Tag: Legalization Bills

Maine Governor Under Pressure to Sign Marijuana Regulation Bill

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R).

PORTLAND, ME — Marijuana advocates are calling on Gov. Paul LePage to let the marijuana regulation and implementation bill approved by the legislature become law.

On Monday, the legislature passed LD 1650, which creates the rules for licensing and regulating marijuana producers, processors, and retail establishments; sets the tax rates for adult-use marijuana; and delays marijuana consumption social clubs until summer 2019.

In a televised debate during the 2014 gubernatorial race, Gov. LePage stated that he would support making marijuana legal if it were done via citizen referendum. All other candidates were opposed.

“We urge the governor to honor what he said when he was running for re-election and allow the marijuana regulation bill to become law,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “While Eliot Cutler and Congressman Michaud stated they did not support marijuana legalization, Gov. LePage said he would if it were ‘done by referendum.’ I know many people who voted for him because he was supposedly the best candidate on cannabis policy.”

During the 2016 campaign for Question 1, which mandated that marijuana be regulated for adults, Gov. LePage spoke out against the measure.

Voters approved it in November, and the legislature has spent the last eight months studying the issue and hearing from experts and Maine residents about the best ways to regulate and tax marijuana.

“This bill would accomplish the intent of voters when they passed Question 1,” Boyer said. “A veto now amounts to the governor ignoring his constituents in order to keep illicit marijuana dealers in business for another two years.”

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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.

Maine Governor Threatens to Veto Bill Regulating Voter-Approved Marijuana Sales

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R).

AUGUSTA, ME — Republican Gov. Paul LePage has threatened to veto legislation regulating the production and sales of cannabis to adults. Members of the House and Senate approved the legislation this week during a one-day special session, but did so without a veto-proof majority.

A majority of Maine voters decided last November in favor of a statewide initiative legalizing the adult use, retail production, and licensed sale of marijuana.

Governor LePage lobbied against the measure and in January lawmakers passed emergency legislation delaying the enactment of many of its provisions until February 2018.

Since that time, the Governor has refused to work with lawmakers with regard to how to regulate marijuana sales and other provisions of the law.

The Governor did endorse legislation that sought to delay any further implementation of the law until 2019, but lawmakers defeated that measure.

Governor LePage has until November 3 to either sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law absent his signature.

Presently, adults may legally possess, consume, and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis, but no regulations exist governing its retail production or sale.

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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.

Maine Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Regulation and Implementation Bill

The Maine state capitol building in Augusta (WikiMedia Commons)

AUGUSTA, ME — On Monday, Maine lawmakers approved a bill that would establish regulations for the legal marijuana market, with the House voting 81-50 and the Senate voting 22-9 before both chambers passed the measure in an “under the hammer” or unanimous vote.

This omnibus bill, LD 1650, was the culmination of nearly seven months of work by the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee.

The bill creates the rules for licensing and regulating marijuana producers, processors, and retail establishments; sets the tax rates for adult-use marijuana; and will delay marijuana consumption social clubs until the summer of 2019.

“We commend the legislature for supporting the will of the people by passing this bill to implement a regulated marijuana market without further delay,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This bill was created transparently and inclusively, and while it may not be perfect, it essentially does what Maine voters wanted when they approved Question 1 last year. It is time to start working toward that goal of getting the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals and under the control of the state and legitimate businesses.”

Last week, Gov. Paul LePage and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) announced legislation that would further delay legal marijuana sales and cultivation until 2019 — three years after voters approved Question 1, which made marijuana legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol.

This moratorium bill was defeated in the legislature on Monday. Gov. LePage has also threatened to veto the implementation bill.

“As long as this obstruction continues, Maine will continue to fall farther behind the other states that are successfully regulating marijuana for adults,” Boyer said. “We know how to proceed with this market. Waiting around only benefits drug dealers, while hurting consumers and taxpayers. We will continue working to make sure the legislature takes appropriate action without further delay, regardless of the Governor’s actions.”

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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 Urge Rhode Island Study Commission to Stick to Fact-Finding

Regulate Rhode Island

(photo: Regulate Rhode Island via Facebook)

Debate on regulating marijuana “should take place in the General Assembly among legislators elected by the people”

PROVIDENCE, RI — Rhode Island House Speaker Mattiello announced his appointments to the marijuana study commission on Wednesday, completing the appointment process and clearing the way for the committee to begin gathering information on how legal marijuana is working in other states.

The Senate President announced his appointments last month.

The study commission, created during the 2017 legislative session, is comprised of 19 individuals and is tasked with compiling information from states that have made marijuana legal for adults and regulated it similarly to alcohol.

Advocates for marijuana policy reform are urging the commission to limit their role to fact-finding and allow elected representatives and their constituents to determine the best policy for Rhode Island.

The following statement was issued by Matthew Schweich, director of Regulate Rhode Island:

“The study commission should spend its time compiling data from other states and examining how Rhode Island could legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. We do not think it would be appropriate for the study commission to provide a final recommendation as to whether Rhode Island should ultimately adopt a legalization policy. That debate must take place in the General Assembly among legislators elected by the people. A temporary study commission comprised of political appointees is not an appropriate venue for that debate.

