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OCTA

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 7, 2012

    Voters in Colorado and Washington on Election Day in favor of ballot measures that remove criminal and civil penalties for the adult possession of cannabis. The votes mark the first time ever that voters have decided at the ballot box to abolish cannabis prohibition.

    In Colorado, 55 percent of voters decided in favor of Amendment 64, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Initial returns show the measure passing with 54 percent support.

    In Washington, approximately 55 percent of voters decided in favor of I-502, which regulates the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure also removes criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Initial returns indicate that 55 percent of voters backed the measure.

    State lawmakers in Colorado initially prohibited the possession of cannabis in 1917. Washington lawmakers initially outlawed the plant in 1923.

    Commenting on the historic votes, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Amendment 64 and Initiative 502 provide adult cannabis consumers with unprecedented legal protections. Until now, no state law has defined cannabis as a legal commodity. Some state laws do provide for a legal exception that allows for certain qualified patients to possess specific amounts of cannabis as needed. But, until today, no state in modern history has classified cannabis itself as a legal product that may be lawfully possessed and consumed by adults.”

    Armentano continued: “The passage of these measures strikes significant blow to federal cannabis prohibition. Like alcohol prohibition before it, marijuana prohibition is a failed federal policy that delegates the burden of enforcement to the state and local police. Alcohol prohibition fell when a sufficient number of states enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws. With state police and prosecutors no longer engaging in the federal government’s bidding to enforce an unpopular law, the federal government had little choice but to abandon the policy altogether. Today, history begins to repeat itself.”

    Separate marijuana law reform measures proved to be equally popular among voters. In Massachusetts, 63 percent of voters approved Question 3, which eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients. It also requires the state to create and regulate up to 35 facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Massachusetts is the 18th state since 1996 to authorize the physician-recommended use of cannabis.

    In Michigan, an estimated 65 percent of Detroit voters approved Measure M, which removes criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21.

    A statewide ballot measure to legalize the therapeutic use of cannabis in Arkansas appears to have narrowly failed by a vote of 49 percent to 51 percent. In Montana, a referendum that sought to ease legislative restrictions on the state’s medical marijuana law also failed. Oregon’s Measure 80, which sought to allow for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, garnered only 45 percent of the popular vote.

    The ballot measures in Colorado and Washington will take effect once the vote totals have been formally ratified, a process that typically takes up to 30 days.

    NORML will provide additional updates on various other local measures throughout the day. Stay tuned to the NORML blog for more information.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 5, 2012

    Millions of voters will decide on Election Day in favor of ballot measures to legalize and regulate the use of cannabis by adults. Voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will decide on statewide ballot measures to legalize the possession and distribution of cannabis for those over 21 years of age. Voters in three additional states — Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana — will decide on measures to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis by patients with qualifying ailments. In Michigan, voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – will decide on municipal measures to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis.

    Ballot measures in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington remain favored among voters, according to the latest statewide polls.

    Since 1996, 17 states have enacted legislation to allow for the limited possession of cannabis when a physician authorizes such use. In ten of those states, voters enacted medical cannabis legislation via the statewide initiative process. But to date, no statewide proposal to remove criminal and civil penalties for the broader, personal possession and use of marijuana by adults has succeeded at the ballot box. This reality is likely to change tomorrow.

    A summary of this year’s more prominent statewide and local ballot measures appears below.

    ARKANSAS: Voters will decide on Measure 5, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act of 2012, which allows authorized patients to possess up to two and one-half ounces of cannabis for various qualifying medical conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The measure also allows state regulators to establish not-for-profit facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis (up to six flowering plants) if they reside further than five miles from a state-authorized dispensary.

    COLORADO: Voters will decide on Amendment 64, which allows for the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and/or the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants by those persons age 21 and over. Longer-term, the measure seeks to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers. Voters in the state approve of the measure by a margin of 50 percent to 44 percent, according to the latest Denver Post survey.

    MASSACHUSETTS: Voters will decide on Question 3, which eliminates statewide criminal and civil penalties related to the possession and use of up to a 60-day supply of cannabis by qualified patients. It would also require the state to create and regulate up to 35 facilities to produce and dispense cannabis to approved patients. Individual patients will also be permitted to privately cultivate limited amounts of cannabis if they are unable to access a state-authorized dispensary. Voters in the state approve the measure by a margin of 55 percent to 36 percent, according to the latest Suffolk University poll.

