Tax and Regulate

Help New York become the next state to legalize marijuana!

With the New York Legislature in the final weeks of its 2019 legislative session, we need you to take action NOW to help get the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act across the finish line.

Just last week, the Illinois Legislature passed a landmark cannabis regulation bill, and New York can do the same — if we can get lawmakers to act!

In fact, New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act closely mirrors the Illinois legislation — with far-reaching expungement provisions for prior convictions, funding for communities harmed by the war on drugs, social equity measures, and funding to ensure people from impacted communities are able to enter the cannabis industry.

This week, Assembly Majority Leader and bill sponsor Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she believes the Assembly support is there to pass the bill, and Gov. Cuomo signaled his continued support for legalization. But New York lawmakers MUST make passage a legislative priority, as the bill has to advance before the session ends on Wednesday, June 19.

The New York bill would not just ensure marijuana is legalized, but legalized the right way — rooted in racial, economic, and social justice.

Please take action to keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo and New York lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization into law this year.

A big thanks goes to the Drug Policy Alliance for leading legalization efforts in New York. And thanks in advance for your help!

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Prohibition

Maine: Ask your lawmakers to seal and erase past marijuana convictions

If you live in Maine, click here to reach out to your lawmakers today.

Aside from implementing Maine's new adult-use marijuana law, there are other marijuana policy bills being heard in Augusta. Four Maine legislators, from both parties, have introduced bills that would help Mainers with past marijuana convictions. You can read more the bills and sponsors here.

Earlier this month, the Portland Press Herald published an editorial in favor of these reforms, saying: "Times change, and laws need to change with them. Maine voted to put the old marijuana laws behind us, and lawmakers should complete the process."

The bills would either seal past convictions or permanently erase them from their records. The language for these bills is not available yet, butgenerally adults who have convictions on their records for crimes that are no longer illegal — home cultivation and personal possession — may apply for their records to be sealed or expunged. Please ask your lawmakers to support this commonsense criminal justice reform.

As an aside, I hope to see you at next week's Cannabis Industry Mixer in Portland on Thursday, February 7. You can see the details and get your free tickets here. See you then!

 

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey getting closer to finally legalizing marijuana

While the new bill to legalize and regulate marijuana has not yet been revealed to the public, lawmakers and the Murphy administration are reportedly close to reaching a deal. However, it is not yet clear what the legislature intends to do to help people who are still suffering from the collateral consequences of a prior marijuana conviction.

If you’re a New Jersey resident, please ask your lawmakers to support not only ending marijuana prohibition for adults moving forward, but also ensuring that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records and move on with their lives.

New Jersey has been hotly debating the best way to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis since Gov. Phil Murphy made that an important part of his campaign in 2017. MPP continues to advocate for adopting the best practices of other states to ensure that legalization allows opportunities for people impacted by marijuana prohibition and small businesses, and we’re encouraged that these ideas are reportedly being included in the legislation.

However, we want to continue fighting to include criminal justice reform as well. If you live in New Jersey, please help by asking your legislators to include strong expungement provisions now.

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General

MPP has a new executive director!

We're pleased to announce that Steve Hawkins has been named the new executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Steve brings three decades of experience fighting for criminal justice reform, having previously served in leadership roles at the NAACP, Amnesty International USA, and the Coalition for Public Safety.

The entire MPP staff is thrilled to welcome Steve to our organization.

Steve began his career as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund challenging racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He later served as executive vice president of the NAACP, spearheading its efforts to end the police practice of “stop and frisk” in New York City and successfully encouraging the NAACP board of directors to adopt a policy in support of marijuana decriminalization. Steve also previously served as executive director of Amnesty International USA, as a program executive for the Atlantic Philanthropies, and as a senior program manager at the JEHT Foundation. You can read a more detailed biography here.

The marijuana reform movement has made incredible gains in the past several years but there’s still a great deal of work ahead. With Steve leading our experienced and talented team of reformers, and with your support, MPP will continue to enact medical marijuana and marijuana legalization laws that serve the interests of the American people.

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