Archive for the ‘legalization’ category

NORML PAC Endorses State Representative Diane Russell in Maine

October 30th, 2014

vote_keyboardNORML PAC is endorsing State Representative Diane Russell in her campaign to be re-elected to the Maine House of Representatives for Maine’s 39th Legislative District.

“There are few lawmakers, at either the state or federal level, that have exhibited the same level of passion and commitment to the responsible regulation and legalization of marijuana for adults as Rep. Diane Russell,” state NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Voters in her district should elect her to another term so she can continue to fight for an end to the state’s prohibition of marijuana, a battle she is uniquely equipped for as one of the country’s strongest champions of reform.”

Rep. Russell has been the lead sponsor of measures that would legalize and regulate marijuana in Maine every year since 2011, and she intends to reintroduce a similar measure in 2015. She was also a key proponent of Portland’s 2013 vote to legalize adult marijuana possession in the city.

Commenting on the endorsement, Rep. Russell said, “NORML has been so supportive of our work here in Maine to responsibly legalize marijuana, and it’s an honor to have their endorsement this year.”

You can learn more about Rep. Diane Russell’s campaign by following her on Facebook here.

NORML PAC Endorses Bonnie Watson Coleman for US Congress

October 28th, 2014

vote_keyboardNORML PAC is endorsing Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in her campaign to be elected to the United States Congress representing the 12th Congressional District in New Jersey.

“Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has been a proponent of reforming New Jersey’s marijuana laws during her time in Trenton. She voted in support of legalizing medical marijuana in New Jersey, co-sponsored legislation to decriminalize possession of marijuana in the garden state, and supports a move to the legalization and regulation of marijuana,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Voters in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District should vote to send her to Congress where she will be a great asset in pursuing reform at the national level.”

Bonnie Watson Coleman was named by MSNBC as one of the 30 women candidates to watch in 2014 and was named one of the top five female pro-marijuana candidates in Freedom Leaf Magazine.

You can learn more about her campaign, including how to donate and volunteer, on her website her Facebook page.

Legal Marijuana in Your Nation’s Capital

October 27th, 2014

marijuana_seedlingThe marijuana voter initiative that is almost guaranteed to pass on November 4th is DC Initiative 71, the “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014.” However, as we will discuss, it is far from certain when the provisions of this proposal will take effect.

Readers should first understand that the District of Columbia is not a state; rather it is a special district created in 1790 by Congress from land along the Potomac River, formerly part of the states of Maryland and Virginia, as the seat of our national government. In 1973 the Congress gave the District a limited form of local control, called the Home Rule Charter, which provides for an elected mayor and City Council, which have the authority to enact and enforce local laws. However, any legislation passed by the City Council is reviewable by the Congress, which has 60 legislative days (when Congress is actually in session) to review and amend or reject the proposed legislation. Those same limitations apply to voter initiatives enacted in the District. In addition, under the Home Rule Charter, voter initiatives may not mandate the expenditure of city funds.

That background is necessary to understand the limited nature of the legalization proposal currently on the ballot for DC voters.

What Initiative 71 Would Do

Initiative 71, sponsored by the DC Cannabis Campaign, would eliminate all criminal and civil penalties for adults, making it legal to:

possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use;
grow no more than six cannabis plants (with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants) within the person’s principal residence;

transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older; and
use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing or processing of marijuana or cannabis.

Initiative 71 does not attempt to establish legal marijuana dispensaries, as that would run afoul of the home rule prohibition on voter initiatives mandating the expenditure of city funds. And it does not protect marijuana smokers against job discrimination, nor alter the child custody issues pertaining to the use of marijuana or the DUID laws in the District.

 

To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.

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.

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/

 

 

2014 Boston Freedom Rally: New England Gaining Ground

September 29th, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 25th annual Boston Freedom Rally, the two-day celebration of marijuana and protest against marijuana prohibition, held on the Boston Common each September sponsored by MassCann/NORML, the NORML state affiliate in Massachusetts.

I have been attending this event since the mid-1990s, and always look forward to spending time with tens of thousands of like-minded people on the historic Boston Common, enjoying the New England autumn.

The Boston Common is the oldest public park in America, consisting of 50 acres of land in the heart of the city, at the southern foot of Beacon Hill, the site of the Massachusetts Statehouse, and it enjoys a storied past.

Go to Marijuana.com to read the balance of this column.

 

 

Study: Legal Marijuana Market Would Yield Over $3 Billion In Tax Revenue

September 23rd, 2014

Legalizing the retail production and sale of cannabis in the United States would yield over $3 billion in annual tax revenue, according to an analysis published this week by the personal finance website, NerdWallet.com.

