Tax and Regulate

Maine Governor Signs Question 1, Making Marijuana Legal for Adults on January 30

January 4th, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

After recounting 30% of the votes for Question 1 in Maine last month, opponents of marijuana policy reform dropped their challenge, allowing the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol move to the Governor’s desk. On New Year’s Eve, Gov. LePage signed Question 1 into law.

Portland Press Herald reports:

LePage confirmed the proclamation Tuesday on a talk show on WVOM radio in Bangor. But he also called on the Legislature to place a moratorium on the sale of marijuana until lawmakers could work out all the details, including providing funding to set up a regulatory framework for legal marijuana.

Under the new law, adults over age 21 will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or grow up to six plants. The law goes into effect on Jan. 30, which is 30 days after LePage issued the proclamation on Saturday.

Commercial sale of the drug would be regulated by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Ballot question opponents had requested a recount of the measure, which was approved by a 4,000-vote margin but the recount by the Secretary of State’s Office was ended in December after it appeared there would be no significant change in the results.

LePage said Tuesday he needs the Legislature to provide funding to the agriculture department in order for him to move forward with establishing an agency to regulate the sale of marijuana in Maine.

Advocates are urging the legislature to begin implementation immediately and not consider a moratorium until after they have had a chance to establish regulations.

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Massachusetts Lawmakers Delay Regulation of Marijuana

December 29th, 2016 5 Comments » Mason Tvert

massachusetts-flagMassachusetts lawmakers passed a measure Wednesday that would delay the full implementation of Question 4, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, which voters approved in November.

The Boston Globe reports:

It took less than an hour, and only about a half-dozen state legislators, to approve a bill that would overturn significant parts of a marijuana legalization law that 1.8 million voters approved just last month.

With no public hearings and no formal public notice, the few lawmakers on Beacon Hill passed a measure on Wednesday to delay the likely opening date for recreational marijuana stores in Massachusetts by half a year — from January to July 2018.

The move was met with criticism from Question 4 supporters, who pointed out that Colorado lawmakers were able to effectively implement a similar initiative in a timeframe that is similar to the one stipulated in Question 4.

The Yes on 4 campaign issued the following statement:

We are very disappointed that the Legislature has decided to alter Question 4 in an informal session with little notice regarding proposed changes. We are willing to consider technical changes to Question 4 so that the new law is implemented in a timely and responsible manner. However, our position remains that the measure was written with careful consideration regarding process and timelines and that no major Legislative revisions are necessary. Further, the voters of Massachusetts approved Question 4 by a significant margin, and any alteration of the law deserves a transparent, deliberative legislative process.

As MPP’s Mason Tvert pointed out, the reasoning behind the delay is not particularly sound.

“The Legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety,” [Senate President Stanley] Rosenberg said. “This short delay will allow the necessary time for the Legislature to work with stakeholders on improving the new law.”

But Mason Tvert, a national advocate for legalization at the Marijuana Policy Project, scoffed at the premise of the Senate president’s statement.

“The will of the voters was to protect public health and public safety by regulating marijuana,” Tvert said. “By delaying the regulation of marijuana, lawmakers are delaying the protection of public health and public safety.”

Question 4 officially took effect earlier this month, at which time it became legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana.

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Colorado Sees More Than $1 Billion in Marijuana Sales in 2016

December 20th, 2016 3 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

picstateflag_1Legal marijuana businesses in Colorado made more than a billion dollars in sales during the first 10 months of 2016, exceeding sales numbers from last year.

The Cannabist reports:

Recreational and medical cannabis shops in America’s first 420-legal state have sold nearly $1.1 billion of marijuana and related products in 2016, according to the new October data from the state’s Department of Revenue.

When 2015’s year-end marijuana tax data was finally released in February, Cannabist calculations showed $996,184,788 in sales at Colorado marijuana shops that year — spurring a leading industry attorney to tell us at the time, “I think it’s ethical to round that up to a billion.”

