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Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: ME to Vote on Pot Legalization, AK Could See "Pot Cafes," AB Passes CBD MedMJ Bill, More... (5/2/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 20:55

Lots of Maine news today, Alaska could see "pot cafes," a New Hampshire asset forfeiture bill gets gutted under police pressure, and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Marijuana Draft Regulations Include Pot Cafes. Alaska could become the first legalization state to actually allow social pot smoking in designated businesses. The state's Marijuana Control Board has crafted draft regs that would allow users to toke up inside retail stores. The draft regs are now awaiting public comment. While "public" pot smoking is banned, the regs create an exemption for retail stores to seek an "onsite consumption endorsement" to their licenses. Stores with that endorsement could then set aside an area for people to consume marijuana.

California GOP Opposes AUMA Legalization Initiative. The state Republican Party has voted at its convention over the weekend to oppose the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) pot legalization initiative. "We must not turn this plague loose on our children and the people of California," said Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber, who also called marijuana an "entry-level" drug that leads to addiction. California Democrats have endorsed the initiative.

It's Official: Maine Will Vote on Legalization in November The final obstacle to a popular vote was removed last Friday, when state legislators punted on their chance to act on the citizen legalization initiative, opting instead to send the question to the voters instead. Earlier, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which organized the state's legalization initiative had to go to the courts to force recalcitrant state officials to properly count all the signatures, and they did so.

Vermont House Takes Up Marijuana Legalization Today. The House is considering legalization today, albeit in a roundabout fashion. One House committee rejected the legalization measure, Senate Bill 241, while another amended it to legalize possession and personal cultivation, but not regulated, legal marijuana commerce. The Senate responded by pasting SB 241 into another bill, House Bill 858, which the House is considering today. Stay tuned!

Medical Marijuana

Alabama Passes CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. Both houses of the legislature have now approved "Leni's Law," which would allow people with seizure disorders or other debilitating medical conditions to use CBD cannabis oil to treat their ailments. Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is expected to sign the bill into law.

Connecticut Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Passes Legislature. A bill that would allow children with certain debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana has passed out of the legislature after a final Senate vote last Friday. Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) is expected to sign House Bill 5450 into law.

New Hampshire's First Dispensary Opens. The Sanctuary Alternative Treatment Center opened in Plymouth last Saturday. It's the first dispensary in the state to open for business. It only took nearly three years after the state's medical marijuana law was approved for this to happen.

Asset Forfeiture

New Hampshire Asset Forfeiture Bill Scaled Back Under Police Pressure. The state Senate last Thursday stripped a provision from an asset forfeiture reform bill that would have directed funds seized by police to the state's general fund rather than to the agency that seized them. The move came after police chiefs said not letting them keep the goodies would "handcuff" them.

Oklahoma Governor Signs Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) last Thursday signed into law a bill that will allow people whose property is subject to asset forfeiture to recover attorney fees when they challenge the seizures. The new law goes into effect November 1.

Drug Policy

Maine Decriminalizes Drug Possession, Moves to Adopt Pre-Arrest Diversion Program. Last Thursday, a bill that would make simple drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony passed into law without the signature of Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage. The bill, LD 1554, decriminalizes the possession of up to 200 milligrams of heroin. Earlier this month, the legislature also approved a bill that would fund Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs, which have proven successful in Seattle and other cities.

Harm Reduction

Maine Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of Overdose Reversal Drug Bill. The legislature voted last Friday to override gubernatorial vetoes of LD 1457 and LD 1552, which would allow access to naloxone without a prescription and provide public funding for needle exchange, respectively. Gov. Paul Le Page had claimed "naloxone does not save lives, it merely extends them until the next overdose" and complained that the $70 cost would not be repaid.

International

Canada Supreme Court Throws Out Mandatory Minimums for Drug Traffickers. In a decision last Friday, the high court ruled mandatory minimums for repeat drug offenders are unconstitutional. The case is R. v. Lloyd.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

It's Official: Maine Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 05/02/2016 - 18:59

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Marijuana legalization will be on the Maine ballot in November. The final obstacle to a popular vote was removed last Friday, when state legislators punted on their chance to act on the citizen legalization initiative, opting instead to send the question to the voters instead.

[image:1 align:left]Earlier, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which organized the state's legalization initiative had to go to the courts to force recalcitrant state officials to recognize the validity of thousands of challenged voter petition signatures. The campaign had handed in roughly 100,000 signatures and only needed 61,000 valid voter signatures.

But Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap threw out nearly half of the signatures for various reasons, including some 17,000 that he rejected because he said the notary's signature on the petition forms did not match his signature on file. The campaign appealed to the courts, and three weeks ago, a state court ordered Dunlap to review the signatures again.

Last Wednesday, Dunlap certified an additional 11,305 signatures, which was enough to put the initiative over the top. That was followed by the legislative votes last Friday, which cleared the way for voters to make the call themselves in November.

The legalization initiative is likely to win. The most recent poll has support for legalization at 54%, and voters in Portland, the state's largest city, and South Portland have already approved local initiatives to legalize the possession of small amounts of pot.

Maine now joins Nevada as states where marijuana legalization is on the ballot this fall. At least two other states, Arizona and California, should also see legalization initiatives qualify for the fall ballot, but those campaigns are still in the signature gathering phase. There is an outside chance that Michigan could qualify an initiative this year, too.

Meanwhile, the Vermont House is today grappling with a legalization bill. That bill has already passed the Senate, but the House has been divided, and it is not at all clear that the bill will survive the session. The Vermont bill is the best chance this year for marijuana to be legalized by a state legislature.

No state has yet legalized marijuana through the legislature. All four legalization states—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—and Washington, DC, legalized it through the initiative process. By year's end, there should be a couple more legalization states and possibly as many as five, but again, it will be the voters, not the politicians, leading the way. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: OPED: Ohio Tries To Figure Out What To Do About Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 01 May 2016 - More than a token, but something short of tokin': That's the Ohio General Assembly's task in trying to craft a bill legalizing Ohioans' use of medical marijuana. The science may or may not be there, at least not entirely. But what looks like a public consensus seems to be. And that consensus is that marijuana's chemical components can help Ohioans fighting certain illnesses or enduring, say, chemotherapy.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: State GOP Says No To Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 05/01/2016 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 01 May 2016 - A proposal to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California isn't getting much love from state Republicans. An influential California Republican Party committee on Saturday voted to oppose a proposed statewide ballot measure, known as the Adult Use Act, which would allow those 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of pot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: California: Is It The Next Stoner State?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 04/30/2016 - 07:00
Turlock Journal, 30 Apr 2016 - Jerry Brown a few years back was asked to comment on the drive to legalize recreational use of pot in California. The governor responded by indicating a "stoner state" may not be conducive to the California economy.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Legalization Battle Bound For State's Highest Court

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 04/29/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 29 Apr 2016 - WASHINGTON - The battle over legalizing recreational marijuana in Massachusetts will land before the state's highest court in June - when opponents will argue that the petition to put it on the ballot was misleading. Challengers to the proposed November state ballot question will ask the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court to throw out the more than 100,000 signatures collected to certify the ballot measure.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Medical Pot Backers Want Ballot Issue

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 28 Apr 2016 - Patients, Caregivers Say Pending Ohio Bill Has Numerous Flaws. Even if Ohio lawmakers act swiftly on pending legislation to legalize pot as medicine, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana leaders on Wednesday said they'll keep pushing to put a constitutional amendment before voters this fall.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Mass. Superintendents Oppose Marijuana Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 28 Apr 2016 - The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, saying it is worried legalizing marijuana for adults will make it easier for kids to gain access to the drug, came out Wednesday against a likely ballot question to make marijuana legal for recreational use. "As superintendents, our primary focus is on helping each and every student reach their full potential, and we believe the commercial legalization of marijuana runs directly counter to that goal," the executive director of the association, Tom Scott, said in a statement. "Where marijuana is legal, we see increased use and abuse by young people."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NV: Licensed To Ill

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 28 Apr 2016 - A Down and Dirty Guide to Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Nevada It took me a grand total of about two hours and less than $70 to get my medical marijuana card. And then I was able to go to a dispensary, buy pot, and smoke it-fully compliant with Nevada law.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: NH Decrim Back From the Dead, 4/20 MJ Sales Topped $37.5 Million, More... (4/27/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 20:33

Americans spent a lot of money on weed for 4/20, Dana Rohrabacher endorses California's AUMU pot legalization initiative, New Hampshire decrim rises from the dead, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

4/20 Pot Sales Hit $37.5 Million. Americans spent more than $37.5 million on legal marijuana purchases on the 4/20 stoner holiday, according to MJ Freeway, a global cannabis business seed-to-sale tracking software provider. That's up by more than 30% over 2015.

Conservative GOP Congressman Endorses California's AUMA Legalization Initiative. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has announced his support for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) legalization initiative. "As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana," said Rohrabacher. He is the second California congressman to endorse the initiative. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last week.

