Prohibition

Football Coach Resigns after Being Near Marijuana

October 31st, 2013 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

This Wednesday, head coach of the Florida Atlantic University football team, Carl Pelini, was forced to resign from his position in the dawn of his second season. It wasn’t Pelini’s 5-15 record or past personal issues that forced his hand, but the reaction to rumors of a party he attended. According to these rumors, PeliniPelini and one of his assistants attended a party where marijuana was present.  That’s it. The university told Pelini and his assistant that it would be best for them to step down immediately.

While there are rumors that there was marijuana present, there is no doubt that there was alcohol available at this party, as it is at almost every other social event in college or elsewhere. Alcohol is far more toxic to the human body and dangerous to our society than marijuana. Yet, there would have been no repercussions for Carl Pelini for attending a party where alcohol was present, or even for drinking it.

Prohibiting marijuana use while allowing, and often encouraging, alcohol consumption is a hypocrisy that needs to stop. Pelini never would have had to resign for drinking alcohol, so he certainly shouldn’t have to for attending a party where some people were making a safer choice.

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General

New Hampshire Committee Fails to Recommend Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

October 30th, 2013 4 Comments Morgan Fox

While public opinion is rising in support of ending marijuana prohibition and politicians are starting to step up on the issue, it seems that some lawmakers are still way behind the curve.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 11-7 against recommending the passage of HB492, a bill to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, despite a new poll showing strong public support for the measure.

According to a new WMUR Granite State Poll released October 25 by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center,logoSCGSP_1 60% of New Hampshire adults support HB492. Just 36% said they are opposed. The poll of 603 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted October 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%. The entire poll is available at here.

“Marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a failure as alcohol prohibition,” said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “New Hampshire voters are clearly ready for a more sensible approach. It appears some legislators are still less evolved than their constituents on this issue.”

Support for ending marijuana prohibition in New Hampshire reflects growing public support nationwide. A Gallup poll released earlier this month found a record-high 58% of Americans now support making marijuana legal.

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Prohibition

Help Legalize on the East Coast

October 30th, 2013 3 Comments Kate Zawidzki

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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General

Washington Post Supports Ending Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

October 29th, 2013 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Last Sunday’s Washington Post included an editorial supporting civil fines for marijuana use, particularly in D.C. The article comes after a similar proposal to the D.C. Council and support from Mayor Vincent Gray. washintonpostThe proposal would remove criminal penalties associated with possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine. After considering public opinion polls, a report by the ACLU, and criminal justice statistics, the Post agrees: possessing marijuana should not make you a criminal.

An all-around better policy, long championed by District lawyer Paul Zukerberg, would be to slap small-time users with a civil fine, which is a measured way to send a message that the government does not condone or tolerate marijuana use. No one’s life would be permanently marred by getting caught with a joint.

Of all the official reactions to changing mores on marijuana, decriminalization is the best.

While we know that simple decriminalization will not solve the problems caused by keeping the marijuana market illegal, the fact that such a major newspaper is coming around is a sure sign of progress.

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Prohibition, Video

Mason Tvert Talks Gallup Poll on CNN

October 28th, 2013 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

MPP communications director Mason Tvert recently appeared on CNN to discuss the Gallup poll that found 58% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.

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Prohibition

Mayor of D.C. Supports Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

October 24th, 2013 3 Comments Kate Zawidzki
Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray
Mayor Vincent Gray

On Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stated that he supports decriminalizing marijuana, or removing criminal penalties associated with possession of under one ounce. Currently, those caught with less than one ounce of marijuana in D.C. can be sent to jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000, and evidence suggests that the laws have had harsh consequences for D.C. residents. According to a study published in June by the ACLU, black residents in D.C. are eight times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white neighbors.

Mayor Gray’s announcement gives more weight to a proposal made by Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) that seeks to remove the harsh criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession and replace them with a civil fine of $100. The proposed bill has the support of a supermajority on the council, and two hearings have been scheduled this week to discuss the measure further.

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Prohibition, Video

MPP’s Dan Riffle Debates Marijuana Policy on MSNBC

October 24th, 2013 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

Marijuana Policy Project’s director of federal policies Dan Riffle appeared on MSNBC’s Jansing & Co. this week to discuss the need to change our disastrous marijuana policies by taxing and regulating it in a manner similar to alcohol. He was opposed in the debate by Kevin Sabet, director of Project SAM, which supports continuing to arrest adults for using a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol and allowing the marijuana market to be controlled by criminals.

You can watch the debate below:

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Research

Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans Support Making Marijuana Legal

October 22nd, 2013 13 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A new Gallup poll shows that a record 58% of Americans think that marijuana should be made legal.

Gallup trends
Source: Gallup

The poll shows a 10-point increase from just last year and reflects the growing political support nationwide. According to the poll, 62% of Independents, 65% of Democrats, and 35% of Republicans support legal marijuana, with growing Independent support largely responsible for the 10-point jump.

According to Business Insider, support for legal marijuana is higher than almost any other political movement. More people favor legal marijuana than think highly of the Republican or Democratic parties, and legal marijuana has more than five times the support that Congress has.

While causes with more support than Congress aren’t hard to come by, this poll marks a momentous event in the fight against marijuana prohibition. For the first time, a majority of Americans think that marijuana use should be legal. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait long.

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Medical Marijuana

Proposed Delaware Medical Marijuana Regulations Will Not Provide Acceptable Access

October 22nd, 2013 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Earlier this month, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services issued proposed regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center that could only cultivate 150 plants – far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP submitted comments on behalf of Delaware’s patients and potential providers urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program.

The regulations unnecessarily restrict the compassion center program to a single pilot center that can possess no more than 150 plants and 1,500 ounces of medical marijuana. Gov. Jack Markell announced this approach at a time when the federal government indicated it was concerned about large-scale grows. However, since then, the Department of Justice directed federal prosecutors to stop considering “the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone” as a reason to take legal action against it.

The plant limit will result in shortages, forcing patients to go without or driving them to the criminal market. Meanwhile, a single compassion center does little to help patients who happen to live miles from it. DHSS should register three centers as called for by law.

You can read MPP’s proposed revisions here.

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Prohibition, Research

International Drug Policy Reform Conference Next Week!

October 18th, 2013 1 Comment Morgan Fox

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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