Archive for the ‘Tax and Regulate’ category

Oregon Petition Qualifies for the November Ballot

July 23rd, 2014

New Approach Oregon’s petition to make marijuana legal for adults has qualified for the ballot this coming November, Huffington Post reports. More than 87,000 valid signatures were collected for the petition, which allows adults age 21 and older in Oregon to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana privately and one ounce in public and would have the marijuana market regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Any sales taxes collected would be distributed to schools, law enforcement, and drug prevention programs.

It is very likely that this initiative will pass in November, with a recent poll stating that 57% of Oregon’s likely voters support recreational marijuana use. A similar measure was nearly approved in 2012. In addition, the governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, has stated that he would uphold the will of the people if the bill makes it to his desk. In January, he commented on Colorado and Washington, “I hear the drumbeats from Washington and Colorado.” He said, “I want to make sure we have a thoughtful regulatory system. The legislature would be the right place to craft that.”

Rand Corporation to Consult on Marijuana Study in Vermont

July 21st, 2014
Governor Peter Shumlin
Governor Peter Shumlin

Beginning this week, the Rand Corporation will send representatives to Vermont to work with the state’s Secretary of Administration on a study of the effects of taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, the Manchester Journal reports.This research was mandated by an amendment to a bill that made several improvements to Vermont’s medical marijuana law. Vermont will be funding the initial part of the study, paying Rand $20,000, with up to $100,000 in private donations coming from the non-profit organization GiveWell. Rand Corporation is a non-partisan organization with no official position on marijuana legalization.

Governor Peter Shumlin, Commissioner Keith Flynn of the Department of Safety, and other top officials have expressed interest in learning more about how marijuana regulation would impact Vermont. State Senator David Zuckerman, who sponsored a marijuana regulation bill this year, said he was enthusiastic about the study process: “I think the study will help with legislators and the public who inherently think it’s a good idea but want evidence they can hold up to show people.” Matt Simon, MPP’s New England political director, said, “The narrative from Colorado has been ‘so far, so good.’ The sky clearly hasn’t fallen.” The report is due to be completed by January and lawmakers hope that it will lead to an informed debate on marijuana policy in the coming legislative session.

Marijuana Decriminalization Takes Effect In Nation’s Capital

July 17th, 2014
As of midnight Wednesday, D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law is officially in effect. The new law — approved by the D.C. Council, signed by Mayor Gray,

gray
Mayor Vincent Gray

and submitted to Congress for a 60-day review — replaces misdemeanor criminal charges for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana with a civil violation, costing the offender $25. Now D.C. has the third-least punitive marijuana laws in the country, behind Colorado and Washington State.

It is important to note that this is only a change in District law, not federal law. Marijuana possession on federal lands, including the National Mall, is still a criminal offense and violators may be arrested and prosecuted. Public use is still illegal as well. Please see our summary of this new law for more information.

Thank you so much to all the individuals and organizations that took part in reforming the previously outdated law. Further reform is still needed, however. If you are a District resident, please contact your council members and urge them to treat marijuana like alcohol.

 

In Ohio, Stances on Marijuana are Changing

July 15th, 2014

Ohio has recently seen increased support for allowing adults to choose to consume marijuana, according to Cincinnati.com. Public opinion nationally is at an all time high, with 54% in support of making marijuana legal, and this has prompted many officials, including law enforcement, to reconsider the issue. Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for MPP, attributes the changing attitudes to Americans viewing marijuana as less dangerous, saying they “realize [marijuana] is a much safer alternative to alcohol. It doesn’t lead to violence and harmful effects.” In addition to this, many view the “war on marijuana” to be futile, including a number of law enforcement officers.

Roger Moore, the Chief of Police in Chillicothe, Ohio, believes that marijuana is like alcohol and should be treated similarly. He believes that in light of the opiate epidemic that many places across America are facing, marijuana offenses are minor at best. Moore says, “I believe it’s just like alcohol. Just because you drink beer doesn’t mean you drink hard liquor … Those that do marijuana, they do marijuana. There’s plenty of people who don’t smoke marijuana who do heroin, ecstasy and cocaine. (Marijuana enforcement) is not what my priority is in Chillicothe, it’s heroin.”

In Ohio, possession of 99 grams or less is a non-criminal citation, and residents can possess up to seven ounces of marijuana before facing any felony charges. Despite these relatively lenient penalties, prosecuting adults for marijuana in Ohio continues to saddle citizens with unnecessary criminal records at enormous costs in law enforcement time and resources.

Marijuana Ballot Initiative Gaining Support as Advocates Promote Oregon’s Campaign

July 9th, 2014

NAO

A ballot initiative in Oregon is gaining support and local marijuana policy reform advocates describe it as their “number one priority,” the Oregonian reports. New Approach Oregon is working in conjunction with Drug Policy Alliance and others to raise awareness of their campaign to pass the ballot initiative, which would allow adults to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana. Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission would regulate and oversee the market. Dave Kopilak, an attorney who helped to draft New Approach Oregon’s initiative, claims that if it is passed, Oregon will have lower taxes on marijuana than Washington or Colorado.

Revenue generated by the adult retail market that went to the state would be distributed to a variety of public health and safety programs: 40% would go to the common school fund, 20% to mental health and addiction services, 15% to state police, 10% to cities’ law enforcement, an additional 10% to local county law enforcement, and 5% to drug abuse prevention services. If it qualifies for the ballot, the initiative will be up for a vote in November.

