Tag: Legalization Bills

Massachusetts Lawmakers Agree on Question 4 Implementation Measure

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts House and Senate leaders have reconciled a pair of bills seeking to amend Question 4 – a voter-approved measure regulating the licensed production and sale of marijuana.

The compromise bill raises the maximum tax rate that can be imposed on commercial cannabis transactions from 12 percent to 20 percent. Medical marijuana retail sales will not be subject to taxation under the new plan.

The revised bill limits the ability of local communities to ban retail facilities if a majority of voters approved Question 4, but it makes it easier for communities to do so if they opposed the initiative.

Lawmakers also agreed to expand patients’ access to medicinal cannabis by permitting nurses and physician assistants the ability to recommend cannabis therapy.

The revised measure now goes to Gov. Charlie Baker who is expected to sign it into law.

In January, Gov. Baker signed legislation into law delaying the timeline for the implementation of retail cannabis sales from January 1, 2018 to July 1, 2018.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Massachusetts House and Senate Reach Compromise on Marijuana Legalization Implementation Bill

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA – After weeks of talks and missed deadlines, legislators in Massachusetts have reached an agreement on legislation that will make changes to Question 4, the law to regulate marijuana for adults that was approved by voters in November 2016.

“After weeks of intense advocacy from Massachusetts voters, legislators have decided to respect the will of the people,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign. “We are relieved that the legislature has dropped the House’s ‘repeal and replace’ bill introduced last month, which would have made damaging changes to the law.”

The compromise bill’s most significant changes relate to local control and taxes. The legislation adjusts the local control policy, allowing local government officials in towns that voted “no” on the 2016 ballot initiative to ban marijuana businesses until December 2019. For towns that voted “yes” in 2016, any bans must be placed on a local ballot for voters to approve.

The maximum sales tax rate (which depends on whether towns adopt optional local taxes) will increase from 12% to 20%. Under the bill, the state tax will be 17% and the local option will be 3%.

“The law passed by voters was well-crafted and required no alteration,” said Schweich. “However, we respect the need for compromise, and while we don’t approve of every provision of this bill, we are satisfied that the outcome will serve the interests of Massachusetts residents and allow the Commonwealth to displace the unregulated marijuana market with a system of taxation and regulation.”

Last month, the House and Senate passed very different implementation bills before beginning negotiations to resolve their differences.

Massachusetts residents made over 1,000 telephone calls to their lawmakers urging rejection of the House approach, while advocacy organizations put additional pressure on the legislature.

“We commend the Senate for holding the line on a number of important issues,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 Yes on 4 campaign and the subsequent advocacy effort to defend the law. “Now it’s time to provide funding that will allow the regulators to establish the rules that will govern marijuana cultivation and sales.”

The progress in Massachusetts will likely add momentum to regional efforts across New England to tax and regulate marijuana for adults.

“Maine is in the process of implementing its marijuana regulation law passed by voters, while legislators in Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut all seriously considered bills to make marijuana legal for adults this year,” said Schweich. “The fact that marijuana sales will begin in Massachusetts in just one year will place added pressure on Rhode Island in particular. If legislators fail to take action, the Ocean State will soon be senselessly forfeiting significant and sorely-needed tax revenue to its neighbor.”

On July 1, Nevada became the fifth state in the nation to establish a regulated marijuana market for adults. Regulated marijuana sales are set to begin in Massachusetts in July 2018.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Economic Stimulus Package: Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI — With a state budget talks at a standstill, a Wisconsin state representative has introduced a bill to create a “true economic stimulus package” for the state: legalizing and taxing marijuana sales.

Wisconsin state Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) introduced the bill Thursday. This is Sargent’s third attempt to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin, having watched her previous two legalization bills die without a legislative hearing.

Sargent hopes the third time is a charm, telling reporters at a press conference Thursday that legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin has “never been more worthy of consideration.”

Sargent’s bill would authorize both the medical use of marijuana by those who qualify, as well as recreational use of marijuana by adults. Marijuana sales would be regulated, with recreational consumers paying a sales and excise tax.

