Tag: Massachusetts

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

With the release last year of the first detailed analysis and comparison of state medical marijuana laws, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) created a patient-focused tool to identify effective programs and problem areas. That groundbreaking report was followed by the release of ASA’s new, far more detailed report on state programs, which reflects the many new states that have added programs as well as others that have improved their existing programs.

Like the original report, this latest white paper enables advocates, policy makers and concerned citizens to compare and contrast from the patient’s’ point of view the 40 different approaches currently in place in the U.S. Unlike last year’s, this report takes a much closer look at the regulatory frameworks for ensuring product quality and safety. By examining in detail the differences in how state medical cannabis programs have been designed and implemented, ASA’s latest report shines a light on the what’s working and what’s not in ways that can assist policy makers in making the programs under their oversight as broadly effective as possible in ensuring a consistent supply of quality-controlled medicine for the qualifying patients who need it.

A number of states — including Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington — have adopted regulations that reflect the best practice standards set forth by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). In addition to the AHPA Recommendations for Regulators, states are also incorporating the laboratory testing standards set forth in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Cannabis Inflorescence Monograph. These authoritative, expert standards mean states no longer a need to omit these protocols or “reinvent the wheel” for medical cannabis product safety regulations.

Those expanded regulations to assure product quality and safety are the focus of the new rubric employed in this latest report on state programs. While states got credit in our original report for implementing regulations based on the AHPA and AHP, for 2016 we have taken a far more fine-grained approach to evaluating the extent to which each state program has adopted the recognized industry standards for everything from cultivation, manufacturing and distribution to laboratory testing for product identity and purity. Also included are measures of the ease of access for qualifying patients – arguably the most important criteria for programs – as well as the degree of civil protections from discrimination state law provides patients.  These laws all make a difference in patient’s’ lives, and in some cases may mean the difference between life and death.ASA average grade for state medical cannabis programs

Given the weight of product safety in the updated report’s scoring system, there are some grades that may stand out and raise certain questions. For example, states like Maryland, New York, and New Hampshire all received similar letter grade scores as long time states providing safe access, such as Arizona and Rhode Island. In most instances, this is due the lack of product safety regulations, or having outdated product safety regs that are no longer consistent with best practices. For states like Arizona and Rhode Island, the adoption of up-to-date product safety regulations will bring the overall grades in line with best performing states.

Much has changed in the nearly two decades since California passed the first medical marijuana law. Today, more than 275 million Americans, or about 85% of U.S. population, live where some form of medical cannabis use is legal locally. We estimate that these programs serve approximately two million patients under physician’s’ supervision. Within those various programs, physicians now recommend cannabis-based treatments for over 50 qualifying medical conditions and symptoms. That expansion has not created the problems opponents feared. States with medical cannabis programs have not experienced increased rates of teen use of cannabis. In fact, those states have seen unexpected benefits, including significant drops in opioid overdoses as well as in highway fatalities.

The takeaway from the report is that states are capable of implementing high quality  medical cannabis programs, but not nearly enough are do so in a way the serves patients well in all of the ways that these programs impact patients. This report highlights the given strengths and weaknesses that a state program has, and makes it clear where lawmakers and regulators can make improvements. Patients and caregiver activists can utilize this tool by showing their state officials what key features and protections their programs lack. Every medical cannabis law in the country has room for improvement, and this report can serve as the guide make those improvements become reality. Of course, states would be more free to create medical cannabis laws and regulations the best serve the greatest number of patients if the federal government would permanently end their interference with state programs. Passage of the CARERS Act would do just that, and would signal to lawmakers and regulators that their medical cannabis guidepost should be focused on improving patient outcomes rather than avoiding federal raids.

View and Download a Copy of the Report.

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Letter-grades for all 23 state laws and Washington, D.C.: Alaska (D-), Arizona (B-), California (B+), Colorado (B), Connecticut (C+), Delaware (C), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Maryland (B), Massachusetts (B), Michigan (D+), Minnesota (C), Montana (D-), Nevada (B), New Hampshire (C), New Jersey (C), New Mexico (B+), New York (C), Oregon (B), Rhode Island (C-), Vermont (D+), Washington (B), and the District of Columbia (C).


