Medical Marijuana

Maine: Medical marijuana omnibus bill goes into effect today

LD 1539 improves Maine’s medical marijuana program for patients and industry

Today, the omnibus medical marijuana bill that was passed last spring goes into effect. The bill makes major improvements to Maine’s medical marijuana program. Among some of the changes, the legislation:

  • removes the qualifying condition list so that any Mainer can use medical marijuana so long as their doctor thinks it would be helpful for them;
  • eliminates the requirement that a patient must designate a caregiver or dispensary as their sole provider, allowing for more patient choice;
  • adds two more dispensaries to the existing eight dispensaries and removes the cap on the dispensaries after January 1, 2021; and
  • allows for caregivers to open storefront businesses.

More than two years since Maine voters legalized marijuana for adults, adult-use stores have still not opened, largely due to obstruction from departing Gov. Paul LePage. In the meantime, these changes will help improve and expand medical cannabis access, including by making it more affordable.

As for the adult-use program, the state has recently hired BOTEC, out of Washington State, to help write the rules governing commercial marijuana. A significant amount of “rulemaking” has been done at the committee level, and we hope this work is respected. We hope the new governor, Janet Mills, will work diligently to get Maine’s new program off the ground. Please send her team an email, asking for marijuana legalization to be a year one priority.

Adult-use sales are up and running in all three other states where voters legalized marijuana in 2016 — California, Nevada, and Massachusetts. In Nevada, sales began more than a year ago. Please ask Gov.-elect Mills to move forward promptly, and share this with friends and family in Maine.

 

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Alaska: Public hearing next week to discuss allowing on-site cannabis consumption

Public hearing scheduled for Dec. 19 before the Marijuana Control Board in Anchorage

The Marijuana Control Board will hear public testimony next Wednesday, December 19 from supporters and opponents of proposed rules allowing regulated, on-site cannabis consumption. While it is legal for adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis, it is illegal to consume it in most locations outside a private residence. This is a catch-22 for the state’s many tourists and some residents, and regulators are finally close to a solution. If you are a supporter, please consider attending!

What: Public hearing – on-site marijuana consumption endorsements

Where: State of Alaska Crime Lab, 4805 Dr. MLK Jr. Avenue, Anchorage

When: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

A conference line is available for those who cannot attend in person at 1-800-315-6338, access code 69176. For a quick summary of the regulations, along with some talking points and tips, click here.

A copy of the proposed rules is available here, and official notice for the hearing is posted online here.

While there is strong support for the state’s legalization laws and a clear need for on-site options, not everyone supports the proposal. Anti-smoking groups have stepped up lobbying efforts in opposition, despite well-considered restrictions that would help maintain a safe environment for consumers and staff. Strong support for the sensible solutions under consideration must be clear. Don’t let a vocal minority undermine good policy.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Prop 1 takes effect today, but it's under threat

If you're a Michigan resident, send a message to your legislators to stop SB 1243, which would gut Prop 1.

One month ago, Michigan made history. Through the power of the ballot box, the voters overwhelmingly rejected the failed status quo of marijuana prohibition and said YES to Proposal 1 to establish a more rational and humane marijuana policy in their state.

Today, the results of that vote become real and Proposal 1 is officially law, but unfortunately, some state lawmakers are trying to undermine the will of the voters. Please take a moment to contact your state legislators and urge them to stop the effort to repeal key components of Prop 1.

Sen. Meekhof’s bill, SB 1243, would eliminate funding for schools and roads, prevent the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and remove Prop 1’s home cultivation provision. These proposed changes represent an effort to repeal what Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved.

As a result of our hard work and successful campaign, adults in Michigan are no longer considered criminals in the eyes of the state simply for possessing, consuming, or cultivating marijuana. But today, as we celebrate Prop 1’s victory and the progress it represents, we’re reminded that we must remain vigilant and engaged in the political process. Otherwise, we risk losing ground to opponents who wish to undo major pieces of Michigan’s legalization law.

