Archive for the ‘prohibition’ category

New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill

March 12th, 2015

Yesterday, the New Hampshire House passed HB 618, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation. This was the sixth time the House has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill since 2008, and this time the vote was an overwhelming 297-67!

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Rep. Adam Schroadter

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

The next step will be the state senate, which has rejected previous efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senator today!

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New Hampshire Governor Says She Still Opposes Decriminalization

March 10th, 2015
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Gov. Maggie Hassan

As New Hampshire legislators move closer to achieving consensus in favor of decriminalization, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says she remains opposed. She told the Nashua Telegraph last week that she did not support HB 618, a modest bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please take a moment to call her office today and urge her to change her mind!

You can also urge her to rethink her position on Twitter and Facebook. (Please be respectful if you do — rude or hostile public comments will not help convince legislators to pass HB 618).

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MPP Calls for Resignation of Sheriffs Suing Colorado to Bring Back Prohibition

March 6th, 2015

Supporters of marijuana regulation in Colorado are calling for the resignation of the six Colorado sheriffs who filed a federal lawsuit Thursday intended to force Colorado marijuana production and sales back into the underground market.

According to news reports, the sheriffs claim they are experiencing a “crisis of conscience” because they believe federal marijuana laws prohibit them from enforcing state marijuana laws. However, the U.S. Controlled Substances Act includes a provision that clearly states is not intended to preempt state laws, and it specifically authorizes states to pursue their own marijuana laws.

MPP’s Mason Tvert explains on “CBS This Morning”:

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Marijuana Now Legal In D.C.

February 26th, 2015

Just after midnight last night, a law making marijuana legal for adults quietly went into effect in the Nation’s Capital.2015.02.25 - Front page - DC Takes Effect copy

Initiative 71, which was approved 70-30 by D.C. voters in November, allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana; grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (of which no more than three can be flowering at a time) and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown; and transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults 21 years of age or older. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

Certain members of Congress attempted to halt implementation of this law, even going so far as to threaten D.C. leaders with arrest. Others offered their support, asserting that the District is well within its legal rights to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

MPP will continue to work with the D.C. Council to pass legislation regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.

“We are hopeful that Congress will not stand in the way of D.C.’s efforts to regulate and tax marijuana,” said Robert Capecchi, MPP’s Deputy Director of State Policies. “Members of the District Council are clearly interested in adopting such a system, and they appear ready to move forward if Congress doesn’t interfere.”

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Jamaican Parliament Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana

February 25th, 2015

According to The New York Times:

After many years of dialogue about the culturally entrenched drug, and emboldened by changes to drug laws in U.S. states, Jamaica’s Parliamentjamaica flag on Tuesday night gave final approval to an act decriminalizing small amounts of pot and establishing a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry.

The historic amendments pave the way for a “cannabis licensing authority” to be established to deal with regulating the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes. Both houses of Jamaica’s legislature have approved the legislation.

And in a victory for religious freedom, adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement can now freely use marijuana for  sacramental purposes for the first time on the tropical island.

The law makes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana a petty offense that could result in a ticket but not in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted.

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Marijuana Legal In Alaska Today!

February 24th, 2015

Marijuana is officially legal in Alaska today!

Ballot Measure 2, which was approved by 53% of Alaska voters in November, allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

Proponents of Ballot Measure 2 held a news conference in Anchorage today to discuss the implementation of the law, as well as the launch of an ad campaign in the state capital that encourages adults who choose to use marijuana to “consume responsibly.” The ads, which will appear on the sides of Anchorage city buses for the next two weeks, read, “With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.”AK CR Bus Ad 1 - 800x187

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Congressmen Introduce Bills to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol at the Federal Level

February 20th, 2015

U.S. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced separate bills Friday that would regulate marijuana like alcohol and tax it at the federal level, respectively.

Rep. Polis’s bill would replace the federal government’sUS_Capitol_west_side current marijuana prohibition model with a regulatory model similar to the one in place for alcohol. States would decide their own marijuana laws, and a federal regulatory process would be created for states that choose to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. Rep. Blumenauer’s bill would tax marijuana at the federal level.

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Boycott Holiday Inn!

February 20th, 2015

Yesterday, a Holiday Inn hotel operator in Colorado and a national anti-marijuana organization filed a federal lawsuit intended to shut down all of Colorado’s legal marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities.

MPP is encouraging everyone who supports legalizing and regulating marijuana to (1) join us in a nationwide boycott of Holiday Inn hotels until the suit is withdrawn, and (2) sign our Change.org petition urging the hotel operator to withdraw it.Holiday_Inn_Graphics_-_FINAL

The people spearheading this effort were warriors in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department during the “Just Say No” era, and now they’re trying to turn back the clock 30 years in Colorado. At their press conference, the attorney who filed the lawsuit said they want everyone in Colorado who grows or sells marijuana for adult use to go to prison (yes, they actually said “prison”).

These guys aren’t messing around, and neither are we. Help us send businesses the message that they will face consequences if they join the fight to maintain marijuana prohibition.

Sign our petition calling on the Holiday Inn operator to drop its misguided lawsuit, boycott Holiday Inn until the suit gets dropped, and encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.