Michigan House Approves Marijuana Drugged Driving Study Bill. The House voted 107-1 Tuesday to approve House Bill 5024, which would create a commission to research and recommend a threshold for THC that would establish evidence of impaired driving. The bill now goes to the Senate.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Reemerges. The decriminalization bill had been killed, but the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12-7 Tuesday to bring decrim back to life. The committee voted to amend Senate Bill 498, which deals with discretion in sentencing, to make possession of up to a quarter ounce of marijuana a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor. The bill will come before the House next month.

Medical Marijuana

Utah Poll Finds Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. A new Utah Policy poll has two out of three (66%) of Utahns in favor of medical marijuana, with only 28% opposed. The poll comes after the legislature failed to pass a medical marijuana bill this year. If the legislators are listening to their constituents, they will pass it next year.

Law Enforcement

Family of Florida Man Slain in Marijuana Raid Awarded $500,000. The family of Derek Cruice, who was shot in the face and killed during a small-time marijuana raid in Deltona, Florida, in March 2015, will receive $500,000 in a settlement from Volusia County. Cruice was unarmed when he was shot in his living room by a Deltona police officer. The officer was never charged with a crime.

International

Israeli Police Won't Stop Busting People for Marijuana. Even though a former police commissioner has called for the country's police to reexamine their approach to marijuana in the face of increasing acceptance of its use, police aren't taking up the suggestion. Instead, police have decided that "enforcement policies should continue as they are." One police officer said he needed to be able to bust drug users in order to get at dealers.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CT Opioids Bill Passes House, CA Drug Sentence Reduction Bill Killed, More... (4/26/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 18:20

DC marijuana activists scored a White House meeting, Montana medical marijuana patients catch a temporary break, hemp states could be protected from federal interference, Canada just says no to decrim ahead of pot legalization next year, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

White House Staffers Meet With DC Marijuana Activists. Adam Eidinger and Nikolas Schiller of the DC Cannabis Campaign met with White House staffers Monday and urged them to commit the administration to a marijuana policy summit at the White House. They didn't get any answers from the staffers, but Eidinger said they did get "a lot of nods, a lot of smiles."

Nebraska and Oklahoma Try Again to Derail Colorado's Pot Legalization. After being turned away by the US Supreme Court in their bid to overturn marijuana legalization in Colorado, the two neighboring states have asked to be added to another case at the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver brought by opponents of legalization. The case consolidates two separate lawsuits brought by a group of county sheriffs and the owners of a rural property, and now, Nebraska and Oklahoma hope it will include them, too.

Medical Marijuana

Iowa CBD Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Killed. A Republican-backed bill to expand the number of ailments for which Iowans could use CBD cannabis oil was defeated in the House Monday. Democrats said the proposal did not go far enough, while some Republicans objected to any effort to legalize marijuana, medicinal or otherwise. The bill was defeated 61-36.

Montana Supreme Court Delays Enforcement of Medical Marijuana Rollback. The state high court said it will delay enforcement of its February ruling dramatically rolling back the state's medical marijuana program. The court said its ruling would now not go into effect until August 31. Montana activists and medical marijuana industry spokesman have said the rollback would force the closure of dispensaries and leave patients in the lurch. Supporters are also working on an initiative campaign to put a revamped medical marijuana system before the voters in November.

Hemp

Senate Committee Approves Amendment to Block Federal Interference With Hemp. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) offered an amendment to the Senate Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill that would prevent the federal government from interfering with implementation of state hemp laws, and the Appropriations Committee passed it last Friday. More than half the states have laws allowing farmers to cultivate hemp, but they faced the prospect of the DEA taking action against them. That will end if the amendment survives the rest of the appropriations process.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Connecticut House Passes Comprehensive Opioid Bill. The House Monday unanimously approved House Bill 5053, which would widen access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, put a seven-day cap on first-time opioid prescriptions, strengthen the prescription monitoring program, provide a release from liability for Good Samaritans who administer naloxone, and add staffing for emergency medical care and the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Sentencing

California Bill to Reduce Drug Sentences Fails. A bill to repeal sentencing enhancements for certain drug offenses died in the Senate Monday after some senators warned that it would favor drug dealers. The measure, Senate Bill 966, filed by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), would have repealed a law that adds three years in prison for people convicted of drug distribution offenses if they have previously been convicted on similar charges. All Republican members voted against it, as did three Democrats, while five more Democrats abstained. The bill lost 18-16.

