Tax and Regulate

Massachusetts Campaign Using St. Patrick’s Day-Themed Billboard to Promote Initiative

March 15th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Monday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts announced the installation of a St. Patrick’s Day-themed billboard in Boston that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

The billboard features a green beer, a glass of whiskey, and a marijuana leaf below the words, “Beer,” “Liquor,” and “Safer,” respectively.unnamed It directs viewers to RegulateMass.com/Safer, which details several ways in which marijuana is significantly less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society.

“Our goal is to make this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities as educational as they are enjoyable,” said CRMLA Campaign Manager Will Luzier, who previously served as executive director of the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention. “While folks are celebrating with a pint of green beer or a glass of whiskey, we want them to think about the fact that marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance.”

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Prohibition

New Hampshire Man Dies While In Jail for Marijuana Possession

March 15th, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

Just days after the New Hampshire House approved a bill that would remove the threat of arrest for low-level marijuana possession, a man in jail on a possession charge died of unknown causes in his cell.

NHPR reports:

A homeless man jailed for marijuana possession and unable to come up with the $100 cash bail was found dead in his cell at the Valley Street Jail in Manchester Sunday.

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Jeffrey Pendleton (Photo: NH-ACLU)

Jeffrey Pendleton, 26, was found unconscious in his cell during a routine head count. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

In a press release Monday, jail officials say there were no apparent signs of distress.

An investigation into the cause of death is ongoing.

Pendleton had been in jail since Wednesday, a day after Nashua police arrested him on a misdemeanor count of marijuana possession.

While the cause of death is currently unknown, this young man might still be alive if he hadn’t been jailed for possessing a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol.

We need to make sure this never happens again in the Granite State. If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senators and urge them to support decriminalizing marijuana possession.

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Prohibition

New Hampshire House Approves Decriminalization Bill

March 11th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

Yesterday evening, despite a negative recommendation from the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, the New Hampshire House of Representatives kept its streak of passing marijuana decriminalization bills alive when it overturned the committee and approved HB 1631 in a voice vote. 2000px-Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svgSponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), this sensible bill would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable only by a fine. The House has now passed decriminalization bills seven times dating back to 2008.

Every other New England state has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Unfortunately, the Senate has failed to pass any of the six decriminalization proposals that have been approved by the House. Last year, the Senate nearly reached a compromise on a bill similar to HB 1631, but it was tabled on the last day of session.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please send your senator an email in support of this bill.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

UPDATE: Maine Campaign Files Lawsuit Challenging Initiative Disqualification

March 10th, 2016 2 Comments Morgan Fox
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Scott Anderson and David Boyer

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot. According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Limited Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Heads to Virginia Governor

March 10th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Virginia is in its final week of its 2016 legislative session and of the many marijuana-related bills Virginian lawmakers considered this year, only one — SB 701 — has made it to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

This limited bill allows the cultivation of cannabis by pharmaceutical processes that would then produce cannabidiol oil. Patients suffering from intractable epilepsy could receive the oil with a written certification from their doctor. While Gov. McAuliffe is expected to sign the legislation, epileptic patients won’t receive any benefit until at least 2017, as the bill requires a second passage next year.

While MPP applauds the Commonwealth’s effort to bring relief to residents suffering from epilepsy, this measure does not go nearly far enough. If you are a resident of Virginia, please ask your elected officials to show compassion for our sickest residents, including those with other serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, intractable pain, and PTSD. Medical marijuana is far less harmful and poses fewer negative side effects than most prescription drugs — especially painkillers — and patients often find it to be a more effective treatment.

We celebrate this narrow victory and look forward to a future where patients can benefit from the expertise of their doctors by finding relief in medical cannabis.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Two Good Bills Passed the Oklahoma House This Week

March 10th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Two moderate marijuana policy improvement bills passed the Oklahoma House this week, and will now move on to the Senate. One, HB 2479, would reduce Oklahoma’s draconian penalties for marijuana possession.Seal_of_Oklahoma.svg It would cut, from two years to one year, the mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent marijuana possession conviction within 10 years of the first. It would also reduce the maximum sentence for such a conviction from 10 years to five years.

