Some State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 28, 2016

    ballot_box_leafPolitical leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

    In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing cannabis from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified point in time. Legislators have also called for delaying retail sales of cannabis until late 2018, and have proposed increasing marijuana-specific sales taxes. “I believe that when voters vote on most ballot questions, they are voting in principle. They are not voting on the fine detail that is contained within the proposal,” Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said in regard to the proposed changes.

    In Maine, where voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law’s implementation. Governor LePage, who adamantly opposed the measure, said that he “will be talking to Donald Trump” about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and pronounced that he “will not put this (law) into play” unless the federal government signs off on it.

    Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made similar statements following voters’ decision to legalize the medical use of cannabis. “I don’t like the idea of implementing laws in Arkansas that violate federal law,” the Republican Governor and former head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration said. “This does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for … a national solution.”

    During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump voiced support for the authority of individual states to impose regulatory policies specific to the use and dispensing of medical cannabis, but was less clear with regard to whether he believed that state lawmakers ought to be able to regulate the adult use of cannabis absent federal interference. His nominee for US Attorney General, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, strongly opposes any liberalization in cannabis policy, stating in April, “[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

    In 2013, the Obama administration issued a memorandum directing US prosecutors not to interfere with statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided those efforts did not undermine specific federal priorities – such as the diversion of cannabis to non-legal states. According to Gallup pollsters, nearly two-thirds of Americans support allowing states to decide their own cannabis policies.

    Voters in eight states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota – approved statewide ballot measures this November regulating marijuana for either medicinal or social use.

    74 responses to “Some State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results”

    1. Matt says:

      They will all succeed potentially at this point.

    2. Rick Rosio says:

      Ah the Pious prohibitionist Profiteers continue to push the lies of oppression via Prohibition.
      They only care about consolidating power and keep the minorities oppressed

    3. DANIEL DUNCOMBE says:

      In other words challenging the will of the people. Not a good political move. These types need to be ousted!

      • Betty says:

        Mr. Duncombe, I completely agree and for the LIFE of me I do not understand how these cretins get elected…and then RE-elected!!! My only guess is that the enormous amounts of conservative money, largely from the Koch brothers, but there are others, just flood the low information voters with the kinds of lies we saw in the presidential campaign. But, good Lord, when they start living with the results you would think they’d notice that they’re getting run over!!

    4. Tyrell says:

      It’s so funny you fail to mention anything regarding Montana’s legislature and the fact they almost repealed the original 2001 voter approved initiate I along with every other provider in the state had to close our shops and that was the whole reason behind having to vote on medical cannabis use again and once again the state legislature is committed to repealing the voter approved initiative largely in part because they kept the same people in power that worked so hard to take it away a lot of people don’t realize Montana is been one of the first States along with Colorado and California to legalize medical cannabis in my eyes we should be voting on recreational in Montana but we’re still stuck in a a 2001 mind set that marijuana is bad

    5. Jeff Erickson says:

      Well of course – conservative republicans have the intelligence of cottage cheese – what would we expect from the whores of Big Pharma? Get ready, folks, the darkness is about to begin…

      • fireweed says:

        not if we stick together and stay put. If we follow the example of the DAPL protesters we could show them who we are and how many of us there are.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          Once pro-legalization Trump voters realize they’ve been betrayed, those with functioning brains will seek different representation.

          I say we need to start thinking about a “People’s Party”, which could be comprised of Libertarians, Greens, Progressives, Progressive Democrats, and disenfranchised Republicans. This voter block will favor full legalization of marijuana, and could include 70 percent of voters!

          This doesn’t have to be a third party, but it could be if the Democrats don’t wake up to the threat that Corporate America (and their Republican henchmen) represent — because when the people are given the chance, they legalize. It’s the elected officials and elected legislators who more often look past the voters, in order to do the bidding of their Corporate Sponsors (that being to maintain the Corporate Gravy Train known as the War on Drugs.

          • Linda says:

            This is a brilliant idea. It’s been on my mind all day. My inbox is flooded with an overwhelming number of petitions and donation requests from progressive causes. Diversity is a good thing, it works in nature, and in this case it provides citizens many places to enter the change process. But like you I believe it’s time for an inclusive model to take shape; a People’s Party would be a way to get serious, aggregate resources and provide a voice for the 70%.

            • Mark Mitcham says:

              People’s Party: 70 Percent of voters.

              I call it the “John Thomas” proposal, because John Thomas is an activist who put forth that idea in a conversation I had with him recently on stopthedrugwar.org.

              Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance has, to my relief, been saying similar things, like, we legalizers need to join with the anti-Trump movement, and clean our own house of racism and sexism, etc — and stick up for the broader principles of equality and social justice that are the foundation of our cause (excluding those who just want to get rich of weed.)

              We’re in for a long fight, and we must go in united. There’s no room for bigotry in the marijuana legalization movement.

