Archive for the ‘Tax and Regulate’ category

Nevada Marijuana Initiative Headed to the 2015 State Legislature

December 9th, 2014

A petition aimed at allowing the adult use of marijuana in Nevada has met its signature requirements and will be submitted to the 2015 state legislature.

According to The Washington Post:

Supporters of the measure to make marijuana legal in Nevada turned in 138,453 valid signatures, according to the Secretary of State Ross Miller’s (D) office, far above the approximately 100,000 valid signatures necessary to qualify an initiative.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal provided a good rundown on where it will go from here:

The state legislature has 40 days to act on the measure. If lawmakers pass it and the governor signs it, the measure becomes law. If the legislature does nothing or the governor does not sign the measure, the initiatives will go on the ballot for voters to decide in 2016.

Furthermore, if lawmakers amend the measure, both the original version and the amended version would go on the ballot. If the initiative passes with more than 50 percent of the vote, the one with the larger number of “yes” votes become law.

Marijuana Credit Union Could be Open in Colorado by January 1 Under State Charter

December 2nd, 2014

Colorado marijuana businesses may soon be able to move away from using cash-only systems.

According to The Denver Post:

The Colorado Division of Financial Services … issued Fourth Corner Credit Union an unconditional charter to operate, the first state credit-union charter issued in nearly a decade.

The next hurdles will be obtaining insurance from the National Credit Union Administration, the federal regulator of credit unions, and getting a master account from the Federal Reserve System.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office called the charter “the end of the line” for the state’s efforts to solve the marijuana industry’s nagging problem: obtaining banking services. Although the NCUA insurance is not guaranteed — sale and consumption of marijuana remain illegal under federal law — Fourth CornerFourth Corner can operate until NCUA makes its decision.

“A Colorado law of 1981 allows a credit union to open its doors while an application for share-deposit insurance is pending,” said attorney Mark Mason, one of Fourth Corner’s key organizers.

Currently, many banks and other financial service providers have been unwilling to work with the marijuana industry out of fear of violating federal law. Some lawmakers have been trying to address this issue with the help of the National Cannabis Industry Association, but until they are successful, such credit unions may be the only solution available to marijuana businesses.

Report Shows Arizona Could Gain $48 Million In Taxes Annually From Regulating Marijuana

December 2nd, 2014

According to a report acquired by the Phoenix New Times, Arizona stands to gain $48 million in tax revenue annually by regulating marijuana like alcohol:

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee produced a report in September on the estimated impact of legal marijuana, but didn’t release the data publicly. New Times obtained a copy of the report this morning.Arizona

Prepared in response to a legalization bill proposed earlier this year by a group of Democrats, the JLBC report shows that Arizona could enjoy a large boost in revenue for schools, health care and other services simply by taxing people who already use marijuana.

The Democrats’ bill would have made marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, and would have allowed the plant to be sold in retail shops with an added $50-per-ounce tax.

The bill died in committee back in April, but a similar measure could be revived when the legislature reconvenes in January. Whether or not lawmakers do anything, Arizona voters are likely to see a legalization initiative on the ballot in 2016. Coordinated by the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative is still in the drafting stage but will almost certainly include a tax-collection scheme.

To learn more about MPP’s efforts in Arizona, make sure to sign up for email alerts.

ALASKA RESIDENTS: North Star Borough Officials To Consider Marijuana Regulations TODAY

December 2nd, 2014

On Nov. 4, 53% of Alaska voters approved Measure 2 to legalize and regulate the cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana in Alaska. Tomorrow, the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, City of Fairbanks, and City of North Pole city councils will hold a special public forum to discuss potential marijuana regulations at the local level.

Local governments have authority under Measure 2 to impose reasonable regulations, such as limitations on business hours and zoning. If you are a Fairbanks North Star area resident, please let your local elected representatives know you appreciate them taking this new law seriously and expect sensible regulations.

Please attend the hearing and testify in favor of allowing licensed cultivation centers and retail stores to do business. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014
6 p.m.
Pioneer Park Civic Center
2300 Airport Road
Fairbanks, Alaska

Comments are limited to three minutes. Here are suggested talking points to incorporate into your testimony:

  • Thank you for being proactive, and inviting input from the public.
  • It is early in the process, but deliberate and thoughtful rulemaking is appreciated.
  • Reasonable regulations should protect public safety, but also allow the industry to exist.
  • Local lawmakers should continue studying to prepare for this new industry.

Nearly 60% of voters in the Fairbanks North Star Borough voted for Measure 2. Make sure elected officials hear from that sensible majority.

The Initiative Petition to Make Marijuana Legal in Nevada Makes Its Deadline

November 13th, 2014

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, an initiative petition that would make the adult use of marijuana legal in Nevada could come to fruition if signatures presented to county offices are valid.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Nevada have “unloaded much more than the 101,667 registered voter signatures needed to qualify the petition,” said Joe Brezny, spokesman for the coalition.

The deadline to submit signatures for the petition was Wednesday. In Clark County alone, more than 145,000 signatures were submitted.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Nevada is now working to present signatures to county offices in rural Nevada and Washoe.

If county officials deem the signatures valid, the Nevada State Legislature could possibly pass the initiative as early as the spring. Approval would take a two-thirds vote in both chambers, due to the petition’s tax component. The petition would also need the signature of Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to become law. Rejection within the Nevada State Legislature, however, would set it up for a popular vote in 2016.

