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ballot initiative

  • by Rick Steves, NORML Board Member May 25, 2016

    I’ve worked hard to help legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use in Washington State (where I live) and in Oregon. This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to approve a ballot initiative that will end prohibition and replace it with a sensible marijuana policy in their state too.

    As a NORML Board Member, I am proud to announce that NORML is endorsing this initiative. And to demonstrate my commitment, I am going to match every donation up to $50,000, dollar-for-dollar. This October, I’ll be visiting Maine to speak about the initiative and help build support for legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana in the state.

    If you donate $50, $100 or even $500, I’ll double it. Click here to make a donation through the campaign website today.

    Through my travels in Europe, I’ve learned that pragmatic harm reduction makes much more sense than legislating morality. And I believe in civil liberties. Responsible adults should be able to use marijuana, just as they can use alcohol. Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska have demonstrated that it is possible to build a system of marijuana control and regulation that works.

    This isn’t about being “soft” or “hard” on drugs. This is about being smart – and controlling and regulating marijuana the right way.

    Please consider making a donation today. Together, we can make history in Maine. (And I hope to see you in October!)

    For Immediate Release
    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Contact
    David Boyer, Campaign Manager, Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol
    207-274-4633, dboyer@regulatemaine.org

    Nation’s Oldest Marijuana Policy Organization – and One of Its Most Widely Recognized Board Members – to Throw Support Behind Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Maine

    In an email announcing NORML’s endorsement, internationally renowned travel writer and television personality Rick Steves said he will match up to $50,000 in contributions to the campaign and visit Maine in October to help promote the ballot measure

    PORTLAND, Maine – Internationally renowned travel writer and television personality Rick Steves announced on Wednesday that he and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) are throwing their support behind the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine. Steves serves on the board of directors for NORML.

    In an email announcing NORML’s endorsement to initiative supporters, Steves offered to match every contribution to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. He also said he plans to visit Maine in October to help promote the ballot measure, which would end marijuana prohibition in Maine and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

    “Through my travels in Europe, I’ve learned that pragmatic harm reduction makes much more sense than legislating morality,” Steves said in the email. “And I believe in civil liberties. Responsible adults should be able to use marijuana, just as they can use alcohol.

    “Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska demonstrate that it is possible to build a system of marijuana control and regulation that works,” he continued. “This isn’t about being ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ on drugs. This is about being smart – and controlling and regulating marijuana the right way.”

    Steves actively campaigned in support of the ballot initiatives that successfully ended marijuana prohibition in Oregon in 2014 and his home state of Washington in 2012.

    “NORML is pleased to be working with the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and with our colleague Rick Steves, to help ensure that Maine joins the growing list of states to legalize the responsible adult use of marijuana this November,” said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre. “Our board of directors has enthusiastically endorsed this measure and we will continue to work for its passage.”

    NORML, founded in 1970, is a national organization with state and local chapters operating throughout the country. It is the nation’s oldest and most widely recognized marijuana policy reform organization.

    “NORML has spent decades educating the public about marijuana and advocating for sensible marijuana policy reform,” said campaign manager David Boyer. “We are proud to have their support, and we are very grateful for Mr. Steves’ exceptionally generous offer. A lot of celebrities express support for ending marijuana prohibition, but few put their money where their mouth is.”

    # # #

    The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is supporting a 2016 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. For more information, visit http://www.RegulateMaine.org.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate August 24, 2015

    thumbs_upLocal governments in Florida are taking marijuana law reform into their own hands by adopting marijuana decriminalization ordinances as an alternative to more severe state sanctions.

    We first wrote about this trend in July when Florida’s largest county, Miami-Dade, passed an ordinance allowing local law enforcement to treat marijuana possession offenses involving 20 grams or less as a civil infraction, punishable by a $100 fine.

    Many other communities have followed suit. City commissioners in Miami Beach imposed a similar policy in July; authorities in Hallandale Beach acted likewise last week. 

    Key West City City officials are poised to finalize a similar measure in September while lawmakers in Palm Beach County are considering taking similar action. Decriminalization is also gaining momentum among lawmakers in the city of St. Petersburg.