    MICHIGAN: Voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – will also decide on Tuesday whether to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Voters in Detroit will decide on Proposal M, which removes criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, voters will decide on a citizens’ initiative to amend the city code so that the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense. Grand Rapids voters will act on Proposal 2, which seeks to allow local law enforcement the discretion to ticket first-time marijuana offenders with a civil citation, punishable by a $25 fine and no criminal record. In Ypsilanti, voters will decide on a proposal to make the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

    MONTANA: Voters will decide on Initiative Referendum 124. A ‘no’ vote on IR-124 would repeal newly enacted restrictions to the state’s 2004 voter-approved medical marijuana law.

    OREGON: Voters will decide on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which provides for the state-licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults. The measure does not impose state-licensing or taxation requirements upon those who wish to cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes.

    WASHINGTON: Voters will decide on I-502, which regulates the production and sale of limited amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure also removes criminal penalties specific to the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use. Voters in the state back the measure by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent, according to the latest KING 5 poll.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 18, 2012

    The only polling data we have for Oregon’s legalization initiative, Measure 80, shows a very close race with a massive number of undecided voters. In a September survey of 633 registered voters by SurveyUSA, 37% of voters said they were definitely voting yes on the measure, 41% said they were definitely voting no, and 22% remain undecided.

    Now there is a way you can help convert those undecideds into strong YES votes! JustSayNow has partnered with Oregonians for Law Reform to provide a web-based phone banking system to enable cannabis advocates around the country to volunteer their time to pass Measure 80.

    Click here to easily register and begin calling voters today. Once you create an account, simply click start calling voters for Measure 80 and you will be given a step by step script and the information for a registered voter in Oregon.

    JustSayNow’s program also provides options to call voters in support of Colorado’s Amendment 64, and even has a unique “Women Calling Women” feature so female cannabis reformers can directly reach out to other women.

    If each person who saw this blog post committed to making just 5-10 calls a day from now until November 6th, we will see legalized marijuana in 2012.

    Sign up today: START CALLING VOTERS

    Note: The phone banking for Oregon is available during proper call hours.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 18, 2012


    A new statewide poll, just released by SurveyUSA, shows many Oregonians still undecided on this fall’s ballot initiative that would legalize and regulate cannabis, Measure 80. In a survey of 633 registered voters, 37% said they were definitely voting yes on the measure, 41% said they were definitely voting no, and 22% remain undecided. Unlike the other two initiatives in Colorado and Washington, which are showing strong leads, many voters seem to have not made up their minds yet about the Oregon initiative.

    If you live in Oregon you can learn more about Measure 80 by visiting the campaign’s website here. You can also learn more ways to help pass marijuana legalization in Oregon this fall by visiting the website for pro-Measure 80 PAC, Oregonians for Law Reform here.

    Be sure to check out NORML’s 2012 voter guide, Smoke the Vote, here and find out all the ways cannabis comes into play in this fall’s election. Get informed, get educated, spread the word, and help us smoke the vote in November.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director July 13, 2012


    The Oregon secretary of state’s office completed the legalization trifecta this afternoon when they announced the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 (OCTA) officially qualified for the November ballot. Oregon now joins Washington and Colorado on the list of states whose voters will have the opportunity to end cannabis prohibition this fall.

    Supporters ended up turning in 88,887 valid signatures, slightly over 1,000 more than required for qualification. The initiative will appear on the Oregon ballot as “Measure 80.” According to the campaign, Measure 80 would “regulate cannabis (marijuana) for adults 21 years of age and older, with commercial sales only through state-licensed stores. Ninety percent of tax revenue, estimated at more than $140 million annually, would go to the state’s battered general fund. Seven percent of tax proceeds would go toward funding drug treatment programs, and much of the remaining revenue would be directed toward kickstarting and promoting Oregon’s hemp food, fiber and bio-fuel industries.”

    A June 2012 survey from Public Policy Polling showed Oregonian’s were split on the issue. 43% responded that they believed marijuana should be made legal, 46% believed it should remain illegal, and 11% were undecided.

    You can read more about Measure 80 at the campaign’s website or through their Facebook page. NORML will keep you updated as the campaign moves forward and expect more in-depth coverage on the initiative to follow shortly.

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