask your state representative and senator to support legislation that will more quickly take the marijuana market from criminal actors.

None of this would be possible without the good and hard work of the New Approach Oregon campaign, their volunteers, and, of course, the voters of Oregon. For more information about Measure 91, please see our summary.

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Tax and Regulate

Rhode Island Legislators Recess, May Vote on Marijuana Regulation Bill If They Reconvene This Fall

June 26th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

On Thursday night, the Rhode Island legislature was called into recess with many bills still awaiting final approval. There is talk from legislative leaders about calling the legislature back in September or October to address these important issues. Considering its overwhelming public support, we believe the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act should be one of the proposals considered when lawmakers return to Providence. But we need you to make this happen.

If you are a Rhode Island resident, please email your lawmakers and ask them to consider the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act if they reconvene this fall.

Colorado and Washington already treat marijuana like alcohol, and Alaska and Oregon are implementing similar programs. At least five states are considering ballot questions replacing prohibition with regulation in 2016, including neighboring Massachusetts. Rhode Island can and should be a regional leader by taking control of their marijuana market as soon as possible.

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Tax and Regulate

Rhode Island Billboard Urges Lawmakers Considering New Stadium to Make Marijuana Legal

May 8th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

Earlier this week, Regulate Rhode Island unveiled a billboard aimed at encouraging legislators to pass a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana in the state.

The “Field of Dreams”-themed ad features stadium lights shining on two young professionals standing among a small field of marijuana plants, and it reads, “If we build it, they will come… It’s time to establish a regulated marijuana market in Rhode Island.” You can view the image here: http://bit.ly/1ztvnI0

Legislators are currently considering S 510/H 5777, the “Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” which would end marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. They are also considering using taxpayer funds to build a new stadium, also in the hopes of bringing jobs and other financial benefits to the area.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Texas Marijuana Bills Moving Forward

May 7th, 2015 8 Comments Morgan Fox

It has been a good week for marijuana policy reform in the Lone Star State.

On Monday, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence approved HB 507, a bill that removes the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana — replacing them with a civil fine of up to $250. The measure will now advance to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the Texas House.Seal_of_Texas.svg

Last night, the same committee approved a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in the state by a vote of 5-2. HB 2165, introduced in March by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would strike references to marijuana offenses from Texas statutes, resulting in marijuana being treated similarly to other legal crops.
Under current Texas law, individuals found with less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested, jailed for up to six months, and fined up to $2,000.
According to FBI data, there were 72,150 arrests or citations issued for marijuana-related offenses in Texas in 2012, 97% of which were for simple possession. That same year, nearly 90% of all burglaries, including home invasions, and 88% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado Governor Starts to Come Around on Regulated Marijuana

April 29th, 2015 6 Comments Morgan Fox
People Power: John W. Hickenlooper
Gov. John Hickenlooper

After fighting against the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado and  publicly questioning the wisdom of voters in the years since his state made marijuana legal for adults, it appears the Gov. John Hickenlooper is finally realizing that regulating marijuana was a good idea.

The Denver Post reports:

And now this headline — “Colorado Gov.: Pot is ‘not as vexing as we thought it was going to be’ (video)” — tied to “Opening Bell” host Maria Bartiromo’s interview with Hickenlooper at the Milken Institute Global Conference, which runs through today.

“It’s all those young people coming, and they look at marijuana and say, ‘Hey we can drink whiskey, why can’t we have a legalized system with marijuana?’ If you look back it’s turned out to not be as vexing as some of the people like myself — I opposed the original vote, didn’t think it was a good idea. Now the voters spoke so we’re trying to make it work, and I think we are.[“]

Colorado-rooted legalization advocate Mason Tvert said he welcomes the governor’s new turn.

“It’s great to see the governor recognizes that regulating marijuana is working in Colorado and that it has many benefits,” said Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Polls show more voters support the law now than did when it was approved, and it appears he might be part of that late majority.

“Just about everyone who takes an objective look at what is happening in Colorado agrees that things are going quite well.”

You can watch the video at Fox Business News.

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

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Tax and Regulate

Unified Coalition Files Arizona Initiative to Regulate Marijuana in 2016

April 17th, 2015 15 Comments Morgan Fox

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.

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