Legal Marijuana Sales Begin TODAY Across Washington

July 8th, 2014
One year and eight months after 55% of Washington voters chose to end the failed experiment of marijuana prohibition, regulated retail marijuana stores have finally begun opening to the public. Washington is the second state to allow adult-use marijuana sales; Colorado’s retail stores have been operational for the past six months.
According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, 25 shops across the state are expected to open today, with more opening in the weeks and months to follow. Adults 21 and over will be able to purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from licensed establishments that must pay taxes and ensure that products are tested and properly labeled. Because the first growers have not been licensed for long, prices may be high and supply may be short in these first months of legal sales.
For decades, marijuana prohibition has drained our federal, state, and local governments of resources while failing to prevent use or abuse. The voters of Washington wisely chose a new approach: Taxing and regulating marijuana cultivation and distribution to adults. Considering it is far safer than alcohol, it’s about time it’s treated similarly.

 

MPP-backed initiative in York, Maine has been submitted to town hall

July 7th, 2014

UPDATE: The York Board of Selectmen has scheduled a public hearing on the petition during their next meeting on Monday, July 28.

A petition that would allow adults to use marijuana has gotten the required amount of signatures and has been submitted to the Board of Selectmen, Seacoast Online reports. The Board of Selectmen in York is scheduled to consider and possibly take action on the petition later today. According to MPP Maine Political Director David Boyer, the petition needed 100 signatures in order to be submitted to the Board of Selectmen. It received 174 signatures and was submitted on June 19. Should the Board decide against holding a public hearing on the petition, advocates would have 30 days to collect 600 signatures in order to bring the petition to a public vote.

The petition, if passed, would allow York residents over 21 to use or be in possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It would remove penalties for marijuana possession and allow individuals to consume it privately. Public use would still be prohibited, according to organizers. This is similar to an initiative that MPP helped to pass in Portland, Maine last year that allowed adults to be in possession of 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana. The decision on York’s petition is forthcoming and should be given by the end of the day.

Colorado Retail Marijuana Application Rules Changed to Open Market

July 1st, 2014

It’s been exactly six months since legal retail marijuana sales began in Colorado, and today is the first day that retail marijuana business licenses are open to all applicants — not just those who previously held medical marijuana licenses.

Click here for an application checklist and the required application forms. Please note that these licenses would not go into effect until October 1, 2014, and businesses would still require local approval.

In these brief six months, the Centennial State has already experienced overwhelmingly positive results! There has been a 10.1% decrease in overall crime from 2013. As of May, the state had collected $10.9 million in taxes from adult use stores alone. The Department of Revenue has licensed nearly 600 retail marijuana businesses — including dispensaries, cultivators, and infused products manufacturers — and 10,043 individuals to work in the industry.

Collateral sectors are also feeling the love, especially in the tourism industry. Colorado ski resorts enjoyed a record-breaking season, with 12.6 million visitors, and 14 million Denver tourists spent an all-time high of $4 billion. More families and businesses are also moving to the Mile High City. In 2013, Denver attracted more sales of single-family homes last year than during the housing boom, and is ranked among the top commercial real estate markets to watch.

 

 

Clock Runs Out On Proposal to Tax and Regulate Marijuana in Rhode Island

June 24th, 2014

Over the weekend, lawmakers in Providence wrapped up the 2014 legislative session. Despite majority public support for the idea, they adjourned without bringing the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act up for a vote. However, we are undaunted.RI 2 MPP and our allies in Rhode Island are committed to seeing that the will of the people is enacted, and we need your help.

Colorado and Washington already treat marijuana like alcohol, and many other states are considering doing so as well. This should come as no surprise considering that, like alcohol, marijuana is responsibly used by millions of Americans daily but, unlike alcohol, has never caused a lethal overdose. What sense does it make to waste limited resources enforcing failed marijuana prohibition?

While we are disappointed the bill didn’t pass this year, we are not discouraged. This long overdue policy change enjoys majority support among voters, and the Regulate Rhode Island coalition continues to grow and strengthen. If you are a Rhode Island resident, please ask your lawmakers to support this bill next year and then ask your supportive friends and family in Rhode Island to do the same.

 

Oregon Marijuana Petition Hits Goal of 100,000 Signatures

June 20th, 2014

The movement to make Oregon one of the next states to make marijuana legal got a major boost Wednesday when the petition to put the question on the ballot received 100,000 signatures, reports Gant Daily.The measure is backed by New Approach Oregon (NAO), which reported the collected signatures exceeded the minimum 87,213 required to qualify for the ballot on Monday. The ballot initiative, called the Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act, would strictly regulate marijuana sales and possession for adults over 21 years old. If passed, it would allow for possession of up to eight ounces and growing up to four plants. Sales of marijuana would be taxed at $35 an ounce and $5 per plant.

The ACLU of Oregon has thrown its support behind the petition. Their executive director, David Fidanque, commented, “We need to stop wasting taxpayer dollars arresting and searching people in Oregon just because they use marijuana. Prohibition hasn’t worked and it never will. It’s time to be honest about that and take a path that makes sense.” This was in response to a recent ACLU report, which claimed that Oregon’s law enforcement had stepped up its marijuana citations and arrests by 45% since 2001. This was the fifth highest in the nation. The NAO believes this endorsement will help them to get the ballot initiative passed in November.