 

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New Mexico Legislature to Consider Reducing Marijuana Penalties

February 18th, 2015
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Sen. Joseph Cervantes

Last November, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties in New Mexico weighed in on whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. They responded with overwhelming support, with Bernalillo County voting 60% and Santa Fe County voting 73% in favor. Now, legislators from across the state have the opportunity to act on the will of their constituents. SB 383, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of $50. 

This common-sense policy will save the state time, money, and resources, while also improving public safety. Millions of dollars every year are wasted on processing thousands of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenders. It takes time for police to book marijuana users, prosecutors to try cases, and labs to test marijuana. This is an egregious waste of law enforcement’s limited resources, which could be better spent addressing more pressing public safety needs.

Support is growing for more sensible marijuana policies in the state Senate. Just last week, the Rules Committee approved of Sen. Ortiz y Piño’s resolution to place a question on the ballot asking voters to end marijuana prohibition. Please email your legislators today and ask for their support on this long overdue reform. 

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Tips on Providing Court Support in Marijuana Cases

February 6th, 2015
Northern California defense attorney Joseph Tully has posted some useful tips on how to show support in the courtroomCourtroom when someone is facing marijuana-related charges.
According to Tully, whose website highlights his experience defending medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, cultivators, and caregivers:
Being tried in court for any crime, especially a victimless crime, is a trying process. Not just for the defendants, but for their friends, family, and supporters as well.  When the crime involves medical marijuana in California, it is often the defendant who is victimized.  Community support is important to help a friend get through this difficult time and to support the larger cause. …
What are the best ways to support both the cause and our friends at the courthouse? I have lots of experience as a criminal defense attorney in the courtroom.  My courthouse advice for my clients can apply to their friends and supporters as well.  Here are six ways you can show support during a medical marijuana case.
 
You can read Tully’s full post, “Weed on Trial: 6 Ways to Show Support in Court,” after the jump.

Weed on Trial: 6 Ways to Show Support in Court
By Joseph Tully
Being tried in court for any crime, especially a victimless crime, is a trying process. Not just for the defendants, but for their friends, family, and supporters as well.  When the crime involves medical marijuana in California, it is often the defendant who is victimized.  Community support is important to help a friend get through this difficult time and to support the larger cause.
As a supporter, you may want to argue or shout or rant around the courthouse about the injustice.  But remember that the Defendant is fighting for their life and livelihood.  THEY are the focus of the trial.  Cannabis rights are important to fight for, but in court we do that by exonerating the defendants.  The verdict will set the tone for how Law Enforcement or the District Attorney pursues future cases.  DA’s will not prosecute future cases they know they won’t win.
What are the best ways to support both the cause and our friends at the courthouse? I have lots of experience as a criminal defense attorney in the courtroom.  My courthouse advice for my clients can apply to their friends and supporters as well.  Here are six ways you can show support during a medical marijuana case.
1.     Be Presentable. A trial is a serious thing for all parties, and your attire will show that you also take it seriously. Clean, tidy, and put together. You don’t need to wear a suit, but wear something you’d consider nice for your day to day.  It will not help your cause if you show up like you are camping in Humboldt.
2.     Be Quiet. As a defendant, you should only speak when addressing the court. As a spectator, you should be absolutely silent throughout the proceedings. Even in the halls and on the steps, keep your voice down and discussion to a minimum, since there are ears everywhere. One careless whisper could be overheard and sink the case.  The line “anything you say can and will be used against you” is not TV cop jive. Be especially cautious not to talk around jurors or potential jurors. In court we avoid even the “appearance” of impropriety.
3.     Be Present. Some parts of a trial can feel tedious to a defendant or spectator. My advice is: if it is important enough for you to be here today, then it should be important enough for you to keep your head in the trial. No sleeping, reading, texting, note passing, or knitting. Your degree of focus on the trial reflects your regard for its importance.
4.     Be Respectful. The courthouse is a workplace for hundreds of people.  There are also scores of people there for their own cases. 90% of the people at the courthouse are worried about their own cases and are oblivious to yours.  There are victims, jurors, social workers, clerks, and other people focused on their own issues.  Respect their reality by not intruding yours on to them.  This includes keeping your voice down, turning off phones, not smoking on the grounds, and not blocking doors and hallways.
5.     Be Careful. You and your friends might be chill, but a courthouse is full of violent people on edge. There are convicts and cops who are keyed up in this environment. There are also bad people seeking revenge on other bad people, and bad people seeking revenge on good people. Keep your eyes open and be wary of commotion.
6.     Be Thoughtful.  A trial can be personally overwhelming for a defendant.  Offer your friend support outside the courthouse.  Bring them a coffee. Offer to drive their kids to school. Pick up their dry cleaning for them. Small gestures of support for everyday things will help a defendant deal with the stress of the big things.
It is your right to smoke, shout, and rally for legalized marijuana, and I would defend your right to do it. But when a friend is on trial, the courthouse is not the most effective venue to demonstrate those rights.  Supporting a victory for the defendant will advance the cause as well as save your friend’s life and liberty.
There are many organizations that support the rights of marijuana patients, as well as their caregivers, collectives, and cultivators. One in particular, The Human Solution, organizes courtroom support for defendants. Check for a chapter in your area and any actions they have planned.
Joseph Tully is a criminal defense attorney at Tully & Weiss based in Northern California. He has experience defending medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, cultivators, and caregivers on trial for helping their patients.