Blog : legalization

Marijuana Dominated The 2016 Election

Marijuana Dominated The 2016 Election

This election season wasn’t normal for a lot of reasons and it seemed like the one thing the country could unanimously agree on was marijuana legalization. Of the nine states that had marijuana on the ballot, eight of them passed. Four states voted to legalize some form of medical use of marijuana and the other five states legalized marijuana for recreational use. In 1996 California legalized marijuana for medical use, 20 years later more than half the states have some form of legal marijuana. Advocates hope that this upward trend will push congress to address marijuana reform more proactively than they have in the past.

More from Time:

A total of 28 states have now legalized medical marijuana, up from 25 before voters went to the polls. North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical measures, but Florida, the first to pass a marijuana legalization measure this year, is the big kahuna among this cycle’s cohort. (Montana voters also approved a measure that would loosen restrictions on the state’s medical program; voters legalized in 2004.)

Though markets for medical marijuana are generally smaller, legalization in the third most populous state presents a big economic opportunity and tilts the scales in a part of the country that has been slower to accept marijuana. “If Florida passes, that’s going to be a huge, huge thing for the East Coast,” Bruce Barcott, author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America, said before the vote. “It’s a huge market.”

States will soon get to the business of setting up regulatory frameworks and preparing to issue licenses to cultivators and dispensaries over the next several years. Residents in some states will now be allowed to grow plants in their own homes and felons will have a chance to get their records expunged in others, if their previous crime is something that is no longer illegal. And as bureaucracies churn through change, money will come pouring in.

Adult Use Of Marijuana Act (AUMA): What Patients Need To Know

Adult Use Of Marijuana Act (AUMA): What Patients Need To Know

Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) put together this breakdown of Prop. 64 to address questions and concerns from patients, friends and family about the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Here at Potbox, we think this is one of the most articulate and informed write-ups we’ve seen on AUMA, so we’re sharing it with you today with their permission.

Why should we legalize now?

Today, we have a broken system that profits drug cartels, threatens the safety of children, harms our environment, and uses law enforcement resources on small, victimless crimes that disproportionally affect minorities.

As with all legislation, Prop. 64 is a work-in-progress and will need to be improved upon as we navigate and learn from this new regulation together. Prop. 215 is STILL being improved upon today, 20 years later.

While it may not be perfect, AUMA creates a safe, legal and regulated system that ends the failed war on marijuana. This initiative protects our patients, children, consumers, small business owners, workers and environment.

BPG along with Potbox supports Prop. 64 because it:

1. Advances social and criminal justice reform

criminal-justice-social-reform

Existing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses have been disproportionately enforced against people of color. AUMA eliminates or substantially reduces these penalties. Many existing misdemeanors and felonies will disappear from the books.

Reduces criminal justice penalties and makes them retroactive
✓ Past convictions for crimes reduced or eliminated by AUMA may be expunged from or reduced on a criminal record

Prevents youth in California from carrying a criminal record into adulthood
✓ All marijuana penalties will be charged as infractions, with no possibility of jail time

Funding for communities most impacted by the war on drugs
✓ The Community Reinvestment Fund will give $50 million annually to support economic development, job placement, and legal services in these communities

Allows persons harmed by drug war to enter the legal market
✓ A prior conviction for possession, possession for sale, sale, manufacturing, transportation, or cultivation of any controlled substance shall not be the sole basis for the denial of a license

2. Protects medical patients and home grows for all

medical-patients

AUMA builds on existing laws such as Prop. 215, to strengthen, not limit, medical marijuana protections. The biggest difference is that this measure will tax adult-use marijuana sales.

Medical patients are not required to pay sales tax

Secures right to home grow for all adults
✓ AUMA specifically prevents cities and counties from banning the cultivation of marijuana inside a home or within any enclosed structure
✓ Adults will be allowed to grow up to 6 plants

Protects parental rights and increases patient privacy
✓ The lawful conduct of a medical patient cannot, by itself, be used to restrict custodial or parental rights
✓ Requires cities and counties to identify patients using unique identifiers instead of names
✓ All patient databases are subject to the privacy protections of the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (the state equivalent of federal HIPAA laws)

Revenues will fund necessary research on marijuana
✓ $10 million to public universities in California for research on legalization
✓ $2 million to UCSD Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

3. Protects California’s small businesses, farmers and workers

small-business-owners

Many small business owners are worried that Prop 64 will pave the way for “Big Marijuana” (similar to “Big Pharma”)–large corporations that gain a monopoly over the non-medical marijuana market. There are numerous protections against this:

Microbusiness licenses available
✓ Allows small businesses cultivating marijuana (in less than 10,000 sq. ft.) to provide services from seed to sale

Large cultivation licenses (over 22,000 sq. ft.) will not be issued for the first 5 years
✓ Allows small growers the opportunity to establish themselves in the legal market first