That same lawyer, Vicente Sederberg partner Christian Sederberg, celebrated the billion-dollar news on Monday by also pointing to the Colorado cannabis industry’s increasing economic impact and skyrocketing tax revenues for the state as well as numerous cities and counties throughout Colorado.

“We think we’ll see $1.3 billion in sales revenue this year,” said Sederberg, “and so the economic impact of this industry — if we’re using the same multiplier from the Marijuana Policy Group’s recent report, which is totally reasonable — it suddenly eclipses a $3 billion economic impact for 2016.”

In addition to creating economic benefits, including state and local tax revenue and thousands of jobs, this legal market is on pace to continue stripping billions of dollars a year from the criminal market.

 

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Marijuana Now Legal In Massachusetts

December 20th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Massachusetts residents are allowed to legally possess and grow marijuana as of December 15, ending the state’s 100-year prohibition era marked by vast social injustices, wasteful government spending and ineffective public policyyes_on_4_logo_header

Persons age 21 and older are allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana on their person up to 10 ounces in their homes, and are permitted to give an ounce or less of marijuana to others. Any quantity above one ounce in the home must be under lock and key. Residents will also be allowed to grow six plants per person in their homes, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

No plants can be visible by neighbors or from a public place and all growing areas must be under lock and key. Landlords have the right to prohibit smoking or growing of marijuana in their properties.

Public consumption of marijuana remains prohibited under the new law, as does the unlicensed sale of any amount.

MPP and our allies will continue to work with the state government to ensure that the rest of the law is implemented effectively so that the regulated adult market is on its feet as soon as possible.

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Maine Initiative Recount Wasting Time and Taxpayer Money

December 8th, 2016 3 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

Last week, the group opposing the successful initiative to make marijuana legal in Maine moved forward with a recount, despite the cost to the taxpayer and the very slim chances of overturning Question 1.yes1

“We respectfully ask the No on 1 Campaign to follow the lead of the No on 2 Campaign and withdraw their recount request,” said David Boyer, Campaign Manager for the Yes on 1 Campaign. “There is no evidence that a recount would change the result of Question 1. At the same time, $500,000 would be wasted on the process of recounting ballots. That’s half a million taxpayer dollars that should be spent on heating homes and funding schools.”

The most recent statewide recount in Maine was the 2010 Oxford Casino initiative, when the opposition campaign demanded a recount. The Yes campaign won the original vote by 4,723 votes, and after roughly 20% of the recount was complete, the margin of victory actually increased.

Not satisfied with simply wasting taxpayer money, the prohibitionists couldn’t even be bothered to show up to the first day of counting with the legally required number of people to count the votes!

David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes on 1, said volunteers with his campaign pitched in to count for the “No” side to keep the process going on Monday and Tuesday.

“That is, quite frankly, silly. The whole point is to ensure the integrity of the vote and they can’t be bothered to do that,” he said. “What are we doing here?”

Boyer said the No on 1 campaign’s “lack of organization is costing taxpayers more money because it’s going slower.”

 

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Delaware Activist Training Event in Wilmington on Dec. 10

December 8th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke
When the Delaware Legislature’s 2017 session begins on January 10, reformers expect lawmakers to take a serious look at ending cannabis prohibition. In order to move this important issue forward, we need to grow our team of effective advocates. That’s where you come in!dcpc_logo_348
Please join the Marijuana Policy Project on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 – 5 p.m. at the Wilmington Public Library for an activist training to sharpen your citizen lobbying skills! RSVPs are not required, but they are appreciated — you can do so here.
We have lots to talk about, including the contents of the proposed legislation and how the legislative process works. We will also discuss messaging and offer tips on communicating with your lawmakers. Come and sharpen your skills as an organizer.
The library is located in downtown Wilmington. Please join us this Saturday at:
Wilmington Public Library
DuPont Room (Second Floor)
10 E 10th Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

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MPP to Host Events in Michigan to Explore 2018 Initiative to Regulate Marijuana

