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DNC Approves Marijuana Platform

July 27th, 2016 6 Comments Rory McPeak

This week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Democratic Party approved a platform that would dismantle marijuana prohibition. Calling for “a reasoned pathway for future legalizat6262125702_a086dd49f1_bion,” the Democrats’ platform endorses the removal of marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, a category reserved for substances with a high potential for abuse and without medical benefit. It also calls for states to decide their own marijuana laws and for medical marijuana states to provide safe access for patients without federal interference.

According to Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, “It’s not particularly surprising that the platform calls for rolling back the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, seeing as the vast majority of Democrats – and a majority of Americans – support making marijuana legal for adults.”

Advocates for marijuana policy reform were present and active at the DNC and held a series of protests outside the convention on Monday to bring attention to the issue, while MPP representatives talked with policy leaders and lawmakers inside the convention throughout the week.

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Can Marijuana Treat Alzheimer’s?

July 26th, 2016 3 Comments Rory McPeak

 

recent study conducted at Salk Institute for Biological Studies showed that medical marijuana might be a potentially effective treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “stimulates the removal of toxic plaque in the brain, a common

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feature of the disease” and treats inflammation, preventing neuron damage in the brain.

While Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association has expressed optimism about the study, referring to marijuana as a “legitimate avenue of research,” other researchers advise caution. Dr. Donovan Maust, who has studied marijuana’s effects on dementia, has said that there are still too many unknowns to start treating Alzheimer’s patients with medical marijuana.

These results correspond with earlier findings, such as a 2014 Dutch study showing that THC can treat symptoms of dementia, and a 2016 study that found “THC helped decrease symptoms of delusions, agitation or aggression, irritability, apathy and sleep in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

While these fascinating discoveries hold a great deal of exciting potential, medical marijuana researchers continue to face enormous obstacles due to federal restrictions that come with marijuana’s Schedule I status.

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New Study: Alcohol Increases Aggression, Marijuana Doesn’t

July 20th, 2016 3 Comments Rory McPeak

The results of a recent study in the Netherlands confirmed the long-held claim by supporters of marijuana policy reform that marijuana is much safer than alcohol, specifically as itNMBarScene relates to violent behavior. According to the findings, alcohol users demonstrated more aggressive tendencies while intoxicated than while sober, while marijuana users became less aggressive while under the influence.

The Washington Post reports:

They found, first of all, that “alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group.” The alcohol users, in other words, acted more aggressive when they were drunk than they did when they were sober. By contrast, the smokers became less aggressive when they were high.

These findings held through both the self-assessments — alcohol users rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk — and through the responses to the tests: The drinkers tried harder to undermine their computer opponents when they were drunk. But the smokers actually acted less aggressive toward their computer opponents when they were high.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers conclude.

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Poll: Majority of NH Voters Support Regulating Marijuana

July 20th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svgThe findings of the latest WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center show that a majority of likely New Hampshire voters support making marijuana legal and regulated for adults. According to the survey, “61% support legalizing marijuana for recreational use (39% strongly and 22% somewhat), 32% oppose (22% strongly and 10% somewhat), and 7% are neutral or unsure.” If marijuana were legalized in New Hampshire, 69% said they would support taxing and regulating it like alcohol, while 26% said they would oppose, 2% are neutral, and 2% are unsure. When asked what type of legislation they would prefer regarding marijuana, 48% said they want marijuana legalized and taxed like alcohol, 24% supported decriminalization, 24% supported maintaining current marijuana laws, and 3% were unsure.

Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana or regulate it like alcohol have stalled in the legislature. Advocates are hopeful that lawmakers will heed the voices of their constituents and move forward with sensible marijuana policy reforms in the next session.

UPDATE: MPP’s New Hampshire primary election voter guide is now available. Find out where lawmakers stand on marijuana policy issues and how you can help us achieve sensible reforms in the legislature next session!

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Marijuana Question Officially on Massachusetts Ballot

July 12th, 2016 2 Comments Rory McPeak

On Monday July 11, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced the four measures that have qualified for the November ballot, including the initiative entitled “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana,” which will appear as Question 4 on the ballot.

The initiative would allow persons aged 21 and older to purchase, possess, use, and transfer marijuana and products containing marijuana concentrates, including edible products.  It would also allow a taxed and regulated marijuana market in the state.

