NORML PAC Endorses Cannabis Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Blumenauer And Young

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML-PAC) has announced their endorsements of Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Don Young (R-AK) in their reelection campaigns. Blumenauer and Young serve as lead co-chairs of the Cannabis Caucus in the House of Representatives.

“Representative Earl Blumenauer has been supporting sensible marijuana law reform longer than anyone currently serving in the House of Representatives. He cast a vote in favor of decriminalization in Oregon in the 1970’s as a member of the state legislator and has been one of the leading champions for ending our failed prohibition on marijuana at the federal level since he was first elected to Congress,” commented NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “It is our honor to support his reelection in 2018 and supporters of marijuana law reform couldn’t ask for a better ally to have in the arena.”

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“Representative Don Young has shown how truly bipartisan marijuana law reform efforts can be by his leadership as a co-chair of the House Congressional Cannabis Caucus,” said NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Alaska voters should send him to Congress for another term so he can continue to advocate for federal reform and help convince more of his colleagues in the Republican Party to join the fight against the outdated and failed policy of prohibition.”

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus was formed in 2017 to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.


For more information, contact NORML PAC at (202) 483-5500.

Marijuana Legalization Could Come To These 12 States This Year

By Eric Weisbrot

Despite strong efforts to maintain the criminalization of marijuana use in the United States, many individuals and lawmakers have taken a step in the direction of legalization over the last several years. Currently, there are 29 states that allow for medical marijuana use, under particular limitations, and a smaller percentage that give residents the ability to use marijuana on a recreational basis under state law. The federal government has been slow to end prohibition of the drug, but recent research shows growing support for legalization on a state level for many reasons.

One of the strongest components of marijuana legalization support revolves around the well-documented success of states that have eliminated prohibition for residents. The states that allow for recreational use of marijuana have systems in place to ensure the tax revenue and economic growth is regulated, mostly through the use of bonding and licensing requirements for dispensaries, growers, and distributors. Based on the positive outcomes legalized states have generated, there are 12 more states considering legalizing marijuana use on some level in 2018.

Michigan: In the state of Michigan, there is a current initiative to gather the 250,000 signatures needed to include a marijuana legalization bill on the ballot in the 2018 election cycle. If approved, the bill would allow for recreational use of the drug for those over the age of 21 who are also residents of the state.

Delaware: In late 2017, a legislative task force was formed in order to analyze the impact marijuana use has on state residents from a recreational standpoint. A bill was shot down in 2017, but the hope is that an opportunity remains in 2018 after the findings of the task force are made public.

New Jersey: With a Democratic-led legislature, New Jersey is poised to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in 2018. A skyrocketing criminal justice cost along with proven racial injustices in the state are the prime motivators behind passing such legislation this year.

Vermont: A bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was approved in Vermont in May 2017, but it was vetoed by the governor at the time. A commission tasked with studying the issues surrounding recreational marijuana use, including health concerns and driving impairment statistics, was created at that time. Based on the results of the commission’s work, legislation is set to pass in Vermont in 2018 allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivation of two mature plants.

Oklahoma: During either the June or November elections, Oklahoma is set to add a bill to the ballot for medical marijuana use legalization for state residents.

Ohio: Lawmakers in Ohio failed to get a bill passed to legalize recreational marijuana use in the last three years, but a ballot proposal is intended to be included during the midterm election cycle this year.

Connecticut: Thanks to local efforts from lawmakers in Harford, Connecticut legislature is set to include a statewide ballot vote for recreational marijuana legalization in November 2018.

Rhode Island: After forming a legislative commission in 2017, Rhode Island may be one of the next states to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2018. The commission sought to research the impacts of the drug on its community, based on neighboring studies in Massachusetts and Maine.

Kentucky: A bill for the legalization of medical marijuana may be on the docket in 2018 for residents of Kentucky. Although there is little support from the current governor, advocates for the drug’s medical use may beat the odds during the midterm election cycle.

Utah: Medical marijuana may be legalized in Utah, following in the footsteps of several other states nearby. The ballot for the midterm elections should include a bill for Utah voters to weigh in on in 2018.

South Dakota: South Dakota may also be close to legalizing medical marijuana, as signatures are currently being gathered for a ballot initiative slated for 2018 election inclusion.

Missouri: Similar to South Dakota, signatures are currently being collected for a medical marijuana bill in Missouri which would allow voters to make the decision in this election cycle.


Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.  

