Skip to Content

Ballot Initiatives

US DC: GOP Congress to Weigh 'Legal Pot'

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
The News-Item, 06 Nov 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - The national marijuana legalization debate ismoving into the backyard of a Republican-controlled Congress, now that the District of Columbia has voted to legalize growing, possessing and sharing small amounts of pot. Voters in Oregon and Alaska also approved legalization initiatives, joining Colorado and Washington state, where pot is already legally available.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Legal Toking Still Months Away In 2 States

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
Columbus Dispatch, 06 Nov 2014 - The Recreational Use of Marijuana Is Now Legal in Alaska and Oregon, but the Change Won't Take Effect Until Next Year. Pot-Legalization Groups Are Looking Ahead to California in 2016. PORTLAND, Ore. - Voters in the blue state of Oregon and the red state of Alaska have joined the fledgling green column of the U.S. political map by choosing to legalize recreational marijuana, but supporters are not at liberty to light up or buy their cannabis just yet.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: GOP Lawmakers Willing to Consider Medical Pot Despite

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
The Palm Beach Post, 06 Nov 2014 - Amendment's Chief Backer Plans to Bring Cause to Legislature. The expansion of the use of medical marijuana in Florida came up short at the polls Tuesday, but the chief financial backer of the campaign says he will take his cause to the Florida Legislature in 2015 and GOP leaders said Wednesday that they are willing to listen. he will use the fact that a clear majority of voters supported the amendment to push the Florida Legislature to act.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Setting The Schedule Straight On Marijuana?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 06 Nov 2014 - I hear a judge in Sacramento may reschedule cannabis. - -Bud Mann Uh, well, not exactly.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: New Marijuana Initiatives Loom As 3 Win Approval

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
New York Times, 06 Nov 2014 - ANCHORAGE - Conservative candidates garnered majorities in many elections around the country on Tuesday, but so did efforts to legalize marijuana. And the lessons of that complex pattern - with voters in Oregon, Washington, D.C., and here in Alaska approving recreational marijuana, and in Florida supporting medical marijuana - are already being absorbed for the next wave of state voter referendums, and fights, already planned for 2016. People on both sides of the issue saw the victory in Alaska, where Republicans control most of the state government and liberal ideas rarely get much traction, as a particularly vivid signal flare.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Marijuana Legalization Popular With Voters in Fairbanks

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 06 Nov 2014 - FAIRBANKS - Ballot Measure 2, the measure to legalize marijuana in Alaska, passed in nearly every precinct in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. According to latest-available numbers, 56.5 percent of the Fairbanks North Star Borough voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, surpassing the statewide vote of 52 percent.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 00:40

A medical marijuana initiative won in Guam, but the one in Florida lost despite winning a majority of the votes. There's other news, too. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]California

Last Friday,nine Lake County patients filed a $600,000 claim for damages for warrantless raids on their gardens. The move comes two weeks after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction barring such warrantless raids. The patients claim Lake County law enforcement entered their properties and seized their goods without their consent or a search warrant. They seek recompense for their stolen goods, as well as punitive damages.

On Tuesday, Election Day was a mixed bag for local medical marijuana initiatives. Local measures to tax marijuana businesses passed in two Riverside County towns, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs, as well as in Santa Cruz city and county and Shasta Lake City. But measures to loosen restrictions on cultivation failed in Butte, Lake, Nevada, and Shasta Counties, and measures to allow dispensaries were rejected in Blythe, La Mesa, and Encinitas. The town of Weed approved dispensaries, but also approved an outdoor cultivation ban.

Florida

On Tuesday, the Amendment 2 initiative won a solid majority, but fell short of victory. Because it is a constitutional amendment, the initiative needed 60% of the vote to be approved. According to the Florida Division of Elections, with 96% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Amendment 2 had 57.52% of the vote.

Guam

On Tuesday, Guam voted approved medical marijuana. With all precincts counted, the Joaquin Conception II Compassionate Use Act of 2013 passed with 56% of the vote. The legislatively-sponsored referendum overcame both political inertia and legal challenges to make it to the ballot this year. Guam now becomes the first US territory to approve medical marijuana.

