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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: No On A Committee Leads In Contributions

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 16 Oct 2014 - OROVILLE - If the success or failure of Measures A and B on the November ballot were dependent on finances alone, those opposed to A and in favor of B would have the election in the bag. The two measures are competing proposals related to the legal cultivation of medical marijuana in Butte County.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Measure a and B: Voters Will Choose Which Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 07:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 16 Oct 2014 - From a quick glance, two marijuana measures on the November ballot in Butte County look fairly similar. Both allow cultivation of marijuana. Both require that growers live in Butte County for at least one year before growing pot. Both require growers to have a permanent water supply, not to draw unpermitted water and not to illegally discharge water from the property.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Marijuana Legalization Would Be Immoral

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 15 Oct 2014 - Each of us living in this great state knows Alaska offers many things to all residents. We are surrounded by amazing beauty that nearly a million people pay to experience each summer. We each receive an annual dividend from the natural resources developed in the oil fields and we are blessed with neighbors and friends who look out for one another. In Alaska, an ordinary citizen or group of citizens has the ability to decide an issue is so important that every registered voter in the state has the right to express an opinion on the topic. This November's general election ballot includes several such issues. Our Catholic Church teaching requires us to vote with an informed conscience on issues that will affect the greater good. These are my thoughts for consideration on Ballot Measure 2.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Deserves Support

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 15 Oct 2014 - On Nov. 4, Support Medical Marijuana Forget the politicians, self-styled experts and pollsters. Amendment 2 is about helping sick people.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: State Dept. Okay With Legalization Elsewhere, Bolivia's Morales Reelected, More (10/14/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 20:54

The State Department's point man on international drug affairs signals a new flexibility in US policy, Bolivia's coca farmer President Evo Morales wins reelection, the DC initiative wins more endorsements, the Florida medical marijuana initiative is in danger, and more.

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

DC Initiative Picks Up Labor, Working Families Endorsements. DC's Measure 71 marijuana cultivation and possession legalization initiative has been endorsed by two labor unions and a District-based activist group. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Commercial Food Workers (UCFW) have come on board, citing the elimination of racially discriminatory enforcement and the removal of barriers to job opportunities. So has DC Working Families, a progressive social justice activist group.

Northern California Marijuana Summit Being Planned in Advance of 2016 Effort. Aware that a well-connected California marijuana legalization initiative is coming in 2016, some Northern California counties are laying the groundwork for a regional summit on the issue. Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo told county supervisors last week that the impending legalization initiative had led her to have discussion with other county CEOs about forming a Northern California Cannabis Summit next year. The proposed meeting would discuss possible economic, regulatory, taxation and policy implications to prepare for 2016 legalization.

Medical Marijuana

Latest Poll Has Florida Initiative at 52% -- It Needs 60% to Win. A new poll with a large sample and small margin of error has the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative coming up short. According to the SaintPetersBlog poll, a slim majority (52%) supports the initiative, but that's not enough because, as a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of the vote to pass. The poll sample consisted of 3,128 Florida registered voters who said they were planning to vote in the election and has a margin of error of +/- 1.8%. The poll is roughly in line with other recent surveys that have shown Amendment 2 polling in the 50s.

Drug Policy

State Department's Drugs Point Man Signals US Flexibility on Drug Reform. In a speech last week at the United Nations, Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield, the head of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs ("drugs and thugs"), made it clear that the US is willing to embrace flexibility, up to and including drug legalization in other countries, in the face of rising calls for international drug reform. Brownfield succinctly laid out the US approach: "First,... respect the integrity of the existing UN Drug Control Conventions. Second, accept flexible interpretation of those conventions. The first of them was drafted and enacted in 1961. Things have changed since 1961. We must have enough flexibility to allow us to incorporate those changes into our policies. Third, to tolerate different national drug policies, to accept the fact that some countries will have very strict drug approaches; other countries will legalize entire categories of drugs. All these countries must work together in the international community. We must have some tolerance for those differing policies. And our fourth pillar is agreement and consensus that whatever our approach and policy may be on legalization, decriminalization, de-penalization, we all agree to combat and resist the criminal organizations -- not those who buy, consume, but those who market and traffic the product for economic gain. Respect the conventions; flexible interpretation; tolerance for national polices; criminal organizations -- that is our mantra." Click on the link to read the entirety of his remarks.

