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Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: IL Senate Approves Decrim, MedMJ Extension; Ex-Cincy Police Chief Endorses Pot Init, More (5/22/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 19:03

Midwest marijuana news dominates today, with the Illinois Senate approving decriminalization and medical marijuana extension bills, a prominent Ohio law enforcement figure endorsing a legalization initiative and the state attorney general rejecting another one, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Illinois Senate Passes Decriminalization Bill. The state Senate Thursday approved House Bill 218, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana, replacing the possibility of jail time and a criminal record with a maximum $125 fine and no criminal record. The bill has already cleared the House, but will not go to the governor's desk until sponsors get some additional cleanup language approved.

Former Cincinnati Police Chief Endorses Ohio Legalization Initiative. Former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher has come out in favor of the controversial ResponsibleOhio pot legalization initiative. "Our state spends over $120 million per year to enforce marijuana prohibition, even though we all know these laws do not work," Streicher said. "Law enforcement should instead be able to spend their time and their resources cracking down on the real criminals." ResponsibleOhio is the midst of a signature-gathering campaign to qualify for the November 2015 ballot. It needs more than 300,000 approved voter signatures to qualify, but says it has 320,000 raw signatures right now and aims to gather 800,000 by the July deadline.

Ohio Attorney General Rejects Language for Third Legalization Initiative. Attorney General Mike DeWine Thursday rejected the ballot summary language for a third statewide legalization initiative, the Ohio Cannabis Control Amendment from Ohioans to End Prohibition. Two other initiatives, from ResponsibleOhio and Better for Ohio, have already been approved and are in the signature-gathering phase. Now, Ohioans for Prohibition will have to gather another 1,000 signatures and resubmit modified language if it wants to move forward.

Medical Marijuana

Illinois Senate Approves Extension of Medical Marijuana Program. The state Senate voted 33-16 Thursday to approve House Bill 3299, which would extend the program by two more years. The measure has already passed the House and is headed for the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), but it's unclear if he will sign it. He has said he didn't think the program should be extended until it's been fully evaluated -- but it hasn't even really started.

Nebraska Legislature Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Study Bill. The state Senate Thursday gave final approval to Legislative Bill 390, under which the University of Nebraska Medical Center would study the effectiveness of CBD in treating epileptic seizures. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) now has five days to act on the bill.

Washington Supreme Court Upholds Local Collective Garden Bans. The state Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Thursday that the city of Kent can ban medical marijuana collective gardens. The decision upheld lower court rulings allowing cities to impose bans via zoning regulations. The case was Cannabis Action Council v. City of Kent.

Drug Testing

Maine Committee Rejects Governor's Food Stamp Drug Testing Bill. The legislature's Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-5 on party lines to reject LD 1407, Gov. Paul LePage's (R) bid to impose drug testing on food stamp recipients. That doesn't mean the bill is dead, though; it is still likely to be debated in the House, and the question will be whether the Democrats can hold their caucus together in opposition.

Harm Reduction

North Carolina Jail Becomes First in South to Offer Naloxone to Released Inmates. The Durham County Detention Facility last month began distributing overdose reversal kits to inmates being released in a bid to cut the overdose rate among the newly freed whose tolerance to opiate drugs has been reduced by the jail stays. The formerly incarcerated are more than a hundred times more likely to die of drug overdoses in the first two weeks after their release than the general population.

International

Iceland Support for Marijuana Legalization Doubles, But Still Low. Nearly one quarter (24.3%) of Icelanders now support marijuana legalization, up from 12.7% in 2011, a new survey finds. Men were more supportive than women (31% v. 16%), and the youth were more supportive than older cohorts, but even among people under 30, support was only at 43%.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Bernie Sanders on Marijuana Policy, LA Reform Bill Advances, New DEA Head Nominated, More (5/21/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 19:33

Marijuana continues to dominate the drug policy news, plus public benefits drug testing bills move in Maine and Wisconsin, the NYPD decides not to bust middle-aged dopers, and more.

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

Bernie Sanders Mellow on Marijuana. The Vermont senator seeking the Democratic presidential nomination hinted at support for marijuana legalization during a Reddit question and answer session Tuesday, although he did not explicitly call for it. "I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana [when I was mayor]," Sanders said. "Our police had more important things to do." He said he supported decriminalization in Vermont and was watching Colorado closely. "Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I'm going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done,"Sanders said. "I will have more to say about this issue within the coming months."

Alabama Per Se Marijuana Drugged Driving Bill Advances. The state Senate last Friday approved Senate Bill 162, which would declare anyone driving with five nanograms of THC per milliliter guilty of drugged driving -- whether he is actually impaired or not.

Louisiana Marijuana Sentencing Reform Bill Wins Committee Vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved a bill that would reduce the state's draconian marijuana possession sentencing. The measure is Senate Bill 241.

