Category Archives: Voting

Polls Display Sturdy Strengthen For Legalization Projects In Arizona And Montana

Polling knowledge signifies sturdy beef up for hashish legalization poll measures in Arizona and Montana, in spite of a susceptible appearing of enthusiasm from Republicans in each states. In all, electorate in 5 states will see tasks to legalize the usage of marijuana on their ballots for the overall election in November.

In Arizona, the result of a ballot from OH Predictive Insights display that 55% of most likely electorate beef up Proposition 207, the Sensible and Protected Arizona Act, whilst 37% oppose the initiative to legalize leisure marijuana for adults. The ballot confirmed the most powerful beef up amongst Democrats, with 79% in desire of the measure, whilst 72% of independents additionally stated they might vote for the initiative. Against this, handiest 23% of Republicans stated that they might vote for Prop. 207.

Remaining week, the editorial board for the state’s greatest newspaper, the Arizona Republic, recommended the initiative, which might additionally determine and keep an eye on the leisure hashish business and expunge some convictions for previous marijuana offenses. That beef up used to be adopted via an endorsement from the state’s second-largest newspaper, the Arizona Day-to-day Famous person. The paper’s editorial board famous that nationally, the federal prohibition of marijuana “has reigned excellent for many years.”

“The consequences were disastrous, particularly for other folks of colour and deficient communities. Right here in Arizona, a Black individual is thrice as most likely as a white individual to be arrested for marijuana ownership, in step with the ACLU,” the editors persisted. “Arizonans can take transform their very own fingers and sign up for six different Western states and 11 nationally via rejecting prohibition and its accompanying burdens. Whilst a 2016 voter initiative failed, Proposition 207 is healthier, each policy-wise and for doable customers.”

Democratic electorate in Montana additionally confirmed a desire for 2 comparable measures that may legalize leisure marijuana use and gross sales, with 70% pronouncing they might vote for the tasks. Impartial electorate confirmed sturdy beef up for legalization as smartly, with 59% in desire of Initiative 190 (I-190), which might legalize leisure hashish use and gross sales, and Constitutional Initiative 118 (CI-118), which might permit the state legislature to set the criminal age for getting hashish at 21 and older. Once more, beef up amongst Republicans lagged in the back of the remainder of the voters, with handiest 27% of GOP electorate pronouncing that they might vote in desire of the poll measures.

General, 49% of the ones surveyed for the statewide ballot via Montana State College stated that they might vote in desire of the 2 poll questions. Every other 39% stated they have been antagonistic to the measures, whilst 10% stated they have been not sure. More youthful electorate have been some distance much more likely to vote in desire of the 2 hashish legalization measures. Greater than 60% of ballot respondents elderly 18 to 60 stated they might vote in desire of I-190 and CI-118. On the other hand, a majority of electorate age 60 and older stated that they might vote towards the measures.

MSU political science professor David Parker, one of the vital designers of the ballot, stated that beef up for criminal hashish may translate into extra votes for Democratic applicants at the poll.

“I believe it is very important take into consideration a poll as a whole natural entity,” Parker stated. “Younger electorate strongly are in desire of the measure, and so they have a tendency to be Democratic leaning.”

Along with Arizona and Montana, electorate in New Jersey may also come to a decision on a leisure hashish legalization poll measure. Mississippi ballots will come with two separate measures to legalize scientific marijuana, whilst electorate in South Dakota will come to a decision on each medicinal hashish and leisure pot.


Montana Hashish Legalization Tasks Qualify For November Poll

Two separate hashish projects have certified for the overall election poll in Montana, making it the 6th state within the country that will likely be balloting on a legalization measure in November. On Thursday, the place of work of Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton published that supporters for Initiative 190 and Constitutional Initiative 118 had gathered sufficient signatures to qualify each measures for the poll.

Initiative 190 would legalize the ownership and sale of small quantities of marijuana for grownup use and identify a regulatory device to license hashish companies. The measure additionally levies a tax of 20% on leisure marijuana and decreases the present tax on clinical hashish from 1% to two%. The initiative additionally authorizes the house cultivation of as much as 4 mature hashish crops and 4 seedlings.

Income from the tax on adult-use hashish can be allotted to land, water, and flora and fauna conservation methods, veteran products and services, substance abuse remedy, long-term well being care, and native governments. Proponents of the measure have estimated that it will carry $48 million in tax earnings by means of 2025.

Constitutional Initiative 118 would amend the Montana Charter to permit the state legislature to set the criminal age to make hashish purchases at 21. Lately, the charter grants all the rights of an grownup to all individuals age 18 or older, with the exception of for the acquisition of alcohol.