    These changes to local laws are especially significant in Florida, where state lawmakers have failed to even consider amending its archaic and overly punitive marijuana policies. Consequently, Florida possesses the third highest annual marijuana possession arrest total (roughly 60,000 arrests per year) in the nation.

    But that may soon change. Advocates, including Florida NORML, are pushing  a 2016, ballot initiative aimed at legalizing the adult use of marijuana, while a separate measure to amend the state’s medical marijuana laws is also expected to be decided by voters (in 2014 the measure narrowly failed to meet the state’s 60% vote requirement). According to a Quinnipiac poll conducted last year, 88% of Florida residents support legalizing marijuana for medical use and 55% of residents support legalizing the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana.

    It’s clear that Florida residents are fed up with policies that treat those who possess marijuana as criminals and are looking to their local governments to lead the way in reforming these policies. NORML encourages you to contact your local city commissioners and urge them to consider adopting decriminalization policies in your communities.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate August 13, 2015

    ballot_box_leafThe Ohio Secretary of State’s office yesterday confirmed that a statewide ballot proposal seeking to permit the personal use and commercial production and retail sale of cannabis will appear on the November ballot. Proponents of the measure, Responsible Ohio, gathered sufficient signatures to place the issue before voters as a constitutional amendment.

    Ohio now has the opportunity to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C. as states that have passed laws allowing for the personal possession and consumption of cannabis by adults.

    If enacted, the measure would initially establish 10 state-licensed commercial growing sites. (State regulators will have the opportunity to grant additional licenses if these initial production sites do not adequately meet demand.) Commercially produced cannabis will be sold at over 1,000 proposed retail dispensaries.

    A minimum of five regional marijuana testing facilities will be established to regularly check the chemical compounds found in the product for adequate labeling for consumers and regulators.

    Additionally, residents over the age of 21 will be allowed to purchase a $50 license to grow their own marijuana plants with a limit of 4 plants per household and/or 8 ounces of useable product at a time. The amendment also establishes a non-profit medical marijuana dispensary system to provide access to those patients with a recommendation from a physician. Medical marijuana will not be taxed and will be provided on a needs-based fee system. Commercial marijuana production will be taxed at 5% when purchased for personal use and 15% at the wholesale and manufacturing level.

    You can read the full text of the amendment here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 22, 2014

    Alaska voters will decide this November on a proposed initiative to regulate the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

    Although the measure was initially scheduled to go before voters during the state’s primary election in August, state officials this week decided to push back the vote to the November general election. The postponement was required because lawmakers failed to adjourn this year’s legislative session within 90 days, the standard time allotted under state rules. Under Alaska law, ballot initiatives must go to voters no less than 120 days after the end of that year’s legislative session.

    If enacted by voters this November, the ballot 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. It 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 in February, 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.

    If enacted, Alaska will be the third US state to regulate the legal retail production and sale of cannabis to adults.

    Also this November, voters in Florida will decide on a constitutional amendment to allow for the physician-approved use and retail distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 16, 2012

    Seattle, WA: Event organizers are expecting to break attendance records this weekend for the 21st annual Seattle Hempfest, taking place this Friday through Sunday at Myrtle Edwards Park along the downtown Seattle waterfront.

    Hempfest has drawn crowds in excesses of 250,000 people over the three day ‘protestival’.

    One of the main focuses of this year Hempfest is Washington’s legalization voter initiative, Initiative 502. Washington is one of three states where voters this fall will have the opportunity to substantively reform their state’s personal use cannabis laws. Oregon and Colorado voters also have limited marijuana legalization measures appearing on their statewide ballots this fall.

    The latest public polling regarding I-502 (Read a full description of the measure here.) shows that it is supported by voters by a margin of 50 percent to 37 percent.

    Over 60 musical acts and over one hundred speakers — including NORML Founder Keith Stroup, I-502 sponsor, NORML Advisory Board member and travel expert Rick Steves, numerous NORML board members and chapter coordinators, members of Seattle’s City Council, former law enforcement officials and dozens of cannabis law reform activists will participate in the event from numerous stages and at the ‘Hemposium’ educational tent.

    A list of speakers is found here.

    A complete line-up of this year’s scheduled events, musicians, and speakers is available online at: http://www.hempfest.org/.

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