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Burning Man and Marijuana Laws

August 20th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Heading to Burning Man? Here’s what you need to know about Black Rock City’s and Nevada’s marijuana laws.

If you are heading to Burning Man this year, you may be thinking about bringing cannabis to the playa, since Nevada has legalized marijuana. Not so fast! Before you head out, there are some important things you need to know:

• Burning man is held on FEDERAL land, and the Bureau of Land Management will enforce federal law, which unfortunately considers all marijuana possession a criminal offense — even if you have a medial card! BLM may also ticket you for violations of various rules in the “closure order,” though these, thankfully, are civil rather than criminal.

• “Gifting” marijuana to others is drug trafficking under federal law, even though no money is being exchanged. And if you are caught selling marijuana, or are found in possession of more than one ounce, you will likely be prosecuted under Nevada law by the local Pershing County Sheriffs, who also patrol Burning Man.

• Especially important: GATE ROAD is also federal property, and a lot of the law enforcement activity happens while people are driving into the event. In addition, some of the roads into the event, near Wadsworth and Nixon, pass through tribal reservations, where federal law enforcement can and do make arrests. Keep in mind that you have fewer rights while driving than you do in your home (or in this case, your tent or RV), and can be stopped for a broken taillight or any other minor infraction by law enforcement, who may ask you for consent to search your vehicle (you have the right to refuse). Any marijuana consumption while on the Gate Road could result in a ticket or charges for DUI or marijuana possession.

• Before or after Burning Man, when you are not on federal land: Adults ages 21 and older may legally purchase marijuana from retail establishments in Nevada! MPP supported the initiative that made Nevada the fifth of eight states to end prohibition.

Public consumption could result in a misdemeanor charge, with a fine of up to $600. And because the casinos’ regulators directed them to follow federal law, you cannot consume in hotel-casinos. MPP and our allies hope to establish safe, legal consumption spaces for tourists, but that won’t happen before Burning Man 2018. But you can consume in private homes, which may include private homes for rent.

• You should also know that Nevada has very strict laws on driving under the influence of marijuana. There is a “per se” threshold of two ng/mL of THC in your blood, meaning that you can be convicted based on a positive test result whether you were impaired or not. If you are a regular marijuana consumer, please note that you can have this amount in your system even if you haven’t consumed in a couple of days.

• If you do have an encounter with law enforcement, it’s always a good idea to know your rights. In addition, Burning Man would like to know about your experience, and if you get into trouble, you can reach out to the volunteer group Lawyers for Burners for help after you return home.

This legal information is provided as a courtesy and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, which is an interpretation of the applicable law to your specific circumstances, we encourage you to consult an attorney. MPP is offering this information as a public service and is in no way affiliated with the Burning Man Project. 

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MPP has a new executive director!

August 14th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

We’re pleased to announce that Steve Hawkins has been named the new executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Steve brings three decades of experience fighting for criminal justice reform, having previously served in leadership roles at the NAACP, Amnesty International USA, and the Coalition for Public Safety.

The entire MPP staff is thrilled to welcome Steve to our organization.

Steve began his career as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund challenging racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He later served as executive vice president of the NAACP, spearheading its efforts to end the police practice of “stop and frisk” in New York City and successfully encouraging the NAACP board of directors to adopt a policy in support of marijuana decriminalization. Steve also previously served as executive director of Amnesty International USA, as a program executive for the Atlantic Philanthropies, and as a senior program manager at the JEHT Foundation. You can read a more detailed biography here.

The marijuana reform movement has made incredible gains in the past several years but there’s still a great deal of work ahead. With Steve leading our experienced and talented team of reformers, and with your support, MPP will continue to enact medical marijuana and marijuana legalization laws that serve the interests of the American people.

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Don’t miss the MPP and NJCIA Golf Tournament in New Jersey on July 15

June 28th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

In partnership with the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association (NJCIA), the Marijuana Policy Project is bringing supporters together for a friendly golf competition at the Linwood Country Club in New Jersey as we ramp up legalization efforts statewide. Please join us just across the bay from Atlantic City as we bring policymakers, politicians, cannabis industry experts, and friends together for a round of golf followed by a cocktail reception on Sunday, July 15.

We are grateful to Gov. Phil Murphy for his commitment to ending marijuana prohibition in New Jersey. As a trusted leader in marijuana policy reform, MPP has worked on the front lines of changing marijuana policies and laws, both federal and state, for 23 years. Our event partner, the NJCIA, is the state’s largest nonprofit trade organization dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis through sensible policies that optimize the responsible growth and development of New Jersey’s cannabis industry.

