Legalization

Texas: Legislators File Bills To Decriminalize Marijuana

Texas.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after several other states approved measures to weaken restrictions on marijuana, Texas lawmakers are aiming to do the same.

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Texas legislators submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Bills were submitted that would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders, reduce criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and re-classify convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

On Nov. 8, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives, adding them to a growing list of states — including Alaska,Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — that have already approved the drug for recreational use. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota also approved medicinal marijuana initiatives.

The National Conference of State Legislators reports that 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Nevada: Ballot Could Add Legal Marijuana To Las Vegas' List Of Vices

Nevada.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

If Nevada approves a Nov. 8 referendum on legalizing marijuana, Las Vegas could soon add recreational marijuana to its list of vices.

Supporters see cannabis as an attractive alternative to $15 cocktails, but pot proponents will have to win over closely divided voters and a risk-averse gambling industry.

Despite their reputation for debauchery, Nevada's rigorously regulated casinos are known to lean to the conservative side to avoid scandalizing the middle-aged tourists who are their majority clientele.

The ballot initiative would not allow municipalities to put blanket bans on marijuana,and it would also bar consumption in buildings that are open to the public. Local governments could restrict the locations of dispensaries, and city-dwellers would be banned from growing their own pot.

California: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Antonio Villairagosa.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became the latest high-profile politician to endorse an initiative on next week’s ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

Villaraigosa is considering running for governor in 2018 amid a field that already includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading proponent of Proposition 64.

“I took my time on this measure because I wanted to make sure it included protections for children and public safety,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “In evaluating the measure in its entirety, I am convinced there are enough safeguards to make it a workable proposition.”

The Proposition 64 campaign welcomed Villaraigosa’s endorsement at a time when a recent poll indicated slightly fewer than half of Latino voters support the measure.

“We’re glad to have it,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the campaign.

Rhode Island: Governor Watching Massachusetts Marijuana Ballot

Rhode Island.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The governor of Rhode Island says she's positioning her state to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana by improving state oversight of medical marijuana.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo told the Providence Journal the state will have to look harder and faster at recreational pot legalization if Massachusetts voters approve it across the border in next week's election.

If Question 4 on the Massachusetts ballot passes, it would allow retail pot shops to open after January 2018, giving some time for Rhode Island to catch up.

Raimondo says medical marijuana reforms she signed into law this year improve oversight of a flawed system. She says they also create a regulatory framework so the state is prepared if recreational pot is legalized.

She says she remains concerned about keeping kids safe.

Colorado: Officials Ask Arizona Group To Pull Marijuana Political Ads

Arizona 4.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legislators in Colorado say the group Arizonans For Sensible Drug Policy are airing misleading political advertisements that oppose the legalization of marijuana in the state of Arizona.

Proposition 205, if passed, aims to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

The group opposed to Proposition 205 began airing "No on 205" television ads that claim Colorado schools did not receive the millions of dollars promised and that politicians spent more on regulating the industry.

However, the Colorado officials who played a central role in the budgeting of marijuana taxes say this is not true and that more than $138 million went to schools and less than 10 percent of pot tax revenues were spent on regulation.

Colorado Senator Pat Steadman and Representatives Millie Hamner and Jonathan Singer emailed Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk, the leaders of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, citing what they say are multiple incorrect claims on their "No on 205" ads talking about marijuana tax revenue spending and rates of teen pot use in Colorado.

They counter the ad's statements with information drawn from three state government documents they attached to the email.

Here is the transcript of the email:

Dear Mr. Leibsohn and Ms. Polk:

Arizona: Susan Sarandon Endorses Prop 205 With Phone Messages

Susan Sarandon.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol recently announced that Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon has officially stated she endorses Prop 205 in Arizona to legalize cannabis for those 21 and older.

In addition to Sarandon’s endorsement, the campaign is sending out a message from her to the phones of thousands of voters in the state. The message encourages them to “vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 205.”

Proposition 205, similar to measures on the ballot in four other states this election, would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to six cannabis plants, and purchase cannabis and cannabis products from a licensed retail outlet.

