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Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Poised To Appear On November Ballot

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 258,582 petition signatures to the Secretary of State on Thursday; 150,642 valid signatures needed to qualify

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee released a report Wednesday that estimates passage of the initiative will generate nearly $82 million in annual tax revenue, including more than $55 million for Arizona schools

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A citizen initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is poised to appear on the November ballot after proponents turned in their petition Thursday with more than enough signatures to qualify.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted 258,582 total signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State. With 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters needed to place the measure on the ballot, that appears to be a comfortable margin. The secretary of state is expected to determine whether the initiative has qualified by late August.

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

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 Signature Drive Suspended

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Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday evening, "after considerable discussion," suspended a drive to place an issue on the November 2016 Ohio ballot.

"We make this decision with a heavy heart as we will surely disappoint our many volunteers, supporters and patient-advocates who invested considerable time and effort in our movement," said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "It had become increasingly clear following the state legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law on Wednesday that our ballot issue campaign had arrived at a critical juncture.

"With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters," Lynaugh said. "But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot; Poll Shows Solid Support

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Maine state officials on Wednesday announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question.

The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

Maine: Court Rules In Favor Of Marijuana Legalization Supporters, Orders Review Of Signatures

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A Kennebec County Superior Court judge on Friday ruled that state officials may have improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on a proposed ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Justice Michaela Murphy found that state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The Secretary of State’s Office must now review all of the disputed petitions and place the initiative on the November ballot if it determines enough valid signatures were collected.

On March 2, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap informed the campaign that its proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining his determination, the secretary of state said his office invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to its finding that the signature of a single notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file.

On March 10, supporters of the initiative filed a lawsuit challenging the decision.

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.”

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Initiative Certified By Attorney General; Advances to Secretary of State

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The measure proposed by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday notified Ohioans for Medical Marijuana that he has certified the summary of the group’s proposed ballot initiative to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program and submitted it to the Ohio Secretary of State.

The attorney general 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.

The Ohio Ballot Board will now 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 2016 ballot.

“We’re pleased with the attorney general’s determination and appreciate his guidance during this process,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the initiative. “Ohio is one step closer to adopting a sensible medical marijuana law that ensures seriously ill people have safe and legal access to their medicine. We’re looking forward to hearing back from the secretary of state and getting our petition drive started as soon as possible.”

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Maine: Marijuana Initiative Supporters File Lawsuit Challenging Ballot Disqualification

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Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others.

Last week, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that the proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining their determination, state officials said they invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to their finding that the signature of a notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file. It appears more than 17,000 signatures were otherwise valid signatures of registered Maine voters.

North Dakota: Petition To Put Marijuana Legalization On Ballot Approved For Circulation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A petition to place a measure on the November 8 ballot which would legalize marijuana has been approved in North Dakota.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday approved the petition, reports Valley News Live. The sponsoring committee will need to get at least 13,452 valid voter signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.

If approved, the measure would make it legal for adults 21 and older to grow, possess, use and distribute cannabis, and would prevent the state from requiring a license to do so (I just love that part!), according to Mike Nowatzki at Forum News Service.

It would also prohibit the state, cities and counties from taxing marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia at more than 20 percent.

Eric Olson of Fargo, chairman of the 26-member sponsoring committee, said advocates will start collecting signatures right away. The group is shooting for 20,000 signatures "for a safe margin," Olson said.

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: Marijuana Initiative Backers Respond To Determination That Measure Didn't Qualify

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has responded to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, which announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine did not qualify for the November ballot.

At least 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, and state officials determined that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

Based on a document the Secretary of State’s Office provided to the campaign, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters were not included in the count because the signature of an individual notary did not match the signature the state has on file for that notary. The notary’s commission is current, according to state records.

“We are very disappointed by the Secretary of State’s determination," reads a prepared statement from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. "Based on documents they have provided, it appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures from registered Maine voters were excluded from the count because the signature of a single notary — whose notary commission has not expired — did not exactly match the signature the state has on file for that notary.

"We are exploring all legal means available to appeal this determination, and we sincerely hope that 17,000-plus Maine citizens will not be disenfranchised due to a handwriting technicality,” the statement reads.

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.

Arizona: Backers of Marijuana Initiative to Launch Phoenix Open-Inspired Billboard

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Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

The billboard will be up all week during the widely attended Coors-sponsored golf tournament known as the ‘greatest party on grass;’ it features two adult marijuana consumers relaxing in a field and asks, ‘If beer and golf make for the “greatest party on grass”… Why can’t adults enjoy a safer party on grass?’

Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona on Monday launched Phoenix Open-inspired billboard to coincide with the kickoff of tournament events. It will be up through the end of the tournament on Sunday.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) held a news conference in front of the billboard on the southwest corner of 7th Street and Lincoln.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the world’s best-attended golf tournament, according to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, which refers to the Coors-sponsored event as the “greatest party on grass.”

