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Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

  • 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.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 20, 2010

    April 20, 2010

    Dear NORML supporters and fellow lovers of liberty,

    Happy 4/20!

    While the ravages and costs of cannabis prohibition are largely defined by one’s geography — these days America is a hodge-podge of varying cannabis penalties, ranging from West Hollywood California where a medical cannabis patient can access the herb 24/7 from a vending machine; in Indiana, if caught with just a little cannabis on one’s person, they’re getting arrested, prosecuted and likely going to jail — this ‘4/20’ celebration in 2010, as is NORML tradition, is a combination of both the serious and silly!

    There will be dozens of major 4/20 ‘protestivals’ today from New York City to Seattle, to the expected largest one in the nation I’m speaking at in Denver Colorado. Major newspaper articles and stories on TV will abound by day’s end. In fact whole television networks such as G4, Comedy Central, Spike and Current TV will devote some or all of their programming today to celebrating cannabis and, implicitly, the herb’s reform.

    Also today, NORML launches a new advertisement for 4/20 on Times Square’s largest electronic billboard calling out New York City politicians and law enforcement for having one of the highest — and most racially disparate — cannabis arrest rates in the United States. The advertisement will run 18 times a day until late May, and will be seen by an expected 1.5 million Times Square visitors.

    These protestivals and public celebrations of cannabis culture in North America is a greatly anticipated and celebratory annual event at NORML since the mid 1990s, but the serious political message of this wonderfully creative day (beyond the obvious one of ‘re-legalize cannabis now!’) for this specific year is to direct as much NORML membership and public attention as possible to donate and support the voter initiative on the ballot in California this very November that will effectively legalize cannabis for adult use, cultivation and sales.

    Going into our 40th year, NORML’s staff and board of directors have made the passage of California’s voter initiative to legalize cannabis the number #1 political priority for the organization.

    To this end, the thousands of donations and $4.20 memberships received today by the NORML Foundation (or NORML) will be donated to TaxCannabis2010, the organization behind California’s legalization ballot.

    I’m personally donating $420 in support of this very important political initiative in California — the state where 1 out of 8 Americans live, the 7th largest economy in the world if it were a country and with by far the largest delegation in the US Congress — in memory of my friend, the recently passed author-activist Jack Herer, the ‘Emperor of Hemp’.

    TaxCannabis2010 has a goal of raising $42,000 by the end of today, with committed support from stakeholders from NORML like you and I, we can reach this unique dollar amount.

    Become a member and send a special 4/20 animated e-card to a friend, family member or sweetie.

    Thanks for all of your enduring support for NORML, cannabis law reform and for this important 4/20, TaxCannabis2010!

    Please have a safe and hempful 4/20!

    Cannabem liberemus,

    Allen St. Pierre
    Executive Director
    Member, Board of Directors
    NORML / NORML Foundation
    Washington, DC
    director@norml.org

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 25, 2010

    This coming November’s mid-term election is going to have major implications for cannabis law reform.

    In South Dakota, election officials last week certified Measure 13, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, for the November ballot.

    If approved by voters, Measure 13 would exempt state criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or six plants by authorized patients — making South Dakota the fifteenth state to legalize medicinal cannabis use. Proponents of the measure, the grassroots South Dakota Coalition for Compassion, collected over twice the number of signatures necessary to place the proposal on the 2010 ballot — a feat that they believe is indicative of medical marijuana’s growing support in the Great Plains. In 2006, voters narrowly rejected a similar proposal – marking the only time that citizens have rejected a statewide medical marijuana legalization proposal.

    The stakes are arguably even higher in California, where election officials last night confirmed that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will appear on the November ballot.

    If approved, the measure will allow adults 21 years or older to possess, share or transport up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption, and/or cultivate the plant in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence. It will also permit local governments the option to authorize the retail sale of marijuana and/or 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.

    The measure will not alter or amend any aspect of the California Health and Safety code pertaining to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, when such use is authorized by a physician.

    You can read more about this proposal here.

    According to an April 2009 California Field Poll, 56 percent of state voters back legalizing and regulating the adult use and sale of cannabis.

    Other states are in play as well. Ballot drives in Washington and Oregon are ongoing, and numerous municipal measures are also pending. Meanwhile, in the nation’s Capitol, DC council members are discussing allowing authorized patients to grow their own marijuana legally — despite the federal ban.

    No matter how you look at it, this November is shaping up to be the most important month for marijuana law reform ever.

    Let the battles begin.