“[W]hether someone uses marijuana or not we probably all prefer for law enforcement to spend their time preventing and investigating serious crimes rather than marijuana offenses”, the message starts. “Also regulating marijuana will take it out of the hands of criminals and instead generate jobs and tax revenue”.

The message ends with Sarandon saying “Please vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting yes on Prop 2015 on November 8th. Thank you.”

“Ms. Sarandon is one of the most widely recognized and well-respected actresses in the nation,” says J.P. Holyoak, Chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

California: Prop 64 Gains Major Newspaper Endorsements

California.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The campaign behind California’s Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older announced that they’ve received the official endorsement of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

According to the Yes on Prop 64 campaign, this means that “every large-circulation daily newspaper in Southern California has now endorsed Proposition 64.”

The paper opposed Proposition 19 to legalize cannabis in 2010. The Union-Tribune joins the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise as outlets that opposed Prop 19 in 2010. All publications support Proposition 64 in this year’s election.

The Union-Tribune went directly after one of the primary attacks used by opponents of the measure: that it decreases road safety.

“The recent increases in those states of the number of people in fatal accidents found to have THC in their systems may reflect a greater emphasis on drug testing instead of a spike in stoned motorists,” the paper says.

“Marijuana use has barely increased among Washington teenagers and somewhat increased among Colorado teens, reflecting a trend in the Rocky Mountain State that predated adult legalization.”

A list of newspaper endorsing Prop 64:

Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

Pennsylvania: Ex-Philly Mayoral Candidate Cited For Pot At Airport

plane.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz was recently cited at the airport after security officers found a small amount of marijuana in his luggage.

Katz told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning, heading to Florida for a weekend fishing trip. He said he hasn’t smoked marijuana in years and thought the trip would be a good opportunity to do it again.

Katz said he put pot in his suitcase and the TSA agents found it as he passed through security. He says the officers seized the pot and gave him a $25 ticket. He also missed his flight and had to make alternate travel arrangements.

He said it’s not “one of the smart moves” he’s made.

Katz ran for mayor three times in the 90s and early 2000s.

Arizona: Jim McMahon Appears In Ad For Marijuana Legalization

McMahon.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon has appeared in a political advertisement supporting legalizing marijuana in Arizona.

McMahon currently lives in Scottsdale, and says he has used marijuana to treat severe headaches and other lingering effects from his days playing in the NFL.

"When I had my first injury, that's when I used my first painkiller and I was using them daily pretty much the rest of my career. It takes its toll; taking too many of those things," he says in the ad for Proposition 205. "Once I retired I got rid of those, I moved out here to Arizona, I got my medical card, I've been using marijuana ever since. Someone like me can afford to be a medical marijuana patient, but others aren't so lucky. Marijuana should be available to all adults who need it. I'm voting yes on Prop 205 and hope you will too."

McMahon's ad first appeared during the "Thursday Night Football" game between the Bears and Packers at Lambeau Field last night.

A recent poll of registered voters found 50 percent of them favored Prop 205. About 42 percent opposed it and 8 percent were undecided.

California: Actor From Famous Anti-drug Ad Now Pro Marijuana

brain on drugs.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The actor from the famous (or perhaps infamous) "This is your brain on drugs" public service announcements now says he's pro-marijuana. Actor John Roselius told Rooster magazine he has already voted yes on California's Adult Use Of Marijuana act, which seeks to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use.

Five states in all will be voting on marijuana legalization this November. Recreational pot use is already legal in four states and the District of Columbia. The latest Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans favor cannabis legalization.

Roselius eventually became a star in the TV show "JAG". He says he used to smoke pot on the 60s and admitted he did the commercial because he needed the money.

Although the iconic commercial ran for fourteen years, Roselius only received $360 in payment. It's ironic that that one of the strongest voices in the war against drugs is now speaking out in favor of pot legalization.

.

U.S.: 60 Percent Of Americans Say Pot Should Be Legal

purple bud.jpg

By Derrick Stanleyout
Hemp News

With recreational marijuana use up for legalization on the ballot this election in several states, a new Gallup poll shows that support for legal pot is at its highest in nearly 50 years.

The poll found that 60 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana use should be legal for adults. Gallup has been asking the question for 47 years, and that is the highest level of support seen in that time.

