Congress should allow D.C.'s marijuana legalization to stand
D.C. VOTERS, as expected, gave overwhelming approval to a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana and, as expected, there were immediate rumblings from Capitol Hill of plans to block its implementation. We did not favor passage of Initiative 71, but we do believe in democracy and self-government. Congress should recognize how inappropriate it would be to interfere with the District on this local issue.
Within hours of Tuesday’s passage of a measure that would make it permissible for adults in the District to possess as much as 2 ounces of marijuana, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) signaled his interest in preventing the law from going into effect. “I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action,” said Mr. Harris, who previously tried to upend the District’s decriminalization of marijuana. Mr. Harris said his interest stems from concerns about the possible impact of legalization on adolescent drug use, yet he has shown little interest in the welfare of teenagers who reside in states that have moved to legalize the drug.
The District, because of its unique relation to Congress, is an easy stalking horse for members to advance agendas that would be unpalatable in most jurisdictions. And the Democratic-majority city’s always-tenuous relationship with the Hill became even more precarious with the Republican sweep of the midterm elections.
There are, nonetheless, some hopeful signs that Congress might respect D.C. rights on this matter. The GOP-controlled House went on record this year as opposing the use of funds to prevent states from implementing laws that authorize the use, distribution and possession of medical marijuana. Rand Paul (Ky.), the ranking Republican on the Senate committee with oversight of the District, has said that D.C. voters, not Congress, should decide this issue. “I’m not for having the federal government get involved,” he told Roll Call.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com
Public Hearing For Vermont Marijuana Legalization Coming Up
Vermont is on my list of states that could potentially legalize marijuana via the Legislature between now and 2016. So far, no state has ever legalized marijuana via its legislature, only via a citizen’s initiative. The RAND Corporation has been conducting a study on what marijuana legalization would look like in Vermont, and there is a public hearing scheduled for next week to discuss the issue. Via The Joint Blog:
Vermont Governor Peter Schumlin’s administration has announced that they’ll be holding a public hearing on November 12th as part of the state’s continuing examination of cannabis legalization.
According to a press release sent out by the administration, the hearing will “provide Vermonters with the ability to contribute comments for a legislatively-mandated study on the issues involved with possible legalization of marijuana production, distribution and possession in the State of Vermont.”
RAND’s Co-Director Beau Kilmer will be in attendance at the November 12th public hearing. The hearing is scheduled to take place from 3:30PM to 5:30PM, which can be watched via Vermont Interactive Technologies centers around the state. I’m very curious to see what is said at the hearing, especially from the public. With there now being four states with legalization on the books, along with Washington D.C., momentum has never been greater for reform.
Proposal would put legalized marijuana on Missouri ballot
JEFFERSON CITY – Supporters of legalized marijuana are getting an early start on an initiative that could put the issue to a public vote on Missouri's 2016 ballot.
A pro-marijuana initiative was the first item submitted to the secretary of state's office on the first day possible to propose measures for the next general election. By Thursday, it was posted online for public comment.
The proposed constitutional amendment would make it legal to produce, sell and use marijuana in Missouri for people age 21 and older. The goal is to tax and regulate marijuana in a similar way as alcohol, said Columbia attorney Dan Viets, who submitted the measure.
The Missouri initiative comes after voters on Tuesday approved legalized marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. Recreational use of marijuana already is legal in Colorado and Washington state.
Before a petition can be circulated for signatures in Missouri, it must receive approval from the secretary of state and attorney general and get a financial estimate from the state auditor. The petition summary prepared by the secretary of state's office then could face legal challenges, and supporters would have until May 2016 to collect the roughly 165,000 signatures of registered voters needed to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.
Although some Missouri cities already have passed local ordinances decriminalizing marijuana possession, it remains a state crime punishable by up to a year in prison to possess up to 35 grams. A state criminal code revision set to take effect in 2017 would remove the possibility of jail time for first-time offenders convicted of possessing less than 10 grams.
The proposed initiative would invalidate those laws and require a state license to produce, deliver and sell marijuana, which could be taxed at 25 percent of its price. The tax revenues would be divided among pension plans for law enforcement officers and firefighters, K-12 schools, substance abuse programs, military veterans' services, college scholarships and local governments.
Viets is criminal defense lawyer who is chairman of Show-Me Cannibas and secretary of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is a longtime critic of Missouri's criminal marijuana laws.
"The vast majority of people who use marijuana are adults who use it responsibly. They do not deserve to be treated like criminals," Viets said. "We squander millions of tax dollars persecuting and prosecuting marijuana smokers, and we lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue."
Read more: http://www.news-leader.com
Legal toking still months away despite pot votes in Alaska, Oregon
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 6th 2014 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - Voters in the blue state of Oregon and red state of Alaska have joined the fledgling green column of the U.S. political map by choosing to legalize recreational marijuana, but supporters are not at liberty to light up or buy their cannabis just yet.
Ballot measures approved in both states on Tuesday will take months to go into effect, with pot enthusiasts in Oregon having to wait until next summer to legally indulge and neither state likely to make marijuana available for commercial sales before 2016.
"Anyone who is driving down the freeway and lights up a doobie and waives at an officer is going to get a ticket," Clatsop County District Attorney Josh Marquis, spokesman for the defeated "vote no" campaign in Oregon, told Reuters.
