Medical Marijuana

Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Initiative

Yet another poll has showed that a strong majority of Utah voters support the medical cannabis ballot initiative.

Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utahns continue to show broad support for a proposed 2018 ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state, according to a new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The new survey finds 75 percent of Utah voters either strongly or somewhat support the proposed initiative, all but mirroring a July poll that had 77 percent of voters backing legalized medical marijuana.


And it appears support for medical marijuana is growing in Utah: A Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll commissioned in January found 54 percent of voters somewhat or strongly backed legalization.

“Things are trending in the right direction,” said DJ Schanz, executive director of the Utah Patients Coalition, the group organizing the ballot initiative.

“It’s a positive change in our state and across the country. We’re seeing such a positive [stance toward medical marijuana],” said Christine Stenquist, president of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), which is working to educate Utah voters on medical marijuana.


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Medical Marijuana

Missouri Medical Marijuana Campaign Raising Funds and Gathering Signatures

New Approach Missouri is closing in on its second quarter finance reporting. Having a strong financial report translates to having continued success in the campaign to create a medical marijuana program in Missouri.

Additionally, New Approach Missouri has been promised $200,000 in matching funds once the organization meets its own fundraising goal of $250,000 - and NAMO is well on their way with $185,000 to be banked by Friday.

Signature collection is steadily progressing with 40,000 signatures collected and with a plan to increase signature production with paid collectors later this summer.

New Approach Missouri has until May 6, 2018 to submit signatures, but from now until then, it's all hands on deck. For information about upcoming events, news and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit New Approach Missouri's website.

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Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma to Vote on Medical Marijuana in 2018

Oklahoma will vote on medical marijuana in 2018! The Oklahoma Secretary of State has certified Question 788 for the ballot, meaning Oklahomans will finally have the opportunity to vote on medical marijuana in November of next year. After collecting enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 election, the group Oklahomans for Health faced legal difficulties when the state's attorney general took issue with the ballot summary of the new law.

After a hard-fought legal battle, Oklahomans for Health has come out on top, ensuring that the question will appear on the ballot in next year's election. Seventy-one percent of Oklahomans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other devastating conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them. Mark your calendar for November 6, 2018, then forward this message to let your friends and family know about this important development.

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Tax and Regulate

Alaska Signature Drive Making Progress

As the winter months approach, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska350px-Aurora_Borealis_Alaska is in full swing. Currently, petitioners are working to collect 45,000 signatures by December 1 in support of a statewide initiative that would tax and regulate the production, sale, and use of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. To date, they have collected over 16,000 signatures from Alaskan voters and need just 29,000 more to qualify for the August 2014 primary-election ballot.

Please help achieve victory at the polls in 2014 by volunteering to collect signatures or making a donation so that the campaign can hire paid signature gatherers. Also, if you are interested in getting paid to petition and you are confident you will be able to collect a large number of signatures, please let us know!

As a result of Alaska’s current marijuana laws, which are complex, unclear, and flat out contradictory, more people were charged or arrested for marijuana related offenses in 2012 than were charged or arrested for methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine related offenses combined. The time for marijuana reform in Alaska is long overdue.

With the help of supporters like you, we can replace Alaska’s outdated policy of prohibition with a sensible system that regulates marijuana while generating tax revenue from its sales. Please check out the campaign website for more information about the initiative, Alaska’s marijuana laws, and how you can join the campaign.

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Reform Efforts Accelerating in Maine

The past month has seen the state of Maine take some notable steps toward positive marijuana policy reform. On June 7, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, LD 1229, was narrowly defeated. Despite losing this time, this marked one of the best votes in a state legislature for a legalization bill. The sponsor, Portland Democrat Rep. Diane Russell, has vowed to continue pushing for this legislation.