Under the proposal, Wisconsin residents 21 or older would be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana.  Non-resident visitors to the state who are at least 21 years old would be allowed to possess up to a quarter ounce.

Patients 18 or older suffering from a debilitating medical condition would be allowed access to medical marijuana. Minors under 18 with qualifying medical conditions would be allowed to participate in the medical marijuana program with the consent of their parent or guardian, as well as doctor approval.

Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to possess up to three ounces of marijuana. The proposed law would require medical insurance to cover medical marijuana for qualified patients.

Home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants for personal use would also be allowed, and the bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against marijuana users unless the substance interfered with work.

Driving under the influence of marijuana would be treated similarly to alcohol. The bill would also exempt marijuana from recently enacted laws requiring drug testing for some public benefits.

The bill requires schools to teach children about marijuana similarly to the way they teach about alcohol and tobacco use. .

“I’m a mom of four,” Sargent said. “I’m also someone who has never chosen to use marijuana. I’m not saying by legalizing marijuana in the state of Wisconsin that I think everyone should go out and get high tomorrow, or the day after we get the bill.”

But, she added, “the most dangerous thing about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it remains illegal.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Marijuana Advocates Ask NH Gov. to Veto Marijuana Study Commission Bill

Gov. Chris Sununu

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu

CONCORD, NH — Advocates for legalizing and regulating marijuana in New Hampshire sent a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday, asking him to veto House Bill 215, a bill that would create a study commission to consider marijuana legalization and regulation.

The letter, which was signed by leading advocates including the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), notes that, “The commission envisioned by the final bill includes numerous vocal opponents, such as the Association of Chiefs of Police and New Futures, but it does not include any known supporters.”

The House version of the bill included a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire and a representative from the Marijuana Policy Project, which would have added some balance to the commission, but the Senate removed those prospective members from the bill.

“New Hampshire should absolutely study marijuana legalization, but this isn’t the way to go about it,” explained Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Sadly, the commission proposed in this bill would have little to no credibility with Granite Staters who support legalizing marijuana,” he said.

poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in April and May of 2017 found that 68% of Granite Staters support legalizing marijuana.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Delaware Creates Marijuana Legalization Task Force

DOVER, DE — The General Assembly passed a concurrent resolution Saturday morning to create a task force that will study regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use in Delaware.

The Adult Use Cannabis Task Force “shall study adoption of a model for regulation and taxation of adult-use cannabis in Delaware, including local authority and control, consumer safety and substance abuse prevention, packaging and labeling requirements, impaired driving and other criminal law concerns, and taxation, revenue, and banking issues.”

It will hold its first meeting no later than September 7, 2017, and it must report its findings and recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly by January 31, 2018.

“The General Assembly is ready to take a serious look at regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use,” said Maggie Ellinger-Locke, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders to come together and examine every aspect of this issue. We hope it will pave the way for the General Assembly to adopt a more thoughtful approach to cannabis next session. Lawmakers can see the direction the country is moving on this issue and they know most Delaware voters support making marijuana legal for adults.”

The 23-member task force will be co-chaired by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Helene Keeley, Democrats who sponsored legislation this year to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and older. It will also include:

  • a state senator and a state representative from the minority caucus, appointed by the Senate president and House speaker, respectively;
  • the Secretary of the Department of Finance;
  •  the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control;
  • the Secretary of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security;
  • the Director of the Division of Public Health;
  • the Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health;
  • the State bank commissioner;
  • the Attorney General;
  • the Chief Defender, Office of Defense Services;
  • the Mayor of the City of Wilmington;
  • the Chair of the Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee;
  • a marijuana policy reform advocate and a medical marijuana industry representative, both appointed by the Governor;
  • a physician with experience recommending treatment with medical marijuana, appointed by the Medical Society of Delaware
  • the President of the Delaware League of Local Governments;
  • the Chair of the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council;
  • the Chair of the Employer Advocacy Committee of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce;
  • a representative of AAA Mid-Atlantic; and
  • a pharmacist, appointed by the President of the Delaware Pharmacist Society.

