Phoenix lawmaker pushes for full legalization of marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Sat, November, 30th 2013 by THCFinder
PHOENIX -- Saying legislation is better than a voter initiative, the Number 2 Democrat in the state House wants colleagues to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix pointed out that proponents of making marijuana legal for adults are gearing up to put the issue on the 2016 ballot. And Gallego said he believes that Arizona voters, who approved the drug for medical use three years ago, may be ready to take the next step.
But Gallego warned that anything adopted by voters is pretty much cemented into place: The Arizona Constitution sharply limits lawmakers from tinkering with anything approved at the ballot, even if they find major flaws.
So Gallego is proposing to have the issue debated through the legislative process, with the idea that lawmakers are better suited to coming up with a comprehensive plan -- and one without unforeseen problems -- than outsiders circulating petitions.
The head of the House Judiciary Committee, through which Gallego's measure would have to pass, acknowledged that attitudes about marijuana in Arizona are becoming more liberal. In fact, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, said voters might even approve a legalization measure at the ballot.
But Farnsworth said he's still opposed to the idea. And he said just because it might be approved at the poll is no reason for him and others who don't want marijuana legalized to vote to support it at the Capitol.
Gallego, who said he's never tried marijuana, said one reason to legalize the drug is purely economic: the costs to the state of jailing people for marijuana possession.
He acknowledged that a 1996 voter-approved measure generally allows first- and second-time offenders to escape incarceration. But Gallego said prosecutors use the fact that someone had marijuana when arrested for something to boost their prison sentence.
He also said that those with marijuana possession convictions face other problems, like becoming ineligible for federal Pell grants and federally backed student loans.
Read more: http://www.cvbugle.com
Mass. activists push to fully legalize marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 29th 2013 by THCFinder
BOSTON — Pro-marijuana activists in Massachusetts have already succeeded in paving the way for dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug.
Now many of those same activists have set their sights on the full legalization of marijuana for adults, effectively putting the drug on a par with alcohol and cigarettes.
And those activists — as they have in the past — are again hoping to make their case directly to voters.
The group Bay State Repeal says it's planning to put the proposal on the state's 2016 ballot. The group is first planning to test different versions of the measure by placing nonbinding referendum questions on next year's ballot in about a dozen state representative districts.
Those nonbinding questions are intended to gauge voter support for possible variations of the final, binding question.
Bill Downing, a member of Bay State Repeal, said the state should legalize marijuana for many reasons, especially since the use of marijuana no longer carries the stigma it once did and many people smoke the drug despite laws against it.
"That's the problem with the marijuana laws," Downing said. "There's no moral impact anymore because the laws don't reflect our common values."
The activists have some reason to be hopeful. Not only have Massachusetts voters twice supported past efforts to ease restrictions on marijuana, but other states and cities have also recently moved toward lifting prohibitions on the drug.
Last year, voters made Washington and Colorado the first states to legalize the sale of taxed marijuana to adults over 21 at state-licensed stores.
This month, voters in Portland, Maine, overwhelmingly passed a question making it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to 2½ ounces of pot but not purchase, sell or use it in public.
Read more: http://bostonherald.com
Maine fails to legalize marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Sat, November, 23rd 2013 by THCFinder
An effort to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Maine has failed in the state’s Legislative Council, which vets bills before they can be introduced for consideration.
The bill would have legalized, taxed, and regulated the use of marijuana in the state, but it failed to gather majority support in the council. The final vote was 5-5, and the bill will not be considered again until 2015.
The tabling of the bill comes after Portland, Maine, became the first city on the East Coast to officially legalize the drug earlier this month.
"Portland had spoken so loudly that it's a shame that Legislative Council didn't listen to them," said Democratic state Rep. Diane Russell, who introduced the bill, to the Portland Daily Sun. About 81 percent of votes in Russell’s district voted for Portland’s initiative to legalize pot, which passed easily citywide with 70 percent support overall.
If Russell’s measure had passed its initial vote, it would’ve been brought up for consideration during the state’s four-month second legislative session that begins on January 1. Under Maine’s constitution, this session is reserved for emergency and budget-related bills, and according to one of the council’s nay votes, there is simply not enough time to debate and analyze such an important proposal.