Houston Mayor Calls for "Complete Rethinking" of Nation's Drug Laws. Ten minutes into an interview with Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network Annise Parker (D) unloaded on drug prohibition: "I agree with you that we need a complete rethinking of the nation's drug laws," she told Becker. "We have seen over and over again that outright prohibition doesn't work. We saw that in the '20s when the prohibition in this country fueled the rise of organized crime. At the same time we don't want in any way to send a message that illegal drugs are approved or appropriate, but we need to figure out a way to go to managing these drugs rather than simply saying, 'Don't do it or we are going to treat all illegal drugs the same.'" There is more; click on the title link to hear the whole thing.

International

Bolivia's Coca Farmer President Cruises to Easy Reelection. Coca farmer union leader Evo Morales has easily won reelection to an unprecedented third term as Bolivia's president. He won 59.5% of the vote, more than doubling the vote total of his nearest challenger in a five-man field and obviating the need for a runoff election. Although it remains one of the hemisphere's poorest countries, Bolivia's economy has flourished under the rule of Morales and his Movement to Socialism (MAS). The US has criticized Bolivia over its coca policies, but that didn't seem to be much of an issue in the elections.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Adds Racial Issue To Debate On Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Daily Freeman, 14 Oct 2014 - (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African-Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Adds Race to the Nation's Debate on Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Daily Times, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Adds Racial Issue To Debate On Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Oneida Daily Dispatch, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African-Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Adds Racial Issue To Debate On Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
The Saratogian, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African-Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Adds Racial Issue To Debate On Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African-Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Nation's Debate on Legalizing Pot Turns to Race

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsize number of arrests of African-Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Race Added To Debate On Legalizing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 07:00
Republican & Herald, 14 Oct 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - A debate over legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital is focusing on the outsized number of arrests of African Americans on minor drug charges. Pot legalization supporters in Colorado and Washington state also spoke about racial justice, but their voters are mostly white and their campaigns focused more on other issues. The race factor hits closer to many more homes in the District, where nearly half the population is black.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

California Malpractice Initiative Would Drug Test Doctors [FEATURE]

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 22:32

In California, an initiative designed to increase the caps on medical malpractice awards is catching the attention not only of powerful legal and medical interests, but also drug reformers. That's because, in what opponents call a cynical ploy, the malpractice initiative leads with a provision to impose drug testing on doctors.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Proposition 46, whose controversial ballot title is "Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors, Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute," would, if passed, make California the first state in the nation to impose drug testing on doctors. According to a Ballotpedia summary, it would:

  • Increase the state's cap on non-economic damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits to over $1 million, from the current cap of $250,000.
  • Require drug and alcohol testing of doctors and reporting of positive tests to the California Medical Board.
  • Require the California Medical Board to suspend doctors pending investigation of positive tests and take disciplinary action if the doctor was found impaired while on duty.
  • Require health care practitioners to report any doctor suspected of drug or alcohol impairment or medical negligence.
  • Require health care practitioners to consult the state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain controlled substances.

The fight over Prop 46 is shaping up to be the most expensive initiative campaign ever, with rival groups having already raised nearly $70 million. The vast majority of that funding is coming from opponents of the initiative, primarily the very well-heeled state medical community. The No on 46 campaign committee alone has raised nearly $57 million to kill it.

The stakes are huge. Portrayed by supporters -- mainly trial lawyers -- as a boon to patients harmed by medical misconduct and hamstrung by state laws limiting malpractice awards, state analysts estimate that it could cost state health care programs "tens of millions to several hundred million dollars annually," while a legion of hospitals, health clinics, medical practices, and other health care professionals warn that Prop 46 would drive up health care costs across the board while primarily benefiting the bottom line of malpractice lawyers.

Law firms and attorneys' groups are the biggest backers of Prop 46, but they aren't the only ones. The advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is also backing it to the tune of more than $2 million, and has laid out some arguments in favor of it.

