The Sky Hasn’t Fallen in Alaska

Marijuana officially became legal for adults in Alaska New logo 3a copyas the legalization initiative approved by voters in November took effect on February 24. As we (and state lawmakers) expected, the sky did not fall in The Last Frontier, which is now the third state in the nation to allow adult marijuana use.

Under Ballot Measure 2, it is legal for 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown. It also creates a system of regulated marijuana cultivation and sales — which the state legislature is currently in the process of developing — that will allow for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults. 
The Marijuana Policy Project was the largest backer of the campaign in support of Ballot Measure 2, and we are now working with state and local activists, organizations, and officials to implement the best possible regulatory system. MPP also used “legalization day” as an opportunity to introduce its Consume Responsibly campaign to Alaska. The initial effort entailed ads on the side of city buses in Anchorage reminding adult marijuana consumers that, “With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.
KTUU reports:

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Majority of Coloradans Want to Keep Marijuana Legal

Echoing results from last September, a new poll shows that an even greater percentage of Coloradans are happy with their marijuana laws.

From Denver Post:

More than 13 months after recreational pot sales first started in Colorado, residents of the state still support marijuana legalization by a definitive margin, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

When asked, “Do you still support or oppose this law?” 58 percent of respondents said they support the pot-legalizing Amendment 64 while 38 percent said they oppose it. Men support legalization (63 percent) more than women (53 percent). And among the 18-34 age demographic, of course, there was more support of legal pot (82 percent) than among voters 55 and older (50 percent against).

The new numbers show a certain kind of progress for legal marijuana in Colorado. In the 2012 election, Amendment 64 passed 54.8 percent to 45.1 percent, and a December 2014 poll by The Denver Post found that more than 90 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2012 election said they would vote the same way today.

 

Study Shows Marijuana 114 Times Less Deadly Than Alcohol

A study recently published in Scientific ReportsSCReports compared the risk of death associated with a number of drugs, including marijuana. The results added even more evidence proving that marijuana is far safer than legal alcohol.

The Washington Post reports:

Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly-used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.

And all the way at the bottom of the list? Weed — roughly 114 times less deadly than booze, according to the authors, who ran calculations that compared lethal doses of a given substance with the amount that a typical person uses. Marijuana is also the only drug studied that posed low mortality risk to its users.

These findings reinforce drug safety rankings developed 10 years ago under a slightly different methodology. So in that respect, the study is more of a reaffirmation of previous findings than anything else. But given the current national and international debates over the legal status of marijuana and the risks associated with its use, the study arrives at a good time.

Given the relative risks associated with marijuana and alcohol, the authors recommend “risk management prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs.” And they say that when it comes to marijuana, the low amounts of risk associated with the drug “suggest a strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition approach.”

In other words, individuals and organizations up in arms over marijuana legalization could have a greater impact on the health and well-being of this country by shifting their attention to alcohol and cigarettes. It takes extraordinary chutzpah to rail against the dangers of marijuana use by day and then go home to unwind with a glass of far more lethal stuff in the evening.

Jamaican Parliament Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana

The Parliament of Jamaicajamaica flag adopted a law on Tuesday that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and created a new agency that will regulate the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Now that the measure has been approved in the House and Senate, Governor-general Patrick Allen is expected to sign the measure into law.

The Associated Press reports:
The act makes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana a petty offense that could result in a ticket but not in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises will be permitted. And tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will soon be able to apply for permits authorizing them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or “ganja” as it is known locally.
Passage of the law also marks a victory for religious freedom:
In addition, adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement can now freely use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time on the tropical island where the faith was founded in the 1930s.

West Virginia Senate Leaders Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill

The West Virginia House has considered medical marijuana bills in recent years, but such bills had not been introduced in the Senate. Yesterday, that situation changed in a big way, as a bipartisan group of three Senate leaders introduced a bill that would make medical marijuana legal for seriously ill West Virginians. An identical bill, HB 2909, was introduced today in the House.

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Sen. Mitch Carmichael

SB 546, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley), Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale), and Senate Majority Whip Daniel Hall (R-Oceana), has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources. The bill would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and possess up to six ounces. It would also allow for the creation of state-regulated dispensaries that would serve the needs of patients.

HB 2909, which mirrors SB 546, is sponsored in the House by Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Shepherdstown) and a bipartisan group of 10 co-sponsors.

If you are a West Virginia resident, please ask your lawmakers to support these compassionate bills. 

Marijuana Policy Project