Marijuana Policy Project

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

Maine-DavidBoyer(MPP)

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.

Maine: City Leaders Support Initiatives To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

Maine-DavidBoyer(MPP)

Lewiston City Councilor Leslie Dubois and Lewiston School Committee Member Matthew Roy joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) at a Tuesday news conference to kick off the campaign in support of initiatives on the November ballot to make marijuana legal for adults in Lewiston and South Portland.

The event was held at 10 a.m. ET in Kennedy Park, across from Lewiston City Hall on the corner of Park Street and Pine Street.

In Lewiston, Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

The measure also expresses support for regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol in Maine. A similar proposal will also appear on the ballot in South Portland (the city will not provide it with an identifying number or letter).

“Law enforcement resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes instead of adults possessing small amounts of marijuana,” Councilor Dubois said. “Question 2 will make our communities safer.”

“Our laws should reflect the facts, and it’s a fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol,” Roy said. “It’s irrational to treat adults like criminals simply for possessing it. Question 2 just makes sense.”

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Into Law

PhiladelphiaLibertyBellMarijuana

Measure replaces criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Wednesday signed a bill into law that replaces criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket.

After stalling for much of the summer, the mayor agreed to sign a compromise bill approved on September 18 by the Philadelphia City Council. The new ordinance will take effect on October 20.

The initial version of the bill approved by the council on June 19 makes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. Following negotiations between Mayor Nutter and members of the council, the bill was amended to include a $100 fine for public consumption.

Current Philadelphia law requires police officers to make custodial arrests when they encounter people in possession of any amount of marijuana, and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a $200 fine, and compulsory participation in a drug treatment program. Under current Pennsylvania state law, possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Maryland: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Take Effect Wednesday

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Criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession will be replaced with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket

Legislation adopted this year to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Maryland will go into effect on Wednesday, October 1.

Maryland joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession. In addition, Missouri passed a similar bill this year, which will make it the 19th state to do so when it goes into effect.

Senate Bill 364 makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program.

“Decriminalization will free up law enforcement officials’ time and allow them to focus on more pressing issues than marijuana possession," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police.

"It will address some inequalities in our justice system, but, until we fully legalize and regulate marijuana, sales will continue to be conducted by criminals in an underground market," Franklin said. "Until that happens, we are not going to see the public safety benefits that are possible in a post-prohibition world.”

California: Marijuana Policy Project Filing Committee For 2016 Legalization Initiative

MarijuanaPolicyProject(MPP-logo)

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.”

Maine: Citizens For A Safer York File Complaint To Get Marijuana Legalization On Ballot

Maine-CitizensForASaferMaine(DavidBoyer)

A complaint was filed with the York County Superior Court on Wednesday seeking a temporary injunction requiring the Select Board of the Town of York to place an initiated ordinance which would legalize marijuana on the ballot for November's general election.

Plaintiffs include York voters who have signed and circulated the marijuana petition, as well as a York voter who did not sign the petition but wants the opportunity to vote on the measure.

The measure would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in York. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

Citizens for a Safer York initially submitted more than 200 signatures to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, the board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving the group 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures. It submitted nearly 1,000 signatures on August 27. On September 8, the Board of Selectman voted 3-2 to not place the measure on the ballot.

“The right to petition your government is the bedrock of democracy. For the Selectman to ignore the will of their constituents goes against what our country is all about, and that is why I signed on to this case,” said plaintiff Sharon DaBiere.

Colorado: Marijuana Policy Project Launches 'Consume Responsibly' Campaign

ConsumeResponsibly-KnowTheLaw.KnowYourLimit.

The Marijuana Policy Project on Wednesday launched the first-ever comprehensive public education campaign urging adults to “consume responsibly” in states where marijuana is legal. The campaign is being launched in Colorado and will be exported to Washington and then other states as they adopt similar laws.

MPP will kick off the campaign with a news conference at noon Mountain Time Wednesday in front of its first paid ad, a billboard at 816 Federal Boulevard in Denver that warns tourists, “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation.” It also encourages them to start with a low dose of THC and go slow when consuming edible marijuana products, which can take up to two hours to feel the effect.

The billboard features a distressed woman in a dark hotel room, alluding to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s now-infamous June column detailing her over-consumption of a marijuana-infused candy bar in her Denver hotel room.

The billboard directs people to the campaign’s website — http://wwww.ConsumeResponsibly.org — which features detailed information about marijuana products, their effects, and the laws surrounding them. It also addresses issues such as preventing and responding to over-consumption and accidental consumption. The Consume Responsibly campaign will initially include print and online ads, as well as materials in retail marijuana stores.

Colorado: Recreational Marijuana Passes Medical Marijuana

OpenCannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Retail recreational marijuana sales, for the first time, passed medical marijuana sales in Colorado in July.

