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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 1, 2018

    NORML Recommends:
    YES on Amendment 2
    NO on Amendment 3
    NO on Proposition C

    Voters this November have the opportunity to make Missouri the 32nd state to allow for the physician-recommended use of marijuana, and based on the latest polling data, they will likely do so.

    Therefore, the important question before voters is no longer if the Show-Me State should legalize medical cannabis access, but how Missouri will do so.

    That is because not one, not two, but three medical marijuana measures (two constitutional amendments and one statutory measure) will appear on the ballot on Election Day. But not all of these measures are created equal, and it will be up to voters to decide which one of these three is ultimately in the best interest of Missouri’s patients.

    On Election Day, NORML urges voters to stand with New Approach Missouri and vote “yes” for Amendment 2. Quite simply, Amendment 2 — unlike its competitors — puts the interests of patients first.

    Amendment 2 will let doctors — not legislators or bureaucrats — decide if marijuana is the appropriate option for their patients. Every day, we entrust physicians to use their discretion with regard to assisting their patients in making the right decisions. Amendment 2 upholds the sanctity of the patient-doctor relationship and leaves these important medical treatment decisions up to those who know best: Missouri’s practicing physicians.

    While a competing effort, Amendment 3, proposes the highest tax rate in the nation for medical cannabis products sold at retail (15%), Amendment 2 would set one of the lowest. The revenue raised by the retail sale of medical cannabis will go directly to the Missourian Veterans’ Health and Care Fund and will be used to help provide those in the state who put their lives on the line with necessary health services.

    While much has been written about the obvious flaws of the competing constitutional amendment, Amendment 3, these criticisms are worth repeating. While Amendment 2 is supported by a diverse coalition of patient advocates, Amendment 3 was funded entirely by one person, who drafted his amendment for his own personal benefit. It also puts this same funder largely in charge of overseeing the state’s medical marijuana program. This is hardly in the best interest of Missouri patients.

    Amendment 2, on the other hand, places the program’s oversight in the hands of the Missouri Department of Health. It also creates a robust statewide system for production and distribution of medical cannabis, with strict deadlines in place to ensure that qualified patients do not have to unduly wait for dispensaries to become operational.

    Finally, and most importantly, Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment, which makes it more resilient to legislative tampering and intervention. By contrast, lawmakers can choose to amend Proposition C largely at their discretion, regardless of what voters decide.

    If you read each of these proposals closely, one clear choice emerges. Amendment 2 creates a broad and patient-centric program that is designed to be implemented in a timely manner and withstand any legislative challenges along the way. The other two can’t say the same. Not all ballot measures are created equal and that is why we encourage all voters to support the superior one this Election Day. Vote YES on Amendment 2. Vote No on Amendment 3 and Prop C.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 31, 2018

    Music legend David Crosby is the star of a new radio advertising campaign in support of Measure 3. The radio ad will be premiering on Thursday, November 1st in markets around the state and will run through Election Day. David Crosby is a musician, songwriter, author, and activist who was the founding member of two of the most iconic rock bands, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Byrds. He also serves on the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ Advisory Board.

    In the ad, Crosby says: “Hi, I’m David Crosby. You may know me for my music, but today I’m here to talk to you about marijuana. This election, North Dakota has the chance to take a new, sensible approach to marijuana by approving Measure 3. Measure 3 would end the arrest of adults in North Dakota for marijuana, letting the police focus their resources on violent crime. It would remain illegal for minors, but we wouldn’t be spending any more your tax dollars needlessly locking up our fellow citizens for possessing a plant that is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Let’s end adult marijuana arrests and respect individual freedom. Vote Yes on Measure 3 on November 6th.

    Commenting on the ad’s launch, Crosby stated: “I feel a responsibility to stick up for those people who have been punished as a result of this oppressive and senseless policy. I believe that people should not be arrested or go to jail for the responsible use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol, tobacco, or most prescription drugs. I’ve looked at the success of states like Colorado and Oregon that have elected to move in a different direction. That is why I’m proud to support Measure 3 and encourage all North Dakotans to vote Yes on November 6th.”

    The Legalize ND campaign was enthusiastic to receive Crosby’s support. Campaign spokesman Cole Haymond commented: Legalize ND is humbled and honored to have the support from David Crosby. A voice like his will surely turn some heads as we quickly approach the election. Measure 3 supporters are fully energized and ready to turn out to vote.

