Prohibition

Senators introduce bipartisan bill to protect state marijuana laws

June 7th, 2018 3 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Earlier today, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation to end the federal government’s war on marijuana and protect states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies.

Call your members of Congress RIGHT NOW and urge them to support this landmark bill.

The STATES Act is the most significant piece of marijuana-related legislation ever introduced in Congress. With its bipartisan backing in the Senate, it symbolically signals the eventual end of marijuana prohibition at the federal level.

This legislation reflects the position the president took on marijuana policy during his campaign, and it comes shortly on the heels of the positive comments he made to Sen. Gardner. The president has a unique opportunity to get behind historic legislation that enjoys solid support on both sides of the political spectrum. Read more about the bill.

Members of both parties agree it’s time for the federal government to let states set their own policies for marijuana. Please ask your lawmakers to back this important legislation.

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Tax and Regulate

It’s on: Michigan’s adult-use legalization initiative advances to the ballot

June 6th, 2018 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

After lawmakers opted not to take legislative action, the initiative to regulate marijuana officially moved to the November ballot. Michigan is poised to become the 10th state to legalize marijuana for adult use.

According to recent polls, six out of 10 voters in Michigan support the proposal to end marijuana prohibition. But these campaigns are never easy, and opponents are expected to put up a tough fight.

Michigan represents an opportunity to continue the national momentum we have built in recent years. Another huge victory in 2018 will position us to make even bigger gains in 2019 and 2020. Also, Michigan would become the second most populous state in the country with legal marijuana and the first outside the Northeast and the West.

There’s a lot at stake in Michigan, because keeping up the pressure at the state level is the key to ending federal prohibition. We can’t allow prohibitionists and fear tactics to slow us down.

At this critical time, please make a contribution to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and be part of this historic movement.

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Medical Marijuana

S.C.: Next Tuesday is Primary Election Day

June 5th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Review our South Carolina Voter Guide before casting your ballot.

South Carolina’s Primary Election Day is next Tuesday, June 12, and voters’ choices could have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Lawmakers will again consider legislation next year that would establish a compassionate medical cannabis program. South Carolinians should take a close look at whether candidates will stand up for patients.

We’ve done some of the work for you. We sent out a short questionnaire for candidates running for seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the governor’s office, and we’ve posted their responses here. Our voter guide also includes public comments from the gubernatorial candidates. For incumbent representatives, it also includes committee votes on medical cannabis (where applicable) and if they co-sponsored the bill.

The deadline to register to vote in the primary passed on May 13. For those who are registered, you can find more about Primary Day here, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open.

If you are a resident of South Carolina, please forward this message to your networks so your family and friends can also make informed decisions, and be sure to vote! Let’s spread the word that South Carolina can join the dozens of states that have already adopted sensible, comprehensive, and compassionate medical cannabis programs.

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Tax and Regulate

Want to know where Maryland candidates stand on cannabis legalization?

June 5th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

While we are disappointed that the General Assembly did not allow Marylanders to vote on cannabis legalization this fall, Marylanders will be able to vote on them — all members of the legislature are up for election this year. We want to make sure that voters are informed about the candidates’ views on cannabis policy, so we published this voter guide.

If your candidate of choice hasn’t responded to our survey, please ask them to do so! Their contact information will be listed in the guide, and late responses will also be published. Remember, you can only vote in the primary of the party you belong to (you can check your registration here). If you are a Democrat, please check out the Marijuana Policy Project’s Voter Guide for the Gubernatorial Primary as well.

If you’re a Maryland resident, learn more about the candidates’ positions, and share this message with your friends and family in Maryland.

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Medical Marijuana

Louisiana governor signs medical marijuana bills into law

June 5th, 2018 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed HB 579 and HB 627, which expand the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana! These two bills add a variety of new conditions including autism, PTSD, and intractable pain.

This is a great step towards Louisiana having a functional medical marijuana program. Next session, we are hopeful the legislature will allow the vaporization of medical marijuana so that patients can finally have real access to the medicine they need.

