Iowa and New Hampshire Polls Reveal Bipartisan Support for Respecting State Marijuana Laws


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Recent polls conducted in Iowa and New Hampshire in preparation for the presidential primary elections there show that a majority of voters in both parties think states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Public Policy PollingPublic_Policy_Polling_logo reports that 71% of Iowa respondents and 73% of New Hampshire respondents want the federal government to stay out of marijuana policy.

This poll also shows that support for state freedom in determining marijuana policy is non-partisan and has taken hold among Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. 64% of Iowa Republicans and 67% of New Hampshire Republicans are in favor of the next president respecting state marijuana laws.

For more information, please visit Marijuana Majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Respect State Marijuana Laws Act Reintroduced in Congress


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Earlier today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has reintroduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This short, simple bill would resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws by making an exception to federal law for activity in compliance with state laws that regulate marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes.

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Dan Riffle, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rob Kampia

Please take two minutes to urge your representatives to support this bill! 

 

Because of MPP’s success in changing public opinion and state laws, we expect numerous bills to be introduced this year to reform federal marijuana laws. We will support all of them, but Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill stands out. It’s the best policy — covering not just medical marijuana, but adult-use laws passed in four states and Washington, D.C. — and has the best chance of passing. Last year, we passed an amendment very similar to this bill, thanks to broad bipartisan support for respecting state laws, and this year the bill has twice as many Republicans on board than when it was introduced last year.

Republican co-sponsors include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock, and Don Young (R-AK). Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

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Oklahoma Republicans Join Call for Bruning to Drop Marijuana Lawsuit


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Back in December, the attorneys general for Nebraska and Oklahoma filed suit in federal court against the state of Colorado, claiming that the law making marijuana legal for adults there was causing problems for law enforcement in their states.

Now, a group of prominent Oklahoma Republicans is urging their attorney general to drop the suit, according to the Washington Post:

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AG Scott Pruitt

In a Wednesday letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), who along with the Nebraska attorney general filed suit in December against Colorado, the group of Republicans argue the suit poses a risk to state’s 10th amendment rights.

“[W]e share your concerns about the growing amounts of marijuana apparently coming into our state from Colorado,” the letter reads. “However, we believe this lawsuit against Colorado is the wrong way to deal with the issue, for a number of reasons.”

In the suit, Pruitt said Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana injured the ability of Oklahoma and other bordering states to enforce their marijuana laws and violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution giving federal law precedence over state ones.

But the group of Republicans think if the lawsuit was successful at the Supreme Court, it could “undermine all of those efforts to protect our own state’s right to govern itself.”

“We think the best move at this point would be to quietly drop the action against Colorado, and if necessary, defend the state’s right to set its own policies, as we would hope other states would defend our right to govern ourselves within constitutional confines,” the letter reads. “We also do not feel that attempting to undermine the sovereignty of a neighboring state using the federal courts, even if inadvertently, is a wise use of Oklahoma’s limited state resources.”

The letter was signed by Reps. Mike Ritze, Lewis Moore, John Bennett Mike Christian, Dan Fisher, and Sens. Ralph Shortey and Nathan Dahm.

Please sign our petition calling on Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to withdraw the lawsuit and end their crusade to maintain marijuana prohibition.

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Candidate For Illinois Governor Would Have Vetoed Medical Marijuana Law


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Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce RaunerBruceRauner announced earlier this week that, if he had been in office, he would have vetoed Illinois’ new lawwhich allows seriously ill patients access to medical cannabis. Rauner also said he preferred a system that would make business licenses available only to the highest bidders in order to raise money for state coffers.

Governor Quinn, who signed the medical marijuana bill in 2013, took exception to the comments, pointing out that the process is both competitive and transparent. His campaign called Rauner’s statements “heartless” and stressed that the law “will ease pain and provide relief for cancer patients (and) severely ill people.”

Rep. Lou Lang, who sponsored the current law, noted that Illinois’ program is among the most tightly-controlled in the country. He also stated that “[t]he whole notion that Mr. Rauner would veto the bill, the notion that it would go to the highest bidder, is just callous, and flies in the face of logic.”

Rauner’s opposition to the current law stands in contrast to most Republican lawmakers, who joined Democrats earlier this year to extend the program to allow individuals with seizure conditions to qualify for access. His statements are particularly important because the winner of this election will be in office in 2017 — when the current program expires. In order for seriously ill patients to continue to have access, a new law will need to be passed.

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MPP’s New Hampshire Primary Voter Guide


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MPP’s voter guide for the New Hampshire primary election has now been published. Click here to find out if the candidates on your ballot agree it’s time for a more sensible approach to marijuana. The election will take place next Tuesday, September 9 — one week from today — so mark your calendars now and don’t forget to vote!

There are many contrasts between the primary election candidates on marijuana policy. This is especially true on the Republican ballot, where reform advocate Andrew Hemingway is seeking the nomination for governor over Walt Havenstein. The winner will face Governor Maggie Hassan, who has been a tremendous disappointment to supporters of marijuana policy reform.