[caption id="attachment_6653" align="alignright" width="240"]Boyer Portland Daily Sun MPP's David Boyer[/caption]

Even if statewide change may be slow in coming, activists aren’t waiting around to promote policy alternatives at the local level. Earlier this month, petitioners submitted the signatures required to propose a ballot initiative in the city of Portland that would make possession of marijuana legal for adults. MPP and other groups have been taking every opportunity to educate voters about this initiative, including at a recent beer festival, where Maine political director David Boyer informed attendees about the objective safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

And on Wednesday, the Maine Legislature approved a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for its medical marijuana program. Maine will now join California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Mexico in allowing marijuana to be used to treat PTSD.

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Prohibition||Tax and Regulate

Unity in California: Ending Prohibition in November 2016

Jan 28, 2013 Kate Zawidzki

2016, California, initiative, unity

Last weekend, California NORML hosted Cannabis in California: Ending the 100-Year War, an inspiring conference that brought together advocates from across the state, country, and even as far as New Zealand. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the event – California will almost surely see a statewide initiative in 2016 similar to those approved in Colorado and Washington, and it appears local and national activists and organizations will be unified in the effort to get it done.

On the first panel, California NORML Director Dale Gieringer explained how the California State Board of Pharmacy quietly pushed a ban on possession of “hemp, or loco-weed“ through the legislature in 1913 without it receiving any press or opposition. In contrast to that very quiet campaign to demonize and ban marijuana, reversing this failed policy will be very public, and it will undoubtedly face some opposition.

For an initiative to succeed in California, however, it’s important that the opposition doesn’t come from our base. Hence, it was particularly heartening to see so much unity at the conference and at an MPP-hosted strategy meeting on Thursday. Reform organizations, funders, and advocates overwhelmingly supported putting a marijuana regulation initiative on the next presidential ballot in 2016, rather than 2014 (when voter turnout is much less favorable) and working together to see it through. It will be some time before the details of any measure and campaign are hammered out. In the meantime, there appears to be widespread support for advancing statewide regulations on medical marijuana.

For those who are eager to start building support for 2016, we can look to the 2012 Colorado campaign’s “Talk It Up” project, which helped build support leading up to the election by encouraging people to start conversations about the issue with their friends, family members, and others. It’s these personal discussions that change people’s minds and make them more comfortable supporting an end to marijuana prohibition, so start talking it up today!

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End Of Democracy Watch: Springfield, Missouri

When a dedicated group of activists hoping to reform Springfield, Missouri’s punitive marijuana laws turned in thousands of signatures they had collected fair and square, they thought the next step would be for voters in Springfield to decide whether or not to support their proposal. In other words, they thought the initiative process works like common sense says it should. They were wrong. What happened next is an example of disenfranchisement so egregious it belongs in a work of fiction.

The Springfield City Council, as is their legal right, went ahead and passed the ordinance, meaning it would not be placed on the November ballot. Their stated reason for this was that they didn’t want the city to have to front the cost of printing the issue on general election ballots. In other words, they were just trying to save the city some money, they said. Normally, at this point, the story would be over. But this is Springfield.

Immediately after the council passed the ordinance, they voted to “table” it, so they could amend the law to their liking. Some wanted to raise the $150 fine, which they thought was too low. Others wanted to remove a provision establishing a “citizen oversight commission.” It gets worse. After 150 people showed up to offer their testimony—the overwhelming majority in support of the original ordinance—four of the nine councilmembers moved forward with a plan to repeal the entire ordinance, stripping citizens of their fundamental right to vote on the proposal. Here’s a quote from one of those councilmembers, and I promise I’m not making this up: "I'm going to support passing, and then gutting, the entire ordinance," said Councilman Jeff Seifried. "This is the fiscally responsible way to do business."

Last night those oligarchs councilmembers followed through on their intentions and repealed the ordinance. The petitioners from Show Me Cannabis Regulation who gathered the signatures are assessing their options now. They have 30 days to gather more signatures to repeal the council’s vote (which, of course, could then be overturned by the council). More likely, they’ll sue to challenge the council’s action as violating the city charter’s initiative language. Either way, one thing is clear: the Springfield, Missouri City Council does not care about your voting rights.

