Research, Tax and Regulate

Brookings Institute Report Shows Colorado Successfully Regulating Marijuana

July 31st, 2014 7 Comments Morgan Fox

Colorado is successfully regulating marijuana, according to a report released Thursday by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management.

hudak brookings
John Hudak

The report, authored by John Hudak, a Brookings fellow in Governance Studies, determined that “the state has met challenging statutory and constitutional deadlines for the construction and launch of a legal, regulatory, and tax apparatus for its new policy. In doing so, it has made intelligent decisions about regulatory needs, the structure of distribution, prevention of illegal diversion, and other vital aspects of its new market. It has made those decisions in concert with a wide variety of stakeholders in the state.”

More and more evidence is showing that states can, and should, regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. As an increasing number of Americans decide that they are sick of arresting adults for using marijuana responsibly, the lessons from the states that have regulated marijuana successfully will become even more important.

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Prohibition, Research

New Report Shows Marijuana Arrests Increasing

July 30th, 2014 8 Comments Morgan Fox
Gettman
Dr. Jon Gettman

A report released today by Dr. Jon Gettman shows that despite increasing support for ending marijuana prohibition, arrests for possession are actually increasing in some states. The report and other information can be found on Dr. Gettman’s new site, RegulatingCannabis.com.

According to a blog by Paul Armentano at NORML:

From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Hopefully this will change as more states consider reforming their marijuana laws. The District of Columbia in particular should begin to see significant declines in marijuana arrests since a law removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce went into effect on July 17.

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Prohibition

Good News and Not-So-Good News in Maine

July 29th, 2014 1 Comment Morgan Fox

The good news: South Portland officials have informed us that we collected enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana legal for adults. We also expect to qualify a similar measure in Lewiston next month.

The not-so-good (but not-too-bad) news: Getting on the ballot in York just got a little more difficult, and we need your help to do it. Last night, the town Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against putting our measure on the ballot, which means we must collect 613 signatures within the next 30 days to get it on the November ballot.

There are two ways you can help us make this deadline:

1) Collect signatures — You don’t need to be a York resident to circulate a petition and putting in just a couple hours could make all the difference. Please contact Maine Political Director David Boyer at [email protected] to get a petition.

2) Donate — Make a financial contribution today to help us continue educating voters in all three cities about the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition.

Passing the initiatives in South Portland, Lewiston, and York will build the public support we need to legalize marijuana for adults at the state level in 2016. So, even if you don’t live in these cities, I hope you will join us in supporting these important campaigns.

 

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Tax and Regulate

Campaign to Regulate Marijuana In Alaska Unveils New Bus Ads

July 29th, 2014 3 Comments Morgan Fox

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol In Alaska unveiled a series of bus ads yesterday in Anchorage that highlight the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. The ads, one of which is posted below, will appear throughout the week on city buses.

“Our laws should be based on facts, and it’s a fact that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol,” said CRMLA Political Director Chris Rempert. “Countless government reports and scientific studies have concluded marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, less damaging to the body, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior. It is irrational to continue punishing adults for making the safer choice.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.36.30 AM

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Prohibition

New York Times Calls For End of Marijuana Prohibition

July 28th, 2014 26 Comments Morgan Fox

The New York Times — the “national newspaper of record” — published a historic editorial this weekend calling for an end to marijuana prohibition! Read it here and share it with your friends.

NYT editorial

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Medical Marijuana

GOP Congressman Introduces CBD Oil Bill

July 28th, 2014 1 Comment Morgan Fox
GOP Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania introduced a bill today that would make CBD oil legal under federal law.

Scott Perry
Rep. Scott Perry

If passed, the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014” would allow states to permit patients suffering from epilepsy and related conditions to use an oil that is extremely low in THC but high in cannabidiol, or CBD. Under current federal law, any product made from marijuana is illegal.

It is great to see growing recognition of marijuana’s medical benefits, but this proposal would not help most of the seriously ill people who could benefit from them. 

