Archive for the ‘prohibition’ category

Rhode Island Primary Is Two Weeks Away – Where Do The Candidates Stand?

August 29th, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, is Primary Election Day in Rhode Island. With an open race for the top slot in the state, all eyes are on the gubernatorial primary races. Next year, the legislature will continue discussing whether Rhode Island should replace marijuana prohibition with sensible regulations, so it is important to know how the candidates for governor view the issue.

Democratic primary gubernatorial candidatesWhen asked in March, all three major candidates — Gina Raimondo, Angel Taveras, and Clay Pell — indicated that they are monitoring the effects of regulation and taxation in Colorado and Washington. However, all indications are that Taveras is the least open to marijuana regulation — he stated that he is “not currently supportive of legalization.” This is not too surprising considering Taveras has received public support from prominent marijuana prohibitionist and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

Republican primary gubernatorial candidates: On the Republican side of the coin, Ken Block has said he will withhold judgment until he can “see the results in Colorado and Washington.” His opponent, Allan Fung, not only opposes “the legalization of marijuana for recreational use,” but also makes no mention of even being interested in results from Colorado and Washington.  

If you are a Rhode Island resident, please get out and vote on Tuesday, September 9, and pass this message on to other Rhode Island voters who support humane and fiscally sound marijuana policies. The New York Times agrees that regulation — not prohibition — is the more sensible approach to marijuana policy; we hope the next governor of Rhode Island does, too.

 

Voters in Santa Fe to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

August 28th, 2014

The list of localities considering making marijuana legal or decriminalizing possession of small amounts is steadily growing, and two New Mexico cities were just added to the list last week.

In Santa Fe, organizers submitted almost 11,000 signatures to allow voters to decide to remove criminal penalties for simple possession.

Currently in Santa Fe, first-time offenders in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana are charged with a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $100 and imprisonment of not more than 15 days. The proposal calls for possession to be treated as a civil infraction, requiring no jail time and punishable by a fine of no more than $25.

State and federal law would be unaffected by the change, if it were approved. Police officers would have discretion as to whether to charge violations under a city ordinance, handled in municipal court, or under state statute, adjudicated in magistrate court.

However, the petition called for possession of small amounts of marijuana and instruments used to ingest it to be considered “a lowest law enforcement priority.”

In Albuquerque, supporters were unable to get enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot, but the city council included a similar provision in a package of local legislative bills. The mayor has voiced his opposition and threatened a veto, but it is unclear if he has the legal authority to do so.

Local Legalization Initiatives Moving Forward in Maine 

August 27th, 2014

As we’ve reported previously, three cities in Maine could be voting this November on initiatives that would direct local police not to arrest adults age 21 and over for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Despite opposition from city government, law enforcement, and the Maine chapter of Project SAM, all three initiatives are gaining public support and making steady headway in the election process.

Earlier this month, activists in the town of Lewiston turned in more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. The city council is expected to place the petition on the ballot at their Sep. 2 meeting.

Dave Safer sign
David Boyer, MPP Maine Political Director

Last week, the South Portland city council voted to let the public decide the issue after voicing unanimous opposition.  Supporters turned in more than 1,500 signatures in favor of the initiative.

And in York, after a second round of petitioning and being opposed by a majority of the Board of Selectman, the campaign turned in enough signatures to qualify for the ballot today. The press conference for the event was attended by supportive York Selectman Ronald Nowell.

If all goes well, Maine will have four localities where marijuana is legal for adults after Nov. 2, putting the state on the right track for passing a comprehensive measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol in 2016.

 

Vermont Primary Elections Today; All GOP Candidates Support Ending Marijuana Prohibition

August 26th, 2014

A debate between the candidates for the Republican nomination to become the next Governor of Vermont produced a pleasant surprise this weekend. The Associated Press reported that all three Republican gubernatorial candidates said they support ending marijuana prohibition. The momentum behind legalizing and regulating marijuana in Vermont seems to be growing with each passing week!

The Vermont primary election takes place TODAY. Before you go to vote, please click here to view MPP’s voter guide for the Vermont primary election.

We know that marijuana prohibition will end in the Green Mountain State. Please help us end this destructive policy as quickly and sensibly as possible.

Public Funds Paying For “Educational Tour” Against Oregon Marijuana Initiative

August 20th, 2014

Proponents of Measure 91, which would make marijuana legal for adults in Oregon and regulate cultivation and retail sales, are up in arms at the discovery that  federal funds are being used to bring drug warrior Kevin Sabet and company to their state to fight against the initiative.

Anthony-Johnson-Photo-300x300
Anthony Johnson, Yes On 91

While being billed as nothing more than an educational tour, the two-day conference in Oregon will spend at least half that time focusing on marijuana and providing law enforcement and other prohibitionists with tools to use against the Measure 91 campaign. The tour is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to the Willamette Week, the event will also be spearheaded by Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, who says the “Oregon District Attorneys Association plans to invest in the No on 91 campaign…”

[Anthony] Johnson, the chief petitioner for Yes on 91, says the tour appears to skirt campaign finance law, if not outright break it.