International

Canada Will Not Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Ahead of Legalization. The Liberal government has made it clear that it will not move to end marijuana possession arrests ahead of its push to legalize marijuana, which it said it will undertake next year. "The current provisions of the CDSA [Controlled Drugs and Substances Act] regarding marijuana will remain in place until they are replaced by new legislation that will legalize and strictly regulate marijuana, Ian McLeod, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, said. "Marijuana will not be decriminalized prior to legalization."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: 'Bud Summit' Leaves Bitter Aftertaste

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
The Call, 26 Apr 2016 - Pot Advocates Find High Hopes Dashed at White House WASHINGTON - It took a pot-smoking protest outside the White House, but on Monday, advocates for marijuana legalization were set for a historic face-to-face meeting with the Obama administration about easing laws governing the drug. Except, it wasn't. Leaders of the successful ballot measure fight that legalized marijuana in the nation's capital said they were granted a White House meeting, but it was with two junior-level staffers in Obama's Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC 'Bud Summit' A Bit Of A Buzz Kill

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 04/26/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 26 Apr 2016 - Marijuana Advocates Had Hoped to Speak With Obama, Got Staffers It took a pot-smoking protest outside the White House, but on Monday, advocates for marijuana legalization were set for a historic face-to-face meeting with the Obama administration about easing laws governing the drug. Except, it wasn't. Leaders of the ballot-measure fight that legalized marijuana in the nation's capital said they were granted a White House meeting, but it was with two junior-level staffers in President Obama's Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Column: Legalized Marijuana Is Too Much, Too Soon

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 25 Apr 2016 - When I think about the prospect of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, I surprise myself by sounding like my father. Cannabis tourism? THC-infused lip balm? "Budz and sudz" crawls? What is the world coming to? The combination of vice and capitalism is a powerful one, so it might be expected that entrepreneurs are rushing to market these artisanal highs. In Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, cannabis concierge services are thriving, from ganja yoga retreats to weed weddings. Sales nearly hit $1 billion last year, with the state raking in tax and licensing fees of $135 million.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Southern Oregon's Latest Cash Crop

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 23 Apr 2016 - The Effects of Marijuana Legalization Are Just Starting to Be Realized Marijuana became legal in Oregon only recently, but its legacy in Oregon has deep roots. Marijuana's long road to legalization culminated in Ballot Measure 91, passed by voters in 2014. Now anyone 21 and older can possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana and grow up to four plants. Most medical marijuana dispensaries in the county have also begun selling recreational marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Tons Of Trash Left Behind In Park After Pot Event

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 22 Apr 2016 - An estimated 15,000 pounds of trash were left behind after a 4/20 event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. KNTV reports Thursday that San Francisco Recreation and Park Director of Operations Dennis Kearn said the unsanctioned event has no permit and no event organizer, leaving city crews to clean up the mess, at the taxpayer expense.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Thousands Puff For Legal Pot At 4/20 Parties

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Porterville Recorder, 21 Apr 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Thousands sent up a cheer and a collective plume of marijuana smoke at the stroke of 4:20 p.m. Wednesday in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. They gathered at the park's "Hippie Hill" to toke up, eat and drink the afternoon away into the night. A plane dragging a banner encouraging attendees to "smoke weed" circled overhead, while unlicensed vendors set up tables and makeshift tents to sell all types and strains of bud, not to mention T-shirts, pipes and food.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: High Enough?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
North Coast Journal, 21 Apr 2016 - If you spent your 4/20 crumbling up buds, rolling them up in papers and puffing away, you're going the way of dinosaurs, according to industry insiders. "Nobody smokes flowers anymore," Emerald Cup founder and Mendocino marijuana entrepreneur Tim Blake dismissively told Bloomberg BusinessWeek in a recent interview, during which he estimated that concentrates - things like hash, shatter, rosin, oil, wax and honeycomb - will make up 90 percent of the legal pot market by 2030.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Thousands Puff For Legal Pot At 4/20 Parties

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
The Citizens' Voice, 21 Apr 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Marlene Manning was glad to be back in her native California on Wednesday for an annual 4/20 celebration, where reggae music played loudly and the smell of weed pervaded. The 50-year-old real estate agent just relocated from Florida, where "everything is against the law," she joked. She wasn't partaking, but she joined thousands of others at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park who were enjoying an annual marijuana-ingesting event to the fullest.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: State Official Looks for Limits on Legal Marijuana Sales

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 21 Apr 2016 - Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who would oversee regulation of the state's recreational marijuana industry if voters approve a ballot measure this fall, said Wednesday the Legislature should ban home cultivation and delay retail sales of the drug if the proposal passes. She also wants state lawmakers to restrict marijuana edibles such as candy that can be attractive to children and to give her office money to regulate the new industry in the early going.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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