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Ballot Initiatives

Gallup: Number of Adult American Marijuana Users Nearly Doubles in Three Years (Or Does It?)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 08/08/2016 - 19:31

A new Gallup poll reports that the number of people who use marijuana has nearly doubled since 2013. That year, 7% of adults said they were current marijuana users; this year, the number jumped to 13%.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]It's not clear whether or to what degree the reported sharp increase is attributable to an actual increase in regular marijuana users or whether it's because people are more willing to admit their pot use in an era of growing acceptance of marijuana and spreading legalization of the herb.

Gallup reports consistent majority support nationwide for marijuana legalization since 2013, and it found that residents in the West, where four states have already legalized marijuana, were significantly more likely to report being regular users.

Most of the increase occurred between 2013 and 2015, when regular use hit 11% before climbing another two points between then and now.

Colorado and Washington legalized weed in 2012, joined by Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia two years later. This year, legalization will be on the ballot in five states, including California, and medical marijuana will be up for a vote in at least three more.

Now, some 43% of Americans say they have ever tried marijuana, similar to last year's 44% and up slightly from 38% in 2013. In 1969, when Gallup first asked the question, only 4% said they had ever tried it.

According to the survey, the key determinants of marijuana use are age and religiosity. Among adults under 30, nearly one out five (19%) report current use, double the rate seen in any of the older groups. But only 2% of weekly church goers are users and only 7% of less frequent worshippers are. Among people who seldom or never go to church, 14% reported current use.

While 12% of men claimed current use, only 7% of women did. And, as noted above, 14% of Westerners were current users, compared with 9% of Easterners and Midwesterners and only 6% of Southerners.

Marijuana's decades-long move toward social acceptance continues.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: WA Legal MJ Sales Top $1 Billion, AR Welfare Drug Testing Flop, More... (8/5/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 20:43

Arizona legalizers fight a lawsuit aimed at knocking them off the ballot, Washington rakes in the tax revenue from legal pot, asset forfeiture is in the news in California and New York, and more.

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

Arizona Legalization Campaign Wants Lawsuit Tossed. The group behind the state's legalization initiative has asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by foes seeking to keep the measure off the November ballot. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol argued that the effort is more about politics and ideology than ensuring state law is followed. Foes argued that the ballot measure's summary language does not describe everything the initiative would do. Both sides will be in court a week from today.

In Face of Uproar, Oregon US Attorney Drops Federal Marijuana Charge Against Teen for One Gram of Weed. Rather than prosecute Devontre Thomas, 19, for possession of a gram of marijuana, federal prosecutors have agreed to enter him into a pretrial diversion program. The move comes after Oregon elected officials said the prosecution was overkill.

Washington State Sees Legal Marijuana Sales Push Past Billion Dollar Mark. After a sharp jump in adult sales last month as medical dispensaries were shut down, the state has now seen pot sales edge past a billion dollars, if revenue from processors and producers is included. The state has collected $273 million in excise taxes on the sales since they began two years ago.

Asset Forfeiture

California Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Set to Move After Compromise. After discussions with law enforcement groups, state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) has amended her asset forfeiture reform bill, Senate Bill 443, so that only property seizures worth less than $40,000 would require a criminal conviction before permanent seizure. Seizures higher than that amount would not require that standard of proof. Mitchell said the compromise would allow police to preserve their ability to go after large criminal enterprises. The police groups have now dropped their opposition to the bill.

NYPD Sued for Failure to Release Asset Forfeiture Data. NYPD collected more than $6 million in asset forfeiture revenues in 2013, but is ignoring records requests for information on how it collects and distributes the cash it seizes, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by a legal aid group representing low-income people. The group, Bronx Defenders, had submitted a public records request nearly two years, but NYPD has been unresponsive, the lawsuit alleges.

