Medical Marijuana

Wisc.: Election brings new hope, but challenges remain

Local voters approve 13 medical marijuana and seven legalization measures; ask legislators to listen.

Great news! On Election Day, around a million Wisconsin voters approved advisory questions on their ballots calling for more humane marijuana laws.

More than half of the state’s population saw cannabis-related measures on their ballots, and every single one of the measures passed. Medical cannabis questions received between 67% and 89% in the 11 counties and two cities where they appeared. Adult-use questions garnered between 60% and 76% of the vote.

As the Wisconsin State-Journal’s analysis shows, the measures easily passed in jurisdictions that voted for the Republican and the Democrat for the gubernatorial race.

Congratulations to all the advocates and voters who were involved!

In other encouraging news, voters elected a new governor — Tony Evers — who supports medical marijuana and would like to put the question of legalization to voters. (In Wisconsin, voters can’t place questions on the statewide ballot themselves; only state lawmakers can refer questions to them.)

Meanwhile, in neighboring Michigan, voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older.

Despite all this encouraging news, however, challenges remain. Popular support for medical marijuana has been strong for many years, but thus far Wisconsin’s lawmakers have refused to act.

Let your state legislators know you want the legislature to finally listen to voters on medical cannabis when they convene for the 2019 legislative session. It’s past time Wisconsin roll back its cruel and wasteful war on marijuana.

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Tax and Regulate

Voter guide updated for Maryland’s November general election

The Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition just updated our voter guide for Maryland’s general election on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. All 188 of Maryland’s lawmakers are up for election this year, and we’ve graded the marijuana policy positions of those that responded to our candidate survey. We hope this guide is helpful as you prepare to vote!

Maryland’s 2018 gubernatorial election is also important for marijuana policy reform. Democratic candidate Ben Jealous has repeatedly declared his support for legalizing and regulating marijuana. The Maryland Green Party and Libertarian Party of Maryland, both members of the coalition, are also fielding candidates who support legalization, Sean Quinn and Ian Schlakman.

Unfortunately, Republican candidate (and current governor) Larry Hogan’s views on the topic are not entirely clear. Please help us get his position firmly on the record! Consider attending a campaign event (listed on his Facebook page or Eventbrite) and respectfully asking him to explain his views. Or, you can send him an email. If you get a response, or just hear him comment on marijuana policy reform, please let us know.

And of course, don’t forget to register to voteYou must register by October 16, 2018 to vote in this election.

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Prohibition

Virginia Election Could Have Big Impact on Marijuana Policy

Virginia will elect its next governor tomorrow, November 7. Please take a minute to examine each candidate's position on marijuana policy before you head to the polls. While every candidate favors some form of reduced penalty for simple possession, they have significant differences in opinion regarding marijuana penalties in the commonwealth.

  • Democrat Ralph Northam supports decriminalization of marijuana and legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
  • Republican Ed Gillespie opposes decriminalizing marijuana but favors a three-strikes approach for simple possession. The first two violations would not carry criminal charges, but a third would. He is open to "appropriate, limited, tightly regulated use of marijuana for medicinal purposes."
  • Libertarian Cliff Hyra supports decriminalization, the establishment of a medical marijuana program, and allowing responsible adults ages 21 and older to consume marijuana.

This election is important, as the governor holds considerable sway over the direction of Virginia's policies. Please visit your local polling station between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, November 7, if you are a Virginia resident. If you don't know where your polling station is, click here to find out. Check your voter registration here, and be sure to bring a photo ID with you when you head to the polling station. Make your voice heard tomorrow!

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Medical Marijuana||Research

Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana

The 2018 medical cannabis campaign in Utah is fully underway. Right now, the Utah Patients Coalition is collecting signatures from across the state in order to qualify for next year’s ballot.

A new poll was released showing that 74 percent of Utahns support medical cannabis. Other recent polls have showed similar levels of support.

With legislative inaction, a group now puts forward a citizen petition which would set up a medical marijuana (non-smoking) system in Utah, where a limited number of registered growers would provide types of marijuana to be prescribed by a limited number of doctors for specific diseases and/or chronic pain.

Here are some of the interesting numbers found by Jones in his latest survey:

-- Utah Republicans favor passage of the citizen initiative on MM, 61-35 percent.

-- Democrats really like the idea, 93-7 percent.

