tax and regulate

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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.

U.S.: Senate Committee Allows Banks To Provide Services To Legal Marijuana Stores

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Fourth Straight Senate Victory for Marijuana Reform

Senate Bill Would Also Allow D.C. to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 16 to 14 to allow banks to provide services to marijuana businesses. Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).

Consequently, many marijuana businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.

“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the illicit market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

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Longtime GOP congressman U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

He is the second California Congressman to endorse the measure in as many weeks. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last Monday.

"Rohrabacher is a 13-term Congressman who is a powerful voice for libertarian values," the AUMA campaign announced in a prepared statement. He is the co-author of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which has been passed as part of the Federal Budget and prevents the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state.

“As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana,” said Rohrabacher.

“I endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act for the November 2016 ballot,” the Congressman continued. “It is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state, provide California law enforcement the resources it needs to redouble its focus on serious crimes while providing a policy blueprint for other states to follow.”

Massachusetts: Backers of Legalization Initiative To Respond To Senate Committee Report

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The special Massachusetts Senate Committee on Marijuana is scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday, March 8, at 10:30 a.m. ET in the Senate Reading Room of the State House to release its report regarding the potential impact of regulating marijuana for adult use. Backers of a proposed November ballot initiative to regulate cannabis like alcohol in Massachusetts will hold a media availability outside the Senate Reading Room immediately following the Tuesday news conference to respond to the report.

The report is expected to include recommendations for regulations that should be enacted if marijuana prohibition is repealed by the legislature this session or by voters in November. Members of the committee traveled to Colorado in January to examine the state’s system of regulating marijuana cultivation and sales for adult use.

“We commend the Senate committee members for traveling to Colorado to examine the state’s marijuana regulatory system,” said CRMLA Communications Director Jim Borghesani. “Based on news accounts of the trip, however, it appears some committee members traveled to Colorado with a bias against regulating marijuana and sought information to buttress their positions.

D.C.: Friday Marks One Year Anniversary of Marijuana Legalization In Nation's Capitol

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Marijuana Arrests Down 85% After First Year

Congress Continues to Prevent District from Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

This Friday marks the one year anniversary of the implementation of marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia. In the 2014 election, District voters overwhelmingly passed Ballot Initiative 71 with 70 percent support, legalizing the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and allowing individuals to grow up to six plants in their home.

Overall, marijuana arrests decreased by 85 percent from 2014 to 2015. Marijuana possession arrests fell from 1,840 in 2014 to just 32 in 2015.

“The decrease in marijuana arrests is an enormous victory for District residents, who have resoundingly rejected the criminalization of marijuana,” said Bill Piper, senior director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana law enforcement has particularly damaged communities of color in the District, who have borne the brunt of prohibition.

"We hope that law enforcement continues to responsibly enforce the new law and completely eliminates any racial disparity in arrests,” Piper said.

Colorado: Regulated Marijuana System Generated More Than $135 Million In Revenue For State

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Revenue Includes More Than $35 Million for School Construction Projects

Total revenue raised from 2015 surpassed original projections and far exceeded the costs associated with regulating the system

Colorado’s regulated marijuana system generated more than $135 million in revenue for the state in 2015, including more than $35 million for school construction projects, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

There were just under $588 million in adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado from January-December 2015, producing approximately $109.1 million in tax revenue in addition to $4.7 million in license and application fees. The state’s regulated medical marijuana system produced more than $11.4 million in tax revenue and $9.8 million in license and application fees.

In 2014, the state’s regulated marijuana system raised just over $76.1 million in total revenue, including about $56.2 million from adult-use marijuana tax revenue and fees and $19.9 million in medical marijuana tax revenue and fees.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales taking place in every state,” said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Colorado is one of the few where those sales are being conducted by licensed, taxpaying businesses.”

Adult-use marijuana sales in Colorado are subject to the state’s standard 2.9 percent sales tax, plus a 10 percent special state sales tax. Additionally, wholesale transfers of adult-use marijuana are subject to a 15 percent state excise tax.

