General

Virginia Lawmakers Send Reform Bills to Governor

March 3rd, 2017 5 Comments » Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Last week, the Virginia General Assembly sent Gov. Terry McAuliffe a bill to stop suspending drivers’ licenses for first-offense possession of small amounts of marijuana! This bill reflects years of work by advocates and is a significant victory on the path towards reform in Virginia!

In addition, the Legislature approved a bill allowing in-state production of cannabis and distribution of low-THC/ high-CBD cannabis oil for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. In order to take advantage of the program, patients must obtain a written certification from their neurologist or other epilepsy specialist. Another measure that would have included other medical conditions in the program was not passed by the Legislature.

Both bills — HB 2051 and SB 1027 — must be signed by Gov. McAuliffe by March 27, 2017, in order to go into effect. He is expected to meet this deadline.

While Virginia remains a long way off from joining the majority of states that have enacted more comprehensive reform — through decriminalization or the establishment of a medical marijuana program — these are two significant steps forward that advocates can celebrate.

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General

New Hampshire Hearings on Marijuana Bills Wednesday

January 31st, 2017 1 Comment » Matt Simon
Two of New Hampshire’s most anticipated marijuana policy reform bills of the year have been scheduled for hearings on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will consider public testimony on the decriminalization bill, HB 640, beginning at 1 p.m. in the House chamber. The public hearing on HB 656, which would make marijuana legal for adult use and create a regulated market system, will follow.

Advocates are welcome to attend and show support for these bills. If you are interested in testifying, please let me know at [email protected] so we can coordinate. If you are a New Hampshire resident, please also send your representatives and senators a message in support of reforming marijuana laws.

WHAT: Public hearings on the decriminalization bill (HB 640) and a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana (HB 656). (More details are listed on the Facebook event page.)

WHERE: House chamber, New Hampshire State House, 25 Capitol St., Concord

WHEN: Beginning at 1 p.m.

WHO: Marijuana policy reform advocates and members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee

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General

MPP Receives Award for Community Activism at the 2016 Cannabist Awards

November 17th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

MPP received the Award for Community Activism at the 2016 Cannabist Awards last night during the Cannabis Business Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. Fittingly, the award was accepted by our director of state campaigns, Matthew Schweich, who oversaw MPP’s highly successful initiative efforts in 2016.

Thank you to everyone who voted for us, and an even bigger thank you to all of the volunteers and supporters who help us do the work we do.

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Matthew Schweich, Director of State Campaigns

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General

MPP Members Elect New Member to Board of Directors

November 15th, 2016 2 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

The Marijuana Policy Project is proud to welcome Emily Paxhia to the Marijuana Policy Project Board of Directors.

MPP’s dues-paying members elected Ms. Paxhia to the board this week following a seven-day voting period involving three highly qualified candidates. This popularly-elected board member will serve a three-year term, during which she will help guide the overall direction of the organization.

Here is Ms. Paxhia’s bio from Poseidon Asset Management, where she is currently a managing partner:

Emily shifted her focus entirely to the cannabis industry in 2013. Since that time, she has taken her experience of researching markets, companies and strategic opportunities and turned it entirely to the world of cannabis. Her focus on understanding where the market is headed, rather than where it has been has been, is critical to building a diverse portfolio of companies that span the sector.

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Emily Paxhia

With 15+ years in working with Fortune 500 companies to develop products, to resolve strategic errors, and to address new target audiences has been beneficial to continuing to build Poseidon’s portfolio companies along their path to success. 

Emily brings a qualitative lens to the review and due diligence process and has aimed to be connected and involved in as many aspects of the industry as possible. She has been seen speaking at WomenGrow Events, MJ Business Journal Conference, ArcView, Opal Investment Conferences, KQED, World Agritech Summit, Hemp Industries Association conferences, YPO and WPO events, etc. She sits on the boards of portfolio companies and also the National Hemp Association. Emily’s drive to grow the portfolio is catalyzed by her intense love of the industry and her desire to provide returns to their Limited Partners.

