New York Could Legalize Recreational Marijuana In 2015
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, September, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
The state of New York could legalize marijuana for recreational use as early as 2015.
State Sen. Liz Krueger (D) will reintroduce the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act during the next legislative session, which begins in January, her office confirmed to The Huffington Post on Monday.
"We're definitely introducing the bill next session," Brad Usher, Krueger's chief of staff, told HuffPost. "We've received a variety of feedback since we first introduced it last December and we're working on amending it, so we're looking to see what we can learn from Colorado and Washington when we reintroduce it."
Krueger's bill would permit the opening of retail marijuana dispensaries, which would be regulated by the State Liquor Authority. The bill would establish an excise tax on all marijuana sales, and adults would legally be able to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use. Krueger introduced a similar bill in 2013 that also aimed to legalize the possession, use and sale of limited amounts of recreational marijuana, but the bill never made it out of committee.
Usher said that many of the changes to the measure for reintroduction in 2015 relate to how the tax is structured, as well as clarifying who would be able to work in the state's marijuana industry.
New York is not a referendum state, which means that if next year's measure gets through the legislature and is signed into law, it will immediately go into effect and will not require a vote by New Yorkers. Colorado and Washington, both of which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, did so through voter-approved ballot measures.
"In some ways, not having a referendum makes it harder," Usher said. "With referendum, you only need 50.1 percent support to win, but getting a bill through to law will probably require broader support to address the risk-averse character of some elected officials."
One such official might be Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who has not made it clear whether he would support a bill that legalizes marijuana for recreational use. In January, Cuomo said that Colorado-style legalization in New York is "a nonstarter for me."
Earlier this summer, New York became the 23rd state in the country to legalize medical marijuana. Moreover, the state decriminalized the possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana more than 30 years ago. Even so, New York, and especially New York City, remain plagued by an inordinate number of low-level marijuana arrests.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Pennsylvania moves toward medical marijuana legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, September, 8th 2014 by THCFinder
As the Pennsylvania state Senate is set to reconvene on Sept. 15, a hotly contested national issue sits near the top of its agenda: medical marijuana.
The bipartisan Senate Bill 1182, titled the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, passed the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee unanimously on June 27. When state senators return from their summer recess, the bill will go up for a vote in the Appropriations Committee, after which it could be voted on by the general body.
Currently, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have some form of legalized marijuana for medical use. Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania all have pending medical marijuana legislation that could act as decisive issues going into the 2014 midterm elections.
“We are planning on hopefully moving out of appropriations on Sept. 15 and on to a full Senate floor vote on Sept. 16 ... and get it over to the House as soon we can,” state Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) and one of the bill’s sponsors said. “We have the votes, but we just need to get through the political process, and that can be very slow because our system of government is never really meant to be fast.”
While it remains unclear if the state legislature will pass the bill, Pennsylvanians increasingly favor medical marijuana. According to a poll by Quinnipiac University taken in March 2014, 85 percent of Pennsylvania voters support some form of medical marijuana. But even with public support and momentum in the state legislature, the governor is likely to veto any legalization legislation.
Republican Gov. Tom Corbett stands opposed to broad medical marijuana legalization and has only voiced support for limited access for children with severe seizure disorders. Corbett’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
As a result of resistance in the governor’s office, advocates such as Folmer believe that “we need to get it out with super majority votes,” which could override a veto from the governor.
“The bill gives people an alternative to some of these other medications that are out there that are either not working, or people just don’t like the side effects,” Folmer said. “It’s probably one of the best pieces of medical cannabis bills in the country, and it could be used as model legislation.”
While the legislative debate has focused on the medical side of cannabis, legalization could affect the quality of recreational marijuana as well.
“At Penn especially, when people sell bud they have no idea how old it is, they have no idea what strains it is, they have no idea if it is sativa or indica, and I think that is a problem,” said a College senior who has a medical marijuana card in his home state of California and who preferred to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. “A card offers you a lot of information because it no longer is a black market thing.”
If the bill were to pass in Pennsylvania, he thinks smoking would be less stigmatized. “At Penn, it is fine if you smoke, but there are stereotypes of people who smoke,” said the senior — who got his first prescription at 18 for a shoulder injury, but has primarily used it for recreational purposes.
Read more: http://www.thedp.com
Alaska marijuana legalization initiative: Supporters, opponents rally
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, September, 1st 2014 by THCFinder
With two months left to sway Alaska voters, the dueling groups in support and opposition of a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana in Alaska are ramping up their campaigns, and Friday they offered glimpses of what’s to come in the weeks leading to the general election.
The group backing the initiative -- the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska -- gave insight into an upcoming advertising campaign and a new website to be unveiled in early September.
Meanwhile, opposition group “Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2” said new constituency groups were in the formation stages, and touted recent endorsements by businesses and organizations.
The campaigns are setting their sights on Nov. 4, the day Alaskans will cast their votes on Ballot Measure 2. The initiative would legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older and levy a tax of $50 per ounce of pot. Should it pass, the eight-page initiative would leave much of the regulation-making process in the hands of the state. The state would have nine months to craft these regulations, including labeling and health and safety guidelines and security requirements for marijuana businesses.
Summer polling shows Alaskans split on whether to legalize. Public Policy Polling data released in early August showed that of 673 voters polled, 44 percent were in favor of the initiative, 49 percent opposed and 8 percent unsure.
Those numbers show a slight decrease in support since May, when PPP showed 48 percent in favor, 45 percent opposed, and 7 percent unsure.
Deborah Williams, deputy treasurer of Vote No on 2, said the August poll was evidence that public support for the initiative is wavering.