Licensees are prohibited from engaging in anti-competitive behavior
✓ Large cultivators are prohibited from vertically integrating
✓ Violators will be liable for monetary penalties

Specific legislation against monopolies
✓ State regulators will have the power to deny a license or license renewal to prevent the “creation or maintenance of unlawful monopoly power”

Protects workers
✓ A licensee may be disciplined—and risk losing their license—if the licensee violates any law that protects the health, safety or rights of workers
✓ Supports labor union organizing

4. Protects California’s environment and natural resources

california-environment

Illegal marijuana grows have had harmful impacts on ecosystems for years. The Bureau of Marijuana Control and the Departments of Food & Agriculture, Fish & Wildlife, and Pesticide Regulation will set statewide regulations to repair and preserve our environment.

Dedicated revenue (20%) to Environmental Restoration and Protection Account
✓ Environmental regulation, enforcement and restoration to rectify decades of environmental harm caused by illegal marijuana grows

State agencies must consider environmental impact before issuing licenses
✓ Businesses must comply with water quality and flow, natural resource protection, application of pesticides, land conversion, and riparian habitat protection

5. Protects the public health of all Californians

public-health-safety

Prop 64 imposes the strictest-ever regulations governing labeling, packaging and testing of non-medical marijuana products, to protect both children and consumers.

Restrictions on marketing to youth
✓ Prohibits marijuana businesses, marketing, and advertising near schools and youth centers

Strict labeling, packaging and testing requirements
✓ Packaging: Must be re-sealable and child-resistant. Cannot be attractive to young children
✓ Labeling: As detailed as any food product, including safe “portion” sizes and a warning if nuts of other known allergens are used
✓ Testing: All marijuana will be independently tested to comply with state standards for consumer safety prior to being sold

6. The time to end prohibition is NOW

blog_015

We simply cannot wait any longer for perfection. Too many individuals, families, and communities are still being torn apart by the failed war on marijuana.

Vote YES on 64, California!

For more information, please visit www.Yeson64.org.

This post originally appeared on BPG’s blog and was syndicated with permission.

Boston: Lawyer Argues Voters Mislead on Legalization

Boston: Lawyer Argues Voters Mislead on Legalization

In Boston, Massachusetts lawyers are arguing that voters in support of legalizing of marijuana were not fully informed of the umbrella of products it would cover. The lawyers claim that the term, “products” was used throughout the measure and they believe that concentrates and editable should also be noted. Along with various products that would be covered, they also expressed concern for THC concentration levels.

In legal states stricter regulations have been a point of discussion with with doctors talking out in support of stricter standards all around.

More from ABC 5 Boston.

Robert Toone, a lawyer for the state, faced sharp questioning from Associate Justice Robert Cordy after defending the more general description of marijuana products provided in the summary.

“I have read your summary,” Cordy said. “I would have no idea that this authorized the infusion of hallucinogens into food and drink for sale at all. Do you think the voters would sort of like to know that?”

“Your honor, the summary clearly refers to marijuana and marijuana products,” Toone answered.

“I’m supposed to know that means infusing a hallucinogen into food and drink?” Cordy shot back. “Really?”

The court’s chief justice, Ralph Gants, suggested that short of barring the question, the court might consider corrective language to the summary that appears on the ballot and in voter information booklets distributed by the secretary of state prior to the election.

Scheft additionally argued that voters were being misled by a claim that legalization of recreational marijuana would not impact the state’s medical marijuana program, which voters approved in 2012. In fact, he said, it could allow nonprofit medical pot outlets to begin selling the drug commercially.

“When this law passes, the voters need to know that the medical marijuana dispensary that gives something to a cancer patient … is automatically going to have picture windows and neon signs, a candy counter and a THC Slurpy machine,” Scheft said.

Less War on Cannabis, More War on Alcohol

Less War on Cannabis, More War on Alcohol

The Chair of the Knesstet Committee to Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse, MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), is upset with the recent anti-drug campaigns released in Israel. She is a known supporter of legalization and found the new campaigns to follow out-dated and misrepresented ones of the past.

Zandberg said that she believes alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis and that their focus should be more directed towards teen alcohol abuse.

More from The Jewish Press:

“When I was working with youths I had a much tougher time with alcohol than with cannabis.”, MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) told the committee, “You must understand that you can’t keep devoting your budgets to cannabis. I get the feeling that all you’re campaigning against is cannabis.”

 

California Marijuana Laws More Severe for Black Citizens

California Marijuana Laws More Severe for Black Citizens

We’ve seen cannabis laws across the country loosen up, but a new study provides data showing that minorities are being punished at an all time high. Data collected from both the cities of Los Angeles and Fresno by the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU of California show that black citizens are getting cited for cannabis four times as much as white citizens.

