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Will Ohio legalize marijuana this year?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, March, 23rd 2015 by THCFinder

The race to make Ohio the fifth state to legalize marijuana starts this week, as activists seek the Midwestern, swing-state win that would cement their momentum nationwide.

The bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board on Friday approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would

allow pot use by adults over the age of 21,

legalize medical marijuana for minors, with parental consent,

limit the commercial growth of marijuana to 10 sites owned by the investors that are paying for the ballot campaign. Adults over the age of 21 would be able to obtain a license to grow up to four marijuana plants for their personal use, but not for sale.

Now, supporters must gather nearly 306,000 signatures by July to reach their goal of qualifying for the November 2015 ballot – a target well within reach for the wealthy investors and the experienced campaign team they're paying to gather the signatures and market the measure.

Still, the proposed amendment, with its limit on commercial growers, faces opposition from some of Ohio's longtime marijuana proponents. They're pushing alternate measures.

"Those people … have invested their lives and taken great risks to get us to where we are today," said Keith Stroup, an attorney with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "We would like the market to be open to small- and mid-sized growers, not just the big guys."

Read More: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/elections/2015/03/22/will-ohio-legalize-marijuana-year/25205935/


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New York City Council Issues Formal Call For Legalizing Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Sun, March, 22nd 2015 by THCFinder
New York marijuanaNew York: This week, the New York City Council called for the state of New York to pass historic legislation to both decriminalize and to tax and regulate marijuana. As part of the Council’s State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the New York City Council urged the state legislature to pass two historic marijuana policy reforms – the Fairness and Equity Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). The Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito had previously announced her support for marijuana legalization in November, but this marks the first time that marijuana decriminalization and legalization have been part of the Council’s official legislative agenda.
 

The Fairness and Equity Act — sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Robert Rodriquez — would finally fix New York’s decriminalization law regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana, ending racially bias marijuana arrests. The Council noted that the Act would “end the unnecessary and disproportionate arrests of Black and Latino New Yorkers by ensuring that possession or sharing of small amounts of marijuana can never result in a criminal penalty.”  The proposal includes additional provisions to meaningfully address the devastating collateral consequences and historic legacy of these arrests and reduce institutional racial bias across New York’s criminal justice system.

The Council also threw its support behind the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act — sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Crystal People Stokes — which would end prohibition by creating a system to regulate, control, and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older. The Council noted that  the MRTA would “would reduce the racially disparate impact of existing marijuana laws and end the cycle of branding nonviolent New Yorkers as criminals,” while generating millions of dollars in new revenue and saving millions of dollars in criminal justice resources each year.

Read More: http://www.theweedblog.com/new-york-city-council-issues-formal-call-for-legalizing-marijuana/


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Four Different Initiatives In California Could Doom Marijuana Legalization In 2016

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 20th 2015 by THCFinder
 

california marijuanaMarijuana legalization in California is long overdue. California first voted on marijuana legalization in 2010. Proposition 19 failed on Election Day, but it started the conversation in California and beyond about what it would take to successfully legalize marijuana. Since then California marijuana legalization has failed to gain traction. No initiative made the ballot in 2012 or 2014. 2016 is the year that many activists and organizations are aiming for, but competing initiatives could doom California’s legalization efforts, as it has in the past.

There are currently four campaigns working to legalize marijuana in California. Below is a brief description of each, per SF Gate:

The group behind the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 – which failed to gather enough signatures to appear on the ballot in 2014 — announced today that they want public input on 2016 language. The group wants to be the most inclusive, they say, and is using an open Google Document to solicit ideas.

The MCLR’s announcement follows opening moves by a second group that failed to make the ballot in 2014, or 2012, or 2010 — the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative. That group promises to legalize twelve pounds of pot for personal use and has been working to stoke its base by appearing in a string of videos by HashBar TV.

Thirdly, Californians can now review the California Artisan Cannabis Initiative – 2016 which comes from Northern California lawyer Omar Figueroa, who also participated in failed initiative efforts in years past. The CACI hopes to protect small farmers from post-legalization competition by bigger businesses.

Lastly, there is the most credible group, ReformCA — also called the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. ReformCA comprises the coalition that formed during 2010-s Proposition 19, and includes California NORML, the NAACP, and Oaksterdam University. ReformCA is working with the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance, and has been focused on conducting stakeholder meetings in northern and southern California.

Read More: http://www.theweedblog.com/initiatives-california-marijuana-legalization-2016/


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Nevada Will Vote on Legal Weed in 2016

Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, March, 18th 2015 by THCFinder

Nevada voters will have the chance to determine whether the state will be the next to legalize recreational cannabis during the next Presidential election.