“It’s a misuse of federal taxpayer dollars to campaign against a state ballot measure days before people start voting on it,” he tells WW. “Calling this an ‘education campaign’ is preposterous, and if it is legal, it shouldn’t be.”

MPP has long contended that public funds should never be used to campaign against legislation and ballot initiatives, including the use of on-duty law enforcement. Such behavior is a violation, in spirit if not in law, of the democratic process.

Michigan Marijuana Victories in Hazel Park and Oak Park

August 6th, 2014

If yesterday’s elections in Hazel Park and Oak Park are any indication, voters in cities and towns across Michigan will be standing up for sensible marijuana policies in November. Voters in both communities voted to make it legal under local law for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on private property. The measures received 62% of the vote in Hazel Park and 53% in Oak Park.

Congratulations to organizers Debra Young and Tim Beck and to the many activists who helped make these victories possible!

Hazel Park and Oak Park represent the first of 17 cities in which similar measures either have or will likely be added to the ballot. For a complete list of cities and the measures’ current statuses, click here. These wins in Oak Park and Hazel Park follow an uninterrupted streak of victories in Michigan cities in recent years, including Lansing, Ferndale, Jackson, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Flint.

These votes do not change state law — which still makes criminals of people who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol and many prescription drugs. But they send a very important message to local law enforcement authorities, elected officials, and state government: Voters are sick and tired of the failure of the prohibition on marijuana and want change!

In other good news for sensible marijuana policies, Congressmen Justin Amash (R) and Dan Benishek (R) — who co-sponsor the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act — survived primary challenges.

D.C. Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot

August 6th, 2014

The D.C. Board of Elections has officially certified Ballot Initiative 71 for November’s general election. If passed by a majority of D.C. voters, Initiative 71 will repeal all criminal and civil penalties for the personal possession and limited, private cultivation of marijuana. Passage of this initiative will be yet another step towards sensible marijuana policies in our nation’s capital, so make sure your voter registration is current if you are a D.C. resident so you can vote “yes” on November 4.

Initiative 71 will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants — with no more than three being mature — in their private residences. Adults will also be allowed to give away up to an ounce of marijuana, but any sales would still be criminal. The initiative would also remove penalties for using and selling marijuana paraphernalia.

D.C. law forbids imposing a tax via the ballot initiative process, so Initiative 71 does not set up a Colorado like system of taxing and regulating the production and adult retail sales of marijuana. MPP will continue to work with D.C. Council, the mayor’s office, and our allies to see to it that marijuana is treated like alcohol.

Adults should be allowed to use and consume marijuana – which is safer than alcohol – free from penalty, and responsible businesses and the community at large — not criminals — should benefit from the sale and distribution.

New Report Shows Marijuana Arrests Increasing

July 30th, 2014
Gettman
Dr. Jon Gettman

A report released today by Dr. Jon Gettman shows that despite increasing support for ending marijuana prohibition, arrests for possession are actually increasing in some states. The report and other information can be found on Dr. Gettman’s new site, RegulatingCannabis.com.

According to a blog by Paul Armentano at NORML:

From 2008 to 2012, seventeen state-level jurisdictions experienced an average annual increase in marijuana arrests, the report found. South Carolina (11.6 percent) and the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) experienced the highest overall percentage increase in arrests during this time period. By contrast, annual marijuana arrests fell nationwide by an average of 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Hopefully this will change as more states consider reforming their marijuana laws. The District of Columbia in particular should begin to see significant declines in marijuana arrests since a law removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce went into effect on July 17.

Good News and Not-So-Good News in Maine

July 29th, 2014

The good news: South Portland officials have informed us that we collected enough signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot that would make marijuana legal for adults. We also expect to qualify a similar measure in Lewiston next month.

The not-so-good (but not-too-bad) news: Getting on the ballot in York just got a little more difficult, and we need your help to do it. Last night, the town Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against putting our measure on the ballot, which means we must collect 613 signatures within the next 30 days to get it on the November ballot.

There are two ways you can help us make this deadline:

1) Collect signatures — You don’t need to be a York resident to circulate a petition and putting in just a couple hours could make all the difference. Please contact Maine Political Director David Boyer at dboyer@mpp.org to get a petition.

2) Donate — Make a financial contribution today to help us continue educating voters in all three cities about the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition.

Passing the initiatives in South Portland, Lewiston, and York will build the public support we need to legalize marijuana for adults at the state level in 2016. So, even if you don’t live in these cities, I hope you will join us in supporting these important campaigns.

 

New York Times Calls For End of Marijuana Prohibition

July 28th, 2014

The New York Times — the “national newspaper of record” — published a historic editorial this weekend calling for an end to marijuana prohibition! Read it here and share it with your friends.

NYT editorial