Super-majorities of voters believe that medical cannabis should be legal, and most men additionally support legalizing marijuana for all adults, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University Swing State poll.
Pollsters gauged support for marijuana law reform in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Florida voters backed legalizing cannabis therapy by a margin of 87 percent to 12 percent. A majority of male voters (57 percent) also supported broader legalization, while only 49 percent of women agreed.
Reform advocates are presently gathering signatures for a pair of potential ballot drives in 2016. The first, backed by United For Care, seeks to permit the physician-authorized use of cannabis. The second effort, sponsored by Regulate Florida and NORML of Florida, seeks to regulate the plant’s production, consumption, and sales to adults.
A 2014 amendment that sought to permit cannabis therapy garnered 58 percent of vote — two percent shy of the threshold necessary for passage in Florida.
Ninety percent of Ohio voters say that marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes. Fifty-nine percent of male voters additionally backed legalizing the plant for social use versus only 47 percent of female voters.
Ohio voters will decide this November on a proposed ballot measure (Issue 3, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment) to regulate the state-licensed production and sale of cannabis for both medical and retail purposes. The measure also permits adults to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis (up to four plants yielding no more than 8 ounces of usable product at any one time) at home. State lawmakers opposed to the plan have placed a competing measure, Issue 2, on the November ballot that seeks to prohibit state regulators from permitting the limited production of “any Schedule I controlled substance.” If voters approved both measures, Issue 2 states that the “entire proposed constitutional [marijuana] amendment shall not take effect.”
In Pennsylvania, 90 percent of voters back medicalizing marijuana. Fifty-two percent of men also support legalization, versus 43 percent of women voters.
Senate lawmakers this year approved compromised medical marijuana legislation, but the measure remains stalled in the House. Separate senate legislation, Senate Bill 528, to permit the adult possession and retail sale of marijuana has not yet been heard by lawmakers.
Teased out by CNN host Anderson Cooper’s comment about ‘everyone in the room having probably smoked pot before’, American voters were informed by a question from CNN el Espanol’s Juan Carlos Lopez to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders about the state’s pending cannabis legalization initiative that will be on the 2016 ballot in Nevada (the state where the debate was being held), and whether or not if he were a Nevadan that he’d vote to support legalization.
Senator Sanders indicated that he ‘suspected he would vote for the measure’ and went on to enumerate numerous problems with America’s so-called ‘war on drugs’ and the criminal justice system in general.
Mr. Lopez did a follow up question with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referencing an earlier CNN interview, where she indicated that she never tried marijuana and was not about to do so now. She further said in the previous CNN interview recorded one year earlier that she was still waiting to formulate a policy position based on the pro-reform actions of the four states and the District of Columbia in favor of legalization, Mr. Lopez pressed her if she was yet going to take a position ‘for’ or ‘against’ what she called ‘state experiments’. Mrs. Clinton’s reply, ‘No.’
However, Mrs. Clinton indicated that she supports states’ ability to create cannabis law reforms, that much can be learned from these states’ efforts; she supports medical access to cannabis; that she agreed with Senator Sanders that cannabis consumers should not be incarcerated in America’s over wrought criminal justice system.
Excitement filled the air at this year’s Boston Freedom Rally as Massachusetts voters consider two initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Bay State Repeal are both working to collect the signatures needed to qualify for next November’s ballot.
California NORML’s partnership with ReformCA will guarantee responsible marijuana consumers an opportunity to have their voices heard as stakeholders continue to weigh in on the various initiatives currently being proposed.
With legalization on this November’s ballot, Ohioans will have a chance to not just end the arrest of thousands of marijuana consumers, they’ll be able to bring relief to people seeking the medicinal benefits of marijuana to treat their ailments.
Since July, Florida NORML has seen a lot of success with marijuana decriminalization efforts. From Miami-Dade County, to municipalities such as Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach, local governments have embraced this current trend. Several other cities are looking to take action in the months ahead.
Dan Viets, executive director of Missouri NORML and member of NORML’s National Board of Directors, fought hard to bring justice to Jeff Mizanskey and his family. Mr. Mizanskey is scheduled to speak at Springfield NORML’s next meeting on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Click here for more details!
Activists with Northwest Ohio NORML earned the support of each of Toledo’s 24 wards to pass an ordinance aimed at eliminating penalties for possessing up to 200 grams of marijuana. Lawmakers are currently meeting to discuss the implementation of the new law.
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, took a minute to share his thoughts on the peculiar progression of America’s marijuana laws. From the early acceptance of medical marijuana in the west and the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, to a pending ballot initiative in Ohio, it’s obvious American’s are ready to end the the government’s senseless war against marijuana consumers.
In a recent interview, Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, commended the State of Oregon for their rollout of their new recreational marijuana program. He attributes the success to state regulators paying close attention to the implementation of similar laws in other states.
New Chapter Spotlight
Denver NORML recently held their first public meeting to discuss the need for consumer advocacy in a post-legalization environment. Close to twenty-five marijuana consumers packed the room to show their support and share a few concerns about pesticides, social use and high taxes.
Regulations permitting state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to also engage in retail sales to those ages 21 or older take effect on Thursday, October 1. An estimated 200 facilities are anticipated to begin providing cannabis to adults.
Customers will be permitted to purchase up to a quarter ounce of herbal cannabis daily, as well as up to four non-flowering plants, but they will not be allowed to obtain cannabis-infused products until early next year.
Legislation approved by voters in November and enacted on July 1 allows those over the age of 21 to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and/or to engage in the non-commercial cultivation of up to four marijuana plants (yielding up to eight ounces of marijuana). Separate provisions in the law license, regulate, and tax retail sales of cannabis beginning next year. However, separate legislation (Senate Bill 460) signed into law in August permits licensed medical dispensaries the option to engage in provisional, tax-free retail sales of cannabis until January 4, 2016.
Colorado and Washington presently permit retail sales of cannabis, while similar regulations are forthcoming in Alaska. (A voter-initiated law in the District of Columbia permits adults to possess and grow marijuana legally, but does not provide for a regulated commercial cannabis market.)
The total number of marijuana-related arrests nationwide rose in 2014, despite the implementation of legalization laws in two states, according to data released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the 2014 Uniform Crime Report, police made 700,993 arrests for marijuana-related offenses, some 7,500 more arrests than were reported in 2013. Of those arrested, 619,808 (over 88 percent) were charged with possession only — a two percent increase since 2013.
Marijuana arrests comprised nearly half (45 percent) of all drug-related arrests nationwide, at a cost of nearly half a billion dollars.
In the two states (Colorado and Washington) that have legalized marijuana-related activities, cannabis-related arrests plummeted in 2014 — indicating that that other jurisdictions are prioritizing arrests at a time when the majority of the public is opposed to criminalization. (Recent changes in marijuana laws in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC are not reflected in the 2014 arrest data, but will be reflected in 2015 data.)
As in previous years, marijuana possession arrests were most likely to occur in the midwest and in the southeastern regions of the United States. Far fewer marijuana arrests were reported in the western region of the United States, where possessing the plant has largely been either legalized or decriminalized.
The total number of marijuana arrests for 2014 are some 20 percent lower than the totals for 2007, when police made an all-time high 872,721 cannabis-related arrests.