Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Denver Campaign for Limited Social Use Submits Signatures

August 10th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

The Denver Campaign for Limited Social Use submitted more than 10,000 signatures Monday in support of a city initiative that would allow the limited social use — but not sale — of marijuana at commercial establishments in areas restricted to adults 21 and older.

Campaign for Limited Social Use’s Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente

4,726 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the November 2015 ballot. The city clerk has 25 days to certify the petition.

Under the proposed measure, businesses that have a license to sell alcohol for onsite consumption would be able to decide whether to allow cannabis consumption on the premises. Businesses that choose to allow only cannabis consumption (without licensed alcohol consumption) would be subject to regulation by the city, including restrictions on location and hours of operation. All commercial establishments that allow adults to use marijuana would be required to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which means (1) only non-smokable forms of marijuana would be allowed indoors, and (2) smoking marijuana would only be allowed in existing designated smoking areas that are not viewable to the public.

A strong majority (56%) of likely 2015 voters in Denver support the proposed initiative, according to a survey conducted in June by Public Policy Polling. Just 40% are opposed. The full results are available here.

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Missouri Man Serving Life in Prison for Marijuana Granted Parole

August 10th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

Jeff Mizanskey, a Missouri man who was serving life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses, was granted parole after public outcry and a campaign to reduce his sentence.

WDAF reports:

The only man in Missouri serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for non-violent marijuana related
offenses is now getting released from the maximum-security prison in Jefferson City, according to the man’s son.billboard Mizanskey

Jeff Mizanskey was told Monday morning that he has been granted parole, according to his son, Chris. Chris Mizanskey says his dad should be released within 10 to 25 days. He says his dad called him briefly Monday morning to share the news. They planned to talk again Monday night.

Jeff Mizanskey has already served more than 20 years in the prison for repeat marijuana offenses. He is now 62-years old.


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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

New York Times Publishes Another Editorial In Favor of Regulating Marijuana

August 10th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

On Saturday, The New York Times repeated its editorial support for ending marijuana prohibition, New-York-Times-Logothis time calling on Congress and President Obama to be less timid in their support for regulating marijuana.

Even as support for ending marijuana prohibition is building around the country, Congress and the Obama administration remain far too timid about the need for change.

Last year, residents in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to join Colorado and Washington State in making recreational use of marijuana legal. Later this year, residents of Ohio are expected to vote on a ballot measure that would legalize it. Nevadans will vote on a legalization proposal next year. And Californians could vote on several similar measures next year.

Instead of standing by as change sweeps the country, federal lawmakers should be more actively debating and changing the nation’s absurd marijuana policies, policies that have ruined millions of lives and wasted billions of dollars.

You can read the full editorial here.

In July 2014, the paper of record published a series of editorials covering a variety of marijuana policy issues and supporting making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol.


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Tax and Regulate, Video

Arizona Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Gathers 50K Signatures

August 7th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona has gathered more than 50,000 signatures out of the 150,000 that they will need to obtain by next July in order to secure a vote on the issue. Opponents of the measure have already conceded that the vote is likely inevitable.

Proponents think this is an indicator that adults in Arizona are sick of being charged as felons for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

KPNX reports:

Click here if you’re having troubles viewing the video.

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National Conference of State Legislatures Urges Federal Government to Respect State Marijuana Laws

August 6th, 2015 6 Comments Morgan Fox

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies. For a resolution to pass, it must be supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75% of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.

08.06.2015_NCSL_Renny Cushing w Karen O'Keefe - Matt Simon - Bob Capecchi
Rep. Renny Cushing (second from left) with MPP’s Karen O’Keefe, Matt Simon, and Robert Capecchi

The preamble to the resolution, introduced by New Hampshire State Rep. Renny Cushing, notes that “states are increasingly serving as laboratories for democracy by adopting a variety of policies regarding marijuana and hemp,” and it highlights the fact that “the federal government cannot force a state to criminalize cultivating, possessing, or distributing marijuana or hemp — whether for medical, recreational, industrial, or other uses — because doing so would constitute unconstitutional commandeering.”

The resolution states:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Conference of State Legislatures believes that federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference and urges the administration not to undermine state marijuana and hemp policies.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Conference of State Legislatures recognizes that its members have differing views on how to treat marijuana and hemp in their states and believes that states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities.

The full resolution can be found here.

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Tax and Regulate

Initiative to Regulate Marijuana in Massachusetts Filed Today

August 5th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

Earlier today, proponents of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts filed an initiative regulate-mass_logo_lgthat would make marijuana legal for adults age 21 and older, and would regulate the cultivation, production, and retail sale of the substance.

You can find a summary of the initiative here.

