Tax and Regulate

Alaska Senate Kills Proposed Ban on Concentrates

March 31st, 2015 4 Comments Morgan Fox

In a decisive 14-6 decision on Monday, Alaska senators voted down an ill-advised amendment that would have banned extracts, edibles, and concentrates in 2017.

During yesterday’s debate, our opponents continued to insist that voters did not know what they were voting for in November — despite the fact that they received overwhelming testimony to the contrary during committee hearings.BW State Seal 205x205 Over the weekend, hundreds of supporters called and emailed their elected officials, and their voices were heard loud and clear.

Without licensed and regulated businesses producing marijuana extracts and edibles, the criminal market would continue to thrive. Without tested and clearly packaged concentrates, patients would suffer. Senators finally got the message. Your respectful and articulate comments changed minds.

But we still have a lot of work ahead of us. SB 30 now heads to the Alaska House of Representatives, where it will undergo another series of committee hearings. Stay tuned for further updates, and we’ll let you know when your voice is needed.

Read more



Medical Marijuana

CARERS Act Companion Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

March 25th, 2015 25 Comments Morgan Fox
220px-Stevecohen
Rep. Steve Cohen

Yesterday, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) that would largely prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.

This bill is a companion to a historic CARERS Act introduced earlier this month in the Senate with bipartisan support.

Don_Young,_official_photo_portrait,_color,_2006
Rep. Don Young

The bill would make production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for medical purposes that’s legal under state law legal under federal law, and would make conducting research on marijuana easier, among other things.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Rhode Island Legislature Considering Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

March 25th, 2015 8 Comments Morgan Fox

Earlier this month, a bill to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol was introduced in the Rhode Island legislature.

The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence),  would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements. It would also establish wholesale excise taxes at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store, as well as a special sales tax on retail sales to consumers.

Huffington Post reports:

 A 2014 poll found 52 percent in favor of changing marijuana laws, mirroring national trends. This is the fourth year that legislation to regulate and tax recreational marijuana has been introduced. It’s unclear whether state lawmakers will support the new measure.

Legalized marijuana would boost the state treasury by $58 million a year in taxes, the Marijuana Policy Project projected.

“We want Rhode Island to be a leader on the East CoastRegulate_RI_Release_Logo.png and become an early adopter in order to get a competitive edge in the regional market to maximize job creation, tax revenue, and business growth in our state,” Jared Moffat, director of the marijuana policy reform group Regulate Rhode Island, told The Huffington Post.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine Filed Today

March 24th, 2015 16 Comments Morgan Fox

A statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol was filed Tuesday with the Maine Secretary of State.

The leader of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, David Boyer of Falmouth, submitted the language along with the signatures of five registered Maine voters who support the measure, as required by state law.regulate ME The five signers were State Rep. Diane Russell of Portland; local farmer and former Republican State Rep. Aaron Libby of Waterboro; Androscoggin County Commissioner and Lewiston School Board Member Matt Roy; Rev. Deane Perkins of Belfast; and Sherry DaBiere, a York-based real estate agent and grandmother.

Under the proposed initiative, adults 21 years of age and older would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the marijuana produced by those plants. The measure would establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities.  Marijuana would be subject to a 10% sales tax in addition to the standard sales tax, and revenue generated by marijuana sales would be allocated public education.

The Maine Secretary of State has 15 days to review the initiative application and either reject it, accept it, or provide revisions to the proposed measure. Once it is approved, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will have until the end of January 2016 to collect the approximately 62,000 signatures of registered Maine voters that are needed to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

Read more



General

New Mexico Misses Opportunity to Decriminalize Marijuana

March 24th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

The New Mexico legislative session ended on Saturday, and with it died SB 383, a bill that would have decriminalized marijuana throughout the state.

SB 383 would have replaced criminal penalties for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana with a $50 civil fine. It also would have removed the possibility of jail time for possession of up to eight ounces. Although SB 383 passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote, the House did not take it up. It is disappointing that the New Mexico2000px-Flag_of_New_Mexico.svg House chose not to review a bill that would have reduced the punishment for individuals who possessed a substance safer than alcohol.

Time ran out not only on decriminalization — but also, fortunately, on a harmful bill that would have unfairly targeted marijuana consumers. HB 120 would have declared anyone with an extremely small amount of THC per milliliter of blood guilty of driving under the influence — even if the person could prove they were actually not impaired! HB 120 passed in the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

Read more



Research

Vermont Poll Shows Majority Support Making Marijuana Legal

March 18th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

A new poll released by the Castleton Polling InstituteScreen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.46.33 PM shows that a majority of Vermont residents want to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults.