    The initial ad buy covers Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot media markets including KLXX, KBYZ, KQHT, KCJB, and KZPR.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 11, 2018

    Can you believe that we are less than four weeks away from Election Day? This year, the stakes have never been higher.

    North Dakotans on November 6th have the unique opportunity to end the state’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition and to cease arresting adults for marijuana-related offenses. By voting “yes’ on Measure 3, you will be voting to end the needless discrimination of our fellow citizens for their use of a plant that is objectively less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

    Today, North Dakota ranks near the top of all US states in annual marijuana arrests per capita. Each of these arrests represent police hours and resources that are not being allocated toward more serious criminal activity, such as targeting violent criminals. And vote for Measure 3 is a vote to end wasteful spending, to reprioritize our limited resources, and to defend individual liberty.

    LEGALIZE ND LAUNCHED A NEW WEB AD, “MAKE HISTORY” – WATCH IT HERE:

    The Proof Is In the Pudding

    Data from other marijuana legalization states shows that ending marijuana prohibition significantly impacts the opioid crisis. Numerous studies find that opioid-related abuses, hospitalizations, and deaths decrease significantly following cannabis legalization. This is good news for North Dakotans. In 2016, more than three times as many North Dakotans died from opioid overdoses than from homicides. Passage of Measure 3 can reverse this trend.

    Measure 3 Helps Patients Too

    Although North Dakotans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a state-regulated medical marijuana access program in 2016, lawmakers have done their best to restrict and delay its implementation. For example, did you know that, as amended, it would difficult to impossible for individuals suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression to obtain legal access to medical cannabis? This is particularly important to our honored military veterans. A recent poll from the American Legion revealed that an estimated one in four veterans currently utilize marijuana to treat a mental or physical ailment. Locked out of the medical program, we are forcing those who put their lives on the line for this country to become criminals for simply choosing a safe and effective treatment. Measure 3 will protect our veterans, and tens of thousands of others. Thirty days after its passage, no adult will be arrested again in North Dakota for possessing or using marijuana — period.

    Moving Us Forward

    Winning in North Dakota will have profound implications for the fight for sensible marijuana laws nationwide. When this measure is approved, North Dakota will become the tenth state to end the arrest of adults for marijuana possession. Think of the message this will send to politicians and voters throughout the nation — those who say “North Dakota is too conservative,” “North Dakota will never end prohibition,” “North Dakota is too ‘red.’” With your support, we can show them North Dakota isn’t too “red” (or even “blue”). Rather, North Dakota is a “green” state that is fed up with failed marijuana policies and is ready to take a new approach that favors legalization over prohibition and incarceration.

    I’m going to level with you, this will be a close and difficult fight. Our opponents have more money than we do and they have more resources than we do. Thankfully, we have something they don’t: YOU. When ordinary Americans come together and fight back against unjust laws, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.

     

    IF YOU LIVE IN NORTH DAKOTA, I’m asking you to take 5 minutes out of your day to get us another step towards that victory.

    Make a plan to vote: Do you know where your polling place is? Do you need an absentee ballot? Want to vote early? You can learn everything you need to know HERE. (Don’t forget, North Dakotans do NOT need to register to vote. Just show up at your designated polling place on Election Day with a valid North Dakota ID that has your current address on it and you are good to go.)

    Commit to vote: LegalizeND has a great “commit to vote” tool. This tool helps the campaign keep supporters informed on the latest efforts and allows them to provide voters with important information and reminders about the upcoming election. It takes seconds to sign. Please, do so if you have not already and, if you have, SHARE on your social media channels and encourage your friends and family to join you. Click HERE to commit to vote for Measure 3.

    Donate to the campaign: All campaigns need resources and if you are able to, please contribute what you can afford to the campaign today. They will need all the help they can get in the lead up to the vote to educate and contact voters. Can you spare $5, $20, $50 for ending North Dakota’s prohibition? Click HERE to donate.

    Volunteer: The campaign also needs a grassroots army of volunteers. Can you spare an evening or weekend knocking on doors, making phone calls, or providing assistance with other campaign needs? Click HERE to sign up as a Measure 3 volunteer. There is also a easy to use volunteer kit with all the tools you’ll need to help advocate for Measure 3 available HERE.

    NORML is doubling down on our efforts in support of Measure 3. Will you? We need your help these final weeks in order to assure victory this November. Together, we will win.

