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Florida Medical Marijuana Could be Headed for 2014 Ballot

June 24th

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

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PA: Pro-Legalization State Senator Daylin Leach Looks at Washington in 2014

June 19th

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach has been an outspoken advocate on the issue of marijuana law reform during his tenure in Harrisburg. Senator Leach made a splash legislatively this year when he introduced Senate Bill 528, which would legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania, the first time such a bill was introduced in the state.

Daylin Leach portraitSenator Leach was also featured as the keynote speaker at the first ever NORML Mid-Atlantic Conference which was held this March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can view video of his remarks here.

State Senator Leach is now looking to take his advocacy to Capitol Hill. He is running for an open seat representing Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives that will be vacated by Congresswoman Alison Schwartz, who is stepping down from her post to pursue the governorship in 2014.

While the Democratic Primary for this position won’t be held until May of next year, Senator Leach’. . . . . READ MORE

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2014 Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Underway in Three States

June 18th

The race to be the next state to legalize marijuana at the ballot box is on. Activists in three states — Alaska, Arizona, and Oregon — have taken initial steps to get the issue before the voters during the 2014 general election.

In Alaska, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell last Friday certified a ballot initiative application that would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults. Backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative would also set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. Adults could grow up to six marijuana plants for their personal use.

Proponents will have one year to gather 30,169 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. But they have to wait a week or so for the state elections division to begin printing the petition booklets.

Alaska already allows for adults to possess small amounts of marijuana in their homes under the state Supreme Court’s interpretation of the state constitution’s privacy provisions.

In Arizona, Safer Arizona is sponsoring an initiative to amend the state constitution to allow for legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana use and commerce. The group READ MORE

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Alaska Certifies 2014 Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative Application

June 15th

ANCHORAGE, AK — Alaska’s Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has certified ballot initiative application that would make it legal for adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in the state.

Activists now have one year to collect 30,169 signatures from qualified voters across the state to get the question on the ballot.

The proposed ballot question would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older, who would be allowed to possess up to one ounce.  The initiative would also establish a system of regulated marijuana retail sales, legal growing, and establish an excise tax on recreational marijuana.

The proposal would create state-regulated marijuana stores, cultivation facilities, marijuana infused-product manufacturers, and marijuana testing facilities.  It would also allow adults to have up to six marijuana plants.

Also included in the proposed initiative is  a $100 fine for anyone caught smoking marijuana in public, which is currently a class B misdemeanor.

The retail marijuana industry in Alaska would be overseen by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, but the state legislature would have the option of creating a separate Marijuana Control Board to oversee the industry.

The state elections division will now begin printing petition booklets, which will take about a week.  Once the booklets are ready. . . . . READ MORE

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Arizona 2014 Marijuana Legalization Drive Underway

June 14th

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.

 Bohlke acknowledged the lack of major funding will be a handicap, but remains optimistic.
“I’m feeling quite confident that we’ll be able to get the 259,213 signatures,” he said.

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

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