Archive for the ‘Tax and Regulate’ category

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.

Cambridge, MA Voters Have Say on Making Marijuana Legal

October 24th, 2014

According to Wicked Local Cambridge, next month, Massachusetts’s voters in eight districts — including Precincts 1 and 3 — will get the opportunity to relay to state representatives their opinions on making marijuana legal.

The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts (DPFMA), a nonprofit organization that supports new approaches to drug control policy, gathered enough signatures to include the following public policy question on the November ballot: “Should state representatives be instructed to support a measure to regulate marijuana similar to alcohol?”

The public policy question will be included on ballots in 56 cities and towns across Massachusetts. In addition, according to DPFMA, one in every 20 resident voters will be given the chance to express their views on the issue.

David Rogers

Cambridge is one of the districts that will get a say on the matter. In fact, the state representative who represents the 24th Middlesex District, David Rogers, said that he plans on voting in favor of the ballot question.

“Although obviously localities cannot legalize marijuana, we do have the ability to influence public discussion and debate, and ultimately public opinion,” Rogers told the Chronicle. “For far too long, the drug laws in the commonwealth and throughout the country have done more than good. It’s time to think creatively about new approaches. I favor legalization coupled with strong regulation.”

Moreover, there is overwhelming public support. Massachusetts’s voters have already approved 69 marijuana public policy questions throughout the state. During elections in 2000 and 2010, ballot questions pertaining to taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol appeared in seven districts and garnered 69 percent support, according to DPFMA.

Massachusetts voters, please continue to support sensible marijuana policy by expressing your views to your state representatives on Election Day. Please encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!

Arizona Republican Rep. Ethan Orr Suggests Making Marijuana Legal to Aid State Budget

October 14th, 2014

According to the Tucson Weekly, Arizona Rep. Ethan Orr is looking at Colorado’s recent marijuana venture and the taxes, licenses, and fees that have brought the state more than $7 million so far.

As reported by the Arizona Republic, the Arizona revenue projections released last Tuesday to the legislature’s Finance Advisory Committee predict that the state will end this budget year with a $520 million deficit and possibly up to a $1 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year of 2016.

Ethan Orr

“Given the massive budget shortfall we’re facing, we need to look at revenue and I think this is a logical place we need to look,” Orr said. “I think it’s time to have an intelligent conversation about it (legalization).”

Orr also said that lawmakers should consider his proposal before supporters in the effort to make marijuana legal take their measure before voters in 2016.

Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, commends Rep. Orr for demonstrating leadership on the issue.

“While we are not yet familiar with the details of Rep. Orr’s bill, we would likely support any well-written proposal to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol,” Tvert stated.

New Milder Marijuana Edible Options for Novices

October 10th, 2014

According to 9news.com, marijuana product manufacturers in Colorado are making an effort to accommodate inexperienced adult marijuana consumers.

Several companies have begun offering edible products with very small dosages of THC in order to allow people who have low tolerance or little experience with the substance to be able to use it without the potential for becoming overly impaired. This move comes following the launch of MPP’s “Consume Responsibly” campaign, which urges caution when consuming marijuana edibles and other products in order to avoid an unpleasant experience.

The paradigm shift in the marijuana industry is comparable to the alcohol industry’s selling of beer and wine alongside higher content alcoholic options like spirits or liqueurs.

dixie_elixirs_logoThe new low potency edible options include a low-dose marijuana-infused soda — Dixie One — that is 15 times weaker than the Dixie Elixirs company’s best-known soda. There are also light-dose “Rookie Cookies” for people who are not experienced in eating medical-grade marijuana.

“For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edibles. Now it’s a new market, and people want something that won’t get them so inebriated they’re not functional,” said Holden Sproul of the Growing Kitchen, which makes the “Rookie Cookie” and is phasing out some if its stronger offerings.

Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia Next to Decide Marijuana Ballot Measures

October 7th, 2014

According to a New York Times editorial, this November, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia will decide whether to make recreational marijuana legal and regulated — effectively disregarding the misguided federal ban on a substance that is far less dangerous than alcohol.

Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 would make the use and purchase of marijuana legal for those 21 and older, create a marijuana control board and tax the drug at $50 per ounce wholesale. It is already legal for Alaskans to possess small amounts of marijuana in their homes, and surveys indicate that 18 percent of Alaskans smoke marijuana. Ballot Measure 2 would mean that Alaskans could buy it from a store instead of resorting to the black market.

This is not the first time the newspaper of record has supported sensible marijuana policy reform, and it is indicative of increasing national support for ending marijuana prohibition.

Alaska Coalition of Parents Forms in Support of Measure 2

September 26th, 2014

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that a group of more than two-dozen concerned parents from across Alaska have formed a coalition in support of Ballot Measure 2, the statewide initiative on the November ballot to regulate marijuana like alcohol. They believe that regulating marijuana like alcohol will be a more effective means of keeping it out of the hands of their children, noting that marijuana prohibition has failed to prevent teens from accessing marijuana, and illegal dealers are not limiting their sales to adults over 21.

The chair of Parents for Ballot Measure 2, Kim Kole, an Anchorage high school teacher and mother of two teenage girls, made the following statement in a news release:

Kim Kole

“I’m voting yes on Ballot Measure 2 because marijuana prohibition has failed miserably at preventing teen access to marijuana. Keeping marijuana in an illegal market guarantees that sales will be entirely unregulated and that those selling it will not ask for ID. It’s time to control the sale of marijuana, and that’s what this will do. Arresting thousands of Alaskan adults has done nothing to keep marijuana out of the hands of teens. It’s time for a more sensible approach. As a high school teacher — and as a mom – I feel that regulating marijuana like alcohol is critical to protecting the health and safety of Alaska teens. Parents need to think critically about this issue, because what we are doing now clearly isn’t working. Marijuana is already here in Alaska and it’s not going away. By passing Ballot Measure 2, we can make sure that it is regulated and that the market is managed by responsible businesses governed by strict regulations to protect our kids.”

Kole is the face of an online ad campaign launching today throughout the state that will educate parents about the benefits of regulating marijuana to keep it away from teens. Please support the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol by passing the message on to your friends and relatives!

MPP Files Committee in California to Support 2016 Initiative to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana

September 24th, 2014

The Marijuana Policy Project filed a committee with the California Secretary of State’s Office today to support a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use.

The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will start raising funds immediately to help place a measure on the ballot.

According to a statement from MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia:

Rob Kampia

“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible. Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.”

The announcement has generated quite a bit of media interest, which began with a mention in a Washington Post story summarizing the statewide efforts currently underway to end marijuana prohibition.

It noted MPP has filed committees in Arizona, Massachusetts, and Nevada for 2016, and it plans to focus on making marijuana legal through state legislatures in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont over the next few years.

Arizona Marijuana Advocates Advance 2016 Initiative

September 23rd, 2014

Advocates of an effort to make marijuana legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol in Arizona in 2016 have filed paperwork with state elections officials, granting them permission to raise money to campaign for the citizen’s initiative, according to azcentral.com.

The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona initiative will be fashioned after the voter-approved taxed and regulated recreational marijuana program in Colorado.

Andrew Myers, who is affiliated with the initiative, said Monday the group will bring together a “diverse coalition” to help draft the initiative’s language, adding that marijuana advocates are closely watching Colorado’s program to determine what should be replicated in Arizona—and what should be avoided.

Representatives of the Washington, D.C. based Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates to make marijuana legal and regulated, said it will pursue making marijuana completely legal in Arizona in 2016 because such efforts are more successful during presidential elections, which draw more voters to the polls.

About 50,000 Arizonians already legally use medical marijuana. Patients must first receive recommendations from a physician and then are able to obtain a card from state health officials under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which was approved by voters in 2010.

Any effort towards making marijuana legal for adults in Arizona is expected to be countered with stiff opposition from law enforcement officials.

However, Colorado’s Amendment 64, which voters passed in 2012 with 55 percent of the vote, attracted young and new voters while tapping into the electorate’s libertarian streak. There are hopes that Arizona will tap into the same demographic and successfully follow the example of Colorado.