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.

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

Patient Advocates Hope Report will Help State Legislators “Make the Grade” in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” on Tuesday. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this  groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.

Eighty-one percent  of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll.  This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015.  Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.

This report comes at a perfect time to inform improvements to existing medical marijuana programs and guide legislators who are creating or expanding laws and programs. “Too often, patients are denied life-saving treatments solely because they are using medical cannabis,” said California Assemblymember Marc Levine, champion of the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act (AB 258), “It is imperative for state lawmakers to take advantage of vital resources like ASA’s report to improve their state programs.”

The report uses a point system to grade each medical marijuana law on: 1) patients’ rights and protection from discrimination, 2) access to medicine, 3) ease of navigation, 4) functionality, and 5) product safety protocols. The report  found that while many states have important elements helpful to patients, no state has yet established an ideal, comprehensive program.

ASA average grade for state medical cannabis programsThe most notable trend  in 2015 was the adoption and implementation of comprehensive product safety regulations. With Maryland’s medical marijuana program projected to begin serving patients in 2017, the state received the highest grade for product safety by working with ASA to combine its own stringent safety and quality control measures with those of the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. “The tools provided by Americans for Safe Access and the Patient Focused Certification program have been tremendously helpful in creating product safety regulations that will ensure Maryland patients are receiving the highest quality products and medicine possible” said Hannah Byron, executive director of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Maryland is not the only state adopting the best practices and AHPA recommendations and standards.  New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington have also done so.  Michael McGuffin,  President of AHPA, notes, “The report highlights how best practice guidance such as the Cannabis Committee’s Recommendations to Regulators documents can assist states in establishing regulations that ensure the quality and safety of cannabis products.”

The report takes a patient-centered approach, evaluating programs on how effective they are in meeting patients’ needs. ASA is asking their members to share the report with their state representatives. “With the increased interest in medical cannabis access around the country, it is imperative that we ensure that new and existing programs adopt regulations and standards that provide patients with safe medicine while protecting their rights,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “This report will help policymakers create and maintain programs that put the patients first.”

Letter-grades for all 23 state laws and Washington, D.C.: Alaska (D-), Arizona (B-), California (B+), Colorado (B), Connecticut (C+), Delaware (C), Hawaii (B), Illinois (B+), Maine (B-), Maryland (B), Massachusetts (B), Michigan (D+), Minnesota (C), Montana (D-), Nevada (B), New Hampshire (C), New Jersey (C), New Mexico (B+), New York (C), Oregon (B), Rhode Island (C-), Vermont (D+), Washington (B), and the District of Columbia (C).

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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 Legalization 2016: Is It Better Than Prohibition?

Marijuana Legalization 2016: Is It Better Than Prohibition?

The test should be, “Is it better than Prohibition.” Does the proposal stop the arrest of smokers and establish a legal market where consumers can obtain their marijuana?

As we look forward to what should be a fantastically successful year for marijuana legalization, it is important that those of us who support legalization join arms and move forward in a unified manner. All political progress requires some measure of compromise, and legalizing marijuana is no exception.

Each state that legalizes marijuana, at least during this early stage of legalization, will still need to revisit the topic within a couple of years to fix things not covered in the original proposal (e.g., employment and child custody issues). We will need to expand and perfect these early models. But we must not permit the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

Supposed “Legalizers” Sometimes Opponents in Early States

In the first group of states to legalized marijuana, we witnessed some of our own friends and colleagues opposing the initiative in their state, sometimes serving as the primary opponents to the proposal, when they had the opportunity to end prohibition and stop the arrest of smokers. Their justification was always the same: the specific legalization proposal was not good enough.

Sometime their opposition was based on the failure of the initiative to permit home cultivation; sometimes it was because they opposed the DUID provisions; and sometimes they opposed the limits on the amount of marijuana one could legally possess or cultivate.

