david rogers

Massachusetts: Politicians Debate Race, Opioid Addiction In Marijuana Legalization Battle

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Opponents of marijuana legalization in Massachusetts have assembled a powerful show of force in the state's top politicians. On Wednesday, the anti-pot Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts released a list of 119 politicians who oppose marijuana legalization.

The list includes Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, and Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Meanwhile, Boston city councilors Michelle Wu and Tito Jackson and State Rep. David Rogers, D-Cambridge, were holding a press conference outside the Statehouse to support marijuana legalization.

Pro-marijuana advocates may face quite a challenge, but voters in Massachusetts have already voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and legalize medical marijuana. Recent polls show that voters are split on the issue of legal marijuana for recreational use.

The Western Massachusetts lawmakers to come out against marijuana legalization on Wednesday include State Sen. Don Humason, R-Westfield, State Sen. Anne Gobi, D-Spencer, State Rep. Todd Smola, R-Warren, State Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, State Rep. Michael Finn, D-West Springfield, State Rep. Thomas Petrolati, D-Ludlow, State Rep. Angelo Puppolo, D-Springfield, and State Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst.

Massachusetts: Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Bill

CampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcoholMassachusetts2016

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use.

Dick Evans, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting a 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts, assisted in drafting H.1561 and will join lead House sponsor Rep. David Rogers to testify in support of the measure.

Rogers and Evans will hold a media availability at 12:30 p.m. ET just outside of the hearing room in the State House, where they will discuss the details of the legislation and the benefits of replacing marijuana prohibition with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“It’s time for Massachusetts to replace the failed policy of marijuana prohibition with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol,” Evans said. “We support this legislative effort, but we are also committed to moving forward with the initiative so that voters can take over if the Legislature fails to act.

“Whether it happens in the legislature or at the ballot box, the result will be the same,” Evans said. “Our communities will be safer because marijuana will be produced and sold by licensed businesses instead of criminals in the underground market.

Massachusetts: Signature Drive Gets Underway In Support Of Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Massachusetts-CapitolBuilding[CampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol]

State legislators and a former federal law enforcement official joined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol at a news conference Tuesday in front of the State House to kick off the signature drive in support of a proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts.

Sen. Will Brownsberger (D-Belmont), Reps. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) and David Rogers (D-Cambridge), and Regina Hufnagel, a former federal corrections officer, were among the first to sign the petition.

The campaign must collect the signatures of 64,750 registered Massachusetts voters by November 18 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.

“I am proud to be one of the first signers of this well-crafted initiative," said state Rep. David Rogers. "I filed legislation this session to tax and regulate cannabis because our society's public health and safety strategies have failed when it comes to cannabis consumption.

"Rather than reducing use, over the years prohibition has put thousands of people in prison for nonviolent drug crimes, wasted countless tax dollars on incarceration and ineffective enforcement, and has helped give rise to a black market that funnels billions into the pockets of criminal enterprises," Rep. Rogers said. "I am glad that the people of Massachusetts will have the chance to end this failed policy in 2016.”

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

CampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcoholMassachusetts2016

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.

Oregon: Advocates Say July 1 Marijuana Legalization Is Just The First Step

OregonMadeOutOfMarijuana[KikiWinters-WillametteWeek]

Oct. 1 early start bill passes in Oregon Senate; Oregon police to stop arresting people for some marijuana crimes

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The day before adult use of marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, leaders of the state’s drug reform movement said they plan to expand their work to change how Oregon approaches drug policy.

“Thanks to Oregon voters, we have made history and become national leaders in drug reform,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of the Yes on 91 campaign to legalize marijuana. “But there’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”

Johnson has been advocating for an earlier start to regulated sales for marijuana, and the Oregon Senate today passed a bill, 23-6, that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on Oct. 1. Another bill that reduces marijuana-related criminal penalties is making its way to the governor’s desk.

Johnson said marijuana should no longer be classified as a drug as dangerous as heroin, that more money should be devoted to marijuana-related research, and that “we should focus more on helping people and less on incarcerating them.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a strong advocate for changes to federal drug laws and a leader of the Oregon campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, discussed his efforts to reform outdated marijuana policy at the federal level.

Massachusetts: Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Legalize And Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

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Measure with bipartisan support would establish a legal market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older

Massachusetts lawmakers this week introduced a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

H. 1561, sponsored by Rep. David Rogers (D-Belmont), Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville), and a bipartisan group of 13 co-sponsors, would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. The bill would also establish a regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, processing facilities, and testing facilities.

“Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society, and it ought to be treated that way,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “There is a mountain of evidence demonstrating marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, less toxic, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.

"Adults shouldn’t be punished for making the safer choice,” Simon said.

The Marijuana Policy Project plans to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol if the legislature fails to pass such a measure sooner.

“Voters in Massachusetts are ready to end marijuana prohibition,” Simon said. “We hope their elected officials are, too. If the status quo is maintained in the legislature, change will occur at the ballot box.”

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