Archive for the ‘Activism’ category

Florida Amendment 2: Medical Marijuana Showdown in the South

October 20th, 2014

Yes on Amendment 2On November 4, Florida voters will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to their state constitution, Amendment 2, to establish a medical marijuana program in that state. This vote is especially important as it would be the first southern state to legalize medical use, and would likely encourage other states in the region to take a serious look at the use of marijuana as a medicine for seriously ill patients.

Why A Constitutional Amendment?

Fearful that the conservative Republican state legislature would have passed legislation overriding such a change, if it were simply a state law changed by voter initiative, People United for Medical Marijuana, the sponsor of this proposal, elected to try to include the policy changes as an amendment to the state constitution. Amendment 2, the Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions initiative, must therefore receive 60 percent of votes cast to be enacted as a constitutional amendment, a high goal and a real challenge for any proposal to meet. That decision is one that may be instructive for future voter initiatives, with most polls currently showing we will win a majority of votes, but likely less than 60 percent.

TO READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN, GO TO MARIJUANA.COM

 

 

Majority of Delawareans Support Legalizing Marijuana

October 17th, 2014

cropsAccording to a poll released this morning by the University of Delaware, a strong majority of residents favor legalizing and regulating the adult use of marijuana.

The poll revealed that 56% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana while just 39% were opposed. Individuals over the age of 60 and self-identified conservatives were the only demographic groups without majority support.

Commenting on the poll, University of Delaware political communications professor Paul Brewer stated, “I would say the numbers suggest solid support for fully legalizing marijuana in Delaware. The results also reflect what’s going on in public opinion at the national level, where the trends show a growing majority favoring legalization.”

Pro-legalization state Senator Bryan Townsend said he hopes this data helps compel the state to move forward on broad reforms.

“The poll just shows there is broad support for this,” said Sen. Townsend (D-Newark), “I hope this is a wake-up call to the General Assembly that a majority of Delawareans support us moving in this direction.”

The data coming out of Delaware is in line with the ongoing trend to support marijuana legalization at the national level. Clearly, seeing the path blazed by Washington and Colorado has only embolden residents of other states to support similar reforms.

You can read more about this poll here.

NORML PAC Endorses Senator Cory Booker for US Senate

October 17th, 2014

bookerNORML PAC has endorsed Senator Cory Booker (NJ) for re-election the the United States Senate representing New Jersey.

“We endorsed Cory Booker during his election campaign in 2013 and we are honored to do so again,” stated NORML PAC manager Erik Altieri, “Senator Booker kept the promises he made to champion crucial criminal justice and marijuana reform issues in his first term. If re-elected for a full six year term this fall, he will be a strong crusader for rolling back our failed war on cannabis at the federal level. We encourage New Jersey voters to support him in his campaign.”

In an previous interview with Huffington Post, Booker laid out his view on marijuana policy and the drug war:

“Medical marijuana, heck yes. I do not understand that there are drugs that are more toxic, more dangerous and more challenging, in drugs stores around my state, yet we single out this one drug and we say you can’t even have it in a medical fashion, at a time when I see prescription drugs from Adderall to you name it being used widely across our nation…

The reason I said I want to go beyond that…is because of the drug war.

We have seen so much of our national treasure being spent in the national drug war and in my opinion have turned human life into incarceration, trapping into poverty…

What I’ve seen in Newark is a massive trap in this drug war, and its not just a trap for the individuals being arrested, it’s a trap for taxpayers, communities and towns. We’re not making our nation safer with this assault on this drug war, we are not making our state less addicted to substances. We need to change, radically change, the conversation and begin to talk about drugs, especially drugs like pot, in a different way.

This is a conversation that no matter what I do, Mayor, Governor, Senator, I want to be one of the people, hopefully, trying to lead the national conversation away from this insanity that we have now.”

During his first year in office, Sen. Booker joined forces with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to introduce an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have prohibited the federal government from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. The measure ultimately did not come up for a vote, due to political maneuvering unrelated to the marijuana issue, but it marks the first time in recent history the issue was brought up in a positive way in the upper chamber of the US Congress. We fully expect, if re-elected, that Senator Booker will continue to be one of the most prominent and effective champions for federal reform in the Senate.

You can learn more about Senator Booker’s campaign, including how to donate and volunteer, by visiting his website or Facebook page.

NORML PAC Endorses Representative Blumenauer for Congress

October 16th, 2014

NORML PAC has endorsed Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) in his campaign to be re-elected to the US House of Representatives.

“Rep. Blumenauer has been a supporter and proponent of marijuana law reform since his days in the Oregon State Legislature decades ago,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “In Congress, he has introduced and championed bills that would dismantle our federal war on cannabis and we encourage voters in his district to re-elect him for another term so he can keep pursuing these important policy changes.”

As Congressman, in addition to being a primary sponsor or co-sponsor on all federal pro-marijuana law reform measures, Blumenauer published an in-depth report titled “A Path Forward: Rethinking Marijuana Policy” which calls for an end to federal prohibition and advocates for many of the reforms NORML has been fighting for all these years.