"According to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the country behind only heart disease and cancer. As many as 440,000 people die each year from preventable medical negligence. That's like a 747 crashing every 10 hours," the group said in a March flyer. "The California Medical Board estimates that almost one-in-five doctors (18%) suffer from drug and/or alcohol abuse at some point during their careers -- and leading medical safety experts have called for random drug testing to curb substance abuse and ensure patient safety."

In that same flyer, Consumer Watchdog also warned that "doctors are the biggest suppliers for chronic prescription drug abusers" and that "drug prescribed by doctors caused or contributed to nearly half of recent prescription drug overdose deaths in California." But such scary claims beg the question of who else would be expected to supply prescription drugs.

[image:2 align:right]While lawyers and some consumer advocates are lining up to support Prop 46, it is also generating a huge and powerful group of opponents, including hundreds of medical groups, health care providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and clinics and private practices worried about rising malpractice insurance costs. It is also opposed by dozens of county medical associations, the state Chamber of Commerce and many local affiliates, along with more than a dozen labor unions.

The strange bedfellow opposition extends even further, with the state Republican Party, the state American Civil Liberties Union (and its local affiliates), and the California NAACP all among groups coming out against Prop 46. Also among its foes are most of the major newspapers in the state, which have thoroughly condemned it.

"If doctors are drug-addled, other doctors and nurses have a duty to report them," the Sacramento Bee editorialized. "If doctors make horrible mistakes during surgery, there might be cause for testing. But Proposition 46 would impose the insulting requirement of random testing on all doctors who have hospital privileges, and require that the Medical Board of California discipline any doctors whose tests are dirty. In its propaganda, Consumer Watchdog jokes about privacy concerns in a lowest-common-denominator video showing that other professionals must provide urine samples. Simply because laws allow for testing of some workers doesn't mean physicians' privacy should be trampled."

The conservative San Diego Tribune was similarly irked by the use of doctor drug testing as a come-on designed to induce voters to favor the initiative, calling it "a pathetic scam" in the title of its editorial.

"Plainly, the doctor drug-testing provision is 'the ultimate sweetener' designed to make this foul brew go down better. It wasn't a critic who used that term," the newspaper noted. "It was Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. Such an openly cynical attempt to manipulate voters shouldn't be rewarded. Vote no on Proposition 46."

The drug testing provision has also provoked opposition from the state's largest marijuana consumer organization, CA NORML, and the Drug Policy Forum of California, which urged supporters to vote no on Prop 46 in its 2014 Election Guide.

[image:3 align:left caption:true]"Drug testing is about marijuana," explained CA NORML head Dale Gieringer. "More than half the drug test positives out there are marijuana. This initiative deceitfully claims to be about alcohol and prescription drug abuse by doctors, but drug testing is almost useless with alcohol -- unless you're actually drunk at the time, I suppose -- and if you closely read the text of the initiative, you see that prescription drugs are perfectly excusable as long as the doctor has a prescription. So, there's a medical excuse for the prescription drugs mentioned in the ads, but not for medical marijuana, since the initiative only allows exemptions for prescribed controlled substances."

The drug testing regime proposed by the initiative is antiquated, too, Gieringer said.

"This thing is using urinalysis drug testing standards promulgated by the feds a generation ago," he pointed out. "The list of illegal drugs includes PCP -- yeah, that's a major problem, all those docs on PCP -- but doesn't include the new synthetics. And the list specifically includes marijuana metabolites, but not THC. That's because they're relying on urinalysis, which can't detect active THC, so only the inactive metabolite is being considered under this insidious proposition."

In other words, the drug tests wouldn't catch doctors with alcohol problems unless they were literally drinking on the job, would excuse the presence of prescription drugs if the doctor had a prescription, and wouldn't find doctors who were actually high on pot, but would find those who had used the substance days or weeks earlier. But it sounded good in focus groups.

"As we know, the drug testing provision was an afterthought," Gieringer said. "This is being done by trial lawyers, and the basic purpose is to heighten the limits on malpractice liability. But those focus groups showed everybody liked the idea of drug testing doctors."