-- Political independents, who don’t belong to any political party, favor MM, 87-13 percent.

-- Even those who self-described themselves as politically “very conservative” favor medical marijuana legalization, 51-42 percent.

-- The “somewhat conservatives,” favor it, 71-25; the “moderates” like the petition, 84-14 percent; “somewhat liberals,” 92-8 percent; and the “very liberals,” 97-2 percent.

Those who said they are “somewhat active” in the LDS Church like MM, 80-15 percent; former Mormons who have left the faith like it, 87-5 percent; Catholics favor MM, 80-20 percent; Protestants (which includes born-again Christians), 61-26 percent; and those with no religion like it, 96-4 percent.

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Medical Marijuana

Republican Congressman Urges Conservatives to Support Medical Marijuana Ahead of Crucial Budget Rules Vote

On Tuesday after Congress returned from recess, Rep. Dana Rohrbacher published a column in the Washington Post asking his conservative colleagues to support his budget amendment that would protect state-legal medical marijuana patients and providers from federal interference.

Not long ago, a supporter of mine, visiting from California, dropped by my Capitol office. A retired military officer and staunch conservative, he and I spent much of our conversation discussing the Republican agenda.

Finally, I drew a breath and asked him about an issue I feared might divide us: the liberalization of our marijuana laws, specifically medical marijuana reform, on which for years I had been leading the charge. What did he think about that controversial position?

“Dana,” he replied, “there are some things about me you don’t know.” He told me about his three sons, all of whom enlisted after 9/11.

Two of his sons returned from the battlefield whole and healthy. The third, however, came home suffering multiple seizures each day. His prospects were bleak.

His medical care fell under the total guidance of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whose doctors came under federal restraints regarding the treatments they could prescribe. (Among the treatments allowed were opioids.) Nothing worked.

Finally, a sympathetic doctor advised our young hero to see him in his private office, where he could prescribe medication derived from cannabis. The prescription worked. The seizures, for the most part, ceased.

“Dana,” said my friend, “I could hug you right now for what you’ve been doing, unknowingly, for my son.”

What had I been doing? With my Democrat friend Sam Farr, the now-retired California congressman, I wrote an amendment to spending bills that prohibits the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states where voters have legalized such treatment. The amendment passed two consecutive years, the second time with a wider margin than the first, and has been extended through continuing resolutions and an omnibus spending bill.

Unfortunately, my longtime friend Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has urged Congress to drop the amendment, now co-sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). This, despite President Trump’s belief, made clear in his campaign and as president, that states alone should decide medical marijuana policies.

I should not need to remind our chief law enforcement officer nor my fellow Republicans that our system of federalism, also known as states’ rights, was designed to resolve just such a fractious issue. Our party still bears a blemish for wielding the “states’ rights” cudgel against civil rights. If we bury state autonomy in order to deny patients an alternative to opioids, and ominously federalize our police, our hypocrisy will deserve the American people’s contempt.

You can read the whole article here.

The amendment must be approved by the House Rules Committee in order to get a vote, where it will likely be approved for the FY 2018 federal budget. If it is not, a conference committee will need to choose the Senate version of the budget later this month. If one of these two options doesn't happen, medical marijuana patients and providers will be open to federal prosecution once again.

We can't let these protections expire. Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support medical marijuana, and to ask their colleagues on the House Rules Committee to rule the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment "in order."

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Prohibition

New Jersey Primary Elections a Victory for Marijuana Policy Reform

This week's New Jersey gubernatorial primary elections were great news for supporters of marijuana policy reform. On the Democratic side, Phil Murphy said during his victory speech that:

“The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana … And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”

On the Republican side, the victor was Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. While she opposes legalization, she has said she supports decriminalizing marijuana and easing patient access to the medical marijuana program, unlike current Gov. Chris Christie.

The general election will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. You must be registered to vote by October 17; click here for more information or to check your registration status. If you have been convicted of a crime, you can still vote as soon as your sentence (including probation) is completed, but you must re-register. If you’re unable to vote in person on Nov. 7, this website has lots of helpful information on voting by mail.