Rep. Blumenauer has also been a notable presence at the federal marijuana hearings this year being held by the Committee on Government Oversight. You can watch him call out ONDCP acting director Botticelli below:

Click here to view the embedded video.

One of Rep. Blumenauer’s re-election campaign ads focuses on marijuana law reform and calls for allowing states the freedom to set their own marijuana policies and pursue legalization:

Click here to view the embedded video.

More information on Rep. Blumenauer and his campaign, including how to volunteer or donate, can be found on his website or Facebook page.

Afroman Remakes “Because I Got High” to Support Legalization

October 15th, 2014

Afroman Remakes Because I Got HighNearly fifteen years after the release of “Because I Got High”- a song well known for poking fun at overzealous reefer madness rhetoric – Afroman is ready to jump headfirst back into the marijuana limelight.  Only this time, as an advocate for legalization.

The grammy nominated artist recently teamed up with NORML and Weedmaps to launch a remake of his hit song, turning the hip hop classic into a positive legalization anthem for the 2014 elections. The remix is a new and entertaining way to drive the narrative surrounding the benefits of cannabis law reform, as well as the medical benefits of the plant itself. With election day right around the corner, his latest project is geared towards keeping up the momentum for all the marijuana law reform efforts taking place across the country, and especially upcoming ballot initiatives.

On November 4th, two states and the District of Columbia will be voting to legalize marijuana, and Florida will be voting on a medical marijuana amendment. The timing couldn’t have been better to take, and remake the canna-cult classic. The 2014 version of “Because I Got High” not only challenges old stereotypes, it also seeks to build support and enthusiasm for the three measures proposing to create a regulated pot market for adults, age 21 and over.

Through digital engagement, this song pushes an important political message to a younger, social media savvy voting block, energizing the demographic known to be the among the biggest supporters of ending marijuana prohibition. From glaucoma to funding school construction, the song highlights many of the social, medical and economic benefits of legalization in a fun and informative way.

“NORML is thrilled to have brought Weedmaps and Afroman together to create this unique cultural collaboration merging art, entertainment, and activism into a single campaign that highlights many of the positive benefits of cannabis, and raises awareness for for the legalization initiatives coming up in the 2014 November elections,” said NORML Director of Strategic Partnerships Sabrina Fendrick.

Check out the video and share with all your like-minded friends.  Together, we can #SmokeTheVote!

Great Uncertainty Ahead of Alaska Measure 2 Vote

October 13th, 2014

In what may be the most difficult ballot initiative to evaluate in advance of the upcoming mid-term elections, the voters in Alaska will decide on November 4 whether to approve full marijuana legalization for all adults, including retail sales.

For most of us, Alaska, the largest state in the Union by area, and the least densely populated, is an exotic location, far removed from the Lower 48 both geographically and culturally. The largest city, Anchorage, has a population of only 292,000, and the second largest, Fairbanks, has only 32,000 residents. The Alaska territory was purchased from Russia in 1867 and only became a state in 1959. The state has always leaned heavily Republican, which might suggest it would be an unlikely state for marijuana legalization to appear on the ballot; but the state is also known as the home of a lot of people who want to minimize the role of government in their lives, which would appear to bode well for legalizers.

History of Marijuana Legalization in Alaska

To read the balance of this article, go to

http://marijuana.com/news/2014/10/great-uncertainty-ahead-of-alaska-measure-2-vote/

 

 

NORML PAC Endorses Representative Beto O’Rourke for US Congress

October 9th, 2014

betomemeNORML PAC is endorsing Representative Beto O’Rourke (TX-16) for re-election the the US House of Representatives.

“Rep. O’Rourke is an ardent supporter of reforming our nation’s marijuana policies,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “In just his first term, he has proven to be an intelligent and pragmatic politician with a long future in front of him. We strongly encourage voters to support his re-election campaign to keep a true reform champion in Congress.”

Representative O’Rourke issued the following statement to supporters and voters on the topic:

“Those of us who live in this region, in El Paso and Juarez, have a unique perspective on the war on drugs. We know that billions of dollars in cash, drugs, guns and arms are transited through this community. We know that billions of dollars in federal resources from the United States and Mexico are spent on law enforcement to try and stop that illicit drug trade. And we also know, all too well, the suffering that accompanies that black market trade in illegal drugs. It is because of that experience and looking back over the 40-year, failed war on drugs that I’ve come to the conclusion that at least when it comes to a drug like marijuana, we owe ourselves, and especially our kids, a much better policy.

As a rational and humane country, we can decide, as we did with alcohol that the harms in the prohibition of marijuana far outweigh any gains in security and in our efforts to keep these drugs away from our fellow citizens.

If you support my work and advocacy on this issue, I hope I can count on your help.”

For the next 24 hours, Rep. O’Rourke will be running a “Powered by People” campaign with the goal of raising $123,200 in amounts less than $200 to illustrate that everyday citizens can compete with special interests in politics and issues such as marijuana law reform drive voter engagement. If you are interested in donating to this campaign you can do so by clicking here (donations are tracked so donations made through this link will show as support for his marijuana reform stance).

Oregon Ballot Measure 91: Will Third Time Be The Charm?

