Search Results for: Responsible Ohio

Gardner, Warren, Joyce and Blumenauer Unveil Bicameral, Bipartisan Legislation to Protect State Marijuana Policies

Forty-Six States, Washington D.C., Two Territories, and a Number of Tribes Have Legalized Marijuana in Some Form

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Representatives David Joyce (R-Ohio) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) today introduced the bicameral, bipartisan Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act (STATES Act) to ensure that each state has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders. The bill also extends these protections to Washington D.C, U.S. territories, and federally recognized tribes, and contains common-sense guardrails to ensure that states, territories, and tribes regulating marijuana do so safely.

Forty-six states currently have laws permitting or decriminalizing marijuana or marijuana-based products – and Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and a number of tribes have similar laws. As states developed their own approaches to marijuana enforcement, the Department of Justice issued guidance to safeguard these state actions and ensure practical use of limited law enforcement resources. However, this guidance was withdrawn earlier this year, creating legal uncertainty, threatening public health and safety, and undermining state regulatory regimes.

“In 2012, Coloradans legalized marijuana at the ballot box and the state created an apparatus to regulate the legal marijuana industry.  But because of the one-size-fits-all federal prohibition, state decisions like this put Colorado and other states at odds with the federal government,” said Senator Gardner. “The federal government is closing its eyes and plugging its ears while 46 states have acted.  The bipartisan STATES Act fixes this problem once and for all by taking a states’ rights approach to the legal marijuana question. The bipartisan, commonsense bill ensures the federal government will respect the will of the voters – whether that is legalization or prohibition – and not interfere in any states’ legal marijuana industry.”

“Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development,” said Senator Warren. “States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common sense marijuana regulations – and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”

“We should trust the people of the states, like Ohio, who have voted to implement responsible common-sense regulations and requirements for the use, production, and sale of cannabis,”said Representative Joyce. “If the people of these states have decided to provide help for those veterans and others suffering from pain and other health issues, we should allow them access without government interference.”

“For too long the senseless prohibition of marijuana has devastated communities, disproportionately impacting poor Americans and communities of color. Not to mention, it’s also wasted resources and stifled critical medical research,” said Representative Blumenauer. “It’s past time to put the power back in the hands of the people. Congress must right this wrong.”

Ignoring the ability of states, territories, and tribes to determine for themselves what type of marijuana regulation works best comes with real costs. Legitimate businesses that comply with state laws are blocked from access to basic banking services. Illicit markets often spring up and local law enforcement must divert resources needed elsewhere. Thousands of people are prosecuted and locked up in our criminal justice system. Qualified scientists and state public health departments struggle to conduct basic and epidemiological research or spur medical advances, and the fundamental nature of state and tribal sovereignty is violated. As more states, territories, and tribes thoughtfully consider updates to marijuana regulations, often through voter-initiated referendums, it is critical that Congress take immediate steps to safeguard their right to do so by passing the STATES Act.

The legislation has been endorsed by organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Safe Access, Americans for Tax Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign for Liberty, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute for Liberty, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the Maine Credit Union League, the Mountain West Credit Union Association, the National Cannabis Bar Association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the New Federalism Fund,NORML, the Northwest Credit Union Association, R Street, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

The STATES Act:

  • Amends the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so that – as long as states and tribes comply with a few basic protections – its provisions no longer apply to any person acting in compliance with State or tribal laws relating to marijuana activities.
  • Clearly states that compliant transactions are not trafficking and do not result in proceeds of an unlawful transaction.
  • Removes industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances under the CSA.
  • The following federal criminal provisions under the CSA continue to apply:
    • Prohibits endangering human life while manufacturing marijuana.
    • Prohibits employment of persons under age 18 in drug operations.
  • Prohibits the distribution of marijuana at transportation safety facilities such as rest areas and truck stops.
  • Prohibits the distribution or sale of marijuana to persons under the age of 21 other than for medical purposes.

A fact sheet about the legislation is available here, and the full bill text is available here.

Pro-Marijuana Group Seeks Injunction To Extend Polling Hours In Hamilton County

OHIO: The group campaigning to legalize marijuana in the state is seeking an injunction to extend voting hours in one Ohio county.

