Effort To Legalize Marijuana In Mississippi Is Underway
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, January, 20th 2015 by THCFinder
Mississippi is not a friendly place when it comes to marijuana policy. Get caught with even a little bit of marijuana for a second offense, and you could be looking at 3 years in prison and a hefty fine. Selling a small amount results in a similar penalty. Distributing or cultivating within 1500 feet of a school or church doubles the penalties. Penalties get even harsher as the amount of marijuana involved increases. It’s because of those harsh penalties that marijuana legalization is so important in Mississippi.
Fortunately, there is an effort underway to legalize marijuana in Mississippi. Supporters are currently gathering signatures. Per Marijuana.Com:
The latest example of this activism can be seen in the deep south. Discontent with Mississippi’s currently harsh and outdated cannabis laws, activists in the state have begun traversing the state to gather signatures and fight for legalization.
Over 800 volunteers in the state have dispersed to hopefully obtain the needed 107,000 signatures that would place a referendum to legalize marijuana on Mississippi’s 2016 ballot. Titled Ballot Initiative 48, the initiative would legalize the “production, sale and use of recreational and medical marijuana and industrial hemp” much like Colorado has done.
Recreational cannabis would be taxed at a 7 percent rate and all proceeds would go to Mississippi’s public school system. Moreover, marijuana use and possession would also become decriminalized, keeping the state’s smokers out of prison and the state’s cops from persecuting marijuana use.
It would be nice to see the volunteer effort gain enough traction to get the attention and backing of a national organization. 107,000 signatures won’t be enough, as valid signature rates can vary greatly. Still, it’s an effort very much pursuing, and I tip my hat to those fighting for reform in Mississippi. It will be an uphill battle no doubt, but it’s a battle fought in the name of justice.
Marijuana Legalization For Ladies
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, January, 15th 2015 by THCFinder
Last week in Kansas City, Show-Me Cannabis launched the first of many salons to come geared specifically for ladies. About 50 people (mostly women) packed the room at the “Women and Cannabis” meet-up at the Bluebird Bistro on Thursday, January 8, to discuss how women are uniquely affected by marijuana prohibition — and why women are in a unique position to end that prohibition. Many shared their own stories of encounters with law enforcement. Others were surprised to learn that women in prison are routinely shackled during child-birthing or that children may be removed from a home on mere suspicion of illegal drug use. All agreed that our current punitive policies don’t work, and that women have a unique opportunity to bring about a more nurturing and health-based approach to dealing with cannabis use.
I must say, attending this event was truly one of the most empowering situations of which I have been able to be a part. Up to this point, we have never truly created a space for women in Missouri to dialogue on these issues. Not only is it vital to “get the vote” of the female demographic currently in support of prohibition, there is value in making room for women to participate in this new industry. Like so many other areas of business, the playing field of “cannabusiness” is dominated by male leadership. So as we all work to move the marijuana market out of the shadows of illegal activity, I hope that we can ensure support for the success of women in this industry.
Please keep an eye out for future events throughout Missouri!
We intend to have an event in Kansas City again on Thursday, February 5, but, since we filled capacity at our last location, the next venue is yet TBA.
In Columbia, we will have a Women and Cannabis event on Wednesday, February 4 (location TBA).
St. Louis will be planning a ladies-centered event in the near future — look for something in late February or early March.
Springfield is planning for something major in May, but don’t be surprised if activists demand something sooner. So keep an eye out!
The legislative session has also begun in Jefferson City, and as moms, daughters, and sisters, women should be presenting their voices to our legislators. If you are interested in getting involved with the women’s lobby for Show-Me Cannabis or would like to help organize a local event, please send me an email at email@example.com.
The race is on to legalize marijuana in Arizona
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, January, 12th 2015 by THCFinder
PHOENIX -- Arizona legislators should legalize recreational marijuana before voters do according to State Rep. Mark Cardenas. The lawmaker recently began working on a bill to legalize the personal use of marijuana.