D.C.: Residents Strongly Support Moving Forward With Marijuana Legalization

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Findings Come on the Cusp of Initiative 71 Implementation Anniversary and Amid Heated Council Debate on Prohibiting Social Consumption of Marijuana

Majority Oppose Congressional Interference with DC Law, View Marijuana Reform as a Statehood Issue, Believe Mayor Bowser Should Move to Tax & Regulate Marijuana, Support Regulated Venues for Social Consumption

A substantial majority of District of Columbia residents believe Mayor Muriel Bowser should move forward with taxation and regulation of marijuana despite Congressional prohibition, according to a survey conducted over the weekend by Public Policy Polling (PPP) for the Drug Policy Alliance, DC Vote, DC Working Families and the Washington City Paper.

Sixty-six percent of respondents believe the Mayor should pursue a legal method (such as use of reserve funds) to implement taxation and regulation of marijuana in the District. In light of Congressional interference attempting to prevent such regulation, 63 percent of residents view marijuana legalization as a statehood issue for the District.

A majority of respondents also recognized that limiting consumption of marijuana to the home is problematic for many residents (especially renters who could face eviction) and 61 percent would support the creation of regulated places where adults can legally consume marijuana.

Massachusetts: Marijuana Legalization Drive Gets A Little Clearer

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The push to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts got a little less complicated this week. Voters had faced the possibility of two separate pro-legalization questions on next year's ballot, but now only one group's initiative is still standing.

The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) on Tuesday said it had submitted enough signatures -- more than 64,750 -- to the secretary of state to move forward in getting a proposed law in front of voters, reports Adam Vaccaro at Boston.com. If the signatures are deemed valid, the question will go to the Massachusetts Legislature; if the Legislature fails to act by May, CRMLA wilal need about 11,000 more signatures to make the ballot for November.aaaa

The leader at Bay State Repeal, a competing ballot question, on Wednesday night conceded his group hadn't gathered enough signatures to qualify. "We didn't make it, Steve Epstein said.

The two groups have pitched different approaches to legalization. The CRMLA, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), is of the "tax and regulate" philosophy with pages and pages of tight rules, including a new state commission and an excise tax on cannabis sales.

New Jersey: Legislature To Hold First-Ever Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

NewJerseyToLegalize?[TheDailyChronic]

More Than 20,000 People Are Arrested for Marijuana Possession in New Jersey Every Year

Advocates Applaud Hearing and Call for Common-Sense and Popular Marijuana Reform

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, November 16 will hold the first-ever hearing on marijuana legalization in New Jersey.

The committee will hear invited testimony on how New Jersey could legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults and how this has worked in the other states that have legalized marijuana. Senator Nicholas Scutari, chair of the committee, has also introduced legislation to legalize marijuana.

“The Drug Policy Alliance supports taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol for adults and thanks the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for taking testimony on this issue," said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "The criminalization of marijuana is costly, unfair and compromises public safety.

"New Jersey wastes more than $125 million dollars a year arresting people for marijuana possession," Scotti said. "This absurd policy criminalizes otherwise law-abiding citizens and wastes law enforcement resources that would be better spent on serious public safety issues.”

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:

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Campaigns Unite Behind One Ballot Measure

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Two competing marijuana initiative campaigns in Maine on Friday announced they will unite behind one state ballot measure to end marijuana prohibition in 2016.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will stop collecting signatures in support of the initiative it filed in March and spearhead the campaign in support of a similar initiative filed in February by Legalize Maine.

Each of the campaigns has collected approximately 40,000 signatures, and they will work together to collect the remaining signatures needed to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. They have until January to collect a total of approximately 61,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters.

“Joining forces is the best step forward, not only for our respective campaigns, but for Maine as a whole," said David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. "We all agree marijuana prohibition has been a colossal failure and that it must be replaced with a system in which marijuana is legal for adults and regulated like alcohol.

"We can more effectively accomplish our shared goal by combining our resources and working together instead of on parallel tracks," Boyer said.

“We had some differences of opinion on some of the specifics, but our initiatives were largely similar overall," Boyer said. "We would not get behind this measure unless we were 100 percent confident that it will effectively and responsibly end prohibition in Maine. We’re also confident that the voters will agree.”