ResponsibleOhio said it wants to keep polls open by two extra hours in Hamilton County because of technical problems with voting equipment. The judge has yet to make a ruling.

Hamilton County is home to Cincinnati, the third largest city in the state.

ResponsibleOhio is the driving force behind Issue 3, which would legalize medical and recreational marijuana for residents 21 years and older. It would also allow 10 pre-designated sites to grow and manufacture pot.

 

Critics Take Aim At Marijuana Mascot

OHIO: A green and white superhero stumping for marijuana legalization votes at college campuses and bars in Ohio has sparked debate over its impact on children. “Buddie” is a fuzzy, ever-smiling pot bud in a bulging white muscle suit with green trunks, gloves and boots. He arrives in a truck painted with marijuana leaves declaring: “Yes on legalization.”

Children’s health advocates opposed to legalization said Buddie is reminiscent of Joe Camel, the cartoon dromedary proven so effective at marketing cigarettes to teenagers in the 1990s that R.J. Reynolds was forced to retire his image. They said the pot mascot makes light of a dangerous illegal drug in a manner appealing to kids. “We didn’t believe it when we saw the photos. We were pretty shocked,” said Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Association that’s involved in fighting the legalization effort. “This is nothing less than a ploy to market to children.”

ResponsibleOhio, the campaign seeking in November to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, said Buddie is nothing like Joe Camel. Executive Director Ian James said the mascot is not marketing marijuana but asking for votes – and speaking exclusively to voting-age students. “Buddie only addresses people that are 18 and older, and Buddie works specifically with voters,” James said. “Buddie has no connection with anybody under 18 because anybody under 18 can’t vote.” Also, James said, Joe Camel’s tobacco product was legal whereas anyone selling marijuana in Ohio today “would go to jail.”

Union Groups Say OK To Marijuana Legalization

OHIO:  The three largest Ohio branches of the union representing nearly 70,000 retail workers, endorsed Wednesday the ResponsibleOhio initiative to legalize marijuana.

“The executive board of these locals, which are made up of rank-and-file members, made a decision to support this proposal because we want to make sure that we have good jobs in the new legal marijuana industry,” said Laurie Couch, a spokeswoman for United Food and Commercial Workers.

The majority of the local members work in retail stores, Couch said, including Kroger, Meijer and CVS, as well as in food packing and processing.

 

Officials Blast Marijuana Initiative: ‘What’s Next, Whorehouses?’

OHIO:  A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and create a for-profit industry was ripped yesterday by some of Ohio’s top elected officials, who called it “outrageous” and a “stupid idea” to create a dangerous constitutional monopoly.

“I don’t know (if) I’ve ever seen a worse idea than this,” Secretary of State Jon Husted said at a Columbus forum sponsored by the Associated Press.

Auditor Dave Yost called it “outrageous we are creating business monopolies by ballot issues. … What’s next, 12 monopolies for whorehouses in the 12 largest counties?”

Four of the top five Republican nonjudicial officeholders — Gov. John Kasich was not there — slammed ResponsibleOhio’s plan to give 10 individuals or investor groups who fund the campaign exclusive rights to operate one of 10 businesses in the lucrative “growth and cultivation of marijuana and the extraction of cannabinoids.” The goal is to put the issue to public vote this November.

Billionaire Peter Lewis, Marijuana Legalization Advocate, Dies At 80

FLORIDA:  Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, died on Saturday afternoon at his home in Coconut Grove Florida apparently due to natural causes. He had just celebrated his 80th birthday on November 11. [Read more…]

'Undercover Boss': Donatos Owner Jane Grote Abell Fires Worker For Smoking Pot On Job

NEW YORK: Workers are also human beings and so need to unwind at some point during their day. There are of course infinite ways to blow off steam in 2013, and increasingly, turning to marijuana is becoming an acceptable option in the U.S.; last year saw the complete legalization of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington. Smoking up, however, it is still not as viable an option as having a cup of coffee. And Donatos pizza delivery driver Aaron learned this the hard way on the most recent episode of “Undercover Boss.” [Read more…]