The Next Major Domino In The fight To Legalize Marijuana Is About To Fall

Originally published in AlterNet

CALIFORNIA: The long-awaited pot legalization initiative from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, is about to be filed with state officials. Backers of the initiative told the LA Weekly Tuesday that language for circulation will be filed with the attorney general’s office in a matter of “days.”

There are a handful of legalization initiatives already filed and some already approved for signature gathering, but there is little sign that any of them have the financial and organizational resources to actually make the ballot. It takes some 365,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, a number that virtually demands paid signature gatherers at a cost that could run a million dollars or more.

The ReformCA campaign, on the other hand, has the backing of both powerful and deep-pocketed national groups as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, as well as major state drug reform, civil rights, and labor groups, including the California NAACP and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

 

CALIFORNIA:

How Humboldt became America’s marijuana capital

BY   Excerpted from “Humboldt: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier”

CALIFORNIA:  Late one morning in the winter of 1970, when Mare Abidon was a young woman of thirty, with blond hair that streamed down her back, she stood outside her San Francisco apartment holding a cardboard box and prepared to say good-bye. The box in her arms brimmed with the remnants of the life she was leaving behind, and all the lives that came before that: art supplies from school, horn jewelry purchased on the street in India, and batik granny dresses from her years in the Haight. Len was waiting in his truck nearby. Brooding Len with the dark beard and strong arms, who had made Mare’s heart skip a beat the first time she laid eyes on him years ago at the post office. [Read more…]

New York legislation will never be progressive

NEW YORK: Earlier this year, New York looked poised to become the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana. The state Assembly passed a bill by a 99-41 margin June 3. A Quinnipiac poll taken that week indicated that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported the idea. And in the state Senate, the Republicans who had blocked medical-marijuana measures the three times they’d passed the Assembly now retained power only by allying with five renegade Democrats—one of whom, Diane Savino of Staten Island, was the bill’s sponsor. Savino repeatedly said she believed she had enough votes to pass the bill, and would bring it to the floor when the right time came.

That time didn’t come. When the state Senate adjourned early in the morning of June 22, the bill had never reached the floor, despite the renegade Democrat faction’s leader, Jeffrey Klein, cosponsoring a more restrictive revised version. Another measure, to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession “in public view” from a misdemeanor to a $100 fine, also died without a vote in the Senate.

[Read more…]

New York legislation will never be progressive

NEW YORK: Earlier this year, New York looked poised to become the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana. The state Assembly passed a bill by a 99-41 margin June 3. A Quinnipiac poll taken that week indicated that 70 percent of New Yorkers supported the idea. And in the state Senate, the Republicans who had blocked medical-marijuana measures the three times they’d passed the Assembly now retained power only by allying with five renegade Democrats—one of whom, Diane Savino of Staten Island, was the bill’s sponsor. Savino repeatedly said she believed she had enough votes to pass the bill, and would bring it to the floor when the right time came.

That time didn’t come. When the state Senate adjourned early in the morning of June 22, the bill had never reached the floor, despite the renegade Democrat faction’s leader, Jeffrey Klein, cosponsoring a more restrictive revised version. Another measure, to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession “in public view” from a misdemeanor to a $100 fine, also died without a vote in the Senate.

[Read more…]