More from SF Gate:

“The disparity is worse than the rates at which blacks were arrested for simple possession of marijuana prior to 2011, when possession was a misdemeanor offense,” said Amanda Reiman, California Policy Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. “In 2010, black were 2.2 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.”

Latinos are also arrested 1.7 times more than white people in Fresno and 1.4 times more in Los Angeles, despite similar usage levels throughout the two cities’ black, white, and Latino populations. The DPA contends that the rate could actually be much higher, however.

“California has a long history of data collection challenges regarding Latinos, who are often classified by law enforcement officers as white and thus undercounted,” said Reiman.

Reiman believes that AUMA, California’s upcoming ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, could do a lot to end the racial imbalance.

“It’s far past time to stop the bleeding of prohibition that has been centered in our most vulnerable communities, and legalize cannabis in California,” said Reiman. “Once we move cannabis into a regulated market, we can slowly dress the wound left by decades of disparate enforcement.”

Ohio Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Ohio Legalizes Medical Marijuana

A plan signed by Gov. John Kasich on June 8th will make Ohio 25th State to legalize medical marijuana. Patients who are looking towards medical marijuana to treat their epilepsy, pain and cancer treatments effects, will now have a new option. This comes after Ohio failed to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana back in 2015, this may the new bill for medical marijuana was brought to Gov. Kasich’s desk.

Gov. Kasich wasn’t vocal about his approval for medical marijuana, citing that he’s going off of doctor recommendations for his choice. This bill will go into effect in 90 days, however it is expected that patients in Ohio will not be able to purchase cannabis until 2017 or 2018.

Here are some fast facts from Cincinnati.com:

How soon can I buy medical marijuana?

If they have a doctor’s recommendation, Ohioans can purchase medical marijuana from other states where it is legal as soon as Sept. 6 and bring it back into the state. Then, the Department of Commerce will have about eight months to create rules for those who will grow marijuana. After that, cultivators will need time to start growing medical marijuana, and dispensaries will set up shop. Around that time, doctors must start applying to the Ohio State Medical Board for a certificate to recommend medical marijuana.

All this means Ohioans won’t be able to buy medical marijuana in-state until 2017 or early 2018. Note: Once the Ohio system is set up, Buckeyes will no longer be allowed to bring in marijuana from other states.

What kind of marijuana can I use?

Here’s the big sticking point for many marijuana advocates: Under this law, it’s still illegal to smoke marijuana – even if you buy it out of state. Vaporizers, edibles and oils are OK.

It goes without saying: Recreational use of marijuana also is still illegal under this law.

Which medical conditions will qualify for medical marijuana?

AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

Who will grow the marijuana?

No one may grow medical marijuana at home or for personal use. But those who want to grow medical marijuana commercially must apply with the Ohio Department of Commerce. They cannot grow marijuana within 500 feet of a school, public playground, church, public park or public library. Those with certain criminal convictions are disqualified from growing marijuana.

Who can recommend it?

Physicians who are certified by the State Medical Board of Ohio. They could be disqualified from certification if they have a financial interest in growing marijuana, have lost their license to practice medicine or have been convicted of certain crimes. These doctors must attend at least two hours of training on diagnosing and treating conditions with medical marijuana.

Can I be fired for using medical marijuana?

Yes. Despite opposition from some Democrats, the law would allow employers to fire employees who violate office policies against marijuana use – even if the marijuana was recommended by physicians. If you are fired for marijuana use, you will not receive unemployment compensation either.

Can I vote on medical marijuana in November?

No. Several groups were interested in placing a proposal on the fall ballot, but each decided against it. The most prominent, Marijuana Policy Project and its local affiliate Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, dropped its bid just three days after senators passed the medical marijuana bill. The effort was too costly and unpredictable in a presidential election year.

“(T)he 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,” said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, in a statement.

Ohio plans for Medical Marijuana passed, needs Kasich Approval

Ohio plans for Medical Marijuana passed, needs Kasich Approval

This isn’t the first time Ohio has tried to pass legislation to legalize cannabis. Last year Ohio tried passing legislation that would make marijuana recreationally available but it did not get voter approval. In a second chance effort, Ohio is now trying to provide medical marijuana to it’s residents. In a close vote, senators passed legislation that would allow people to use marijuana for medical conditions, but prohibit them from growing cannabis or smoking it in their homes.

John Kasich‘s signature would bring Ohio into the realm of medical marijuana states making it the 25th one. He has not been vocal on where he stands, but has shown support for children suffering from issues addressable by cannabis.

More from Cincinnati.com:

What’s in the Legislature’s medical marijuana legalization plan?

