Tax and Regulate

Legalization + social justice in Michigan

If you live in Michigan, ask your state legislators to support automatic expungement for low-level marijuana offenses.

For decades, marijuana prohibition destroyed lives and harmed communities in Michigan. Fortunately, voters said enough is enough and passed Prop 1 last year. As the state now moves forward with implementing a legal marijuana market, we must take steps to undo past injustices and support those who have been most impacted by punitive marijuana laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has publicly called for prior low-level marijuana offenses to be erased from individuals' criminal records. And now, state Sen. Jeff Irwin is sponsoring legislation, SB 263, to automatically expunge prior marijuana use and possession convictions, which could affect nearly 250,000 residents in the state.

Send a letter to your state legislators and ask them to support this important legislation.

In a related update, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently released rules to implement Prop 1's social equity provisions. Residents of the 19 cities in which marijuana arrests rates were disproportionately higher than the rest of the state will be eligible for technical assistance, fee reductions, and educational resources to help them get a leg up in obtaining a marijuana business license. You can find a list of the cities and more details about the new regulations here.

As Michigan finds itself in an exciting new era of legalization, we cannot leave behind those who have suffered as a result of prohibition. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking steps to address these issues, and we will continue monitoring the state's progress.

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Tax and Regulate

Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults!

Make a donation today to fuel MPP's legalization efforts across the country.

Earlier today, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, ending marijuana prohibition in the country's sixth most populous state. This is a tremendous achievement and the first time marijuana sales have been legalized through a state's legislative process rather than a ballot initiative.

I'm proud to say that MPP's staff and lobbying team played a central role in this groundbreaking victory, and it's important to remember that we are only effective because people like you support our work. As we celebrate today, please make a contribution to help us legalize marijuana in more states and at the federal level.

Beginning January 1, 2020, individuals 21 and older in Illinois will be able to legally possess and consume cannabis. Retail marijuana sales are expected to begin at that time. Illinois' new legalization law is also significant because it contains some of the strongest language of any state around equity and social justice, including far-reaching expungement provisions and programs to help communities that have been most impacted by the war on drugs.

Today is another sign of our remarkable progress in recent years. But a majority of Americans still live in a jurisdiction where possessing marijuana is against the law. When you donate to MPP, you become part of a powerful movement that is not only changing laws, but changing lives.

Please don't sit on the sidelines. Join us in our mission of achieving a world with more humane and just marijuana policies.

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Tax and Regulate

NY: One week left to pass legalization!

Ask your lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger have introduced a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. But, there are just days left to get it passed this legislative session, which ends June 19.

Urge your legislators to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult-use this session!

The bill was introduced after months of debate between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature on how the state will approach legalization. Gov. Cuomo has said that he would sign the bill, but it does not yet have the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate.

The bill provides that an Office of Cannabis Management will be created and charged with regulating both adult-use and medical cannabis — which was adopted from Gov. Cuomo's earlier proposal. It would also expunge records of those previously convicted of possessing small amounts of cannabis, and 50 percent of the tax revenue would go toward establishing grants to fund programs serving communities that were disparately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

New Yorkers deserve a just, equitable cannabis policy. Contact your lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo today to get legalization across the finish line this session! Then, share the action link with other thoughtful New Yorkers, so that they, too, can raise their voices.

P.S. It saddens us to inform you that Doug Greene, a lifelong cannabis activist who worked tirelessly to reform cannabis policy in New York, passed away last week. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. at Knollwood Park Cemetery — 57-80 Cooper Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385.

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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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Illinois Legislature legalizes marijuana for adults!

As we celebrate this history-making progress, make a contribution to MPP to help us support smooth implementation of the law.

Big news! Lawmakers in Springfield just approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has championed legalization.

With the governor's signature, Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to approve legal sales through the state legislature rather than a ballot measure. Legal marijuana sales are scheduled to begin on January 1, 2020.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) will legalize the possession and purchase of up to 30 grams of marijuana for adults and establish an inclusive, regulated market for cultivators, processors, retail stores, and testing labs.

Crafting a bill that could get past the finish line involved a long and difficult negotiation process. Although we weren't able to get everything we hoped to see (such as home cultivation and delivery for adults), the bill is an enormous step forward. It will help hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans and set a new standard for addressing the harms caused by decades of marijuana prohibition.

The CRTA includes far-reaching expungement provisions, funding for communities hard hit by the drug war, and assistance to business applicants operated by those harmed by prohibition or from areas of disproportionate impact. It also legalizes home cultivation for patients. Read a complete summary of the legislation here.