Gallup first surveyed Americans in 1969 to see whether they thought marijuana should be legal; only 12 percent said yes. Support during the 1980s and 1990s was steady at about 25 percent. But support for pot legalization has been on the rise since 2000.

Five states are voting on marijuana legalization this November 8: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Support for legalizing marijuana has increased more among younger people than those in older age groups, Gallup said. From 2005 to 2016, support for legalizing marijuana increased 33 percentage points among adults ages 18 to 34, compared to 26 percentage points among those ages 35 to 54, and 16 percentage points among those ages 55 and older. Currently, 77 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 support legalizing marijuana, compared with 45 percent of adults ages 55 and older.

Maine: Governor LePage Warns Against 'Deadly' Marijuana In Over-the-top Video

Paul LePage.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine Governor Paul LePage released a false and misleading video Thursday attempting to convince voters to vote "no" on "Question 1", the state's marijuana legalization referendum up for a vote on the upcoming ballot.

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage warns, before falsely claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot.

He makes a claim that “people addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He predicts a future where children and pets die from accidentally consuming “marijuana snacks,” and in which drug culture impinges on “schools, daycare centers and churches.”

“They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs,” he adds. “Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana.”

According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana has had no noticeable effect on traffic deaths in either Colorado or Washington.

And marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths. In the 23 states where medical marijuana was legal in 2014, there were nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell (D) of Portland believes the video could actually help the campaign for legalization.

Arizona: Former DEA Agents Rally In Support Of Marijuana Legalization

Arizona 3.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A pair of retired agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stopped by Arizona State University Wednesday to campaign on behalf of Proposition 205, the state’s initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana.

They encouraged some of ASU’s 80,000 college students to vote “yes” on Prop. 205. Their appearance was organized by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and timed to coincide with the beginning of early voting in the state.

Finn Selander and Michael Capasso, former special agents, were on hand to speak to students and explain why they support an initiative that runs counter to their former careers as drug warriors.

“It was a huge success,” Capasso told The Huffington Post. “They were interested, and they liked my perspective — coming from the DEA. Most of the people I spoke to were thumbs-up on Prop. 205.”

Capasso said he supports legalizing marijuana because it doesn’t have the “collateral damage” that other drugs do, like addiction and overdose. Because of that, he thinks it’s practical to regulate marijuana like alcohol and use the tax revenue to fund state programs.

“I think it makes sense, I really do,” he said. “And I think it’s going to happen. It’s about time.”

U.S.: Study Finds Marijuana Arrests Outnumber Those For Violent Crimes

arrested.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study has found that arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes last year, even though more and more cities and states have decriminalized or legalized the plant and attitudes toward it have changed.

And even though African-Americans smoke pot at rates similar to whites, black adults were found to be arrested at more than two and a half times the rate of whites.

Th report was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

"Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report finds, citing FBI data. "More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year."

The report says that on any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 men and women sit behind bars on simple drug possession charges.

Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. Most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime, the report says. They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court which may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail.

Arizona: Prison Food Provider Donates To Keep Marijuana Illegal

Arizona 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The marijuana legalization initiative in Arizona has its foes, including drug companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the alcohol industry. These groups have donated millions of dollars to the campaign to defeat Proposition 205, a ballot measure that would make pot legal for adults over 21. As opinion polls show a tight race in the state, another industry joins the fray: prison food providers.

Services Group of America, whose subsidiary Food Services of America sells meals to correctional facilities, devoted $80,000 to defeat the measure in late September.

Arizona is one of five states -- including California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada -- where marijuana legalization is on the ballot in November. With polls in Arizona showing an extremely tight race, money is pouring in from groups trying to tip the balance in the final weeks before Election Day.

The main anti-legalization group, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, has raised nearly $2.7 million $900,000 of that in the last three weeks alone. Pro-legalization groups raised more than $3 million — including over $100,000 last week from the company that makes Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

Nevada: State's Largest Labor Union Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Nevada.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Coalition to Regulation Marijuana Like Alcohol announced yesterday that Question 2, which would legalize and regulate the production and sale of marijuana in Nevada, has been endorsed by the state’s largest labor union – Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents more than 57,000 workers.