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General

Election Day Voter Guides

November 8th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Today is the day! This is the biggest election in marijuana policy reform history, but even if you can’t vote on a legalization or medical marijuana ballot initiative today, you could play an important part to make future progress possible in your state.logo-mpp-286-mpp-and-we-change-laws

Before you vote, please check out MPP’s voter guides if you live in the following places:

Delaware

District of Columbia

Illinois

Nebraska

New Hampshire

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Vermont

And don’t forget to tell your friends in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota to vote YES on their respective marijuana initiatives!

 

 

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General

MPP Endorses Maryland Delegate David Moon for State Senate

September 28th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell
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Del. David Moon

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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General, Prohibition, Research

Marijuana Rescheduling No-Decision Met With Challenge From Congress

July 1st, 2016 7 Comments » Rory McPeak

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Earlier this year, the DEA had announced that they hope to have a decision regarding the rescheduling of marijuana within the first half of 2016. That time has now come and gone with the DEA failing to deliver.

A bipartisan coalition of Senators and Representatives has signed a letter to head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, urging the federal agency to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I, its current status under the Controlled Substances Act.  Schedule I is the most restrictive drug classification that, according to the DEA, is reserved for substances that have a high potential for abuse and no known medical benefits.

“We ask that you clarify this policy immediately, and issue a public statement informing the research community that the DEA, in compliance with international obligations, will accept new applications to bulk manufacture cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, to be approved on merit-based criteria,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter, drafted by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), also calls for the DEA to loosen restrictions surrounding medical marijuana research and to grant more licenses for the production of research-grade marijuana.  Currently, the only federally approved source of marijuana is the University of Mississippi, whose supply is notoriously difficult for researchers to obtain and frequently alleged to be of sub-research grade quality.

The letter was signed by Sen. Gillibrand as well as Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR); and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Read here for more information.

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General, Tax and Regulate

D.C. Department of Health Recommends Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

June 28th, 2016 4 Comments » Rory McPeak

Flag_Map_of_Washington_DCIn an exciting new development, the District of Columbia Department of Health issued a report that, in its conclusion, recommends the legalization of the sale of marijuana within D.C.  The 32-page report calls on the District to “[i]mpose state taxes on production, distribution, and sales along with a licensed market participation, age restriction, and prohibitions on advertising and marketing to minors” and to “[u]se current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls under District of Columbia laws”.

Additionally, the report urges the strengthening of addiction recovery programs, the improvement of marijuana education–especially for expecting and new mothers–and the monitoring of alcohol and tobacco use among both users and non-users of marijuana.

The D.C. Department of Health’s recommendation is highly encouraging, but is currently met with obstacles put in place by Congress. Check out our D.C. page to learn more about the situation

You can read the full D.C. Department of Health report here.

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General, Tax and Regulate

Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine Will Appear as ‘Question 1’ on November Ballot

June 27th, 2016 1 Comment » Rory McPeak

10985909_566442143496233_947244275936798915_nOn Monday, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced that the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol will appear as Question 1 on the November ballot.

Question 1 will read:

“Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting Question 1, issued the following statement from campaign manager David Boyer:

“The wording of our ballot question is far more important than the order in which it will appear. It conveys to voters that the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use will be subject to regulation, taxation, and local control. We are pleased, as those themes comprise the core of our initiative and help explain the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition. Residents of Maine will be hearing a lot more about regulation, taxation, and local control as we spend the next four months encouraging them to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1.”

MPP is supporting the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and its efforts to encourage voters to vote “Yes” on Question 1 in November.

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General, Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

DNC Calls for Reform of Marijuana Laws

June 27th, 2016 6 Comments » Rory McPeak

Over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Drafting Committee established a party platform calling for states’ rights to decide their ownjzH0I1Ka marijuana laws, allowing for greater research on the medical properties of cannabis, and protecting the rights of legally established marijuana businesses:

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates.”

An earlier proposed measure called for the total removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but that measure did not make it to the draft that was unanimously approved by the drafting committee.

Click here for more information on the DNC’s new marijuana plank.

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