How Is Marijuana Policy Factoring into the Presidential Campaign?


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MPP’s Executive Director Rob Kampia recently published his thoughts on how marijuana policy will factor into the 2016 presidential elections:

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) recently released its quadrennial report card detailing the most prominent presidential candidates’ positions on marijuana policy.

To be sure, most voters aren’t single-issue marijuana voters (on either side of the legalization issue). Most voters make their decisions after processing a soup of positions and paid ads. So MPP’s intent is to inform a piece of that upcoming decision-making process, rather than claiming that marijuana legalization is the main issue for many voters.Republican-Elephant-Democrat-Donkey

That said, it’s worth noting that hardcore supporters of legalization are now finally capable of having a measurable impact on campaigns. For example, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) raised more than $100,000 at a marijuana-specific fundraising event in Portland on June 5. This is real money for a U.S. House race.

MPP’s early donations to Peter Shumlin (D-VT) almost certainly made the difference in his first primary contest for governor in 2010. And during the 2011-2012 election cycle, MPP was the largest donor to his campaign, edging out donations from AFSCME, Coca-Cola, and the Democratic Governors Association.

As for the presidential race, many members of the marijuana industry — which is generally defined as marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under various states’ laws — are supporting Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). At a group fundraising meeting at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s annual conference in Denver on June 30, a room of canna-business leaders discussed the issue with Sen. Paul and donated more than $100,000 to his campaign. (This is real money for any presidential campaign.) MPP had previously donated $15,000 to Sen. Paul’s three campaign committees.

Setting aside the ability of the cannabis industry to have some degree of impact on the current presidential race, what are the positions of some of the more interesting candidates?

You can read the complete analysis at the Huffington Post.

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Congress Poised to Pass Historic Medical Marijuana Amendment


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After 11 years of MPP lobbying and attending receptions on Capitol Hill, Congress is finally poised to pass an amendment that would prohibit the U.S. Justice Department — which includes the DEA — from interfering with state-level medical marijuana laws.Capitol

The U.S. House rejected the amendment in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012. Finally, in May of this year, the House passed the amendment, which was introduced by Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA).

Last night, the amendment was included in the annual spending bill that Congress is expected to pass today or tomorrow. It will then be the law through September 30, at which time it would need to be renewed each fall.

Unfortunately, a bad amendment to block local legalization in D.C. was also included in the spending bill. The D.C. mayor and council had been planning to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol in our nation’s capital, which they’ll no longer be allowed to do.

That said, the medical marijuana and decriminalization laws in D.C. will remain in effect.

And it is MPP’s opinion that the ballot initiative that 70% of D.C. voters passed on November 4 will be allowed to move forward. This initiative — which removes penalties for adult possession and home cultivation — would take effect in approximately March (unless Congress affirmatively blocks the initiative).

The federal spending bill also prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from interfering with state-level hemp laws.

Finally, marijuana has become a big issue on Capitol Hill, which is a precursor to ending federal prohibition.

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MPP’s Rob Kampia Gives His Take on What’s Next for Marijuana Legalization


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Executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, Rob Kampia, discusses what’s next for the push to make marijuana legal in the United States:

The state that will most likely be next to legalize is Rhode Island, which would be the first to do so via state legislature. Also this spring, the District of Columbia is expected to enact a similar law through its city council.

There’s also a real opportunity to legalize marijuana through five more state legislatures between now and 2017 – Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Vermont. There will also be serious legislative activity in other states, such as New York, but it is less clear when such legislation will pass.

In November 2016, at least five states are expected to vote on similar ballot initiatives – Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – and one could potentially appear on the ballot in Missouri.

By the end of 2017, marijuana could be legalized in 15 states and D.C., which would comprise 26% of the nation’s population.

Read the rest of Kampia’s column here.

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MPP’s Rob Kampia to Speak at NCIA Cannabis Business Summit


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The National Cannabis Industry Association is launching its first national conference, The Cannabis Business Summit, June 24-25 in Denver, Colorado. The summit will offer cannabis business leaders a national stage on which to discuss the best practices and business developments from around the industry. The summit will include more than 35 sessions, more than 800 attendees, and an exhibition floor featuring more than 30 leading cannabis businesses over the course of two days. Several topic-oriented tracks will give attendees the opportunity to focus on their areas of expertise. Conference highlights and topics covered will include:

  •  Latest state and federal policy developments
  • Best practices in cultivation, retail, and infused products
  • Latest developments in banking and taxation
  • Securing investment for cannabis businesses
  • Streamlining your business with technology
  • Security, compliance, and safety for you and your customers
  • Integrating sustainability into your business plan
  • Risk management and industry insurance
  • Responsible and effective marketing
  • Philanthropy and community engagement

Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia will also be speaking at the event!

NCIA’s Cannabis Business Summit will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Along with the educational sessions and an exhibitor showcase, the event will also include a fundraising reception to support NCIA’s work advancing the policy goals of the responsible cannabis industry. Visit the conference website online, and register at http://www.cannabisbusinesssummit.com.

