ballot initiative

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Maine: 3 York Selectmen Prevent Constituents From Having Say On Marijuana Policy


Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday announced it will not appeal a judge’s decision to allow the York Board of Selectmen to prevent a vote on a ballot measure that would make marijuana legal for adults.

“We’re confident an appeal would be successful, but at this point we cannot afford to continue playing this game with the selectmen,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supported the measure. “We know there is support for ending marijuana prohibition in York, and we’re going to focus our resources on giving them a chance to vote on it in 2016 with a statewide ballot initiative.

“It’s unfortunate that three out of the five selectmen have needlessly and very likely illegally prevented their constituents from voting on this measure,” Boyer said. “It’s a disservice to the voters who elected them, and they’ll have to live with that.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine initially submitted more than 200 signatures of registered York voters to place a measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen in July. The board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot and, based on local initiative rules, provided the group with 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted nearly 1,000 signatures in August 27, but the Board of Selectmen again voted 3-2 against placing the measure on the ballot. In September, Superior Court Judge Paul Fritzche did not grant an injunction requested by the group to place the initiative on the November ballot.

California: Marijuana Policy Project Filing Committee For 2016 Legalization Initiative


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.”

D.C. Cannabis Campaign Collects 55,000+ Signatures To Put Legalization On November Ballot


Members of Congress May Take Away DC Voter’s Right to Vote on Initiative

In less than 75 days, the DC Cannabis Campaign has collected more than twice the number signatures required to place Initiative 71 on November’s General Election ballot. However, the Campaign is alarmed that members of Congress may prevent District voters from being able to vote on the ballot initiative due to policy riders that were added to the District of Columbia’s 2015 appropriation budget.

“We are proud of our petition circulators who braved the heat to further democracy in the District of Columbia,” said Campaign chairman Adam Eidinger, “but I am very concerned that members of Congress will use their power to stop District of Columbia voters from being able to fully participate in the democratic process. We deserve the right to vote on Initiative 71.”

With the citizens of Colorado and Washington state voting to legalize marijuana in 2012, the Campaign believes that voters of the District of Columbia should be afforded the same right to vote on cannabis legalization. The appropriations rider introduced by Congressman Andy Harris (R, MD-1) on June 25 could prevent the District of Columbia Board of Elections from using its funds to print the ballots that include Initiative 71.

Worse, the policy rider may impede the District of Columbia’s decriminalization of marijuana law set to take effect mid-July and prevent any changes to the District’s medical marijuana program.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Activists Gathering Signatures In 3 Towns


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Local marijuana legalization campaigns were launched in three Maine towns were launched on Monday by the group Citizens for a Safer Maine. Supporters in Lewiston, South Portland, and York hope to change municipal ordinances to remove all penalties for cannabis possession by adults.

The petition drive was launched in Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Monday afternoon, reports Tim Goff at WCSH. The ordinances would allow those 21 or older to possess and use marijuana on private property; public use would still be illegal, as would operating a vehicle while under the influence.

"It is illogical," said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We have bigger fish to fry. There's violent crimes going on, there's property crimes and that is where our police resources should be spent."

"It's just a simple issue of freedom," agreed former state Rep. Stavros Mendros. "I'm not a big fan of marijuana. I think smoking it is a bad idea personally, with all due respect. I think it is dumb, bad for your health, but then again, so is being fat and no one is throwing me in jail for that, so you know it is about letting people live and have the freedom to live the way they want to live."

Alaska: Voters Will Decide On Marijuana Legalization In August


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

"North To The Future" is Alaska's state motto, and the future is cannabis legalization, according to the polls. State voters will get a chance to have their say at the ballot box on August 19 after supporters collected enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the ballot.

"They have hit the magic numbers," said Alaska elections director Gail Fenumiai on Tuesday, reports Michelle Theriault Boots at the Anchorage Daily News. The totals are still unofficial.

The signature threshold was reached on Tuesday morning by Alaska's Campaign to Regulate Marijuana. Totals posted on the Alaska Division of Elections' website showed 31,593 valid voter signatures had been counted.

Tim Hinterberger and fellow Campaign to Regulate Marijuana backers submitted more than 46,000 signatures on January 8. Alaska law requires 30,000 valid signatures to qualify. Initiative backers also met the requirement to gather signatures from at least 30 of the state's 40 House districts. The effort is co-sponsored by Hinterberger; Bill Parker, a former deputy commissioner in the Alaska Department of Corrections; and Mary Reff.

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