Tax and Regulate

Legalization Bill Gets a Hearing in Connecticut

June 9th, 2017 2 Comments » Becky Dansky

Connecticut representatives proposed an amendment to another bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults’ use. This provided members a historic opportunity to debate the issue on the House floor, but the amendment did not actually receive a vote.

However, there is still a very real chance for ending marijuana prohibition in Connecticut this year.

Last month, Connecticut Democrats revealed a budget proposal that included the regulating and taxing of marijuana, demonstrating that legislative leaders in the majority party understand regulating marijuana like alcohol is a necessary part of a responsible budget solution.

If you are a Connecticut resident, please call or email your legislators and urge them to support ending marijuana prohibition.

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Tax and Regulate

Bill to Regulate Marijuana Introduced in New Jersey

May 22nd, 2017 1 Comment » Kate Bell

Last week, Senator Nicholas Scutari (D) introduced his long-awaited bill that would end marijuana prohibition in New Jersey and replace it with a system that regulates and taxes cannabis similarly to alcohol. Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support S3195.

While Gov. Chris Christie has made no secret of the fact that he would veto such a bill, he is leaving office in January 2018. It’s important to get New Jersey’s lawmakers to discuss this important policy and show their support of ending prohibition now, so that change can happen quickly once a new governor is in office. While Sen. Scutari’s bill doesn’t include every provision in MPP’s model bill — notably not allowing for home cultivation — it would be a dramatic improvement over the status quo. One noteworthy provision would allow people with marijuana possession convictions to expunge their records immediately.

Despite someone being arrested for marijuana possession every 22 minutes in New Jersey, prohibition hasn’t stopped cannabis use, and it has disproportionately impacted African-Americans. If you are a New Jersey resident, please ask your legislators for their support in ending this failed policy.

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Tax and Regulate

Michigan Initiative Approved to Start Collecting Signatures

May 22nd, 2017 2 Comments » Marijuana Policy Project

The Michigan State Board of Canvassers officially approved the ballot language put forth by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

The campaign committee will have 180 days to gather the 252,523 valid signatures needed to place the issue on the November 2018 ballot. An official signature collection kick-off event will be held before the end of May.

If ultimately passed by Michigan voters in November 2018, the initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older; legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp; license marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana; and tax marijuana at retail levels with proceeds to support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments.

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Tax and Regulate

Del. House Committee Passes Marijuana Regulation Bill

May 11th, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

The Delaware House Committee on Revenue and Finance voted 9-2 in favor of HB 110, a bill to tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. The bill now heads to the full House where it needs a three-fifths majority to advance to the Senate.

HB 110 would allow adults age 21 and over to purchase up to one ounce of cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries. A new Division of Marijuana Control and Enforcement would oversee the program and ensure compliance. You can read MPP’s complete summary of the bill here.

MPP’s Maggie Ellinger-Locke released the following statement in a press release:

“There is strong public support for ending marijuana prohibition in Delaware, and that was reflected in the committee vote,” said Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Americans now recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they think it is time for it to be treated that way. We hope the full House will follow the committee’s lead and approve HB 110.”

If you are a Delaware resident, please email your representative and tell him or her you want to see Delaware pass HB 110.

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Tax and Regulate

Nevada Approves Early Start Program for Retail Marijuana Sales

May 9th, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

Today, the Nevada Tax Commission adopted temporary regulations proposed by the Department of Taxation allowing the state to issue recreational marijuana licenses by July 1, 2017. The ballot measure requires the state to initiate sales by January 1, 2018, but this “early start” program will allow businesses to open six months sooner.

Only medical marijuana establishments that are already in operation can apply to function as recreational retailers during the early start period. The establishments must be in good standing and must pay a one-time, nonrefundable application fee as well as a specific licensing fee. The establishment must also provide written confirmation of compliance with their municipality’s zoning and location requirements.

The tax department plans to accept applications from May 15 to May 31 of this year, and a second application period is anticipated later in the year. The incentive for the early start program stems from Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over two years to support education.

Now, the focus shifts to local governments given that marijuana companies need both a state and local license to operate.

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Tax and Regulate

Ballot Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Filed in Michigan

May 8th, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has filed a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Michigan.

The signature drive is expected to begin shortly after the State Board of Canvassers meets to review and approve the petition language. After that, the campaign must collect enough signatures to place the marijuana legalization initiative on Michigan’s November 2018 statewide ballot.

