Will DC Get Legal Cannabis?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, December, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
Even 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.
Five States Thinking About Legalization In 2016
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, December, 15th 2014 by THCFinder
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Post-Dispatch Endorses Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 28th 2014 by THCFinder
Earlier 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.
California Attorney General: Marijuana Legalization Is Inevitable
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
Marijuana legalization in California is long overdue. California had the chance to legalize marijuana during the 2010 Election, however, the initiative failed. Since then, there have been many reasons that marijuana legalization efforts haven’t happened in California. The main ones I always point out is that California will be by far the most expensive state to run a successful campaign in, and there are too many competing efforts each election cycle. Unless everyone works together, marijuana legalization will be very hard to achieve in California.
But despite the reasons that California hasn’t legalized yet, many believe that legalization is inevitable. This is a view that is even shared by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Per Buzz Feed:
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a rising star in the Democratic Party, says she’s “not opposed” to her state legalizing marijuana.
“I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective,” Harris told BuzzFeed News in an interview in Washington, D.C. “I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized.”
“We’re watching it happen right before our eyes in Colorado and Washington. I don’t think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out,” Harris said. “I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”
I really, really hope that California legalizes marijuana during the 2016 Election, or even better, during the next legislative session. If the California Legislature legalized marijuana, it would save a ton of money, time, and effort for the reform community, and would give California’s Legislature influence over the process. Until California legalizes marijuana, it will always be seen as a ‘top prize’ for marijuana activists.
Will Guatemala Legalize Marijuana In 2015?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 18th 2014 by THCFinder
One of my favorite places I’ve ever visited is Guatemala. I went there on a ten day missionary trip in 2009, and it’s a trip that will forever be in my heart. The people there were so nice and the country was so beautiful. I love fresh fruit, and I’m not that tall, and there’s fresh fruit everywhere there and everyone’s my height. But despite it’s beauty and amazing citizens, Guatemala is very poor. Guatemala is also plagued by the same problems that come with marijuana prohibition that other countries in Latin and South America face. Cartel operations are all over the place, and there’s a lot of misery as a result.
It’s time that Guatemala changed it’s marijuana policies to help defeat cartels, and help improve the economics of the country. It sounds like 2015 might be the year for that. Per teleSUR:
In an exclusive interview with teleSUR, Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina said that his government would follow the example of Uruguay by taking a decision on legalizing marijuana in early 2015.
Guatemala would greatly benefit from marijuana legalization. Like I said, there is a strong cartel presence in the country, and legalizing marijuana would no doubt hurt those cartels. Jobs are very much needed in Guatemala, and a booming marijuana industry would bring many jobs no doubt. Local economies in Guatemala would thrive. The climate in Guatemala is ripe for marijuana farms, which would instantly make Guatemala a leader in the global marijuana market.
Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Moves Forward In Arkansas
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. have all legalized marijuana. Within the next two years, more that a dozen states could join that list. One of those states may be Arkansas, where a marijuana legalization initiative campaign is underway. The Arkansas Attorney General recently approved the ballot tile for the initiative, which is a big first step. Per KATV:
A group is spearheading a campaign to create a new constitutional amendment in Arkansas that would legalize marijuana – both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The group got approval from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office on the wording of their ballot title last week – now the group awaits approval the Secretary of State’s office on the wording of their petition instructions.
Fred Porter, co-author of the Arkansas Hemp & Marijuana Amendment is probably the last person you think would be pushing for marijuana legalization. Porter is pastor at the Sabbath Day Church of God in Hot Springs, as well as vice president of Arkansas CALM, the Citizen’s Alliance for the Legalization of Marijuana.
“We want it regulated, we want it made available and we think we have the very best amendment out there to do that,” said Porter.
It’s rapidly becoming easier to make a list of states that won’t legalize marijuana by 2016, rather than a list of states that may succeed in reforming their marijuana laws. I’ll be reaching out to the Arkansas campaign to see if they need help spreading their message. If you live in Arkansas, please do everything you can to help by volunteering and contributing to the campaign in anyway that you can.
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