My Best Guess on Outcomes of Marijuana Initiatives

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel November 3, 2014

    Marijuana initiatesThis column is being written a couple of days prior to the November 4th election, and will be published on Monday, Nov. 3, election eve. So it only seems appropriate to offer my prognosis on the four statewide marijuana-related voter initiatives, as well as a number of municipal voter initiatives in Michigan and Maine.

    Our Opponents Claim the Sky Is Falling

    Before setting out on this dangerous endeavor of projecting election results, I should acknowledge the emergence of a seemingly re-energized gang of drug warriors, still willing to exploit fear and misinformation to justify the continued criminal prohibition of marijuana, and to protect their jobs. Our opponents were clearly caught somewhat off-guard by the legalization victories in 2012 in Colorado and Washington, despite their opposition. These smug law-enforcement and drug counseling industry reps had grown accustomed to their ability to shape the public debate over marijuana policy, and to paint anyone who favored the option of legalizing and regulating marijuana as being out of the political mainstream.

    But their sleight-of-hand had finally been detected by a majority of Americans, who concluded that marijuana prohibition is a failed and destructive public policy, causing far more harm than the use of marijuana itself. Fear mongering can sometimes work when the audience is ill-informed; but falls flat when people are well-informed.

    To read the balance of this column, go to Marijuana.com



    11 responses to “My Best Guess on Outcomes of Marijuana Initiatives”

    1. brentandrews says:

      Keith, you’re my brother-by-another-mother and I love you.

      When I think of the damage you might have done as a drug warrior, I am so thankful and grateful that you chose the side of justice and compassion.

      Win or lose, we will continue to fight.

      Brent Andrews

    2. Lauren hill says:

      NORML should help! Lauren Hill. She is a college basketball player with an aggressive brain tumor. This is a chance to prove the healing factors of cannabis.

    3. Julian says:

      Thanks for the update Keith. Overall, it sounds like we are just teetering over the top of prohibition mountain, just baaaarely reaching the half-way mark. We’re exhausted… but time and momentum IS on our side.
      I’m so disappointed to hear that Florida is polling below the %60 mark! Weren’t we at %90 at one point? How does that HAPPEN? Oh… I get it… it all comes down to the people who are actually going to get out and VOTE; not just who THINKS marijuana should be legalized on a poll, then sits on their @$$ on election day! So you can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk Florida? Does the rest of the U.S. have to SHAME you into getting off your @$$ tomorrow? Of course, on this blog, I’m preaching to the choir. Sorry, just venting…

      It’s just SO frustrating that we are at the mercy of some eligible voters in Florida that WANT legalization but they won’t get out and VOTE! We have SMART phones people; You mean to tell America you CAN’T FIND where your precinct VOTES? Is picking up the phone and Googling a little too TUFF for Floridians? Is it like, “Well… I COULD go out n VOTE, but I’ll miss this RErun of C.S.I. MIAMI??!!” PLEASE prove me WRONG Florida!!!

      All those people who think marijuana should be legalized in Florida but don’t go out and VOTE are the puppets of HELL. And if Florida let’s this get away from them, they’ll be stuck in a really BAD puppet show. Like the one Pinnochio gets stuck in for skipping school before he turns into a JACK@$$!

      (OK… there, I’m done…) ehemm…

      Perhaps voting parties would be in order…? Let people come in to work a little late Wednesday morning… (Not that THAT would be different than any OTHER morning in Florida) …as long as they show proof they voted? Whatever works, man. 20 vs. 2 years of waiting for the Supreme Court to hear a Descheduling case is at stake here;

      What do we gotta DO? Tell Florida there’s FREE WEED at the polling stations?!!


      Heck, why not? The opposition is lying. (Right now, there’s some guy in Florida setting up a tent and a hookah at some polling station going, “Who said anything about LYING?)

      Check out this article from My News 13 in Florida:


      “The Florida Medical Association said: “We believe the unintended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians.”

      “So, what do attorneys say? Do those three little words open the door for “reefer madness”? Our legal analyst, Jaya Balani of the NeJame Law Firm, says the amendment is very specific about who can use the drug.”

      “The article kind of explains who would qualify,” said Balani. “Anyone suffering from ALS, AIDS, HIV, some sort of cancer, someone who would benefit moreso from the use of marijuana than it would be detrimental to them.” ”

      All it takes to break the chains are to walk, ask for a ride, take public transportation, f*&%$ ride a BICYCLE or something! There’s NO EXCUSE NOT TO VOTE FLORIDA! THE ENTIRE COUNTRY NEEDS YOUR VOTE TO DESCHEDULE CANNABIS if you want it done THIS CENTURY!!!

