Tax and Regulate

Colorado Governor Starts to Come Around on Regulated Marijuana

April 29th, 2015 6 Comments Morgan Fox
People Power: John W. Hickenlooper
Gov. John Hickenlooper

After fighting against the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado and  publicly questioning the wisdom of voters in the years since his state made marijuana legal for adults, it appears the Gov. John Hickenlooper is finally realizing that regulating marijuana was a good idea.

The Denver Post reports:

And now this headline — “Colorado Gov.: Pot is ‘not as vexing as we thought it was going to be’ (video)” — tied to “Opening Bell” host Maria Bartiromo’s interview with Hickenlooper at the Milken Institute Global Conference, which runs through today.

“It’s all those young people coming, and they look at marijuana and say, ‘Hey we can drink whiskey, why can’t we have a legalized system with marijuana?’ If you look back it’s turned out to not be as vexing as some of the people like myself — I opposed the original vote, didn’t think it was a good idea. Now the voters spoke so we’re trying to make it work, and I think we are.[“]

Colorado-rooted legalization advocate Mason Tvert said he welcomes the governor’s new turn.

“It’s great to see the governor recognizes that regulating marijuana is working in Colorado and that it has many benefits,” said Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Polls show more voters support the law now than did when it was approved, and it appears he might be part of that late majority.

“Just about everyone who takes an objective look at what is happening in Colorado agrees that things are going quite well.”

You can watch the video at Fox Business News.

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Vote on California Medical Marijuana Anti-Discrimination Bill Approaching

April 29th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox
Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 12.07.32 PM
Norman Smith (Photo: Reason)

In 2012, Norman Smith of Playa del Rey, California, died after being denied a liver transplant because he had used medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A bill to prevent similar tragedies — AB 258 — could get an Assembly floor vote any time — possibly today.

If you are a California resident, please take a moment to ask your Assembly member right now to vote yes on AB 258. Hospitals and medical professionals who do not support medical marijuana should not be able to kick people who are already down by denying them lifesaving treatment.

The bill emerged from committee earlier this month on a strong 13-3 vote. Help keep up the momentum and be sure your Assembly member hears from you!

The California Legislature is also considering several bills that would impose a regulatory system on the state’s medical marijuana program. One of the bills, AB 643, emerged from committee on another strong vote of 7-0 earlier this week. While the bill contains some positive provisions, it is flawed and is in need of improvement before it is allowed to become law. With several competing bills this year, it is likely the debate over whether and how to best regulate California’s medical marijuana program will continue.

For more information about Norman Smith’s story, please watch this video from ReasonTV.

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Washington Governor Signs Portions of Medical Marijuana Revamp

April 28th, 2015 2 Comments Kate Zawidzki
AboutJay
Gov. Jay Inslee

Late last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5052 into law, making numerous changes to and giving the state control over Washington’s medical marijuana program. The governor did veto certain sections of this legislation, including provisions that would have created several new felonies for growing and selling medical marijuana outside the state-regulated structure. For more details on vetoed sections, please read Gov. Inslee’s veto letter.

Under the terms of the new law, medical marijuana dispensaries operating under local authority will be phased out. Patients will instead access their medicine from retail shops that hold a medical endorsement and are licensed by the state’s Liquor Control Board. The new law also creates a voluntary patient registry. Patients who sign up with the registry will be allowed to purchase more marijuana per transaction, receive a modest tax break, and are protected from arrest if in possession of their registration card.

Patients retain the ability to grow their own medicine, both individually and collectively. Patients who join the registry are allowed to cultivate six plants, while those who are not registered will be allowed four plants. Collective membership has been reduced from 10 patients to four and a registration requirement has been added. However, the law increased the number of plants a collective may cultivate from 45 to 60.

While these changes are upsetting to some and not enough for others, we hope the Liquor Control Board takes seriously the need for safe and effective medicine and moves forward with a patient-centered focus.

Read more



General

Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

April 28th, 2015 8 Comments Morgan Fox
Bobby Singletonjpg
Sen. Bobby Singleton

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Alabama Legislature approved a bill — SB 326 — that would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program for Alabama’s seriously ill residents. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton, would allow qualified patients to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana should their doctors recommend it. It would also create a system of registered medical marijuana providers to ensure patients have safe and reliable access. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

If you are an Alabama resident, please urge your senator to support SB 326!

This is the first time that the Alabama Senate has considered a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. With SB 326, Alabama has the opportunity to be the first southern state to join 23 other states and Washington, D.C. in allowing its seriously ill residents to access the medicine their doctors recommend.

Unfortunately, Sen. Jabo Waggoner, has vowed to kill the bill.

Read more



Prohibition

Indonesia Executes Man Convicted of Marijuana Charges

April 28th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Last night, the Indonesian government executed a group of eight people convicted on drug charges with firing squads. One of the men was only convicted of marijuana charges, and claims he was innocent.