The study commission should be viewed as a fact-finding mission with the purpose of providing data and other findings so that each member of the General Assembly can make an informed decision on the question of legalizing marijuana. The study commission must not dictate what that decision should be.

Nearly 60% of Rhode Islanders now support legalization. Massachusetts will be opening stores within driving distance of our borders by next summer. Whether Rhode Island politicians like it or not, legal marijuana will soon be accessible to adults in our state.  

Political leaders should accept the reality that maintaining a policy of prohibition will accomplish very little in terms of limiting the availability of legal marijuana to our residents.

Rhode Island voters understand that legalization will improve public health and public safety by removing marijuana from the unregulated market and putting it behind the counters of licensed, tax-paying businesses. It is time for our state to end the injustice of punishing adults for using a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol and is legal in neighboring states.

Massachusetts is moving ahead to implement its legalization law, and the debate in Rhode Island now centers on a simple question: how many millions of dollars of tax revenue and how many hundreds of jobs shall we forfeit to Massachusetts?”

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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.

Cory Booker Introduces Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Focused on Racial Justice

WASHINGTON, DC — United States Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced legislation on Tuesday that, if passed, would end federal marijuana prohibition and centers communities most devastated by the war on drugs.

“The question is no longer ‘should we legalize marijuana?’; it is ‘how do we legalize marijuana?’ We must do so in a way that recognizes that the people who suffered most under prohibition are the same people who should benefit most under legalization,” said Queen Adesuyi, policy associate at the Drug Policy Alliance. “From disparate marijuana-related arrests and incarceration rates to deportations and justifications for police brutality – the war on drugs has had disparate harm on low-income communities and communities of color. It’s time to rectify that.”

The Marijuana Justice Act would do the following:

  • Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, ending federal prohibition of marijuana
  • Cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and/or incarcerates low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
  • Allow entities to sue states that disproportionately arrest and/or incarcerate low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses
  • Prevent deportations of individuals for marijuana offenses
  • Provide for a process of expungement for marijuana offenses at the federal level
  • Provide for a process of resentencing for marijuana offenses at the federal level
  • Create a “Community Reinvestment Fund” of $500 million to invest in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, for programs such as job training, reentry, community centers, and more. Part of the funding will come from the aforementioned cuts to state law enforcement and prison construction.

“In New Jersey, marijuana prohibition has disproportionately harmed communities of color,” said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In our state, African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites even though both use marijuana at similar rates. Anecdotal evidence suggests similar disparities for Latinos. Marijuana legalization on the federal and state level must be fair and equitable and must repair past harms to communities of color. It is time to right the wrongs of prohibition.”

Marijuana is legal in eight states, and medical marijuana is legal in twenty-nine states. Nevertheless, it has been estimated that only one percent of dispensary owners are people of color. A landmark 2013 ACLU report showed that despite similar rates of use and sale with white counterparts, African Americans and Latinos comprised nearly 80 percent of the country’s annual marijuana possession arrests.

More recently, racial disparities in marijuana arrests have continued in states like New YorkVirginia, and Massachusetts. Racial disparities have even continued in places that legalized marijuana, like Colorado (although overall arrests are down) and Washington, D.C. (mostly because Congress has blocked legal sales).

This bill will tackle these issues.

“Ending federal marijuana prohibition would bring the law in line with the opinion of the growing majority of Americans who want states to be able to enact their own marijuana laws without harassment by the DEA. By divesting in prisons and reinvesting in job training and re-entry programs, this bill would move our country forward and prioritize building up our communities,” said attorney Shaleen Title, a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and founder of THC Staffing Group.

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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 Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Compromise Bill

(@MassGovernor via Twitter)

BOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today signed the marijuana compromise bill sent to him last week by the Legislature, setting the stage for creation of the regulatory structure to oversee legal marijuana sales in Massachusetts.

“We thank the governor for signing the bill and we urge all of the executive and legislative officials involved in the new regulatory system to make timely appointments and ensure proper funding so legal sales can begin on the timetable set by lawmakers last December,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project and one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign.

Appointments to the Cannabis Advisory Board are to be made by August 1, and appointments to the Cannabis Control Commission are to be made by September 1. The appointments are spread among the governor, the attorney general, and the treasurer.

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg earlier this year submitted a first-year Cannabis Control Commission budget of $10 million, which included a one-time $5.5 million expenditure for seed-to-sale and licensing software necessary to monitor product flow and applicant licensing. The current budget allocates $2 million for the Commission’s first year.

“We take elected officials at their word that there will be no more delays in implementation of the legal sales system. The state will benefit greatly from the tax revenues and jobs created by the new industry, and we are confident lawmakers will secure appropriate funding to get the regulatory system up and running on the current timeline,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 campaign and the subsequent advocacy effort to defend the law.

After numerous public hearings by the Committee on Marijuana Policy, the House and Senate came out with separate, and very different, bills making changes to the law passed by voters in November.

The House bill repealed and replaced the law, dramatically altering the tax rate, local control, and the application and enforcement provisions. The Senate bill took a far more moderate approach, making few changes to the November ballot law.

After more than 1,000 telephone calls from Massachusetts voters and intense media pressure generated by the Yes on 4 Coalition and the Marijuana Policy Project, the final bill reflected the Senate’s approach more than the House’s.

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%.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

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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 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.