Tax and Regulate

Bill to Regulate Marijuana Introduced in New Jersey

May 22nd, 2017 No Comments Kate Bell

Last week, Senator Nicholas Scutari (D) introduced his long-awaited bill that would end marijuana prohibition in New Jersey and replace it with a system that regulates and taxes cannabis similarly to alcohol. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support S3195.

While Gov. Chris Christie has made no secret of the fact that he would veto such a bill, he is leaving office in January 2018. It’s important to get New Jersey’s lawmakers to discuss this important policy and show their support of ending prohibition now, so that change can happen quickly once a new governor is in office. While Sen. Scutari’s bill doesn’t include every provision in MPP’s model bill — notably not allowing for home cultivation — it would be a dramatic improvement over the status quo. One noteworthy provision would allow people with marijuana possession convictions to expunge their records immediately.

Despite someone being arrested for marijuana possession every 22 minutes in New Jersey, prohibition hasn’t stopped cannabis use, and it has disproportionately impacted African-Americans. If you are a New Jersey resident, please ask your legislators for their support in ending this failed policy.

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Tax and Regulate

Michigan Initiative Approved to Start Collecting Signatures

May 22nd, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

The Michigan State Board of Canvassers officially approved the ballot language put forth by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

The campaign committee will have 180 days to gather the 252,523 valid signatures needed to place the issue on the November 2018 ballot. An official signature collection kick-off event will be held before the end of May.

If ultimately passed by Michigan voters in November 2018, the initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older; legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp; license marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana; and tax marijuana at retail levels with proceeds to support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments.

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Prohibition, Research

MPP’s Virginia Primary Election Guide

May 22nd, 2017 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Virginia’s gubernatorial primary is less than one month away, and MPP has put together a guide on where the candidates stand on marijuana policy issues. Please check out our voter guide so you can be informed on this critical topic before heading to the polls.

We put together a candidate survey and asked each campaign for governor to give us their thoughts on three issues:

1) marijuana decriminalization;
2) medical marijuana; and
3) taxing and regulating cannabis for adults age 21 and over.

Based on their responses to our survey, along with any public statements they have made, we assigned each candidate a letter grade, which you can check out here.

In addition to the governor’s race, each of Virginia’s 100 seats in the House of Delegates will be on the ballot this year. Please consider asking the candidates from your district where they stand on these issues before casting your vote. Let us know if you get any responses.

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Prohibition

Vermont Legalization Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk

May 19th, 2017 No Comments Matt Simon

On Thursday, Vermont’s marijuana legalization bill was delivered to the desk of Governor Phil Scott. He will now have five days to decide whether to sign S. 22 into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

In its final version, S. 22 would eliminate penalties for adults’ possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, two or fewer mature plants, and four or fewer immature plants, effective on July 1, 2018. The bill would also create a study commission to craft legislation on how to best regulate and tax marijuana in Vermont. The commission’s recommendations would have to be drafted by November so they can be considered by the Legislature in 2018.

A summary of S. 22 is available here.

If you are a Vermont resident, please call Governor Scott’s office today, and encourage him to sign this sensible reform into law. If you’ve already called the office, please follow up with an email message.

The governor says he has not yet made up his mind, and it’s crucial that he hear from as many supporters of sensible marijuana policy as possible!

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Tax and Regulate

Del. House Committee Passes Marijuana Regulation Bill

May 11th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Delaware House Committee on Revenue and Finance voted 9-2 in favor of HB 110, a bill to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. The bill now heads to the full House where it needs a three-fifths majority to advance to the Senate.

HB 110 would allow adults age 21 and over to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries. A new Division of Marijuana Control and Enforcement would oversee the program and ensure compliance. You can read MPP’s complete summary of the bill here.

MPP’s Maggie Ellinger-Locke released the following statement in a press release:

“There is strong public support for ending marijuana prohibition in Delaware, and that was reflected in the committee vote,” said Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Americans now recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they think it is time for it to be treated that way. We hope the full House will follow the committee’s lead and approve HB 110.”

If you are a Delaware resident, please email your representative and tell him or her you want to see Delaware pass HB 110.

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Prohibition

Vermont Legislature Votes to Legalize Marijuana

May 10th, 2017 No Comments Matt Simon

Today, the Vermont Legislature became the first state legislature in the nation to approve a marijuana legalization bill and send it to a governor’s desk! The House voted 79-66 to concur with the Senate’s amendment to S. 22, which means the next step will be the governor’s office! Governor Phil Scott will have three options when the bill arrives on his desk: sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature.