More than 60% of Delaware voters support making marijuana legal, according to a September 2016 poll by the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication.

Eight states have enacted laws regulating marijuana for adult use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In the District of Columbia, voters enacted a law making personal possession and home cultivation legal for adults 21 and older.

Delaware removed criminal penalties for personal possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Vermont House Blocks Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

MONTPELIER, VT: Members of the House voted Wednesday to block a marijuana legalization compromise bill, H. 511, from further consideration this legislative session.

The vote came after Senate members approved the bill, which eliminated civil and criminal penalties for the private possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott — who had vetoed an earlier version of the bill in May — had also recently expressed his support for the revised legislation.

Further action on the bill during this week’s special veto session required the votes of three-quarters of the House. But only a majority voted to take action on the bill, with almost all Republican House members voting ‘no.’

If enacted, the bill would have permitted adults to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and to grow up two mature plants at home.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Vermont Senate Passes Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

MONTPELIER, VT — Another bill that would make marijuana legal for adults in Vermont was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day veto session.

House Bill 511 reflects a compromise between legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed a similar bill, S. 22, in late May. It will now go the House, where it is unclear if a substantial number of House Republicans will agree to waive rules and allow its consideration during the veto session.

A three-quarters vote of the House will be required for the bill to be taken up on Thursday. If the House does not pass the bill during the veto session, H. 511 could receive a vote when the House next convenes.

The legalization language was added as an amendment to H. 511, a bill dealing with highway safety that had already passed the House. It would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for adults possessing one ounce or less of marijuana beginning in July 2018 and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. It would also create a study commission to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. The amended bill would extend the time allotted by S. 22 for the commission to submit its report, add additional agency directors and the defender general to the commission, and increase penalties for dispensing marijuana to minors or exposing them to marijuana smoke in cars.

“Vermont is poised to make history by becoming the first state in which the legislature and governor end the disastrous policy of marijuana prohibition. Just over a year from now, adults will have the same freedoms to grow and possess cannabis that our neighbors in Maine and Massachusetts enjoy,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The question is no longer ‘if’ Vermont will stop penalizing adult cannabis consumers, but ‘when’.”

“There is no good reason for the House to delay passage of this modest and sensible legislation,” Simon said. “Now that Gov. Scott has agreed with the House and Senate that marijuana should be legal for adult use, House Republicans should follow the governor’s lead and vote to advance this compromise. Failing to waive the rules will only mean the marijuana regulatory commission has less time to do its important work.”

Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey of 755 registered voters conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 39% are opposed.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Proposed Changes to Massachusetts Marijuana Law “Insults Voters”

A supporter holds up a “Yes on 4” sign at the 2016 Boston Freedom Rally (Scott Gacek/The Daily Chronic)

BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy has voted to advance a bill to repeal and replace the marijuana legalization measure approved by voters in November, angering supporters who are calling the proposal an “insult to voters.”

According to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who carefully crafted the language of the voter-approved Question 4, the proposal approved by Beacon Hill lawmakers this week “bears very little resemblance to the legalization law passed by 1.8 million voters in November.”

“The bill would undermine efforts to replace the unregulated market with a system of licensed businesses,” says Will Luzier, MPP’s campaign manager for Question 4. “It would take away the right of voters to decide on local marijuana policy, and it could impose a tax rate on marijuana that exceeds 50%. It authorizes the sharing of information with the FBI on cannabis commerce, including employees and medical patients. It also makes the Cannabis Control Commission — the entity that will regulate marijuana businesses — less unaccountable.”

The proposed changes to Question 4, which was approved by 54 percent of voters last November, could be voted on by the full House as early as Thursday.

This is not the first change to the marijuana legalization law.  As written, Question 4 called for regulated marijuana sales to start in January 2018.  Last December, in a sparsely attended special session, lawmakers quickly and quietly passed a bill that delayed marijuana sales until July 2018.

