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Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Mass. Businesses Laissez-Faire on Marijuana Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 04/17/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 17 Apr 2016 - So far, just one major statewide business group, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, has decided to oppose the measure. Jon Hurst isn't afraid to take a stand. As president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, it's his job to fight for the interests of the 4,000 businesses he represents.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Group: Baker, Walsh Hypocritical in Opposing Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Pawtucket Times, 16 Apr 2016 - BOSTON (AP) - A group supporting legalized use of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts said Friday that Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are being hypocritical by supporting more liquor licenses while opposing the pot initiative. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol leveled the charge one day after Baker, Walsh and other top officials announced formation of a committee to fight a likely November ballot question that would allow Massachusetts residents 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Walsh Doobie-Ous Of Legal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 16 Apr 2016 - Mayor: Pro-Marijuana People Must Explain Its Importance Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh responded to criticism from a pro-marijuana legalization group that called him a "hypocrite" for opposing pot legalization while supporting measures they say promote easier access to alcohol - such as keeping bars open later and granting more liquor licenses - by challenging the group to make its case for legalization.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Editorial: Weed War Gets Wacky

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 16 Apr 2016 - Pot advocates have apparently decided that they can insult their way to victory in November. And so they choose One Boston Day - a day aimed at encouraging random acts of kindness, a day when Gov. Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh would be laying wreaths in memory of the Boston Marathon bombing victims - to insult and disparage both men.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Details Emerge On Ohio's Medical Marijuana Plan

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 15 Apr 2016 - Second Group Gets Go-Ahead to Gather Signatures for Ballot. COLUMBUS - A second grassroots group got the go-ahead on Thursday to circulate petitions to put a medical marijuana question before voters in November while lawmakers released more details of their plan.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Pro-Marijuana Group Calls Out Baker, Walsh

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 15 Apr 2016 - Advocates of marijuana legalization are accusing Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of hypocrisy for supporting the expansion of alcohol sales while backing an effort to stop the legalization of marijuana. A day after the two announced they are launching a political effort to kill a likely legalization ballot question, the campaign backing the pro-cannabis referendum will hold a Friday news conference. There, the group will assert it's contradictory to support the expansion of one and not the other - because, it argues, alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 19:21

Medical marijuana for veterans advances in the Senate, Pennsylvania is set to become the 24th medical marijuana state, things are busy in Ohio, and more. 

[image:1 align:right]National

On Thursday, a Senate committee approved veterans' access to medical marijuanaThe Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment Thursday, 20 to 10, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the second time the U.S. Senate has advanced this issue. The amendment did not make the final appropriations bill last year after narrowly losing in the House.

Colorado

On Monday, a bill to allow medical marijuana at schools advanced. A bill that would require schools to allow students to use medical marijuana on campus has passed its legislative hurdle. House Bill 1373 was approved 10-3 by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee and now heads for a House floor vote. State law already gives school districts the power to allow the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances, but no district has done so.

Louisiana

Last Friday, a medical marijuana bill was introduced. State Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) has filed House Bill 1112, which would expand the scope of medical marijuana in the state. The state passed a restrictive medical marijuana bill last, but there has been little progress made on producing medical marijuana in the state. James' s bill would allow for the commercial production of medical marijuana and allow patients to petition state agencies to expand qualifying conditions for use of the medicine. The bill also seeks to ease the regulatory burden on marijuana by cutting state agencies out of some of the regulatory process.

New York

On Monday, a pair of bills aimed at fixing the state's medical marijuana law advanced. The Assembly Health Committee approved two bills aimed at improving the state's medical marijuana system. The bills, authored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan), chair of the committee and one of the architects of the state's medical marijuana law, would double the number of companies allowed to grow and distribute medical marijuana from four to eight and would end the requirement that they be vertically integrated. The bills now head for an Assembly floor vote.

On Tuesday, patients and families rallied in Albany to demand a fix for the state's medical marijuana law. Dozens of advocates to urge legislators to support a slate of bills that would amend the Compassionate Care Act, New York’s medical marijuana law. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized for being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country. Launched in January of this year, to date, only 494 of the state’s 79,000 physicians have agreed to participate and only 2,390 patients have been certified by their doctors to enroll in the program. This lackluster start is likely due to a number of barriers and restrictions in the program that make it both difficult and unappealing for physicians and patients to participate.

