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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Sanders' Pro-pot Agenda Takes Root In California

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:00
The Day, 26 May 2016 - Bernie Sanders is turning to marijuana to bolster his credentials in California ahead of the crucial Democratic primary there. The Vermont senator told a rally in Santa Monica that he would vote yes on an initiative proposed for the November ballot in the state that would legalize the drug. In Riverside, he told more than 1,000 people that the 40-year U.S. war on drugs has unfairly targeted minorities, He told more than 5,000 people in San Bernardino on Tuesday that as a senator he has worked to remove marijuana from Washington's list of the most dangerous drugs.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Column: State Of The Rest Of The State

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:00
Portland Mercury, 26 May 2016 - Not All of Oregon Supports Legal Weed I HEARD WEED is still not happening in parts of Oregon. What's the latest? Things are coming around slowly. You know: strikes and gutters, ups and downs.
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US OR: Column: Who Hates Cannabis? And Why?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/26/2016 - 07:00
Portland Mercury, 26 May 2016 - It's Easy to Forget About Anti-Weed Prohibitionists. Don't. AS WE APPROACH the one-year anniversary of recreational cannabis legalization in Oregon, it's easy to forget about the prohibitionist forces that aren't happy about it. This is a mistake, though-these opponents are spending massive amounts of time, money, and energy to roll back the progress that's been made.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CA MJ Taxes Could Generate $1 Billion/Year, CVS Expands Narcan Program, More... (5/25/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 20:34

There's a pot of gold waiting in California, a Republican congressman comes out of the closet on his medical marijuana use, CVS is expanding expanded access to naloxone to seven more states, and more.

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

California Legislative Analyst's Office Says Legalization Could Generate $1 Billion a Year in Taxes and Fees. In a report presented to state lawmakers, the Legislative Analyst's Office said the figure was a mid-range estimate. "Our best estimate is that the state and local governments could eventually collect net additional revenues that could range from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually," analyst Aaron Edwards told lawmakers. The analysts cautioned that legalization could also incur some costs, with likely increased marijuana use requiring additional money to be spent on drug treatment.

New Hampshire Legislature Balks at Decriminalization. The Granite State will remain the only one in New England that has not embraced decriminalization. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a version of Senate Bill 498 that would lower the penalty for possessing small amounts of pot, but still leave it a criminal offense. The bill does lower the fine from $500 to $350, but possession remains a misdemeanor criminal offense. The House had voted twice in favor of decriminalization this year, but the Senate wouldn't go for it.

Medical Marijuana

GOP Congressman Steps Out of the Closet on Medical Marijuana Use. Long-time medical marijuana supporter Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has told marijuana reformers lobbying on Capitol Hill that he uses medical marijuana for arthritis pain. "I went to one of those hemp fests in San Bernardino," he explained, adding that a vendor showed him a topical preparation he could rub on his sore shoulder. "And you know what? I tried it about two weeks ago, and it's the first time in a year-and-a-half that I've had a decent night's sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone."

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Senate Bill Would Tax Prescription Opioids to Fund Drug Treatment Facilities. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Tuesday introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (BOAT) Act, which would impose a one-penny fee for each milligram of opioid prescription drugs. That fee would generate $1.5-2 billion annually, Manchin said. The bill has not yet been assigned a number.

Harm Reduction

CVS Health to Expand Naloxone Access to Seven More States. CVS Health, the massive pharmacy chain, announced Wednesday that it will increase access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) in the states of Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington this summer. CVS has already increased access to naloxone in 23 other states. The CVS program establishes a standing order with a physician in the state, allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone to patients without an individual prescription.

