COLUMBUS, OH — A signature gathering campaign aimed at placing marijuana reform on the ballot has begun in Ohio, and the group sponsoring the initiative is hopeful they will place the issue before voters next year.
The Cannabis Rights Amendment, sponsored by the Ohio Rights Group with the help of local grassroots organizations statewide, would authorize the medical use of marijuana by adults 18 years or older (and minors with parental consent) as well as the cultivation of industrial hemp in the state.
Initially, a list of over 30 debilitating medical conditions would be eligible for medical marijuana.
In order for the Cannabis Rights Amendment to be placed on the 2014 ballot, sponsors need to collect 385,253 signatures in at least 44 of the state’s 88 counties by July 3, 2014.
As with most petition drives for ballot initiatives, the petition campaign is accompanied by a push to register voters because only signatures from registered voters count toward the number needed.
In response to the petition, . . . . . READ MORE
TALLAHASSEE, FL — With Florida lawmakers unwilling to consider advancing any bills pertaining to medical marijuana or marijuana reform, instead overwhelmingly voting to pass an almost unenforceable law making the sale of virtually all pipes and paraphernalia a felony, medical marijuana advocates are looking to the 2014 ballot.
Senate Bill 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, was introduced to the Florida legislature in February and assigned to the Health Policy Committee, where it immediately stalled until it was officially killed May 3 by lawmakers, never receiving a hearing or serious consideration by lawmakers.
Now, with the help of prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan, activists are preparing a massive statewide signature campaign to place the proposal on the ballot, where recent polls have found over 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, are in support of medical marijuana legalization.
Morgan, who routinely hosts national political figures at his Orlando-area home, including President Obama, has co-founded an organization called READ MORE
OLYMPIA, WA — About 250 medical marijuana supporters rallied at the state capitol in Olympia Wednesday to protest an amendment to pending budget bills that would give the state Liquor Control Board control over the state’s medical marijuana program.
The Liquor Control Board is charged with overseeing the state’s forthcoming recreational marijuana retail market, and medical marijuana patients worry that incorporation of the medical marijuana program into the LCB’s control could lead to taxation of medical marijuana, the regulation of medical use, and age restrictions requiring patients to be 21 or older.
Draft versions of both the House and Senate budgets would require the state Liquor Control Board to develop new recommendations for how to tax and license medical marijuana, and to deliver those policy recommendations to lawmakers by January.
Washington’s voter-approved I-502 levies a new marijuana excise tax of 25 percent on each producer, processor and retailer of recreational marijuana. Advocates say that if such a tax were imposed on the medical marijuana industry, many patients would be unable to afford their medicine.
“There is no other medication that is regulated and controlled by the Liquor Control Board,” said Steve Sarich, head of the Cannabis Action Coalition, who organized the rally. “They are absolutely unqualified to determ. . . . . READ MORE
HEMPSTEAD, NY — With the end of New York’s legislative session less than a week away, patients and community members from across Long Island gathered at the Garden City, Long Island Rail Road station Friday to mobilize supporters of New York’s medical marijuana bill.
They collected signatures and handed out flyers urging their neighbors to contact senate leadership and demand a vote on the Compassionate Care Act by the Senate before the end of the legislative session on June 20th. The bill, which would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, would allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
A recent poll by Siena College founds that an astonishing 82% of New York voters, including 81% of both Democrats and Republicans support medical marijuana for seriously ill patients.
Earlier this month, the Assembly passed the bill with bipartisan vote of 99-41, the widest margin of the four times the bill has been passed in that chamber.
“We hit the streets of Long Island today to urge our neighbors to support the bi. . . . . READ MORE
PHOENIX, AZ — A drive is underway in Arizona to try to gather enough signatures from registered voters to place a constitutional amendment on the 2014 Arizona ballot that would allow the legalization and regulation of the adult use of marijuana by adults 18 years of age or older.
Grassroots reform organization Safer Arizona filed the necessary paperwork Wednesday to start gathering the 259,213 signatures they need to put the issue of legalization on the 2014 ballot. They have through July 3, 2014 to gather the necessary signatures.
Safer Arizona says the proposal is based on revised versions of the ballot measures approved by Colorado and Washington state voters in 2012.
“The intent of the initiative is to legalize marijuana in Arizona and to treat it as we treat alcohol,” said Dennis Bohlke, of Safer Arizona.