        • Betty says:

          We have no choice other than action – on a wide range of issues. Sessions scares me a LOT. But, I question whether his stance on Pot will motivate any senators during the confirmation process. I believe he will have to be rejected on grounds more palatable to mainstream voters.

    6. Legal Ealges says:

      I might have to be schooled on the initiative process in the states of Maine and Massachusetts. Seems to me the failure of the governors to implement the law voted by the people is grounds for a lawsuit?

    7. Anonymous says:

      Who would have ever thought weed get so close, and then blow it. Smoke em while you got em.

    8. Julian says:

      We always knew ending marijuana prohibition would bring all the hypocrits and parasites out of the woodworks, but a self-contradicting President with Narcissist Personality Disorder emboldening every prohibitionist head of state? Could Harry Anslinger have predicted that while blaming Mexicans?
      The federal right wing Republican coup from our DOJ is both ominous and foreboding for legalization and Democracy. The tantrum from the drug war establishment in every state lashes out at their own voting constituents, talking beyond them to increasingly visible industries for profit of prohibition.
      But in some cases at the state level legislators who have been silently waiting for their time to strike are doing so now. My Republican state representative Jason Isaac-Dripping Springs, is just such a person. He is now cosponsoring HB-81 to decriminalize marijuana in the state of Texas next year, citing the impediment for employment that marijuana records create. Perhaps he cant change the federal schedule 1 status of marijuana, but he calls Town Meetings to address the interference of the federal government in our personal lives.
      Tomorrow I have an interview with Neal Pollack from The Cannabist who has been following Isaac’s leadership in marijuana reform. I met Neal at the Marijuana Reform Training Course in San Antonio last month. Isaac is creating quite a stir.
      Since then I have been contacting Isaac’s office preparing for the Dec. 15th hearing over the Texas DPS application fee hike to 2.3 million dollars for dispensaries on whole plant low THC cannabis oils. I wrote up a Public Information Act form off the DPS website demanding contracts, estimates and calculations for determining the fees and justification for requiring 24 hour surveillance from public security on a nonviolent dispensary for cannabis intended for severe epileptics.
      Ill report back here on my discussions with Pollack tomorrow.

      • Julian says:

        Interesting conversation with Pollack from The Cannabist; His article depends on an interview with Representative Isaac, and I told him “if you want to do that you better attend a town hall or one of his fundraisers.” I learned that just by citizen lobbying. But that takes time=money=work. Which is a reason to appreciate that here in Texas our executive director of Texas NORML, Jax Finkle is paid for her work, which depends on our donations. (Hint hint: DONATE).
        Here is a link to HB81:
        To decriminalize marijuana in the state of Texas to no conviction or jail time for less than 1 ounce of marijuana, starting Sept. 1st of 2017. But it takes picking up the phone and calling your state Representative, asking them to cosponsor HB81. It means calling and visiting your state Senator to help them sponsor the Senate version of the bill. It means get active as a citizen; remember, THEY work for US.

        • Evening Bud says:


          I read Neal Pollack’s article in The Cannabist just last night, and was thinking about you when I read it, was actually looking for you name.

          Congrats on your meeting with him, and thanks for all you valuable work! I’d love to see Texas decriminalize–may get our legislators here in NM off their duffs.

    9. Will Cunningham says:

      It almost seems like most people against cannabis haven’t ever tried it and have always demonized it to the point where if it saved their own child from dying they would let the child die. Kids with seizures and Vets with PTSD sure don’t bother them.

      • fireweed says:

        It’s not about never having tried marijuana. I swear if any of these people are in their late 50’s or early 60’s there’s a 90% chance they’ve at least tried it. Trust me I was a Midwest teenager in the 70’s. MJ was practically legal then as it is even more now. Then just as looks to be happening now, it suddenly got snatched back into Reefer Madness days and was demonized for the next 20 years.

        No it’s not about lack of personal experience to it. Almost any politician will privately tell you that it’s no big deal.

        Follow the money, as they say. Big Pharma stands to lose big if marijuana is legalized nationally. People would no longer need their opioid pain meds, there would be a lower incidence of diabetes and perhaps even fewer antidepressants prescribed (I abruptly stopped taking a combination of 3 meds after going to Colorado and seeing what good cannabis can do for you)(I have been medication-free ever since).

        It’s but one of many ways that so-called “conservatives” (want small government and fewer regulations except when it comes to marijuana) are bending over to big pharma and (making us) take it in the…..

    10. Mark Mitcham says:

      Marijuana teaches you. It exposes the lie of society: that elected officials are public servants; that drugs are bad; that employers are good; that cops are good; that the law is good; that votes will be honored; that the system works.

      Marijuana is a teacher, because it exposes these lies. All you have to do is pay attention, and you can learn!

      • Rod is on the gas says:

        Yes. I learned to use my MJ advocacy to develop that comparison between truth/lie in many different dealings with local government. The local politicos can be held to accountability face to face. Never let the rascals rest, tag team the prohibitionists.