911 "Bad" Samaritan Law Goes to Ohio Governor's Desk. The state Senate Tuesday approved House Bill 110, which was originally designed to save lives, but has been amended to the point where advocates say it will actually make people less likely to seek emergency help for overdoses. The amended bill limits the number of times people can seek overdose help to the first two times they call and it requires medical providers to give patient information to law enforcement. The bill also requires people to get mandatory treatment screening within 30 days or face arrest. Harm reduction advocates are calling on Gov. John Kasich (R) to veto the bill.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Clackamas County Moves Toward Marijuana Tax

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 07:00
Portland Tribune, 25 May 2016 - Commissioners OK Step After Beefing Up Zoning Enforcement. Clackamas County voters will be asked to approve a 3 percent local tax on retail sales of marijuana for recreational use. County commissioners started the process of referring the tax to the Nov. 8 ballot Tuesday, after they approved several steps to beef up enforcement against marijuana-related violations of zoning and development regulations.
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US OH: Pharmacy Board Out As Sole Medical Marijuana Regulator

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 25 May 2016 - Proposal Scrapped Over Concerns About Burden on the State. COLUMBUS (AP) - A legislative proposal to regulate medical marijuana through Ohio's pharmacy board was scrapped Tuesday over concerns the rare setup nationally would create an undue burden on the state.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: Petition Rules Could Hold UP Michigan

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/25/2016 - 07:00
Metro Times, 25 May 2016 - When the MILegalize petitions proposing the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan hit the streets last summer I signed the first one that came my way. That was sometime in July. Now my signature probably won't count. That's the big issue facing the folks who organized the legalization effort right now: whether or not petition initiative signatures collected outside of a 180-day window are valid. And it doesn't look good. The most immediate answer to that question will be rendered by Gov. Rick Snyder when he decides to sign, or not sign, S.B. 776, the recent legislation that sets a hard 180-day window for collecting signatures on a petition initiative.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CA Teamsters Donate to Anti-Legalization Effort, OH MedMJ Bill Moves, More... (5/24/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 20:29

Arizona legalizers are closing in on their needed signatures, California Teamsters kick in some bucks to oppose legalization, the Patagonia clothing company gets behind industrial hemp, and more.

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

Arizona Legalizers Have 215,000 Signatures, They Need 150,000 Valid Ones. With two weeks until their July 7 signature gathering deadline, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol says it has gathered 215,000 signatures, just short of its goal of 230,000. If the campaign obtains all 230,000 and has a 25% invalidation rate or less, it qualifies. If it has a 30% invalidation rate, it falls just short. Stay tuned.

California Teamsters Kick In Cash to Anti-Legalization Campaign. Joining police and prison guards in opposing the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) legalization initiative are the California Teamsters. The truck drivers' union has donated $25,000 to the anti-legalization Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies. The Teamsters' concerns appear to be less with legalization itself than with the initiative's vision of legal marijuana distribution. The Teamsters want distribution to follow the alcohol distribution model, which would benefit its membership.

Medical Marijuana

Ohio Medical Marijuana Bill Amended to Remove Pharmacist Requirement. The Senate has changed House Bill 523 to remove language added by a committee that required dispensaries to be run by a licensed pharmacist. The Senate also expanded the definition of pain to qualify for medical marijuana. Patient advocates cheered both moves. The bill is expected to head for a full floor vote as early as today.

Industrial Hemp

Patagonia Clothing Company Gets Behind Hemp. The outdoor clothing retailer is getting behind the push to legalize industrial hemp. The California-based company has created a documentary about Kentucky farmer Michael Lewis, who was the first to grow industrial hemp in the US since World War II. The documentary is called "Harvesting Liberty."

International

Former French Anti-Drug Boss Investigated for Drug Smuggling. Francois Thierry, the former head of the anti-drug agency, Octris, is being investigated over allegations that he imported drugs to supply one of his informers and the he ordered the smuggling of several tons of hashish from Morocco. One informant told the newspaper Liberation that French police officers delivered 19 tons of hash to a Spanish villa he occupied on behalf of Thierry. The drugs were supposed to be bait to catch traffickers, but only some were seized while the rest went to a convicted drug dealer who was an informer for Thierry. This allowed Thierry to trumpet drug busts to the press, but also eliminated the informant's competition and allowed him to corner the market in hash.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Commercial Marijuana Ban Petition Circulating

