Tax and Regulate

MPP Unveils Billboard in Oregon in Honor of ‘Alcohol Awareness Month’

March 27th, 2013 3 Comments Kate Zawidzki

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which in Portland means it’s time for the annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest. Locals may notice something different about this year’s festival: a massive sign reminding onlookers that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

MPP’s latest billboard, located at Southwest 13th and Alder Streets, features a glass of beer, a glass of wine, and a marijuana leaf below the words “Beer,” “Wine,” and “Safer.”OR SAFER billboard

“Our goal is to make this year’s beer and wine festivals as educational as they are enjoyable,” said Roy Kaufmann, MPP’s Oregon representative. “We know Oregonians are proud of our craft beer, wine, and spirits, but the objective fact remains that marijuana is less toxic and less addictive than alcohol, and it is far less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.”

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Prohibition

More Conservatives Support Marijuana Policy Reform

March 27th, 2013 8 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Despite what some may think, marijuana reform is not a rallying cry for simply one side of the political spectrum.

Official Portrait
Sen. Rand Paul

In response to a comment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on “Fox News Sunday” that marijuana use wasn’t worth throwing people in jail for, Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the socially conservative American Family Association, tweeted: “Sen. Paul doesn’t want [to] send folks to jail for marijuana beef. Fine. Make ’em pay a fine, like we do for speeding tickets.”

TV evangelist Pat Robinson has also spoken in favor of marijuana reform, publically endorsing ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington state.

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Prohibition

Older Americans Changing Views on Marijuana

March 27th, 2013 7 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The elderly represent the largest medical marijuana consumer group. However, more and more senior citizens are turning to marijuana for recreational purposes — and it’s not just the aging baby boomers that left the substance behind in college.Elderly-man-smoking-medical-marijuana-via-Shutterstock Some retirees are trying marijuana for the first time.

In 2011, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 6.3% of adults between the ages of 50 and 59 used marijuana, more than double the percentage that reported it 10 years ago.

HuffPost Live streamed “Grandparents & Ganja,” a discussion about marijuana’s unexpected clientele. Speakers included: MPP’s communications director, Mason Tvert; Mason’s grandmother, Helen Shuller; Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML; and former Washington State Senator George Rohrbacher.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Approved by Maryland House of Delegates

March 25th, 2013 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

A medical marijuana bill that could allow academic medical centers to provide marijuana to patients whose doctors recommend it took a significant step toward becoming law minutes ago when it was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates. In a sign of just how uncontroversial this bill is, there was no debate and the vote was an overwhelming 108-28! The bill now moves over to the Senate, so you know what to do.

If you live in Maryland, please ask your state senator to support HB 1101.

Unlike medical marijuana programs you’ve heard about in other states, HB 1101 would allow academic medical centers, like Johns Hopkins, to apply to an independent commission for the ability to administer a research-focused program through which participating patients could obtain marijuana without fear of arrest and prosecution. The bill is far from perfect – it could take years to get up and running and would require either federal cooperation or medical centers in Maryland to violate federal law – but it’s a start. The bill could be amended down the road if the current version proves unworkable.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Two Marijuana Bills Introduced in Nevada

March 25th, 2013 No Comments Kate Zawidzki
Tick Segerblom
Sen. Richard Segerblom

Until recently, things had been all quiet on the marijuana front in Nevada. That changed suddenly last week when Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom introduced SB 374, a bill to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada, and Assemblyman Joe Hogan introduced AB 402, which would regulate marijuana like alcohol.

We’re already halfway through Nevada’s scheduled session, with adjournment slated for June 3, so time is short. If you live in Nevada, please contact your elected officials today and urge them to support the dispensary bill and to support removing criminal penalties and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

joe hogan
Assemblyman Joe Hogan

Sen. Segerblom’s bill would fix current Nevada law, which prohibits buying or selling marijuana. Last year, a Nevada judge called that “ridiculous” and “absurd” and called upon the legislature to pass a bill much like SB 374. And of course, Hogan’s bill would be a financial boon for the cash-strapped state. Rather than spending millions locking up adults for using a substance safer than alcohol, the state could make millions in tax revenue.