 

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Protect Marijuana Laws

July 25th, 2014 16 Comments Kate Zawidzki
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would keep the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and physicians as well as interfering with states that implement medical marijuana laws, Huffington Post reports. The amendment was added to a jobs bill currently being heard on the Senate floor. Senator Paul’s communication director, Brian Darling, explained the senator’s move. “What we’re trying to do is look at the law and allow states that have changed their laws and have allowed medical marijuana to do so, for doctors to be able to prescribe and for people to be able to get those prescriptions without being worried about the federal government coming in and arresting them.”

Senator Paul has proposed similar legislation in the past, such as an amendment that would restrict the DEA and federal prosecutors from pursuing medical marijuana users and distributors that are in compliance with state law. “The effort before was to defund prosecutions — so it would block the federal government from prosecuting until that appropriations bill runs out about a year later.” Said Darling. The Senate is unlikely to vote on Senator Paul’s amendment due to gridlock, but Paul’s office has made it clear they are prepared to pursue similar legislation in the future.

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Tax and Regulate

Homeowners’ Associations Can Regulate Marijuana in Neighborhoods

July 25th, 2014 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Homeowners’ associations cannot legally ban their members from using marijuana in their homes in states where it is legal to do so, but some HOAs are attempting to do just that, claiming that marijuana use is a nuisance, reports the Gazette. If people can see or smell their neighbor using or growing marijuana, their HOA has the right to regulate it as a nuisance or child risk. Richard Thompson, who runs a management company that concentrates in homeowner associations in Portland, related these regulations to others made in Oregon. “The fact that people may be legally entitled to smoke doesn’t mean they can do it wherever they want, any more than they could walk into a restaurant and light up a cigarette.”

According to Thompson, neighbor conflicts have increased with regards to marijuana use recently. More marijuana users keep their windows open and smoke outside during spring and summer months, prompting many complaints from neighbors. A Brighton, Colorado resident recently discovered this after he planted a hemp plot. The homeowners’ association took issue with this and ordered him to get rid of it or face a fine. Though he tried to explain that hemp was not marijuana, he was still turned down. He then sold his plants to hemp activists rather than throwing them out. The activists offered to pay his homeowner fines instead, but the resident opted to live peacefully with his neighbors. He said, “I had people calling up and saying, ‘It’s just a shame; we’ll pay your fines all the way through to the end.’ But I decided in the end not to fight it. At the end of the day, I live here.”

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Medical Marijuana

University of Arizona Alumnus Starts Petition to Reinstate Sue Sisley

July 24th, 2014 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Ricardo Pereyda, a University of Arizona alumnus and veteran diagnosed with PTSD, has begun a petition for the university to reinstate Sue Sisley, one of the foremost experts in using medical marijuana to treat PTSD. As previously reported, Sue Sisley was dismissed from the University of Arizona after getting the green light to start a study on marijuana’s effectiveness in treating PTSD. Pereyda, who served in Iraq, says that marijuana has “helped [him] to live a more full and productive life” dealing with his PTSD. He hopes his petition will convince the university to reconsider its dismissal of Dr. Sisley so her research can continue.

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Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Names Michelle Larson as Marijuana Director

July 24th, 2014 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Minnesota has named Michelle Larson as their first marijuana director with less than a year before their medical marijuana law takes effect, the Star Tribune reports. Larson is an environmental health expert who has been instrumental in implementing Illinois’ Health Department policies. She now has until July 15, 2015 to design the state’s medical marijuana infrastructure, when Minnesota’s medical marijuana law is due to take effect. Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger expressed confidence in the choice: “Michelle brings a strong background in public policy and administration, as well as a history of working with the public health community, law enforcement and security, pharmacists, health care providers and community members. She has the ability to work with people to get things done right.”

Minnesota’s medical marijuana law was passed earlier this year and is regarded as one of the most restrictive in the nation. Two manufacturers in the state will produce all of the medical marijuana supply for Minnesota and it will be available at only eight locations. Michelle Larson and her ten-person team are now tasked with delegating who will be licensed as manufacturers and distributors. The department hopes to have the manufacturers chosen by December so there will be plenty of time before patients start registering in May. Larson will begin her job in her new position on August 13.

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