Illinois

Last Saturday, the state began a second round of patient registrations. The Illinois Department of Public Health has begun a second round of patient registrations for the state's medical marijuana program. As of last Saturday, people whose last names begin with M through Z can apply for a patient card. Patients whose last names begin with the letters A through L have been able to registers for several weeks already.

Iowa

On Tuesday, the Board of Pharmacy announced it would hold a hearing on medical marijuana. The board, which has already said the state should be moving toward allowing medical marijuana, is considering whether to make new recommendations to legislators. A board committee will meet November 17 to hear testimony. Among those addressing the committee will be long-time Iowa medical marijuana activist Carl Olsen, whose petition to the board started the ball rolling. Click on the link for meeting details.

New York

Last Thursday, New York US Representatives asked the Justice Department to let the state import high-CBD medical marijuana for sick kids. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday, they called on the Justice Department to find a way to let the state import medical marijuana to be used by severely ill children. The governor this year moved to allow some access to medical marijuana, but the state program will not be in full effect for more than a year. That's too long to wait, the lawmakers said. "Every day makes a difference for children with these severe disorders. Given this urgent public health need, we urge you to allow New York the ability to import finite and strictly controlled amounts of cannabidiol,"they wrote.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visitMedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Pot Legalization Trifecta, CA Sentencing Reform Passes, FL MedMJ Fails, More (11/5/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 21:36

Marijuana wins in Alaska, DC, and Oregon; medical marijuana barely loses in Florida, California defelonizes drug possession offenses, New Jersey reforms the bail system, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy        

Alaska Legalizes Marijuana. In a trifecta for marijuana legalization initiatives Tuesday, Alaska has joined Oregon and Washington, DC, in voting to free the weed. That makes it the fourth state to do so. It won with 52% of the vote. Measure 2 allows adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants (three mature). It also allows individual growers to possess the fruits of their harvest. It will set up a complete system of commercial marijuana cultivation, processing, and distribution under the purview of the Alcohol Control Board -- or, if the legislature chooses to create it, a Marijuana Control Board.

Oregon Legalizes Marijuana. Oregon has become the third state to legalize marijuana. Voters Tuesday approved Measure 91, which will legalize personal marijuana possession and cultivation and set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. According to election results compiled by The Oregonian, with two-thirds of the votes counted, the initiative was winning with 53.7% of the vote. [Update: Measure 91 finished up with an even more impressive 55.9%.] Under Measure 91, adults 21 and over will be able to possess a half-pound of pot and grow up to four plants. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be charged with drafting regulations and overseeing implementation of the will of the voters. It will act in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Health Authority.

Washington, DC, Legalizes Marijuana. Voters in Washington, DC, today overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which will make it legal for adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana in our nation’s capital. Partial election results from the DC Board of Elections Tuesday night had the initiative winning handily with around two-thirds of the vote. It was at 64.5% with 11% of precincts reporting at 10pm, the lowest figure of the day. [Update: Initiative 71 finished up with 64.7%.] That was enough for supporters to call the election. Because of District law, the initiative could address legal marijuana commerce. That is the purview of the DC city council, which has already demonstrated its friendliness to marijuana law reform by passing decriminalization earlier this year. The council is already considering a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana commerce.

GOP Congressmen Threatens to Try to Block DC Legalization. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is saying he will try to block the legalization initiative just passed by DC voters. "Actions by those in DC will result in higher drug use among teens," Harris told The Washington Post. "I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action, so that drug use among teens does not increase." Earlier this year, Harris got the House Appropriations Committee to back a rider that would have blocked the DC city council's decision to decriminalize marijuana, but that rider didn't make it into the final DC appropriations bill.

South Portland, Maine, Votes to Legalize; Lewiston Does Not. Voters in South Portland voted 52% to 48% to approve a local legalization initiative, but voters in Lewiston did not. The measure there got only 45% of the vote. Portland, the state's largest city, passed a similar measure last year.