The billboard features two adult marijuana consumers relaxing in a field and reads, “If beer and golf make for the ‘greatest party on grass’… Why can’t adults enjoy a safer party on grass?”

“We’re glad that Arizona residents have the opportunity to attend the Open, consume alcoholic beverages, and enjoy the ‘greatest party on grass,’” said CRMLA chairman J.P. Holyoak. “We also think it’s important to acknowledge that alcohol is a much more harmful substance than marijuana.

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

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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

Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Nearing Signature Goal

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Arizona is nearing its goal of 150,000 valid signatures to qualify for this November's ballot, supporters announced on Wednesday.

The initiative would give Arizona voters the opportunity to legalize cannabis for recreational use, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at The Republic. It would establish a network of licensed marijuana stores where sales would be taxed.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is just a few thousand signatures short of the 150,642 needed to qualify, according to spokesman Barrett Marson. The group is aiming for 225,000 signatures to make up for those which are likely invalid, Marson said.

"Arizonans are clearly excited about this initiative," Marson said.

A whackjob anti-cannabis group calling itself "Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy" is opposing the measure, pointing to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey showing Colorado leading the nation in past-month marijuana use now that weed is legal there.

Under Arizona's proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, adults 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in their homes without a license, as long as the plants are in a "secure area."

Missouri: Medical Marijuana Petition Approved For Signatures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander on Tuesday announced an initiative petition to legalize marijuana for medical purposes meets state standards and may be circulated for signatures.

The initiative would amend the state constitution to allow cannabis for medicinal purposes. The petition needs signatures "equal to eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts, reports The Missouri Times.

This means roughly 200,000 valid signatures would be required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state's office by 5 p.m. on May 8, 2016.

The official ballot title for initiative petition 2016-128 reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
• allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
• impose a 75 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a 10 percent tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana to licensed facilities; and
• use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?

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.”

Massachusetts: Campaign To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Collects More Than 100,000 Signatures

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64,750 valid signatures are required to move the initiative another step closer to the November 2016 ballot

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Monday announced it has collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts. The signatures must be reviewed and certified by town and city clerks before being submitted to the secretary of the commonwealth by December 2.

The valid signatures of 64,750 registered state voters are required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. After the secretary of the commonwealth’s office tallies and confirms the signatures, the petition will be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the Legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

“Massachusetts voters want the opportunity to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in 2016,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of licensed businesses that pay taxes and create good jobs.

“It should not be a crime for adults to engage in the responsible consumption of a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” Luzier said. “Police have far more pressing things to worry about than issuing citations to every adult they find in possession of a small amount of marijuana.”

In summary, the proposed initiative would:

Washington: I-1372 Gathering Signatures To Protect And Strengthen Medical Marijuana

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Backers of a new initiative to strengthen Washington state's medical marijuana law are now gathering signatures.

"Initiative Measure No. 1372, filed January 6, 2015, will protect and strengthen the medical cannabis law, RCW 69.51A, by offering compassion, clarity and consistency," said Kirk Ludden of Cannabis Patient Protection Washington (CPPWA) on Wednesday.

I-1372 would make the following changes, according to Ludden:

• Bringing Washington state law into compliance with stated federal policy

• Allowing business owners to obtain licenses for producing, processing or dispensing cannabis in a commercial manner. Using the language from ESSB 5073, specifying cannabis for medical use licensing, allowing producers and processors to deliver cannabis to any cannabis for medical use licensee, and allowing the botanical herb tax exemption on cannabis for medical use.

• Creating and empowering the cannabis for medical use board, made up of the state and the community, to govern all aspects of the market. Through licensing and regulation fees, revenue is generated for the board to regulate the not-for-profit cannabis for medical use market while remaining revenue neutral.

• Maintaining small, private residential gardens and patient cooperatives that do not violate the spirit or intent of law. As well as protecting existing cannabis farmer's markets serving qualifying patients.

New Mexico: Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative Officially Certified In Santa Fe

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First Time in New Mexico History People will Vote on Marijuana Reform

The Santa Fe City Clerk on Monday announced the Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the city's citizen initiative process setting the stage to give voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a vote on reducing marijuana penalties.

The Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign, headed by Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM, submitted close to 11,000 signatures in 52 days, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot. The initiative now goes before the City Council where the governing body has two options, vote for the ordinance change outright or send the initiative to the people for a vote.

Not only will this be the first time in history that New Mexico's voters will cast their ballots on reforming marijuana laws, it is the first time that the people of Santa Fe brought forth an issue via the City’s citizen initiative process. The Santa Fe city charter permits voters to petition their government for changes to city ordinances, including those relating to marijuana.

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