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 05/24/2016 - 07:00
Calaveras Enterprise, 24 May 2016 - If Successful, It Would Allow Only Personal-Use Cultivation Proponents of banning commercial marijuana production in Calaveras County on Monday gathered signatures at grocery stores and other locations in hopes of placing its proposal on the ballot in November.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Backers: State Pot Industry Worth Billions

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 05/23/2016 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 23 May 2016 - Proponents Cite Benefits to Many Ill Floridians, Thousands of Added Jobs, Millions in Tax Revenue. Entrepreneurs in the budding cannabis industry are salivating at the prospect that Florida might legalize medical marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: California Is Poised to Become the Center of

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 05/22/2016 - 07:00
The Press Democrat, 22 May 2016 - SANTA CRUZ - The other day, in a seaside cafe here, veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock gamely fielded my attempts to catch up on a subject I have failed to appreciate for far too long: the coming end of marijuana prohibition. Earlier this month, the backers of a California initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and tech kabillionaire Sean Parker) said they had gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot. In the same week, the federal government dropped its long-standing case against Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the largest medical pot dispensary in the country.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Fight Over Pot Measure Hits Airwaves

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 05/21/2016 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 21 May 2016 - TALLAHASSEE - The medical marijuana amendment is back, and the fight over the issue is poised to return to the airwaves and screens of all sizes throughout Florida. Drug Free Florida, the group that successfully fended off a similar amendment in 2014, released its first video this week attacking the new measure that will go before voters on the November ballot. The three-minute video is running online only, but it signals the start of a campaign likely to inundate the state with ads.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Sanders Endorses CA Init, Congress Moves to Help Vets Get MedMJ, More... (5/19/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 23:36

Marijuana activists prepare to march on the White House, Congress moves on medical marijuana for veterans, Bernie Sanders endorses California's AUMA legalization initiative, and more.

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

Marijuana Legalizers, Veterans to Protest at White House Friday. A demonstration headed by the DC Cannabis Campaign and Weed for Warriors is set for the White House Friday after the Obama administration failed to respond to the groups' requests for "higher level consultations" following an initial meeting with White House staffers last month. Organizers are saying the event won't be a smoke-in, but it will come close. "This will be an unpermitted event with mass cannabis consumption and escalated civil disobedience," demonstration promotional materials say.

Bernie Sanders Endorses California's Legalization Initiative. Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) legalization initiative at a rally in Vallejo Wednesday. "I do not live in California," the Vermont senator told supporters. "But if I lived in California, I would vote 'yes' to legalize marijuana." Sanders has previously supported legalization in general, but hadn't taken a stand on the AUMA.

Illinois House Passes Decriminalization Bill. The House voted Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 2228, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. Offenders would be hit with fines of between $100 and $200. Currently, possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

Medical Marijuana

Congress Moves to Allow VA Physicians to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans. The House and Senate on Thursday approved amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that should ease access to medical marijuana for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), serious wounds, and other debilitating conditions. The measure would bar the spending of federal funds to enforce a Veterans Health Administration policy that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal. Once the measure becomes law, VA docs would no longer face penalties for discussing medical marijuana with patients or for providing recommendations for patients to participate in state-legal medical marijuana programs.The House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill have to be reconciled by a conference committee and passed again by both chambers. The medical marijuana amendments passed 233-189 in the House and 89-8 in the Senate.

Louisiana Governor Signs CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) Wednesday signed into law Senate Bill 271, which expands the state's existing cannabis oil program and expands the number of qualifying conditions. The bill also includes provisions for manufacturing cannabis oil in the state. Under the old law, there was no legal means of obtaining cannabis oil in Louisiana.

DEA Raids Montana's Largest Dispensary. The DEA, assisted by local law enforcement, has raided Montana Buds, the state's largest dispensary. Witnesses reported agents removing items from the dispensary. One woman was seen sitting hand-cuffed in front of the building. Agents had no comment other than to say that "this is now a federal investigation." The state Supreme Court ruled in February that dispensaries were illegal, but that ruling doesn't take effect until August. Earlier this week, state medical marijuana interests asked the US Supreme Court to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling.

