2016

Louisiana: Voters Could Decide On Marijuana Legalization Next Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Louisiana lawmaker has proposed putting marijuana legalization on the Presidential election ballot next year for a statewide vote.

Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has filed a bill, HB 117, to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis and its derivatives on the Louisiana ballot November 8, 2016, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune. Voters would be deciding not just the Presidential race, but also Congressional seats that day.

In a Louisiana State University survey last year, 79 percent of Louisianans indicated support for some form of marijuana legalization. If Honore's initiative got on the ballot and passed, people 21 and older would be able to possess and buy cannabis without criminal charges.

"If I can get it to the people, it will pass with flying colors," Honore said.

According to Honore, criminal charges for marijuana have already ruined too many lives in Louisiana. As of June 2013, 1,372 Louisianans were serving prison sentences for simple cannabis possession. The average marijuana sentence in Louisiana is 8.4 years; more than 78 percent of these offenders are African American.

California: World Wrestling Champion Rob Van Dam Supports Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016

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Grass Roots Organization Prepares for September Signature Drive While Gaining Momentum and Support

Rob Van Dam, world famous professional wrestler, is also an advocate for the legalization of cannabis. He recently created a video that describes his opinion on this subject which can be found on Hashbar TV HERE.

"Marijuana should be legalized and taxed like beer and wine," Van Dam said.

The 2016 California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI 2016), a grass roots organization endorsed by the California Green Party, is seeking financial donations to pay for signature gathering and to promote the initiative. Volunteers are also needed, according to CCHI 2016.

Signatures will be gathered beginning around Sept. 10 this year. The signatures of more than 600,000 registered voters will be needed to qualify for the 2016 ballot within 150 days of signature gathering.

The California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative permits the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulates, enforces and taxes recreational marijuana sales like beer and wine.

The organization hopes to collect donations of $5, $10 and $20 as well as large donations to raise almost $1 million so that Californians to be able to vote on the initiative in 2016.

Nevada: Marijuana Legalization Will Appear On November 2016 Ballot

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Citizen-initiated ballot measure would end marijuana prohibition in Nevada and establish a legal marijuana market for adults 21 and older

The Nevada Legislature is expected to let voters decide in November 2016 whether to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana like alcohol.

State lawmakers have until Saturday, March 14 to enact Initiative Petition No. 1, but chose to adjourn Friday without voting on it. They were tasked with considering the measure after supporters submitted nearly twice the number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

“Voters will have the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition next year and replace it with a policy that actually makes sense,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Regulating marijuana like alcohol will make Nevada safer by replacing the underground marijuana market with a tightly controlled system of licensed businesses.

"Law enforcement officials will be able to spend their time addressing more serious crimes, and adults will no longer be punished simply for using marijuana,” Tvert said.

The initiative makes private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public or drive while impaired by marijuana.

Nevada: Backers Say They Have Signatures To Put Marijuana Legalization On 2016 Ballot

NevadaDontGambleWithMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Supporters of an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Nevada on Friday said they have collected far more than the required number of signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol plans to turn in about 170,000 signatures to county clerks on Wednesday, reports Sean Whaley at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To qualify for the ballot, 101,667 signatures from registered Nevada voters are required.

Brezny said he expects to have almost twice the number of signatures needed in each of Nevada's four Congressional districts.

If the signatures are there, the legalization proposal for those age 21 and older will go to the 2015 Legislature. If the Legislature fails to approve the proposal within the first 60 days of the session, it goes on the Nevada general election ballot in 2016.

The measure is modeled after Amendment 2, the recreational marijuana legalization law approved by Colorado voters in 2012.

Support among Nevada voters was measured in 2013 at 54 percent for and 42 percent against, Brezny said when the petition was filed in April.

California: Marijuana Policy Project Filing Committee For 2016 Legalization Initiative

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The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is filing a committee with the California Secretary of State on Wednesday to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in California. According to MPP, "It will be part of a broad coalition of local activists, community leaders, organizations, and businesses working to pass a measure similar to the one approved by voters in Colorado in 2012."

The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will immediately begin raising funds to help place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. MPP was the largest financial backer of the Colorado initiative campaign.

“Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities," said MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. "It’s been ineffective, wasteful, and counterproductive. It’s time for a more responsible approach.

“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible," Kampia said. "Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.

“Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that’s how it needs to be treated," Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense.”

Nevada: Backers Launch Ballot Initiative Signature Drive To End Marijuana Prohibition

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Democratic State Sen. Tick Segerblom and former Nevada Republican Senate Caucus Executive Director Joe Brezny are first to sign the petition

2016 ballot measure would replace the underground marijuana market with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Tuesday launched a signature drive in support of a 2016 ballot measure that would end marijuana prohibition in Nevada. State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) and former Nevada Republican Senate Caucus Executive Director Joe Brezny were the first to sign the cannabis legalization petition at a news conference in Sen. Segerblom's law office.

“Marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a failure as alcohol prohibition,” Segerblom said. “If we can regulate alcohol, there’s no reason why we can’t begin regulating marijuana in a similar fashion and raise more money for our schools. It just makes sense.”

The initiative would make private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, licensed cultivation facilities, licensed manufacturing facilities, licensed testing facilities, and licensed distributors.

Massachusetts: Bay State Repeal Hopes To Get Rid Of Marijuana Prohibition In 2016

BayStateRepeal

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis activists are working to put full marijuana law repeal before Massachusetts voters during the next presidential election, in 2016.

"We won't have to have it on the ballot again after we've finally repealed the prohibition," said activist William Downing, treasuer of ballot committee Bay State Repeal, reports Andy Metzger at MassLive.com.

Repeal, unlike legalization, doesn't create more laws around cannabis -- it repeals all those already on the books.

Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to restrict marijuana, according to Downing, prohibiting doctors from prescribing cannabis in 1913, well before federal marijuana laws were passed in 1937. Downing, an activist since 1989, said he sees parallels between the marijuana movement and the people who repealed alcohol prohibition.

Bay State Repeal wants to put non-binding "public policy" questions about getting rid of the marijuana laws before voters in 2014, before writing the binding language for the 2016 ballot as an initiative petition.

"A lot more people vote generally when there's a presidential election and we do better when a lot more people vote because this is a populist issue," Downing said.

Predictably, "family" and "anti-drug" groups oppose the measure.

California: Poised To Legalize Marijuana - Will It Be 2014 Or 2016?

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nearly two-thirds -- 65 percent -- of Californians support the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana in the state, according to a new Tulchin Research poll.

The poll, taken during the last two weeks with 1,200 likely 2016 voters, showed a "solid majority" back proposals to legalize adult recreational cannabis, according to the San Francisco-based pollster, reports Kathleen Miles at The Huffington Post.

The poll found 32 percent oppose pot legalization, and 3 percent are undecided.

The poll results were released during a Thursday news conference by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and American Civil Liberties Union representatives. Newsom and the ACLU announced the launch of a two-year research project on proposals to legalize recreational cannabis.

Newsom will head a panel of 16 experts, including academics, doctors and policy wonks, who will study the political and legal issues involved in legalization.

"This is about real people," Newsom said. "Communities are devastated because of this abject thing called the Drug War. Forget the politics; this is the right thing to do."

"But we need to answer the tough questions before we put it on the ballot," Newsom said. "I want the research in order to be more convincing to others."

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