Feds Take First Step Towards Hemp Legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, February, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
Yesterday was a big day for hemp advocates. A new farm bill was passed by Congress yesterday, which includes a provision that would allow universities and state agriculture departments to establish hemp programs. The farm bill just needs to be signed by the President now. It’s not a full on legalization of hemp, but it clears a major first hurdle to doing so. I’m confident that once hemp is researched, and grown industrially without issues, full legalization will come sooner than later.
“Oregonians have made it clear that they believe industrial hemp should be treated as an agricultural commodity, not a drug,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who helped author the amendment, told The Oregonian in a statement. ”By including language easing restrictions on industrial hemp in states where it is legal, Congress sends an important message that we are ready to examine hemp in a more appropriate way.”
Ten states have already passed state level laws legalizing hemp cultivation, but federal law has kept most of those efforts from moving forward. The states include Colorado, Washington, California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia. I’d imagine once programs are rolled out at universities and via state departments, more states will jump on board.
Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. It can make anything from clothing to medicine. A lot of opponents will use weak arguments against hemp, such as ‘it looks like marijuana, and people can hide marijuana plants in the hemp.’ Arguments like this clearly illustrate just how uneducated hemp opponents are, as cross pollination would ruin the marijuana, and marijuana looks bushy, while hemp plants are tall and skinny.
Hawaii: 66 Percent Of Voters Back Legalizing Marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
Hawaii voters overwhelmingly support legalizing and regulating the adult use of cannabis, according to just-released statewide survey data by QMark Research and commissioned by the Hawaii Drug Policy Action Group.
Sixty-six percent of respondents said they endorsed legalizing cannabis, an increase of nine points since pollsters last posed the question in 2012.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents separately said that jail time is an inappropriate sanction for those found to be in violation of the state’s existing marijuana possession laws. Under present law, possessing any amount of cannabis for non-medical purposes in Hawaii is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Eight-five percent of those polled also backed the establishment of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Hawaii lawmakers legalized the possession and cultivation of medicinal cannabis by state-qualified patients in 2000, but did not provide for dispensaries.
Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, DC now have licensed medical cannabis dispensaries up and running. (California dispensaries are not licensed by the state.) Similar dispensary outlets are in the process of opening in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
Summaries of various pending bills to liberalize Hawaii’s marijuana policies are available online here and here.
The QMark poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.
Effort Launched In Maryland To Legalize Marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, January, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
Advocates of a proposal to legalize recreational cannabis launched their effort today in Maryland, calling cannabis prohibition an utter failure, and noting that the public’s support for the issue is growing rapidly.
“Continuation of the current policy is continuation of failure,” said Senator Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law professor and one of the sponsors of the new proposal. “It’s part of a conversation that is taking place across the country and across the world.”
Advocates have formed a new group, called the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, which includes advocates groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, and lawmakers such as Delegate Sheila Hixson, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The proposal has been drafted, but has not yet been officially introduced in the state’s legislature. According to advocates, the measure will legalize the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis for those 21 and older, and will established state-licensed retail outlets to distribute cannabis.
A poll released in November by Goucher College found that 51% of those in Maryland support legalizing recreational cannabis, with just 41% opposed.
Alaska Might Become The Third State To Legalize Marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, January, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana In Alaska turned in roughly 46,000 signatures this week to put marijuana legalization on the 2014 ballot. At least 30,169 of those signatures would have to be valid in order for the initiative to gain ballot access. That’s not an unheard of validation rate, but then again it’s not exactly low either. It should be enough to get approval, but only time will tell.
If the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska gets past the validation hurdle, Alaska voters would get the chance to make Alaska the third state to legalize marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington State. There are many other states trying to be lucky number three, however, since Alaska’s primary is in August, it would get the chance to vote before other states that also get marijuana legalization on the ballot.
Alaska has a great shot at winning on Election Day, since demographics are very friendly up there for marijuana reform. Alaska has the youngest population of any state by far, and younger voters are much more likely to support marijuana legalization. From what I’ve been told by friends that have lived in Alaska, the attitude up there is ripe for reform. Below is a summary of the initiative, taken from the campaign’s website:
New York Next For Legalization?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, January, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
The state of New York has been under the watchful eye of the stoner community for a while, since the battle for legal cannabis has been going back and forth here for a while now. The governor is currently drawing up plans for a legalization bill that would make NY the third (or fourth depending on how you take Portland, ME) place in the US to legalize the plant.
Andrew Cuomo, the current Democratic governor in NY is working on allowing the plant to be used for medical purposes, in hospitals all over the state. Although the plant will be allowed for medical purposes, it's not expected that NY follow Colorado in the recreational aspect, keeping the plant only for medical benefits. Of course, we all know that that's how the process begins. Decriminalization, medical legalization, recreational legalization. Plus, the patients that really need the plant will have access to a natural, less dangerous kind of medicine.
If passed, cannabis would be used in twenty hospitals statewide to treat serious illnesses such as cancer and glaucoma. Even the proposition of this measure is shocking, considering that New York has one of the highest possession charge rates, charging 450,000 people between the years of 2002 and 2012. That's a lot of people in trouble just for possessing marijuana.
The most worried about aspect of the cannabis legalization is driving while under the influence, as there's a great deal of controversy on this subject. Of course, it seems that no one wants to spotlight the studies that are being released. Specifically one titled "Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption", done by two gentlemen in November of 2011, shows that a higher marijuana consumption rate among adults led to a decrease in alcohol related traffic incidents in states that have allowed medical marijuana. This study alone should be enough to convince people that there is a definitely higher level of safety when it comes to driving while under the influence of marijuana. However, there have been others done to prove that driving while stoned is as dangerous as driving while taking allergy medicines.
It is looking like New York will be the next state to permit medical marijuana. As said above, this is definitely a step in the right direction and can only bring a positive change in this state. Patients will now get the medicine that they need in order to feel/get better and we will be one step closer to marijuana legalization in every state in the country.
Alaska Marijuana Legalization Campaign Has More Than Enough Signatures
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, December, 24th 2013 by THCFinder
The ‘Campaign to Regulate Marijuana’ in Alaska looks like they have more than enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the 2014 election. Alaska’s state election laws require 31,169 valid signatures to qualify an initiative for the ballot. The Alaska legalization campaign has 44,845 signatures according a media report out of Alaska.
There’s of course still the verification process, which can be as low as 50% sometimes. But the deadline for the final signature turn-ins is not until January 21, so there’s still time to submit even more signatures. With so much momentum in Alaska, I’d expect out of state money to start rolling in at an increasing rate. If they don’t have the required valid signatures on hand yet, they should be the end of the deadline.
As I’ve said many times before, I think Alaska, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Maine have stellar chances for legalizing marijuana during 2014. Other states sound like their campaigns are either waiting until 2016, or in the case of California, have a lot of different initiatives gathering signatures. I hope California can get behind one solid effort. Only time will tell.
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