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When Will California Legalize Marijuana?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, August, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
when-will-cali-legalize-marijuanaFor a long time I thought that California would be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. After all, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. But legalizing recreational marijuana has been tough for California. California was the first state to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana when Proposition 19 qualified for the 2010 Election. That was the same year that Jay Smoker and I created The Weed Blog. It was a very exciting year for reform, even if the initiative didn’t pass.
 
There were many reasons that the initative didn’t pass. A big contributing factor was the year. 2010 was not a Presidential election year, which isn’t enough alone to doom a marijuana initiative in my opinion, but certainly contributes, especially considering that no other state had even voted on marijuana legalization before. Colorado and Washington benefitted in 2012 from California’s attempt in 2010. California laid the groudwork.
 
I was hoping California would be back in 2012, but there were so many different campaigns gathering signatures, and not enough backing for any particular one, that it made it nearly impossible to qualify for the ballot. Had California’s multiple campaigns all gotten on the same page and pooled resources, maybe things would have been different, but there’s obviously no way to know now.
California is the most populous state in the country, and getting enough signatures to qualify for Election Day is going to take deep, deep pockets. To qualify for the 2014 ballot, initatives would have had to gather 504,760 valid signatures for an initiative statute, and 807,615 for a constitutional amendment. That is not cheap. I don’t think an ‘all volunteer’ effort is going to be able to make that happen. I would absolutely like to be wrong about that, but I just don’t see it happening. A successful California signature gathering effort is going to take a lot of money, similar to what was spent in 2010 by Richard Lee and friends.
 
After the successful Amendment 64 campaign in Colorado, Amendment 64 campaign director Mason Tvert was on the Bill Maher show ‘Real Time.’ On that episode, Bill Maher asked what it would take to get Mason Tvert to do the same in California as he did in Colorado. Mason Tvert said that if Bill Maher could get enough donations, he would lead the way. Both men shook hands, which is encouraging, given how much money Bill Maher and his friends have.
 
So when will California legalize marijuana? I personally think that California is going to be one of many states that legalizes marijuana during the 2016 Election. It’s a presidential election year, which is good. There appears to be support from national organizations and rich funders like Bill Maher for 2016. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be cheap, but I think at the end of the 2016 Election California will have legalized marijuana, and it will be a huge domino that increases momentum for legalization nationwide.
 

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Oregon Marijuana Legalization Campaign Launches First Commercial

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, July, 4th 2014 by THCFinder

The New Approach Oregon campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana is ramping up it’s efforts after turning in over 145,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. If signature verification goes well, Oregon will be joining Alaska and hopefully Washington D.C. during the 2014 Election and giving voters the chance to legalize marijuana at the ballot box. Florida voters will have the chance to legalize medical marijuana, in addition to local marijuana legalization initiatives in Michigan. The New Approach Oregon campaign released its first campaign video.

Retired middle school teacher Margie Harris talks about why she believes it is time for Oregon to legalize, regulate and tax the adult use of marijuana. It will provide more protection for children, allow law enforcement to spend limited resources on real crime and provide funding for our schools, public safety and treatment.

 

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Heres What Colorado Looks Like 6 Months into Marijuana Legalization

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, July, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
colorado-mj-legalizationJuly 1st 2014 marked the 6 month anniversary of the launch of Colorado’s great social experiment – the legalization and regulation of marijuana for all adults age 21 and over.  News coverage of the state’s highly scrutinized, yet burgeoning retail cannabis industry has been lukewarm, but a review of the last six months shows that (although inconclusive in its early stages) this policy has not only failed to cause the reefer madness social breakdown predicted by prohibitionists, it appears that this new industry is starting to positively impact the state and its communities.
 
Colorado is projected to save tens of millions of dollars in law enforcement expenses this year.  Job opportunities continue to open up and revenue is expected grow at an unprecedented rate – a significant portion of which has already been allocated to public schools and education programs.
 
 Below are five positive social and economic developments that can be attributed to Colorado’s 6-month old retail cannabis market:
- $69,527,760 in retail marijuana pot sales.
-10,000 people working in the marijuana industry(1,000-2,000 gaining employment in last few months)
- 5.2% decrease in violent crime in the city of Denver.
- No Colorado stores found selling to minors.
- $10.8 million in tax revenue (not including licensing fees)
 
 
All in all, these first few months have shown in practice that the benefits of legalization significantly outweigh those of prohibition, both morally and economically.   One can’t deny that there will be bumps in the road.   As this new market continues to evolve we should be prepared for the emergence of new, unanticipated issues.  However, one can be comforted in the fact that any rising concerns are being addressed and rectified in a responsible and expeditious manner – both on the part of lawmakers and industry leaders.  As Colorado moves forward, and more states begin to implement similar policies, the politicians and the population will see that this is the right policy for our children, our economy and our society.
 