The drug testing provision may indeed have been a sweetener designed to improve Prop 46's chances at the polls next month. But the well-funded and broad-based opposition campaign is taking its toll.

Although it polled well in a June Field poll, coming in with 58% support, support has declined since then. An August Field poll saw support plummet, with only 34% in favor, 37% opposed, and 29% undecided. But it isn't over until it's over. The number of undecideds less than a month out is big enough to swing the results either way.

The airwaves across California are already filled with Prop 46 campaign ads. We can only expect them to increase in the next few weeks as the deep-pocketed contenders throw everything they've got at the voters in the final days of campaigning.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Editorial: On Amendment 2: Yes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 13 Oct 2014 - Florida should become 24th state to allow medical use of marijuana Amendment 2 -- titled "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions" -- is the most controversial proposal on the general election ballot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Despite Rhetoric in Marijuana Debate, Legislature

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
Bradenton Herald, 13 Oct 2014 - TALLAHASSEE -- Here's the little secret neither side of the Amendment 2 debate over medical marijuana is talking about: The Florida Legislature controls its fate. You don't hear it from opposition groups, who claim legalizing medical marijuana will endanger children, spawn pot shops on every street corner and become the state's next pill mill fiasco. That will happen only if the conservative Florida Legislature decides not to impose strict rules on who obtains the marijuana, who distributes it and under what conditions.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: Arizona Lawmaker Plans to Propose Pot Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
Arizona Daily Sun, 13 Oct 2014 - PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona lawmaker plans to introduce a proposal next year to legalize recreational marijuana before a similar proposal could get decided by voters in 2016. Republican Rep. Ethan Orr of Tucson aims to convince fellow conservatives that a voter-approved measure is nearly impossible to change once it is approved and not the way to set up a complex system of rules and taxes for the drug, The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: D.C. Council Could Delay Pot Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 13 Oct 2014 - Some Want Rules in Place First to Avoid Uncertainty D.C. voters are likely to legalize marijuana possession in the District next month. But it could be many more months, perhaps a year or more, before residents would be able to legally purchase non-medicinal marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Edu: Column: Debate Recap: Hickenlooper shows integrity

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 07:00
The Rocky Mountain Collegian, 13 Oct 2014 - Thursday night, I had the privilege to observe the debate between Gov. John Hickenlooper and his opponent, former Congressman Bob Beauprez. There were three questions in particular that struck me as important for understanding the differences between the candidates. The first of these came over a question about recreational marijuana. Asked if it was time to consider a repeal of the law passed two years ago, Hickenlooper stated that it was too early to say, and stressed that tighter regulation and more research into the effects of marijuana on developing minds would be a more prudent way forward. Beauprez, when given the chance to answer the same question, stated that it was high time that repeal be put to a vote. This was extraordinary for a few reasons. First, because the issue of legalization had already been put to a vote two years ago, with obvious results. Second, Beauprez, supposedly representing the party of small government, would like to bring back prohibition, which has a nasty habit of increasing the size of government, in both enforcement and bureaucracy. Lastly, marijuana is a rapidly growing industry, the repeal of which would hurt the economy and drive all of the projected $40 million in tax revenue back underground. In ! short, no question better illustrated the lack of integrity between the rhetoric and the reality of the Beauprez campaign.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Editorial: It's Time To Legalize Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 12 Oct 2014 - In 2012, we recommended voters reject a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana because it was badly written and likely to create more problems than it solved. This year, a group of legalization advocates have put forward a very detailed, carefully worded initiative that has none of the drawbacks of the 2012 measure. We think Ballot Measure 91 strikes the right balance between Colorado's overly permissive law and Washington state's excessively restrictive statute. Voters should approve it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Simple Vote On Legalizing Pot In DC Is Not So

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 12 Oct 2014 - SIMPLE VOTE ON LEGALIZING POT IN D.C. IS NOT SO SIMPLE Contradictions Leave Even Supporters Wondering What Initiative Might Accomplish The campaigns for and against legalizing marijuana in the nation's capital are not exactly sophisticated - no targeted robo-calling, no TV commercials, no get-out-the-vote drive.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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