Increased Taxes

Among the most notable changes proposed by lawmakers is a massive increase in taxes on recreational marijuana sales, more than doubling the maximum tax imposed on retail cannabis sales.

The language of Question 4 imposes an excise tax of 3.75% in addition to the state sales tax of 6.25%, adding a total 10% sales tax at the point of sale. Local communities have the option to add an additional 2% sales tax, making the total possible tax 12%.

The proposed changes to the law call for a much higher excise tax of 16.75%, in addition to the 6.25% sales tax, making the total minimum tax statewide 23%.  Cities and towns could then tack up to 5% more in local taxes, bringing the total possible maximum tax to 28%, more than double the rate approved by voters.

Medical marijuana sales would remain tax-free.

“The House proposal in no way improves the measure passed by voters. It weakens it and it insults voters in the process,” Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Yes on 4 campaign, said in a statement. “Its irrational tax increase will give drug dealers the ability to undercut the legal market, and its removal of ban authority from local voters will give a handful of selectmen the ability to overrule the opinion of their own constituents.”

Rep. Mark Cusack (D-Braintree) is co-chair of the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, the committee who wrote the proposed legislation behind closed doors, largely in secret.  Cusack touted the proposed changes to the bill as necessary, claiming the will of Bay State voters has not been compromised.

“The voters voted to allow people 21 years of age and above to be able to access a regulated and safe marketplace. That is exactly what this bill does,”Cusack told the Boston Globe. “The ballot question is fundamentally flawed.’’

Cusack says the higher tax rate is “a responsible tax rate” and is necessary to fund regulation while generating additional income for the state.

But not all lawmakers are on board with the legislature’s re-write of the citizen initiated referendum, including Cusack’s co-chair for in the joint committee, Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville).

“This proposed bill directly assaults the will of the voters,” Sen. Jehlen told the Boston Herald, noting that the proposed 28% would be among the highest tax rates in the eight states that have legalized retail marijuana sales.

“If you keep more people in the illicit market, you’re not getting their taxes,” she told CBS News. “Second, if you raise the tax too high, you keep people in the illicit market.”

Also prominent among the many changes to the marijuana law is transferring the authority to restrict or ban cannabis related businesses.  As approved by voters, the current marijuana law requires municipal officials who want to ban or restrict marijuana related businesses from operating in their communities to get final approval from voters via a referendum.

The proposed changes to the marijuana law strip that final say from voters, giving local lawmakers unilateral authority to ban or limit dispensaries, cultivation facilities, and other marijuana related businesses operating in their communities.

“The removal of ban authority from local voters will give a handful of selectmen the ability to overrule the opinion of their own constituents,” says Borghesani.  “We think that will be problematic and could usher in a new era of prohibition.”

“The public has always been ahead of legislators on this issue, in Massachusetts and every other state. To turn around and alter something the public passed and take power away from voters, and give it to elected officials who have not been leaders and have shown a reluctance to embrace new marijuana public policy is a big mistake and a dramatic revision of the bill passed by voters,” Borghesani added.

Home Cultivation

While home cultivation of up to 12 plants per household remains in the proposed law, advocates are concerned that the law opens the door for the Cannabis Control Commission, the agency created to oversee the state’s marijuana industry, to reduce the plant limit or impose restrictions and regulations on home grows.

According to the proposed changes to the law, the commission would be allowed to “establish rules and regulations on the unlicensed manufacture of marijuana or marijuana products within a person’s primary residence.”

Advocates fear the language could allow regulators to require expensive home cultivation licences, home grow site inspections, or reduced plant limits.

Changes to Oversight

The third major change to the law involves the Cannabis Control Commission, the governing agency established by Question 4 to regulate the marijuana industry in Massachusetts.  Under current law, the state treasurer has the sole authority to hire and fire the three members of the Commission.