FORMAT OF PLAY:
Better ball scramble

SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY:
1 p.m.: Afternoon Shotgun Start FOR GOLFERS ONLY
5-8 p.m.: Cocktail Reception and BBQ, Awards Ceremony and Program

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:
Individual Golfer: $350 per person
Foursome: $1,400 per foursome
Cocktail Reception and BBQ ONLY: $125 per person

For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, please contact Dara Servis of the NJCIA at dservis@newjerseycia.org.

Registration fee for golfers includes food and beverages during the day and also includes the cocktail reception and barbecue at the al fresco bar and dining patio overlooking the course. Menus are created by the same legendary team behind the acclaimed Dock’s Oyster House, Knife and Fork Inn, and Harry’s Oyster Bar in Atlantic City.

LODGING INFORMATION:
Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City
Number to call for room registration: (888) 516-2215
Group Name: NJCIA Room Block
Group Code: SB07NJ8 Bally’s
For online booking, use this link.

 

This event will sell out, so register today!

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California: Key bill could automatically clear marijuana convictions

May 31st, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

In the coming days, lawmakers are expected to vote on providing relief for Californians saddled with harmful cannabis-related criminal histories. Under Assembly Bill 1793, any adult who was convicted of a marijuana offense that is no longer illegal would have their conviction erased automatically. This is a huge step forward to repairing decades of harmful policy.

Marijuana prohibition has harmed hundreds of thousands of individuals who now have cannabis convictions. This can limit career, educational, and housing opportunities. Since voters approved Prop. 64 in 2016, Californians have been able to petition to expunge (remove) these prior convictions, but the process can be costly and burdensome. And many don’t realize it’s an option.

AB 1793 would make the process automatic. It would direct the state Department of Justice to review the state’s criminal database and identify convictions that could be dismissed, downgraded, or simply expunged, and take the steps needed to make those changes.

If you are a California resident, contact your Assemblymember and voice your support for AB 1793.

To learn about the status of other cannabis reform bills in California, check out this East Bay Express article.

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Arkansas: Little Rock considers making marijuana possession a low priority

May 31st, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

A Little Rock city director has proposed formally making misdemeanor marijuana offenses a “low priority” for city law enforcement officials. As Ward 2 City Director Ken Richardson highlighted, simple misdemeanor marijuana offenses can haunt an individual for life, making it harder to secure employment and higher education.

If you live in Little Rock, please contact your directors and ask that they support this commonsense reform. If you are unsure of your ward’s city director, please go here to find out which ward you live in. In addition to your ward director, be sure to also email the three at-large directors that represent the entire city. This proposal is a great step in the right direction and will help shape policies at the state level in Arkansas.

Unfortunately, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner had issues with the wording of the proposal and claimed the police department already views misdemeanor marijuana offenses as a low priority. If this is true, City Director Richardson explains there is no harm in simply putting this policy in writing.

If you’re a Little Rock resident, please take a few minutes to make sure the city directors know their constituents want Little Rock to make marijuana offenses a low enforcement priority. Then, please spread the word to others in Little Rock!

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Lead the Marijuana Legalization Movement

April 13th, 2018 6 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Marijuana Policy Project is looking for our next Executive Director to run the nation’s leading marijuana policy reform organization! We are taking advantage of our first-ever change in executive leadership to cast the widest net possible so we can find just the right person to lead us into the future at this critical juncture in marijuana policy.

We are looking for a leader with a personal commitment to marijuana policy reform and individual liberty who has the drive, skills, and experience to end marijuana prohibition. Marijuana reform is one of the country’s most popular and bipartisan issues, with public support more than doubling over the last 20 years. The opportunity has never been greater to make historic changes to the nation’s marijuana laws.

The Executive Director will lead the team responsible for over half of the current medical marijuana and adult use legalization laws in the country. The position develops and implements the organization’s political strategy and goals in conjunction with the staff and Board of Directors. Ensuring fiscal stability is a major part of the job, and the ideal candidate will have a track record of successful fundraising and a demonstrated ability to run a fast-paced, mission-driven organization of 20 or more employees with a primary focus on changing laws.

Find the full job description here.

Interested parties should contact edsearch@mpp.org with a cover letter, resume, and a list of professional references.

Matthew Schweich, the current executive director, is committed to leading the organization until his successor has been named. He will then focus his attention on the Michigan and Utah ballot initiatives campaigns. Mr. Schweich joined MPP in early 2015 as the director of state campaigns, and he was the campaign director for the 2016 legalization ballot initiative campaigns in Maine and Massachusetts, and also worked on the 2016 Nevada campaign. He was named executive director of MPP in November 2017.