Maine Legalization Bills Get Hearing. The Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday heard testimony on a pair of marijuana legalization bills. Sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), LD 1380 and its companion bill in the Senate would craft a regulatory structure for pot commerce and then put it before voters. If the legislature fails to act, the state could see two legalization initiatives next year.

Second Ohio Pot Legalization Initiative Certified for Signature-Gathering. The secretary of state's office has certified a legalization initiative from Better for Ohio, which means the group can now commence trying to gather the 306,000 signatures needed to qualify for this year's November ballot. Another group, ResponsibleOhio, is already in the signature-gathering phase.

No Decriminalization Initiative for Nashville. An effort by TN-NORML to put a marijuana decriminalization on the municipal ballot this year has apparently fallen short. Monday was the deadline day for handing in signatures, and TN-NORML didn't hand any in. Earlier, the group said it had only 4,000 signatures; it needed nearly 7,000 to qualify.

Medical Marijuana

Colorado Governor Signs Bill Limiting Medical Marijuana Growers. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) Monday signed into law a bill that will limit medical marijuana caregivers to growing no more than 99 plants. The bill is Senate Bill 15-014. The bill also allows parents to have someone other than themselves grow medical marijuana for child patients and allows school districts to consider allowing medical marijuana use on campus.

Drug Policy

Obama Nominates Chuck Rosenberg to Head DEA. FBI senior official and former US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg has been nominated to replace Michelle Leonhart as head of the DEA. For the last 18 months, Rosenberg has served as chief of staff to FBI Director James Comey. He previously served as US Attorney for Southern Texas and US Attorney for Eastern Virginia and has won support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Public Benefits Drug Testing Bill Advances. A bill that would require applicants for welfare benefits, unemployment benefits, job training programs, and health coverage through the state-sponsored program to be assessed for drug use passed the Senate Budget Committee Wednesday. People whose assessments suggest they may be using drugs would have to take and pass a drug test to win benefits. A provision to include food stamp recipients was stripped out because it would likely be challenged by the federal government. The measure is Assembly Bill 192.

Maine Bill to Drug Test Food Stamp Recipients Gets Hearing. The Health and Human Services Committee heard Monday from the administration of Gov. Paul LePage (R) about its bill that would require people on the food stamp program to take a written screening test to see if they are using drugs. If the assessment suggested they may be using drugs, they would have to submit to a drug test. People who tested positive could keep their benefits as long as they sought and completed drug treatment. The bill would also bar people with drug felonies from getting food stamps.

Law Enforcement

NYPD To Not Bust Middle-Aged Drug Offenders. The NYPD last week issued a memo instructing its narcs not to bust drug offenders over age 40 and instead concentrate on younger dealers. The department considers younger drug suspects to be more dangerous.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: County Concerned With Marijuana Bills

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 07:00
Porterville Recorder, 20 May 2015 - Tulare County Supervisors Tuesday adopted what they termed "medical marijuana policy principles" in response to a slew of bills bouncing around Sacramento that could change the current laws governing the use and cultivation of marijuana in the state. Debbie Vaughn with the Chief Administrator's Office told the board a committee had recently surveyed all the bills being talked about in the state Legislature and noted, "the belief is there will be some ballot measures in the next election."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Pro-Pot Group Plans to Give Away $100 Bill With Special

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 18 May 2015 - Bill would entitle bearer to apply for license to grow pot. A Toledo pro-marijuana group is giving away a $100 bill to celebrate winning approval from the Ohio Ballot Board, the group's chairman said Thursday.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Editorial: What If Ohio Goes To Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 07:00
Akron Beacon Journal, 18 May 2015 - A majority of Ohioans, 52 percent, now support legalizing marijuana. Approval is even higher for medical use, at 84 percent. Both numbers indicate a turnaround in public opinion. More, there are sound public policy reasons for moving forward with legalization, the state in a position to control quality and access, generate tax revenue and prevent users from facing criminal penalties. Still, legalization is a complex issue. Just four other states permit marijuana consumption for recreational purposes. Some moved forward after first allowing fairly widespread medical use. Once recreational use was approved, the actions of many medical consumers became something of an unintended consequence. They may have gamed the system to stick with the medical avenue, thus circumventing the tax structure and depriving the state of revenue.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Winds Of Change Blow In Pot Issue

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 17 May 2015 - As Likely Vote Nears in Ohio, Support Comes From Unlikely Places. COLUMBUS - No matter what happens to a proposed constitutional amendment to make marijuana legal in Ohio, polls show a growing acceptance for legalization in this country - including a majority who think recreational use of marijuana should be legal.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Pot Legalization Across the Country May Hinge on