      Outside of Florida, I’m optimistic by all of the other opportunities out there to legalize… We all knew about Oregon, D.C. and even Alaska, (Question: is Alaska’s vote tied to party lines or is it a separate vote?) But I had no idea about Massachusetts, Michigan, and Guam? Wow. Every little bit helps. (GUAM is going to legalize medicinal marijuana BEFORE you Florida?? REALLY?!!? You CAN’T let that HAPPEN);-)

      I’m even more inspired by the development in the Federal case in Sacramento “U.S. government v. Pickard et al.” The heat is ON to deschedule marijuana. My prediction is this case is already being prepared for appellate court, and I’ll bet this case has the full attention of the Supreme Court as well. Now, the TIME it takes for them to HEAR the case… or even whether they do at ALL… depends on OUR votes.

      Not to play with people’s expectations, (and I know there are some of us truly suffering on this vote…) BUT, with Attorney General Eric Holder retiring, and his ability to reschedule cannabis, we just might get an early Christmas present this year while we’re waiting for Judge Mueller to make her decision late this year or January. Has anyone READ the evidence? Dr. Madras gets exposed for the DUMB@$$ she really is. Check out CANORML.org for details.

      One thing is for sure, these are the most interesting times to be involved in the climax of our Great American Cannabis Tragedy, and I couldn’t think of anything more gratifying than voting, supporting NORML and following the pending U.S. v. Pickard case. Of all the predictions, one thing is for sure; It’s going to be a late start to work Wednesday morning. And I’ll be toking away through the hills the whole way to work.

    4. Julian says:

      Here are the latest stats on Florida:


      Florida Amendment 2 (2014)

      Poll Support Oppose Undecided Margin of Error Sample Size
      UF Graham Center
      8/27/14 – 8/31/14 57% 23% 18% +/-3.4 814
      9/12/14 – 9/15/14 56% 31% 13% +/-4.2 750
      Anzalone Liszt Grove Research
      9/12/14 – 9/18/14 69% 28% 3% +/-3.1 1,004
      Florida Chamber Political Institute
      9/18/14 – 9/21/14 59% 35% 6% +/-3.5 813
      10/02/14 – 10/06/14 51% 33% 16% +/-4.1 594
      University of North Florida
      9/29/14 – 10/08/14 67% 28% 5% +/-4.7 471
      UF Graham Center
      10/07/14 – 10/12/14 48% 44% 7% +/-4.7 781
      Saint Peters Poll
      10/08/14 – 10/11/14 54% 40% 6% +/-1.8 3,128
      Gravis Marketing
      10/22/14 – 10/24/14 50% 42% 8% +/-3.0 861
      Anzalone Liszt Grove Research
      10/22/14 – 10/27/14 62% 35% 3% +/-3.4 834

      AVERAGES 57.3% 33.9% 8.5% +/-3.59 1,005

      %57.3?!! HOLY GATORS that’s CLOSE FLORIDA!!

      The good news is:
      We are currently outspending Kevin Sabet and the opposition by about 2 million dollars at $7.8 million for Florida legalization.

      I thought it would be entertaining to read some of the lead doners for Florida’s legalization movement:



      The Morgan Law Firm, PA $3,574,188
      Barbara A. Stiefel $875,000
      John Morgan $250,000
      Center for Drug Policy Reform $170,000
      Drug Policy Action $150,000
      Henry Van Ameringen $150,000
      Complete Hydroponics $75,000
      International Sports Management $85,000
      Manchester Capital $60,000
      June Simpson $50,600
      John Holloway $50,000
      Howard Kessler $50,000
      Altmed, LLC $50,000
      Harrison’s Organic Acres $50,000
      William M. Selvidge $50,000
      Angela Macaluso $49,000
      Ben Siegel Reptiles Inc. $45,000
      Umvar Inc. $45,000

      Ok, so Complete Hydroponics and Harrison’s Organic Acres? Kinda saw that coming, but I, for one, would like to personally thank Ben Siegel Reptiles Inc. for your very generous donation to the legalization of medical marijuana of $45,000. I have NO IDEA what reptiles and medical marijuana might have in common, but then, I’m not from Florida. So I will boldly speak for the rest of America when I say, We can’t wait to find out Siegel. We hope to be pleasantly surprised. 🙂
      Thank you.

      The opposition:

      Sheldon Adelson $5,000,000
      Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust $540,000
      Mel F. Sembler $100,000
      Alfred Hoffman Jr. $25,000
      Thomas A. James $25,000
      Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association $20,000
      Neal Communities of Southwest Florida$10,000
      Malcolm K. Beyer, Jr. $5,000

      I believe what stands out here is dirty-rich casino-owning money laundering Sheldon Aldelson who apparently can’t launder enough dirty cash– drug cartel or otherwise– through our American campaigns. But if it’s any consolation, Sheldon Adelson dumped 1 billion on Mitt Romney in a single donation back in 2012 and got to write the speech for Romney when he stood in front of millions of voters who were losing their homes looking for a heroic solution during the mortgage crisis in both Florida AND Las Vegas and Sheldon had Romney say… (drum roll…)

      “Let the bottom drop out…”

      So this multi-million dollar donation from Sheldon Adleson should be a good sign to legalization proponents in Florida; Because CLEARLY, Sheldon likes to hedge his bets on the LOSER, then WASH all his dirty laundry in the process.