Drug Testing

Arkansas Welfare Drug Test Program Finds Hardly Any Drug Users. According to data released this week by the Department of Workforce Services, exactly one welfare applicant out of 800 has failed a drug test. Another four refused to take it, rendering them temporarily ineligible for benefits. All five taken together constitute 0.63% of welfare applicants. The one failed drug test means 0.125% of all applicants tested positive. Arkansas and other states that have enacted such laws have done so on the unspoken assumption that welfare applicants are using drugs at the taxpayers' expense, but, once again, that has proven not to be the case.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Pot Backers Sue Over Opposing Arguments

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 07:00
Manteca Bulletin, 05 Aug 2016 - SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Supporters of a California initiative to legalize recreational marijuana filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing opponents of including false and misleading language in official ballot materials. The Yes on Proposition 64 committee sued in Sacramento County Superior Court, asking a judge to change or delete several arguments that opponents make against the measure on the November ballot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Grants Pass Will Ask Voters To Ban All Pot Commerce

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 05 Aug 2016 - Both Medical and Recreational Marijuana Commerce Would Be Outlawed If Measure Passes In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, Grants Pass City Council referred an ordinance to the November ballot that would ban virtually all forms of marijuana commerce in the city.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Column: Reading the Entrails: The Latest Marijuana Polls

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 04 Aug 2016 - The latest marijuana legalization polls are out, and they contain bad news and good news. First, the bad news. Recent polls in both Massachusetts and Arizona - two of the five states that will be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana this November - show the initiatives losing.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: A Mixed Bag

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:00
The Chico News & Review, 04 Aug 2016 - Legalizing Recreational Cannabis May Have Varying Implications for Health of Kids and Teens Come November, California could join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington by becoming a state where adults can legally buy, possess and use cannabis recreationally as well as medically.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NV: Column: Pot Tale Of The Week

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 04 Aug 2016 - In the Carson Valley Times, prohibitionist lawyer Jim Hartman was quoted on the initiative petition, ballot Question Two, that provides for regulation of marijuana: "It's a 13-page initiative that was written by the marijuana industry," Hartman was quoted as saying. "It protects the industry while doing a disservice to Nevadans. It never went through the legislative process.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Editorial: More Pols For Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 04 Aug 2016 - This week Boston City Council President Michelle Wu suggested it ought to be legal for individuals to purchase and consume pot. But if Wu has her way it would be unacceptable for them to take their goodies home from the pot store in a plastic shopping bag. Yes, in the same week that Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson announced their support for a November ballot question that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Wu ordered a study into how Boston might reduce the use of plastic shopping bags - including the possibility of an outright ban.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: Column: Spice Is Not So Nice

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/04/2016 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 04 Aug 2016 - The Legal Synthetic 'Weed' That Kills As any republican with truly conservative beliefs will tell you, government intervention leads to negative consequences. In the case of prohibition, it leads to black markets that, without the option of regulation, create more harmful scenarios than their potentially legal analogues.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 22:30

A second Arkansas medical marijuana initiative is still alive (one has already qualified for the ballot), Boston gets its first dispensary, Minnesota chronic pain patients now qualify for medical marijuana, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Arkansas

Last Friday, a medical marijuana got more time to gather signatures. Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, the group behind the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment initiative, had come up short of the 82,000 valid voter signatures required to qualify for the November ballot, but it handed in 72,000 valid signatures, qualifying it for additional time to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. Another medical marijuana initiative, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, has already qualified for the ballot.

Florida

Last Friday, medical marijuana foes got a big bucks donation from a supermarket heiress. Carol Jenkins Barnett, heir to the Publix supermarket fortune, has donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida to fight the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative. Jenkins Barnett also donated big time to defeating the medical marijuana initiative in 2014, handing out $500,000 to Drug Free Florida that year.

Massachusetts

On Wednesday, Boston got its first dispensary. The Patriot Cares dispensary is open on Boston's Milk Street as of today. The company says it's ready for 150 patients a day and that 200 patients have already registered.

Minnesota

On Monday, chronic pain patients qualified for medical marijuana. As of August 1, the state's medical marijuana program includes people suffering from chronic pain that is not eased by traditional drugs or therapies.