But under the proposed changes to the law, the Commission would be expanded to five people, and give the treasurer, Governor and Attorney General each the ability to appoint one member to the Commission. The other two seats would be filled by a majority vote of the thee appointed members.

The Commission would still be a part of the treasurer’s office, and they do not appear to support the proposed changes.

“While we are still reviewing all the details of the bill, it is apparent that this structure does not provide operational authority or accountability within the treasurer’s office, which we believe is critical to have a safe, secure, and efficient implementation,” Chandra Allard, a spokesperson for state treasurer Deborah Goldberg, told the Boston Globe.

Medical Marijuana

While most of the outcry regarding the proposed changes to the marijuana law come from supporters of recreational marijuana, medical marijuana advocates are concerned with a provision in the proposed bill that strips oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Health and reassigns it to the Cannabis Control Commission, placing all of the state’s marijuana oversight — both medical and recreational — under one governing body.

While this consolidation could be helpful in reducing bureaucratic oversight, advocates fear that could place the state’s medical marijuana program at risk in the current political climate.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but while the Obama Administration mostly looked the other way, the Trump Administration’s Justice Department, under the leadership of longtime marijuana foe Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appears to be leaning towards a federal crackdown of recreational, and possibly medical, marijuana sales.

House Expected to Vote Thursday

The bill is expected to be introduced to the House on Thursday. While the bill advanced out of committee by a 10-1 vote, some committee members say their support for the bill, as written, ends there.

“With deep reservations I will be supporting this out of committee but I will not at all hesitate to vote no on the floor … if this bill continues in the shape and form as it is,” Rep. Aaron Vega (D-Boston) told the Boston Herald.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, the Marijuana Policy Project is asking you to please call your state representative and tell them not to vote for this bill when it is presented for a vote.  You can do so by clicking here.

“We must not allow politicians to repeal and replace the will of the people, especially when their proposed changes are so flawed and misguided,” they say.


Update: The Salem News is reporting that legislative leaders have decided to postpone a vote until next week.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Advocates Slam Rhode Island Marijuana Study Bill, Won’t Participate in Commission

Regulate Rhode Island

(photo: Regulate Rhode Island via Facebook)

H 5551, which is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, calls for a study commission that includes representatives of the NAACP, Direct Action for Rights and Equality, and Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, but those organizations are ‘not interested in helping lawmakers once again avoid a vote on legalization’

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Regulate Rhode Island coalition says its members will not participate in the marijuana study commission that would be created by H 5551, calling it a “flawed delay tactic” on the part of legislative leaders.

Instead, they are urging lawmakers to hold a vote on a compromise approach that would make marijuana legal for adults beginning in July 2018 and establish an advisory board to make recommendations for regulating and taxing marijuana in Rhode Island.

The most recent version of H 5551, which is scheduled for a vote in the House on Wednesday, names several members to the proposed 22-person study commission, including, “the President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the NAACP, or designee,” “the Director of the local chapter of DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), or designee,” and “a local representative of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), to be appointed by the Board President of the DFCR.”

All three organizations are part of the Regulate Rhode Island coalition, and will not participate in the commission if H 5551 is enacted because they are “not interested in helping lawmakers once again avoid a vote on legalization,” according to a statement issued by Regulate Rhode Island.

Instead, Regulate Rhode Island is continuing to call on House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to allow legislators to vote on a compromise proposal that was announced last week by Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Scott Slater.

It would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2018 and establish an advisory board to draft a report with recommendations for how to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use.

“The proposed study commission is not a good faith effort to analyze the issue, it is a flawed delay tactic,” said Jared Moffat, director of Regulate Rhode Island. “It would engage in the same legalization debate that has already taken place during the legislative process. It is not intended to find a solution to Rhode Island’s marijuana prohibition problem; it is intended to avoid one. The only people who benefit from delaying legalization — which is what this study commission would do — are the illegal dealers who are currently profiting from selling marijuana.