NORML has always insisted that consumers have the right to grow their own marijuana; we have led the efforts to require a showing of actual impairment before someone is convicted of a DUID; and, as consumers, we would be delighted if we were allowed to possess or grow larger quantities of marijuana, without the risk of arrest. But those are all political goals that we will continue to push for; not excuses for opposing legalization proposals that are less than perfect.

Is It Better Than Prohibition?

The test should be, “Is it better than Prohibition.” Does the proposal stop the arrest of smokers and establish a legal market where consumers can obtain their marijuana?

While it is understandable that those who have invested their time and energy, and sometimes resources, to advance a specific legalization proposal would feel a vested interest in seeing that version be the one that advances to the ballot, what is most important is that one good legalization proposal qualify for the ballot, and that the legalization movement both in-state and nationwide come together to embrace and support that proposal.

Although there have been competing versions of legalization advanced in most of the states where legalization is expected to appear on the ballot this November, there are encouraging signs that a consensus is forming in most of these states supporting one of the competing proposals, increasing the likelihood of ultimate success in November. There is still too much in-fighting in some of these states between different factions, but the trend looks positive.

Maine

In Maine, there were two competing initiatives (The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Legalize Maine), and the one with the best funding has now merged efforts with the one comprised primarily of local activists, even accepting their language for the initiative,. The result is an apparent unified effort assuring that only one legalization proposal will appear on the ballot this fall, one that has an excellent chance of being approved by the voters.

This clearly required compromise from both groups, who were willing to make some concessions in the belief that the goal of legalizing marijuana was more important than the relatively minor differences between the two proposals. All parties should be commended.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, where there were two competing versions of legalization being circulated as potential voter initiatives, the qualifying process seems to have largely resolved the matter. One proposal, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, continues to meet the steps required to qualify for the ballot, and is expected to officially qualify shortly; while the other proposal, Bay State Repeal, the one that had been endorsed by the NORML affiliate in Massachusetts, MassCann/NORML, has failed to qualify. While not everyone previously involved with Bay State Repeal have agreed to support the remaining proposal, most have, suggesting the opposition in November will primarily come from the prohibitionists; not from disgruntled supporters of Bay State Repeal.

That willingness to accept a partial victory, in order to end prohibition, is the crucial element for success. Our friends in MA deserve our thanks for doing the right thing.

California

In California, the ultimate prize in the marijuana sweepstakes, and the state most of us presumed would be the first to fully legalize marijuana, the sheer size of the state has in the past resulted in several competing legalization proposals being advanced by different interest groups, and prohibition has continued in place, albeit a version tempered by the “anyone qualifies” medical marijuana system. The same potential was in play over the last year in CA, with as many as 8 different versions of legalization being filed with the Secretary of State, and no assurance that anyone would be willing to compromise.

But in fact, calmer heads prevailed this year in CA, with crucial leadership provided by Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and a consensus has now formed around a single proposal, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Once the sponsors were willing to accept some revisions in the language, the other leading effort, Reform CA, which enjoyed the support of CA NORML, agreed to withdraw its initiative, and most of the principles of that effort have now endorsed the Newsom effort. And it now appears likely California voters will approve marijuana legalization in November of 2016.

Again, kudos to those who saw the big picture and were willing to accept some compromises in order to end prohibition.

Nevada

In Nevada, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol appears to have had a relatively unobstructed path to qualify for the ballot, without organized competition from other legalization supporters pushing their own version of legalization. That is a rare situation in the world of marijuana legalization today.

Arizona

Arizona may be the exception to the rule this year. While efforts were made to forge a general agreement on the terms of the legalization initiative, with early battles over whether to allow personal cultivation, there appears to exist a great deal of enmity between supporters of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and those supporting a competing proposal being circulated by Arizonans for Mindful Regulations, seeking fewer limitations.

The differences may not seem terribly important from a distance, but both sides are digging in, with little indication anyone is willing to compromise. There have been some steps taken to bridge the two camps by local activists, including efforts by Arizona NORML, but the two sides appear far apart.