Massachusetts PPQs on Marijuana Legalization Pass. Non-binding public policy questions asking voters whether they approved telling their elected representatives they wanted to legalize marijuana passed in all 14 districts where they were on the ballot. Activists have been placing marijuana reform PPQs on the ballot each election since 2000, and they've never lost one. This year, most passed with more than 70% approval; the lowest passed with 54%.

Michigan Towns Split on Marijuana Initiatives. Marijuana legalization, decriminalization, or lowest law enforcement priority measures were on the ballot in 11 towns. They won in Saginaw, Berkeley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Port Huron, and Mt. Pleasant. They lost in Lapeer, Harrison, Onaway, Frankfort, and Clare. The state's largest cities have already approved similar measures.

New Mexico Non-Binding Decriminalization Initiatives Pass Big in Bernalillo, Santa Fe Counties. Non-binding, county level decriminalization initiatives won big in the state's largest and third-largest counties. Bernalillo County (Albuquerque) voted 59% in favor, while Santa Fe County (Santa Fe) produced an impressive 73% in favor.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Initiative Wins Majority, But Not Enough to Pass. Florida's Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative was defeated in today's election, even though it won a majority of votes. Because it is a constitutional amendment, the initiative needed 60% of the vote to be approved. According to the Florida Division of Elections, with 96% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Amendment 2 had 57.52% of the vote.

Mixed Bag for California Local Initiatives. Local measures to tax marijuana businesses passed in two Riverside County towns, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs, as well as in Santa Cruz city and county and Shasta Lake City. But measures to loosen restrictions on cultivation failed in Butte, Lake, Nevada, and Shasta Counties, and measures to allow dispensaries were rejected in Blythe, La Mesa, and Encinitas. The town of Weed approved dispensaries, but also approved an outdoor cultivation ban.

Drug Testing

California Initiative to Drug Test Doctors Fails. Proposition 46, was drafted and backed by trial lawyers and was actually primarily about increasing the caps on medical malpractice liability payments. Drug testing doctors was added on after it proved popular in focus groups. Not surprisingly, Prop 46 was opposed by a powerful and deep-pocketed set of medical interests in what was one of the most expensive initiative campaigns in state history. It ended up with only 32% of the vote. [Update: With the rest of the votes counted, Prop 47 won with 58.7%, and Prop 46 lost with 32.8%.]

Sentencing Policy

California Initiative to Turn Drug Possession Felonies Into Misdemeanors Passes. Proposition 47, will change drug possession (and some other low-level non-violent offenses) from felonies to misdemeanors. It is viewed as a significant step in reducing mass incarceration and a retreat from the war on drugs. The popular vote in favor of Prop 47 comes just two years after voters approved another sentencing reform initiative, that one reforming the state's notorious "three strikes" law. Prop 47 got 57% of the vote.

New Jersey Bail Reform Initiative Passes. New Jersey voters have approved Public Question No. 1 to reform New Jersey’s bail system.  The narrowly-worded question allows judges to deny bail to dangerous individuals, but it ushers in broader bail reform because it is linked to comprehensive legislation, already signed by the governor, that overhauls the state’s broken bail system. The legislation implements wide-ranging reforms including non-monetary release options for low-risk individuals; a system under which pretrial release decisions are based on risk rather than resources; the use of risk assessments for suspects enabling courts to make individualized determinations of what conditions of release are appropriate; establishment of a pretrial services unit within the court system that will provide appropriate levels of monitoring and counseling for those awaiting trial.

Law Enforcement

NYPD Ordered to Quit Doing Marijuana "Buy Busts." The NYPD has been ordered by the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to quit doing penny ante pot "buy and bust" operations. The head of each borough's dope squad was summoned to NYPD headquarters last week and told to knock it off.  Police were told to focus on more dangerous drugs. The New York Post published the story, replete with unnamed law enforcement sources complaining about the move. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Medical Marijuana Amendment Fails, Needed 60 Percent