Asset Forfeiture

Federal Bill to Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture Introduced. A bipartisan group of legislators Thursday introduced the Due Process Act, which would require that authorities in civil asset forfeiture cases prove there was "a substantial connection" between the property being seized and any criminal activity. Under current federal law, the burden of proof is on the owners of asset to show they are not derived from crime. The bill has not yet been assigned a number.

Harm Reduction

DC Expands Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Access. The DC Department of Health has launched a pilot program to expand access to naloxone (Narcan), the overdose reversal drug. Previously, the drug had only been available at a single location in the city, but under the new plan, the drug will be available at two more locations, and harm reductionists will be handing them out at various other locations.

(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 MA: Column: Legalization Will Only Lead to Budding Problems

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 19 May 2016 - More drugs, more problems - it's as simple as that. If you legalize something, there's going to be more of it around. In the case of drugs, any drugs, that availability means more and more losers stumbling around stoned out of their minds, slackjawed enough to hurt innocent people, maybe even themselves, as a result.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US IL: Column: Colorado's Mellow Experience On Legal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2016 - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed a 2012 state ballot initiative to allow the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes. He told voters it might "increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK." Spurning his advice, voters approved it. So he might be excused if, four years later, he were tempted to gaze upon the results of this experiment and say, "I told you so." In fact, Hickenlooper has done just the opposite. "It's beginning to look like it might work," he said recently.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US IL: Defendant's Alleged Pot Use Puts Spotlight on

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 19 May 2016 - Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday decried the "proliferation" of pot use and called on authorities to prosecute to the "fullest" extent of the law a Webster man accused of being high in a crash that killed a state trooper, sparking a renewed focus on the state's marijuana laws amid a heated debate on legalization. Police said David Njuguna was driving "impaired" after visiting a medical marijuana dispensary in Brookline and had a half-burnt marijuana cigarette in his car when he slammed into trooper Thomas L. Clardy's SUV in mid-March, killing the veteran officer.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Kids, Cartels, And Heroin

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 05/19/2016 - 07:00
SF Weekly, 19 May 2016 - Just after noon on May 3, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stood in front of a well-dressed crowd at the Commonwealth Club - an "unusual coalition" of Republicans, doctors, environmentalists, and former cops, as one member put it - talking at length about marijuana. Specifically, the still-magnetic former San Francisco mayor and likely frontrunner for governor in 2018 railed about how much he hates the stuff.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 22:13

In Oklahoma and Ohio, medical marijuana half-measures are being challenged by initiative campaigns, Oakland tries to create some racial equity in the industry, Maryland medical marijuana hits another delay, and more.

[image:1 align:left]California

On Tuesday, Oakland passed an ordinance designed to encourage minority participation in the industry. The city council unanimously approved a medical marijuana ordinance with an "equity program" that would reserve half of the city's new cannabis permits for people who live in a designated high-crime police beat in East Oakland or were imprisoned for marijuana-related crimes in Oakland in the past 10 years. But the plan is coming under fire from industry leaders who say it may actually be counterproductive to encouraging minority participation and could undercut a pot economy expected to boom if and when the state legalizes marijuana.

Louisiana

Last Wednesday, the House passed a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. The House approved Senate Bill 271, but because it amended it, the bill must now go back to the Senate for a final vote. Last year, legislators legalized CBD cannabis oil, but only for a handful of conditions. This bill expands those conditions to include seizure disorders. No one can currently use CBD cannabis oils because the legislature is still figuring out how to regulate them.

Maryland

On Tuesday, the Medical Cannabis Commission announced continuing delays in implementing the program. The state approved commission, which was created in April 2014 and is charged with establishing the state's medical marijuana program, says patients probably won't have access to medical marijuana until the late summer of 2017.

Missouri

Last Wednesday, the House rejected a medical marijuana bill. The House killed the bill on a 71-85 vote. That leaves an open path for a medical marijuana initiative whose supporters have handed in signatures and are awaiting confirmation that the initiative has qualified for the November ballot.

