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This week: Colorado’s Amendment 64 would bring in big revenue for the state, Grand Rapids will be voting on marijuana decriminalization, and Arkansas’ medical marijuana initiative qualifies for the ballot.
The Colorado Democratic Party on Saturday announced its support for Amendment 64, a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to eliminate civil and criminal penalties for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults. The Party indicated its support for the measure during its state convention.
“This is a mainstream issue,” Cindy Lowery-Graber, chair of the Denver County Democratic Party, stated in a press release. “Polls show that more than 60 percent of Democrats and a solid majority of Independents believe marijuana should be treated like alcohol. A broad coalition is forming in support of Amendment 64 and I am proud to say that it now includes the Colorado Democratic Party.”
Now included among the Party’s 2012 ‘essential platforms’ is the following: “Regulate and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, limiting its use to those 21 or older. We support Amendment 64, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.”
If enacted by voters this November, Amendment 64, The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012, would immediately allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.
The initiative does not change existing medical cannabis laws for patients, caregivers, and medical marijuana businesses. The measure also prohibits the imposition of an excise tax on any retail sale of medical marijuana.
The Colorado Democratic Party’s support for legalization comes approximately one month after a slim majority, 56 percent, of Denver County Republicans also voted to endorse Amendment 64. However, the position was not officially adopted because of the local party’s requirement of a two-thirds majority to change its platform.
Amendment 64 is backed by a broad coalition of drug law reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project. Gary Johnson, former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, and Pat Robertson, evangelist and founder of the Christian Coalition, have also recently endorsed the initiative.
The full text of Amendment 64 is available here.
At Least 1 – 1.5 Million Americans are Legal Medical Marijuana Patients
Market for these patients in sixteen states and D.C. estimated at between $2 – $6 billion annually
MAY 31, 2011 – We don’t know his or her name, but somewhere in one of sixteen states and the District of Columbia is America’s 1,000,000th legal medical marijuana patient. We estimate the United States reached the million-patients mark sometime between the beginning of the year to when Arizona began issuing patient registry identification cards online in April 2011.
Between one to one-and-a-half million people are legally authorized by their state to use marijuana in the United States, according to data compiled by NORML from state medical marijuana registries and patient estimates. Assuming usage of one-half to one gram of cannabis medicine per day per patient and an average retail price of $320 per ounce, these legal consumers represent a $2.3 to $6.2 billion dollar market annually.
Based on state medical marijuana laws, the amounts of cannabis these legal marijuana users are entitled to possess means there is between 566 – 803 thousand pounds of legal usable cannabis allowed under state law in America. These patients are allowed to cultivate between 17 – 24 million legal cannabis plants. There may possibly be more, as California and New Mexico “limits” may be exceeded with doctor’s permission and some California counties explicitly allow greater amounts, so there may be as much as 1 million pounds of state-legal cannabis allowed under state law in America.
Active Medical Marijuana State (Total population of sixteen medical marijuana states + D.C. = over 90 million. D.C., Delaware, and New Jersey programs are not yet active.) # Legal Medical Marijuana Patients (% of state population) California (1996) – No central state registry, 2% – 3% of overall population estimate by Dale Gieringer at California NORML by comparing rates in Colorado & Montana. ~750,000 (2.00%)
Washington (1998) – No registry, 1% – 1.5% of overall population estimate by Russ Belville at NORML by comparing rates in Oregon & Colorado. ~67,000 (1.00%)
Oregon (1998) – Centralized state registry data published online. 39,774 (1.04%) Alaska (1998) – No data online, verified by author’s call to Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. 380 (0.05%) Maine (1999) – Centralized state registry data published online. 796 (0.06%) Nevada (2000) – 2008 figures from ProCon.org, awaiting return call from state for official number. 860 (0.03%) Hawaii (2000) – Estimate from Pam Lichty of Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; program is run by law enforcement who are reluctant to release data. ~8,000 (0.59%) Colorado (2000) – Centralized state registry data published online. 123,890 (2.46%) Vermont (2004) – No data online, verified by author’s call to Vermont Criminal Information Center. 349 (0.06%) Montana (2004) – Centralized state registry data published online. 30,609 (3.09%) Rhode Island (2006) – Centralized state registry data published online. 3,069 (0.29%) New Mexico (2007) – Centralized state registry data published online. 3,615 (0.18%) Michigan (2008) – Centralized state registry data published online. 75,521 (0.76%) Arizona (2010) – Centralized state registry data published online. 3,696 (0.06%) TOTAL US LEGAL MARIJUANA USERS ~1,100,000 (1.22%)
Yet after fifteen years, one million patients, and a million pounds of legal marijuana, few if any of the dire predictions by opponents of medical marijuana have come to fruition. Medical marijuana states like Oregon are experiencing their lowest-ever rates of workplace fatalities, injuries, and accidents. States like Colorado are experiencing their lowest rates in three decades of fatal crashes per million miles driven. In medical marijuana states for which we have data (through Michigan in 2008), use by minor teenagers is down in all but Maine and down by at least 10% in states with the greatest proportion of their population using medical cannabis. (more…)
Get all the highlights from the last two days of this year’s NORML conference with recaps of Day 2 & Day 3, streaming now on NORMLtv. The agenda this year in Denver was certainly not short on compelling content. The NORML Women’s Alliance discussed how to bridge the “Cannabis Gender Gap,” a sitting United States Congressman endorsed full legalization, and marijuana maverick Lester Grinspoon held an intimate open question and answer session. See clips of these and more in the videos below.
Day 2 – April 22nd
Day 3 – April 23rd
Don’t miss our previous updates including a floor report from Day 1 and coverage from the NORML/HighTimes Activism Awards. Tune in next week for a closer look at the Denver mayoral debate hosted by Montel Williams and Rep. Jared Polis’ keynote address.
In honor of our friend Ben Masel, the great Wisconsin activist who passed away this weekend from lung cancer, NORMLtv will be posting the presentation of his lifetime achievement award from this year’s Activist Awards Ceremony on Monday.
You can get the latest updates from NORMLtv by following us on Twitter.
We’ve concluded the 40th Annual NORML Conference in Denver. There are so many amazing moments, informative presentations, and great photographs to share. We’ll be posting more throughout this week.
You can view most of the plenary sessions from all three days of the conference at our On Demand Video archive for NORML SHOW LIVE. Click here to view all the videos from the conference.
These are the “raw feed” videos that were captured during the presentations so they are not edited. You may have to cue ahead a minute or two to get to the beginnings of the presentations and there may be a couple that get cut off at the end by Stickam’s 65-minute time limit.
From these videos and from other hi-def recordings we are going to put together edited versions of these panels for a DVD that will be available through the NORML Online Store.
Here is the opening presentation – a look at the statistics on cannabis consumers in America (cue forward to 3:10 for the beginning):