Campaign to Regulate spokesperson Taylor Bickford disagreed. “We aren’t concerned at all. Our internal polling tells a different story,” he said.
Bickford said Friday, with the primary election in the books, the Campaign to Regulate is now looking to mobilize the volunteer base it has assembled during the summer -- “hundreds, if not thousands,” of Alaskans, he said.
A new campaign, “Talk it up Alaska,” will encourage supporters to do exactly that -- talk to their friends and family about why they support regulating marijuana.
“It’s often hard for people to talk about this issue,” Bickford said.
A major component of the new campaign is a new website, TalkItUpAlaska.org. That website will provide supporters with a comprehensive resource database. It’s set to go live in early September, he said.
Read more: http://www.adn.com
Children And Legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, August, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
Kids and cannabis is one subject on it's own. So when it comes to children and the idea of legalization, things are a little different. While the parents in their lives may support the legalization of the plant, kids are still being taught in schools that the plant is no good. Not only that but that health risks are a very apparent issue for anyone under the age of 21. Children are being told one thing at home and another thing at school, making the whole process extremely difficult for their little minds to comprehend.
Parental responsibility is to explain the world as best they can to their child while still letting the child make their own choices about the world. A parent should not control but rather guide. Kids are creative and incredibly smart for being so small and we take their intelligence and innocence for granted. Parents try harder then ever before to control their kids constantly, monitoring their text messages, online time, and sometimes even drug testing. While it is important to listen to your parents, parents need to remember that kids need to grow in to their own person. A person that must also function in the world of 2014, which most of us know can be an unforgiving and unkind place. Sheltering a child will do nothing more then cause the child to live a very scared and unprepared life.
When it comes to cannabis legalization and children, it's not a hard choice to make. Kids deserve to know about cannabis. Period. If a parent doesn't hide the fact that they use Xanax or drink beer and wine, then they shouldn't have to hide the fact that they use cannabis. Kids should understand that the plant is beneficial to the human race and that it acts as a medicine for those that are sick. It promotes a peaceful environment and a positive life, something that has been made difficult to obtain by the government and others bent on keeping marijuana illegal. Kids especially need to be educated on the benefits on the plant, while simultaneously not smoking it themselves.
Why might you ask? Well although cannabis does help the sick and improve the lives of many humans around the world, the information available on how THC effects the growing mind should definitely deter children from ingesting the substance if not under the direct supervision of a doctor. When children with undeveloped brains smoke, the THC prevents the brain from being fully coated in myelin, the chemical in our bodies that protects brain tissue from harm. If this protective layer isn't formed, there will be openings for other neurologically related issues down the road. The brain needs to develop correctly for the child to have a healthy life and ingesting cannabis while the brain is still forming can have negative consequences.
Programs like DARE are not effective and the numbers still prove that not only is alcohol still more easily obtained by kids but that less teens are using cannabis after the plant was declared legal in Colorado and Washington. With these numbers alone, people should realize that it's not about sheltering but educating. Without knowledgable adults or adults that don't share cannabis with their kids, the children of today will just put prohibition back on when they become adults. It's so important to talk to your kids about cannabis, explain the situation and prohibition, and tell them to make their own choice about it, after they've heard an educated opinion on it.
Washington D.C. To Vote On Marijuana Legalization
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, August, 7th 2014 by THCFinder
I met Washington D.C. marijuana legalization organizer Adam Eidinger at the 2012 National Cannabis Marijuana Business Conference in Denver the day after the historic 2012 Election. We had a brief discussion about his desire to pursue a legalization campaign in Washington D.C., and I told him that I thought an effort would be worth it, at the very least to push the issue and conversation. Here we are almost two years later, and his efforts have not only brought attention to marijuana reform in Washington D.C., but his efforts have also landed marijuana legalization on the ballot in Washington D.C. this November. Per Washington City Paper:
The District got one step closer to legal marijuana today, thanks to a D.C. Board of Elections decision that will put a measure legalizing the drug on November’s ballot.
After months of legal wrangling and often tumultuous signature gathering, the board ruled that the organizers behind the D.C. Cannabis Campaign successfully collected the required 23,780 signatures to make the ballot. The District decriminalized marijuana last month.
If the initiative passes, residents of Washington D.C. will be able to posses up to two ounces of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants. Sales will still be prohibited, mainly because initiatives dealing with revenue are limited in Washington D.C.. Congress decides revenue issues in Washington D.C., not the city itself. Residents can give away up to an ounce for no consideration if the initiative passes.
Washington D.C. joins Oregon and Alaska for the 2014 Election. The battle in Washington D.C. will be fierce, and the campaign needs every dollar it can get to ensure a victory on Election Day. Click here to donate to the campaign. Below is a press release from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition about the ballot qualification:
The DC Board of Elections revealed today that the DC Cannabis Campaign has submitted 57,000 signatures, more than double what was needed, to get Initiative 71 on the ballot. This initiative would allow adults over 21 to legally cultivate up to six marijuana plants (no more than three of which can be mature) and possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. The DC Council is concurrently weighing a bill that would tax and regulate sales, which, according to DC law, remain unaddressed by the initiative.
According to an ACLU report released last year, Washington, DC has the highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with blacks more than 8 times as likely as white to be arrested, despite similar rates of use.
“This initiative comes at a great time and in a great place,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “The District has one of the country’s highest rates of racial disparities in arrest and is right at Congress’s doorstep, where more and more political leaders from both sides of the aisle are beginning to follow their constituents in recognizing that drug policy reform is one of the most effective ways to address the problems of our current criminal justice system.”
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of law enforcement officials who, after fighting in the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.
When Will California Legalize Marijuana?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, August, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
For 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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