The second bill, HB 2835, which has been improved by amendment, would add people with numerous additional medical conditions to the list of patients given limited protections for possession of CBD cannabis oil. Although the bill still limits such oil to 0.3% THC and fails to provide in-state access, it is an acknowledgement by the legislature that cannabis can help patients with many different conditions, including chronic pain.

While both of these bills are limited in scope, this is a rare opportunity to see the Oklahoma Legislature reform the state’s marijuana policy.

If you are an Oklahoma resident, please urge your senator to support both of these common sense reforms.

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Prohibition

New Hampshire House to Consider Marijuana Bill This Week

March 8th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

It’s been a tough year for marijuana policy reform efforts in New Hampshire. The House has already killed several bills seeking to improve the state’s marijuana laws, including two bills that would have made marijuana legal for adult use.

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Rep. Adam Schroadter

Fortunately, there is one important bill that still has a reasonable chance of passing into law. Sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), HB 1631 would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation punishable only by a fine.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please send your representatives an email in support of this bill today!

Every other New England state has already decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the Vermont Senate recently passed a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults. New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support legalization, as evidenced by a recent poll that found 62% support and only 30% opposed. However, it should be stressed that HB 1631 does not legalize marijuana — it would merely reduce penalties for possession, putting New Hampshire’s marijuana laws more nearly into line with those found in neighboring states.

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Tax and Regulate

Maine Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Fighting Ballot Disqualification

March 4th, 2016 20 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Wednesday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in MaineME Release Header - NEW was notified that their ballot measure had failed to qualify for the ballot. The campaign turned in 99,229 signatures in February, but were told that nearly half of them were invalid. However, more than 17,000 valid signatures, more than enough to make the measure qualify for the ballot, were not counted. The reason: a handwriting technicality.

Supporters are not going to let the state take away the political voices of thousands of resident, and are appealing the decision. Now, the officials in charge of validating the signatures are mixing up their stories.

From U.S. News & World Report:

Maine officials have provided inconsistent accounts about whether they contacted a public notary before denying ballot access to a marijuana legalization initiative based solely on the belief the notary’s handwriting was inconsistent on forms containing 17,000 otherwise valid signatures.

The various tellings of whether the notary was asked for an explanation come amid debate on whether they should have been contacted and whether the signature, which is required on petition forms, actually was inconsistent.

On Wednesday, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap seemed to imply his office contacted the notary before its decision, telling Maine Public Radio, “it became apparent to us that we could not get good answers to our questions about the relationship between the notary and the circulator.”

But on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state’s office, Kristen Schulze Muszynski, told U.S. News election staff “did not directly follow up with the notary,” as their signature on forms was “markedly different” from one the state had on file and on other documents they had notarized.

“We’re very concerned about the apparent lack of consistency in statements from the secretary of state,” [Campaign Director David] Boyer says. “When you are about to disenfranchise 17,000 registered voters based on a technicality, it is only logical to take a few simple steps to determine whether the notary signed the petitions or not.”

We will keep you posted as this story develops.

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Uncategorized

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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Medical Marijuana

Nebraska Senate Considering Medical Marijuana Bill

March 3rd, 2016 1 Comment Becky Dansky
floatcharacter
Sen. Tommy Garrett

Last year, the Nebraska Senate approved Sen. Tommy Garrett’s Medical Cannabis Act (LB 643), which would allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and other serious ailments to safely access medical cannabis. Despite that victory, the bill has a long way to go to become law — it needs two more favorable Senate votes, and will likely need a 33-vote supermajority to stop a filibuster.

If you are a Nebraska resident, please write your senator now to support advancing LB 643 to a final reading.

The Senate is currently split on the issue, with some senators opposing medical marijuana altogether and some only supporting a limited, and likely ineffective, CBD oil bill.

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