Bohlke said the group has no major financial backing to fund signature gathering, and that the initiative campaign will be a grassroots effort relying on volunteers to collect signatures.
If successful, the ballot initiative would amend the state Constitution to allow people 18 and older to consume or possess limited amounts” of marijuana.
The . . . . . READ MORE
KEENE, NH — Prominent New Hampshire marijuana activist Rich Paul was sentenced last week, after emotional and defiant remarks to the court.
In a 20 minute statement, he lashed out at the Drug War, and at the FBI for trying to spy on and intimidate political reformers. His friends filmed the courtroom, so a video record exists of the proceedings.
The videos below are well worth watching, giving a unique view of an actual trial of a dedicated man who held his head high. He maintained a level of honor far outshining that of the of the American legal system.
The judge chose to treat him neither as a noble dissident nor as a menace to society. In giving him much less than the maximum, he seemed to be dismissing Mr. Paul as a naughty child. Such is the sorry state of our society.
Rich got one year in jail, and three years of probation. The probation holds a threat of further jail time, unless he sticks to its many constraints, which may include restriction on associating with his friends. Of course, he also gets all the downside that comes along with a felony record.
On the positive side, Rich has already served two months, and with good behavior, will probably be out in seven more. He is also in a jail whose warden is a member of L.E.A.P, and who recently testified in favor of drug legalization at the state legislature.
Mr. Paul was denied release during his appeal. That appeal moves forward however, and hopefully will result in legal. . . . . READ MORE
ALBANY, NY — Dozens of patients living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions traveled from around the state Wednesday to demand that the New York State Senate pass the Compassionate Care Act immediately.
The bill, which would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, would allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Last week, the Assembly passed the bill with bipartisan vote of 99-41, the widest margin of the four times the bill has been passed in that chamber.
“From Delaware to Maine, almost every state allows medical use of marijuana,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, noting that 18 states and the District of Columbia currently have medical marijuana laws. “If the patient and physician agree that a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way. This is sensible, strict, and humane legislation,” Gottfried added.
PHILADELPHIA, PA — On May 18th, The Panic Hour and PhillyNORML held “Smoke Down Prohibition V” in a free speech zone near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA. As the name suggests, this was the fifth such event they had organized.
The previous four were well attended, with hundreds of legalization advocates attending and peacefully demonstrating against our country’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition. You can view video of the largest event, held on April 20th of this year, by clicking here.
The previous rallies went off without a hitch. Protestors were peaceful and respectful while law enforcement kept their distance and allowed them to voice their constitutionally guaranteed rights (as evidenced in this video, where National Park Police refuse to interfere with the event).
This time, things were different. It was immediately clear from the outset that the police were taking a different approach to Smoke Down Prohibition V, from the very beginning the police presence was massive, with a couple dozen officers standing by and a newly erected fence in place to keep the attendees contained.
Smoke Down Prohibition V continued as planned, despite th. . . . . READ MORE
WASHINGTON, DC – Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Silver Tour will convene a medical marijuana training session and lobby day in Washington D.C. to encourage Congress and the Obama Administration to allow states greater autonomy to create their own cannabis policies without political pressure from the federal government.
Lobby training session is scheduled for Sunday, June 16, with legislative lobbying all day Monday, June 17.
For more information about the schedule, speakers and activities, please visit here.
Joining SSDP is the senior citizen medical cannabis educational project The Silver Tour, which is looking for crowdsource funding to bring The Silver Tour bus to Washington, D.C.
According to their READ MORE
When the states of Colorado and Washington legalized the adult use of marijuana in November 2012, what had been almost unimaginable two decades earlier suddenly seemed inevitable. Much like gay marriage, polls now regularly show majority support for marijuana legalization, and it’s not unusual today to hear people say it’s just a matter of time before the drug is legal across the country.
Many groups are now devoted to legalizing marijuana, but only one has fought cannabis prohibition since 1971, when public support for legalization barely registered above the single digits: the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. Attorney Keith Stroup founded NORML and served two terms as its executive director, from its founding until a scandal rocked the organization in 1978 and again from 1994 until his semi-retirement in 2005.
Stroup tells both his story and the organization’s in It’s NORML to Smoke Pot.
Though the book primarily focuses on the politics of pot, the first 100 pages also illustrate how bizarre politics in general w. . . . . READ MORE