Thank you for staying in the fight with us. Please forward this email to others who voted YES on Prop 1 so they can also take action.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

R.I.: Ask friends and family in Seekonk, Mass. to vote NO on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. Please help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family vote NO on the proposed ban! Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Mass.: Seekonk to vote on proposal to ban marijuana facilities TOMORROW

A local special election will determine the fate of marijuana facilities in Seekonk, Massachusetts tomorrow, Tuesday, December 4. If you live in Seekonk, please make a plan to vote NO and reject the proposed ban. Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. at Seekonk High School, 261 Arcade Avenue.

If you’re not a resident of Seekonk, help us spread the word and make sure your friends and family reject this proposal!

The vote is taking place despite the fact that a proposal to ban adult-use marijuana retail and cultivation facilities was rejected at a recent town meeting on November 19. Town officials, however, have insisted that a special election is still necessary.

Tonight, residents of Newburyport will also have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a possible ballot question to ban marijuana businesses at the town meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

Please alert people you know who live in either of these towns and share the news on social media!

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Action alert: Michigan, help stop legislation to undermine Prop 1

Send a message to your state legislators and urge them to oppose SB 1243, which would undo key provisions of Prop 1.

Now that voters have weighed in on the future of marijuana policy in Michigan, members of the state legislature are introducing their own proposals — some good and some not.

Most concerning is a bill, SB 1243, submitted by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. His legislation would dismantle major pieces of the voter-approved legalization initiative, including eliminating funding for schools and roads, preventing the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and removing the home cultivation provision.

Please take a minute to contact your state legislators and ask them to publicly oppose and vote against this deeply misguided bill.

Despite some lawmakers’ attempts to undermine the will of Michigan voters, other legislators are doing the right thing and building on Prop 1’s foundation. Members of the House have introduced a proposal to release people from prison if they were convicted of a marijuana violation that has subsequently been decriminalized thanks to passage of Prop 1. And in the Senate, lawmakers have put forward a bill that would allow people to submit an application to the courts to have previous marijuana offenses set aside.

Although Election Day has come and gone, it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and involved in the legislative process. Forward this email to other Prop 1 supporters and ask them to take action, too.

Thank you for your help — and stay tuned for more updates.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Historic vote! New Jersey Senate and Assembly Committees advance bills to legalize and regulate marijuana

If you live in New Jersey, please ask your lawmakers to vote to end marijuana prohibition.

Today, November 26, New Jersey’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee voted in favor of S2703 and A4497, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. Please click here to thank lawmakers who voted yes or ask your lawmakers to do so when the bill comes to up for a vote of the whole chamber.  If New Jersey passes a bill this year, it will make history as the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana through the legislature (as opposed to a ballot initiative).

This is not the end of the debate; even some of the lawmakers who abstained or voted no indicated they might reconsider, and some of those who voted yes said they still wanted to see additional changes to the bill. It’s critical that your lawmakers continue to hear from you. If you have a moment after you send an email, please consider calling your lawmakers as well. Their phone numbers are listed here.

In other good news, the Assembly also voted to advance an expungement bill that would make it easier for people to clear their records, which MPP also supported.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Vermont election fuels optimism as regulated sales begin in New England

Study commission announces five listening sessions; call Gov. Scott today!

Possession and limited cultivation of cannabis has been legal for adults in Vermont since July 1, but sales in the state remain illicit, unregulated, and untaxed. Fortunately, the November election paved the way for the state to legalize and regulate retail sales in 2019. The Vermont Democratic Party officially endorsed legalization and regulation at its convention in August, and then it expanded its legislative majorities in November, increasing the likelihood that the House and Senate will agree to pass a cannabis regulation bill.

Unfortunately, Gov. Phil Scott, who was re-elected, has said that he thinks Vermont “isn’t ready” for retail cannabis. However, now that sales to adults have begun in Massachusetts and Canada, he may be convinced to evolve on the issue in 2019.

Please call Gov. Scott’s office today and respectfully urge him to support regulating cannabis in Vermont!

Gov. Scott needs to hear that regulating cannabis will create jobs, spur economic development, and produce tax revenue while taking money and power away from organized crime. If he isn’t willing to evolve, we may need to override his veto by earning support from two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.

