California Democrats Officially Add Marijuana Legalization to Platform


, , , , , , , , 20 Comments

California Democrats approved adding a position in support of taxing and regulating marijuana to the party’s platform Sunday, despite opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown (D). This is a major shift in the Democratic Party stance on legal marijuana use in the Golden State, and was spearheaded by long-time activist Lanny Swerdlow and the Brownie Mary Democratic Club.

California was the pioneering state for medical marijuana, which was made legal in 1996, but since then has stalled on creating a regulatory structure for cultivation or sales, and the legislature has been unwilling to seriously consider making marijuana legal for adults.

Gavin_Newsom_Lieutenant_Gov
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

Leading up to the party shift this weekend, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, formerly the mayor of San Francisco, made the case for marijuana, swaying moderate Democrats by reassuring them, “You can be pro-regulation without being an advocate for drug use.”

Newsom’s advocacy was contrary to Gov. Brown’s interview on “Meet the Press” the last week, in which he voiced peculiar concerns over marijuana’s effect on alertness. “The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive,” Brown said. “I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.”

The platform language specifically calls on Democrats to “support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana, in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol.” The tipping point in this shift may stem from Colorado’s preliminary tax revenue generation of $2 million dollars for the month of January. However, revenue clearly is not the only factor; a recent Field Poll found a 55% majority of voters support legalization.

Read More

Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana Introduced in Pennsylvania


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

Pennsylvania recently joined the growing list of states considering taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol this year, when Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17) introduced SB 528. The proposal was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee on April 3.

Daylin Leach PA family
Sen. Leach and family

Sen. Leach’s bill, the Regulate Marijuana Act, would allow adults 21 and over to possess, grow, process, or transport up to six marijuana plants (three or fewer being mature) and possess the marijuana produced by those plants where they were grown, provided that the growing takes place in a secure location. In addition, adults would be allowed to give away up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults who are 21 or older.

SB 528 would task the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with licensing marijuana-related facilities and regulating the cultivation, distribution, and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and over. In terms of taxation, the bill calls on the General Assembly to enact an excise tax on marijuana sold or transferred.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please contact your legislators now, and ask them to support taxing and regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

Read More

Alabama Bill Would End State’s Marijuana Prohibition


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

Last week, Alabama joined the growing list of states considering taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol this year. Sponsored by Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), HB 550 would remove all criminal penalties for possession of marijuana by adults. The proposal was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

large_patricia-todd
Rep. Patricia Todd

Rep. Todd’s bill, the Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013, would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 plants in a secure space. It would tax marijuana similarly to alcohol and would task the Alabama Department of Revenue with licensing retail outlets and regulating the cultivation, distribution, and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and over.

In addition to allowing a regulated and taxed marijuana industry, HB 550 would also set up a medical marijuana program. The bill would authorize the medical use of marijuana for qualifying patients who have been diagnosed with serious medical conditions by their physicians.

If you are an Alabama resident, please contact your legislators now and ask them to support HB 550!

Read More

Maryland State Lawmakers to Consider Regulating and Taxing Marijuana Like Alcohol


, , , , , , 20 Comments

picture 2
Del. Curt Anderson

The Maryland House of Delegates will debate whether or not the state should permit the establishment of a legal market for businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older. Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City) introduced H.B. 1453 on Thursday. If passed, the bill would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol. The proceeds from the bill’s stipulated excise tax will be used to offset implementation and fund treatment programs to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse.

“It is time for a new, more sensible approach to marijuana in Maryland, and that is what this bill proposes,” said MPP deputy director of government relations Dan Riffle.

 

Read More

Maine Could Become Next State to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol


, , , , , , 20 Comments

Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Maine unveiled the details of a new bill that would make Maine the third state in the nation to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol.

If approved during this session, the “Act to Tax and Regulate Marijuana,” formulated by state Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) and supported by Rep. Aaron Libby (R-Waterboro), will be referred to voters in the upcoming November election. If the measure gets carried over and approved during the next legislative session, it will be placed on the November 2014 ballot.

“When it comes to keeping marijuana away from teens, keeping marijuana in an unregulated underground market is the worst possible policy,” Rep. Russell said. “Instead, marijuana should be sold by legitimate, taxpaying businesses in a tightly regulated market.”

picture
Rep. Aaron Libby (WGME)
Read More

Sen. Leach Introduces Marijuana Reform Bill in Pennsylvania


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

 

Daylin Leach PA family

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach, a long-time supporter of marijuana reform and previous sponsor of several medical marijuana bills, announced Monday that he will introduce a bill that would make adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana legal and would tax and regulate the substance. According to The Times Herald, the latter policy is what may eventually swing lawmakers in his state: Read the rest of this entry »

Read More

Rhode Island Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

Rep. Ajello T&R presser 02062013

At a press conference Wednesday, Rhode Island State Rep. Edith Ajello (pictured at right) and State Sen. Donna Nesselbush announced the introduction of a bill to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. So far the bill has 19 sponsors, including Republican House Minority Leader Brian Newberry.

