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Arizona: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Submitting Signatures

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On Thursday, June 30, at 10:30 a.m., campaign leaders and supporters will hold a news conference just prior to handing over more than 100 boxes of petitions to state officials

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) will submit more than 100 boxes of petitions to state officials on Thursday to place an initiative on the November ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona.

Campaign leaders and initiative supporters will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. in a temporary office located on the second floor of 77 E. Weldon Ave. in Phoenix, where representatives of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office will be accepting and reviewing the petitions.

Initiative backers need at least 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot. At Thursday's news conference, they will announce the total number of signatures they will be submitting.

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Certified For Ballot; Supporters Prepare To Gather Signatures

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The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday certified an initiative that would establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana must now collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The five-member board reviews proposed ballot measures to ensure they represent only one issue.

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

“We plan to mobilize a large group of volunteers, and we’ll be enlisting the help of paid petitioners to meet the state’s sizeable signature requirement in the short amount of time we have,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the initiative.

“A lot of our volunteers are family members of patients or patients themselves, so they’re incredibly motivated," Tvert said. "The initiative process isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have seizures on a daily basis.”

Canada: Medical Cannabis Tax Petition Gains Momentum With Diverse Support

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Almost 7,000 Canadians who share the view that medical cannabis should not be subject to taxation have signed a petition in Parliament urging the federal government to address the unjust tax burden medical cannabis users pay on a daily basis.

With broad support from non-government organizations in the health sector, compassion clubs, marijuana dispensaries, clinics, and federally licensed producers, Petition e-190 has galvanized all corners of a diverse industry, according to supporters.

The petition is open for signature until June 14.

At present, cannabis is the only physician-authorized medicine subject to sales tax. Without insurance coverage, patients already pay for their medication out of pocket.

Adding another cost is a prohibitive barrier that affects Canadians' ability to choose the medical therapy that best manages their symptoms, according to Hilary Black, the petition's founder.

"The diversity of the organizations promoting this petition shows how important this issue is," said Black. "There is a very simple fix and I hope our new federal government will act swiftly to treat cannabis the same way it treats other prescription medications."

Organizations supporting this effort are as diverse as the Canadians who are prescribed marijuana by their doctors. These organizations include:

Dravet Syndrome Foundation
BC Compassion Club Society
Emerald Health Botanicals

Ohio: Ohioans For Medical Marijuana Submit Initiative Petition To State Attorney General

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Backers of a proposed 2016 ballot measure to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio submitted their initiative petition to the Ohio Attorney General on Thursday with more than 2,000 signatures.

The office has 10 days to examine the official summary of the initiative and confirm the petition contains at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters. The petition will then be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will have 10 days to review the measure and confirm it complies with Ohio initiative laws.

Initiative backers will then need to collect an additional 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July in order to qualify for the November ballot.

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a campaign committee formed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), posted the full initiative text, the official initiative summary, and a Q&A with MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia on its website earlier this week at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

“This initiative was drafted to ensure seriously ill Ohioans have safe and legal access to medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will alleviate their pain and suffering,” said MPP communications director Mason Tvert. “The one benefit of not already having a medical marijuana law is that we were able to incorporate the best practices and lessons learned from the 23 states that do have one.”

In summary, the initiative would:

Maine: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Submits Petition Signatures

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday submitted its petitions to state officials in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

The campaign collected 103,115 total signatures and needs at least 61,123 valid signatures of registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot. Voters from over 400 Maine towns signed the petition.

State Rep. Diane Russell joined the campaign for a news conference in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1). Campaign leaders and volunteers then loaded boxes of petitions onto a truck and delivered them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta.

“Over the past eight months, we've talked to more than 100,000 voters across the state, from Kittery to Caribou,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes. It would also establish the framework for a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product-manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, and it would create rules governing the cultivation, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana.

The initiative would enact a 10 percent tax on marijuana sales.

Medical Marijuana Will Be On Florida Ballot In November

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By Derrick Stanley, Hemp News

Voters in Florida will again have an opportunity to legalize medical marijuana this November. Ballot organizers believe that the measure, which almost passed in 2014, will benefit from an increase in voter turnout in a presidential election year.