New Jersey: New Poll Finds Majority Support For Legalizing Marijuana

NewJerseyToLegalize?[TheDailyChronic]

Findings Mirror Growing Support for Legalization Across the Country

Advocates Say That Taxing and Regulating Marijuana Reduce Injustices of Marijuana Arrests and Generate Millions of Dollars in Tax Revenue for Projects to Benefit All New Jerseyans

A significant majority of New Jerseyans expressed for support for legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll. The poll was conducted in partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance.

The poll found that 58 percent of New Jersey residents support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and over. Those surveyed were most persuaded to support marijuana legalization and regulation as a result of New Jersey’s costly marijuana laws.

New Jersey wastes more than $125 million a year arresting people for marijuana possession. This absurd policy criminalizes otherwise law-abiding citizens and wastes law enforcement resources that would be better spent on serious crime and public safety issues.

"Support for legalization in New Jersey is growing, which mirrors national polls,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University. "By asking a question that makes clear legalization for adults 21 and over would come with taxes and regulation, we provided context that may account for some of the 9-point jump in support from our April 2014 poll.

New York: Thursday Event - Everything You Wanted To Know About Marijuana Reform

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Leading Elected Officials, Advocates, and Industry Experts Answer Questions About NY’s Medical Marijuana Law, How to End Marijuana Arrests, and Upcoming Legislation to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

What is the status of medical marijuana in New York? How can one get a medical card or a dispensary license? How can we end racially biased marijuana arrests in New York? Will NY tax and regulate marijuana like Colorado and Washington? Come get the answers to these questions and more.

Join the Drug Policy Alliance on Thursday, along with leaders in the marijuana industry, policymakers, experts, and patients to get an insider perspective on the state of marijuana policy reform in New York. You'll have a chance to learn about New York’s new medical marijuana program and plans to legalize marijuana for adult use and to rebuild our communities devastated by marijuana prohibition.

What: Fundraiser -- VIP reception and program to discuss New York’s marijuana policies and emerging industry

When: Thursday, June 4: 6 pm VIP Reception | 6:45 pm Doors open for general admission | 7:00 pm Program

Where: Deepak Homebase on the mezz of ABC Home. 888 Broadway at E 19th St.

Rhode Island: Billboard Promotes Marijuana Regulation, Taxation For Jobs

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Regulate Rhode Island on Tuesday unveiled a billboard in Providence that informs state officials — who are considering investing tax dollars in building a new stadium in the city — of another way to attract new businesses, good jobs, and young professionals to Rhode Island: regulating and taxing marijuana.

The ad campaign was launched at 11 a.m. ET with a news conference in front of the billboard. Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat was joined at the event by Paul DeFruscio, CEO of Jennifer Rose Associates LLC, a company that specializes in packaging marijuana-infused products, and Marc Shepard, co-founder of New England Cannabis Conventions.

The “Field of Dreams”-themed ad features stadium lights shining on two young professionals standing among a small field of marijuana plants, and it reads, “If we build it, they will come… It’s time to establish a regulated marijuana market in Rhode Island.”

“State lawmakers have repeatedly said that rebuilding our economy is their biggest priority,” Moffat said. “It’s time for Rhode Island to invest in a more sensible marijuana policy. Establishing a regulated marijuana market for adults would attract entrepreneurs, create jobs, and raise revenue.

“Regulating and taxing marijuana would be a home run for Rhode Island,” Moffat said.

Legislators are currently considering S 510/H 5777, the “Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” which would end marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

Rhode Island: New Poll Finds Record High 57% Support Marijuana Legalization

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Clergy, Political, Environmental, and Women’s Organizations Join the Coalition Backing S 510/H 5777

A record-high 57 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, according to a survey conducted this month by Public Policy Polling. Only 35 percent were opposed.

S 510/H 5777, the “Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” would allow adults 21 and older to possess of up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements.

It would also establish wholesale excise taxes at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store, as well as a special sales tax on retail sales to consumers.