Congratulations to Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana and all the activists that showed up to the statehouse and contacted their lawmakers in support of these reforms!

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois lawmakers pass major improvement to medical cannabis program, now on to the governor

June 1st, 2018 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

The Illinois General Assembly passed the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act yesterday during a whirlwind last day of its regular legislative session. If signed into law, SB 336 would allow those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program. It also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients.

This bill would provide welcome relief to thousands who need a safer alternative to harmful opioid drugs. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.

A huge shout-out goes to the medical cannabis community, the warriors who worked so hard to make it happen, and primary bill sponsors, Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and co-sponsors for their leadership and support. Thousands of lives could improve as a result.

But without the governor’s signature, it won’t become a reality. Gov. Rauner has 60 days from the day he receives it to sign or veto the measure, and he needs to hear from you. If you are an Illinois resident, please take a moment to voice your support for the measure with the governor’s office.

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General

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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Tax and Regulate

Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition Releases General Assembly Voter Guide, Grades Candidates’ Marijuana Policy Positions Ahead of June Primary

May 31st, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition released a General Assembly voter guide that documents and grades candidates’ positions on cannabis policy. The release comes exactly two weeks before early voting begins in the 2018 primary election (June 14).

The web-based voter guide can be found at MarylandCannabisPolicy.org. In March, the Marijuana Policy Project released a separate guide to the Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates.

The General Assembly voter guide is based on a questionnaire that was sent to the 550 official House and Senate candidates contending in the June 26 primary. Candidates were asked for their positions on regulating and taxing cannabis for adult use and home cultivation, as well as for comments on the controversial implementation of the state’s medical cannabis program. The guide also notes whether candidates have previously co-sponsored bills to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults or refer the question to voters. Legislation that would have allowed voters to decide was debated in the General Assembly this year, but it did not receive a vote.

“Marylanders do not get to vote on legalization this year, but they do get to weigh in on the legislators who declined to put it on the ballot,” said Kate Bell, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is their chance to send a message to current and future lawmakers that legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis for adult use should be a priority for lawmakers next year. Most people recognize cannabis prohibition has been a costly failure and they want to know where their candidates stand.”

Sixty-four percent of likely Maryland voters support making cannabis legal for adults, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll conducted in September 2016.

Advocates also expressed concern at the large number of candidates who have not responded to the questionnaire, which was sent out over a month ago. More than three out of four candidates have not responded yet, including more than 125 incumbents.

“Maryland’s cannabis policy affects everyone in the state, and it is receiving a significant amount of debate in the General Assembly,” Bell said. “Many voters care deeply about this issue, and they deserve to know where the candidates stand on it. It is disappointing to see so many candidates are still not on the record on cannabis policy, and we are encouraging voters in their districts to contact them directly to get them on the record.”

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General

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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Medical Marijuana

Utah’s medical cannabis initiative is officially on the ballot

May 30th, 2018 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Great news! Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox officially announced yesterday afternoon that the medical cannabis ballot initiative has qualified for the November ballot. Legal medical cannabis just got one step closer to becoming a reality in Utah.

Our opponents’ attempts to stop our initiative from reaching the ballot have failed. Now the real campaign begins, and anti-cannabis crusaders are ramping up their efforts. Their strategy will be to buy TV ads and flood the airwaves with misinformation about the initiative.

The campaign needs your help to push back against the big donors who want to defeat this initiative. Please make a contribution to help fight back.

Walter J. Plumb III, owner of a pharmaceutical company, just dumped over $100,000 into our opponents’ account. Plumb has a long history of promoting falsehoods about cannabis in Utah, and that’s exactly what the opposition campaigns plan to do with his money.

This is a critical time, and we need all of our supporters to pitch in. The more the campaign can raise now, the less likely it is that our opponents will continue fighting, because they’ll realize they can’t win. Please consider making a donation to send a strong message that you won’t stand by while the opposition attempts to deprive Utah patients of legal and safe access to medical cannabis.

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