Earlier last week, the state legislature put the fate of a proposal aimed at legalizing marijuana in the hands of the people after failing to address the issue during the latest session. Lawmakers were given until the weekend to either approve or deny Initiative Petition No 1, but opted to clock out Friday evening without taking up a vote on the measure, automatically adding it to the ballot in 2016.

“Voters will have the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition next year and replace it with a policy that actually makes sense,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a recent statement. “Regulating marijuana like alcohol will make Nevada safer by replacing the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of licensed businesses.”

The Nevada initiative would legalize retail pot sales in a manner similar to what is currently underway in Colorado and Washington. The market, of course, would be tightly regulated by the Nevada Department of Taxation, which would oversee nearly every aspect of the trade from cultivation to distribution. A 15% excise tax would be attached to all cannabis products, with tax revenue going to fund public education across the state.

“The initiative will create a significant new source of funding for Nevada schools,” said Tvert. “Marijuana sales that are currently taking place in the underground market are generating revenue for cartels. In a regulated market, marijuana sales will generate revenue for students.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is spearheading this effort, which is good indicator the measure stands a fighting chance at winning approval. The MPP has successfully assisted several other states, including Colorado and Alaska, in legalizing the leaf for recreational purposes.

 

Source: http://www.hightimes.com/read/nevada-will-vote-legal-weed-2016


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Minnesota Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Set To Open In July

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, March, 16th 2015 by THCFinder
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minnesota marijuana

(image via minnesota norml)

It’s very rare for a state to legalize medical marijuana and stick to timelines surrounding rule-making and implementation, especially when it comes to dispensaries. Illinois is a great example. Illinois took way longer than expected to even license medical marijuana growers and dispensaries, and patients are still waiting for their medicine. Cases like Illinois are why I always point out the need for home cultivation provisions. Without a home cultivation provision, patients in states that drag their feet have no choice but to either go without medicine, or purchase it from an unregulated blackmarket.

In somewhat surprising news, Minnesota will not be a state that experiences delays in implementation. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

Many states have taken years to implement MMJ laws, develop regulations and get the first businesses up and running. Minnesota, on the other hand, passed a law just last spring legalizing non-smokeable medical cannabis, and dispensaries are now on track to open to the public on July 1.

“We are aiming to open three of our four dispensaries in July, and hopefully the fourth one will be in August,” said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of Minnesota Medical Solutions (also known as MinnMed).

Leafline Labs, the other MMJ producing and dispensing company licensed by the state, is also on track for the summer, said co-founder Dr. Andrew Bachman.

“We’re ahead of schedule in construction (and) production and will certainly have medicine available to be dispensed on July 1,” Bachman said.

Minnesota has one of the most strict medical marijuana programs in the country. Patients will not be allowed to smoke medical marijuana, and instead can only consume medical marijuana in vapor or edible form. Many conditions that qualify a patient in other states will not qualify a patient in Minnesota. With that being said, this is still good news for the patients that do qualify, and I’m hopeful that after the program is implemented and patients start using the dispensaries, that the program will expand.

Source: http://www.theweedblog.com/minnesota-medical-marijuana-dispensaries-set-to-open-in-july/


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Effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio step closer to ballot

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 13th 2015 by THCFinder
ohio-mj-closer-to-ballotOhio Attorney General Mike DeWine gave the go-ahead on Friday to the campaign to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, putting ResponsibleOhio one step closer to a statewide vote on the constitutional amendment.
 
DeWine, who opposes legalizing marijuana, certified that the petition summary is a “fair and truthful” statement of the actual ballot language.
 
ResponsibleOhio now takes the matter to the Ohio Ballot Board, which has 10 days to determine if the ballot language covers a single issue. Once that hurdle is cleared, the campaign must collect 305,591 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters by July 1 to make the November statewide ballot.
 
ResponsibleOhio is backed by deep-pocketed investors and an experienced political team with a multi-million dollar budget. While other grassroots marijuana legalization groups have circulated petitions off and on, none have had the political and financial clout of ResponsibleOhio.
 
ResponsibleOhio is headed by Ian James, who runs a political consulting company that includes petition gathering services. James’ team put the constitutional amendment to allow casinos in Ohio on the ballot in 2009.
 
The ResponsibleOhio proposal calls for establishing:
 
* 10 legal growing locations that are at least 1,000 feet from schools, day care centers, churches or libraries;
* A seven-member Marijuana Control Commission to regulate growing, sales, distribution, licensing and taxing of marijuana products;
* 5 marijuana testing facilities to check potency and safety;
* Not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries for patients with debilitating medical conditions who could buy pot at wholesale prices; and
* A 5 percent flat tax on retail pot sales with 85 percent of the tax revenue going to local governments for services.
 
The plan would also allow adults 21 and older to grow up to four plants in indoor areas inaccessible to minors. Home grown pot could be shared but not sold.
 

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