South Dakota

On Tuesday, medical marijuana initiative supporters sued over signature counts. The secretary of state's office said petitions from the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion came up short on signatures, blocking the measure from going to the voters, and now, the coalition has filed a complaint alleging that signatures were not properly counted. The coalition is seeking to have the secretary of state's decision thrown out and that a local judge will order the initiative placed on the November ballot.

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

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Obama Commutes More Drug Sentences, Boston's First MedMJ Shop Opens, More... (8/3/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 21:05

Obama commutes more drug sentences, Boston gets its first dispensary, more signs of how horrid South Dakota is on marijuana, Utah SWAT deployment data, and more.

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

Oregon US Attorney Prosecuting Black Teen Over One Gram of Weed. In the first federal marijuana possession prosecution in the state in five years, teenager Devontre Thomas has been charged over a gram of pot found in another student's backpack at the federal Indian School they both attended. The other teen claimed he got the weed from Thomas, and that's enough for US Attorney Billy J. Williams to charge Thomas with "knowingly and intentionally possessing marijuana." Williams is getting blowback from many, including US Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who said "situations like this are best handled by the state."

South Dakota to Prosecute Consultants for Aborted Indian Tribe Pot Grow. Attorney General Marty Jackley announced Wednesday that two men who consulted with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in its effort to grow marijuana have been indicted on a range of marijuana possession charges. The tribe began to grow after the federal government signaled that tribes could do so, but destroyed its crop after federal officials raided other tribes than had entered the business and after state officials threatened to arrest non-Indians who used marijuana there. One of the consultants was hit with felony possession and is looking at up to 7 ½ years in prison, while the other, who cooperated with authorities, only got a misdemeanor charge.

Medical Marijuana

Boston Gets Its First Dispensary. The Patriot Cares dispensary is open on Boston's Milk Street as of today. The company says it's ready for 150 patients a day and that 200 patients have already registered.

South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative Supporters Sue Over Signatures. The secretary of state's office said petitions from the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion came up short on signatures, blocking the measure from going to the voters, and now, the coalition has filed a complaint alleging that signatures were not properly counted. The coalition is seeking to have the secretary of state's decision thrown out and that a local judge will order the initiative placed on the November ballot.

Law Enforcement

Utah SWAT Used Overwhelmingly for Drug Crimes. Utah is the only state to currently require reporting on SWAT deployments, and the 2015 report has just been released. SWAT was deployed 457 times in 2015, including 281 forced entries into private residences. Three-quarters of those forced entries were drug raids. The data also showed that police were more likely to use "no-knock" search warrants against drug suspects than against violent crime suspects. Go figure.

Pardons and Clemency

Obama Frees More Federal Drug Prisoners, But Time is Running Out. Some 214 federal drug war prisoners saw their prison sentences commuted Wednesday as President Obama took another step toward fulfilling his administration's pledge to use his pardon power to cut draconian drug sentences and free prisoners serving decades-long stretches for non-violent drug crimes.Those whose sentences were commuted Wednesday will walk out of prison on December 1. With Wednesday's commutations, Obama has now commuted the sentences of 562 men and women sentenced under harsh federal drug laws, including 197 people doing life for drug offenses. That's more commutations than the last nine presidents combined.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: City Council President, Mayor at Odds on Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 03 Aug 2016 - Boston City Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson will formally endorse the state ballot push to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The move, to be announced at a State House event Wednesday morning, puts them directly at odds with Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who is helping to lead the charge against the referendum. A 2007 graduate of Harvard College, Wu said she never used the drug but recalled some classmates did during their years in Cambridge.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AR: Arkansas' Pot Proposal Is Rejected

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:00
The Oklahoman, 03 Aug 2016 - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected a proposed constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot that would legalize marijuana in the state. The proposal by Mary Berry, of Summit, would allow for the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant and all products taken from the plant, including marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: A Boston First: Medical Marijuana For Sale

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 03 Aug 2016 - Young women in pink and powder blue princess costumes handed out cards advertising birthday parties to wide-eyed little girls, while commuters rushed past on bustling Washington Street to catch the Downtown Crossing subway. Around the corner in a gray building with no signs other than a green awning listing 21 Milk St., executives at Patriot Care were preparing Tuesday night for a milestone. It's been a long road with more than a few bumps, but Boston's first medical marijuana dispensary is finally ready for its expected grand opening Wednesday.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Mellow Opening Eyed For Pot Shop