Authors provided a state-by-state economic analysis, taking into account available data estimating marijuana use rates (for those age 25 and older), cannabis market size, and state and local tax rates. Researchers also assumed a flat, 15 percent excise tax on commercial marijuana production. (This excise tax rate is presently imposed in Colorado.)

Based on existing market projections, California would gain the largest amount of annual tax revenue ($519,287,052) were commercial cannabis production and sales to be legalized for adults. Other top tax revenue generating states include: New York ($248,103,676), Florida ($183,408,640), Texas ($166,303,963), and Illinois ($126,107,360).

Washington, which began allowing retail cannabis sales this summer, is estimated to reap some $119,000,000 in annual tax revenue, according to the study’s projections. Colorado, which has allowed retail cannabis sales since January 1, 2014, is estimated to gain some $78,000,000 in annual revenue.

Revenue projections for all 50 states are available online here.

Support NORML and get “Evergreen”, the exciting documentary that tells the story of how Rick Steves and friends helped legalize marijuana in Washington State

September 23rd, 2014

Support NORML and get Evergreen

Dear NORML members and supporters,

As a board member of NORML I am feeling really good. I’m on a drug policy reform high for four reasons:

  • We legalized marijuana in my state (Washington) and in Colorado in 2012. (That gives "the lower 48" a whole new meaning.) And, the Brookings Institution gave it a two-year review and concluded it’s a good thing.
  • We plan to legalize in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia this November. (I’ll be spending six days on a 12 city barn-storming tour in Oregon, like I did in Washington two years ago, to explain to the confused and frightened that ending this crazy prohibition of our age is good citizenship).
  • There’s a great new documentary movie called "Evergreen" which tells the amazing and behind the scenes story of how a committed band of NORML-types waged our successful campaign and did what no one else until then had been able to do: make the responsible adult recreational use of marijuana a civil liberty. In my state and in Colorado now we can smoke pot just because it’s fun…we can invite our friends over and get high legally. Finally: pot is legal, taxed, and regulated. The movie tracks the political battle from start to finish and travels with me as I bring the NORML view to citizens all over the state–from churches to universities and to our capital dome. (Spoiler alert: the "rumble under the rotunda" is pretty messy.)
  • And, you and your friends have a great opportunity to empower NORML to end the war on marijuana in your state too by joining or renewing your NORML membership or even joining up your mother. And, for that $50, we’ll send you a copy of the documentary movie, Evergreen.

This is important. We have momentum. There’s lots more to do. That’s why I’m donating these DVDs to NORML for this campaign. And that’s why I’m packing up and heading to Oregon next month for an intense week of media and lectures. We are a team and you matter. What are you doing? All we’re asking is that you send NORML $50. As a thanks, we’ll send you the exciting Evergreen movie.

I am so proud of what we did in Washington State. I’m proud of what NORML is doing nation-wide. And I’m really excited to offer you this movie on DVD. If you care about legalizing pot, this is something you need to watch. Share it with your friends. It’s an inspiration.

Again, to be among the first in the nation to watch Evergreen, please join NORML for $50 or more to receive your DVD copy of this important documentary capturing a historic change in American politics: When cannabis prohibition first ended.

I am contributing the cost of these DVDs to NORML as my personal challenge to you. I hope you’ll kindly join NORML, view Evergreen with friends and family, share with neighbors, co-workers and locally elected policymakers. I sincerely hope you too find the same inspiration we developed in Washington to get the job of ending marijuana prohibition done, once and for all.

Thanks in advance for your support of marijuana law reform in America and NORML’s long-standing public advocacy work.

Warm regards,

Rick Steves
Author and TV Host
NORML board member
Edmonds, WA

DC Voters Ready to Approve Marijuana Legalization

September 18th, 2014

A NBC4/Washington Post/Marist pollmajority_support of DC voters released today revealed strong support for Initiative 71, which would legalize adult possession and limited cultivation of marijuana in the District.

The survey showed 65% support for the initiative amongst likely voters, only 33% were opposed and 2% undecided.

The polling data also showed NORML PAC endorsed DC Attorney General candidate Paul Zukerberg leading the field of five with double the support of his closest competitor.

If these figures hold, the nation’s capital will be getting a whole lot greener come November, with legalized adult possession and an Attorney General committed to pursuing marijuana law reform.

You can learn more about and donate to Initiative 71 at the campaign webpage here.

You can learn more about Paul Zukerberg and how to contribute or volunteer for his campaign here.

If you want to help NORML in DC voter turnout efforts, please email erik@norml.org with the subject line “Smoke the Vote.”

You can read the full poll results here.