As the rest of the region moves forward, the Nutmeg State should not remain an island of prohibition — please contact your representatives and senators today!
Massachusetts recently concluded its first year of retail cannabis sales to adults, and the results are in: nearly $400 million in sales, an estimated $67 million in state tax revenue, and up to $11.8 million in tax revenue for municipalities. There are still only about 35 retail stores open in the state, up from the original two that opened last November, so it’s clear that this is only the beginning.
Connecticut urgently needs to follow the Bay State’s example. Gov. Lamont has said that he will ask the legislature to pass a bill legalizing and regulating cannabis when it convenes in February, but the governor won’t be able to make it happen by himself — his voice will need to be joined by a chorus of strong support from the public.
We can’t afford to let this opportunity slip away, so please also consider supporting the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana with a donation.
Last week, Legalize ND submitted petition language to put an initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana before the voters next November. Once the measure is approved for circulation by the secretary of state, activists must gather 13,452 voter signatures before July 6, 2020 to qualify for the ballot.
In 2018, North Dakotans rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana for adults 59% to 41%. This time around, however, Legalize ND worked closely with the North Dakota Legislative Council and argues the proposal is better written and addresses previous concerns. The 2020 measure would create a system to license marijuana businesses, establish a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and prohibit home cultivation. The initiative would also allow individuals to remove low-level marijuana convictions from their criminal records.
2020 is shaping up to be another big year for marijuana policy reform. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Check out the campaign’s website to get involved and support the effort to end marijuana prohibition in North Dakota!
Next year, Arkansas could make history and become the first southern state to end marijuana prohibition and wipe the slate clean for people with criminal records for marijuana convictions.
The Marijuana Policy Project has endorsed two constitutional ballot initiatives being spearheaded by Arkansans for Cannabis Reform. The first would establish a system to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. The second would create a pathway for individuals to remove previous marijuana offenses from their criminal records, making it easier for them to get jobs and access social benefits.
Each petition requires just over 89,000 voter signatures, and the campaign has established signing locations all over the state. Now is a critical time, and they are looking for supporters to get involved and expand their effort.
A victory in Arkansas would send a shockwave through the country. A clear majority of voters stand with us in our mission to end marijuana prohibition. But it takes hard-working teams like Arkansans for Cannabis Reform to give voters an opportunity to enact the change they want.
At long last, Minnesota plans to include chronic pain in its medical cannabis program. Unless the legislature overturns the Department of Health’s recent decision, chronic pain will be a qualifying condition for medical cannabis beginning in August 2020. The department also approved adding macular degeneration, effective next August. Qualifying patients must register with the state and submit a medical professional’s certification to access the program.
While “intractable pain” has been included in Minnesota’s program since August 2016, the restrictive definition leaves many pain patients behind. Finally, chronic pain patients will not be left to needlessly suffer or be steered to far more dangerous treatments. We’re grateful to our allies at Sensible Minnesota for spearheading this and other petitions to expand Minnesota’s medical cannabis program. MPP contributed a letter in support.
Upcoming “Be Heard on Cannabis” Community Conversations
In other news, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler’s “Be Heard on Cannabis” listening tour is continuing.
Maple Grove "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: TOMORROW, Thursday, December 5, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Maple Grove Government Center, 12800 Arbor Lakes Pkwy N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Austin "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, December 7, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Austin City Council Room, 500 4th Ave NE, Austin, MN 55912
Rochester "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, December 7, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Heintz Center at the Rochester Community and Technical College, 1926 Collegeview Rd E, Rochester, MN 55904
South Minneapolis "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Wednesday, December 18, 7:00 p.m.
Where: East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
Shakopee "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Wednesday, January 29, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Shakopee VFW, 1201 3rd Ave E Shakopee, MN 55379
For a list of the hosts and panelists who will lead each community conversation, along with other cities "Be Heard on Cannabis" will visit, check out Rep. Winkler’s "Be Heard on Cannabis" webpage. And stay tuned for updates to the list.
Yesterday, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send HB 481, the legalization and regulation bill, to “interim study.” This unfortunate outcome has been expected for several months, and advocates have already turned their attention to new legislation that will be considered in 2020.
Sadly, two members of the committee were quoted in The Union Leader saying that New Hampshire “isn’t ready” for legalization. This inaccurate perception persists in the Senate, despite polls showing that legalization is more popular than any politician in New Hampshire.
Please email your elected officials today and encourage them to support the 2020 bill to end cannabis prohibition in New Hampshire! Then, please share this message with your family and friends and urge them to do so as well.
Mark your calendar for a panel discussion December 5 and a state house advocacy day on January 9 — then write your representatives and tell them Vermont urgently needs to begin regulating cannabis in early 2020!
The Vermont House of Representatives missed an important opportunity when it adjourned in May without taking action on S. 54, the bill that would legalize and regulate cannabis sales in Vermont. Fortunately, House leaders have said the bill — which has already passed the Senate 23-5 — will be “a top priority” when the legislature reconvenes in January.
