How Will Presidential Politics Affect 2016 Push For Pot Legalization?

Advocates expect another major push for marijuana legalization in 2016, a strategy that is likely to force presidential candidates to take a position on the drug. Some wonder if their efforts will be tripped up if Hillary Clinton turns out to be the Democratic nominee.

CNN’s Dan Merica takes a look at presidential politics and the campaign to legalize marijuana. In her public comments on the pot, Clinton has taken a “wait and see” approach to recreational pot.

“She is so politically pragmatic,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Merica. “If she has to find herself running against a conservative Republican in 2016, I am fearful, from my own view here, that she is going to tack more to the middle. And the middle in this issue tends to tack more to the conservative side.”

Panhandle Politicians Separated By Pot Policies

TEXAS: In the race for State Senate District 31, which covers 37 counties from the Texas Panhandle to the Permian Basin, Republican Sen. Kel Seliger and Libertarian Steven Gibson of Midland fall on the same side of many issues.

Traditionally conservative emphasis on keeping taxes low, maintaining the second amendment and securing the Texas-Mexico border all are high priorities for the pair, but marijuana legalization might be their biggest contrast.

Gibson, a petroleum land man, stands against the War on Drugs when it comes to marijuana and hemp, which he thinks should be legal.

“It’s a failure, just as prohibition was a failure, and we ought to treat marijuana just like alcohol,” he said.

“Especially medical marijuana needs to be legalized, because it’s the only thing that helps people with some diseases. We could save money on that and bring in more revenue.”

Andrew Sullivan, Conservative Writer, On Marijuana: Prohibition ‘Based On Lies’

OREGON:Andrew Sullivan, the prominent writer and blogger, compared the effort to legalize marijuana to the fight for marriage equality in the United States in a talk that highlighted the key factors propelling what he called an “extraordinary leap forward” in cannabis policy.

Sullivan was the keynote speaker at the International Cannabis Business Conference held Saturday at the Oregon Convention Center. The two-day conference, attended by an estimated 700 people, is aimed at what organizer Alex Rogers, an Ashland businessman, called the “high echelon of cannabis entrepreneurs.”

Sullivan, who received a standing ovation after his morning talk, analyzed the rapid social and cultural change that’s moved marijuana from the fringes to a drug that polls show most Americans think should be legal.

Florida Amendment 2 (2014), Full Text of Constitutional Changes – Medical Marijuana Production, Possession and Use.

FLORIDA: Complete Text of Florida Amendment 2 2014: The following is the complete text of the amendment that would be added to the state constitution if Florida Amendment 2 is approved on November 4, 2014.

(a) PUBLIC POLICY.

(1) The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.

(2) A physician licensed in Florida shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law for issuing a physician certification to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition in a manner consistent with this section.

(3) Actions and conduct by a medical marijuana treatment center registered with the Department, or its employees, as permitted by this section and in compliance with Department regulations, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.

(b) DEFINITIONS.

For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Debilitating Medical Condition” means cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

(2) “Department” means the Department of Health or its successor agency.

(3) “Identification card” means a document issued by the Department that identifies a person who has a physician certification or a personal caregiver who is at least twenty-one (21) years old and has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana.

(4) “Marijuana” has the meaning given cannabis in Section 893.02(3), Florida Statutes (2013).

(5) “Medical Marijuana Treatment Center” means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers and is registered by the Department.

Oregon Pot Advocates To Submit Signatures For November Vote

OREGON:  Advocates of legal recreational marijuana in Oregon plan to submit a ballot petition with more than 145,000 signatures on Thursday to force a vote in November on legalizing pot.

“We are confident that our measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana will qualify for the November ballot and that Oregonians are open to the case for a smarter and more responsible approach to marijuana,” said Peter Zuckerman, spokesman for New Approach Oregon, the group behind the measure.

A separate marijuana ballot measure was dropped for lack of signatures. To get on the ballot in Oregon, New Approach Oregon needs to turn in 87,213 valid signatures by July 3.

 

 

Missed Deadline Pushes Alaska Marijuana Initiatives To General Election

ALASKA:  Because the Legislature did not meet its midnight deadline, three citizen’s initiatives are expected to be moved from the August primary to the November general election.

The switch would happen because of a constitutional rule requiring a 120-day waiting period after a legislative session before an initiative can be put to a vote. It would affect ballot questions to slow down the proposed Pebble Mine, to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and to hike the minimum wage. The rule does not apply to referenda, so a measure to repeal the new oil tax law would stay on the August ballot.

The rescheduling of initiatives is expected to help the anti-repeal effort, which the oil industry has sunk millions of dollars into. That’s because the initiatives are expected to bring more liberal-leaning voters to the polls, and that increased turnout will no longer affect the primary.