Extra Than Sufficient Signatures Accumulated

Petitions for each projects had been circulated by means of New Method Montana, which gathered greater than 130,000 signatures to place the measures at the poll. To qualify, Initiative 190 wanted roughly 25,000 verified signatures, whilst the constitutional initiative required about 50,000 signatures. The crowd reviews that it spent roughly $2 million on its signature-gathering effort and different bills associated with qualifying the 2 projects for the poll.

Pepper Petersen, a marketing campaign spokesperson for the gang, expressed optimism on the information that the legalization measures had certified for the poll.

“Our analysis has at all times proven {that a} majority of Montanans beef up legalization, and now citizens will find a way to enact that coverage, which is able to create jobs and generate new earnings for our state,” mentioned Petersen.

The announcement was once additionally lauded by means of Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the Marijuana Coverage Challenge, a countrywide workforce that sponsored the Montana poll projects. 

“That is nice information for Montana citizens who will now find a way to enact a marijuana legalization coverage that can create jobs, generate earnings and make allowance legislation enforcement to concentrate on actual crime,” Schweich mentioned in a press liberate.

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Six States To Vote On Hashish In November

Montana legalized the medicinal use of hashish with the passage of a voter initiative in 2004, and in 2016 authorized some other measure increasing this system. With Thursday’s announcement, the state joins 5 different states that can vote on hashish legalization poll measures, in step with data from the Marijuana Coverage Challenge. 

Along with the Treasure State, citizens in Arizona and New Jersey will vote on legalizing hashish to be used by means of adults. In Mississippi and Nebraska, ballots will come with measures to legalize clinical marijuana, whilst South Dakota citizens will see separate projects to legalize each medicinal and leisure hashish.


Lawsuit Filed To Block Arizona Hashish Legalization Initiative

Warring parties of a voter initiative that may legalize the leisure use of hashish in Arizona have filed a lawsuit in the hunt for to dam the measure. Supporters of the initiative, referred to as the Good and Secure Arizona Act, submitted greater than 420,000 signatures previous this month, excess of the 238,000 had to qualify the measure for the poll within the November basic election. 

If handed, the measure would legalize hashish to be used through adults and create a felony framework to keep watch over and tax business marijuana manufacturing and gross sales. The workplace of the Arizona Secretary of State is recently verifying the signatures to be sure that sufficient registered citizens have signed to have the initiative incorporated in this fall’s poll.

Swimsuit Contends Initiative Misleads Citizens

However a lawsuit filed this week seeks to disclaim the citizens of Arizona the appropriate to make a decision at the legalization of hashish through blocking off the initiative from showing at the poll. The swimsuit through the political motion committee Arizonans for Well being and Public Protection maintains {that a} 100-word abstract of the initiative equipped to those that signed the petitions and shall be incorporated in poll fabrics does now not correctly describe the measure.

“The proponent’s abstract of the initiative is complicated and misleading in a large number of tactics, starting with the very definition of marijuana,” mentioned John Shadegg, a former congressman and probably the most lawyers who filed the swimsuit.

The swimsuit contends, amongst different allegations, {that a} portion of the abstract that signifies the initiative would “give protection to employer and belongings proprietor rights” is deceptive. The plaintiffs additionally take factor with the truth that the abstract didn’t specify that the measure would legalize all varieties of hashish, together with extracts and concentrates. 

“The abstract misled signatories and can lie to citizens who would possibly make stronger the legalization of ‘marijuana’ however now not the stronger varieties of ‘hashish,’” Shadegg mentioned.

The swimsuit additionally maintains that the abstract must have knowledgeable citizens that the 16% tax charge imposed through the initiative on hashish gross sales may just now not be raised with out every other poll measure. The abstract additionally must have incorporated details about a provision of the initiative that makes ownership of marijuana through somebody more youthful than 21 a civil infraction as a substitute of a legal, the swimsuit contends.

“Those omissions and statements misled citizens who signed the petition about what the initiative would do,” mentioned Lisa James, the chairwoman of Arizonans for Well being and Public Protection.

Legalization Marketing campaign Responds To Swimsuit

However Stacy Pearson, a spokeswoman for the initiative marketing campaign, mentioned that the abstract incorporated sufficient data to be legitimate. In 2018, the Arizona Superb Court docket dominated that the abstract of an initiative should come with its “main provisions” however does now not want to come with each and every element of the measure and even be independent.

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“There’s no solution to incorporate a 15-page record or a 12-page record right into a 100-word abstract,” Pearson mentioned.

Chad Campbell, the chairman of the Good and Secure Arizona marketing campaign, mentioned that the swimsuit is “ludicrous” and that he believes warring parties of the measure don’t have sufficient public make stronger to overcome the initiative on the poll field.