RIFuture.org reports:

Under the Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, criminal penalties for the private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and for the home growing of up to three mature marijuana plants would be removed; a tightly regulated system of marijuana retail stores, cultivation and research facilities would be established; and the Department of Business Regulation would establish rules regulating security, labeling, health and safety requirements.

A story about the event in the Pawtucket Times conveyed Sen. Nesselbush’s strong case for the bill:

“Marijuana, like alcohol, has long been with us and is widely used,” Nesselbush told reporters at an afternoon news conference. “The question is: how are we going to deal with it?

“Will the state determine the time, place and manner or will we leave it up to criminals to sell it anywhere at any time to anyone? Will the state act boldly to create a legitimate industry that creates jobs and generates legitimate tax revenue or will we continue to unwittingly support gangs and cartels? Are we going to spend the hard-earned tax dollars from hard-working taxpayers to punish and incarcerate individuals for consuming a substance that appears to be less harmful than alcohol?”

The Rhode Island bill was rolled out just one day after members of Congress introduced historic legislation to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol at the federal level. If you have yet to do so, please contact your represenative totday and encourage them to support an end to federal marijuana prohibition.

(Photo courtesy of Rebecca McGoldrick, Coalition for Marijuana Regulation)

Read More

The 10 Things That Led to Legalized Marijuana in Colorado


, , , , , , , 20 Comments

In the wake of our victory in Colorado — where 54.8 percent of the voters passed Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment to regulate marijuana like alcohol — good people are understandably clamoring to pass similar measures in their states.

Here is a listing of the ingredients of the recipe that led to the historic victory in Colorado on November 6.

1. Presidential Election: Given that no one had ever previously legalized marijuana in the history of the world, we assumed that the election in Colorado would be close — win or lose. So we intentionally chose to place our initiative on the ballot during a presidential election, which always attracts a larger proportion of young voters, who are more supportive. …

To read more, please visit The Huffington Post.

 

Read More

MPP’s “Money Bomb” Generates $694,383 for Colorado Campaign!


, , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

Last week, during the five days leading up to and including 4/20, MPP promoted a 10-to-1 matching challenge for the Colorado campaign.

Thanks to the generosity of one donor, we pledged to give $100 to Colorado for every $10 donated to our general fund last week. And, more importantly, we pledged to give $1,200 for every $10 monthly donation we received (because monthly credit card donations are 12 times as potent as singular donations).

The results from last week are in the box below. A few observations:

– This was MPP’s first-ever money bomb, and I’d have to say it was a success. The power of monthly credit card donations massively increases MPP’s revenues, which is why we promote the monthly pledge program so consistently

– As of March 31, we had 582 monthly pledgers nationwide.  But now, because of last week’s “money bomb,” we have 712 monthly pledgers!

– Unfortunately, raising money via Facebook continues to be a challenge. If you have any ideas for how to do better on this front, please leave a comment below.

Thanks to the generosity of the 381 folks who participated in the bomb, we will now be sending a minimum of $694,383 to the Colorado campaign! We plan to send $500,000 in the near future, which will allow the campaign to invest in television advertising for the fall. Additional checks, totaling $194,383, will be sent periodically to help the campaign cover other important expenses  (such as billboards).

Onward!

Two National Email Alerts:

One-Time Gifts: 145 donations, $10,884.48 total

Monthly Pledges: 115 pledges, $3,846 total

Social Media Fundraising:

One-Time Gifts: 21 donations, $470 total

Monthly Pledges: 10 pledges, $77.50 total

One Colorado Email Alert:

One-Time Gifts: 85 donations, $9,201.96 total

Monthly Pledges: 5 pledges, $149.99 total

Total Donations:

One-Time + (Monthly Pledges x 12): $69,438.32

Total Donation to Colorado from 10-to-1 Promotion: $694,383.20

Read More

More Americans Support Taxing Marijuana Than Junk Food


, , , , , , , , , , , , 20 Comments

A national Rasmussen poll released today indicates that 47% of American adults answered “yes” to this question: “To help solve America’s fiscal problems, should the country legalize and tax marijuana?” Forty-two percent disagreed, and a whopping 10% were undecided.

Forty-seven percent is impressive, especially when one considers that this figure could grow to 57% if we’re able to persuade the undecided folks to come to our side through positive news coverage, paid advertising, and person-to-person contact.

The 47% is a national figure, which means support for taxing marijuana is surely higher in states like Colorado and Washington, both of which will have marijuana-taxation initiatives on their ballots this November 6. (And, of course, support would necessarily be lower than 47% in states like Alabama and Mississippi.)

The same Rasmussen poll also indicates that only 42% of Americans “favor so-called ‘sin taxes’ on sodas and junk food.”

In case you’re thinking that the 47% figure is a decrease from previous polling … it’s not. The national Gallup poll, released in October, found that 50% of American adults “think the use of marijuana should be made legal.”

So, these are two different marijuana questions. It makes sense that (slightly) more people are comfortable with the simple use of marijuana than the overall legalization and taxation of marijuana — which would involve retail establishments, large-scale grow operations, and maybe even advertising.

I’m very excited about the 47% figure, and I’m looking forward to working with our allies to pass the Colorado ballot initiative in just seven months.

Read More