Additionally, the study commission has announced that it will be holding five listening sessions around the state. All sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m., and members of the public will be welcome to comment.

• Monday, November 26 in Rutland – Asa Bloomer Building, 2nd Floor, Room 266, 88 Merchants Row
• Wednesday, November 28 in Williston – Williston Central School Auditorium, 195 Central School Drive
• Monday, December 3 – Morse Center, Black Box Theatre, St. Johnsbury Academy, 1000 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, VT
• Wednesday, December 5 – Vermont Veteran’s Home, 325 North Street, Bennington, VT
• Thursday, December 6 – White River Junction National Guard Armory, 240 Main Street, White River Junction, VT

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Legal marijuana businesses open their doors in Massachusetts today!

Nearly two years ago, voters in Massachusetts approved Question 4, the initiative MPP spearheaded to dismantle and replace marijuana prohibition. After decades of seeing lives ruined by marijuana arrests and watching an illicit market thrive, Massachusetts voters realized that it was time for a different approach. 

Starting today, a new chapter begins. Massachusetts is now the seventh state where adults 21 and older can legally purchase marijuana products from regulated businesses. 

All over the country, we’re seeing the benefits of treating marijuana similarly to alcohol. In states like Colorado and Washington, marijuana arrest rates have plummeted. New tax revenue is bolstering schools and local communities. Law enforcement agencies are solving serious crimes like assault and burglary more quickly. Massachusetts made the right decision in 2016, and it is only just beginning to reap the rewards. 
 
Victories like these are only possible thanks to the tireless efforts of thousands of volunteers and activists who refuse to sit on the sidelines. I’m proud MPP was able to play a lead role in the Yes on 4 campaign — but we can’t do this work without people like you who fight alongside us. 

As we celebrate this milestone in Massachusetts, let’s resolve to make 2019 another year that leads to historic reform. With record popular support, and newly elected governors and lawmakers who support legalization, we have the opportunity to pass laws in several states that lack the ballot initiative process. But, there’s a lot of work to do to turn that popular support into new laws. Your contribution ensures we can continue changing laws across the country. 

 

Read more

Tax and Regulate

False TV ads from opponents of Prop 1 in Michigan were pulled from TV stations in lead-up to election

Opponents of marijuana legalization often rely on misleading arguments and fear tactics in their attempts to diminish support for sensible marijuana policy reform. In the run-up to the election for Proposal 1, the adult-use legalization initiative that recently passed in Michigan, the prohibitionist group Healthy and Productive Michigan went even further by publishing television ads with demonstrably false claims.

In their first TV ad, opponents claimed that Prop 1 would allow marijuana products with “unlimited potency.” The text of the initiative, however, plainly stated that the regulator would be required to impose a limit on the amount of THC in edible products.

When the YES on 1 campaign reached out to broadcast TV stations to inform them of this demonstrable falsehood, two stations, WWMT and WPBN, agreed to stop airing the ad. In total, the Prop 1 opposition campaign spent nearly $350,000 on broadcast television ads. The TV stations that pulled the ad accounted for about a third of the opposition’s broadcast TV budget.

“I pointed out that Proposal 1 required that the regulator, the Michigan department of licensing and regulatory affairs, set a maximum potency level for edibles per Section 8 of the initiative,” said Matthew Schweich, MPP’s deputy director who ran the Michigan campaign. “I felt it was necessary to prevent Healthy and Productive Michigan from misleading voters through the use of demonstrably false claims.”

In Healthy and Productive Michigan’s replacement ad, the group falsely claimed that marijuana tax revenue in Colorado has not benefited Denver schools or students. Public documents published by the city’s government disproves this allegation.

Fortunately, voters in Michigan didn’t buy the lies and propaganda peddled by opponents of Prop 1. The measure passed with a substantial margin, 56% to 44%.

“It is somewhat uncommon for TV stations to pull political ads, and this is the first time I’ve seen it happen on the six marijuana reform initiatives I’ve been involved in over the past four years,” Schweich added. “It is representative of the dishonest campaign that prohibitionists ran in Michigan.”

To read more about this story, click here.

 

Read more