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Two more cities de-prioritize marijuana possession

Yesterday, voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Tacoma, Washington directed local law enforcement to make marijuana possession the lowest enforcement priority. The measures passed by 2:1 margins, garnering nearly 65% of the vote in Tacoma and 66% in Kalamazoo.

With only 61-66% of homicide cases in this country cleared every year, and only 12% of burglaries cleared, it’s not surprising that voters think police should have more important things to do than arresting individuals who possess a substance safer than alcohol. While crimes with actual victims went unsolved, police found time for the arrests, bookings, and court time associated with more than 750,000 marijuana possession arrests in the U.S. in 2009.

Kalamazoo and Tacoma are far from alone in directing police to find better things to do than arrest marijuana users. More than a dozen cities and counties —with a total population of over 3.3 million — have directed law enforcement to de-prioritize marijuana possession enforcement.

Congratulations to all who were involved in these sensible measures that will prevent the convictions and resulting stigmatization and heartache that can haunt people for life.

This is one more step in the turning tide. In less than a year, voters in Colorado, Washington, and possibly other states will be deciding whether to replace marijuana prohibition with regulation in their states. With 50% of Americans now supporting making marijuana use legal, we are hopeful that the first states will have opted out of prohibition by this time next year.

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Tax and Regulate

Colorado Marijuana Initiative Passes 100,000 Signatures!

The Coalition to End Marijuana Prohibition, the MPP-backed issue committee paying for the signature drive in Colorado for the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, has hit a major milestone.

As of today, the campaign has 100,000 signatures in hand! This puts us more than two-thirds of the way toward our goal of collecting 145,000 raw signatures by January 6, with 86,105 valid signatures needed to qualify the initiative for the November 2012 ballot.

There are some amazing volunteers helping out on the ground, but we simply cannot finish the drive without also paying people to circulate petitions. The cold weather that's descending on Colorado has forced us to increase the amount we're paying per signature by $0.50. Would you please help us cover the additional $22,500 that we need to finish the signature drive by donating $10, $50, or even $1,000 today?

According to the latest poll, 51% of Coloradans support regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol, with only 38% of voters opposed. While these are encouraging numbers, the campaign is far from over. This is one of the primary reasons we need to finish the signature drive as soon as possible — so the campaign can begin to focus on educating the residents of Colorado about the benefits of passing this initiative.

If you live in Colorado and would like to help the campaign, there are a variety of ways to do so. Visit this page to find out what you can do, including becoming a paid signature gatherer.

Together, we will end marijuana prohibition.



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Medical Marijuana

Montana Fights Back Against State, Federal Attacks on Medical Marijuana Patients

In an act of outright legislative interference, S.B. 423, “repeal in disguise,” promised to regulate but instead flouted voters’ wishes and cruelly and arbitrarily gutted Montana’s medical marijuana program, shuttering most providers and reducing the number of patients. By mid-August, the number of patients had dropped by 10% and only 1% of medical marijuana providers remained in business, leaving patients without access to medicine.

However, Montanans have fought back. First, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association got a judge to temporarily block implementation of part of the law. Even more excitingly, Patients for Reform — Not Repeal successfully collected enough signatures to put a referendum to overturn S.B. 423 on the November 2012 ballot! The Secretary of State confirmed that the referendum had already exceeded the minimum signature requirements, and organizers announced they collected more than 46,000 signatures. Kudos to the petitioners; we will keep you updated!

Sadly, another legislative move overturning the will of the people, H.B. 391, went into effect on Saturday. It is intended to overturn Missoula County’s Initiative 2, which made marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. As a result, local initiatives may not de-prioritize the enforcement of state law. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who pushed for the bill, says he will move forward with prosecution of marijuana misdemeanors.

Luckily, many Montanans are very upset by these attempts to overturn the will of the voters, and are lending support to the medical marijuana community. Even the Attorney General Steve Bullock is speaking out, although more so about the ATF announcing that it is illegal for medical marijuana patients to purchase or possess firearms.

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