The sometimes heated rhetoric and tactics between the competing factions has the potential to undermine a successful legalization effort in Arizona. Because the vote in Arizona appears to be close, it is most important that those who support marijuana legalization set aside their differences and agree to get legalization approved in the state. There will be time down the road, once the arrests have stopped, to come back and improve and expand these initial legalization provisions.


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 to Hold Hearing on Legalizing Marijuana Next Week

Massachusetts to Hold Hearing on Legalizing Marijuana Next Week

BOSTON, MA — The Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a public hearing on a proposal to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts on Wednesday, January 13 at 1 pm at the State House.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 1561, is independent from a proposed ballot initiative that is expected to be presented to, and approved by, voters in November.

If passed, H1561, also known as the “Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act of 2016,” would “repeal all laws punishing the cultivation of and commerce in cannabis” by adults 21 or older.  The bill was introduced last March for the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Adults would be allowed to possess and use marijuana, purchase marijuana at state regulated retail outlets, and consume marijuana at cannabis cafés.  The bill would also allow home cultivation of cannabis for non-commercial purposes.

Unlike marijuana legalization laws enacted in other states, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act of 2016 does not impose personal possession limits or restrict the number of plants an adult can grow at home.  Instead, personal possession is defined as “the cultivation, storage and delivery of cannabis without intent to sell.”  Possessing marijuana outside one’s home, however, is considered “transportation” — and is limited to ten ounces.

The proposal also allows those who have previously been arrested for marijuana offenses to have those convictions expunged from their record.  Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in Massachusetts was decriminalized by voters in 2008, a law that took effect in 2009, but the law did not expunge prior convictions.

Under the bill, minors under 21 would still be subject to a $100 civil violation for possessing marijuana, but would not face criminal charges.  In addition to the $100 fine, minors under 18 would also be subject to a drug awareness program.

Public smoking and driving under the influence of marijuana would remain illegal.

The bill is co-sponsored in the House by Reps. David Rodgers (D-Cambridge),  Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), Jay Livingstone (D-Boston), Ruth Balser (D-Newton),  Mary Keefe (D-Worcester), Kay Khan (D-Newton), Brian Mannal (D-Barnstable), Leonard Mirra (R-West Newbury), Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland), Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) and Aaron Vega (D-Holyoke).  In the Senate, the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville), Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and James Eldridge (D-Acton).

The public hearing is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST in room A-1 of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

The text of the bill can be found here.  Massachusetts residents who wish to contact their elected representatives on Beacon Hill and ask them to support this legislation can do so via NORML’s website.

© 2016 The Daily Chronic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without expressed, written permission.


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.

MA Sec. of State Validates Marijuana Legalization Campaign Signatures

MA Sec. of State Validates Marijuana Legalization Campaign Signatures

Confirmation moves campaign one step closer to 2016 ballot

BOSTON, MA —The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office today certified 70,739 signatures submitted by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, clearing the way for the petition to move forward toward the 2016 state ballot.

“Today’s announcement confirms that the people of Massachusetts want to vote on an initiative to regulate marijuana and end the practice of punishing adults for using a substance less harmful than alcohol,” said Campaign Manager Will Luzier. “We are excited to have reached this milestone and look forward to the legislative debate over the benefits of ending prohibition and regulating and taxing marijuana.”

The petition will now be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The proposed initiative would:

In summary, the proposed initiative would:

  • allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
  • create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC);
  • provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
  • create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. Medical marijuana will not be subject to these additional taxes.

The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here.


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.

Jeb Bush Suggests Support for Decriminalizing Marijuana

Jeb Bush Suggests Support for Decriminalizing Marijuana

MPP upgrades Bush — who had not previously expressed support for decriminalization — from a ‘D’ to a ‘C-’ Presidential Candidate Report Card score following a Friday interview on a Boston radio station

WASHINGTON, DC — The Marijuana Policy Project upgraded Jeb Bush from a “D” to a “C-” in its 2016 presidential candidate report card on Friday following a radio interview in which the former Florida governor expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana.