This is exciting news for proponents of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, as it was only last week that, after the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted enough signatures to qualify, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of allowing the marijuana question on the ballot after it had been challenged by opponents.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, go here to find out how you can help Question 4 win this November!

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Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition in Arizona Poised to Appear on November Ballot

June 30th, 2016 5 Comments Rory McPeak

11244927_391839010995824_4059922082424127714_nAt 10:30 AM on Thursday June 30 in Phoenix, Arizona, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted petitions with 258,582 signatures to state officials in order to place an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana on the November ballot.  Their total submission far exceeded the required number of 150,642 signatures.

The ballot initiative would “allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.”

The submission took place during a news conference at the campaign’s temporary office hosted by CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak and Parents for Responsible Marijuana Regulation co-chair Kathy Inman.  The conference was attended by representatives of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office who accepted the signatures for review.

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. We look forward to continuing the public conversation about the initiative, and we think most will agree it is a sensible step forward for our state.”

The submission comes a day after the Joint Legislative Budget Committee announced their findings that the initiative would generate around $82 million a year in tax revenue, at least $55 million of which will go to K-12 education, including full-time Kindergarten.

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Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition in California Qualifies for November Ballot

June 29th, 2016 9 Comments Mason Tvert

13051785_1561302290867287_3261976781645789533_nCalifornia voters will soon have the opportunity to vote on an initiative that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system in which marijuana is legal and regulated for adult use.

The Los Angeles Times reported this morning:

The Secretary of State’s Office certified that a random sample showed sufficient signatures among the 600,000 turned in to qualify the measure. The initiative is backed by a coalition that includes former Facebook President Sean Parker and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“Today marks a fresh start for California as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

The initiative is being supported by a broad and quickly growing coalition of activists, community leaders, and organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, which has formed a committee to contribute directly to the campaign. 

“We think voters in California are ready to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which has about 200,000 supporters nationwide.

Tvert is confident this year’s measure will do better than past attempts.

He expects activists from all over the country will get involved in the California campaign, either through campaign contributions or working phone banks to get out the vote.

“We are moving to mobilize our supporters,” Tvert said. “There are folks throughout the country who recognize the importance of making marijuana legal in the largest state in the nation. There are a lot of folks who recognize that passage of these laws in other states will make it easier for their state to move forward.”

Click here to join the campaign and learn more about the initiative.

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Illinois Set to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

May 20th, 2016 3 Comments Chris Lindsey

The Illinois House of Representatives voted Wednesday to remove criminal penalties for possession of a personal amount of marijuana in a vote of 64-50. The bill — SB 2228 — will now be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his signature.

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Sen. Heather Steans

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, represents a historic change in Illinois. Instead of arresting and jailing people in possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, those found in possession would simply pay a fine of up to $200. Perhaps more importantly, people would not be stuck with harmful criminal records for the rest of their lives.

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Rep. Kelly Cassidy

This bill is a huge improvement over the current law, which is costly, harmful, and applied unequally around the state. In fact, well over 100 local communities have already lowered criminal penalties. In many respects, SB 2228 simply makes the law more consistent.

Once the governor officially receives the bill, he will have up to 60 days to sign it into law. It reflects changes he requested last year in an amendatory veto, so we are optimistic it will become law.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition, Uncategorized

Kansas Lawmakers Reduce Possession Penalties

May 5th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Early Monday morning, the Kansas Legislature ended their session after meeting for only 78 of the 90 scheduled days. They did take a small step forward by passing a bill that reduces the penalties for marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail and a second offense would no longer be a felony.index The bill now heads to Gov. Brownback’s desk, and will become law if he does not veto it within 10 days.

Unfortunately, the legislature did not pass any type of protections for medical marijuana patients, although it considered several bills to do so. The House did pass a bill, sponsored by Rep. John Wilson, which would have allowed patients to use low-THC medical cannabis and provided for in-state access. Although those provisions did not pass the Senate, it is significant because this is the first time any type of medical marijuana bill was passed by either chamber of the Kansas Legislature.

If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your legislators to consider a comprehensive medical marijuana bill next year.

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Arizona Campaign Collects More Than 200K Signatures

April 15th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced Tuesday that it has collected more than 200,000 signatures in support of a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona. The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures of registered Arizona voters to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

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