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Prohibition

MPP's New Hampshire Voter Guide

There has never been a more important opportunity to advance marijuana policy reform in New Hampshire than this year’s general election, which is now less than a month away. Granite Staters overwhelmingly support reforming marijuana laws, and MPP’s newly published voter guide shows that legislators and candidates are finally getting the message!Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svg
This year, for the first time in New Hampshire history, both major party candidates for governor — Democrat Colin Van Ostern and Republican Chris Sununu — have clearly stated their support for decriminalization. At this point, there does not appear to be a significant difference between Van Ostern and Sununu on marijuana policy, and either candidate would certainly be an upgrade over Gov. Maggie Hassan. A third candidate appearing on the ballot, Libertarian Max Abramson, supports legalization.
Even more exciting than the governor’s race is the prospect of improving the make-up of the state Senate, which has killed seven decriminalization bills since 2008. As the voter guide illustrates, several of the worst prohibitionist senators from last session are not seeking re-election, and many of the candidates seeking to replace them have much more enlightened positions on marijuana policy.
If you are a New Hampshire resident, please mark your calendar for Nov. 8, and share the voter guide with as many people as possible on Facebook and other social media platforms!

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Prohibition

Next New Hampshire Governor Will Support Decriminalization

MPP’s endorsed candidates for New Hampshire governor did not win their primaries this week, but overall, the results bode well for the future of marijuana policy reform.Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svg
For the first time in the state’s history, both major parties' nominees for governor, Executive Councilors Colin Van Ostern (D) and Chris Sununu (R), are clearly on record in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession. It now appears virtually certain that MPP and its allies will finally be able to pass a decriminalization bill in 2017.
That wasn’t the only bit of good news. The two worst prohibitionists running for governor, Ted Gatsas and Jeanie Forrester (who both opposed decriminalization and voted against medical cannabis), came in third and fourth in the GOP primary. The pro-decriminalization Republicans, MPP-endorsed Frank Edeblut and Sununu, finished in a near-tie for first with a combined more than 60% of the vote, laying to rest any lingering belief that Republican voters might support continuing the state's war on marijuana users. Edelblut conceded to Sununu yesterday after reportedly falling short by only 804 votes.
In the Democratic primary, MPP-endorsed Steve Marchand helped spark a serious conversation about marijuana legalization across the state. Despite entering the race very late and being out-spent by a large margin, he ran a strong grassroots campaign, earned several key editorial endorsements down the stretch, and finished a respectable second.

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General

MPP Endorses Maryland Delegate David Moon for State Senate

[caption id="attachment_10077" align="alignright" width="200"]davidmoon Del. David Moon[/caption]

The Marijuana Policy Project announced Wednesday that it is endorsing Del. David Moon for the Maryland Senate in District 20. The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is expected to appoint a successor to Sen. Jamie Raskin, who is running for Congress.

As a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates, David Moon has been an impassioned leader and a continuous advocate for marijuana policy reform, including acting as an important sponsor of legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. While some Democratic members of the House were joining their Republican counterparts in co-sponsoring bills to recriminalize smoking in public, which would have continued the racially disparate enforcement of the criminal law against people of color, Del. Moon was trying to move Maryland’s policy forward.

For example, he introduced a bill to help victims of prohibition expunge past convictions for marijuana possession. This is especially important because African Americans in Maryland have historically been 2.9 times more likely to be arrested for possession despite very similar usage rates. Thus, Black Marylanders are more likely to be burdened with a criminal record that can derail their ability to get a job and cause other collateral consequences — an issue that was not addressed in the decriminalization bill.

Delegate Moon is as impassioned about bridge-building as he is about policy solutions. He regularly crosses the aisle to discuss key civil liberties and decriminalization issues with conservative colleagues from across the state.

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Uncategorized

Presidential Candidates Respond to MPP's Question on ChangePolitics

Last month, MPP partnered with ChangePolitics for the launch of its new platform, which is designed to ask ChangePolitics-Socialshare-280x150questions of the presidential candidates and get them on the record about various policy issues.

One of MPP’s questions made it into the top 10 “Most Popular in New Hampshire,” and the Concord Monitor editorial team selected it as one of the final five to be answered by the candidates just ahead of the nation’s first primary election on February 9. 

If elected, how would your administration address the current tension between state and federal marijuana laws?

You can check out the responses from the Democratic candidates and the responses from the Republican candidates at ChangePolitics.org. Also be sure to visit MPP's profile page to view and vote for all of our questions so we can get more responses from the candidates.

 

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