Studies: Marijuana Legalization Laws Correlated With Reduced Opioid Prescribing Trends

KENTUCKY: The enactment of statewide marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in the number of opioids prescribed and filled, according to a pair of studies published online Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

New Gallup Poll Finds Record Support For Making Marijuana Legal In U.S. – 64%

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A new Gallup poll released Wednesday shows support for making marijuana legal in the U.S. has reached a record level of 64%, up from 60% last year and 50% in 2011.

This year’s national survey shows the greatest approval for ending marijuana prohibition in the history of the study, and the first time that a majority of those who identify as Republicans support making marijuana legal (51%).

Voters in eight states have passed initiatives regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol, and marijuana is legal for adults in the nation’s capital. Earlier this year, Vermont became the first state to approve a bill through its legislature that would have made marijuana legal for adults before being vetoed by the governor.

Advocates in Michigan are expected to qualify an initiative for the ballot next year that would regulate marijuana for adults, and at least 18 states are expected to have legalization bills introduced during their 2018 legislative sessions.

New Measure Eligible for California’s November 2016 Ballot

CALIFORNIA: Secretary of State Alex Padilla today announced that an initiative is eligible for the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot.

In order to become eligible for the ballot, the initiative needed 365,880 valid petition signatures, which is equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2014 General Election.

An initiative can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number.  The initiative needed at least 402,468 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold today.

On June 30, 2016, the Secretary of State will certify the initiative as qualified for the November 8, 2016 General Election ballot, unless the proponent withdraws the initiative prior to that date pursuant to Elections Code section 9604(b).

The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment. (15-0103.)

The proponents of this initiative are Donald Lyman and Michael Sutton. The proponents can be reached c/o Lance H. Olson at (916) 442-2952.

For more information about how an initiative qualifies for the ballot in California, visit: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/how-qualify-initiative/

 

MILegalize Extends Deadline For Petition Signatures

MICHIGAN: A Lansing-based group collecting signatures to get a marijuana-legalization question on statewide ballots next year says it’s extending its petition campaign past a previous deadline of Dec. 21 that its leaders had set.

“For a variety of reasons, MILegalize is extending its campaign,”  Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank, chair of the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, said this weekend.

“We’re really strong financially,” Hank said.  “We’ve received or have pledged to us more than $500,000.”

Americans Are High On Weed Approximately 288 Million Hours A Week

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  How much do Americans love weed?

According to Jonathan Caulkins, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, Americans spend about 15 billion hours a year high on marijuana. He doesn’t believe this is a good number to have arrived at.

Caulkins, author of “Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know,” which will soon be out in a new edition, derived the figure by analyzing the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which surveys 70,000 individuals.

Votes Signal Growing Support In Congress For Legalized Marijuana Protections

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Congress‘ openness toward marijuana use continues to grow, with the House voting Wednesday to prevent the Justice Department from meddling in states that allow medicinal use of the drug and signaling growing support for even broader protections of legalized pot.

The chamber voted to lay off medical marijuana, 242-186, for the second year in a row, and a bid to stop meddling in states that allow recreational use fell shy of a majority. Both votes showed support has grown.

The House voted amid debate on the Justice Department’s annual spending bill, which controls federal law enforcement.

Marijuana legalization advocates said the level of support indicates that the time has come for broader consideration of rewriting drug policy.

Libertarians, Green Party Oppose ResponsibleOhio’s Marijuana Legalization Plan

OHIO: ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana through a limited number of commercial growers is being criticized by two staunch supporters of marijuana legalization — the Green Party of Ohio and Libertarian Party of Ohio.

The two groups join grassroots pro-pot groups in opposing ResponsibleOhio’s proposed constitutional amendment, which would legalize marijuana for medical and personal use but limit commercial growing to10 predetermined sites promised to wealthy campaign backers. ResponsibleOhio plans to put its constitutional amendment before Ohio voters in November.

“There is nothing ‘responsible’ about ResponsibleOhio,” Libertarian Party of Ohio Political Director Tricia Sprankle said in a statement. “This isn’t a proposal to restore rights to Ohioans. It’s a crony scheme to line the pockets of a few wealthy investors.”

 

Bill To Limit Medical Marijuana Growers Gets Strong 29-1 Vote In Oregon Senate

OREGON:  The Oregon Senate delivered a powerful message in support of tightening regulation on medical marijuana Wednesday by voting 29-1 for a bill aimed at curbing diversions to the black market.

Although the measure has drawn intense opposition among many patients and growers, lawmakers said that the success of the state’s new recreational pot market depends on getting a tighter handle on marijuana ostensibly grown for patients.

Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland and chair of a House-Senate committee on implementing the marijuana legalization initiative passed by voters in November, said the large amount of marijuana diverted to the black market makes it harder for legal sellers to compete and could even threaten federal action against the state.