“It is a determined take hold of from a gaggle that may’t manage to pay for to run a marketing campaign,” he mentioned. “In order that they’re seeking to do the rest they may be able to to stay it off the poll and save you the citizens of Arizona from having their say.”

Preventing the initiative with the pending lawsuit is also the remaining likelihood that prohibitionists have to forestall felony weed from coming to Arizona. A ballot from OH Predictive Insights launched this week presentations that 62% of most likely citizens surveyed make stronger the initiative.


South Dakota Citizens Will See Scientific Marijuana Query on 2020 Poll

Citizens in South Dakota could have any other alternative to legalize scientific marijuana in 2020. 

The gang spearheading the trouble, New Manner South Dakota, introduced Thursday that Secretary of State Steve Barnett that the petition to get the referendum on subsequent yr’s poll were ratified. 

“There aren’t any phrases that any people may say at the moment to position the sentiments we now have into viewpoint,” the crowd stated in a Fb put up. “Thanks interested in the enhance, for signing our petitions, for registering to vote and for sticking with us. We did it in combination & we’re so thankful for all of you. Let’s push for a robust united marketing campaign to cross this a lot wanted regulation for the folks of SD.” 

The gang wanted 16,961 legitimate signatures to ensure that the measure to qualify for the poll. Barnett stated Thursday that 25,524 signatures, or 75 %, had been deemed legitimate. It’s going to seem on subsequent yr’s poll as Initiated Measure 26. 

Supporters of the measure will glance to redeem themselves after earlier screw ups to legalize scientific marijuana within the state. There used to be an effort to get a measure at the 2016 poll, however organizers did not spherical up the needful choice of signatures. 

A scientific marijuana measure did make it at the poll in 2006, but it surely used to be defeated 53 % to 47 %. 4 years later, any other measure seemed at the poll, however South Dakota electorate overwhelmingly rejected it, 63 % to 36 %. 

If electorate approve it subsequent yr, the measure would allow sufferers with qualifying scientific stipulations to get a scientific marijuana card from the state and possess as much as 3 oz. of hashish. However as in different states, the measure would virtually indisputably be tweaked and delicate by way of legislators. And there may be prone to be political resistance. The state’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, vetoed a invoice previous this yr that might have legalized commercial hemp, arguing that the sort of regulation can be a gateway to marijuana. 

Greater than 30 different states, some simply as deeply conservative as South Dakota, have legalized scientific marijuana, whilst greater than a dozen states and towns have legalized pot for leisure use. 

South Dakota electorate would possibly get an opportunity to move that course, as smartly. A separate marketing campaign has submitted petitions to position a leisure marijuana measure at the poll subsequent yr, despite the fact that Barnett has but to factor a ruling on the ones signatures. 


There Are 420 Days Left Until The 2020 Presidential Election

If you’re counting down the 2020 presidential election, today marks an important milestone on the campaign trail, with 420 days left until it’s time to cast your ballot. And if, like many Americans, you’re making marijuana policy reform a priority next year, as in finally making marijuana legal across the United States, you probably want to know where each presidential candidate stands on the issue of cannabis.

Under pressure from voters and progressive rivals with strong records of supporting marijuana legalization, many Democratic presidential candidates are revising their past views on cannabis. Some are evolving so quickly it can be tough to keep up. So with 420 days left until the 2020 presidential election, here’s a snapshot of where all the top contenders currently stand.

Cannabis is a Defining Issue for Democratic Presidential Candidates

On the issue of cannabis reform, the Democratic party has moved decisively to the left, with most top candidates calling for full nationwide legalization. But there are some holdouts who favor decriminalization over legalization, and a few who have been relatively quiet on the cannabis question.

Bernie Sanders: Bernie is 420’s Best Friend

Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has the most progressive and pro-cannabis presidential platform of any of the 2020 candidates. Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist, wants to legalize marijuana nationwide. He wants to erase marijuana convictions. And he wants cannabis businesses to be able to finally work with federally-insured banks.

Sen. Sanders, indisputably one of the top three contenders for the Democratic nomination for president, even has an A+ rating from NORML, going back to 2015. For years, Sanders has sponsored a number of cannabis reform bills, including the Marijuana Justice Act, during his tenure in the Senate.

Sanders’ 420-friendly campaign platform isn’t just about weed. His strong stance on cannabis legalization is part of a broader criminal justice reform plan to end the war on drugs, invest in drug treatment centers and support medical cannabis research. And yes, Sanders has inhaled.