  • Adults could buy and use oil, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches with a doctor’s recommendation. Parents could purchase these products for their children younger than 18 with a doctor’s referral.
  • The Ohio Department of Commerce would oversee those who grow, process and test medical marijuana. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy would register patients and caregivers and license dispensaries. The Ohio State Medical Board would handle certificates for doctors who want to recommend marijuana.
  • A program to reduce the cost of medical marijuana for veterans and others too poor to pay.
  • The ability to purchase medical marijuana from other states while Ohio sets up its program. This would expire 60 days after the pharmacy board establishes its rules.
  • Legal medical marijuana for people with these conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is chronic, severe, or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, posttraumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

What’s not in the plan?

  • Smoking medical marijua
  • Growing medical marijuana at home
  • Any details on who could grow marijuana commercially. That would be determined later by the Ohio Department of Commerce.
  • Any requirement that pharmacists oversee dispensaries. That was initially added by senators then removed Tuesday.
  • Protections for employees fired from their jobs because they used medical marijuana.
Presidential Candidates and Marijuana Legalization

Presidential Candidates and Marijuana Legalization

The election season is well on its way and Americans are wondering if legalization will happen at the national level. Congress has already taken steps to instruct congress to avoid spending money on closing medical dispensaries at the state level, and some cities have already stated to decriminalize marijuana possession by ticketing offenders who possess small amounts of cannabis. The DEA still considers marijuana a schedule I drug, but they are currently revewing suggestions to reschedule it.

From LA Times

Hillary Clinton
She has said she supports medical marijuana and wants to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to Schedule 2 (medicinal value, highly addictive) so researchers can do more studies on health effects, positive and negative, of cannabis.

She says states should be allowed to vote to legalize and regulate adult, recreational use. “But I want to see what the states learn from that experience, because there are still a lot of questions we still have to answer on the federal level,” Clinton said last month on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Bernie Sanders
He introduced legislation last fall that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would let states regulate marijuana. The bill has no co-sponsors and doesn’t appear to be moving.

“In my view, states should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco,” Sanders said last fall.

Ted Cruz
He has said that while he personally opposes the legalization of marijuana, he believes states should be able to decide their own cannabis policies.

But he has also criticized the Obama administration for deciding not to enforce the federal prohibition on marijuana when Colorado and Washington voters legalized recreational use.

John Kasich
He has opposed medical marijuana in the past, but recently said he is open to it.

As for legalizing recreational use, he told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he is totally opposed and as president he would “lead a significant campaign down at the grass roots level to stomp these drugs out of our country.” Yet in the same interview he said he recognized states’ rights.

Donald Trump
He is “100%” in favor of medical marijuana, he said on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” in February.

On that same show, he hedged on the question of legalizing marijuana for adult use, saying it’s good in some ways, bad in others. However, last fall he told Nevada voters that he supports letting states decide whether they want to legalize adult recreational use.

For more on the candidates’ thoughts on marijuana, check out the analysis by legalization advocates the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Marijuana Policy Project.

In 2020 Cannabis expected to top $44 billion

In 2020 Cannabis expected to top $44 billion

With cannabis growing fast in America, it’s expect to hit $44 billion in sales by the year 2020. This figure considers sales and the money that will be go back into the economy. Since cannabis has gained traction, lots of new business have popped up and taken advantage of this new gold rush – wholesale grow operations, product manufactures, news sites, and more.

Just calculating sales of cannabis, last years sales are estimated to be around $3.5 to $4.3 billion, up from $3 billion the previous year. The industry is now looking at the political aspect of cannabis, as it’s still considered illegal by the federal government. If cannabis is rescheduled to a lower drug scheduling by the DEA, this could mean big business to a lot of companies looking to profit in a new frontier.

More from Yahoo

The Majority of Americans: Pot Should Be Legal

The Majority of Americans: Pot Should Be Legal

Every year it seems that support for marijuana legalization grows larger and this year that record stays true. 60% of Americans now believe that marijuana should be legal. This is an increase of 3% since the last poll was released by Gallup. To give you some background, in 1969 only 12% of americans shared this view. Of the people who were polled, 24% believed it should be legalized for medical purposes, 33% believe that legalization should have no restrictions, and lastly 43% say no purchasing limits should be applied.

Along with citizens, investors are also interested in this vast new marketplace and believe that the cannabis industry could be valued at $44 billion by 2020. More from WestWood:

As one of just three states to sell recreational marijuana, Colorado has a featured role in this heady social experiment and continues to reap the financial benefits, according to the Daily, which predicts that medical and recreational marijuana sales will combine to bring in over $1 billion in Colorado this year. “It’s no surprise that support continues to rise, since people have had a chance to actually see marijuana legalization in action in Colorado for almost two years,” Marijuana Majority’s Tom Angell wrote in an e-mail to Westword last October. “It’s no longer just a theoretical debate, and we’ve got real evidence. We’re now able to point to what is happening in Denver and prove that what we said would happen is true and that our opponents’ fears were unfounded.”