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 07:00
Yakima Herald-Republic, 16 May 2015 - SAN FRANCISCO - A fight next year over whether to allow recreational marijuana use in California may serve as a tipping point as legalization proponents press their campaign in other states. "A lot of eyes are on California," said Gavin Newsom, the state's lieutenant governor and a legalization proponent. "It's very different than almost any other state because of the scale and the magnitude of the change and what it will represent across the country."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: Brnovich Backtracks On Ballot-measure Campaigning

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 07:00
Arizona Daily Sun, 15 May 2015 - PHOENIX -- Saying he has concerns about abuse, Attorney General Mark Brnovich late Thursday yanked his formal legal opinion which said public officials can use their offices and resources to "educate" voters on an upcoming ballot measure. In a prepared statement, press aide Kristen Keogh said there were "allegations" that his opinion, issued less than two weeks ago "may have provided an opportunity for potential government abuse." And she said he takes that issue "very seriously."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Pot Laws Pose Dilemma For Gop Presidential Hopefuls

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 07:00
Las Vegas Sun, 15 May 2015 - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's response in a recent radio interview to a question about legal marijuana was in keeping with his tough-on-crime persona. A former prosecutor and potential presidential candidate, Christie has long been a staunch opponent of legalized pot use, at one time lambasting tax revenue generated from the sale of legal recreational marijuana as "blood money."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Meet Mr. Marijuana, Dick Evans

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 05/15/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 15 May 2015 - NORTHAMPTON - The response to Dick Evans at the State House was not warm. The lawyer had drafted a bill legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana, and it was among the topics of a public hearing.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Sam Farr Asks Court to Tell DOJ to Stop Persecuting

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 07:00
Monterey County Weekly, 14 May 2015 - SAM FARR ASKS COURT TO TELL DOJ TO STOP PERSECUTING LEGAL POT BUSINESSES. In April 2006, down the coast in little Morro Bay, a man named Charles Lynch opened a medical marijuana dispensary. A story in the New York Times set the scene, straight out of a small-town community feel-good picture: The mayor, city attorney and various members of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce attended the grand opening. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony. Lynch posted his business license and rules for operation (nobody under age 18 allowed, for example). And for a time, he operated without interference from police and in compliance with California's medical marijuana laws.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: Hello, Green Leaf Road?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 07:00
Metro Times, 13 May 2015 - It was a smart bit of positioning the MI Legalize team has been doing in relation to the whole Michigan roads and infrastructure funding argument. They were smarter than Gov. Rick Snyder and his Republican-controlled legislature were in parsing the mood of state voters on raising the sales tax by 1 percent - something Snyder went all in on before failing spectacularly. One of the cornerstones of the MI Legalize plan, which hasn't been finalized or registered with the state for petitioning, is that 40 percent of the taxes raised will go to fixing the roads. Voters didn't want to pay the sales tax, but they may well decide to let the stoners pay for it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Marijuana Issue Spurs Concern

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 12 May 2015 - Ohio Lawmaker Calls Ballot Initiative Bad Public Policy. State lawmakers are discussing political strategies to blunt ResponsibleOhio as the campaign gets closer to putting a constitutional amendment before voters this fall to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Million Marijuana Marches, WA April Rec Pot Sales Hit $25 Million, More (5/11/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 20:51

It was a quiet weekend on the drug policy front, except for the Million Marijuana Marches in cities around the world, and all the news was marijuana-related.

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

Colorado Parolees and Probationers Can Now Use Medical Marijuana. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) Friday signed into law a bill allowing medical marijuana by people under criminal justice system supervision. Now, such people will not be charged with parole or probation violations for using it.

Ohio Politicians Look to Undercut Legalization Initiatives. Faced with as many as three looming marijuana legalization initiatives, some Buckeye State legislators are seeking to take the air out of the movement by pushing more incremental reforms, such as a CBD cannabis oil bill or a legislatively initiated medical marijuana ballot issue. But it remains unclear that even if such a measure should pass, it would reduce the pressure for full-blown legalization.

Washington State Had $25 Million in Recreational Marijuana Last Month. Recreational pot sales were $24.8 million in April, nearly double the January figure of $12.7 million and a dozen times higher than the $2 million in July 2014, the first month of legal marijuana sales. So far this year, pot sales have totaled $119.7 million, with $29.9 in projected retail excise tax revenues.

Medical Marijuana

Montana Appeals Judge's Ruling Blocking Parts of Restrictive Medical Marijuana Law. The attorney general's office last Wednesday appealed rulings by District Judge James Reynolds that blocked provisions of the law prohibiting advertising and the commercial sale of medical marijuana, as well as provisions limiting caregivers to three patients and subjecting doctors who recommend medical marijuana to extra scrutiny. Those provisions have never taken effect because of Reynolds' rulings.

International

Marijuana Legalization Actions Take Place Around the World. Thousands showed up in Rome, thousands more in Prague. Also, Paris and Berlin, and various Brazilian cities, among others.