“We are excited and proud to have the support of the Culinary Union,” said Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Their support demonstrates that the working people of Nevada want to take marijuana out of the criminal market and shift production and sales into regulated, tax-paying businesses. Some powerful individuals and groups are attempting to scare Nevadans into keeping marijuana prohibition in place. The people who care about good jobs, safer communities, and money for schools believe that voting Yes on Question 2 to regulate marijuana is the far more sensible choice.”

Many elected officials expressed enthusiasm about the endorsement.

Quote from State Senator Aaron Ford:

Arizona: Marijuana Measure Fate Uncertain As More Money Pumped In To Defeat It

Arizona.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Foes of Arizona's measure to legalize marijuana are collecting a huge amount of cash in a last-minute bid to defeat it.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy has collected more than $2.7 million so far, the latest figures show. More than $900,000 of that has come in the past three weeks as different polls have shown the fate of Proposition 205 could swing either way.

The most recent survey was released Monday, and it shows 43 percent of those questioned in support and 47 percent opposed. That could leave the outcome up to the 10 percent who told OH Predictive Insights they had not made up their mind.

Less than a week ago the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry poured $498,000 into the anti-205 measure.

Virginia-based SAM Action, short for Smart Approach to Marijuana, a group that has opposed legalization efforts in many other states, recently made a new $115,000 donation.

The pro-205 effort benefitted from a $110,000 donation two weeks ago from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. That company makes cleaning products, including those that use hemp oil. But various restrictions on growing hemp have forced the company to look elsewhere for its supplies.

Maine: Marijuana Referendum Campaign Intensifies

sexing_marijuana_plants.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

With less than a month to Election Day, the campaign to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine is intensifying.

Proponents have spent more than a half-million dollars on TV ads in Maine. A recent poll showed that 10 percent of respondents are still undecided on the issue. Referendum supporters hope Maine and Massachusetts will become the first New England states to legalize marijuana for adults for recreational use. Law enforcement groups have spoken out against the states' initiatives.

Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999. California, Nevada and Arizona also have marijuana legalization questions on the ballot this year. Four other states have medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot.

U.S.: Pro-marijuana Campaigners Launch TV Ads Ahead Of November Votes

bud 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine and Massachusetts launched their first television ads today, hoping to boost public awareness and support ahead of November votes on the issue.

Voters in five U.S. states will determine whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this Election Day, following the lead of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

The Massachusetts ads feature Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police Department officer and current professor of criminal justice at Merrimack College, promoting legalization as a way to better regulate marijuana use.

"Question 4 requires strict product labeling and child-proof packaging and bans consumption by kids," Nolan says in the 30-second spot, citing the question's position on the Nov. 8 ballot, the start of a $650,000 ad campaign.

The Maine ad also features an ex-law enforcement official, former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. He argues that legalizing the use of the drug by adults would free up police resources to investigate violent crimes. The Maine group has budgeted $1 million for its ad spending.

The campaigns launch a week after the group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona launched its first blast of TV ads. Voters in California and Nevada will also face ballot questions on the issue this year.

Wisconsin: Marijuana Harvest Festival Draws Big Crowd In Downtown Madison

Madison hempfest.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of Wisconsin's capitol building over the weekend to rally in support of legalizing marijuana.

The protest was part of the 46th annual Madison Hemp Festival, where many pro-marijuana activists spoke, sending a message to Wisconsin lawmakers.

"I very much believe that marijuana is not the most dangerous thing that people are walking around in their pockets, but we're treating it as it is," said 48th District State Representative Melissa Sargent. "We need to change our laws so that people can take care of their illnesses in a way that they deserve to."

Sargent has proposed several bills to legislators that would legalize marijuana in Wisconsin for both medical and recreational purposes.

The movement has its opposition, however.

"Melissa and I have discussed her position on legalization on marijuana, and I disagree with her," said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who says while he would consider supporting the legalization of medical marijuana, under no circumstances will he support recreational use. "I don't believe that we are at a point that we know that marijuana is not an entry drug and I don't think we are at the point that marijuana has no lasting effects."

So far, all of Sargent's proposed bills have been shut down by Wisconsin legislators.

Syndicate content