Like Michigan’s medical marijuana law, the initiative would create five categories of licensed marijuana businesses that would be regulated by the state and subject to local control. This would include cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, and retailers.

The initiative would allow adults age 21 and older to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residences. The law would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

If the initiative is approved by voters in November 2018, Michigan would join Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for adults.

For more information about the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, please visit RegulateMI.org.

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Research, Tax and Regulate

Vermont Senate Passes Another Marijuana Bill

May 5th, 2017 1 Comment » Marijuana Policy Project

On Friday, for the second time this year, the Vermont Senate voted to legalize marijuana for adults’ use! The Senate voted 20-9 to attach the legalization language from H. 170 to an unrelated bill, S. 22, and added a study commission to consider regulation and taxation. It will now be up to the House whether or not to concur with the Senate’s offer of amendment.

This move represents an attempt by the Senate to compromise with the House, which voted for the first time in its history to legalize marijuana earlier this week. H. 170, which would eliminate penalties for adults’ possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, two or fewer mature plants, and four or fewer immature plants, passed the House in a 75-71 vote. The Senate prefers a regulated market approach, but today’s vote shows that senators are willing to accept H. 170 as long as it includes a pathway to sensible regulation.

Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, released the following statement in a press release:

“You have to give the Senate credit for standing up for Vermont voters, who strongly support making marijuana legal for adults. We hope the House will do the same and concur with S. 22 as amended by the Senate. This is not just a reasonable compromise, but an important step forward for supporters of both home cultivation and regulation. The bill would eliminate penalties for adult possession and cultivation, as the House sought to do with H. 170, and create a commission to explore regulating and taxing marijuana, which the Senate clearly supports. This bill proposes a very thoughtful and deliberate approach to replacing prohibition with a more sensible marijuana policy.”

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Supporters of Rhode Island Legalization Urge Legislators to Act on Bill

April 17th, 2017 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On Tuesday, Regulate Rhode Island and allies made a strong case to the House Judiciary Committee to vote on H 5555, the legislation to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. Click below to watch testimony from:

If you are a Rhode Island resident, please call your representative in the General Assembly, and tell them to ask House leadership to allow a vote on legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana this year.

The Speaker of the House, Nick Mattiello, has the ultimate say on whether the bill will move forward in the House this year. He needs to hear from his members in the House that this is a priority for them.

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Tax and Regulate

Coalition for a Safer Illinois Launches to Support Ending Prohibition

April 17th, 2017 3 Comments » Chris Lindsey

MPP is proud to announce the launch of the Coalition for a Safer Illinois, a group of organizations and community leaders committed to replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulations. We know prohibition has failed in Illinois, and we think it’s time for a better approach.

Check out the coalition’s new website, including our awesome members, like it on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

If you are part of an organization that might be interested in endorsing marijuana regulation, or if you are a member of the clergy, a doctor, a current or former law enforcement officer, an economist, or other stakeholder, please contact us at [email protected].

Please also let us know if you are a casualty of marijuana prohibition — including if you’ve been arrested or stuck with a criminal record, or if you’ve been in a bad situation due to the underground marijuana trade.

And no matter what, if you are an Illinois resident, please help put pressure on your own lawmakers to support ending marijuana prohibition. Our email alerts to supporters often include a way to easily contact lawmakers and get the message across.  Sign up for coalition alerts here.

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Governors Urge Trump Administration to Respect State Marijuana Laws

April 6th, 2017 4 Comments » Mason Tvert

Governors of the first four states that legalize marijuana for adults sent a letter to Trump administration officials this week asking them to respect their states’ marijuana laws.

In the letter, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to adhere to Department of Justice’s 2013 Cole Memorandum and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance, which were distributed under the previous administration.

Some key excerpts are below, and you can read the full letter here.

As governors of states that have legalized marijuana in some form, we ask the Trump Administration to engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems. The balance struck by the 2013 Department of Justice Cole Memorandum (Cole Memo) has been indispensable – providing the necessary framework for state regulatory programs centered on public safety and health protections.

[W]e have committed to implementing the will of our citizens and have worked cooperatively with our legislatures to establish robust regulatory structures that prioritize public health and public safety, reduce inequitable incarceration and expand our economies.

The Cole Memo and the related Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance provide the foundation for state regulatory systems and are vital to maintaining control over marijuana in our states. Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences. Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.

The Cole Memo and FinCEN guidance strike a reasonable balance between allowing the states to enact reasonable regulations and the federal government’s interest in controlling some of the collateral consequences of legalization.

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