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Philadelphia City Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, June, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
philadelphia-votes-to-decrim-mj
The domino effect is starting to sweep the east coast. Not even... It seems as if every state on the colder coast is working on marijuana reform. While those in California have been happy that they've gotten so far ahead, east coasters get things done... Fast. There's no time to waste when there's laws to be changed! Philadelphia is hopping on that train. Last week, their city council voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce. Meaning that if you get caught with that amount, you'll get a $25 ticket.
 
While the plant will remain illegal, this will allow people to get away with the more minor infractions. The absolutely ridiculousness of the laws pertaining to marijuana get people locked up for years, sometimes their entire lives. A lot of these people don't even commit violent crimes, they're just people who enjoy lighting a plant on fire and inhaling the smoke. The bill correctly addresses the problem of arresting people for minor amounts of bud, stating that such infractions "increases the number of people with life changing criminal records". The vote at the city council passed 13-3 in Philadelphia last Thursday.
 
Police in Philly will still be able to arrest those who are caught with less then one ounce, so it's important to remember that you still need to be polite to the cops. The nicer you are to them, the less chance you have of getting a ticket... Or worse. While you still might be cuffed for toking or carrying bud in public, this is definitely a step in the right direction for cannabis on the east coast. As of right now, Philly, New York, Florida, and Ohio have medical marijuana bills at some point in the voting process. Let's hope that these measures pass and patients can get the medicine that they need without having to worry about federal consequences.

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New York To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, June, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
ny-legalizing-marijuanaAfter numerous attempts, and lots of negotiating, it appears that medical marijuana is going to be legalized in New York State. Medical marijuana has passed the New York Assembly numerous times, but always failed in the Senate. Last week it appeared that the Senate was set to vote and approve medical marijuana, until New York Governor Cuomo sprung a last minute list of demands in an attempt to kill the process. Thankfully, negotations were successful and New York will likely get a medical marijuana program after all. See a press release below from the Drug Policy Alliance, who was instrumental in getting the legislation passed:
 
Today, the Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo announced a deal to move forward on a limited medical marijuana program, which makes New York the 23rd state to adopt such a program. The new law will provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as well as children struggling with seizure disorders.
 
Although the final bill language has not yet been released, advocates were pleased to hear that there had been a breakthrough in Albany.  As recently as yesterday, it was unclear that an agreement could be reached between the Governor and legislative leaders on behalf of thousands of patients and their caregivers who have demanded passage of the Compassionate Care Act, which recently passed the Assembly.
 
Information currently available about the bill suggests that it has some serious limitations and restrictions.  For example, the bill would prohibit smoking, restrict any access to the raw plant form of marijuana.  The number of producers and dispensaries is also reportedly extremely limited, raising questions about whether the system will be able to meet the needs of patients in New York.
 
Statement for Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance:
 
“New York has finally done something significant for thousands of patients who are suffering and need relief now. They will benefit from this compromise.
 
“That said, this is not the bill we wanted. We are disappointed to learn that eligible conditions have been limited, and despite strong medical evidence about the benefits of smoked and raw cannabis, leaders decided to exclude this as an option for doctors and patients in New York.  We strongly believe that the decision about the mode of administration for any medication should be left up to doctor and their patients.  The cost of purchasing a vaporizer and the extract products will likely leave many low-income patients behind, and there is little research on the long-term health effects of using extracts. We know that overly restrictive programs, like New Jersey’s, can create enormous obstacles for suffering patients. We hope that the proposal being put forth today is both well regulated and flexible enough to ensure that patients who need medication get it – and get it in a timely fashion.  We look forward to seeing the details and to working ensure this is implemented as quickly as possible.
 

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Florida Passes Medical Marijuana Bill Allowing Minimal Use

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, June, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
florida-mmj-passesFlorida Governor Rick Scott signed a medical marijuana bill into law on Monday that allows limited use of the strain "Charlotte's Web" to help treat those with epileptic seizures as well as other diseases.
 
The Charlotte's Web strain of marijuana was named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, who suffered from frequent seizures that lasted between two and four hours and required countless hospitalizations. The disease Charlotte suffered from is called Dravet Syndrome, which is a severe form of epilepsy that cannot be medicated.
 
It took a few years, but finally it was discovered that a strain of marijuana low in tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD) could control the excessive electrical and chemical activity in the brain that causes these seizures. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana whereas CBD is the medicinal compound. Charlotte's mother took the suffering child to Colorado in hopes of treating her with this strain of marijuana. Now, Charlotte is given a dose of this cannabis oil twice a day and she's more alive and functional than ever.
Since then, the strain of marijuana was named after Charlotte, and it helps treat 41 other patients with similar symptoms as well as those with other forms of epilepsy. Governor Scott joined the effort to help promote certain forms of marijuana that can be effectively used as medicine. He spoke on Monday after signing the bill.
 
"As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer," said Governor Scott in this CBS Miami article. "The approval of Charlotte's Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life. I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available."
 
The bill was passed with bipartisan support, which made it easy for Governor Scott to sign because it shows it regarded an issue where people could drastically benefit from the marijuana's use. The success stories of Charlotte and other Dravet Syndrome patients also helped out the cause. Florida joined twenty other states and the District of Columbia who have laws that permit marijuana for medical use.
 

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