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NORML Blog

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel March 30, 2015

    While it may not be apparent to casual observers of the current drive to legalize marijuana in America, we are truly the beneficiaries of political reforms adopted during what is generally referred to as the Progressive Era.

    This period of social activism and political reform in America is generally defined as beginning in 1890 and running through 1920.

    The principal objective of the Progressive movement was eliminating corruption in government, and to accomplish that goal, proponents sought ways to take down the powerful and corrupt political bosses and to provide access to ordinary Americans in the political system – a concept called direct democracy, as contrasted to representative democracy.

    On the national level, progressivism gained a strong voice in the White House with the election of Teddy Roosevelt as president in 1901. Other national proponents included Robert La Follette and Charles Evans Hughes on the Republican side, and William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson and Al Smith on the Democratic side.

    It was during this period that the concept of direct primaries to nominate candidates for public office, direct election of US senators, and universal suffrage for women gained traction; and most important to our work, the procedures know as referendum and initiatives began to be adopted in several states.

    To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_z

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 26, 2015

    Fifty-five percent of likely California voters believe that “the use of marijuana should be legal,” according to the results of a statewide PPIC poll released yesterday.

    The percentage in favor of legalization is the highest level of support ever recorded in the statewide poll.

    African Americans (69 percent), Whites (64 percent), Democrats (63 percent), and Independents (57 percent) were most likely to express support for legalizing the plant’s use while Republicans (44 percent), Latinos (42 percent), and Asians (39 percent) were most likely to oppose the policy change.

    Among those respondents who acknowledges having tried cannabis, 74 percent supported legalization. Among respondents who had never tried cannabis, 63 percent favored keeping it illegal.

    The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.

    California is one of several states in 2016 where the issue of regulating marijuana is expected to be decided by ballot measure. The issue is also anticipated to be before voters next November in Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, and Nevada.

    In 2010, California voters rejected a ballot initiative that sought to permit the personal cultivation and commercial sale of cannabis by a vote of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent.

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel March 23, 2015

    http://news.marijuana.com/news/2015/03/a-tale-of-two-cities-why-dc-and-nyc-are-worlds-apart/

    Washington, DC and New York City are only 225 miles apart, a four-hour drive up I-95, or a 3½ hour train ride on Amtrak. And both jurisdictions have taken positive steps over the last couple of years to stop arresting marijuana smokers. But in other ways, they are in parallel universes.

    In one city the police chief is embracing marijuana legalization, and touting it as a helpful step in building community relations. And in the other, the police commissioner is saying marijuana has caused an increase in homicides and shootings, even worse than the cocaine and heroin epidemics of the 1980s and ’90s. It would be difficult to find a more stark contrast in policing strategies.

    To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_z

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 19, 2015

    Marijuana law reform legislation is presently pending in over 30 states. Is your state one of them? Visit NORML’s online ‘Take Action Center’ here to find out.

    By clicking this link, you will have access to up-to-date bill status information. You can also quickly contact your elected officials and urge their support for these reforms with just one click.

    Right now, nearly 20 states — including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont — are debating measures to legalize the adult use and sale of the plant.

    Some dozen states — including Delaware, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee — are debating decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses.

    Medical marijuana legislation is also pending in 17 states, including Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

    Click HERE to view NORML’s full list of pending state and federal legislation.

    Get active; get NORML.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 18, 2015

    Nevada: Voters To Decide In 2016 On Statewide Measure Regulating Marijuana SalesNevada voters will decide next November on ballot language that seeks to regulate the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. Lawmakers had until late last week to act on the initiative petition, filed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), but failed to do so – thus placing the measure on the 2016 electoral ballot.

    Proponents of the measure, “The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana,” turned in over 200,000 signatures from registered Nevada voters in December to qualify it for the ballot.

    The ballot language permits adults to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or six plants) for non-commercial purposes. The measure also regulates and taxes the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis.

    It states, “The People of the State of Nevada find and declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons 21 years of age or older, and its cultivation and sale should be regulated similar to other businesses.”

    Similar ballot measures are likely to be decided in 2016 in several other states, including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Missouri.

    For more information on this campaign, please visit: http://www.regulatemarijuanainnevada.org/.

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