Ohio

Last Friday,the attorney general okayed a 2nd medical marijuana initiative. Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified the petition summary for a medical marijuana and industrial hemp initiative from Legalize Ohio 2016. Now, the initiative goes to the Ohio Ballot Board to determine whether it is one issue or two. Another initiative, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, has already been approved for signature gathering. Initiatives will need 305,000 valid voter signatures by early July to qualify for the November ballot.

On Tuesday, the legislature was crafting its own medical marijuana plan. Faced with two separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns, legislators are working to craft their own medical marijuana proposal.  The bill, which is set to be announced this week, would create a medical marijuana commission to create rules within a year to regulate medical marijuana in the state. Patients with a doctor's recommendation could access raw marijuana, edibles, patches, and oils, but would not be allowed to grow their own.

Pennsylvania

On Tuesday,the Senate passed the medical marijuana bill. For the second time in less than a year, the Senate has approved Senate Bill 3, which would create a medical marijuana system in the state. The House sat on the bill for months after original Senate passage, then approved an amended version of the bill. The Senate then passed that bill, but only after amending the amendments to bring it make closer to the version originally passed by the Senate. Now, it's up to the House to agree to those changes and send the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

On Wednesday, the bill passed out of the legislature. After months of delay in the House, Senate Bill 3 has finally been approved by the legislature and is headed for the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who supports it. The Keystone State is now set to become the 24th medical marijuana state.

Utah

On Wednesday, patient advocates said they were giving up on an initiative this year. A group calling itself Truce that had called for a medical marijuana initiative this year after the legislature killed medical marijuana bills earlier this year has given up on 2016. The group says it would have had an extremely difficult time of gathering the 102,000 valid voter signatures required to get on the ballot. The group says it is now concentrating on getting a good bill through the legislature next year.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Open Letter to UN Head Urges Global Drug Policy Changes, PA to Become 24th MedMJ State, More... (4/15/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 18:35

Global celebrities and political figures call for change at the UN, Maine's pot legalization initiative remains alive, Pennsylvania is now set to become the 24th medical marijuana state, and more.

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

Maine Won't Appeal Judge's Ruling to Recount Invalidated Signatures. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Wednesday he won't appeal a judge's ruling that overturned his decision to invalidate a marijuana legalization initiative. This doesn't mean that the initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is now qualified for the ballot, but it does mean that state officials will have to review thousands of signatures in threw out last month, including some 17,000 invalidated because they came from a notary whose signature on petition sheets supposedly didn't match his signature on file. If those signatures are found to be valid, the initiative qualifies. It handed in 99,000 and only needs 61,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.

Top Massachusetts Politicians Form Anti-Legalization Committee. Governor Charlie Baker (R), Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D), Speaker Robert DeLeo (D), and a number of other political figures and health care professionals have formed a bipartisan committee, A Campaign For A Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, to oppose the marijuana legalization initiative there. "I’ve met far too many families in Boston and elsewhere where kids have lost their way in school and been shut out of success in the workplace due to addiction and abuse of marijuana," Mayor Walsh said in a release. "Where marijuana is legal, young people are more likely to use it and a vote against legalizing the commercial marijuana industry is a vote to protect our kids and communities."

NORML Endorses Michigan Legalization Initiative. "The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is pleased to announce our endorsement of the MI Legalize initiative to regulate the adult use, production and retail sale of marijuana in Michigan. MI Legalize, also known as the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, has collected more than 270,000 signatures in its effort to legalize marijuana via the petitioning process. The grass-roots effort has been collecting signatures from registered voters since June, 2015, and represents the best opportunity to enact a regulatory system in Michigan, a state where it is highly unlikely the state legislature will take any similar action."

Champaign/Urbana to Vote on Legalization Advisory Referendum. The Illinois cities will vote on the advisory measure in the November election. The advisory question will ask voters "Should the state of Illinois legalize and regulate the sale and use of marijuana in a similar fashion to the state of Colorado?"

Medical Marijuana

Senate Committee Approves Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment Thursday, 20 to 10, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the second time the U.S. Senate has advanced this issue. The amendment did not make the final appropriations bill last year after narrowly losing in the House.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill Heads to Governor's Desk. After months of delay in the House, Senate Bill 3 has finally been approved by the legislature and is headed for the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who supports it. The Keystone State is now set to become the 24th medical marijuana state.

Harm Reduction

Hawaii House Approves Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Bill. The House has approved a bill to increase access to overdose reversal drugs such as naloxone (Narcan) and provide immunity to those who administer them. The measure is Senate Bill 2392, which has already passed the Senate and now heads for the governor's desk.

