Uruguayan Vote Good for Marijuana Legalization

In Uruguay, the recent presidential election resulted in a runoff. However, ruling party candidate and former president Tabaré Vázquez is expected to win, and hence the country’s program to grow and sell marijuana will move ahead as planned.


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D.C. Voters Make Their Decision on Initiative 71 Next Week

With the November 4 midterm elections less than a week away, voters in the nation’s capital are gearing up to vote on Initiative 71. If passed, it would allow D.C. adults 21 and over to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, grow up to six marijuana plants at home, and give or trade marijuana amongst other adults 21 and over.

Initiative 71, however, does not regulate, tax, or make marijuana sales legal because the capital’s election law does not allow D.C. voter initiatives to have a direct say or impact on the city’s local budget, meaning the initiative would only make the personal possession and cultivation of marijuana legal.

Even so, the measure is a strong step in the right direction towards implementing a more sensible marijuana policy in the nation’s capital. If you would like to get involved, the DC Cannabis Campaign is looking for as many volunteers as possible to work the polls to ensure that the initiative passes. Their goal is at least 286 volunteers — two per precinct. Please fill out this form to help the cause!


Legal Marijuana In Alaska Could Generate a Multi-Million Dollar Industry

The state of Alaska stands to gain $23 million in annual tax revenues from a fully legal marijuana market, according to a report released this week by the Marijuana Policy Group — a research organization that does not take a stance on issues associated with making marijuana legal.

The report estimates that the total sales from a legal marijuana market would generate $56 million in 2016 and would climb to $107 million in 2020, if Alaska’s resident voters approve Measure 2 on the ballot next week.

The report was conducted by the same non-partisan group of academics and private researchers that provided the legal marijuana market estimates to Colorado upon the passing of Amendment 64. It now aims to apply the lessons learned from Colorado to Alaska.

Moreover, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the report estimates that there are 103,000 marijuana users above the age of 21 in Alaska, representing at least one-fifth of the state’s adult population. It is reasonable to think that a multi-million dollar legal marijuana market will take the place of the illicit market in years to come.


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The Vote to Make Marijuana Legal in Alaska and Oregon Only a Week Away

The Alaska and Oregon ballot initiatives to make marijuana legal in both states will be voted on a week from today. With the important election just another week away, here is an overview of the existing and pending legislation in each state:

In Alaska, laws eliminating criminal penalties and replacing them with civil penalties already exist for the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana. Moreover, the state has already implemented a medical marijuana program. In the upcoming election, the state will vote on Measure 2, which would establish a recreational marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.

In Oregon, the elimination of criminal penalties associated with the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana was established over 40 years ago. In addition, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program has been in place since November 1998. In the upcoming election, resident voters will be deciding on Measure 91, which serves to establish a legal adult marijuana market that would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. If the measure passes, Oregon residents will be allowed to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana at home, while being able to cultivate up to four plants. Moreover, retail sales for adults over the age of 21 would be permitted.

In the end, marijuana prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. Alaska and Oregon voters, please take a stand on November 4 to make marijuana legal in your states. Encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!


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Cambridge, MA Voters Have Say on Making Marijuana Legal

According to Wicked Local Cambridge, next month, Massachusetts’s voters in eight districts — including Precincts 1 and 3 — will get the opportunity to relay to state representatives their opinions on making marijuana legal.

The Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts (DPFMA), a nonprofit organization that supports new approaches to drug control policy, gathered enough signatures to include the following public policy question on the November ballot: “Should state representatives be instructed to support a measure to regulate marijuana similar to alcohol?”

The public policy question will be included on ballots in 56 cities and towns across Massachusetts. In addition, according to DPFMA, one in every 20 resident voters will be given the chance to express their views on the issue.

David Rogers

Cambridge is one of the districts that will get a say on the matter. In fact, the state representative who represents the 24th Middlesex District, David Rogers, said that he plans on voting in favor of the ballot question.

“Although obviously localities cannot legalize marijuana, we do have the ability to influence public discussion and debate, and ultimately public opinion,” Rogers told the Chronicle. “For far too long, the drug laws in the commonwealth and throughout the country have done more than good. It’s time to think creatively about new approaches. I favor legalization coupled with strong regulation.”

Moreover, there is overwhelming public support. Massachusetts’s voters have already approved 69 marijuana public policy questions throughout the state. During elections in 2000 and 2010, ballot questions pertaining to taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol appeared in seven districts and garnered 69 percent support, according to DPFMA.

Massachusetts voters, please continue to support sensible marijuana policy by expressing your views to your state representatives on Election Day. Please encourage family, friends, and neighbors to do the same!


CNN Announces ‘High Profits’ Pot-Reality Series

Reality TV likes marijuana. So far we’ve seen “Weed Wars,” “Weed Country” and “The Blue Grass Boys.” The next series to zero in on the pot.com boom will be “High Profits,” about two Breckenridge, Colorado ganjapreneurs.


Oregon Senator Backs Measure 91

“I lean in favor of this ballot measure,” says U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley about the Oregon initiative that would legalize marijuana if voters pass it in November.


Do Not Prosecute Medical Marijuana Related Offenses, Pennsylvania Lawmaker Says

Sen. Daylin Leach

As reported by PennLive.com, Sen. Daylin Leach has asked the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association not to prosecute offenses related to the medical use of marijuana.

“Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania for much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion,” wrote Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, in a letter today to the association’s president, Peter Johnson.

Last month, the Senate approved SB 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act — a bill that would have established the rules and regulations governing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania — in a 43-7 bipartisan vote. However, despite overwhelming support, the bill ultimately failed to be taken up by the House.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Tom Wolf, has publicly stated that he supports medical marijuana legislation. Moreover, 80% of Pennsylvania voters support medical marijuana. Thusly so, there is reason to hope that the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association will refrain from prosecution of patients.

“I ask that you perform an act of compassion,” Leach wrote, adding that he hopes they will use their discretion by not prosecuting people who have demonstrated medical reason for using the substance.

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Police Chief and Marijuana Advocate Debate South Portland Marijuana Ordinance

According to the Portland Press Herald, the issue of whether to implement a regulated and legal adult marijuana control system in South Portland, Maine took center stage Wednesday at a debate over the upcoming vote. Among the points of contention were whether marijuana is safer than alcohol and whether making marijuana legal will increase teen use.

South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins, a vehement opponent, and Maine political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, David Boyer, debated over the proposal.

Googins continued to perpetuate the misinformation that marijuana is not safer than alcohol.

Boyer, on the other hand, argued that marijuana use is safer than alcohol use, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is attributed to 37,000 deaths across the country annually. Conversely, he noted that no deaths have been attributed to marijuana overdoses.

“Despite this potential harm of alcohol, most would agree adults should be able to responsibly use alcohol. Why should an adult of age to consume alcohol be prohibited from using or from possessing marijuana?” Boyer stated. “It’s time to move beyond ‘Reefer Madness’ and pass laws that make sense.”

In regards to the second point of contention, both Googins and Boyer agreed on ensuring marijuana stay out of the hands of children and teens. However, Googins argued that making marijuana legal would normalize the substance’s use and make it easier for youth to obtain. Boyer countered that marijuana is already prevalent and circulating throughout the community. A better approach would be to focus on preventing marijuana use among teens by allowing adults to purchase marijuana through licensed and regulated businesses.

“I don’t think kids should use marijuana,” Boyer said. “We need to be honest with our kids. Being dishonest with our kids and telling them alcohol is safer than marijuana is dangerous.”