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Medical Marijuana

Editorial Support for Medical Marijuana in Florida and Illinois

March 25th, 2013 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki
Lou Lang
Rep. Lou Lang

Medical marijuana bills are circulating in Illinois and Florida. In Illinois, HB1, authored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), will soon be voted on in the House. According to Rep. Lang, the bill is just “one or two” votes short of passage. As for Florida, the Health Policy Committee has been assigned “The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act,” named for the president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, who has ALS. Police raided Jordan’s house earlier this year and seized the marijuana she was using to treat her condition.

The interest surrounding each bill has inspired editorial boards in both states to throw their support behind the issue of marijuana reform.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Prohibition, Research

Today Is the 40th Anniversary of the Report That Could Have Stopped the Drug War

March 22nd, 2013 7 Comments Morgan Fox

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Shafer Report, marihuana_signal_ofthe extensive study commissioned by Richard Nixon to advise him on drug policy. Surprisingly, both to Nixon and to most readers today, the report suggested making marijuana legal all the way back in 1973!

Nixon did not approve and ignored the findings of the report, having already decided to embark on a disastrous “War On Drugs” that continues to this day, with increasingly devastating effects on society.

Eric Sterling covers the report extensively at the Huffington Post, but just think: we could have stopped all this nonsense 40 years ago if our politicians had listened to the evidence instead of reactionary political pressure.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Idaho Lawmakers Tone Deaf to Constituents

March 22nd, 2013 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki
CHUCK-WINDER-Face
Sen. Chuck Winder: Don’t even THINK about reform!

Senate Concurrent Resolution 112 (PDF) is set for a final vote on the Idaho House floor. Already approved by the Senate, if passed it would officially proclaim that the current Idaho Legislature opposes marijuana legalization “for any purpose.” What a curious way to spend their time and residents’ tax dollars considering a February 2011 poll found that nearly three quarters of Idahoans favor allowing “terminally and seriously ill patients to use and purchase marijuana for medical purposes.” Apparently, the author of the bill, Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise), thinks reform is a problem and he wants none of it in Idaho.

If you are an Idaho resident, please urge your representative to stop wasting your money on uncaring resolutions.

The good news is – even if passed – this resolution can’t stop the will of the people from prevailing. In fact, the group Compassionate Idaho has just released a new petition to place a medical marijuana initiative on the November 2014 ballot! If they gather enough signatures by April of next year, the voters will be able to teach their lawmakers a thing or two about compassion.

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General, Uncategorized

Oklahoma to Consider Lessening Marijuana Penalties

March 21st, 2013 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Cory Williams OK with child
Rep. Cory Williams
Oklahoma has some of the harshest penalties for marijuana possession in the nation. A second offense for possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment and a maximum of 10.

Fortunately, legislation awaiting action on the House floor would introduce a dose of sanity. H.B. 1835, sponsored by Rep. Cory Williams (D-34), would make first and second offense possession of marijuana a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses would remain a felony, but the possible jail time would be reduced to a maximum of five years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Maryland On Way to Passing Medical Marijuana Law

March 21st, 2013 14 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Sometimes in this movement, it’s feast or famine. Right now in Maryland, we’re feasting. Yesterday, the media was busy covering a hearing on legislation to tax and regulate marijuana and the Maryland Senate passing legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Today, they will be writing about committee votes all but certain to lead to medical marijuana legislation passing in Maryland.

MD statehouse
Maryland State House (Photo by Matt Bush)

Late last night, I received word that the House Judiciary and Health & Government Operations (HGO) Committees each approved legislation to set up a first-of-its-kind medical marijuana program in Maryland. The votes were overwhelming: 22-1 in HGO and 17-4 in Judiciary. I’m very optimistic, but let’s leave nothing to chance. Read the rest of this entry »

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