Marijuana is Now Legal in Alaska, Oregon, South Portland, Maine, and the Nation’s Capital

November 5th, 2014

Voters in two states, the fourth largest city in Maine, and the nation’s capital approved ballot measures to end marijuana prohibition and implement more sensible marijuana policies, capping off a historic election year for marijuana policy reform.

Alaska and Oregon are now the third and fourth states to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, following Colorado and Washington. As of early this morning, Oregon’s Measure 91 led 54-46 with 75% of the votes counted. Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 led 52-48 with 97% of the state’s precincts reporting.

Voters in South Portland, Maine approved Question 2 52-48 as well, making it the second East Coast city to make marijuana legal for adult use at the local level. A similar ballot measure in Lewiston, Maine came in close; it received 45% of the vote and did not pass.

In Washington, D.C., voters approved Initiative 71 by an overwhelming margin of 65-28, removing all penalties for the possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority of Florida voters — 58% — approved Amendment 2, which would have allowed patients with serious and debilitating conditions access to medical marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation. Unfortunately, the measure failed to pass because Florida state law requires 60% support for approval.

Nonetheless, yesterday’s historic election was largely successful and demonstrated that American citizens are ready to end marijuana prohibition in the country for good.

We will update the details of election results if new data becomes available.

Today is Election Day!

November 4th, 2014

Today, states, cities, and the nation’s capital will be voting on marijuana policy ballot measures.

Alaska and Oregon are considering statewide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. If Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska and Measure 91 in Oregon are approved, Alaska and Oregon would be the third and fourth states in the U.S. to end marijuana prohibition.

In Washington D.C., voters are considering Initiative 71, which would make possession of up to two ounces of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, as well as allow adults to cultivate up to six plants in their homes. Two of Maine’s largest cities — Lewiston and South Portland — are also considering citywide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults.

In addition, Florida could become the 24th state to allow people with debilitating illnesses and conditions to access marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation, if voters pass Amendment 2.

Smaller local marijuana policy initiatives and ballot questions are also being considered in many cities across the country.

Needless to say, today is a very important! Please go out and vote to help end marijuana prohibition and implement sensible marijuana policies around the nation. Encourage neighbors, friends, and relatives to do the same! For more Election Day information, please visit headcount.org.

The Marijuana Policy Project Launches Effort to Make Adult Use of Marijuana Legal in Arizona

October 30th, 2014

The Marijuana Policy Project has filed paperwork with Arizona election officials to form a committee to begin raising funds for a 2016 citizens’ initiative to make the adult use of marijuana legal.

Despite the state’s traditionally conservative patterns, Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the group has sufficient support in Arizona.

“It appears most Arizona voters are ready to adopt a more sensible policy,” he said. “There were a large number of supporters who got on board (in 2010) and are ready to move forward.”

The Marijuana Policy Project was the primary supporter of Proposition 203, which allows the use and sale of medical marijuana in Arizona, in 2010.

According to Tvert, a regulated retail market will not affect the medical marijuana business in Arizona. There would likely be a differentiation between the medical and adult retail business models — similar to what is currently in place in Colorado.

Moreover, Tvert said that if the 2016 citizens’ initiative in Arizona passes, existing medical marijuana dispensaries could also begin selling retail marijuana products, so long as the inventories are kept completely separate.

“Those businesses have established themselves and demonstrated they’re willing and able to follow the law,” he said. “It certainly makes sense to let those businesses be among the first to start providing marijuana to adults if the initiative passes.”

However, irrespective of what happens with Arizona’s medical marijuana business, Tvert said the initiative coalition will be sensitive to local needs.

“It will constantly evolve,” he said. “It will be, ‘This is what we believe is the best possible policy right now.’”

Legal Marijuana In Alaska Could Generate a Multi-Million Dollar Industry

October 28th, 2014

The state of Alaska stands to gain $23 million in annual tax revenues from a fully legal marijuana market, according to a report released this week by the Marijuana Policy Group — a research organization that does not take a stance on issues associated with making marijuana legal.

The report estimates that the total sales from a legal marijuana market would generate $56 million in 2016 and would climb to $107 million in 2020, if Alaska’s resident voters approve Measure 2 on the ballot next week.

The report was conducted by the same non-partisan group of academics and private researchers that provided the legal marijuana market estimates to Colorado upon the passing of Amendment 64. It now aims to apply the lessons learned from Colorado to Alaska.

Moreover, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the report estimates that there are 103,000 marijuana users above the age of 21 in Alaska, representing at least one-fifth of the state’s adult population. It is reasonable to think that a multi-million dollar legal marijuana market will take the place of the illicit market in years to come.

The Vote to Make Marijuana Legal in Alaska and Oregon Only a Week Away

October 28th, 2014

The Alaska and Oregon ballot initiatives to make marijuana legal in both states will be voted on a week from today. With the important election just another week away, here is an overview of the existing and pending legislation in each state:

In Alaska, laws eliminating criminal penalties and replacing them with civil penalties already exist for the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana. Moreover, the state has already implemented a medical marijuana program. In the upcoming election, the state will vote on Measure 2, which would establish a recreational marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.

In Oregon, the elimination of criminal penalties associated with the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana was established over 40 years ago. In addition, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has been in place since November 1998. In the upcoming election, resident voters will be deciding on Measure 91, which serves to establish a legal adult marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. If the measure passes, Oregon residents will be allowed to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home, while being able to cultivate up to four plants. Moreover, retail sales for adults over the age of 21 would be permitted.

In the end, marijuana prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. Alaska and Oregon voters, please take a stand on November 4 to make marijuana legal in your states. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!

Here’s a list of all the state and local marijuana-related ballot measures voters will be considering on Election Day.