“Regulate Rhode Island’s members will not participate in the study commission because we are not interested in helping lawmakers once again avoid a vote on legalization. Sen. Miller and Rep. Slater have proposed a very reasonable compromise that deserves an up-or-down vote in the House and Senate this year. Rhode Islanders deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue. We call on House Speaker Mattiello and Senate President Ruggerio to stop stalling and allow our legislators to vote on legalization,” Moffat added.

“I appreciate the thought of including the NAACP in the study commission, but I cannot participate in and thereby legitimize this flawed process,” said Jim Vincent, president of the Rhode Island chapter of the NAACP. “The residents of our state have expressed their desire to see marijuana legalized, and it is the legislature’s job to decide on whether we should move forward or not. Leaving that question up to a 22-person study commission after several years of public debate has already taken place is inappropriate.”

“I don’t understand why the General Assembly refuses to vote on a bill to legalize marijuana,” says Dr. James Crowley, co-chair of Regulate Rhode Island and a spokesperson for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. “DFCR cannot see the value of being part of a study commission that appears intended to slow down the process by repeating the tired anti-legalization arguments that are contradicted by medical evidence. From the physicians’ perspective, legalization is a no-brainer.”

“The war on drugs has decimated communities of color. Today’s politicians should be championing policies that correct this, not resisting them. I hope voters remember who they were come November 2018,” added Fred Ordoñez, executive director of Direct Action for Rights and Equality.

“This eight month long, 22-member study commission will only delay efforts to reform Rhode Island’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition, said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is hard to believe that a study commission could provide helpful recommendations on how to implement a policy of legalizing and regulating marijuana when that same study commission cannot agree on whether the policy should even exist. That is the fundamental problem with this bill and the reason why many consider it a stall tactic. Given that a strong majority of Rhode Islanders supports legalization, the General Assembly should set aside the study commission and hold a vote on the compromise bill before the end of the session.”

Regulating and taxing marijuana in Rhode Island could generate up to $50 million in new tax revenue for the state.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Rhode Island Lawmakers Offer Marijuana Compromise

“Welcome to Rhode Island sign” at Beach Pond, Hope Valley, RI (Flickr/Morrow Long)

PROVIDENCE, RI — Marijuana legalization advocates from Regulate Rhode Island and allied legislators are announcing a new proposal they call “incremental legalization.”

Specifically, the compromise legislation would:

  • legalize possession of an ounce or less for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2018 when marijuana retail stores are scheduled to open in Massachusetts; and
  • establish a six-person advisory board comprised of two state officials selected by the governor, two state senators, and two state representatives to study outcomes of legalization in other states and issue a report by January 1, 2018 with recommendations for the General Assembly on how to establish a system for taxing and regulating marijuana in Rhode Island.

Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and Rep. Scott Slater (D-Providence) are prepared to amend their legalization bills (S 0420 and H 5555) to reflect these changes.

“We are prepared to compromise in a significant way, but there must be progress on the issue this year,” said Sen. Miller. “Our proposal balances the will of the majority of voters who want marijuana to be legal for adults while respecting colleagues who want to slow things down and get the regulations right.”

“Legislative leaders in Massachusetts say that marijuana businesses will be open there no later than July 1, 2018,” added Rep. Slater. “Rhode Islanders will be able to cross the border and legally purchase marijuana, and they should not be considered lawbreakers in our state when they come back. Virtually all of our neighboring states are moving in this direction, and we want to see Rhode Island at least establish a viable path to legalization so that we are ready to move forward next year.”

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved an amended version of H 5551, which would establish a 22-person study commission on marijuana legalization.

The Marijuana Policy Project and its local partner Regulate Rhode Island believe the House’s study commission will be ineffective.

“Rhode Island voters want to see progress on this issue, and a 22-person study commission will not be constructive. It would simply be a repeat of the debate we have already had for the past several years,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Instead of asking ‘if’ we should legalize marijuana, which is a question best addressed by the existing committee process in the General Assembly, we should study ‘how’ legalization could be implemented. Our proposal is a more sensible approach that represents a meaningful first step toward finally ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.