Growing support for medical marijuana legalization should help the measure pass in 2016. Ben Pollara, organizer of the petition drive for United for Care, said Wednesday "We feel very good that 60 percent plus of Florida voters will finally approve a true medical marijuana law."

The measure nearly passed in 2014, with 57.6percent of voters supporting the initiative; at least a 60 percent voter approval is required in Florida to approve a constitutional amendment.

More then enough voter signatures have already been collected to put the issue on the ballot. As of Wednesday 692,981 certified voter signatures had been collected, nearly 10,000 more than required.

Personal injury lawyer John Morgan is a major supporter and financial backer for the legalization initiative. He cites his brother's success in using marijuana to control muscle spasms as one of his main inspirations behind the campaign. Morgan has spent over $6 million in 2014 and 2016 in pursuit of medical marijuana legalization. He sent a message via e-mail to his supporters Wednesday night, saying "We're back. We're going to win for the patients. BELIEVE!"

Maine: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol to Submit Signatures Monday

MaineCampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday will submit its petition to state officials in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine.

The campaign collected more than 100,000 total signatures and needs at least 61,123 valid signatures of registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot.

State Rep. Diane Russell will join the campaign for a news conference at 10 a.m. ET on Monday in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1).

Campaign leaders and volunteers will then load boxes of petitions onto a truck and deliver them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta (111 Sewall St.) at approximately 12 p.m. ET.

“Over the past six months, we’ve talked to tens of thousands of voters from all over the state,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “Most Mainers agree it is time to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

WHAT: News conference and submission of petitions in support of the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine

WHEN: Monday, February 1, news conference at 10 a.m. ET; petitions will be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions at approximately 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: News conference at CRMLA headquarters, 183 U.S. Route 1 (around back of the building), Falmouth; petitions will then be delivered to the Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Burton Cross Building, 111 Sewall St., 4th Floor, Augusta

Massachusetts: Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Submits Final Petition Signatures

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Tuesday wrapped up its petition drive in support of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts.

Campaign leaders submitted their final petition signatures to the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is located in the McCormack Building in Boston.

The campaign has collected more than 103,000 total signatures, and 64,750 valid signatures of registered state voters are required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

“This is direct democracy in action,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “People can see that our current prohibition policy isn’t working, and they’re taking action to replace it with a more sensible system. Based on the level of support and enthusiasm we saw during the petition drive, voters are ready to end prohibition and start treating marijuana more like how our state treats alcohol.”

“Massachusetts is another step closer to ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a more sensible policy,” said Luzier. “People are fed up with laws that punish adults simply for consuming a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”

“Next year, voters will have the opportunity to end the failed policy of prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” said Luzier, a former assistant attorney general who previously served as executive director of the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention. “Marijuana is significantly less harmful than alcohol, and our laws should reflect that.”

U.S.: National Cannabis Patients Wall Passes 18,000 Members

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The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to change the perception of medical cannabis and its legislation, and humanize the perception of its patients, on Tuesday announced that it has exceeded 18,000 members.

"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages while raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," said founding Executive Director Dana Arvidson of The Wall. "One of our primary goals is to assist patients in every state to reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, and to end the needless suffering, before more people die.

"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.

According to Arvidson, The Walls' patient support group welcomes patient questions and offers loving support during times of trial and celebration. "We provide patients with a place to gather with others that feel the same way," Arvidson said. "It truly helps when a Patient knows they are not alone in their struggle.

"We also share patient's stories of healing or their search for healing, and many times their struggle for legalization in states denying them legal access," Arvidson said. "We also do our best to connect them with appropriate doctors and dispensaries in their area."

Massachusetts: State Legislators Among The First To Sign Marijuana Legalization Petition

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Masssachusetts state Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), along with Reps. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) and David Rogers (D-Cambridge), and Regina Hufnagel, a former federal corrections officer, on Tuesday morning signed a petition to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

The signatures were added at a news conference held by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts in front of the State House to kick off the signature drive in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in the state.

The campaign must collect the signatures of 64,750 registered Massachusetts voters to place the measure in front of the Massachusetts Legislature. If the Legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateMassachusetts.com.