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We Have a Winner for MPP’s 2018 Shirt Design Contest!

April 13th, 2018 3 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

After two rounds of voting by thousands of our supporters across the U.S.A. — beginning with a public vote on Facebook before moving on to a members-only vote —we are excited to announce the winner of the Marijuana Policy Project’s 2018 T-shirt Design Contest.

Congratulations to Michelle Geiger of Apollo Beach, Florida! Her polished and imaginative design features our organization’s full name, our motto We Change Laws, our website URL (mpp.org), and our inaugural year all cleverly shaped to represent MPP’s nationwide impact. 

We look forward to using this new shirt to help amplify our advocacy and educational efforts on the state and federal levels, starting with its unveiling at the National Cannabis Festival on April 21, 2018 in Washington, D.C. It will also be available in multiple color and size variations on our online shop this summer.

Thanks to everyone who participated in MPP’s 2018 Design Contest and for your ongoing commitment to MPP’s mission. Between the integral role MPP played in passing adult-use marijuana legalization in Vermont and our successful efforts to secure state medical marijuana protections in Congress, we have already made significant progress this year. With upcoming ballot initiatives in Utah (medical marijuana), Michigan (adult-use), and other states this year, your continued support is crucial.

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Former House Speaker John Boehner Reverses Position on Marijuana

April 11th, 2018 9 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Early this week, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced his support for descheduling marijuana at the federal level. At the same time, he revealed his plans to become advisor to a multi-state marijuana industry firm with dozens of locations. This is a stark departure from his previous stance on marijuana. While in Congress, Boehner voted in favor of legislation that prevented the District of Columbia from implementing its voter-approved medical marijuana program for more than a decade, and was a vocal opponent of legalization. Read the rest of this entry »

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MPP Continues Making Progress in 2018!

April 10th, 2018 4 Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the progress MPP has made so far in 2018:

CONGRESS — In March, MPP helped coordinate the congressional advocacy effort that succeeded in renewing the federal policy that prevents Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department from interfering in state medical marijuana programs. This is an extremely important protection for patients and caregivers across the country.

VERMONT — Years of MPP-led advocacy work in the Green Mountain State yielded a major victory in January, when the legislature became the first ever to enact a marijuana legalization law legislatively (as opposed to a ballot initiative). We continue to work in Vermont with the goal of passing a law next year that will allow regulated and taxed sales (the current law only allows possession and home cultivation).

SOUTH CAROLINA — MPP, working with allied patients and loved ones, is maintaining an aggressive push for medical marijuana in the state legislature. Our bill was recently sent to the Senate floor, and we now have majority support in the House, leaving us well-positioned for passage in 2019.

MASSACHUSETTS — After winning the 2016 ballot initiative campaign and defending the law from political interference in 2017, we have remained engaged in the year-long implementation process in the Bay State. MPP has also been pushing back against local marijuana business bans. As a result of MPP’s work in Massachusetts, the licensing process for marijuana businesses just started, and the first adult-use marijuana stores in New England will open later this year.

CONNECTICUT — Since last year, MPP has led the advocacy effort to legalize and regulate marijuana in Connecticut. Last Thursday, for the first time ever, a committee approved a legalization bill, sending it to the full House.

MPP is also playing a leading role in two ballot initiative campaigns:

MICHIGAN — The Michigan marijuana legalization campaign is leading in the polls, but might face a well-funded opposition campaign. You can donate directly to the Michigan campaign here.

UTAH — The Utah medical marijuana campaign is supported by over 70% of Utah voters, but still needs to finish its signature drive. You can donate directly to the Utah campaign here.

There is no shortage of work ahead in 2018 but, with your support, MPP can and will continue to win. Thank you for your commitment to the Marijuana Policy Project mission.

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Tomorrow Is the Last Day to Vote on Mpp’s Next T-Shirt Design!

April 9th, 2018 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

Over the past two weeks, MPP members have been voting for the Marijuana Policy Project’s next official T-shirt, and on Thursday, April 12 we’ll be ready to announce the winning design. Tomorrow is the last day of members-only voting, so be sure to cast a vote for your favorite design today!

To learn more about MPP’s 2018 T-shirt Design Contest and view the guidelines for voting, please visit our contest webpage.

MPP members comprise the core of our supporters, providing the vital resources we need to change laws across the country. With medical marijuana likely on the ballot this year in Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and an adult-use legalization initiative on the ballot in Michigan this November, the next few months are crucial for our movement.

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