Nearly 30 states, and the District of Columbia are considering marijuana law reform legislation this year, including bills that cover legalization for adults, decriminalization, medical marijuana and hemp. Some states have a variety of reform bills simultaneously pending such as Arizona which is considering legalization and decriminalization, and Pennsylvania which is considering legalization as well as medical marijuana legislation. Here’s a quick breakdown:
14 states are considering legalization: Arizona, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
12 states and the District of Columbia are considering decriminalization: Alabama, Arizona, DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
11 states are considering legislation to establish effective medical marijuana programs: Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
3 states are considering allowing industrial hemp cultivation: Indiana, New York, and Tennessee.
Click here to access NORML’s Action Alerts and quickly and easily contact your elected officials to encourage their support of any pending reform bills. Be sure to keep checking NORML’s Take Action Center to see if your state has joined the list!
Alaska: Election Officials Affirm Legalization Measure Has Enough Signatures To Qualify For The 2014 BallotFebruary 5, 2014
State election officials have affirmed that a proposed initiative to regulate the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults has obtained the necessary number of signatures from registered voters to appear on 2014 ballot.
The initiative’s proponents, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana in Alaska, gathered more than 45,000 signatures from registered Alaska voters. On Tuesday, the director of the Alaska’s Division of Elections confirmed that of those signatures, 31,593 have been verified, thus qualifying the measure for a public vote. The lieutenant governor’s office is expected to certify the measure for the 2014 ballot in the coming days, once all of the remaining signatures have been counted and verified.
Once certified, the initiative will be placed on the August 19 primary election ballot, as is required by Alaska election law.
If approved by voters, the measure would legalize the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants (three flowering) for personal consumption. The measure would also allow for the establishment of licensed, commercial cannabis production and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products to those over the age of 21. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis would be subject to taxation, but no taxes would be imposed upon those who choose to engage in non-commercial activities (e.g., growing small quantities of marijuana for personal use and/or engaging in not-for-profit transfers of limited quantities of cannabis.) Public consumption of cannabis would be subject to a civil fine.
The measure neither amends the state’s existing medical marijuana law, which was approved by voters in 1998, nor does it diminish any privacy rights established by the state’s Supreme Court in its 1975 ruling Ravin v State.
Under present state law, the possession of marijuana not in one’s residence is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 90-days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
According to the results of a statewide Public Policy Polling survey, released today, 55 percent of registered voters “think (that) marijuana should be legally allowed for recreational use, that stores should be allowed to sell it, and that its sales should be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.” Only 39 percent of respondents oppose the idea. The survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.
Additional information about the campaign is available here.
The Super Bowl bet between Washington and Colorado NORML chapters, along with interviews with NORML board members Rick Steves and Kevin Oliver from Washington, was featured this morning on NBC’s Today Show. Additionally, Marketplace, heard on National Public Radio, also covered NORML chapter wager and the fact that the two teams competing for NFL title are from the states with legal cannabis sales.
Earlier this week, we received news that United for Care, the campaign working to place a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot in Florida, had collected and certified the required number of signatures for qualification. Despite surpassing the signature requirement, the Florida Supreme Court still had yet to approve the language of the amendment. This afternoon, they ruled 4-3 in favor of allowing the amendment to be placed on November’s ballot.
“Florida and national NORML salute the decision of the Florida Supreme Court to allow our citizens the right to decide for themselves if medicinal marijuana is an appropriate course of conduct for their own adult lives,” stated NORML Board Chair and Florida resident Norm Kent, “Our group will be working vigorously, from Key West to our northwest panhandle, to pass this amendment and give our citizens the right to make health decisions best suited for their own lives.”
“This is a tribute to the initiative of John Morgan, the group United for Care, and the thousands of petitioners who labored all over the state to acquire the requisite number of petitions to get this item on the ballot,” Kent said.
20 states have now passed laws permitting medical marijuana and 2 have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Florida represents the first southern state to launch such an initiative, which divides the gubernatorial candidates, with the present governor, Rick Scott, opposing the initiative, and his likely opponent, Charlie Crist, saying he supports the effort.
The official ballot language can be seen below:
Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician.
Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana.
The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.
Applies only to Florida law.
Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
NORML will keep you updated as this effort progresses.
(Note: Florida law requires constitutional amendments to receive 60% or more of the final vote total to be approved.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bud Bowl. Weed Bowl. Fill a Bowl. Stoner Bowl. Super Stupor Bowl. Whatever you call it, the teams from Denver and Seattle are in it to win it! And so are cannabis consumers! The annual Super Bowl is always a great time for a few friendly wagers, and cannabis consumers are no exception. Happy to uphold this proud tradition, Colorado NORML and Washington NORML have made a little side bet on this historic game:
If the Denver Broncos win, WA NORML has agreed to dress in Bronco colors of blue and orange and sing Karaoke-style Colorado’s (second) official state song "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver. If the Seattle Seahawks win, CO NORML will do the same, but in Seahawk blue and green and singing "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix, a native son of Seattle.
A video of the performance must be posted on the respective state chapter’s web site, Facebook page and on YouTube for a minimum of one week, with an acknowledgment that the winning team’s state is simply awesome.
The unfortunate irony is that, despite the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado, the NFL continues to ban its use among players, although it is not a performance enhancing drug. Both teams have each lost key players this season to marijuana-related suspensions. The Denver Broncos Von Miller, 2011 NFL defensive rookie of the year, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond, and Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner have all received suspensions for failing drug tests.
The NFL would be wise to be more open to marijuana use among players. Its value as a safer treatment than opiates for pain resulting from the brutality of the game, must be acknowledged. With concerns over repeat concussions and the resulting traumatic brain injury to players like Junior Seau, the league should be particularly interested in marijuana’s potential to prevent long-term damage associated with brain injuries. Some NFL players might use cannabis for its medicinal benefits, but others may choose it to unwind as an alternative to alcohol, just as others might drink a beer or a martini. However, cannabis use doesn’t have the same risks associated with mixing prescription drugs, particularly painkillers, and alcohol.
So while we celebrate this historic Super Doobie Bowl, cheering on our respective teams, and laughing about the irony of it all, let’s not forget those players on and off the field whose employers will not allow them to consume a legal substance that has never had an associated death in all of recorded history.
Let the schwag talking begin!
- Rachel K. Gillette, Esq., Executive Director, email@example.com 303-578-6848
- Teri Robnett, Board Member & Patient Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org 720-351-8403
- Sean T. McAllister, Esq., Spokesperson, email@example.com 720-722-0048
- Kevin Oliver, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-641-0935
- Rick Steves (PBS Travel Guide) and Advisory Board Member, 206-641-0935
- Alison Holcomb (I-502 Author) and Advisory Board Member, 206-641-0935