Gov. Phil Scott still has not pledged his support for S. 54, so advocates are not taking success in 2020 for granted. To keep the discussion going, Attorney General T.J. Donovan’s office will be hosting a public forum on the issue on Thursday, December 5. Here are the details:
WHAT: Conversation about Cannabis: Lessons from our Neighbors
WHERE: Contois Auditorium, 149 Church Street, Burlington
WHEN: Thursday, December 5, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
WHO: Erik Gunderson, Maine Office of Marijuana Policy
Kevin Conroy, Foley Hoag
Charlotte Hanna, Community Growth Partners
Laura Subin, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana
Joe Bergeron, Association of Vermont Credit Unions
David Mickenberg, Mickenberg, Dunn, and Smith, PLC
You can read a summary of S. 54, as approved by the House Government Operations Committee, here.
Please also mark your calendars for January 9, 2020. We will be kicking off the legislative session with a lobby day at the State House starting at 8:00 a.m., joined by our allies at Heady Vermont and other key coalition members, and we would love to have you join us. You can RSVP here.
Finally, please contact your representatives now and urge them to support passage of S. 54. Then, share this message with your family and friends!
Last week, along with our allies at ACLU-NH and Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire, we launched the Manchester Cannabis Reform Coalition. As the Union Leader reported, the new coalition’s efforts will be focused on convincing Manchester’s three state senators to support legalization.
This important effort needs to be amplified and duplicated by advocates throughout the state. For starters, please email your state legislators today and encourage them to support the upcoming bill to end cannabis prohibition in New Hampshire!
Elected officials need to understand that legalization is more popular than any politician in New Hampshire. Granite Staters know that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, and we are more than ready to see it treated that way in the “Live Free or Die” state!
If you agree with us that New Hampshire should not be an island of prohibition in a sea of freedom, please support our efforts with a donation. Then, please share this message with your family and friends.
In a recent appearance on WPRI’s Newsmakers, Gov. Raimondo indicated that she will reintroduce a plan to legalize marijuana for adults in her budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in early January.
Pointing to the General Assembly’s recent decision to add six new compassion centers, she said, “Last year we made a step forward with more medical [marijuana], and I think the next logical step is adult use.” She also referenced recent conversations with the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut, indicating that pressure from neighboring states makes legalization more likely in Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts saw nearly half a billion dollars in retail sales at legal marijuana businesses over the past year, which equates to roughly $67 million in new tax revenue for the state. This figure exceeds previous projections from officials.
In other news, the Department of Business Regulation recently proposed new regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program, including a plan to implement a lottery system for awarding new compassion center licenses to qualified applicants. The public comment period for these rules will extend until December 21, and the department will hold a hearing on December 6. More details can be found here.
Though it is difficult to predict whether Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio will have the appetite for legalization in 2020, the pressure to act continues to mount.
Stay tuned for more updates and calls to action soon.
If you have been negatively affected by the ban, please testify in person or submit written testimony.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is holding a public hearing tomorrow on the vape ban, and your opinion matters. Testing has shown that tainted vape products are being sold by underground sources, so it is critical for regulators to understand the need for regulated products that have been tested and shown to be free of contaminants.
If you have been negatively affected by the ban, this is a great opportunity to share your perspective with policymakers in person or in writing. Here are the details:
WHAT: Public hearing on regulation of vaping products
WHERE: Public Health Council Room, second floor of the Department of Public Health Building, 250 Washington Street, Boston
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To submit written testimony, which will accepted until 5 p.m., send email to Reg.Testimony@state.ma.us. “Vaping products regulation” should be in the subject line, and department officials ask that all submissions include the sender’s full name and address.
In other news, it has now been one full year since the advent of retail sales to adults. As the Boston Globe has reported, there are now 33 stores open, and the state has logged $393.7 million in sales, suggesting that the program — despite its slow start — has produced nearly $67 million in state revenue and up to $11.8 in revenue for municipalities.
Please share this important news with your family and friends!
On Monday, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced the Senate lacked the votes needed to legalize marijuana. Instead, twin resolutions have been introduced in the Assembly and Senate that would allow voters to decide the question themselves in November 2020. Some senators who are wary of legalization support kicking the decision to voters.
To place the measure on the ballot, the Senate and Assembly must either pass the resolution in both 2019 and 2020 with a simple majority, or they must pass it a single time with a three-fifths supermajority. While we strongly preferred the 147-page bill, which included important provisions for equity and would have taken effect sooner, a voter referral now appears to be the only path to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. We can’t let this opportunity to end the devastating war on cannabis slip away. But it is also crucial that social equity provisions don’t fall by the wayside.
On Monday, Assemblyman Jamel Holley and advocates launched a “94 No More” campaign, highlighting the outrageous fact that 94 people — disproportionately African American and Latino — are arrested in New Jersey every day for marijuana. Urge your legislators to stop possession arrests and to wipe clean the scarlet letters that destroy opportunities for people with marijuana convictions. Then, spread the word to other New Jerseyans who support humane marijuana policies.