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 03 Aug 2016 - 'Rush' Not Expected at City's First Facility Today's opening of the city's first pot shop in Downtown Crossing could be a mellow affair, with the owners predicting the dispensary will draw a few dozen customers with medical marijuana cards per day in its initial weeks, before slowly increasing to 90 to 100 daily customers.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: Marijuana Legalization Falls Along Party Lines

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/03/2016 - 07:00
Metro Times, 03 Aug 2016 - State Rep. Jeff Irwin recently made Cannabis Business Executive's list of "100 Political Influencers in Cannabis." It's no surprise; Irwin has been the biggest cannabis supporter in our state legislature. Over the years, the Ann Arbor Democrat has introduced or supported various decriminalization or legalization bills in Lansing. And he's consistently spoken up about marijuana legalization at the annual Hash Bash. Irwin doesn't seem to care much one way or the other about being named as a political influencer on the subject.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Filipino Drug War Killings Raise Global Alarm, Legal Pot for Deficit, More... (8/2/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 08/02/2016 - 20:52

Civil society responds as the death toll mounts in the Philippines, Massachusetts politicians endorse pot legalization, a new study finds national legalization could bring in $12 billion a year for the feds, and more.

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

Study: Legal Marijuana Could Bring $12 Billion a Year to Federal Tax Coffers. A new study from the American Economic Association says the federal government could harvest up to $12 billion annually in tax revenues if marijuana were legalized nationwide. The revenue estimate is based on a 25% federal tax on retail pot sales.

Alaska Pot Board Member Fired, Alleges Governor Trying to "Subvert" Legalization. Gov. Bill Walker (R) has fired Marijuana Control Board member Bruce Schulte, and Schulte says it's because Walker and allies are trying to delay implementation of a voter-approved marijuana industry. "There's an underlying agenda to subvert the process, to delay the implementation of a legalized marijuana industry," Schulte said. "It doesn't look like the State of Alaska is really serious about making this happen." A replacement for Schulte has not been announced. Alaska approved marijuana legalization in November 2014.

Arkansas Attorney General Rejects 2018 Legalization Initiative. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected an initiative proposed by Mary Berry of Summit to legalize marijuana in the state. Rutledge said there were ambiguities in the text that need to be addressed. That initiative was aimed at 2018. A 2016 initiative from Berry, the Arkansas Cannabis Amendment, was approved for signature gathering, but failed to make the ballot.

Boston City Council President to Endorse Massachusetts Legalization Initiative. City Council President Michelle Wu and Councilor Tito Jackson will formally endorse the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol's legalization initiative at a press event at the state capitol tomorrow. Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse endorsed the initiative Monday, becoming the first mayor in the state to do so. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker (R), and other high state officials oppose the initiative.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Medical Marijuana Foes Get Big Bucks Donation from Publix Heiress. Carol Jenkins Barnett, heir to the Publix supermarket fortune, has donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida to fight the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative. Jenkins Barnett also donated big time to defeating the medical marijuana initiative in 2014, handing out $500,000 to Drug Free Florida that year.

International

As Philippines Drug War Death Toll Mounts, Rights Groups Demand UN Denounce Killings. More than 700 suspected drug users or dealers have been killed by police or vigilantes since Rodrigo Duterte took office as president less than three months ago, and now civil society is responding. More than 300 human rights and other organizations have signed letters to the International Narcotics Control Board and UN Office on Drugs and Crime urging them to speak out against the extra-judicial violence. "We are calling on the UN drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure," said Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), which coordinated the letter. "Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day."

