Tag: Marijuana Policy Project

Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization

BOSTON, MA — Members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators have for the first time voted in favor of a resolution in support of decriminalizing marijuana.

The NHCSL is a non-partisan group that represents the interests of Hispanic state lawmakers from all fifty states.

The resolution states that federal cannabis criminalization is “unconstitutional” because it was initiated by “racist politicians” who explicitly wished to “target … Mexican-American culture.”

It calls on federal lawmakers to “enact and sign legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana.”

It urges state lawmakers to similarly enact decriminalization policies and to seal the records of those formerly convicted of marijuana-related crimes.

“NHCSL believes that our laws should focus on ending the current lawlessness of the black market and allow sound public policy based on scientific evidence to prevail on the issue of cannabis,” the group’s President stated in a press release.

The NHCSL’s actions come days after representatives of the National Conference of State Legislators resolved in favor of removing marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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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.

Utah Advocates Launch 2018 Medical Marijuana Signature Drive

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Advocates hoping to place an initiative on Utah’s midterm election ballot next year will officially launch their signature collection campaign on Thursday.

The Utah Patients Coalition, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, will kick off the signature collection campaign at a Thursday morning event at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.

Volunteers will begin collecting signatures in downtown Salt Lake City immediately following the event, which will include a press conference and speeches from campaign leaders, patients and suporters.

Last week, the group’s proposal, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, received approval from the state to begin collecting signatures.

The group needs to collect over 113,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

“We plan to gather the first signatures by next week and be finished prior to the 2018 legislative session in January,” said DJ Schanz, campaign co-director for Utah Patients Coalition. “Our volunteers—many of them patients or caregivers themselves—have been ready and eagerly waiting; it feels good to know we will have scheduled events in the coming weeks for those who have waited years for this.”

The proposed initiative would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor.

It limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016.

Home cultivation of cannabis and smoking marijuana by patients would not be permitted.

Recent polling has found that an overwhelming majority of Utah voters support the proposal.

Information for those wishing to donate or help gather signatures will be posted at UtahPatients.org.

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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.

National Conference of State Legislatures Endorses Resolution Calling for Marijuana to Be Descheduled

BOSTON, MA — The National Conference of State Legislatures has endorsed a resolution calling for marijuana to be removed from the US Controlled Substances Act.

The plant and all of its organic constituents are classified under federal law as a schedule I controlled substance – the most restrictive categorization available.

Over three-quarters of legislators participating in this week’s legislative summit endorsed the resolution, which calls on federal lawmakers to amend the CSA so that each state can regulate cannabis how best it sees fit.

It states: [T]he National Conference of State Legislatures believes that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from scheduling thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses; and … acknowledges that … in allowing each state to craft its own regulations we may increase transparency, public safety, and economic development where it is wanted.”

Last year, the US Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a pair of petitions that sought to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reschedule marijuana under federal law.

In recent years, NORML has argued in favor of descheduling cannabis from the CSA rather than rescheduling it to a lower classification.

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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.

Cards Against Humanity’s ‘Weed Pack’ Helping Support MPP’s Efforts in Illinois

Proceeds from the Cards Against Humanity “Weed Pack” will benefit the Marijuana Policy Project’s legalization efforts in Illinois (Cards Against Humanity/@CAH via Twitter)

CHICAGO, IL — Game maker Cards Against Humanity has teamed up with the policy makers at the Marijuana Policy Project to support their efforts to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults in Illinois.

Last week, Chicago-based Cards Against Humanity donated $70,000 to the Washington, DC-based marijuana policy project to help fund their marijuana legalization efforts in Illinois.

The game makers say they will continue to fund raise for the campaign until it passes, including donating all proceeds from the Weed Pack to the organization.

The Weed Pack is a 30 card expansion pack for the popular Cards Against Humanity game, and retails for $5 on their website. According to a counter on their website, sales from the Weed Pack have already generated over $87,000 for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

“We’re proud to support the Marijuana Policy Project because our current marijuana laws are failing,” said Cards Against Humanity head writer Jo Feldman. “Nationally there are more arrests for marijuana possession each year than for all violent crimes combined. The MPP has been at the forefront of changing marijuana laws for the better, in Illinois and nationwide.”

Previous Cards Against Humanity expansion packs have raised nearly $5 million for other charities including DonorsChoose.org, the EFF, the Sunlight Foundation, the Wikimedia Foundation, Heifer International and the Chicago Design Museum.

“A recent poll says that 66 percent of Illinois voters support regulating marijuana like we do alcohol,” said Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin. “You’re telling me this effort is something the vast majority of people support that makes everyone happy and pays for our schools and roads, and we’re not doing it?”

“For us, this is a common sense issue of racial justice, health justice and criminal justice. State and national politics are incredibly screwed up right now, but it gives us hope to think that we can make progress on these kind of common sense issues that everyone supports,” Temkin added.

Founded in 1995, the MPP was the driving force behind five successful state campaigns to legalize the adult use of marijuana. In Illinois, MPP spent nearly a decade and more than $1 million securing an effective medical marijuana law, which passed in 2013.

Illinois lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults, and it would create and enforce strict health and safety regulations, such as testing and labeling requirements and restrictions on marketing.

“The team behind Cards Against Humanity is doing a great service helping us fight what really is a crime against humanity: marijuana prohibition,” said Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the MPP. “The Weed Pack is a hilarious approach to the topic but doesn’t overlook the fundamental injustice in arresting adults for using something that is safer than alcohol.”