Elizabeth Warren: Evolving on Marijuana

In the press, on social media and in her public appearances, Massachusetts Senator and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has stated she supports cannabis legalization. Some of her strongest comments in favor of legalizing cannabis nationwide came in April during a CNN town hall.

But on Warren’s campaign website, the word “marijuana” appears only once, in a paragraph on criminal justice reform. Criminal justice reform “means comprehensive sentencing reform and rewriting our laws to decriminalize marijuana,” Warren’s website reads. Legalization and decriminalization are two completely different policies, and it’s so far unclear which approach a President Warren would adopt.

Under pressure from progressive rivals and a voter base largely in favor of legal cannabis, Warren has tried to make her past record on marijuana reform look stronger than it is. Prior to 2016, Warren opposed general legalization and hesitantly expressed openness to legal medical cannabis. Recently, however, her views on cannabis seem to have shifted. But Warren doesn’t have the record or the consistency that Sanders has on the marijuana issue, despite her public statements.

Joe Biden: Drug War Architect

Joe Biden, whom many polls indicate is leading the pack of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, has carved out a unique position on cannabis. According to Biden’s official campaign website, his platform would decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions. Biden’s platform also calls for legalizing cannabis for medical purposes and giving states leeway to set their own laws regarding recreational use. Biden would also reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would make it much easier for researchers to study.

Despite these views, however, marijuana policy reform advocates aren’t lining up behind Biden. And they’re pointing to his record as the reason why not. For decades, Biden has stood sharply opposed to marijuana legalization. He once tried to pass a bill criminalizing raves. Marijuana policy experts also broadly recognize Biden as the architect of the modern war on drugs. Some even consider Biden more out of step on cannabis than President Trump.

Kamala Harris: From Cop to Marijuana Justice Co-Sponsor

In recent years, Kamala Harris’ stance on marijuana has evolved significantly. In fact, it was as recently as 2018 that the U.S. Senator from California came out in favor of federal cannabis legalization and comprehensive expungement. Most recently, Harris signed on to the MORE Act, a huge bill that would legalize marijuana and allocate federal funds to support entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis industry.

But like other 2020 presidential hopefuls, Harris has been pushed left from rivals with more progressive platforms. And her record on cannabis is anything but 420-friendly. In fact, that record came under attack in a viral moment from the first debate when Tulsi Gabbard zoomed in on the thousands of people Harris locked up for minor cannabis offenses when she was California attorney general. In the past, Harris has adopted much of the lock-em-up mentality of the war on drugs. Now, as a candidate for president, her views have completely reversed.

Pete Buttigieg: Banned Synthetic Cannabinoids

Pete Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend, Indiana and polling just behind Harris at about 5 percent among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. But unlike many of his rivals in the field, Buttigieg has yet to outline a clear stance on cannabis. Mayor Pete likes to tell a story about a close call with police when he was smoking a joint during his Harvard days, and he connects that tale to statements about privilege and racial disparities in drug enforcement.

Indeed, Buttigieg views reforming failed drug policies as a social justice issue. His public statements and social media posts all appear to support marijuana reform, including legalization. But in terms of direct policy proposals, Buttigieg comes up empty, both as a mayor and a presidential candidate. Buttigieg’s campaign website doesn’t mention marijuana. And as South Bend mayor, he signed no legislation dealing with cannabis (but he did sign a bill banning the sale of synthetic cannabinoids).

Andrew Yang: “I Don’t Love Marijuana”

Andrew Yang has distinguished his campaign platform with a call for universal basic income. But his views on cannabis line up with other candidates who want to end the war on drugs and legalize cannabis. Yang’s official campaign website proposes a three-point marijuana reform policy package.

First, Yang says he will support the full legalization of marijuana at the federal level and remove it from the controlled substances list. Second, Yang’s platform calls for expunging federal marijuana use or possession offenses. And third, Yang wants to identify non-violent drug offenders for probation and even early release.

Adopting a more personal note, Yang says he doesn’t love marijuana and prefers people don’t use it heavily. But he still thinks the current criminalization of cannabis is “stupid and racist” and believes the only path is to proceed with full legalization.

Cory Booker: All About Restorative Justice

Since 2017, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has been the chief proponent of the Marijuana Justice Act, a comprehensive reform bill that would legalize cannabis nationwide, expunge criminal records and invest in communities impacted most by the war on drugs. In his public appearances, Booker emphasizes the need not just to legalize cannabis but to also repair and rebuild the damage caused by criminalizing it.

But on Cory Booker’s official 2020 campaign website, you won’t find any mention of legalizing marijuana. Instead, Booker’s criminal justice platform calls for decriminalizing marijuana, expunging records and restoring justice to individuals and communities that have been devastated by the drug war. Booker hasn’t clearly addressed the discrepancy between his public support for legalization and his website’s call for decriminalization. In the past, when Booker hasn’t supported marijuana bills, it has been because they haven’t been strong enough on restorative justice.