    Stay tuned to the NORML blog for our Election 2018 Coverage over the next few weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all the marijuana related initiatives on the ballot across the country.

  • by NORML September 11, 2018

    The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML PAC) has announced their most recent slate of bi-partisan reelection endorsements for incumbent members of the United States House of Representatives.

    “There was more momentum behind federal marijuana law reform in 2018 than in any previous year, and that is in no small part due to some of our longstanding, outspoken allies in Congress,” stated NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “In order to finally cross the finish line and end our failed federal prohibition on marijuana, it is important that we not just vote out reefer mad prohibitionists, but we need to support and ensure our key allies remain in office. Their seniority and passion for the issue makes them true leaders in taking our country in a new and sensible direction on marijuana policy and with their help we will finally resolve the tensions between state and federal laws regarding marijuana. We encourage voters in their districts to support them in November and ensure they serve in Washington another two years to help us finish the fight.”

    The newly announced endorsements are listed below.

    Republican Endorsements: Rep. David Joyce (R-OH14), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI3), Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA2) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC3).

    Democratic Endorsements: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN9), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI2), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA33), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA17), and Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA2).

    Of the lead sponsors of NORML’s priority legislation, NORML PAC Director Erik Altieri released the following statements:

    On the Marijuana Justice Act, HR 4815 introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee…

    “We are exceptionally pleased to endorse Representative Barbara Lee, the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would not only end federal marijuana prohibition, but also penalize states that maintain the unjust and disproportionate targeting of minority communities as a result of state-level criminalization,”

    “Rep. Lee has been a long time champion of reform. She has been instrumental to the recent explosion of support at the federal level and is a tremendous advocate for her constituents.”

    On the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, HR 1227 introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard…

    “We are happy to endorse Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the lead sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would end the failed national policy of cannabis prohibition.”

    “Rep. Gabbard is never afraid to speak truth to power and has been one of the most sensible voices in the Congress on improving public policy.”

    On the States Act, HR 6043 introduced by Rep. David Joyce…

    “We are pleased to endorse Representative David Joyce, the lead Republican sponsor of the States Act, which would create an exemption in the Controlled Substances Act to end the threat of federal interference with state-legal marijuana programs.”

    “Rep. Joyce has quickly become the leading Republican in the House of Representatives to address the federal-state policy tensions and has served as a sensible advocate for his constituents.”

  • by Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML September 6, 2018

     

    Yesterday morning Jeff Mizanskey registered to vote! For the first time in 24 years, after his release from parole late last week, Jeff Mizanskey, an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Air Force, is eligible to vote again.

    Click Here to Register to Vote Today!

    Jeff was arrested in 1993 and sent to prison in 1994 for the very brief possession of a few pounds of marijuana.  He did not own the marijuana.  He did not possess the marijuana for more than a few minutes, but that was caught on camera and was sufficient for the jury to find him guilty.  Because of his two prior very small marijuana felony convictions, his only other criminal convictions in his life, Jeff was sentenced to the maximum term of life in prison, without possibility of probation or parole, as a “prior and persistent drug offender”.  Due in part to the efforts of Missouri NORML, the “prior and persistent drug offender” law has since been repealed.

    After serving more than 21 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, thanks to the efforts of Missouri NORML Chapters, Show-Me Cannabis and others, Governor Jay Nixon was persuaded to grant Jeff a commutation of his sentence which made him eligible for parole.  I then represented Jeff in his successful effort to obtain parole.

    Click Here to Register to Vote Today!

    Normally, defendants are on parole for the remainder of their sentence.  Therefore, Jeff could have been on parole for the rest of his life.  However, parolees can request release from parole after three years.  Jeff was released from prison three years ago this week.  We expected having to go to court to seek his release from parole.  We were very pleased, however, that the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole chose to terminate his parole late last week!

    Missouri NORML issued a press release about the fact that Jeff was going to go to the office of the Pettis County Clerk in Sedalia this morning to register.  The response was very gratifying.

    Jeff was interviewed urging everyone to register and vote by the Mid-Missouri ABC and NBC television affiliates, as well as by local newspaper and radio stations. Read more from KSIS Radio!

    October 10, 2018 is the deadline to register to vote in the November 6 election where Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative endorsed by NORML, is on Missouri’s statewide ballot. So please make sure you register to vote today!

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