November 16th, 2016 4 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project
2000px-seal_of_michigan-svgThis year, MPP was instrumental in passing a number of marijuana policy reform initiatives around the country. We are very interested in bringing our expertise to Michigan for a November 2018 initiative. We’d like to team up with local advocates and make Michigan the first in the Midwest to replace prohibition with sensible regulation.
In mid-December, MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia and Director of State Policies Karen O’Keefe will hold public forums in three major Michigan cities to hear from local advocates, and to discuss what it’ll take to legalize marijuana in the Great Lakes State.
Thursday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Grand Rapids Community College
 
Friday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m.
The Om of Medicine, Ann Arbor
 
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2:00 p.m.
University of Michigan Detroit Center, downtown Detroit
Please spread the word to other sensible Michiganders. Together, we can consign marijuana prohibition to the dustbin of history!

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Denver Approves Groundbreaking Social Use Initiative

November 15th, 2016 4 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-10-53-11-amDenver voters have approved a ballot initiative to allow social cannabis use in certain private businesses. Initiated Ordinance 300 (I-300) was too close to call on Election Day, but once all the ballots were counted, it ended up receiving a solid 53.5% of the vote.

I-300 creates a pilot program for permitting private establishments to allow adult cannabis consumption in designated areas. The city will only issue permits to establishments that have received formal support from their officially recognized neighborhood organization or business-improvement district, and recipients will be required to follow a number of guidelines. A full description of I-300 is available on the Yes on 300 campaign’s website.

The passage of I-300 is generating a ton of media attention around the country and abroad.

Mashable reports:

“This is a groundbreaking law that reflects the shift taking place in the public attitudes toward marijuana,” Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Mashable.

“By allowing adults to use marijuana in certain private establishments, we can reduce the chances that they are going to use it in public, like on the street or in the park. This is a community-focused measure that ensures neighborhoods will have the final say over what is and is not allowed,” Tvert said.

“We believe this will allow communities and businesses to test the waters to see what works, then move forward with the best plans possible. We are hopeful this will produce a system that can serve as a model for other cities and towns in Colorado and throughout the nation,” Tvert told Mashable.

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Four States End Marijuana Prohibition

November 15th, 2016 7 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

On Election Day, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada declared an end to the war on marijuana in their states by approving initiatives to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for adults. This historic event was by far the biggest victory for drug policy reform to date, and will help pave the way for progress around the country.recreational

There are now eight states where marijuana is legal for adults to possess and where cultivation and retail sales are regulated and taxed. Marijuana possession and cultivation are legal in the District of Columbia, but Congress has prevented the city from regulating the non-medical marijuana industry.

This means that marijuana is legal for 66.5 million Americans, or about 21% of the population.

Unfortunately, a similar initiative in Arizona is trailing while the final votes are being counted, but advocates are already preparing to continue the fight in the legislature and possibly at the ballot in coming years.

Support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing across the nation, according to recent polls. Marijuana initiatives out-performed a number of successful politicians in some states as well. During President-elect Trump’s campaign, he voiced support for leaving marijuana policy up to the states. Advocates are hopeful that the next administration will support the will of the people and continue the federal policy of non-interference until Congress is able to pass meaningful marijuana policy reform.

 

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First Retail Marijuana Store Opens in Alaska

November 1st, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey
Alaska reached yet another historic milestone on Saturday, October 29, when the state’s first marijuana retailer opened in Valdez. This week, Fairbanks’ first marijuana stores open, while Anchorage’s first store is expected to open in early November.ak-seal
Some supporters have wondered why it has taken nearly two years for retail marijuana to become available after 53.2% of Alaska voters approved the legalization initiative on Nov 4, 2014. But, considering the decades of fighting against marijuana prohibition, what has happened in the last two years feels like incredibly rapid progress. We continue to work to ensure Measure 2 is faithfully and responsibly implemented — most recently by encouraging the Marijuana Control Board to move forward with establishing rules for cannabis cafĂ©s.

So far, the Marijuana Control Board has approved 48 marijuana retail business applications. Many other retail business applications remain under consideration, and the review process continues. For specifics on the state program, including a calendar with important benchmarks, frequently asked questions, the most recently proposed cannabis café regulations, and training videos for applicants, click here.

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