November Ballot Picture Shaping Up To Be Historic In The Struggle To End Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 3, 2010

    The November election is shaping up to be one of the most important in modern history as it pertains to the struggle to end marijuana prohibition.

    Voters in several states will have the opportunity this fall to decide on ballot measures to significantly reform their state or municipal marijuana laws. To date, the following initiatives have been certified to appear on the November ballot:

    California: In what is arguably the most significant marijuana law reform measure in several decades, California voters will decide on The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. The measure would allow adults 21 years or older to possess, share or transport up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption, and to cultivate the plant in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence. (Read the full text here.) The act would also permit local governments to authorize the retail sale of marijuana or the commercial cultivation of cannabis to adults and to impose taxes on such sales. Personal marijuana cultivation or not-for-profit sales of marijuana would not be taxed under the measure, nor would it alter or amend any aspect of the California Health and Safety code pertaining to the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    According to the most recent statewide poll on the issue, Californians support the measure 49 percent to 41 percent.

    South Dakota: South Dakota voters will decide this November on Measure 13, The South Dakota Safe Access Actwhich would exempt state criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or six plants by authorized patients. (Read the full text here.) If enacted, South Dakota would become the fifteenth state since 1996 to legalize the medical use of marijuana.

    Oregon: Voters are anticipated to decide this November on a statewide measure to authorize the creation of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries, which would be legally able to distribute cannabis provided by private growers. (Read the full text here.) Proponents of the measure turned in over 110,000 signatures in favor of the act to the Secretary of State Elections Division in May, and are awaiting certification.

    In 2009, Maine voters became the first to approve a ballot measure authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries. Oregon voters initially approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 1998.

    Arizona: Election officials on Tuesday affirmed that proponents of a statewide ballot measure to allow for authorized patients to possess and purchase medical cannabis from state-licensed facilities has qualified for the 2010 November ballot. (Read the full text here.) Under the proposed measure, state-registered patients would be permitted to obtain cannabis legally from licensed dispensaries. Authorized patients who do not have a facility in their local area (defined as within 25 miles of their residence) would be permitted under the law to cultivate their own cannabis for medicinal purposes. Other patients would not be allowed to grow their own marijuana.

    The ballot measure is sponsored by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, an affiliate of the Marijuana Policy Project.

    Detroit, Michigan: Detroit citizens are expected vote this November on a municipal measure to prohibit the criminal prosecution of adults who possess minor amounts of marijuana. If enacted, the measure would amend the Detroit City Code to remove criminal penalties for “the use or possession of less then one ounce of marijuana, on private property, by anyone who has attained the age of 21 years.” Voters have previously enacted similar municipal measures in several other cities, including Denver, Colorado.

    Washington: Sensible Washington proponents continue to collect signatures in favor of I-1068, which would remove state civil and criminal penalties for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana. (Read the full text here.) To qualify the act for the November ballot, supporters must turn over 241,000 valid signatures by July 2, 2010.

    According to a poll of 1,252 registered voters conducted last week, 52 percent of adults support the measure, and only 35 percent oppose it.

    Oregon: Proponents of The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) must turn in over 110,000 signatures by July 2 to qualify the measure for the November 2010 ballot. OCTA seeks to permit the state-licensed production and sale of marijuana to adults. Oregon NORML is sponsoring the campaign, and is seeking volunteers here.

    NORML will continue to keep you updated as additional statewide or municipal ballot proposals qualify to the November ballot.

    110 responses to “November Ballot Picture Shaping Up To Be Historic In The Struggle To End Marijuana Prohibition”

    1. ckdk30 says:

      Well damn Iowa’s left out again but i do know they was suppose to move it from schedule 1 to schedule 2 but haven’t heard anymore on it.And as far as voting this Nov. i dont even know who is for it or against it anyone know?

    2. DB says:

      This part still confuses me, so I apologize if it’s been addressed before:

      “The measure would allow adults 21 years or older to possess, share or transport up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption, and to cultivate the plant in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence.”

      If you’re only allowed one ounce of cannabis, but 25 sq. ft. of grow area, how do those two facts not contradict one another? If you decide to grow as many plants as you can fit into that legalized amount of space, you’re gonna get more than an ounce, right? Are you breaking the law then?

      [Paul Armentano responds: No, you would not be breaking the law.].

    3. david says:

      its about time

    4. Patrick W says:

      What about Rhode Island, aren’t they voting to end cannabis penalties soon?

      [Paul Armentano responds: There is legislation pending in RI to decriminalize the personal possession of marijuana. Separate legislation to legalize the commercial production and sale has also been discussed. To support this legislation, please see NORML’s capwiz page here: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/.%5D

    5. cjd says:

      What has to happen to get Marijuana legalization on the federal ballot in 2012?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The only ‘federal ballot’ is voting for your Congressional representatives and senators. Only individual states allow voter ballot initiatives, and only one-half of states allow this process. Federal law is changed by the passage of federal legislation. Period.]

    6. A.B. says:

      This is simply amazing news. We have come a long way despite all the state-sanctioned madness and indoctrination.

      If Washington, Oregon and California go green in 2010, just imagine what this will do for the rest of the country! Families will not have to deal with paramilitary domestic terrorism, the cartels will lose over half of their funding, and the environment will benefit greatly from the production of Hemp for paper, oil, clothing, and food. And this is just a start!

      I also must point out how disappointed I am with the marijuana policy project (www.mpp.org) and where they are taking the fight. They have basically turned their backs on the efforts in Washington and Oregon despite the impressive polling figures. They obviously do not have their priorities in the right place when they are spending money on advertisements in NY when the battle could actually turn in our favor by helping to ensure a victory in Washington, Oregon, AND California. I understand how important they are to this movement and appreciate their activities in Arizona, but look at the ramifications a total west coast victory would have!

      Norml, keel up the good work!! Teach the MPP how it’s done.

      Please go to http://www.sensiblewashington.org and help end prohibition in Washington State.

    7. Tim says:

      I cannot fucking wait for November.

    8. Spencer says:

      Good god! Potentially the entire West Coast may have legal marijuana come November!

    9. Don_M says:

      I can only hope that the leaders of Virginia allow us the opportunity to vote for either decriminalization or outright legalization. I’ve written to them offering my reasons about why MJ should be legalized but they have not bothered to respond. Getting caught with even a small amount here could result in several years in prison. This is just crazy! I’m an ex-marine and successful computer programmer. I’m healthy and highly motivated. But, if I choose to smoke a bit of weed to unwind at the end of the day, and get caught by the police, it boggles my mind to think that they’d actually lock me up with real criminals. I’m pretty disgusted with this situation.

    10. mikekinseattle says:

      I volunteer with Sensible Washington, collecting signatures. If you want to help us get on the ballot, please donate to our effort. We are an all volunteer campaign, and we are always short on funds. We would really appreciate it. If you live in Washington state and aren’t a volunteer yet, go to our web site (see the article) and volunteer, and then get out there and get signatures. Thanks a lot.