U.K.: Parliament To Debate Cannabis Legalization Next Month

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In what looks to be a first for the United Kingdom, Parliament will debate the legalization of cannabis next month, House of Commons authorities announced on Wednesday.

MPs on October 12 will consider a proposal to make the "production, sale and use of cannabis legal," reports Jon Stone at The Independent.

The debate is being held in response to an official petition on the Parliament website which has received more than 213,000 signatures as of Wednesday.

The debate, which will take place in Westminster Hall, will be led by Labour MP Paul Flynn, a member of the Parliament petition committee. Flynn previously called for the legalization of marijuana for medical use, introducing a bill to do so in 1999 and supporting another along with Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake in 2008.

Next month's debate is unlikely to lead to any actual change in the law, according to political observers, but it could put additional pressure on the Government to act.

The government's official response to the petition was quite negative. "Substantial scientific evidence shows cannabis is a harmful drug that can damage human health," the response reads. "There are no plans to legalise cannabis as it would not address the harm to individuals and communities.”

California: Santa Cruz County Referendum Qualifies; Medical Marijuana Cultivation Ban Suspended

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Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin on Wednesday verified the signatures gathered for a referendum, and suspended an ordinance adopted on April 14 by the Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial medical marijuana cultivation in the county.

The county clerk rreleased a “Certificate of Examination of Referendum Petition” to Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz (RCSC), a network of citizens dedicated to protecting medical cannabis patients' rights, to preserving the environment and to guarding the health and safety of the Santa Cruz community. The certificate states, “The result of the examination is that the petition is sufficient.”

RCSC circulated the referendum, and after 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county, on May 7. Required were 7,248 valid signatures to qualify the referendum for the ballot.

The ban ordinance will remain suspended until the County Supervisors decide to either repeal the law or let the county voters vote at the June 2016 primary election whether to approve or reject it.

The ordinance would have allowed a patient/caregiver to cultivate on only a space 10 feet by 10 feet, and required the garden to be on the property where the patient/caregiver resides. The ordinance also would have allowed only a single collective to operate in the entire county.

Michigan: Marijuana Legalization Group Withdraws Petition, Will Resubmit

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The organizers behind a marijuana legalization drive in Michigan on Tuesday withdrew their petition, saying they plan to submit new language later.

The Michigan Cannabis Coalition told the Michigan Board of State Canvassers of the move on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. The group had been expected to have its petition approved by the board.

The legislation would require 252,000 valid voter signatures before going to the GOP-led Michigan Legislature. If lawmakers took no action or rejected the bill, it would go before the voters in November 2016.

Several anonymous people from the agricultural, real estate, insurance and education sectors are backing the bill through the Michigan Cannabis Coalition. The state could add jobs and tax revenue by legalizing and regulating cannabis for recreational purposes, according to the group.

Michigan already allows marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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

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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.

Kansas: Marijuana Decriminalization Petition Falls Short In Wichita

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Supporters of a petition to decriminalize marijuana in Wichita, Kansas, have come up just short of the number of signatures they needed to force the city to put the issue to a vote.

Organizers got word late Thursday that the Sedgwick County Election Board has ruled they were just 41 signatures short of the 2,928 needed to qualify, reports KAKE.com.

Around 3,500 signatures were disqualified by the office, although reasons weren't immediately given. One possibility is that the election office wouldn't accept signatures from people who were newly registered by the petition circulators, or that those registrations were delayed at the office by proof-of-citizenship requirements, according to petition drive leader Esau Freeman, reports Dion Lefler at The Wichita Eagle.

"This is exactly what I expected from the election office," Freeman said, adding that he was "terribly disappointed" but isn't giving up.

The signature count was supposed to have been completed a year ago, but was delayed by the need to recheck rejected signatures and to conduct Tuesday's primary election.

Petition supporters said they'll be at Tuesday's city council meeting to encourage the council to put the measure on the ballot. The drive had been organized towards getting the decrim question on the November 4 general election ballot.

U.S.: New York Times Called Out For Drug Testing Employees While Favoring Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New York Times this week, in what is widely seen as an epochal event, called for marijuana legalization in an editorial. But The Times drug tests its own employees, including for cannabis, despite its strong stance against marijuana prohibition.