Once the Massachusetts Attorney General has approved the initiative, proponents must collect the signatures of 64,750 Massachusetts voters over a nine-week period from September to November. The petition would then be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

DOJ Misled Congress to Influence Medical Marijuana Vote

August 5th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

In a exclusive, Tom Angell reports that the Department of Justice intentionally misled Congress to discourage2000px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svg passage of a budget restriction that would prevent them from spending funds to interfere with state implementation of medical marijuana programs.


Justice Department officials misinformed members of Congress about the effects of a medical marijuana amendment being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an internal memo obtained by

The amendment, which lawmakers approved in May 2014 by a vote of 219-189 despite the Obama administration’s objections, is aimed at preventing the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

But in the days leading up to the vote, department officials distributed “informal talking points” warning House members that the measure could “in effect, limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well,” according to the document. [Emphasis added.]

The newly obtained memo, drafted by Patty Merkamp Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, admits that the talking points were “intended to discourage passage of the rider” but do not “reflect our current thinking.”

Basically, the DOJ told Congress that a piece of legislation they did not like would have more impact than intended. Now that it has been enacted, despite their efforts, they are saying that it does less than intended!

Please take the time to read the full report.

We need laws based on facts. Congress should be able to count on law enforcement to give them accurate information, not propaganda to support their policy preferences.

If you would like to tell the DOJ what you think about these tactics, you can contact the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs at (202) 514-2141 or via email.


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Medical Marijuana

New York Awards Medical Marijuana Licenses

August 4th, 2015 No Comments Brendan Valentine

On Friday, New York’s Department of Health awarded five organizations licenses allowing them to produce and dispense medical marijuana. Each of the five businesses will be allowed to operate up to four dispensaries within the state and must be doing business within six months.

The companies awarded licenses are Bloomfield Industries Inc.,NY health dept Columbia Care NY, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, and PharmaCann. They plan to operate dispensaries that will serve only parts of the eastern portion of the state, with the exception of Monroe County, where Columbia Care NY plans to operate a dispensary. The Department of Health selected these five companies out of 43 applicants.

The Compassionate Care Act was signed last summer by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he insisted on revisions that made the program among the most restrictive. Patients may neither smoke marijuana nor cultivate it at home, and several important conditions have been left out of the law. In addition, the number of registered organizations is extremely limited and will force some patients to travel long distances to get their medicine. Patients are in need of medical marijuana and continue to wait for access, but by January, eligible New Yorkers should finally have some legal in-state options for treatment.

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New Study Shows Teen Marijuana Use Not Linked to Later Physical or Mental Health Issues

August 4th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A study just released by the American Psychological Association showsAPA logo_small no direct link between teen marijuana use, even chronic use, and health problems later in life. The study looked at more than 400 individuals as they matured and found no evidence that marijuana use caused or contributed to any mental or physical health issues over time, including cancer and psychosis.

The Daily Caller reports:

Chronic marijuana use as an adolescent has no link to mental or physical health problems later in life, according to a new study conducted over the past 20 years.

Published by the American Physiological Association, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University divided participants into four groups from their teenage years onward.

One group almost never smoked marijuana, one used it mostly in their teenage years, another started using in adulthood and the final group of subjects started using marijuana early and continued into their adult years.

The study found that “chronic marijuana users were not more likely than late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, or low/nonusers to experience several physical or mental health problems in their mid-30s.”

In fact, there were no significant differences between marijuana trajectory groups in terms of adult health outcomes, even when models were run without controlling for potential confounds. The researchers found no link between teen marijuana use and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure.

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Medical Marijuana

First Medical Dispensary Opens in Nevada

August 1st, 2015 No Comments Chris Lindsey

On Friday, Silver State Relief became the first medical dispensary to open in Nevada.

Silver State Relief dispensary 2

In the year 2000, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative that made Nevada one of the earliest states to adopt a medical marijuana law. It took another 12 years for the legislature to create a law allowing regulated businesses to provide safe access to medical cannabis. A little over two years from the date the bill was signed into law, that system is finally rolling out.

Nevada’s medical marijuana program now serves over 9,300 patients across the state, and the opening of Nevada’s first regulated business represents an important milestone in the state’s system. For many patients, it has been a long two years. The agency created and then adopted rules, businesses applied to operate in a lengthy approval process, and legal battles followed in some parts of the state. Recently, the state continued rolling out the program by adopting testing standards to ensure medical marijuana is safe for consumption.

We congratulate Silver State Relief, thank Sen. Tick Segerblom for his effort to pass the regulatory bill in 2012 and for his support for businesses and patients since then, and we applaud the hard work and long hours so many in government and business dedicated to making Nevada’s regulatory system a reality.


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