VTDigger.org reports:

Respondents in the recent poll were asked: “Two states — Washington and Colorado — have legalized and regulated marijuana for recreational use. Do you support or oppose passing a similar law in Vermont to legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use?”

Of those surveyed, 54 percent supported the idea with 40 percent opposed. Six percent had no opinion.

Support was particularly strong among young people with 70 percent of respondents age 18-44 (or 161 people) in favor. The results were about opposite for those 65 and older, who opposed legalization 61 percent to 30 percent.

“Clearly, the opposition remains most substantial among voters who are 65-plus and Republicans,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project. “I guess some people remain nostalgic for a simpler time when you could ‘Just Say No’ and be done with the issue, but any realistic person realizes that those days are long gone — that marijuana is here to stay whether we like it or not, and we have to figure out how best to deal with it.”

Vermont lawmakers are currently considering a bill which would tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Read more



General

Texas Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

March 13th, 2015 19 Comments Morgan Fox

Today, Texas State Rep. Marisa Márquez (D-El Paso filed HB 3785 — the comprehensive,Screen shot 2015-03-25 at 5.02.32 PM whole-plant medical marijuana bill that patients and advocates have been campaigning for. This marks a historical moment in Texas, as it is the first bill of its kind to be considered by the Texas Legislature.

HB 3785 proposes a far more comprehensive approach to protecting patients than the two other medical marijuana-related bills introduced in the Texas House this session. The bill establishes a framework for dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers to provide seriously ill patients with the medicine they need.

The qualifying conditions are far broader than other bills, and would include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and conditions causing wasting, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, or severe muscle spasms.

Registered patients (and their caregivers) would be free from fear of arrest and could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. They’d also be permitted to grow up to six plants in their home, three of which could be mature plants estimated to yield four ounces each per year.

If you are a Texas resident, please take a moment to contact your Texas legislators about this important bill. We’ve set up a webpage that allows you to email them both in one shot. Supporters are encouraged to personalize the form letter provided if you or a loved one could benefit from legal access to medical marijuana.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Nevada Assembly Misses Historic Opportunity to End Marijuana Prohibition

March 13th, 2015 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Earlier today, the Nevada Assembly missed its last opportunity to vote on Initiative Petition 1, which proposes legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and over. Since the legislature did not approvenevada-welcome the measure itself, the measure will appear on the ballot for the 2016 general election. This inaction means Nevadans will have to wait until late next year for the chance to end their state’s destructive and costly prohibition of marijuana.

Please “like” Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada on Facebook so that the campaign can keep you posted as the ballot initiative campaign gets underway. While polls show strong public support, we can’t take victory for granted. We’ll need your help to get the word out and run a strong campaign.

As many in Colorado and Washington have already learned, legalization allows adults who prefer a substance that is safer than alcohol avoid arrest, jail, and damaged futures. The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana also affords greater access for seriously ill patients, because patients who suffer from conditions that are not currently included in the state medical marijuana program — such as Alzheimer’s disease — lack legal protections. And, of course, legalization saves scarce law enforcement resources for serious crime, while providing revenue to the state.

But while the Nevada Legislature missed this opportunity, history continues to move forward, and Nevada voters will have the final say come November 8, 2016. Please stay tuned for more updates.

Read more



Prohibition

New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill

March 12th, 2015 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, the New Hampshire House passed HB 618, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation. This was the sixth time the House has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill since 2008, and this time the vote was an overwhelming 297-67!

AiLd8LWw
Rep. Adam Schroadter

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

The next step will be the state senate, which has rejected previous efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senator today!

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

March 10th, 2015 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki
03.10.2015_Booker Rand Gillibrand Press Conference
Sen. Gillibrand, Sen. Booker, Sen. Paul, and patient advocates at press conference announcing medical marijuana legislation.

Historic legislation was introduced earlier today in the United States Senate. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)  announced the introduction of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act. This is the first time legislation that would make medical marijuana legal under federal law has been introduced in the Senate.

Ask your senators to co-sponsor this historic legislation.

First and foremost, the bill would make production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for medical purposes that’s legal under state law legal under federal law. The bill would also remove barriers to scientific research, allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend medical marijuana, allow interstate transportation of CBD oils, ensure medical marijuana dispensaries are taxed fairly, and allow all marijuana businesses — including adult-use stores in Colorado and elsewhere — to access the banking system and no longer be forced to operate on a cash-only basis.

There’s no reason your senators shouldn’t be co-sponsoring this bill. Please email their offices and ask them to sign on.

Read more