International

Open Letter to UN Head Calls for Shift in Global Drug Policy. Over a thousand people, including financier Warren Buffett, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), rock star Sting, and the former presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Switzerland, among others, have signed an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon saying the drug war has failed and calling for a shift in global drug policy away from criminalization and force and toward health  and human rights. The letter comes ahead of next week's UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs.  

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US PA: Pa. Set To Ok Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
The Reporter, 14 Apr 2016 - The House Voted 149-46 in Favor; Gov. Wolf Will Sign Bill HARRISBURG (AP) - Pennsylvania is set to become the latest state to legalize medical marijuana as the Legislature sent a bill to the governor on Wednesday, after parents of children suffering from debilitating seizures circulated the Capitol urging lawmakers to act.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Marijuana Growing Ban Initiative Hits Setback

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
Calaveras Enterprise, 14 Apr 2016 - Proponent Says Group Will File Correct Paperwork Soon Calaveras County Clerk-Recorder Rebecca Turner has rejected the initial paperwork filed by a group proposing a ballot initiative to ban commercial marijuana cultivation in the county.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US PA: Pennsylvania Set To Ok Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Local, 14 Apr 2016 - HARRISBURG (AP) - Pennsylvania is set to become the latest state to legalizemedical marijuana as the Legislature sent a bill to the governor on Wednesday, after parents of children suffering from debilitating seizures circulated the Capitol urging lawmakers to act. The House voted, 14946, capping several years of door-to-door lobbying by parents and more than a year-and-a-half since the state Senate first approved a medical marijuana bill in 2014. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has indicated he will sign it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: RIP Sacramento Medical-Cannabis Activist Ryan Landers

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 14 Apr 2016 - "My Goals Are for the Sick. That's Something I Cannot Compromise." There was a time not so long ago when partaking in marijuana wasn't easy: It was often challenging to purchase, it definitely wasn't lawful to drive around with it in your glove compartment, the bud itself wasn't lab-tested for dangerous chemicals and you took a risk every time you sneaked a toke.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Sacramento Medical-Cannabis Stakeholders Discuss the

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 14 Apr 2016 - "Is it the step everyone wants? No. But it's a step." Will California's 420-friendly voters puff, puff, pass adult legalization this year? It's no guarantee: Six years ago, California's weed-legalization initiative, Proposition 19, failed by a 53.5 to 46.5 percent vote. But this November, a new initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or AUMA, will likely be on the ballot: What do cannabis insiders-the activists and pot-shop owners-have to say about this latest shot at legalization?
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: On Weed, Whitewashing and How the Cannabis Industry

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 14 Apr 2016 - "Whiter than a Wonder Bread-and-mayonnaise-sandwich served with a side of whole milk." How white is the green rush? Extremely white. Ridiculously white. Whiter than a Wonder Bread-and-mayonnaise sandwich served with a side of whole milk. Whiter than new teeth. Whiter than the Gods of Egypt movie. Hella white.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: The People's Weed

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 04/14/2016 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 14 Apr 2016 - Why Can't Advocates of Legal Weed Get Along With Each Other? In an ideal weed-topia, all marijuana advocates work together to accomplish the ultimate dream: abolishing prohibition. But because the world is an imperfect place, several groups in Arizona have split up into at least half a dozen initiatives-with similar but different demands-campaigning for voter support.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Column: Meet One of the Workers WHO Could Lose Her Job

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 13 Apr 2016 - "I wake up every day and I still can't believe I'm selling marijuana," Ieshia Jiron says, reflecting on the past year she's been working at Leaf on the Mesa, a medical and recreational dispensary in downtown Pueblo. She spent nearly two decades working at Target, then some time dabbling in real estate until some friends approached her to help get the new business off the ground. "We were sitting on buckets then, but business really took off," she says. "It's been amazing."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Healers or Dealers? the Battle Between Detroit and Its

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 04/13/2016 - 07:00
Metro Times, 13 Apr 2016 - The Family Trees dispensary near Seven Mile and Plainview sits within eyeshot of a vacant liquor store and small storefront church, which are less than 1,000 feet away. As of April 1, that means Family Trees is breaking the law. While the business has provided marijuana to patients at the location for two years without incident, owner Reginald Venoy, like many of Detroit's dispensary operators, faces an uncertain future.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Trump Trash Talks Mexico on Drugs, AZ Pot Legalization Init Has 200,000 Signaures, More... (4/12/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 20:52

The Donald returns to one of his favorite themes, Arizona legalization initiative organizers have hit the 200,000-signature mark (they need 150,000 valid ones), patients in New York protest that state's restrictive medical marijuana law, Western Australia wants to force meth users into drug treatment without having to convict them of a crime first, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Arizona Legalization Initiative Signature Drives Passes 200,000 Mark. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuna Like Alcohol in Arizona announced Tuesday that it has collected more than 200,000 raw voter signatures for its legalization initiative. The group needs 150,564 valid voter signatures by July to qualify for the November ballot.Having 200,000 raw signatures at this point means that a full quarter of them would have to be disqualified for the initiative to come up short--and it still has time to gather more. 

