Archive for the ‘republicans’ category

Marijuana Ballot Initiatives Get Out the Vote

March 26th, 2014

The latest round of Battleground polls by George Washington Rick ScottUniversity found respondents (nationally) would be 40% “much more likely” to visit the voting booth if marijuana’s legalization status was on the ballot. Thirty percent of respondents would be “somewhat” more likely as well. This brings the numbers up to a total of about 70% of voters who would be more likely to vote this fall if marijuana was in question.

Considering midterm elections have historically had low voter turnout, politicians are keeping a watchful eye on those states that have marijuana policy initiatives in the upcoming election. The results are promising for Democrats, because they tend to have a rougher time than Republicans in getting voters out in non-presidential election years.

The study goes on to show that 76 percent of liberals said they would be more likely to vote if marijuana was on the ballot, compared to a 64 percent for conservatives and 61 percent for moderates.

For instance, in Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott’s reelection campaign says the “spillover effect” from high voter turnout because of the medical marijuana ballot question threatens to weigh the scales against him. In fact, the state’s Republicans feel so threatened that they have filed a legal challenge to keep the referendum off the ballot.

“It’s an issue that the Democrats can use to pump up the youth vote,” said Alex Patton, a Republican political consultant and pollster based in Gainesville, Florida. “The politics of it are dangerous for the GOP.”

CNN Poll Shows Majority Support for Making Marijuana Legal

January 7th, 2014

On Monday, CNN released a new poll showing 55% of Americans support making marijuana legal. Only 44% were opposed.

According to the CNN poll and numbers from General Social Survey polling, support for legalizing marijuana has steadily soared over the past quarter century – from 16% in 1987 to 26% in 1996, 34% in 2002, and 43% two years ago.

The survey found interesting divides on the issue.

“There are big differences on age, region, party ID, and gender, with senior citizens, Republicans, and Southerners the only major demographic groups who still oppose the legal use of pot,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

This increase in public support will no doubt affect legislation across the country in the coming years. Here is MPP’s Mason Tvert on CNN discussing how legal adult marijuana sales in Colorado may act as a catalyst for reforms in many other states:

Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans Support Making Marijuana Legal

October 22nd, 2013

A new Gallup poll shows that a record 58% of Americans think that marijuana should be made legal.

Gallup trends

Source: Gallup

The poll shows a 10-point increase from just last year and reflects the growing political support nationwide. According to the poll, 62% of Independents, 65% of Democrats, and 35% of Republicans support legal marijuana, with growing Independent support largely responsible for the 10-point jump.

According to Business Insider, support for legal marijuana is higher than almost any other political movement. More people favor legal marijuana than think highly of the Republican or Democratic parties, and legal marijuana has more than five times the support that Congress has.

While causes with more support than Congress aren’t hard to come by, this poll marks a momentous event in the fight against marijuana prohibition. For the first time, a majority of Americans think that marijuana use should be legal. Hopefully, they won’t have to wait long.

Fox News Poll: Nationwide Support For Medical Marijuana Legalization At All Time High

May 1st, 2013

Nearly nine out of ten Americans — including 80 percent of self-identified Republicans — now say that marijuana should be legal if its use is permitted by a physician, according to nationwide Fox News telephone poll of 1,010 registered voters. The poll, released today, was conducted by under the direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) and possesses margin of sampling error of ± 3 percentage points.

According to the poll, 85 percent of voters agree that adults ought to be allowed to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes if a physician authorizes it. The total marked an increase in support of four percent since Fox last polled the question in 2010 and is the highest level of public support for the issue ever reported in a scientific poll.

Although respondents were divided on whether they believed that “most people who smoke medical marijuana truly need it,” the overwhelming majority of voters nonetheless agreed that consuming the plant should be legal if a doctor permits it.

To date, eighteen states and Washington, DC have enacted laws authorizing the physician-supervised use of cannabis therapy. Medical cannabis legalization measures are presently pending in a number of additional state legislatures, including Illinois, New Hampshire, and New York.

Voters in the Fox News poll were less supportive of the notion of legalizing the non-medical consumption of marijuana. The poll reported that only 46 percent of voters favored broader legalization, while 49 percent of respondents opposed the idea. Self-identified Democrats (57 percent) were far more likely to support legalizing cannabis than Republicans (33 percent) or Independents (47 percent). Men (51 percent) were more likely to support legalization than were women (41 percent). Those age 35 or under were most likely (62 percent) to back legalization while those age 65 and older were least likely (31 percent) to be supportive.

By contrast, in recent months national polls by The Pew Research Center, YouGov.com, Quinnipiac University, and Public Policy Polling have reported majority public support for legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis.