The amended S. 22 represents a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate. As amended, the bill would eliminate penalties for adults’ possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, two or fewer mature plants, and four or fewer immature plants, effective on July 1, 2018. S. 22 would also create a study commission to craft legislation on how to best regulate and tax marijuana in Vermont. The commission’s bill would have to be drafted in time for the beginning of next year’s legislative session.

If you are a Vermont resident, please call Governor Scott right now, and urge him to sign S. 22 when it reaches his desk.

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Tax and Regulate

Nevada Approves Early Start Program for Retail Marijuana Sales

May 9th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today, the Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations proposed by the Department of Taxation allowing the state to issue recreational marijuana licenses by July 1, 2017. The ballot measure requires the state to initiate sales by January 1, 2018, but this “early start” program will allow businesses to open six months sooner.

Only medical marijuana establishments that are already in operation can apply to function as recreational retailers during the early start period. The establishments must be in good standing and must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee as well as a specific licensing fee. The establishment must also provide written confirmation of compliance with their municipality’s zoning and location requirements.

The tax department plans to accept applications from May 15 to May 31 of this year, and a second application period is anticipated later in the year. The incentive for the early start program stems from Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over two years to support education.

Now, the focus shifts to local governments given that marijuana companies need both a state and local license to operate.

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Medical Marijuana

Florida Legislature Fails to Implement Medical Marijuana Initiative, Leaving it to Health Officials

May 8th, 2017 2 Comments Mason Tvert

The Florida legislative session ended without a medical marijuana implementation bill being passed. As a result,  state health officials will now have to implement Amendment 2, the initiative approved last November by more than 71% of voters.

According to a report from the News Service of Florida:

A potential deal collapsed Friday evening after the House amended its proposal (HB 1397) to impose a cap of 100 retail outlets for each of the state’s medical marijuana operators, over the objections of some Democrats. The Senate had proposed a cap of 10, at least for now.

The Florida Department of Health now has until next month to issue regulations for implementation of Amendment 2. Unfortunately, the Department of Health’s proposed guidelines, circulated earlier this year, are too restrictive and inconsistent with the overwhelmingly popular amendment. MPP submitted public comments criticizing the Department’s proposed regulations.

If you reside in Florida, please contact the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use and request that regulations be focused on patient access and market accessibility. Specifically, tell the Department of Health to:

  1. Allow physician recommendations without requiring doctors to specify a type or quantity of medical marijuana;
  2. Permit patients to use medical marijuana by smoking, vaping, or consuming edibles; and
  3. Avoid any limitation on the doctor-patient relationship and allow doctors to recommend after a reasonable assessment.

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Tax and Regulate

Ballot Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Filed in Michigan

May 8th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has filed a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Michigan.

The signature drive is expected to begin shortly after the State Board of Canvassers meets to review and approve the petition language. After that, the campaign must collect enough signatures to place the marijuana legalization initiative on Michigan’s November 2018 statewide ballot.

Like Michigan’s medical marijuana law, the initiative would create five categories of licensed marijuana businesses that would be regulated by the state and subject to local control. This would include cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, and retailers.

The initiative would allow adults age 21 and older to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residences. The law would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

If the initiative is approved by voters in November 2018, Michigan would join Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for adults.

For more information about the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, please visit RegulateMI.org.

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Research, Tax and Regulate

Vermont Senate Passes Another Marijuana Bill

May 5th, 2017 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

On Friday, for the second time this year, the Vermont Senate voted to legalize marijuana for adults’ use! The Senate voted 20-9 to attach the legalization language from H. 170 to an unrelated bill, S. 22, and added a study commission to consider regulation and taxation. It will now be up to the House whether or not to concur with the Senate’s offer of amendment.

This move represents an attempt by the Senate to compromise with the House, which voted for the first time in its history to legalize marijuana earlier this week. H. 170, which would eliminate penalties for adults’ possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, two or fewer mature plants, and four or fewer immature plants, passed the House in a 75-71 vote. The Senate prefers a regulated market approach, but today’s vote shows that senators are willing to accept H. 170 as long as it includes a pathway to sensible regulation.

Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Projectreleased the following statement in a press release:

“You have to give the Senate credit for standing up for Vermont voters, who strongly support making marijuana legal for adults. We hope the House will do the same and concur with S. 22 as amended by the Senate. This is not just a reasonable compromise, but an important step forward for supporters of both home cultivation and regulation. The bill would eliminate penalties for adult possession and cultivation, as the House sought to do with H. 170, and create a commission to explore regulating and taxing marijuana, which the Senate clearly supports. This bill proposes a very thoughtful and deliberate approach to replacing prohibition with a more sensible marijuana policy.”

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