The Oregon and Alaska measures will legalize recreational marijuana possession and usher in state-licensed retail pot shops similar to those that opened this year in Washington state and Colorado, which became the first to allow cannabis use for pleasure under 2012 voter initiatives.
District of Columbia voters on Tuesday approved legalization of marijuana possession but not its sale.
Supporters pointed to the outcome as a sign of growing acceptance of marijuana consumption as part of the American mainstream, with advocates of liberalized pot laws looking to California as their next battleground in 2016.
"In 2016 we're going to push the ball forward in several states until we end prohibition," said Leland Berger, a Portland attorney who helped write the new Oregon law.
But nothing changes immediately on the ground in Oregon or Alaska. The newly passed Alaska law is expected to go into effect next February, while Oregon pot smokers will have to wait until July 2015. Retail outlets are not expected to open in either state until the following year.
"Nothing will change for us in the interim, as marijuana possession has been a very low law enforcement priority for a long time," Portland police spokesman Peter Simpson said.
Legalization opponents in both states said they would push state legislators for tighter rules, including measures aimed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and to bar advertising that would appeal to youngsters.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com
Will Ohio pass marijuana legalization laws?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 6th 2014 by THCFinder
Tuesday's election broadened marijuana legalization laws in some states, making it easier to get and even grow.
Pot is still illegal in Ohio but there is a growing number of people approve of it for medicinal purposes and there may come a day when you're asked to vote on it.
More marijuana shops will be popping up across the country, and as more states decriminalize marijuana, Ohio may be positioned to make it legal here according to marijuana advocates.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states now legalized it for recreational use.
Alaska and Oregon approved it in Tuesday's election. District of Columbia voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing recreational-purpose marijuana that will be subject to Congressional review.
All of these moves give hope to the Ohio Rights Group, an organization that is trying to get marijuana legalized in Ohio.
ORG currently has one hundred thousand signatures but needs 385,000 to get it on the Ohio ballot. Pardee thinks that it could happen by next years election because he says public opinion is changing.
Theresa Daniello believes in the science behind the endocannabinoid system, a part of the brain that affects both the nervous system and organs. She says it's why medical marijuana is thought to help so many different health problems. And Daniello has personal experience.
It's also why she dedicates her life to educating healthcare professionals and lobbies to get compassionate use legislation passed in Ohio. She represents 45 families of children with devastating seizure disorders. Such as Dravet Syndrome, a condition that causes children to experience several potentially deadly seizures daily.
Many parents are moving to legal states like Colorado to access cannabis oil, or CBD, because in some cases it reduces the seizures. Daniello thinks parents should not have to leave the state to get medicine.
She also believes Ohio is primed to consider legalization, at least medicinally. Some people see that as a potential economic benefit.
Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., legalized recreational marijuana Tuesday. But without the support of the U.S. Congress, any of the new, voter-approved pot shops may not be able to survive a drug war-era tax code that already threatens many businesses in Colorado and Washington state. That means some of the profits may go up in smoke.
Alaska Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, November, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
It took longer to count the votes compared to Oregon and Washington D.C., but the result was the same – Alaska voters legalized marijuana. The victory was declared in the early morning hours today, capping off a stellar Election Day for marijuana reform. Even in Florida, where a medical marijuana initiative failed, there was still an overwhelming majority result in favor of the initiative (just not enough to pass the required 60% hurdle). Anyone who said that pursuing marijuana reform in 2014 because it would hurt 2016’s chances should be very happy today to be wrong. 2016 has never looked better due to the momentum that was built from the victories in D.C., Oregon, and Alaska. Below is a reaction from Tom Angell, the head of Marijuana Majority:
“Now that it’s been shown that putting marijuana legalization on the ballot can succeed even in midterms, we can expect to see a huge surge of additional states voting to end prohibition during the 2016 presidential election. And because the issue has been proven to be mainstream as far as voters are concerned, we may even see lawmakers in several states jumping ahead to legalize marijuana legislatively in the meantime.”
And from my friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:
Alaska’s Measure 2, an initiative to allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants, passed tonight in a close race. This measure will establish, license and regulate retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturers and testing facilities so consumers will always know that what they’re getting is safe, will allow police to focus on violent crime and will ensure that profits benefit the government, not drug cartels. Driving under the influence and public consumption will remain illegal and employers may restrict their employees’ use and localities can ban marijuana establishments though not private possession or cultivation.
The other measure to legalize, regulate and control marijuana on the ballot tonight, Measure 91 in Oregon, passed easily earlier tonight. This makes Oregon and Alaska the third and fourth states to legalize marijuana, after Colorado and Washington and caps off a wonderful night for drug policy reformists that included DC legalizing possession of marijuana and California defelonizing low-level nonviolent drug possession.
“This is a historic day for public safety and for civil rights,” said Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper (Ret.). “Clearly, the people demand change, and their leaders would be wise to follow.”
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit of cops, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials who want to end the war on drugs.
What a great day to be an Alaskan, and an American in general. Four legal states, and a District of Columbia as the cherry on top. Has anyone seen Kevin Sabet? How’s he feeling today? Someone bring that man a kleenex!
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