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 05 Nov 2014 - After proponents and opponents spent more than $10 million combined, after months of campaigning across the state, Florida's medical marijuana amendment has been defeated. Amendment 2 barely missed the 60 percent needed to pass, coming in at about 58 percent.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Oregon Voters Legalize Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
The Mail Tribune, 05 Nov 2014 - OREGON VOTERS LEGALIZE MARIJUANA Oregon has joined Washington, Colorado and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of marijuana - as long as you're 21 or older, according to Tuesday night election returns.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Voters Approve Pot Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 05 Nov 2014 - City Joins Colorado, Washington State in Allowing the Drug "If your job is over at 5 o'clock and you want to have cannabis instead of a glass of scotch, so be it." Adam Eidinger, advocate for marijuana legalization
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Medical Marijuana Measure, One of Hottest Battles

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 05 Nov 2014 - A ballot measure that would have made Florida the 24th state to allow medical marijuana failed Tuesday as voters considered initiatives that touched on some of the most important economic and social issues facing the country. Constitutional Amendment 2, which would have granted access to the drug to Floridians with "debilitating diseases," needed 60 percent of the vote to pass. The measure mustered just 57 percent support with nearly all precincts reporting.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: D.C., States Weigh Whether to Legalize Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 05 Nov 2014 - Votes in favor of a Washington ballot measure that would legalize marijuana possession but not retail sales in the nation's capital were ahead of opposition to the initiative, according to early election results Tuesday. The measure, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants, had the support of roughly 64 percent of voters, to about 31 percent opposed, according to early results posted on the District of Columbia Board of Elections website.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: The High May Be Mellow, but the Ballot Push

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 05 Nov 2014 - He has already collected the signatures, counted the names, registered the voters, created the spreadsheets, made the phone calls and stapled the signs, and finally, it is 6:20 a.m. on Election Day. Eric Butler Jr. is on his front stoop. He identifies as an entrepreneur, an advocate and a guy who takes care of his 88-year-old grandmother. But he's also a "wake-and-bake and nightcap" kind of guy. Now he's awake, and so, he will bake.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Butte County Marijuana Measures: A Wins, B Loses

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Chico Enterprise-Record, 05 Nov 2014 - Measure B Backers Had More Campaign Funding, but Measure A Leads OROVILLE - Voters in Butte County approved Measure A, which creates new rules for growing marijuana including limits on the size of gardens and setbacks from other property.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Measure A: Early Voters Supporting Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 08:00
Record Searchlight, 05 Nov 2014 - SHASTA COUNTY, California - Voters today weighed in on proposed updates to medical marijuana cultivation rules in Shasta County following months of press conferences, protests and news coverage of the contentious issue. Returns at midnight showed 59 percent of the total 40,226 votes are in favor of Measure A, with 41 percent opposing the measure with all 132 precincts reporting.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

California Voters OK Drug Defelonization, Reject Doctor Drug Testing

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 07:46

Voters in California enthusiastically approved an important sentencing reform initiative Tuesday, but overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have imposed drug testing on doctors in the state.

[image:1 align:right]The sentencing initiative, Proposition 47, will change drug possession (and some other low-level non-violent offenses) from felonies to misdemeanors. It is viewed as a significant step in reducing mass incarceration and a retreat from the war on drugs. The popular vote in favor of Prop 47 comes just two years after voters approved another sentencing reform initiative, that one reforming the state's notorious "three strikes" law.

The failed initiative that would have imposed drug testing on doctors, Proposition 46, was drafted and backed by trial lawyers and was actually primarily about increasing the caps on medical malpractice liability payments. Drug testing doctors was added on after it proved popular in focus groups. Not surprisingly, Prop 46 was opposed by a powerful and deep-pocketed set of medical interests in what was one of the most expensive initiative campaigns in state history.

According to election figures from the California Secretary of State, with 45% of the vote counted just before midnight Tuesday, Prop 47 was winning with 56.6% of the vote, while Prop 46 was getting trounced with only 32.3%. [Update: With the rest of the votes counted, Prop 47 won with 58.7%, and Prop 46 lost with 32.8%.]

The Drug Policy Alliance, whose lobbying arm, Drug Policy Action, contributed to the smartly named Californians for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools "yes on Prop 47" campaign, pronounced itself pleased with the results.

"The overwhelming support for this reform sends a powerful message nationally, demonstrating that voters are not just ready but eager to reduce prison populations in ways that can enhance public safety," said DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann.

