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Arizona Campaign Collects More Than 200K Signatures

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced Tuesday that it has collected more than 200,000 signatures in support of a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona. The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures of registered Arizona voters to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

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Louisiana Considering Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

April 13th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Last week, Louisiana Rep. Ted James (D–Baton Rouge) filed HB 1112, the Louisiana Therapeutic Use of Cannabis Act, which would establish a comprehensive program allowing seriously ill Louisianans to use and safely access medical marijuana.

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Rep. Ted James

While the legislature enacted a bill seeking to institute a similar program last year, problems with that law — and prior ones dating to 1978 — have made the systems unworkable. For example, the current program requires a doctor’s prescription for a patient to legally possess and consume medical marijuana under state law. But under the federal Controlled Substances Act, doctors cannot prescribe marijuana. They can, however, recommend it.

HB 1112 removes this flaw and offers seriously ill patients and their families treatment options that may offer relief. Under the bill, patients could obtain up to 2.5 ounces of therapeutic cannabis from regulated establishments in a 14-day period. For a full summary of the bill, please click here.

If you are a Louisiana resident, please tell your lawmakers that you want to see an effective medical cannabis program in Louisiana and urge them to support HB 1112.

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New Video Features Pennsylvania Patients and Families Who Are Sick of Waiting for Medical Marijuana

March 4th, 2016 2 Comments Becky Dansky

For more than two years, a remarkable group of Pennsylvania advocates has been fighting for seriously ill patients to have access to medical cannabis, a safe and effective treatment option. Last month, patients and their loved ones gathered in the Capitol rotunda to tell the House of Representatives that they were sick of waiting for the House to act. Days later, Majority Leader Dave Reed announced S.B. 3 will finally be brought to the House floor for consideration on March 14.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call your representative to ask him or her to vote yes on S.B. 3

Check out this new video filmed that day in Harrisburg! Hear directly from these incredible advocates about why they can’t wait any longer.

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Marijuana Regulation Bill to Be Introduced in Maryland

February 22nd, 2016 7 Comments Kate Bell

Maryland Del. Curt Anderson is introducing a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. This sensible approach would stop punishing adults for using a substance that’s safer than alcohol, while raising millions in tax revenue and creating thousands of good jobs.MDCoalition2

Although 53% of Marylanders support this policy, the General Assembly will not move forward unless they hear from YOU — their constituents. That’s why the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland is having a Lobby Night on Monday, March 7 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Room 142 of the House of Delegates Office Building. After hearing an update directly from legislators and some talking points from coalition leaders, you can meet with your legislators to urge them to support our bill to tax and regulate cannabis. Click here for more information and to sign up.

If you are a Maryland resident and cannot attend the lobby night, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.

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Presidential Candidates Respond to MPP’s Question on ChangePolitics

February 8th, 2016 5 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Last month, MPP partnered with ChangePolitics for the launch of its new platform, which is designed to ask ChangePolitics-Socialshare-280x150questions of the presidential candidates and get them on the record about various policy issues.

One of MPP’s questions made it into the top 10 “Most Popular in New Hampshire,” and the Concord Monitor editorial team selected it as one of the final five to be answered by the candidates just ahead of the nation’s first primary election on February 9. 

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

You can check out the responses from the Democratic candidates and the responses from the Republican candidates at ChangePolitics.org. Also be sure to visit MPP’s profile page to view and vote for all of our questions so we can get more responses from the candidates.

 

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Iowa State University NORML Chapter Wins Censorship Case

January 25th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Last week, a federal court ruling struck a blow against censorship directed at marijuana policy reform advocates at Iowa State University. The case, brought by two students with the university’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), was heralded as a major victory by the plaintiffs.

…the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa issued a permanent injunction barring Iowa State University (ISU) administrators from using a trademark policy to prevent the campus chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML ISU) from printing t-shirts depicting a marijuana leaf. Students Erin Furleigh and Paul Gerlich, both former presidents of the group, sued ISU in July 2014 as part of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.

Because ISU had rejected the student group’s t-shirts “due to the messages they expressed” in an effort to “maintain favor with Iowa political figures,” the court found that ISU engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.

The court also denied the defense of qualified immunity to the named defendants, including ISU President Steven Leath and Senior Vice President Warren Madden, meaning that they may be held personally liable for violating Furleigh and Gerlich’s First Amendment rights. In so ruling, the court found that “a reasonable person would understand that Defendants’ actions treaded on Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights of political expression and association.”