Cardenas said he believes the legislature needs to be proactive when it comes to legalizing pot because it is easier to change a legislative bill than it is a ballot initiative passed by voters.
"In order to change (a voter referendum or initiative) we have to have 75 percent of the legislature agree to that change and so with something that is as controversial as marijuana you are not going to get 75 percent of the legislature to fix it," Cardenas said.
Arizona's Voter Protection Act prevents the legislature or governor from tampering with a ballot initiative or referendum passed by voters.
Being unable to change voter-passed marijuana laws could lead to some unintended consequences like a poorly regulated and taxed system according to Cardenas.
"It is time to be a little bit smarter about marijuana use and a system of taxation and regulation and say ‘you know what, this is going to happen, we are a group of 90 smart people so let's get together and see how we can best implement this system,'" he said.
State legislators have an obligation to listen to the will of the voters according to Cardenas and he believes the majority of Arizonans want marijuana prohibition to end.
"As of right now over 50 percent of the population in Arizona wants it and so this is one of those things that we have to put our egos aside and come to the table and … come up with the best method to make this happen and deploy it in Arizona," he said.
Despite Cardenas push within the legislature to legalize recreational pot in 2015, marijuana advocates are taking matters into their own hands.
Members of the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) do not believe the state legislature will pass Cardenas' bill so they are currently drafting a voter initiative to legalize marijuana in 2016.
"State officials are elected by voters and if they are not going to get this measure passed in the legislature than the voters can do it directly and that is why there is a voter initiative process," Mason Tvert, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said.
Though MMP would support a legislative bill legalizing marijuana, Tvert said ending marijuana prohibition in Arizona will likely only happen through a voter-passed initiative.
"Voters tend to be a little out front of elected officials when it comes to issues like this and we want to see this change made as soon as possible," he said.
Due to Arizona's Voter Protection Act, a voter initiative legalizing recreational pot use would put power in the public's hands instead of a handful of lawmakers according to Tvert.
Maines Marijuana Push 2016
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, January, 9th 2015 by THCFinder
Maine is becoming one of the forefront states of the marijuana movement in the United States. The small east coast state started when it legalized marijuana in Portland and then South Portland, pairing with the already-in-place medical laws in the state. Now, there are people pushing for the full out legalization of the plant, which will hopefully put Maine at the top of the list for legal east coast states.
Right now, there are multiple bills and initiatives in Maine that are working towards new and improved marijuana laws. The first is the marijuana OUI bill which is being proposed by the Maine Department of Safety. This bill will set a limit that will allow police officers on patrol to determine if a driver is too high to be driving. While there haven’t really been reports of increased traffic accidents in Washington and Colorado, driving while under the influence of marijuana remains one of the largest concerns to state officials.
The second bill that is being introduced by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) is the fourth that she has put out. This will be the bill introducing the idea of legalizing and taxing marijuana in a retail market. According to Russell, this is the Legislature’s last chance to get out in front of two competing citizen initiatives that are likely to end up on the 2016 ballot. Two pro-marijuana grows, the Marijuana Policy Project and Legalize Maine, plan to launch petition drives to collect signatures for 2016 referendums to legalize recreational drug use, like the states of Washington and Colorado. The proposals different in a few ways, including whether or not marijuana should be used privately or allowed in social club settings.
It’s clear that the people in Maine are heading towards full legalization of marijuana. Hopefully, we will see them pass it in the entire state come 2016. With the current legal states making as much money as they are, it’s hard to deny such a large cash flow. Not to mention that most of the people in these states are tired of senseless arrests and hard to decipher laws and regulations. It’s a plant. It’s time to legalize.