Medical Marijuana

Colorado Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana at School Moves. A bill that would require schools to allow students to use medical marijuana on campus has passed its legislative hurdle. House Bill 1373 was approved 10-3 by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee and now heads for a House floor vote. State law already gives school districts the power to allow the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances, but no district has done so.

New York Patients, Families Rally in Albany to Demand Fixes for State's Medical Marijuana Law.  Dozens of advocates gathered in Albany Tuesday to urge legislators to support a slate of bills that would amend the Compassionate Care Act, New York’s medical marijuana law. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized for being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country. Launched in January of this year, to date, only 494 of the state’s 79,000 physicians have agreed to participate and only 2,390 patients have been certified by their doctors to enroll in the program. This lackluster start is likely due to a number of barriers and restrictions in the program that make it both difficult and unappealing for physicians and patients to participate.

Drug Policy

Trump Blames Mexico for America's Drug Problems. Returning to one of his favorite themes—Mexico bashing—GOP presidential contender Donald Trump Monday warned that drugs from Mexico are "pouring into the country" and "poisoning our youth." His comments came as he defended his plan to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it. The US trade deficit with Mexico is $58 billion a year. "And that doesn’t include the drugs that are pouring into the country poisoning our youth," Trump added. "They’re poisoned with this crap. People won’t be driving their pick-up trucks through the wall or over the wall, he added. Did you ever see that? The trucks go over, they unload the drugs and then they go back. So we get the drugs and they get the money. Not very good folks. That’s going to all change."

International

French Minister Reignites Marijuana Legalization Debate. A French junior minister, Jean-Marie Le Guen, secretary of state for relations with parliament (and an MD) has reignited discussion of marijuana law reform there by saying "prohibition is not effective" and that a public health approach was needed. Le Guen clarified that he was not speaking for the government, but said the subject should be debated by the next president. His remarks did not go over well with drug reform-averse French politicians, including his fellow governing Socialists.  "And what will we do tomorrow? Will we legalise cocaine and weapons because we cannot stem the flow of weapons? That's not serious!" retorted Socialist Senator Samia Ghali. A spokesman for the government added that the Socialist Party was free to debate the issue, but the government isn't interested "neither in work nor thought."

Victoria Becomes First Australian State to Legalize Medical Marijuana. The state Parliament has passed the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill, making Victoria the first state in the country to approve medical marijuana. State Health Minister Jill Hennessey said children with severe epilepsy will be the first to be able to access the medications next year. The state government will set up an Office of Medicinal Cannabis to regulate the industry and educate patients and doctors about their roles and eligibility to prescribe or use medical marijuana.

Western Australia Wants to Subject Meth Users to Forced Detention, Treatment. The state's Mental Health Minister, Andrea Mitchell, said forcing meth users into drug rehab was the way to deal with the state's growing number of them. "I've got a responsibility to balance the rights of the individual with also protecting the community, and I need to do that with the burglary and the assaults and the other side of things that do tend to happen with people with a meth problem," she said. "And I also have a duty of care to protect that individual and give that individual the best possible chance of coming out of that and being a responsible citizen." The scheme would require legislative changes to allow the state to hold against their will people who have not been convicted of any crime.

 (This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org"s lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OK: Medical Marijuana Supporters File New Papers

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 07:00
Tulsa World, 12 Apr 2016 - They Will Try a Petition Drive for the Third Time. OKLAHOMA CITY - Supporters of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes will try for a third time to get the issue on the statewide ballot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Big Green Era Readies To Dawn In California

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 12 Apr 2016 - The State's Opening Up to For-Profit Marijuana Farming Has Lit a Frenzy DELANTO, CALIF. )) After decades of thriving in legally hazy backyards and basements, California's most notorious crop, marijuana, is emerging from the underground into a decidedly capitalist era.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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