The online dispensary-finding company WeedMaps has just launched a petition on Change.org which calls out the newspaper for its hypocritical policy.

"Whether we're going to continue testing for marijuana or not, I don't know," Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal said last night on MSBNC. "If they ask me, I'll stop."

Drug policy experts believe the petition stands a good chance of impacting the newspaper's drug testing policy, at least to the extent of convincing them to remove marijuana from the list of substances on the test.

"If The New York Times believes it is wrong to discriminate against people for using marijuana, then they should stop doing so. Full stop," said Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. "Forward-thinking companies in the emerging legal marijuana industry, such as WeedMaps, are leading the way toward a post-prohibition approach to hiring and human resources by focusing on job performance and not on the content of their employees' urine.

Europe: Petition Mounted To Legalize Cannabis In European Union

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A advocacy group on February 17 launched an online petition to legalize and regulate cannabis in the European Union. The petition, called "Weed Like To Talk," is on The European Citizens' Initiative petition site operated by the European Commission.

The petition says it offers "A European solution to a European problem: legalizing cannabis."

"The ECI Weed Like To Talk aims at making the EU adopt a common policy on the control and regulation of cannabis production, use and sale," the petition site reads.

"There is currently a heterogeneous legal map as regards cannabis policies in the EU," the petition reads. "The question of coherence and discrimination is worth asking. A common policy on the control and regulation of cannabis production, use and sale would: (a) ensure equality before the law and non-discrimination of all EU citizens; (b) protect consumers and monitor health security; (c) end cannabis trafficking. Let’s leap toward the legalization of cannabis and the harmonization of national legislations across the EU."

"While cannabis has become a worldwide debate over the last decades, the European Union somehow managed to avoid it," the Weed Like To Talk site reads. "It cannot do so anymore."

"Our aim is to legalize cannabis production, sale and use at the European Union level while checking if the ECI fulfills its mission of participatory democracy," the site reads.

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Halfway There With Signatures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

For more than 30 years, Alaska was the only state in the U.S. in which it was legal -- under some circumstances -- to smoke marijuana for the fun of it.

Then Colorado and Washington voters last November passed initiatives legalizing cannabis for adults and setting up systems of production, sales and taxation.

Now backers of a legalization initiative in Alaska say they are moving toward making the same change there, reports the Anchorage Daily News. The group is about halfway to reaching their goal of 45,000 signatures by December 1, about 15,000 more than the number required to get the measure on next year's primary election ballot, according to main sponsor Timothy Hinterberger.

"In a free society, prohibition of popular substances is just bad public policy," Hinterberger said.

The initiative would add a seven-page statute to the books in Alaska, legalizing marijuana for adults and setting up a state regulatory body to oversee cannabis farms, dealers and advertising.

The initiative would impose a hefty $50 per ounce excise tax that would be collected between the greenhouse and the store or factory.

Employers would still be allowed to prohibit their workers from smoking or possession at work, and prevent employees from being high while on duty. Driving under the influence of cannabis would still be illegal, and local governments could outlaw growing and sales -- but not possession.

Idaho: New Medical Marijuana Petition Drive Aims For 2014 Ballot

Photo - Idaho: New Medical Marijuana Petition Drive Aims For 2014 BallotBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Compassionate Idaho on Friday, March 15 will release a new petition to put medical marijuana on the 2014 ballot for the voters to decide.

The petition will address the failed medical marijuana policy of Idaho that is currently putting seriously and terminally ill patients in the position of being "criminals," according to the group.

"This petition, once law, will protect our seriously and terminally ill patients and their caregivers from arrest, prosecution, and forfeiture for obtaining medical marijuana," Compassionate Idaho said in a prepared statement.

The petition is already available for reading at www.compassionateidaho.org, although it doesn't yet have its short and long ballot titles back from the Idaho Attorney General, according to the group.

Once Compassionate Idaho gets the petition back from the state Attorney General, they plan to post a downloadable PDF file of the petition for circulation around the state. Circulation instructions and downloadable voter registration cards will also be available.

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