Under Prop 47, up to 20,000 people doing state prison time for simple drug possession will be eligible to seek sentence cuts, and new prison admissions should drop by between 40,000 and 60,000 a year. And hundreds of thousands of Californians with drug possession felony records will be eligible to have those records automatically expunged, removing barriers to employment, housing, public benefits, and educational opportunities.

The state's county jails, which are chafing under the state's corrections "realignment," will also see reductions in prisoners, with somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jail beds freed up by Prop 47. Counties look to save somewhere around half a billion dollars a year, according to a brief by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

"We’ve been trying to get simple drug possession reclassified as a misdemeanor through Sacramento for years, facing first an unwillingness from the legislature and then last year’s veto by Governor Brown," said DPA state director Lynne Lyman. "With Prop 47, California voters took the issue of smart justice into their own hands. If the people lead, the leaders will follow."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Oregon Legalizes Marijuana!

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 05:21

Oregon has become the third state to legalize marijuana. Voters Tuesday approved Measure 91, which will legalize personal marijuana possession and cultivation and set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce.

[image:1 align:left]The District of Columbia earlier today approved an initiative to legalize marijuana possession and cultivation, but that initiative does not allow for taxed and regulated sales. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in 2012. Alaska is voting on a marijuana legalization initiative today, but results have not come in there yet.

According to election results compiled by The Oregonian, with two-thirds of the votes counted, the initiative was winning with 53.7% of the vote. That was good enough for the state's largest newspaper to call the election. [Update: Measure 91 finished up with an even more impressive 55.9%.]

Under Measure 91, adults 21 and over will be able to possess a half-pound of pot and grow up to four plants. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will be charged with drafting regulations and overseeing implementation of the will of the voters. It will act in consultation with the state Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Health Authority.

Personal legalization will not go into effect until next July 1, and legal marijuana commerce will not begin until December 2015.

For drug reformers, Oregon is another feather in the cap on a day that already saw Washington, DC, legalize it.

"It’s always an uphill battle to win a marijuana legalization initiative in a year like this, when young people are so much less likely to vote, which makes today’s victory all the sweeter," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The pace of reform is accelerating, other states are sure to follow, and even Congress is poised to wake from its slumber."

DPA’s lobbying arm, Drug Policy Action, was the single largest donor to the Oregon campaign and was deeply involved in the measure’s drafting and on-the-ground campaign. The campaign benefited from serious financial backing, spending more than $2 million.

"Having spent years as a prosecutor, I know that Oregon will benefit greatly from regulating marijuana, and that the example set here will influence future states in 2015 and beyond," said former Assistant State’s Attorney and Oregon resident Inge Fryklund, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), which participated in the campaign.

"With Oregon and DC. coming on board, it's clear that Colorado and Washington voting to legalize in 2012 was no anomaly," said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority "The trend is clear: Marijuana prohibition is coming to an end. As 2016 approaches, we can expect to see many more ambitious national politicians finally trying to win support from the cannabis constituency instead of ignoring and criminalizing us."

New Approach Oregon, the campaign behind Measure 91, was apparently too busy savoring its victory to put out a statement by press time. That's okay; we understand. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Washington, DC, Legalizes Marijuana!

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 04:21

Voters in Washington, DC, today overwhelmingly approved Initiative 71, which will make it legal for adults to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana in our nation’s capital.

[image:1 align:left]Partial election results from the DC Board of Elections Tuesday night had the initiative winning handily with around two-thirds of the vote. It was at 64.5% with 11% of precincts reporting at 10pm, the lowest figure of the day. That was enough for supporters to call the election. [Update: Initiative 71 finished up with 64.7%.]

"You just made history," Dr. Malik Burnett, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance's DC-based Office of National Affairs, wrote in an email to supporters shortly after the polls closed. "Voters passed Initiative 71 in Washington, DC."

Along with long-time DC marijuana reformer, hemp entrepreneur, and political gadfly Adam Eidinger, Dr. Burnett co-chaired, the DC Cannabis Campaign. The effort met with some initial reluctance in the DC drug reform community and managed to make the ballot in large part thanks to early financial support from the activist-minded David Bronner of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Then DPA came on board, bringing more financial and other resources with it.