Recreational pot sales had lagged behind medical sales since the legal marijuana shops created by legalization measure Amendment 64 opened on January 1, reports Katy Steinmetz at Time. But according to tax figures from the Colorado Department of Revenue, recreational has pulled into the lead.

During July, Colorado got $838,711 from a 2.9 percent tax on medical marijuana, meaning patients spent about $28.9 million at dispensaries. Meanwhile, the state took in $2.97 million from a 10 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, putting those sales at about $29.7 million, according to Ricardo Baca at The Cannabist.

The margin, though less than $1 million, represents a victory of sorts for advocates of recreational legalization, who have argued it will be profitable for the state.

"Most adults use marijuana for the same reasons they use alcohol," said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Now that it's a legal product, they are choosing to access it in a similar fashion."

Maine: Lewiston City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

MaineTheWayLifeShouldBe

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and the group has submitted more than the number of signatures required to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the opportunity to move Lewiston forward toward a more sensible marijuana policy,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “While collecting signatures we encountered a lot of interest in exploring alternatives to prohibition. People are sick of hearing about adults getting punished for using a less harmful substance than alcohol.

Maine: Lewiston City Council To Consider Proposal To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the November 4 ballot.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland and recently collected the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Lewiston resources are being wasted arresting responsible adults for using something with far less personal and social costs than alcohol,” said Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) Maine political director David Boyer. “We hope the council will see the sense in using law enforcement resources for serious issues, but if they don’t, the citizens of Lewiston will.”

WHAT: Lewiston City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults

WHEN: Tuesday, September 2, 7 p.m. ET

WHERE: Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston, Maine

WHO: Lewiston City Council

Maine: Activists To Submit Final Petition For Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In York

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Citizens for a Safer Maine will submit its petition Wednesday in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older in the Town of York. York Selectman Ronald Nowell will join initiative backers at a media availability at 2 p.m. ET in front of York Town Hall prior to submitting the petition to the Town Clerk’s Office.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 900 total signatures, and just 641 valid signatures of registered town voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.

In July, the group submitted more than 100 signatures in order to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, it voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving Citizens for a Safer Maine 30 days to collect the additional 600-plus signatures.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and one is expected to be placed on the ballot in Lewiston following a city council hearing next week.

Maine: South Portland City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Similar proposals are also likely to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York

The South Portland City Council on Monday voted unanimously to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 1,500 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure has qualified for the ballot in Lewiston, and Citizens for a Safer Maine is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The South Portland initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the chance to take a bite out of marijuana prohibition in South Portland this November,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “This is a great opportunity to have an open and honest public dialogue about this important issue. In particular, we hope to continue the conversation about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

Maine: South Portland Council To Consider Marijuana Legalization Measure

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

The South Portland City Council will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting Monday night that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the ballot.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,500 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in Lewiston, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“This is a common-sense proposal,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “Adults who are of legal age to use alcohol should not be punished simply for consuming a far less harmful substance.

"We hope the council members will agree law enforcement officials’ time and resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes,” Boyer said.

WHAT: South Portland City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults

WHEN: Monday, August 18, 7 p.m. ET

WHERE: South Portland City Hall, 25 Cottage Rd., South Portland

Colorado: Teen Marijuana Use Down Since Legalization

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Rates of current and lifetime marijuana use among Colorado high school students has dropped since the state's voters made marijuana legal in 2012, according to a Thursday press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years,” according to the release. It has dropped nearly five points since 2009 (24.8 percent), when hundreds of medical marijuana stores began opening throughout Colorado.

The state began regulating medical marijuana in 2010. The CDPHE release says the drop from 2011 to 2013 is not statistically significant, but it appears the drop from 2009 to 2013 could be. In either case, it is clear that use among high school students has not increased.

Nationwide, the rate of current teen marijuana use increased from 20.8 percent in 2009 to 23.1 percent in 2011 and 23.4 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The national rate of lifetime use increased from 36.8 percent in 2009 to 39.9 percent in 2011 and 40.7 percent in 2013.

Maine: Citizens To Submit Petition To Support Lewiston Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Maine-CitizensForASaferMaine(DavidBoyer)

Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday will submit its final batch of petitions in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older within Lewiston city limits.

The group has collected more than 1,250 total signatures, and just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to certify the petition. Then it must submit it to the city council for consideration at its next regular meeting, at which time council members can enact the measure or refer it to city voters.

“I hope council members will join us in supporting this commonsense measure,” said David Boyer, spokesperson for Citizens for a Safer Maine and Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “If they don’t enact the measure, it should be placed on the November ballot for Lewiston voters to decide.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine has qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

“Law enforcement officials have better things to do than punish adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol,” said Boyer. “If the council or voters approve this measure, we expect police to respect the decision.

