lieutenant governor

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California: LA County Democrats Endorse AUMA Marijuana Legalization

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Largest Democratic County Committee in California says ballot measure will “protect children” and “provide critical funding for public health”

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Wednesday announced the official endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), the largest Democratic county committee in California and the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation.

The LACDP represents more than 2.4 million registered Democrats and a population larger than 42 other states in the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“Los Angeles County Democrats support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act because it will end the failed policies of prohibition which have disproportionately harmed communities of color, it will protect California’s children and it will provide critical funding for public health and public safety programs,” said Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair and California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric C. Bauman.

Supporters of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act say the measure includes strong safeguards for children, businesses and local governments, strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

California: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Says Golden State Will Legalize Marijuana In 2016

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California voters will legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults in the 2016 general election, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom predicted on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. "I'm leading the effort," Newsom added.

"As some folks may know, we're very likely to have a ballot initiative in 2016 and we have strong confidence that we'll win," Newsom said, reports David Downs at SF Gate.

"We gotta do it right and be thoughtful and deal with the legitimate concerns folks have about our children, and not allowing Big Tobacco come in and do Big Marijuana," Newsom said. "So we want to do it in a very thoughtful way and we want to have that opportunity next year."

Lt. Gov. Newsom has been working with a Blue Ribbon Commission on legalization; its findings were released this summer. An initiative is expected soon.

A winning marijuana legalization initiative campaign could cost half a million dollars or more, and that's just for paid signature gatherers, never mind the ads. Those will run a cool $10 million or so -- and that's assuming no major opposition.

California: Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is preparing for a 2016 gubernatorial campaign, and if an expected ballot measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana meets his criteria, he will endorse it and effectively become the public face of the campaign, betting his political future on the popularity of cannabis in the Golden State.

Newsom, a Democrat, is the highest-ranking official in California to support recreational legalization, reports Seema Mehta at The Los Angeles Times.

Although legalization will almost certainly be popular with liberal and young voters, some political analysts believe his support for legalization could present a challenge.

"He could motivate large numbers of young people who aren't regular voters to turn out for him," said director Dan Schnur, of the University of Southern California's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. "But taking a leadership role on this could make older swing voters nervous, even if they agree with him on the issue. It's a potentially risky play."

Voters in California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 but in 2010 voted against recreational use, 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent. Since then, polling has shown that public support for legalizing pot has grown, reaching 53 percent in a March survey by the Public Policy Institute of California — a record high in that organization's surveys.

Maryland: Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's Primary Election Day in Maryland, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur says marijuana should be legalized and taxed. None of the other candidates in the race, from either party, share that position.

"Marijuana prohibition makes our communities less safe and wastes valuable law enforcement resources," Mizeur said, reports Jayne Miller at WBAL-TV. "Why should we treat something less toxic and addictive any differently than alcohol or tobacco?"

Mizeur said she'd use the funds to help pay for education. "Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will provide Maryland with a dedicated revenue stream to make overdue and critical investments in early childhood education," she said.

Both other candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination said they support the Maryland Legislature's move this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but neither Attorney General Doug Gansler nor Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is willing to support legalization.

"I do not support the legalization of marijuana at this time," Brown said. "The states of Colorado and Washington -- two states that have legalized it -- will provide an example of the socioeconomic challenges and pitfalls to marijuana legalization.

"We will learn from their experiences and assess whether addition changes to Maryland's law are warranted," Brown said.

Maryland: Gubernatorial Candidate Asks Front Runners To Back Marijuana Decrim

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, a Democratic state delegate, is asking the state's lieutenant governor and attorney general -- who are the front runners in the campaign for the governor's mansion -- to join her in backing marijuana decriminalization.

Running for the Democratic nomination for governor, Mizeur faces Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in next year's primary. She estimated that taxing cannabis could net up to $157.5 million in new revenue for the state annually.

The Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Act -- which would reduce penalties for possession of an ounce or less of cannabis to a $100 fine -- may have the votes to pass in the Maryland Legislature, which is run by Democratic supermajorities, reports David Weigel at Slate.

"Marijuana's time as a controlled, illegal substance has run its course," Mizeur said. "Marijuana laws ruin lives, are enforced with racial bias and distract law enforcement from serious and violent crimes.

"A Maryland with legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana will mean safer communities, universal early childhood education and fewer citizens unnecessarily exposed to our criminal justice system," she said.

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Push Begins

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Alaska could be the next battleground in the effort to legalize marijuana.

A ballot initiative application on Friday was certified by Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, whose office oversees elections.

The proposal would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, though not in public. It would also set up rules for legal cultivation and establish an excise tax on marijuana.

Supporters will have a year to collect valid signatures from 30,169 voters across the state in order to get the question on the 2014 ballot. The group plans to get it done by January and have it on next year's primary ballot, according to petition sponsor Tim Hinterberger, reports The Associated Press.

"It really seems like the whole mood has radically shifted," Hinterberger said.

The conversation is no longer about whether cannabis should be legalized, according to Hinterberger. "Everybody assumes it's going to happen, and now it's just figuring out the details," he said.

"Obviously getting approved by the lieutenant governor's office is a good step indicating that we're not going to run into roadblocks," Hinterberger said. "We're ready to roll."

After about a week -- the time required to prepare the petition booklets -- proponents can start gathering signatures, according to Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections.

Illinois: Lieutenant Governor Supports Medical Marijuana Bill

(Graphic: The Daily Chronic)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon on Sunday said she supports a bill allowing the medicinal use of cannabis, explaining that testimony from seriously ill veterans and other medical marijuana patients helped to change her mind.

"As a former prosecutor my first reaction was, 'I'm not interested in changing our laws on medical marijuana,' " Lt. Gov. Simon told The Associated Press in a Sunday interview.

But after hearing from patients and reading up on the bill -- described as the strictest in the nation among medical marijuana states -- Simon said she is convinced the regulations are stringent enough.

The bill, which has cleared the Illinois House and awaits a Senate vote, would let physicians authorize patients with whom they have "an existing relationship" to use medicinal marijuana for more than 30 medical conditions, including cancer.

(Photo: Illinois.gov)A pilot program would be created; patients and caregivers would be required to undergo background checks and would be limited to 2.5 ounces per patient per purchase from state-regulated dispensaries.

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