If you’ve been following New Hampshire’s reform efforts in recent years, you know that the 400-member House has been far ahead of the 24-member Senate and the governor’s office. Fortunately, four senators decided to retire this year, and this election presents a number of opportunities to improve the Senate.

In addition to the race for governor, there are several Republican state senate primaries where candidates’ positions are very different. Some of these races are expected to be very close, so your vote and your friends’ votes could easily be the difference between electing a reformer and electing a prohibitionist.

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Rhode Island Primary Is Two Weeks Away – Where Do The Candidates Stand?


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Tuesday, September 9, is Primary Election Day in Rhode Island. With an open race for the top slot in the state, all eyes are on the gubernatorial primary races. Next year, the legislature will continue discussing whether Rhode Island should replace marijuana prohibition with sensible regulations, so it is important to know how the candidates for governor view the issue.

Democratic primary gubernatorial candidatesWhen asked in March, all three major candidates — Gina Raimondo, Angel Taveras, and Clay Pell — indicated that they are monitoring the effects of regulation and taxation in Colorado and Washington. However, all indications are that Taveras is the least open to marijuana regulation — he stated that he is “not currently supportive of legalization.” This is not too surprising considering Taveras has received public support from prominent marijuana prohibitionist and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

Republican primary gubernatorial candidates: On the Republican side of the coin, Ken Block has said he will withhold judgment until he can “see the results in Colorado and Washington.” His opponent, Allan Fung, not only opposes “the legalization of marijuana for recreational use,” but also makes no mention of even being interested in results from Colorado and Washington.  

If you are a Rhode Island resident, please get out and vote on Tuesday, September 9, and pass this message on to other Rhode Island voters who support humane and fiscally sound marijuana policies. The New York Times agrees that regulation — not prohibition — is the more sensible approach to marijuana policy; we hope the next governor of Rhode Island does, too.

 

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Vermont Primary Elections Today; All GOP Candidates Support Ending Marijuana Prohibition


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A debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination to become the next Governor of Vermont produced a pleasant surprise this weekend. The Associated Press reported that all three Republican gubernatorial candidates said they support ending marijuana prohibition. The momentum behind legalizing and regulating marijuana in Vermont seems to be growing with each passing week!

The Vermont primary election takes place TODAY. Before you go to vote, please click here to view MPP’s voter guide for the Vermont primary election.

We know that marijuana prohibition will end in the Green Mountain State. Please help us end this destructive policy as quickly and sensibly as possible.

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Senate to Vote On Medical Marijuana Amendment


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Sen. Rand Paul
Cory Booker
Sen. Cory Booker

Last month, we made history by passing an amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives intended to prevent the DEA from spending any money raiding and arresting medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it’s legal. Now, in order to get it to President Obama’s desk, we need to pass it in the Senate.

Please take two minutes to call both of your U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Paul/Booker medical marijuana amendment!

The good news is we will get a vote thanks to two courageous senators who are taking a stand for medical marijuana patients and respecting state laws. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) are sponsoring an amendment identical to the one that passed in the House last month. The amendment was filed yesterday and could be voted on at any time.

 

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Maryland Senate Approves Decriminalization Bill


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Sen. Bobby Zirkin

For the second year in a row, the Maryland Senate has approved Sen. Bobby Zirkin’s proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Today’s vote had an even wider margin than last year’s. Seven Republicans joined 29 Democrats for a 36-8 bipartisan vote. SB 364 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee heard nearly eight hours of testimony on proposals to decriminalize and legalize marijuana from MPP and other members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland

SB 364 would replace criminal penalties for the possession of 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine of up to $100. This is a much-needed measure in Maryland, which has the fourth-highest arrest rate per capita for marijuana possession. Arrest records have a devastating effect on a young person’s life, and can become an obstacle to obtaining an education, employment, and even housing. SB 364 is a strong step towards ending the ineffective and destructive prohibition of marijuana. This bill would also free up law enforcement to focus on addressing serious crimes instead of arresting adults for using a substance objectively safer than alcohol.

More than two-thirds of Maryland voters (68 percent) support changing state laws to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100, according to a survey conducted in September by Public Policy Polling. The full results are available at http://www.mpp.org/MDpoll.
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Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Iowa


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Earlier this week, lawmakers in Des Moines once again introduced the Medical Cannabis Act for consideration.SEAL_IOWA Unfortunately, the legislation will die for the year if it is not reported out of the Senate Human Resources Committee by the end of the week. If you live in Iowaplease email the committee members today and ask them to hold a hearing on this bill.

If passed, the Medical Cannabis Act will protect Iowans with serious and debilitating medical conditions from arrest or prosecution for using medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The legislation also requires the department of public health to develop rules governing the distribution of medical marijuana to qualified patients. Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books; it’s about time Iowa does the same. 

It’s time both Republicans and Democrats in Iowa stand up for those less fortunate and allow trained medical professionals to recommend medical marijuana when they think its use is appropriate.

 

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