Beto O’Rourke: Long-Time Legalization Supporter

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke‘s official campaign platform calls for the federal government to end its prohibition on cannabis. But it doesn’t clarify whether that prohibition should end with decriminalization or full legalization. In an email sent to supporters of his 2020 presidential bid, however, O’Rourke called for federal cannabis legalization as part of a package of sweeping criminal justice reforms.

Like other justice Democrats, O’Rourke is framing marijuana legalization as a way to reduce mass incarceration. It’s a way of presenting the issue that connected strongly with Texas voters, winning O’Rourke election to El Paso City Council and bringing him close to flipping Ted Cruz’ senate seat blue. O’Rourke has a record of consistently supporting progressive drug policy and cannabis legalization.

Julián Castro: Legalize Then Expunge

On the campaign trail, Julián Castro has consistently expressed support for progressive marijuana through the lens of criminal justice reform. Instead of drawing attention to legalization alone, Castro has stressed the need for criminal record expungement and responsible regulation. On other occasions, Castro has been more direct, tweeting after one town hall “Legalize it. Then expunge the records of folks who are in prison for marijuana use.” Typically, expungements apply to people who have already served their sentences, and Castro hasn’t clarified whether he supports amnesty for marijuana offenses or simply misspoke.

Despite public statements and social media posts calling for legalization, Castro’s official campaign website doesn’t outline a definite stance on cannabis policy. So it’s unclear exactly what Castro would pursue at the federal level as president.

Castro has just one federal drug policy action on his record. In 2014, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for President Barack Obama, Castro released a memo reminding owners of federal housing facilities that they are required to deny entry to anyone using marijuana, even if they do so legally under state law, such as for medical reasons.

420 Days Until the Most Important Vote of 2020

United States voters’ growing consensus on the issue of marijuana legalization means cannabis could be a make or break issue for the 2020 primaries. Marijuana policy is front and center in the national conversation, and shifts in federal drug laws will shape and define the legal cannabis industry and our criminal justice system for years to come.

Political Action Committee Files Petition to Get Recreational Cannabis on Florida Ballot

A campaign to get a ballot measure in front of Florida voters to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020 was announced Thursday. It is backed by MedMen, one of the US cannabis industry’s largest companies. The Adult Use of Marijuana initiative would give the go-ahead to adults 21 years and older to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.

The measure will be promoted via the dispensary chain’s “Make it Legal Florida” political committee, which was registered earlier this month. But it is not unopposed—the effort will face competition from “Sensible Florida,” a campaign started to thwart the proposed ballot measure.

The measure would not explicitly allow Floridians to grow their own cannabis for recreational use. That’s to be expected from MedMen, which was part of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association when the group sent a memo to Governor Cuomo last December claiming that home grow operations encouraged illegal sales, and put cannabis users in danger by making it difficult to monitor pesticide content. (MedMen was subsequently booted from the association over allegations of sexist and racist comments and financial misdeeds by company leaders.)

MedMen currently has a medical marijuana dispensary in Florida’s West Palm Beach, and a medical delivery service in Orlando. The company’s website says that it has plans in the works for 12 additional locations in the state.

Make it Legal Florida can already count on support from Florida’s only elected Democrat in a statewide position, Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, who herself has a medical marijuana card and supports the voters’ right to choose how marijuana should be regulated in the state. Fried is also heading the charge when it comes to establishing Florida’s hemp industry. In July, she announced the formation of Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee, whose members include a biochemical expert, multi-generation farmers, members of the business community, and a mother of a medical marijuana child patient.

MedMen’s proposed measure is not the only plan to legalize recreational cannabis in 2020 that has been presented to Florida voters. The Regulate Florida advocacy group has already amassed over 80,000 signatures—enough to require the state’s judicial review—for a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Since Florida legalized hemp, there has been debate among local law enforcement agencies over whether marijuana possession arrests could be lawfully conducted, given the state’s inability to test for the difference between hemp and psychoactive marijuana. While State Attorney Jack Campbell announced that his office will no longer prosecute such cases, the Northern Florida US Attorney publicized the fact that it may review the passed-over cases for its own prosecution. 

Ballot measures have been the major catalyst for marijuana access in expansion in Florida, as they have been in the majority of states that have regulated recreational cannabis. In 2016, voters approved a medical marijuana program that promptly sparked a legal tussle over whether it included smokable forms of weed. (As of five months ago, Floridians were officially allowed to smoke their meds.)