October 6th, 2014

6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_zAs we approach the midterm elections on November 4th, I want to focus on the two statewide voter initiatives that seek to fully legalize marijuana in Alaska and Oregon. This week I will examine the proposal in Oregon, known as Measure 91.

Will the Third Time Be the Charm?

This will be the third time – and, hopefully, the charm time – that Oregon voters have voted on a marijuana legalization proposal. The first initiative, Measure 5 in 1986, the Oregon Marijuana Legalization for Personal Use Act, would have legalized the personal possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use; it won the support of only 26 percent of the voters. More recently, Measure 80 in 2012, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, would have allowed the personal cultivation of marijuana and established a licensing system for the commercial production and sale of marijuana; it came close, with the support of 46.5 percent of the voters.

The latest Oregon initiative, Measure 91, proposed by New Approach Oregon, would legalize the use of marijuana by those 21 and older, and establish a system of licensing, taxing and regulating marijuana under the auspices of the Oregon Liquor Control Board.

Specifically, under this proposal adults would be permitted to possess up to eight ounces of “dried” marijuana and cultivate up to four plants. And they would be allowed to give up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana products in solid form or 72 ounces of marijuana products in liquid form, to other individuals 21 and older; they could not be compensated or reimbursed for these transactions. Adults would be allowed to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana products in solid form, or 72 ounces of marijuana products in liquid form from properly registered businesses. These limits are more permissive than those previously approved in Washington and Colorado, and may provide a test of how restrictive a legalization system must be to win the approval of a majority of the voters.

Go to Marijuana.com for the rest of the column.

NORML PAC Endorses Representative Steve Cohen for Congress

October 6th, 2014

cohenmemeNORML PAC is endorsing Representative Steve Cohen for re-election to the US Congress representing Tennessee’s 9th congressional district.

“Rep. Cohen is one of the most outspoken and effective supporters of marijuana legalization we currently have in Washington,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “From introducing legislation such as the National Commission on Marijuana Policy Act, co-sponsoring every single federal marijuana law reform measure, to grilling drug war proponents in committee hearings, Cohen has been unrelenting in his fight to end our nation’s war on marijuana consumers and it is crucial we keep him in Congress to continue the fight. Marijuana reform supporters in his Memphis district have no clearer choice this November than to keep goin’ with Cohen.”

Representative Cohen has been a relentless attack dog in the fight to end marijuana prohibition. In just the past year, he has made national headlines taking drug war stalwarts to task, including DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, Attorney General Eric Holder, and acting Drug Czar Michael Botticelli (click links for video).

Speaking to Attorney General Holder in one such hearing, Cohen stated:

“One of the greatest threats to liberty has been the government taking people’s liberty for things that people are in favor of. The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of people do not think marijuana should be illegal. And yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department is continuing to put people in jail, for sale, and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That’s something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag. And it’s been an injustice for 40 years in this country to take people’s liberty for something that was similar to alcohol. You have continued what is allowing the Mexican cartels power, and the power to make money, ruin Mexico, hurt our country by having a Prohibition in the late 20th and 21st century. We saw it didn’t work in this country in the 20s. We remedied it. This is the time to remedy this Prohibition.”

To learn more about Rep. Cohen’s campaign, including information on how to volunteer and donate, you can visit his Facebook page or website.

To donate to NORML PAC to help elect cannabis friendly politicians, click here.

NORML PAC Endorses Representative Heck for Congress

October 2nd, 2014

heckmemeNORML PAC is pleased to endorsed Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) in his campaign to be reelected to the United States Congress representing Washington’s 10th Congressional District.

“Rep. Heck has been a relentless defender of Washington State’s new legal marijuana market and has committed himself to ensuring that the necessary reforms are pursued to make this program a resounding success,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Washington state residents would be well served by giving him another term in Congress to continue to push for the required changes to federal marijuana laws to allow legalization to flourish.”

“Washington state voters made the decision two years ago to regulate our state’s marijuana marketplace. As their elected U.S. Representative, part of my job is ensuring we implement this new law in a safe and fair manner,” Representative Heck stated, “One of the most important aspects of implementation from a public safety standpoint is making sure regulated marijuana businesses have consistent access to banking and financial services. Without this access, the regulated marijuana industry is forced to operate on a largely cash-only basis, increasing the chances of tax evasion, embezzlement, and even armed robbery.”

“As a member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, I’ve pressed my colleagues, the Treasury Department, and the Department of Justice to make needed changes in how the federal government treats regulated marijuana businesses. Congressman Ed Perlmutter and I have introduced bipartisan legislation that would grant legitimate marijuana businesses access to banking services in states with legal marijuana markets,” Heck continued, “Earlier this spring, after prodding by myself, Rep. Perlmutter, and many in the regulated cannabis industry, the Obama Administration issued new guidance as to how federal regulators should treat banks and credit unions who have regulated marijuana businesses as clients. We’ve already started to seem some of the effects of this new guidance: multiple credit unions in Washington state have begun offering financial services to regulated marijuana businesses. I will continue working this issue in the months and years ahead, just as the voters of my district want.”

You can learn more about Representative Heck’s campaign, including how to donate or volunteer, by visiting his website or Facebook page.