Because of District law, the initiative could not address legal marijuana commerce. That is the purview of the DC city council, which has already demonstrated its friendliness to marijuana law reform by passing decriminalization earlier this year. The council is already considering a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana commerce.

"With marijuana legal in the federal government's backyard it's going to be increasingly difficult for national politicians to continue ignoring the growing majority of voters who want to end prohibition," said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. "I've been saying for a while that 2016 presidential candidates need to start courting the cannabis constituency, and now the road to the White House quite literally travels through legal marijuana territory."

For the first time, race played a significant role in a legalization campaign, said DPA director of national affairs Bill Piper.

"This was the first legalization campaign in which the racial disproportionality of marijuana enforcement played a major role," he noted. "Initiative 71 sets the stage for the DC council to create a new model for legalizing marijuana – one that places racial justice front and center."

While the voters in DC have now spoken on marijuana legalization, Congress still has a chance to intervene, but that appears unlikely. Congress has 30 days to act or the measure becomes law, but that require a measure to override the will of District votes to be approved by both Houses and signed into law by the president.

Congress could also attach a rider to the DC appropriations bill barring all funding to implement the measure, but it appears that the bill, which should be approved next month or early next year, will be handled through a budget deal with no riders.

Legal marijuana is coming to the nation's capital. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Florida Medical Marijuana Initiative Wins Majority, But Falls Short of Victory

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 03:44

Florida's Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative was defeated in today's election, even though it won a majority of votes. Because it is a constitutional amendment, the initiative needed 60% of the vote to be approved.

[image:1 align:left]According to the Florida Division of Elections, with 96% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Amendment 2 had 57.52% of the vote.

The Amendment 2 campaign was run by United for Care/People United for Medical Marijuana, which spent more than $6 million. Its most prominent figure was attorney John Morgan, a well-known Florida political figure, who contributed $3.7 million to the cause as of September 4, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

But the opposition was also organized and rolling in cash. The Drug Free Florida campaign committee was generously and almost entirely funded by conservative Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who contributed more than $5 million of the $5.6 million the campaign had raised by late October.

Most of that $5 million was spent on fear-mongering TV ads that managed to erode what had been strong initial support for the measure. Up until about a month ago, Amendment 2 had consistently polled above—sometimes well above—60%.

While bemoaning the defeat, drug reformers took some solace in Amendment 2's strong showing, with a majority voting in favor of it.

"A tremendous majority of Floridians voted to legalize marijuana for medical purposes today – and that’s what really matters notwithstanding the fact that the initiative will not be implemented," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Today’s vote is a confirmation of medical marijuana's broad support across the political spectrum and sends a powerful message not just to Florida legislators but also throughout the South and even nationally." 

"While it's disappointing that patients in Florida won't be able to find legal relief with marijuana just yet, tonight's result does show that a clear majority of voters in the Sunshine State support a new direction," said Tom Angell, executive director of Marijuana Majority. "The campaign this year faced several key challenges, including that it took place during a midterm election in which turnout dynamics don't favor marijuana reform. Next time medical marijuana is on the ballot, organizers should put patients and medical professionals at the forefront of the campaign rather than relying on a well-meaning but much less sympathetic political donor as the chief spokesperson."

Angell was referring to John Morgan, but in an email to supporters Tuesday night, Morgan gave no indication he was going away.

"We may not have passed Amendment 2 tonight, but make no mistake, tonight was a victory in the fight for medical marijuana in Florida," he wrote. "Our next governor will take the oath of office having won less than a majority of Floridians' votes. The idea that marijuana is medicine and that those suffering and in pain should not be made criminals, received a larger share of the vote than the winner of the last six gubernatorial elections and every presidential campaign in Florida for decades."

Now, he said, it is time to take the fight to the state legislature in Tallahassee. And if the legislature doesn't act, he's vowing to be back in 2016.

"And the people will not be denied a second time," he vowed.  "I have this final message to the patients in Florida - compassion may have been delayed, but it is coming."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives
Syndicate content