"We're going into a short session [in January], and for Portlanders and Mainers this short session is exactly four months, and for a bill that is this complex and this big, I did not feel it had the time to have the stakeholders come together," said Democratic state Senator Justin Alfond, whose district is also located in Portland, to the Daily Sun.
Supporters of the bill, including Marijuana Policy Project Political Director David Boyer, told the Huffington Post it’s disappointing to see Alfond vote against a bill his constituents overwhelmingly support.
Read more: http://rt.com
Half of Wisconsin voters support marijuana legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 19th 2013 by THCFinder
In two states last year, voters legalized recreational marijuana. One of those states, Colorado, is similar politically to Wisconsin.
And yet, few among Wisconsin’s political class appear to take pot legalization seriously. If anything, it is dismissed as a wacky western idea that has no place in the heartland.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke seemed amused when asked what she thought about cannabis legalization several weeks ago.
“I don’t think that’s where the people of Wisconsin are at,” said Burke, who has indicated she could support legalizing medical marijuana.
Gary Storck, an activist with the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), pointed out in a letter-to-the-editor that the most recent statewide poll by the Marquette University Law School showed that roughly half of Wisconsin’s registered voters support full legalization of the drug.
Specifically, 49.7 percent supported legalization, 44.9 percent opposed and 4.7 percent didn’t know.
Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, the chief sponsor in the Assembly of a bill to set up a system for medical marijuana, said she is not sure where she stands on full legalization.
“I think there are pros and cons to it,” she said.
Read more: http://host.madison.com
California Posed To Legalize In 2016
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 11th 2013 by THCFinder
Since California has been at the head of marijuana pioneering for so long, it's easy to forget that marijuana isn't actually legal there. F or medical purposes, yes. But the laws are so lax that the plant might as well be allowed for everyone. I'm sure that I was not the only one surprised to see that Colorado and Washington, not to mention Portland, Maine, legalize before California. Either way, this sunny state i pushing for legalization in 2016.
According to polls, more than half of the California population backs legalization of marijuana. No surprise, since most people there are smoking anyways, whether or not they have a serious medical condition. But let's be honest, life is just nicer when you're smoking. Am I right? From serious afflictions like cancer to anxiety, everyone could use a little marijuana now and then.
Lawmakers and politicians are saying that the legalization is only a matter of time. Since the allowance of medical marijuana in California is 1996, the annual tax revenue has climbed upwards of $100 million. That's a crazy amount of money for the state. It's not surprising that everyone in California seems so happy. While marijuana legalization isn't expected to pass in 2014, people are convinced it will in 2016. It's not a matter of if but a matter of when. It'll happen eventually. Go California!
Will Tennessee Legalize Hemp?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 11th 2013 by THCFinder
Tennessee might join other states that have removed hemp prohibition at the state level, at least that’s what one Tennessee Senator wants to see happen. Tennessee Senator Frank Niceley, a Republican from Strawberry Fields, says he is drafting a bill that legalize hemp production in Kentucky. Hemp is a crop that farmers nationwide would love to grow, especially in Tennessee. Hemp can be used to make plastics, insulation, paper, foods, clothes, and many, many other things.
The biggest hurdle facing hemp legalization in Tennessee is the fact that politicians don’t realize that hemp is not the same as marijuana.
“Their biggest fear is that, if they support hemp, people will think they support marijuana,” Niceley said, according to The Tennessean. “That’s a cousin of hemp, but cornbread is a cousin of moonshine.”
Hemp prohibition provides no benefit to anyone. A person can’t get high from hemp, so any money that is spent enforcing hemp prohibition is wasted. And even if one farmer can make one dollar from hemp production, considering it doesn’t harm anyone, they should be allowed to do so. To say otherwise would be bad public policy…Que the quote from reefer madness supporter Jon Lundberg, a Tennessee Representative from Bristol:
“On occasion, Sen. Niceley does things for political reasons more than for good policy,” Lundberg said, according to The Tennessean. Mr. Lundberg, can you please explain how supporting farmers who want to grow hemp is not ‘good policy?’ It’s pretty obvious who is doing things for political reasons.
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