Montana

Last Thursday, medical marijuana supporters appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association filed a petition with the US Supreme Court seeking to reverse a state Supreme Court decision that guts the state's once-thriving medical marijuana industry. Petitioners argue that the state Supreme Court mistakenly held that marijuana is universally illegal under federal law and point to the Obama administration's decisions to allow states to implement their own marijuana laws.

Oklahoma

Last Friday, the governor signed a CBD cannabis bill into law. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has signed into law a CBD cannabis oil expansion bill. Last year, the state approved the use of the oil, but only for people under 18. This bill removes that age restriction.

Last Saturday, medical marijuana advocates began an initiative signature gathering drive. CBD cannabis oil isn't enough for Oklahomans for Health, which began gathering signatures over the weekend for a full-blown medical marijuana initiative. The group has 90 days to gather 66,000 valid voter signatures to get the measure on the November ballot.

Ohio

Last Wednesday, a new poll had overwhelming support for medical marijuana. A new Quinnipiac University poll has support for medical marijuana at very high 90%. The poll comes as a restrictive medical marijuana bill is working its way through the legislature and as a medical marijuana initiative is in the signature-gathering phase. The poll also asked about support for legalization, which came in at 52%.

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

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Shocking Forfeiture Poll, Oakland Racial Balance in MJ Industry Bill, More... (5/18/16)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 20:54

Organized opposition is trying to emerge in California, legalization in Oregon is creating jobs and payrolls, Oakland attempts to redress racial imbalance in the legal marijuana business but catches some flak, and more.

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

California Dems Tied to Law Enforcement Oppose Legalization Initiative. A pair of state Democratic lawmakers with "deep law enforcement ties" have come out in opposition to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) legalization initiative. Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), a former Sacramento County sheriff's official who regularly warns against drug liberalization, and Sen. Cathleen Gagliani (D-Stockton), "the Democratic senator most aligned with law enforcement," have joined with Republican colleagues to oppose the measure. The initiative is favored by many Democratic elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Oregon Legalization Creates Jobs, Payrolls. Retail cannabis employees will be paid nearly $46 million this year, and that number is set to increase in the future, according to a new report from local marijuana industry consulting firms. Legalization has also created at least 2,165 jobs, with more to come, the report said.

Medical Marijuana

Oakland Passes Marijuana Ordinance Designed to Encourage Minority Participation. The city council Tuesday unanimously approved a medical marijuana ordinance with an "equity program" that would reserve half of the city's new cannabis permits for people who live in a designated high-crime police beat in East Oakland or were imprisoned for marijuana-related crimes in Oakland in the past 10 years. But the plan is coming under fire from industry leaders who say it may actually be counterproductive to encouraging minority participation and could undercut a pot economy expected to boom if and when the state legalizes marijuana.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

New York State Senate Releases Heroin Report. The GOP-dominated body has released a report on heroin and prescription pain pill use that recommends 48 changes to state law and policy, including increased penalties for the sale and possession of opioids. The report also calls for increased prevention, treatment, and harm reduction measures. The report includes a package of bills that were expected to be passed Tuesday night. Stay tuned.

Asset Forfeiture

Southern California Poll Finds 10% Report Having Cash or Property Seized Without a Conviction. The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, looked at Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, and also found that 19%o of respondents said they knew someone who had experienced the same. The poll, sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, comes as a push is underway to get a civil asset forfeiture reform bill, Senate Bill 443, through the Assembly. The bill passed the Senate last year, but was blocked in the Assembly by law enforcement lobbying. It is still alive, though, and hopes are that it can get through the Assembly this year.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Patients Could Get Medical Marijuana From Out-Of-State

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 05/18/2016 - 07:00
Columbus Dispatch, 18 May 2016 - As it nears a potential vote next week on medical marijuana, the Senate today made a number of bill changes, including those that seek to speed up the implementation and give Ohioans immediate access to the drug. A chief complaint of the House-passed bill among medical marijuana proponents was Ohioans would have to wait for up to two years before getting access to the drug while regulations, farms and distributors were established.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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