Senior District Judge James Gritzner, who issued the ruling, observed that “[t]he development of First Amendment doctrine in the university context has repeatedly affirmed that student groups may not be denied benefits on the basis of their espoused views.” After reviewing the record, the court concluded that “Defendants took action specifically directed at NORML ISU based on their views and the political reaction to those views so that Defendants could maintain favor with Iowa political figures.”

In their original complaint, the students detailed how the university censored the group’s t-shirts based on their marijuana-related messaging and imagery, removed NORML ISU’s advisor, and implemented new guidelines for using ISU’s trademark in order to restrict NORML ISU’s speech. And in a January 2015 ruling, the court rejected every argument ISU made in its initial attempt to have the case dismissed.

You can view the full press release here.

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Marijuana Policy Predictions for 2016

December 28th, 2015 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP executive director Rob Kampia’s “Marijuana Policy Predictions for 2016” has been published by The Huffington Post.

predictions 2I don’t often use superlatives, but it’s easy to say that 2016 will be the most significant year yet in the battle to repeal marijuana prohibition in the United States.

Up until now, the two biggest years were 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

2016 will likely comprise a cornucopia of cannabis policy advances, which I’ll enumerate in the form of predictions.

Click here to read the entire column.

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Top 10 Marijuana Policy Victories of 2015

December 28th, 2015 5 Comments Mason Tvert

Top 10 Marijuana Policy VictoriesMPP executive director Rob Kampia’s list of the “Top 10 Marijuana Policy Victories of 2015” has been published by The Huffington Post.

In 2015, state legislators considered bills to legalize marijuana in 21 states, decriminalize marijuana possession in 17 states, and legalize medical marijuana in 19 states.

Most of the action in 2015 was aimed at achieving substantial victories in 2016, which is slated to be the most successful year in the history of the movement to end marijuana prohibition.

With this in mind, the Marijuana Policy Project is hereby releasing its top 10 list for 2015. I’m excluding international and scientific developments, instead focusing on policy developments in the United States.

Click here to read the entire column.

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Advocates Urge D.C. Council to Ease Limits on Where Adults Can Consume Marijuana

December 15th, 2015 1 Comment Robert Capecchi

Late last week, the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary met to consider B21-0107, which would make permanent an expansion of what is considered “open to the public” for purposes of banning marijuana consumption. This legislation is excessively broad and unnecessary.2000px-Flag_of_Washington,_D.C._icon.svg

Should B21-0107 fail, owners and operators of private clubs and event spaces will be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to allow marijuana consumption by adults 21 and older. Currently, District residents are legally allowed to consume marijuana only in private residences. Because of restrictions on public housing and by some landlords, this leaves some District residents with nowhere they can consume cannabis.

District code already prevents marijuana consumption “any place to which the public is invited,” so marijuana could still not be consumed in bars or restaurants if B21-0107 is defeated.

Congress has prevented the Council from taking further action to treat marijuana like alcohol, but that does not mean they have to adopt excessively broad legislation such as B21-0107. If you are a District resident, ask your council members to oppose advancement of B21-0107 thereby allowing social marijuana use in limited, non-residential, private spaces. Marijuana is safer than alcohol; help us continue to shape policy to recognize this.

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Alaska Regulators to Allow On-site Consumption in Some Marijuana Retail Stores

November 23rd, 2015 1 Comment Chris Lindsey

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board voted on Friday to create a class of retail marijuana license that will allow onsite consumption. This is an important decision that benefits adult consumers, those who will be licensed to provide to them, and the communities that want to regulate use.Alaska-StateSeal.svg

Despite clear language contained in Measure 2, some state staff members had advised the board that it could not authorize retail licenses to allow onsite consumption. Many of those who supported Measure 2 were concerned that the issue would be confused and needlessly delayed as the board deferred to lawmakers rather than exercise its own authority. Public comments submitted to the board overwhelmingly supported this change, and we applaud the board for taking this important step.

While the definition of “public,” adopted by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in February, did improve with this change, it unfortunately still falls short of acknowledging the rights private business owners have under the law. Nonetheless, this decision marks an important moment in the rule-making process and a victory for those who worked so hard to make Alaska’s regulations successful.

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