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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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Will DC Get Legal Cannabis?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, December, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
will-dc-get-legal-cannabisEven though citizens of Washington DC voted to legalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use in November, Congress may be putting it’s foot down in spite of the results. Initiative 71 passed with 70% of voters approving the measure. But even though the people have spoken in favor of legalizing the plant, Congress is expected to pass a funding bill that they will likely vote on later this week. Considering that Initiative 71 was hoped to end racial discrimination due to biased laws, people of Washington DC are enraged at this bypass of Democracy.
 
 
Michael Collins, the Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs stated, “Democratic leadership made it clear they would stand with voters on this crucial racial justice issue and push back against Republican opposition to the DC law. Democrats have always made claims of supporting DC home rule now is their chance to stands with 70% of voters in the District who voted for marijuana reform.”
 
 
A study done in 2013 by ACLU showed that African Americans were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as compared to whites, despite marijuana use rates being the same regardless of race. With such a ridiculous difference between arrests, civil rights and other advocacy groups have signed on to an open letter, encouraging the Democratic leadership to protect the votes of DC citizens. “As you conclude negotiations over the FY15 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, we urge you to reject all efforts to include undemocratic restrictions on DC rights,” the letter said.
 
 
It’s sad that the voters stand to possibly lose their efforts to vote in such a sad attempt to thwart cannabis progress in the nation’s capitol. People all over the country support marijuana more than ever and advocates were really hoping for a smooth legalization process in DC. But of course, there always seems to be someone (in this case, Hal Roger, a Republican from Kentucky, and the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, who sponsored the amendment) who wants to cause problems and are attempting to undermine the voters choices.

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Five States Thinking About Legalization In 2016

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, December, 15th 2014 by THCFinder
5-states-thinking-about-legalizing-marijuana-in-2016
In 2014, there were three states that legalized cannabis; Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC. These three states joined in with Washington and Colorado, making a total of five states that have begun to sell marijuana recreationally. If the states continue to see the same amount of success as they have so far, it’s expected that there will be more states that join this list in the ballot year 2016. Here are the five most likely states that are looking at marijuana legalization in the next two years.
 
 
California
In 2010, there was a legalization proposal on the ballot but it fell short of the required 60% needed to pass. As a rebuttal to the fail, the Marijuana Policy Project spearheaded a campaign for marijuana legalization in California 2016. MPP is urging voters to pass a tax in order to regulate the initiative similar to how Colorado has chosen to regulate the business. Since California was the first state to pass a bill for legal medical marijuana in 1996, MPP expects that their campaign will help to push California over the edge in to legal marijuana.
 
 
Nevada
While being a state that has long been somewhat of a supporter of marijuana use, Nevada has decriminalized the possession of the plant as well as medical use in 2000. The state went even further as to revise the existing polices in place for medical marijuana in 2013 in order to meet the intentions put forth in the original law. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana in Nevada is an organization that is working towards putting the legal marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2016. 
 
 
Massachusetts
Much like the above mentioned Nevada, Massachusetts has a history of legislatively support of marijuana use, allowing the decriminalization and medical marijuana ballots both to pass. In 2014, votes approved ballot questions that showed support for legalization and regulation. A Boston Herald poll showed that 53% of likely voters say that they favor marijuana legalization.
 
 
Maine
Portland and South Portland have already legalized cannabis for recreational use. They allow medical marijuana and have decriminalized possession. 
 
 
Arizona; Even though the penalties for cannabis are strict in this state, there will be a large push for recreational marijuana in Arizona in Safer Arizona is a political action committee that will be taking up broad support for the plant’s reform during the election, aiming to have marijuana legalized and regulated like alcohol. Arizona Capitol Times ran a poll in February showing that 51% of voters favorite legalization in 2016.

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Post-Dispatch Endorses Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 28th 2014 by THCFinder
miss-legalizationEarlier this month, the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch — the newspaper with the largest circulation in the state of Missouri — ran a staff editorial endorsing the idea of cannabis legalization and the initiative we turned in to the Secretary of State, in particular.
 
This endorsement is yet another sign of how this issue has moved into the mainstream, even in a right-leaning state such as Missouri. It also signifies how seriously we are now taken by the state’s gatekeepers, which has not always been the case.
 
In fact, until recently, few newspapers in the country were willing to support the idea of legalization, let alone a specific initiative. For example, although the Denver Post had supported legalizing possession and use of cannabis prior to 2012, they urged readers to vote against Colorado’s Amendment 64. The paper feared it would lead to a clash with the federal government and did not want the state to become home to a major cannabis industry.
 
By contrast, the Post-Dispatch welcomes such an industry in Missouri as a much needed boost to our economy:
 
More than Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Washington, D.C., Missouri has a strong history with hemp agricultural production, having been a leader in the industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The ongoing research in the state on using biomass for energy could well benefit from an introduction of hemp crops to the state. Life science research into agricultural hybrids and advanced drug applications could find new and more effective ways to use marijuana for medical purposes. And there might be no other state in the nation that could benefit more from a new tax on the sales of legal pot that could fund various state needs, such as Missouri’s underfunded schools.
 
The editorial also notes that legalizing cannabis could do a great deal to improve race relations in the state, particularly in the Saint Louis area:
 
A ground-breaking 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks in the U.S. are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites despite similar usage rates. The disparity in the city of St. Louis in that study was a whopping 18 to 1.
 
This mirrors the problems found in north St. Louis County, where state racial profiling numbers all across the region show that blacks are stopped by police at a significantly higher percentage than whites, and searched for contraband more, even though, the statistics say, the hit rate for drugs or other contraband is higher among the white drivers who are pulled over.
 
The result? Too many young black men and women in prison for offenses that wouldn’t lead to prison for middle-class whites. Missouri’s prisons are overcrowded and in the last couple of decades have eaten up a higher percentage of the state’s budget while schools have received less, percentage-wise.
 
One arrest for smoking dope unleashes a domino effect that contributes significantly to the state of distressed communities.
 
Finally, the editors note that legalization is one of the few issues that can transcend party lines in this divided state. Democrats have traditionally supported cannabis law reform more than Republicans, but the issue appeals to the fiscally conservative and limited government values of the Republican Party, as well.
 
While the Star did not do an editorial endorsement, they did run a good opinion piece covering Neill Franklin and Ira Glasser’s presentations at the UMKC law school on November 13. As perhaps the most-read newspaper in the state of Kansas, a favorable nod from the Star signals that even the bright red Sunflower State is feeling the pressure of prohibition reform thanks to Show-Me Cannabis’ work in Missouri and Colorado’s Amendment 64.
 
We continue to discuss possible changes to our initiative and will likely file subsequent drafts after assessing comments from attorneys, scientific polling data, and your feedback. Although the specifics are not yell fully settled, we will move forward with the broadest possible reform that we believe will pass at the ballot box on November 8, 2016.
 

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