Despite the overwhelming public support for medical marijuana law reform, legislation in Congress to amend federal law to allow for its use it states which permit it — House Bill 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act — only possess 16 co-sponsors (less than four percent of the entire US House of Representatives). The bill has been referred to both the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health and to the House Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations — neither of which have scheduled the bill for a public hearing.

N.H. medical marijuana override vote falls short

June 27th, 2012

Today, the New Hampshire Senate came three votes shy of overriding Gov. John Lynch’s veto of SB 409, the state’s medical marijuana bill.

Sixteen senators’ votes were needed, and 16 voted for the bill at one point during the year. Unfortunately, one “yes” vote, Sen. Andy Sanborn (R), resigned to run for another seat, leaving his seat vacant. In addition, two Democratic senators who had consistently voted for SB 409 put political allegiances ahead of patients and voted to uphold Gov. Lynch’s veto. Those senators were Senators Lou D’Allesandro (D) and Sylvia Larsen (D).

Crucially, the one man who stands in the way will be out of office next year: Gov. Lynch is not running for re-election, and we are hopeful that the next governor will be compassionate. In addition, at least two of today’s “no” votes in the Senate — Senators Russell Prescott (R) and Lou D’Allesandro — are facing challengers who support medical marijuana protections: Prescott in his primary and D’Allesandro in the general election.

Despite today’s setback, New Hampshire’s legislature did make history this year: This was the first time a Republican-led legislature voted to send effective medical marijuana legislation to the governor’s desk.

With changes in the governorship and the Senate, there are many reasons to believe that next year will be the year patients finally get relief.

Montana Republicans and Democrats Latest to Adopt Marijuana Reform Measures Into Platforms

June 21st, 2012

Not to be outdone by the Democrats, whose state parties in Washington, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, and Iowa have all recently adopted pro-reform policies in their platforms, the Montana Republican Party has endorsed medical marijuana at their state convention held on June 16th. The official language from their 2012 platform is as follows:

Medical Use of Marijuana

We recognize that a significant problem exists with Montana’s current laws regarding the medical use of marijuana and we support action by the next legislature to create a workable and realistic regulatory structure.

Source: Montana Republican Party 2012 Platform

This endorsement should be taken with a grain of salt, considering it was the Montana Republicans who had previously attempted to veto Montana’s medical program entirely and, when that was not politically feasible, passed SB 423 which greatly restricts the number of patients who may qualify to use medical cannabis legally under state’s voter-approved law.

The Republicans’ endorsement comes just over a week after the Montana Democratic Party adopted a similar resolution. At their convention, held from June 8th-9th, the Democrats also publicly voiced support for medical marijuana in their platform:

Medical Marijuana

WHEREAS, the voters of Montana approved by initiative the compassionate use of medical marijuana

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Montana Democratic Party supports the right of qualified patients, with a medical condition where marijuana is appropriate, to have safe access to medical marijuana.

Source: Montana Democratic Party 2012 Platform

This provides a rare instance where both the political right and left seem to agree on a single issue.

Hopefully this political support turns into success at the ballot box. Montana residents will be casting their vote this November to decide whether or not to strike down SB 423, a measure passed in 2011 through the legislature that essentially gutted the 2004 voter approved medical marijuana measure already in place. You can read more about the upcoming referendum vote here.

If you wish to learn more about the fight over medical marijuana in Montana, NORML highly recommends watching the documentary “Code of the West” as it does a fantastic job of explaining and detailing the ups and downs in the battle to save the state’s medical cannabis program.

This Week in Weed: May 13th-19th

May 18th, 2012

This Week in Weed

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The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week: a new study further demonstrates cannabis’ efficacy in treating disease and a recent nationwide polling data shows about 3/4ths of Americans want the federal government out of state-approved medical marijuana programs.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv every week to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

NH Republicans Pass Medical Marijuana in Spite of Democrat Governor’s Veto Threat

April 25th, 2012

Republican legislators nationwide should perk up their ears and take notice of what is happening in New Hampshire, where a Republican-sponsored medical marijuana bill has blazed a trail of surprising successes.

SB 409 had already passed the Republican-dominated Senate March 28, and today the 400-member House, which is about 75% Republican, voted 236-96 in favor, with strong bipartisan support.

Unfortunately, Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, announced in advance of the House vote that he intends to veto the bill as he did a similar bill in 2009.