 

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MPP’s Rob Kampia Discusses the Future of Texas Marijuana Policy Reform


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On March 1, MPP officially began lobbying for marijuana policy reform directly in the Texas legislature. Over the next several years, we will be working with supportive lawmakers and local advocates to remove the threat of jail for simple possession of marijuana, and eventually end marijuana prohibition altogether in the Lone Star State.

Here is MPP’s executive director, Rob Kampia, discussing the future of marijuana policy reform on KXAN:

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Debunking the Myths About the Marijuana Lobby


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MPP’s Executive Director, Rob Kampia, wrote an article for the Huffington Post this week discrediting three common myths about the marijuana lobby most often spread by prohibitionists.

It’s important for all of us to keep our eye on the prize by agreeing that marijuana should be legal for people 21 and older; we’ll put cartels and gangs out of business, and we’ll have reasonable restrictions on advertising.

None of this is new. Anyone who believes that alcohol should be legal should also agree that marijuana should be legal.

This is simple for most of us to understand. The only people who are trying to confuse it are those who are making profits from marijuana prohibition — international drug cartels and, unfortunately, so-called anti-drug nonprofit organizations in the U.S.

Click here to read the whole article!

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Another Big Election Night


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One year ago, Colorado and Washington became the first states to make marijuana legal for adults, and Massachusetts joined the growing list of states that allows marijuana for medical uses. We had a big night last night.alert_sidebar_election2013 Marijuana policy reform measures cruised to victory in states across the nation.

• Portland, Maine became the first city on the East Coast to legalize marijuana. Voters approved Question 1 by a margin of 67-33, removing all penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and older. MPP was the largest backer of the initiative, and the huge showing of support in Maine’s most populated city bodes well for our efforts to pass a statewide measure in 2016 to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

• Colorado voters approved a statewide ballot measure 65-35 to establish taxes on legal marijuana sales. Proposition AA was referred to the ballot by the General Assembly in accordance with the historic legalization initiative approved by Colorado voters exactly one year ago today. MPP supported AA because it underscores the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana sales instead of forcing them into the underground market, as well as helps ensure cooperation from the federal government.

• In Michigan, voters in three cities adopted initiatives to remove local penalties for adult marijuana possession. In the state capital, Lansing, about 62% of voters cast their ballots in support of ending marijuana prohibition. The measures in Jackson and Ferndale also won by sizeable margins.

Now it’s time to start working on racking up even more victories in 2014!

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Help Legalize on the East Coast


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On November 5, voters will decide whether to approve a local ballot initiative that would remove all penalties for possessing up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Portland is the most populous city in Maine – where we intend to run a 2016 statewide initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol – and a victory on November 5 would provide a dramatic boost to our efforts.

It’s going to be a very close election, so we need your help. You do NOT need to live in Maine to lend your support in one of the following ways:

1. Call Portland voters using our online phone bank. Our allies at Just Say Now have created an easy-to-use system that provides voters’ phone numbers, instructions, and a simple script.

2. Email anyone you know in Portland. We’ve created a page with a pre-written email to send to your friends and relatives. It also includes tools for sharing this message on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Make a donation to MPP. If you support our work to pass local initiatives in Portland and elsewhere, please donate today in order to move the ball forward in Maine and other states.

By taking just a little time out of your day to call some voters, send an email, or make a financial contribution, you can help us make history next week!

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International Drug Policy Reform Conference Next Week!


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Next week, the biannual International Drug Policy Reform Conferenceinternational-drug-policy-reform-conference will take place in Denver, Colorado. This conference promises to bring together a wide range of drug policy and social justice activists to discuss the many issues surrounding current national and global drug policy. This year’s conference, from October 23-26, promises to be very productive and exciting, being located in one of the first states to make marijuana legal at a time when failed drug policies around the world are being questioned.

Tickets are still available!

Anyone attending the conference can see MPP staff at the following speeches and panels:

BOOK SIGNING

Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

Thursday, October 24, 4:00pm – 4:30pm in the Plaza Foyer

Mason Tvert, director of communications

ROUNDTABLE

Which States Will Legalize Next?

Thursday, October 24, 4:30pm-6:00pm in Plaza E

Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies

ROUNDTABLE

What About the Kids: How Will Legalization Affect Those Under 21?

Saturday, October 26, 10:00am-10:30am in Plaza E

Mason Tvert, director of communications

ROUNDTABLE

What Happens Next With Marijuana?

Saturday, October 26, 3:00pm – 4:30pm in Plaza E

Rob Kampia, executive director

The full program of the conference can be seen here.

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25 Days Until Portland Considers Making Marijuana Legal for Adults


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In just 25 days, Portland, Maine could become the first East Coast city in the nation to legalize marijuana for adults.

On November 5,25 days voters will decide whether to approve a local ballot initiative that would make the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older.

MPP is part of a coalition that’s backing the local initiative (which is known as “Question 1″), and we recently made national headlines when we launched a series of ads on Portland buses and bus shelters that highlight the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. Virtually every major media outlet in Maine covered the campaign, and when critics demanded that the ads be taken down, the state’s largest newspaper defended our right to display them.

We’ve made no secret of our plans to support a statewide initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine in November 2016 (unless the state legislature does so first). Passing Question 1 in the state’s most populous city will build an incredible amount of momentum and send a message that broader reform will soon come to the entire state.

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