This victory is the result of a collective effort, and there are so many to thank for their support: MPP donors who made our years-long advocacy effort possible; legislative champions Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and Rep. Jehan Gordon; Gov. Pritzker; our dedicated lobbyists Pete Baroni and Kareem Kenyatta; Sen. Steans' cannabis policy staffer Rose Ashby; Clergy for a New Drug Policy; and all the individuals and organizations who worked to move the legislation forward.

We wouldn't be able to do this work without the support of those who contribute. Please consider making a donation today to help us ensure Illinois' legalization law is implemented quickly and smoothly, and to help us roll back prohibition in other states.

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Tax and Regulate

Illinois: Make sure your legislators vote “yes” on legalization

If you live in Illinois, ask your lawmakers to end prohibition in the Land of Lincoln.

With only three days left until the legislature adjourns, the Illinois House and Senate could vote on legalizing marijuana any day. This would be the first time ever that a state legislature (as opposed to voters) legalized adult-use marijuana sales.

Make sure your legislators are on the right side of history. Write them today!

State lawmakers really do listen to voters, and just a handful of calls and emails per district can make all the difference. The vote is expected to be close.

Not only would Senate Bill 7 legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, it would create the best legalization law so far in terms of addressing the harms inflicted by cannabis prohibition. Senate Bill 7:

  • Includes robust expungement provisions to stop derailing dreams of those with past cannabis convictions;
  • Directs a significant amount of the tax revenue to communities that have been hard-hit by the drug war; and
  • Includes groundbreaking measures to ensure an inclusive, equitable industry. Equity applicants — those directly harmed by cannabis prohibition or from communities most harmed by it — will pay lower fees, be eligible for low-interest loans, and will get points on their applications.

Although the votes weren’t there to allow home cultivation for all adults, the bill also includes home cultivation for medical cannabis patients. Patients would also be exempt from all adult-use taxes.

In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Don’t let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your lawmakers today. Then, rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.

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Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

Developments in Michigan’s adult-use and medical marijuana programs

The Marijuana Policy Project led the successful 2018 campaign to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Michigan. Since voters approved Prop 1 last November, Michigan’s marijuana landscape has seen significant changes. A few recent updates are worth bringing to your attention.

In March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order establishing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The new agency will soon replace the controversial Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, which held its final meeting last week. Read more here.

A Michigan court overruled a previous deadline and is allowing dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open around the state, as caregivers continue to supply the market. Licensed businesses, which must comply with stricter regulations, want regulators to close these unlicensed entities down. A bill in the legislature would require businesses to be licensed by June 1 to continue operating.

State regulators are considering ways to satisfy a portion of Michigan’s adult-use legalization law that requires “a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marihuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marihuana prohibition.” The provision was included to address the fact that communities of color saw significantly higher marijuana arrest rates compared to predominantly white areas under the old law.

The final rules for Michigan’s adult-use marijuana market are due this December. As regulators and stakeholders continue to shape the future of marijuana in the state, we’ll keep you informed about new developments.

Stay tuned!

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Tax and Regulate

New coalition co-directors announced!

Judiciary Committee votes to end marijuana prohibition — contact legislators today!

We’re excited to announce that two co-directors have joined our team to lead the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana: Kebra Smith-Bolden and Adam Wood. You can read more about them here. They have already begun working to expand and activate our coalition as we rally support for efforts to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis, with a focus on equity and social justice.

There is a very real opportunity for the legislature to pass a legalization bill during this year’s session, which is scheduled to end on June 6, but nothing is guaranteed. With Kebra and Adam at the helm, we can make sure the opportunity is not lost this year in Hartford!

Please stay tuned for ways to help. We’re going to need all hands on deck to pass this historic reform.

We’ve already made huge progress with the legislature in 2019. Today, the Joint Committee on Judiciary took an important step forward when it voted to pass SB 1085, a bill that would legalize possession of cannabis for adults 21 and older and expunge records for past marijuana possession convictions. A separate bill that would regulate the production and sale of cannabis for adult use, HB 7371, has already been approved by the General Law Committee. Links to summaries of these bills are available here.

Please email your elected officials and urge them to support the bills to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis!

Finally, we’d like to thank Sam Tracy for all his hard work building the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana and advocating for sensible marijuana policies in Connecticut. Thank you, Sam!

Please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join our coalition!

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