The Weed Pack is for sale for $5 at CardsAgainstHumanity.com.

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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.

National Conference of State Legislatures Urges De-Scheduling Marijuana

BOSTON, MA — The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Monday urging that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove marijuana from scheduling in order to give federally approved banks the ability to work with marijuana businesses.

This would also allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without the threat of federal interference.

For a resolution to pass, it must be supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75% of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.

Due to the Schedule I status of marijuana under federal law, federally insured banks risk penalties if they offer financial services to marijuana-related businesses.

For that reason, many of these businesses are forced to operate on a cash-only basis, making them a target for criminals.

While limited guidance has been issued, which intended to encourage financial institutions to serve marijuana businesses, access to banking remains a problem.

The resolution states:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Conference of State Legislatures believes that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from scheduling thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Conference of State Legislatures acknowledges that each of its members will have differing and sometimes conflicting views of cannabis and how to regulate it, but in allowing each state to craft its own regulations we may increase transparency, public safety, and economic development where it is wanted.

The full resolution can be found online here.

A different version of this resolution, which called for rescheduling marijuana to a lower schedule, was approved by NCSL last year.

In 2015, the conference passed a resolution expressing that “federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference.”

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws.

Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in eight states — all of which also have medical marijuana laws — and adult possession and limited home cultivation is also legal in the District of Columbia.

There are currently several bills introduced in Congress that would allow states to determine their own marijuana policies, fix the banking issue, and address tax codes related to state-legal marijuana businesses.

“State legislators and the vast majority of voters agree that marijuana policy should be left to the states,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, which tracks marijuana policy in all 50 states and lobbies in state legislatures throughout the country.

“Legitimate, taxpaying marijuana businesses should not have to face the difficulties of operating on a cash-only basis. Allowing banks to offer them financial services will be good for the industry and benefit public safety,” O’Keefe continues. “Even more so, states should not have to worry about the federal government interfering with their marijuana policy choices.”

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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.

Poll: 78% of Utah Voters Support Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Another poll has found that an overwhelming majority of Utah voters support a proposed ballot measure to legalize marijuana in the state.

According to a Salt Lake Tribune Poll released Monday, 78% of voters support a proposed 2018 ballot initiative that would allow use of medical cannabis infused products by patients suffering from qualifying conditions.

A similar poll released earlier this year found 73% support for the proposal.

The proposed initiative, organized by the MPP-backed Utah Patients Coalition, would allow the use of medical marijuana in the form of topicals, oils and edibles for qualifying illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, MS, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and autism.

Smoking marijuana, driving while intoxicated, and public consumption would be prohibited.  The full text of the initiative has been posted online, along with a summary of the proposal‘s key points.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates for the Salt Lake Tribune, 45% of respondents strongly support the initiative, with 33% somewhat supporting it. Only 10% of those surveyed oppose the initiative, with the remaining 10% undecided.

Support was strong among all political affiliations, including 65% of Republicans and 97% of Democrats favoring the measure. The poll, conducted between July 18th to July 20th, has a margin of error of +/- 3.95 percentage points.

This past week, backers of the proposal recently held a series of public hearings across the state, as required by state law.  With those public hearings completed, the work now begins on collecting the 113,143 valid signatures from registered voters needed by April 15, 2018 in order for the proposal to be placed on the November 2018 ballot.

Marijuana law reform advocates are also in the process of gathering signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Michigan and Missouri.  A proposed medical marijuana initiative in Oklahoma has already qualified for the 2018 electoral ballot.

Utah residents can find more information on signing the petition here.

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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.

Massachusetts Lawmakers Reach Marijuana Compromise; Tax Raised to 20%

BOSTON, MA — After weeks of closed-door negotiations, lawmakers in Massachusetts have reached a compromise on changes to the voter-approved law that legalized marijuana in the Bay State.

The changes still need to be ratified by members of both chambers of the state legislature, which is expected later this week.

Instead of a repeal-and-replace bill proposed by the House, the compromise bill reflects an “amend and improve” approach favored by the Senate.

Much of the original ballot measure will remain intact, with the most noticeable change being the tax imposed on retail marijuana sales.

While the changes to the legalization law are not as drastic as originally proposed by the House, the tax rate on recreational cannabis will be raised significantly.

As approved by voters, retail sales of marijuana would be subject to a 3.75% statewide excise tax, combined with the 6.25% state sales tax, making the statewide tax 10%. Local communities were given the option to impose an additional two percent local tax, making the total maximum tax 12%.

The House sought to impose stiff taxes that would have raised this to a 28% minimum tax.

The compromise bill will instead raise the excise tax on marijuana from 3.75% to 10.75%, which will be added on to the state 6.25% sales tax, making the statewide marijuana tax 17%.

The compromise also increases the local tax option from two to three percent, making the statewide maximum tax 20%.

Lawmakers also compromised on the dispute over who has the right to ban or restrict marijuana related businesses. In cities in towns where a majority of voters supported Question 4, a referendum would be required to pass zoning restrictions or ban businesses.

But in the 91 municipalities in the state where a majority of residents voted against the ballot question, a referendum would not be necessary. Instead, a vote by the board of the selectmen or city council could ban marijuana retailers.

Other notable changes in the compromise bill include a provision raising the amount of decriminalized marijuana for minors under 21 from one to two ounces.

The compromise bill also makes cultivation by minors under 21 a civil offense, rather than a criminal one.

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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.