Victoria, BC, to Regulate Pot Shops Like Vancouver. British Columbia's capital and second largest city is set to follow Vancouver down the path toward regulating -- instead of prohibiting -- marijuana shops. Local police are not opposed, the move could better control who enters the shops, and provisions can be made for nonprofit collectives that have operated for years, city officials said.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Editorial: Is It Time to Lift the Marijuana Prohibition?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Daily News, 11 May 2015 - QUESTION OF THE WEEK - Has the time come to legally light a joint and inhale deeply without fear of penalties? Or is pot a detrimental, mind-altering drug ripe for abuse? That's at the heart of our question of the week: Should California legalize the recreational use of marijuana?
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Pot Ordinance Fate In Judges' Hands

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 11 May 2015 - Now that Yuba County's marijuana cultivation ordinance - at least for now - has moved from public hearings to the courtroom, its fate will rest more on judges than county supervisors. There still is a possible third front in the opponents' fight - that being voting booths. The process has already started for a would-be recall election against Supervisor Andy Vasquez, there have been threats against others and opponents still have the option of trying to place an initiative on the ballot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Pot Poses Conundrum For GOP

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 09 May 2015 - Party's Presidential Hopefuls Must Choose Between Enforcing Federal Laws and Upholding State Rights. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's response in a recent radio interview to a question about legal marijuana was in keeping with his tough-on-crime persona.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Fiorina on Drugs, Hawaii Dispensaries, Drugs on the UN Agenda More (5/8/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 05/08/2015 - 20:47

Marijuana reforms pass the Kansas House, a dispensary bill passes the Hawaii legislature, another Ohio legalization initiative is moving, one Republican presidential contender makes some nice noises about drug policy, and more.

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

Kansas House Passes Marijuana Reform Bill. The House Thursday approved a bill that would decrease penalties for small-time marijuana possession, allow for the sale of CBD cannabis oil, and set up a study for uses of industrial hemp. The measure is House Bill 2049. It now heads to the Senate.

Ohio Legalization Initiative Approved by Attorney General. Attorney General Mike DeWine has approved the ballot summary for the "Legalize Marijuana and Hemp in Ohio" initiative proposed by Better for Ohio. The group is pushing this 2015 initiative as alternative to the controversial one being run by ResponsibleOhio, which would set up a 10-grower monopoly on commercial cultivation. The ResponsibleOhio initiative is already deep into its signature-gathering campaign.

Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Legislature Approves Dispensaries. Fifteen years after it gave the go-ahead to medical marijuana, the state legislature has gotten around to approving a bill that would allow up to 16 dispensaries statewide by mid-2016. House Bill 321 was approved unanimously in the Senate Thursday and passed the House the same day on a 38-13 vote. Gov. David Ige (D) is expected to sign the bill.

Drug Policy

Carly Fiorina Hints at Support for Drug Decriminalization, Would Leave Legal Marijuana States Alone. GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina staked out some progressive drug policy ground Thursday in an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board. "I would not, as president of the United States, enforce federal law in Colorado, where Colorado voters have said they want to legalize marijuana," she said, adding that she didn't personally support legalization. "I do not think they should legalize marijuana," she said. "If you look at a place like Colorado, we've sent the message that pot is just no big deal. And it's just not true." And on drug decriminalization, she had this to say: "I don't think it helps this nation to criminalize drug abuse," she said. "It is not helpful -- to the system, the community, or to a drug abuse victim -- it's not helpful to treat them as hardened criminals and throw them into jail."

International

China Urges UN to "Firmly Oppose" Drug Legalization. At a UN debate in preparation for next year's UNGASS on Drugs, China took a predictably hard line stance on legalization: "In recent years, there have been voices calling for the legalization of narcotic drugs and raising doubts about the three UN Conventions on drug control and other existing international drug control mechanisms," said Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative at the world body. "This is not conducive to the healthy development of international drug control," he added.

Reformers Take on Drug Prohibition At UN. Not all countries agree with China, and global civil society is also active at the UNGASS on Drugs prep sessions. Click on the link to read Dave Borden's account of what's going on.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Legislature Considering Plans to Regulate Pot Shops

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 07 May 2015 - SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers are wading into the politically sticky issue of regulating medical marijuana, laying groundwork for state control of the sale and cultivation of cannabis with the expectation that voters will legalize recreational use next year. The Legislature is considering multiple - and conflicting - plans to impose the first major statewide restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers; the billion-dollar-a-year industry is now regulated largely by local governments.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: Legislative Sloth Means Medical Pot Gets

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 07 May 2015 - During the just-ended session, Florida legislators had an opportunity to add some legal and regulatory sanity to the medical marijuana movement. But they blew it - again. Rather than tweak last year's law so that thousands of Floridians living with debilitating illnesses could have access to limited-use low-THC cannabis oil (CS/ SB 7066), for example, legislators fumbled, stumbled and then balked.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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