Australia's New South Wales Now Allows Doctors to Prescribe Medical Marijuana. As of Monday, New South Wales doctors can write prescriptions for medical marijuana. "People who are seriously ill should be able to access these medicines if they are the most appropriate next step in their treatment," NSW Premier Mike Baird said yesterday.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: When Smoke Settles, Will There Be Pot Ads?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 08/02/2016 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 02 Aug 2016 - State Initiative Draws Fire for Opening Door to TV Commercials. Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials that promote a different kind of smoking - marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: IL Gov Signs Decrim Bill, Marijuana Foes Pony Up to Fight Reform, More... (8/1/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 08/01/2016 - 20:28

Your correspondent was on vacation last week, but drug policy and the drug war weren't. Illinois has decriminalized marijuana possession, Republicans are shifting on marijuana prohibition, Minnesotans with chronic pain now qualify for medical marijuana, Floridians can now get naloxone without an individualized prescription, and more.

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

Poll: Even Republicans Now Favor Marijuana Legalization. For the first time, a plurality if not a majority of people who identify as Republicans say they support marijuana legalization. A new YouGov poll has 45% of Republicans in favor, with 42% opposed. Only eight months ago, Republicans opposed legalization in the same poll, by a margin of 50% to 36%.

Pot Prohibitionists Put Up $2 Million to Fight Legalization. The political arm of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana has raised more than $2 million to fight legalization initiatives in five states this year, including California, where Prop 64 is on the November ballot. The bulk of the money will go to California. The group is led by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) and former drug czar's office official Kevin Sabet.

Illinois Decriminalizes Marijuana. Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) last Friday signed into law Senate Bill 2228, which decriminalizes the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana and creates a maximum fine of $200. The law goes into effect immediately, making Illinois the 21st state to have decriminalized small-time pot possession.

Massachusetts Legalization Initiative is Officially on the November Ballot. State officials last month quietly certified that the initiative from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has overcome the final hurdle to going before the voters in November. Advocates had to hand in a small number of signatures this summer when the legislature refused to act after the campaign handed in tens of thousands of signatures earlier this year. The initiative will be Question 4 on the November ballot.

Northern Marianas Could Vote on Legalization in November. A lawmaker in the US territory has pre-filed a bill that would let residents vote on legalization in November. Senator Sixto Igisomar is the man behind the move. The legislature must approve it by August 10 for it to make the ballot this year.

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment Initiative Gets More Time to Gather Signatures. Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, the group behind the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment initiative, had come up short of the 82,000 valid voter signatures required to qualify for the November ballot, but it handed in 72,000 valid signatures, qualifying it for additional time to gather enough signatures to make the ballot. Another medical marijuana initiative, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, has already qualified for the ballot.

Minnesota Chronic Pain Patients Now Qualify for Medical Marijuana. As of today, the state's medical marijuana program includes people suffering from chronic pain that is not eased by traditional drugs or therapies.

Harm Reduction

Florida Makes Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Available Without Prescription. The overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) is now available through a "standing order" from a doctor, meaning drugs users, friends, and family members no longer need an individual prescription to obtain the antidote. Additionally, the pharmacy chain CVS will begin stocking naloxone in all its pharmacies in the state beginning this month.

International

Italian Parliament Begins Debate on Marijuana Legalization.Last week, parliament began discussing whether to approve a marijuana legalization bill. The bill would allow for the possession of up to 15 grams at home and 5 grams on the street and let people grow up to five plants. It would also allow growing collectives of up to 50 growers. Rightist opponents of the measure have already filed more than 1,300 proposed amendments aimed at snuffing it. Debate on the bill will resume in September.

Indonesia Executes Four Drug Prisoners. Ignoring a growing global clamor against the practice, Indonesian authorities executed four convicted drug offenders last Friday. Ten others set to be executed at the same time won a temporary reprieve when a storm hit the island where the executions were taking place, but officials said they would be put to death later.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Kennedy Group Raises Funds To Fight Pot Effort

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 08/01/2016 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 01 Aug 2016 - Coalition Will Use Big Portion of $2 Million to Target California's Ballot Measure to Legalize Cannabis. SACRAMENTO - Facing well-financed campaigns to legalize recreational pot, a national coalition that includes former Rep. Patrick Kennedy has raised more than $2 million to fight initiatives in five states this year, including a November ballot measure in California.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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