"Police can refrain from citing adults they find in possession of marijuana, just as they can refrain from citing someone they find driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,” Boyer said.

Colorado: Brookings Institution Says State Is Successfully Regulating Marijuana

Brookings

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado is successfully regulating marijuana, according to a report released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management.

“The state has met challenging statutory and constitutional deadlines for the construction and launch of a legal, regulatory, and tax apparatus for its new policy,” according to the report authored by John Hudak, a Brookings fellow in Governance Studies. “In doing so, it has made intelligent decisions about regulatory needs, the structure of distribution, prevention of illegal diversion, and other vital aspects of its new market. It has made those decisions in concert with a wide variety of stakeholders in the state.”

“This report reflects what is actually happening on the ground here in Colorado," said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) who co-directed the 2012 Colorado initiative campaign. "The state is proving that regulating marijuana works. It explains why the new law is experiencing just as much public support now as it did when voters approved it in 2012.

Maine: Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Possession In South Portland Qualifies For Ballot

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

City council will decide whether to enact the measure or refer it to voters at its meeting on August 4

South Portland city officials confirmed Wednesday that a citizen initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits has qualified for the November 2014 ballot. Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,500 signatures, and just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

The South Portland City Council will consider whether to enact the measure or refer it to city voters at its meeting scheduled for August 4.

“Voters were very receptive during the signature drive,” said MPP Maine political director David Boyer. “Most people agree law enforcement officials have more important things to do than punish adults for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.

"If this measure passes, police can use their discretion to stop arresting adults for simple marijuana possession,” Boyer said.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“We hope to see as much support and enthusiasm among city council members as we have among voters,” Boyer said. “This is an opportunity for council members to demonstrate leadership on this issue. It’s time to move beyond the status quo of prohibition and start making progress.”

New Hampshire: One Year After Medical Marijuana Law, Patients Still Risking Arrest

NewHampshireMedicalMarijuana

On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald ‘Ted’ Wright will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the State House

One year after New Hampshire adopted a law intended to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana, patients are still facing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.

On Wednesday — the first anniversary of Gov. Maggie Hassan’s signing of H.B. 573 — Rep. Donald “Ted” Wright (R-Tuftonboro) will join patients and advocates at a demonstration in front of the New Hampshire State House to discuss a list of grievances and requests to the governor. Patients will then deliver the list to Gov. Hassan’s office.

The list of grievances and requests is pasted below and available online at http://mpp.org/NHgrievances.

“Patients have nothing to celebrate on the first anniversary of New Hampshire’s medical marijuana law,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Implementation of the program has been beset by needless delays, and people with debilitating conditions still face criminal penalties for possessing any amount of marijuana. This situation is unacceptable.

“We’re fed up with state officials’ stonewalling,” Simon said. “It’s time to start listening to the seriously ill people the medical marijuana law was intended to help.”

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Bill To Expand Access To Medical Marijuana

Illinois-CompassionateUseOfMedicalCannabisPilotProjectAct

New law allows people suffering from seizure disorders to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it; it also allows minors to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program if they receive parental consent

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday signed a bill into law that will expand access to the state’s medical marijuana program.

SB 2636, sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), expands the qualifying conditions of the program to include seizure disorders, such as epilepsy and those associated with brain injuries. Illinois is now one of 23 states with workable medical marijuana programs that allow the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of seizure disorders.

“Medical marijuana is an effective treatment option for people suffering from seizure disorders,” Lindsey said. “As more elected officials become familiar with its medical benefits, more states will adopt laws that allow it.”

SB 2636 will also allow the health department to develop rules so that minors may participate in the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program if they receive parental consent in addition to recommendations from their physicians. Illinois was one of three states with workable medical marijuana programs that prohibit minors from participating.

Arizona: Surprise, Surprise - Law Enforcement Opposes Marijuana Legalization

ArizonaPoliceState

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a bit of news that surprises absolutely no one, a majority of Arizona's sheriff's and county attorneys officially oppose the legalization of marijuana. Just to make sure we know that, they helpfully approved a resolution by voice vote at their annual meeting.

The resolution came as marijuana advocates have selected Arizona for a legalization drive for 2016, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at the Arizona Republic. The Marijuana Policy Project plans to pursue full recreational legalization through a voter initiative in the state.

The resolution adopted by a voice vote of the Arizona County Attorney & Sheriff's Association meeting includes nearly two dozen whiney points outlining why the group refuses to join the 21st Century. It includes such fanciful Reefer Madness claims as marijuana being harmful to teen IQ (it actually grows brain cells) and pot use "leading to risky behavior."

The exercise in futility, I mean the law enforcement resolution, cites more than two pages of references to support its outlandish statements.

Graphic: 420 Petition

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