DC's New Attorney General Says Marijuana Legalization Can Proceed
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, January, 5th 2015 by THCFinder
During the 2014 Election, Washington D.C. voters overwhelmingly passed a marijuana legalization initiative. Attempts by politicians outside of D.C. to prevent implementation were swift. Provisions added to the federal spending bill by members of Congress suggested that the marijuana legalization initiative would not become a reality. However, after a lot of analysis, and poor wording in the federal spending bill, it appears that attempts to stop implementation didn’t work. Washington D.C.’s new Attorney General agrees. Per the Washington Post:
Racine will have an opportunity to make an immediate splash: His office must review the implications of the closely watched marijuana legalization measure that D.C. voters approved overwhelmingly on Nov. 4 but that has since been subject to a congressional attempt to overturn it.
In an interview, Racine made clear that he would seek to uphold the ballot initiative, saying that the language included in the recent federal spending bill may block future attempts to loosen marijuana controls but not the Nov. 4 vote. His stance comports with the interpretation put forward by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and other D.C. and Democratic officials.
“We think Initiative 71 was basically self-enacted, just as the congresswoman does,” Racine said. “And we think there’s good support for that position, and we’re going to support that position.”
I cannot wait until there is legal recreational marijuana being grown in our nation’s capital. I would also like to see a thriving industry there, but I especially want to see average citizens growing their own marijuana in their own homes. That’s something I have been waiting to see for a long time. Hopefully people like Andy Harris will give up and realize that they can’t stop the winds of change, and that the reefer madness era in D.C. is over.
Anchorage Fights For Legal Weed
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, December, 26th 2014 by THCFinder
This past November, Alaska passed a bill legalizing marijuana in the state. But two members of the Assembly decided to try to roadblock the implementation of legal cannabis in Anchorage. After a four hour debate and public testimony on Tuesday night, the measure was killed with a 9-2 vote, with only two people supporting the measure.
Several of the Assembly members expressed their concern that banning the legal marijuana market would disconnect them from the conversations regarding the plant at a state level. “I’m fearful the message on ‘opt out’ will send key legislators in Anchorage to the sidelines,” said Assemblyman Bill Starr. “That will make my work harder.”
Most people who attended the public hearing were opposed to the ordinance. Those who held medical marijuana cards lamented the idea of struggling to get their medicine illegally. Others were concerned with the city finances and that the Assembly shouldn’t avoid new ways of getting revenue in the form of marijuana tax sales. Additionally, some mentioned that they would distrust officials for even considering to circumvent the Alaskan voters’ wishes, a good point as this was what the people wanted to see happen.
Jeff Jessee, someone who worked on the campaign opposing Ballot Measure 2, is worried that there’s too much unknown with the regulations of marijuana that it would make sense to stop it before it gets going. “We need to temper the expectations that it will be open season for this industry in Anchorage.” But clearly, Jessee and the other oppressors don’t see what’s happening in Colorado and Washington. Things aren’t falling apart and the states are raking in money for legal cannabis sales. Washington recently hit the $1 million mark, making them extremely successful with their cannabis model, just like Colorado.
One of the medical marijuana patients who ended up crying at the meeting, June Pittman-Unsworth, said she has no legal options to grow the plant herself… Or even obtain it for that matter, without the help of the shops. “The state failed me… Don’t let the city fail me,” she said. “This ordinance is premature and open-ended. There’s no date on when to comply. I want you to think about that.” Rev. Michael Burke of Common Sense on Marijuana in Alaska, a group of business and faith leaders that want to have a voice in the marijuana regulatory process, also asked the city to hold of on banning the shops. He claimed that the ordinance didn’t pass the “red face” rest and that his worries are that the voters will be extremely cynical of their leaders for pushing this ordinance so soon after the initiative was passed.
As with Washington and Colorado, the newly legal states have a lot of work laid out for them before these legal marijuana markets can be implemented. At least a year will go by before the citizens of these states see any changes. Business models, laws, and regulations must be put in to place responsibly, in order to prevent any further speed bumps. While there have been many victories for cannabis in 2014, there is a long road ahead of us if we want to see full on marijuana legalization.
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