According to a report from Marijuana.com:

“It’s one thing to say we should have decriminalization of marijuana. I support that,” the former Florida governor said in an interview with Joe Mathieu of Boston’s WBZ NewsRadio. Bush had not previously endorsed a removal of criminal penalties for cannabis possession.

But Bush also referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug” during the interview, referencing a theory that was thoroughly debunked by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a 1999 report commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

He also said “the new marijuana” is “highly, highly toxic,” despite researchers consistently finding that marijuana is among the least toxic drugs and incapable of producing a fatal overdose.

The Marijuana Policy Project’s voter guide, launched in June, grades the major-party presidential hopefuls based on actions they have taken and statements they have made that indicate their levels of support for ending marijuana prohibition, allowing legal access to medical marijuana, and defending states’ rights to adopt their own marijuana policies without interference from the federal government.

In October, MPP boosted Republican candidate Mike Huckabee from a “D” to a “B-” following an interview in which he expressed a more sympathetic position on medical marijuana and said he would not use federal resources to interfere in states that have adopted laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use.  MPP also upgraded Bernie Sanders from a “B” to an “A” after he became the first-ever major-party presidential candidate to express support for ending marijuana prohibition, and it boosted Hillary Clinton from a “B-“ to a “B” because she strengthened her position in support of allowing access to medical marijuana.

The voter guide can be viewed online here.

“We’re glad to hear Gov. Bush is in favor of removing criminal penalties for at least some marijuana-related offenses,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.  “We hope he will elaborate on this position and let voters know what he would do on this front if elected. A solid majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults, and an even stronger majority support legal access to medical marijuana. Gov. Bush might be evolving on the issue, but he’s still lagging behind most Americans.

“It’s always astonishing to hear someone running for our nation’s highest office still believes in the reefer madness that was conjured up more than half a century ago. Equating marijuana to heroin is like equating apples to orange soda. The marijuana that is available today is no more toxic than the marijuana Gov. Bush used in college. It was far less toxic than alcohol then, and it’s far less toxic than alcohol now,” Tvert added.


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: Marijuana Legalization Poised for 2016 Ballot

Massachusetts: Marijuana Legalization Poised for 2016 Ballot

On Tuesday, initiative backers submitted the last of 103,000+ petition signatures to the Secretary of the Commonwealth; 64,750 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot

BOSTON, MA — A proposed initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Massachusetts is poised for the November 2016 ballot after proponents submitted their final petition signatures to the Secretary of the Commonwealth on Tuesday.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than 103,000 total signatures, and 64,750 valid signatures of registered state voters are required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth is expected to validate the signatures by mid-December, at which time the petition will be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

“This is direct democracy in action,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “People can see that our current prohibition policy isn’t working, and they’re taking action to replace it with a more sensible system. Based on the level of support and enthusiasm we saw during the petition drive, voters are ready to end prohibition and start treating marijuana more like how our state treats alcohol.”

The proposed initiative would:

  • Allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
  • Create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC);
  • Provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
  • Create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. Medical marijuana will not be subject to these additional taxes.

“Most of the voters who signed the petition cited a desire to replace the underground marijuana market with a more controlled system in which marijuana is taxed and regulated,” Luzier said. “There’s a general consensus that we’d be better off if marijuana were produced and sold by licensed businesses instead of cartels and gangs. Also, most people agree that adults should not be punished simply for consuming a product that is less harmful than alcohol.”

The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here.


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 Marijuana Legalization Campaign to Submit Final Petition Signatures Tuesday

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Campaign to Submit Final Petition Signatures Tuesday

BOSTON, MA — One of two competing campaigns hoping to place the issue of marijuana legalization before Massachusetts voters next year say they have collected more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, and will submit their final petition signatures today.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), backed by the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), will wrap up its petition drive Tuesday in support of their proposed ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts.

At 1 p.m. ET, campaign leaders will submit their final petition signatures to the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which is located in Room 1705 of the McCormack Building at One Ashburton Place in Boston.

According to Jim Borghesani, the campaign’s Communications Director, CRMLA  has collected more than 103,000 total signatures in support of their proposed initiative.