How can this be possible, some might ask? According to the bill’s prime sponsor, Senator Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford), support for allowing medical marijuana is perfectly consistent with Republican principles. “I’ve never used marijuana in my life,” the former Air Force pilot has often explained, “but as a matter of principle, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for government to interfere with choices that should be made between a doctor and a patient.”

Forsythe and his Senate cosponsors, Senator Ray White (R-Bedford) and Senator John Gallus (R-Berlin), began with support from the Senate’s five Democrats, but they had a tough hill to climb with their Republican colleagues. Previous bills had never received more than one vote from a Republican senator, but after a compelling public hearing in which patients shared their stories face-to-face with legislators, the bill quickly gained momentum.

The paradigm shift began to materialize in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee March 22, when two former opponents announced they would be supporting the bill. The committee chairman, Senator Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), represented New Hampshire in Congress from 2003-2007, and Senator Gary Lambert (R-Nashua) is a retired Marine and a former prosecutor, so these were two very significant conversions.

The bill passed the committee that day in a 5-0 vote that sent shockwaves around the State House, and then, the following Wednesday, strong speeches on the floor by Senators Bradley and Lambert carried the bill to victory in a Senate comprised of nineteen Republicans and only five Democrats.

Has the world gone topsy-turvy? Or are Republicans in New Hampshire just getting on the right side of history in advance of some of their colleagues in other states?

Following today’s historic House vote and Governor Lynch’s heartless veto threat, all eyes will be on the eleven Republican senators who have not yet crossed the line from “undecided” to “supportive.” Three additional votes will be necessary to override the veto, but with the momentum SB 409 has shown so far, it would be tough to bet against the patients who are asking for this sensible, compassionate reform!

Colorado: State Democratic Party Announces Support For Marijuana Regulation Measure

April 17th, 2012

[Editor's note: This post is excerpted from today's NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The Colorado Democratic Party on Saturday announced its support for Amendment 64, a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to eliminate civil and criminal penalties for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults. The Party indicated its support for the measure during its state convention.

“This is a mainstream issue,” Cindy Lowery-Graber, chair of the Denver County Democratic Party, stated in a press release. “Polls show that more than 60 percent of Democrats and a solid majority of Independents believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol. A broad coalition is forming in support of Amendment 64 and I am proud to say that it now includes the Colorado Democratic Party.

Now included among the Party’s 2012 ‘essential platforms’ is the following: “Regulate and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, limiting its use to those 21 or older. We support Amendment 64, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

If enacted by voters this November, Amendment 64, The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, would immediately allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.

The initiative does not change existing medical cannabis laws for patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses. The measure also prohibits the imposition of an excise tax on any retail sale of medical marijuana.

The Colorado Democratic Party’s support for legalization comes approximately one month after a slim majority, 56 percent, of Denver County Republicans also voted to endorse Amendment 64. However, the position was not officially adopted because of the local party’s requirement of a two-thirds majority to change its platform.

Amendment 64 is backed by a broad coalition of drug law reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project. Gary Johnson, former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, and Pat Robertson, evangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition, have also recently endorsed the initiative.

The full text of Amendment 64 is available here.

N.H. Senate committee unanimously votes to protect patients

March 22nd, 2012

In a huge victory for patients and their families, this afternoon the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 5-0 to approve New Hampshire’s medical marijuana bill, SB 409. The full Senate will vote on the bill next week.

The four Republican members of the committee — including Senate Majority Leader and former U.S. Congressman Jeb Bradley — and the one Democrat all voted in favor of the bill, having considered over two and a half hours of testimony at a March 8 public hearing.

SB 409, sponsored by Sen. Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford), would allow patients with serious illnesses such as MS, cancer, AIDS, PTSD, and intractable pain to register with the Department of Health and Human Services and receive ID cards protecting them from arrest if marijuana is recommended by their doctors. Qualifying patients would be permitted to cultivate up to six mature plants in an enclosed, locked facility.

MPP, patients, and our allies have been lobbying for medical marijuana in the state for several years. In 2009, the Democrat-controlled state legislature passed medical marijuana legislation, but Gov. John Lynch (D) vetoed the bill, even after changes were made to specifically address his concerns. The House voted to override Lynch’s vote, but the Senate veto override vote came two votes shy.

In November 2010, the leadership in both chambers shifted after Republicans won 3:1 majorities in the state House of Representatives and Senate. Last year, the New Hampshire House of Representatives showed that compassion is not a partisan issue, voting 221-96 for medical marijuana legislation. Last year’s bill passed the same Senate committee by a narrower, 3-2, margin but did not receive a Senate floor vote.

If you live in New Hampshire, please ask your senator to vote in favor of SB 409 so that patients may finally have the relief they deserve.