“From Cumberland to Narragansett, there is exceptionally strong support for ending marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island this year,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act creates a responsible alternative that proactively controls for public health concerns while allowing adults 21 and older the freedom to legally use marijuana if they choose.

D.C.: Marijuana Officially Becomes Legal For Adults In Nation's Capital On Thursday

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Law approved by voters in November allows adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana in the Washington, D.C.

A voter-approved law making marijuana legal for adults in Washington, D.C. will officially take effect on Thursday, February 26, at 12:01 a.m. ET.

“This is a major milestone on the road to ending marijuana prohibition in the United States,” said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “This development in our nation’s capital embodies the broader movement taking place throughout the country.

“If the President can brew and drink beer in the White House, adults should be allowed to grow and consume a less harmful substance in their houses,” Capecchi said. “Alcohol is no longer the only authorized social lubricant in town. A safer alternative is legal for adults.”

Initiative 71, which was approved 70-30 by D.C. voters in November, allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana; grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (of which no more than three can be flowering at a time) and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown; and transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults 21 years of age or older.

It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

New York: Legislators Hold Forum On Taxing And Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

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Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyperson Crystal Peoples-Stokes on Wednesday sponsored a public forum about the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

Under the proposal, those over 21 would be able to purchase small amounts of marijuana from a state-regulated store. The bill would rectify the many problems associated with marijuana prohibition, including the arrests of tens of thousands of primarily young people of color.

“There is no question that New York’s marijuana policies are broken,” said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Each year, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are swept into the maze of the criminal justice system for nothing more than possessing small amounts of marijuana.

"Enforcement of these policies is focused almost entirely focused on young people, primarily young people of color, such that our laws are now applied differently to different people based on the color of their skin and their income level – this must stop,” Frederique said.

The hearing comes amidst a wave of marijuana policy reform nationally. Four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana for adult use.

At the federal level, Congress has just passed and President Obama on Tuesday signed the omnibus bill that contained an amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with states that have passed medical marijuana laws.

D.C.: Nation's Capital Takes Major Step Toward Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

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Panel of Councilmembers Approves Legislation that Would Establish Licensing and Regulation of Marijuana in Washington, D.C.

Council Acts Just Weeks After Nearly 70% of D.C. Voters Approved Ballot Measure Legalizing Marijuana

D.C. lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of legislation that would legally regulate and license the production, distribution and sale of marijuana in the District of Columbia during a meeting of the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which is chaired by D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large).

Tuesday's action by D.C. lawmakers on a tax and regulate bill comes just three weeks after nearly 70 percent of voters in the District of Columbia approved Initiative 71, a ballot initiative that legalizes possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 and allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants in their home. However, due to D.C. law, the initiative was not allowed to address the taxation and regulation of marijuana sales.

The panel of Councilmembers voted to approve sections six through eight of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), which was introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large). Tuesday's vote followed a hearing on Council Bill 20-466 that was jointly held by the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

D.C.: Council Holds Hearing On Marijuana Legalization In Nation's Capital

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Policy Experts and Advocates Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs

Hearing Occurs Just Days Before Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization at Ballot Box

D.C. Councilmembers Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 3) on Thursday are holding a joint public hearing on legislation introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) that would establish a system which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital. Councilmember Orange chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and Councilmember Evans chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The hearing specifically examined sections six through nine of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), and took place Thursday at 11 a.m. in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates provided testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization towards rebuilding the communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Oregon: 'Yes On 91' Video Illustrates Marijuana Regulation In 45 Seconds

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A newly released 45-second motion graphic shows why it's time to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana in Oregon. You might recognize the narrator's voice from radio and telelvision.

Rick Steves, travel guru, narrates this animated video that explains how our current marijuana policies are failing us. Steves is launching a six-day, 11-city tour around Oregon in support of Measure 91.

Oregon's Measure 91 would create a regulated system that would refocus police time on serious crimes, hobble the black market cartels, and direct millions of dollars to education, drug treatment and prevention, and law enforcement.

Learn more at www.VoteYESon91.com .

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