The New York Times reports:

Zainal Abidin was at his modest home in Palembang, in South Sumatra Province, in December 2000 when two friends knocked on his door asking for a place to stay for the night. They were carrying several large burlap sacks that Mr. Zainal, according to his lawyer, believed to contain rice.

Hours later, after the police raided his home in the middle of the night, his lawyer said, he found out that the sacks were stuffed with 129 pounds of marijuana.

The police had arrested one of the visitors, Aldo bin Hasan Umar, who had left the house after midnight and tried to sell a small quantity of the marijuana on the streets.

Mr. Umar was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and a third man convicted in connection with the case was given four years. Both were eventually granted parole and today are free…

[Abidin’s lawyer] also said the legal process against his client was flawed because the Supreme Court did not respond to Mr. Zainal’s 2005 request for a judicial review of his conviction and death sentence until this past January, 10 years after he filed it. The court turned down the review on Monday.

Read more



Prohibition

Illinois House Approves Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

April 23rd, 2015 4 Comments Morgan Fox
Kelly Cassidy
Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Illinois Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s bill to reduce penalties for possessing a personal amount of marijuana reached a critical milestone today when it passed the House of Representatives in a 62-53 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate.

If you are an Illinois resident, please help keep up the momentum and ask your senator to vote in support of HB 218 today. Let them know it’s time to reduce the penalty for simple possession of marijuana to a reasonable fine, not life-altering criminal penalties and possible jail time.

Statements offered by nearly a dozen legislators on the floor spoke to the widespread support for the bill’s goals of bringing consistency and fairness to possession laws across Illinois — and in making sure law enforcement focuses on serious crime.

Read more



Prohibition

Respect State Marijuana Laws Act Reintroduced in Congress

April 22nd, 2015 8 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Earlier today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has reintroduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This short, simple bill would resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws by making an exception to federal law for activity in compliance with state laws that regulate marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes.

Screen_Shot_2015-02-17_at_12.14.00_PM
Dan Riffle, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rob Kampia

Please take two minutes to urge your representatives to support this bill! 

 

Because of MPP’s success in changing public opinion and state laws, we expect numerous bills to be introduced this year to reform federal marijuana laws. We will support all of them, but Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill stands out. It’s the best policy — covering not just medical marijuana, but adult-use laws passed in four states and Washington, D.C. — and has the best chance of passing. Last year, we passed an amendment very similar to this bill, thanks to broad bipartisan support for respecting state laws, and this year the bill has twice as many Republicans on board than when it was introduced last year.

Republican co-sponsors include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock, and Don Young (R-AK). Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

Read more



Prohibition

DEA Director Michele Leonhart Expected to Resign

April 21st, 2015 25 Comments Morgan Fox

Michele Leonhart is expected to resign from her position as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a report from CBS News.

Leonhart
Michele Leonhart (Photo: Reuters)

The Marijuana Policy Project called for Leonhart’s resignation last year in a Change.org petition which now has more than 46,000 signatures. Read the rest of this entry »

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Georgia Governor Signs Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

April 17th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox
enhanced-12826-1429230363-3
Gov. Deal (Photo: David Goldman/AP)

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law HB 1, the Haleigh’s Hope Act. This new law, which was sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, will allow qualified patients to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC cannabis oils with their doctors’ recommendations. While this is an improvement to current law, it leaves the vast majority of medical marijuana patients without legal protections for using and possessing the medicine their doctors think is best for them. It also forces patients to smuggle the oil back from other states in which medical marijuana products can be legally produced.

If you are a Georgia resident, please email your lawmakers today. Thank them for taking this modest first step, and encourage them to support a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.

Georgia took a step forward this year, but the law is so incomplete that MPP will not be counting it as a “medical marijuana state.” Nonetheless, in some ways HB 1 is better than the 12 other CBD-focused laws: It includes eight medical conditions, while most of the other CBD laws only protect patients with intractable epilepsy, and it allows up to 5% THC, which is more than most of the other states with CBD-focused laws.

For more information, please see our summary of the law.

Read more



Tax and Regulate

Unified Coalition Files Arizona Initiative to Regulate Marijuana in 2016

April 17th, 2015 15 Comments Morgan Fox

The ballot initiative campaign to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is officially underway! 

11138549_384476455065413_4683620496115184291_n.jpgThe Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona filed an initiative with the Secretary of State’s Office this afternoon that, if approved by voters in November 2016, would legalize marijuana for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

In summary, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

–       allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public);

–       create a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana;

–       provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses; and

–       establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes.

Once the Secretary of State approves the initiative, the campaign must collect 150,642 signatures from registered Arizona voters in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Far more will be needed to ensure enough of the signatures are valid, so the campaign will need as much help as it can get.

Read more