Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, October, 12th 2012 by THCFinder
Washington may become the first state in the nation to approve recreational sales of marijuana, according to the Associated Press. The marijuana would be taxed and sold at state-licensed shops to customers 21 and over.
The sale of this recreational marijuana may be approved on Nov. 6 if Initiative 502, a measure on the November ballot that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, is passed, according to The Seattle Times.
If I-502 passes the following will be enacted (via the AP):
Public use or display of marijuana would be barred.
No marijuana facilities could be located near schools, day cares, parks or libraries.
Employers would still be able to fire workers who test positive for pot.
It would remain illegal to privately grow marijuana for recreational use, though medical patients could still grow their own or designate someone to grow it for them.
It would be illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient of cannabis, per milliliter of blood, if the driver is over 21; for those under 21, there would be a zero tolerance policy.
“There’s a real disconnect with pot,” Brooke Thompson, a retired teacher from Bainbridge Island who smoked marijuana when she was a young adult, told the AP. “It’s been criminalized and criminals are making money on it. The state could be making money on it, and using the taxes to go into education. It seems like a win-win, and it would be nice for Washington to be the testing ground on this.”
"Testing ground" is the key component. In Washington state, more than 241,000 people have been arrested for marijuana possession throughout the past 25 years, many of who were arrested in the past 10 years, according to a new study by a New York-based group of academics. These arrests have cost about $305.7 million over the past 25 years and $194 million in the past 10 years alone.
Legalizing and taxing marijuana at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco could save the United States up to $13.7 billion annually, according to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. About $7.7 billion could be saved by not having to enforce the current prohibition and about $6.2 billion could be yielded in taxes.
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, October, 12th 2012 by THCFinder
Imagine a world where pot is legal, regulated, and taxed. In this world, Missouri is rolling around in a giant pile of money and making it rain all over the place.
That's according to a new study released by the National Cannabis Coalition in conjunction with Show-Me Cannabis. The group commissioned the study from Harvard University economist Dr. Jeffrey Miron as a way to put some cold, hard figures on their marijuana legalization and regulation bill.
The $149 million comes from several different places, but mostly from no longer having to police and prosecute pot smokers.
According to Show-Me Cannabis's John Payne, the group commissioned the study while their 2012 legalization campaign was still alive and well. Because of that, Missouri's study came out first, but he says there will be studies for all 50 states at some point.
According to Dr. Miron's figures, Missouri's government would save $90 million annually and generate $59 million from taxing legalized marijuana like cigarettes and booze.
It's not hard to see where the $90 million comes from. In 2011, there were 307,240 arrests made in Missouri over pot and 91.5 percent of those were for possession. Imagine all that gets thrown out the window -- no more cops trolling for smokers, planning stings on dealers; no more court cases for prosecutors, judges, or public defenders; no more paying to put up tokers in Le Hotel Clink. That's a lot of free money all of the sudden.
Interestingly, Miron says that the $149 million figure is roughly the same for all the states, should they choose to legalize pot. And though he concedes his study has generated criticism from both those who say the figures are inflated and those who say they're too small, the exact dollar amount isn't as important as the fundamental question behind the debate.
"I don't think we should care about the shape of this, the crucial thing to me is making it legal reather than illegal," he says. "The main thing I hope people think about is, 'Why should the government be intervening with individuals using marijuana?"
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, October, 11th 2012 by THCFinder
In November, voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Although similar initiatives have failed in the past, this time the groups fighting to legalize pot are well-organized, professional and backed by high-dollar donors willing to outspend the competition, reports Raycom News Network.
In Colorado, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has produced several ads that say marijuana is healthier than alcohol. The campaign’s website points to medical studies that claim marijuana, unlike alcohol, has not been linked to cancer, brain damage, addiction or high healthcare costs.
CRMLA was given nearly $1.2 million from the Marijuana Policy Project, a DC-based lobbying group, as well as more than $800,000 by Peter Lewis, the founder and chairman of Progressive Insurance. Lewis has been a vocal proponent of marijuana legalization for several years and donated millions to legalization efforts around the country.
In an online video ad campaign, CRMLA has young adults explaining to their parents they prefer marijuana to alcohol. In one of the ads, titled Dear Mom, a 20-something woman tells her mother marijuana is “better for my body, I don’t get hung-over and honestly I feel safer around marijuana users.”
In Washington, rather than comparing marijuana to alcohol, New Approach Washington (NAW) is focusing on legalization, arguing outlawing cannabis does more harm than good, by wasting tax dollars on law enforcement while letting gangs control the money. She describes the possible benefits of legalization through saved law enforcement dollars and extra tax revenue.
The TV spot has a professional/executive looking woman, “I don’t like it personally, but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a multi-million dollar industry in Washington state, and we get no benefit.”
See the ad here:
These efforts appear to be working. In Washington, 50% of voters say marijuana should be legal while 38% say it should not, according to an Elway Research poll. And in Colorado, a Denver Post poll showed 51% of Coloradans were in favor of legalization, while 41% opposed it.
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, October, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder
Washington and Oregon both have measures similar to Colorado’s Amendment 64 on the ballot this year. It is unknown how the federal government will respond if any or all of them pass. The feds could respect the decision of voters, they could try to block implementation of some parts of the law, or they could shut down dispensaries and arrest people involved in the wholesale and retail ends of the business.
While no one can say what the feds will do if 64 passes, they have not completely looked the other way on medical marijuana. In Colorado, the Department of Justice has forced at least 23 medical marijuana dispensaries to close or to move at least 1000 feet away from any educational facility. In California and Montana the DOJ has gone even further, targeting businesses regardless of their distance from schools.
One thing that is clear is that even if Amendment 64 passes, marijuana possession will remain illegal under federal law. Possessing even one joint of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1000 fine. A second possession conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 15 days.
It is in growing your own, though, where the difference between state and federal law will become stark if 64 passes. State law would allow someone to grow six plants and to possess all of the harvest. Federal law says even one plant is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Paul Roach, spokesperson for the DEA, said the DEA does not have a position on the amendment. If it passes, Roach said the DEA will continue to enforce federal drug laws. “We don’t see that changing,” he said.
Local spokesperson for the Department of Justice, Jeff Dorschner, said “We don’t know what will happen if it passes. There are a variety of options, none of which I can discuss.”