      Drug Free Florida is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative. The organization hired Republican consultant Tre’ Evers. He has worked on campaigns for Lamar Alexander, Bill McCollum and former US Senator Mel Martinez. Evers also served in the Department of Transportation under former president George W. Bush. The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and Save Our Society From Drugs, along with other anti-marijuana organizations, launched “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot.” While Republicans make up the lion’s share of anti-legalization efforts, even Democrat Debbie Waserman Shultz is crying out tired propaganda that marijuana will be “more available” to teens under legalization. (Sigh… can SOme please shut that bitch up?)
      That’s right! Save us from this menacing medicine that treats epileptics and… oh this is just so evil it’s not even funny.

      I got yer campaign slogan Florida:


    5. Michael says:

      The recent rescheduling of Vicodin to a Schedule II classification (the same as morphine) requiring a new prescription and an office visit to the doctor will affect hundreds of thousands of people using medicinal marijuana. My doctor also told me that people getting Vicodin prescriptions will be subject to a urine drug test, which includes a test for methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. This is mandated by the DEA. A positive test for any of these drugs will result in a total cutoff of any and all Schedule II drugs, like Vicodin. This will deny needed pain medication to cancer patients and others who also take medicinal marijuana. Just as the kind of police state tactics used by the DEA to crack down on marijuana users. Is this true? My doctor swears it is but I can find no confirmation on the Internet so I am asking NORML if this is true.

      [Editor’s note: It is not likely that your physician is correct about all schedule II drug patients being required to provide a drug test to receive treatment. That’s too many patients/government is too inefficient to properly track. However, in hospitals run by the federal government’s Veterans Administration, and in numerous so-called ‘pain clinics’, both private and government-run, some have required patients to qualify for access to pain medication by first passing drug tests for currently illegal drugs (i.e., cannabis).]

    6. Evening Bud says:

      I’ve commented on the ongoing situation in NM in earlier posts, specifically regarding proposals to decriminalize pot in Santa Fe (Santa Fe country) and Albuquerque (Bernalillo county).

      In Santa Fe, the city council voted to decriminalize pot about two months ago–so that’s that. Hooray Santa Fe.

      The city council in Albuquerque, on the other hand, failed to pass such a vote–thanks primarily to the GOPers on the council, and heavy pressure from our GOPer Gov, Susana Martinez.

      However, I was pleasantly surprised (I’d forgotten) to find the issue on the ballot when I went and voted early this last week–that is, the one in Albuquerque (or Bernalillo county). I of course voted yes to treat mj arrest as a civic fine instead of a misdemeanor crime.

      So, here’s hoping my brothers and sisters for the cause did their civic duty.

    7. Joel: the other Joel says:

      It is sure a lot different than it was in the past when putting cannabis issues on the ballot was an impossible task because the rules kept changing when requirements were met.

    8. mexweed says:

      Thanks @Julian for the reminder about $heldon Adel$on, don’t forget that cannabis legalization (along with the Vape microdosage equipment legalization and other works that go along with it) will DOOM the scab predator Casino “industry” because cannabis can liberate millions of Big Babies from their Play Ob$$e$$ive Compulsion Habit and enable them to discover their talent for handwork, landscape artistry, climate protection etc.

    9. Demonhype says:

      Jesus Christ, Michael, that is purely evil. I know the editor did qualify your statement a little, but it didn’t make it any better. Drug testing is notoriously ineffective for catching anyone but MJ users, so what they are doing is effectively allowing people on meth, cocaine, etc.–you know, hard drugs that flush out of the system quickly–to access their needed meds while discriminating specifically against MJ users.

      MJ is the lyncypin of the Drug War. Nearly everything that is profitting the warriors or stripping us of our rights is focused on that one little plant. That is, if MJ exceptionalists don’t sit on their hands after they get their way and believe the rest of the Drug War rhetoric, just so long as MJ is no longer picked on.

      But yeah, drug testing should be illegal, and I promise that when we finally do open the books on those drug testing companies we are going to find massive amounts of corruption. Because there is little to no oversight or enforcement or inspection of those facilities, and they can do as they like with zero accountability, because we have no recourse against their fraud. It simply disgusts me how many people just piss in a cup obediently, smiling happily at their owner–I mean, employer–saying “golly gee, I’m sure glad you do this, sir!”, assuming it keeps them safe when it actually makes their workplace infinitely more dangerous.

    10. Michael says:

      Demonhype, you are quite correct, that is purely evil. And it is just the type of maneuver the DEA would use. This also means that any wounded veterans from the Gulf War receiving treatment at a Veterans Administration hospital could get caught in this dragnet. What a nice reward for risking life and limb and suffering LOSS of arms and legs and eyes, PTSD, etc. in defense of our country! And with the GOP now in control of Congress, watch the crackdown begin. God forbid the GOP get the presidency and the Congress in 2016! It will be a full on WAR on medicinal and state legalized marijuana.