In order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, they must submit 64,750 valid signatures from registered state voters.  Once the secretary of the commonwealth’s office counts and confirms the signatures, the petition will be sent to the Massachusetts Legislature, who under state law has until early May to pass the measure outright. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, petition supporters must collect an additional 10,792 signatures by early July to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

In summary, the proposed initiative would:

  • allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
  • create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC);
  • provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
  • create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. Medical marijuana will not be subject to these additional taxes.

The full text of the proposed initiative can be found here.

The proposal is one of two competing marijuana legalization campaigns currently underway in Massachusetts.  The other is a grassroots effort led by Bay State Repeal, which was recently endorsed in an editorial in the Boston Globe.

Among the primary differences between the two initiatives is the proposed tax rate on retail cannabis sales. Bay State Repeal has proposed marijuana sales be taxed at the 6.25%, the current rate of sales and meals taxes in Massachusetts, while MPP/CRMLA has proposed state-wide taxes of 10%, with cities and towns given the option to impose an additional 2% tax on sales, bringing the total tax to 12%, nearly double that of Bay State Repeal.BSRvsCRMLA

This comparison chart of the two proposals is provided by MassCann/NORML, the Massachusetts state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which has endorsed the Bay State Repeal initiative.


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.

The 8 States That Should Legalize Marijuana in 2016

The 8 States That Should Legalize Marijuana in 2016

Beginning in 2012, four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana. By this time next year, that number could well double, and then some. National polls now consistently show majorities in favor legalization, with a recent Gallup poll having 58% support—tied for the highest level in the poll’s history.

That doesn’t mean legalization is inevitable in any given state, as the case of Ohio earlier this month demonstrated. There, an initiative led by non-movement investors who sought monopolistic control of commercial pot cultivation got trounced despite spending millions of dollars.

But the Ohio result was probably a fluke, a convergence of a number of factors, including tone-deaf initiative organizers, a flawed initiative, a widely criticized mascot, and the fact that it was an off-off-year election with low voter turnout. There is no reason to believe that legalization initiatives likely next year in other states will be defeated just because the Ohio effort went down in flames.

At this point, it looks like there are six states likely to legalize weed through the initiative process next year, with those efforts at varying stages, and a couple more that could do it through the legislative process.

Here they are:

INITIATIVE STATES

ALREADY ON THE BALLOT

Nevada 

The legalization initiative from the Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol qualified for the ballot last December. That means that by the time Election Day 2016 arrives, organizers will have had nearly two years to make their case to voters. Under state law, the legislature could have acted on the petitions and legalized weed, but it declined to do so, so now it goes direct to the voters. There are no recent state polls on legalization, but it had 54% support in 2013, and there is no reason to think it has declined since then.

PETITION DRIVES WELL ADVANCED

Arizona

The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced last week that it had already collected 100,000 signatures for its legalization initiative. It needs to collect 150,000 valid signatures by next July to qualify for the ballot, appears well on the way to doing so, and says it is aiming for 230,000 raw signatures to have a healthy cushion. A June poll had support at 53%.

Maine

Once there were two competing initiative campaigns in the state, but now there is only one. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has quit signature gathering for its legalization initiative and joined forces with Legalize Maine in support of its slightly looser legalization initiative. Both campaigns had gathered about 40,000 raw signatures each before coalescing. The Legalize Maine campaign will need 61,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, and it has until February 1 to get them.  That seems eminently doable, and if it makes the ballot, it should win: A poll in April had support for legalization at a whopping 65%.

Massachusetts

Unlike Maine, the Marijuana Policy Project has so far been unable to form a united front with local activists, so there are two ongoing legalization campaigns. The MPP-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and its legalization initiative is vying with the homegrown Bay State Repeal and its legalization initiative. As in Maine, the local initiative is slightly looser. Earlier this month, the Campaign said it has already collected 100,000 signatures. It only needs 64,750 valid signatures to qualify, so it already has a nice cushion and the rest of this month to gather more. It’s not known how advanced the Bay State Repeal signature drive is, but it already looks like at least one legalization initiative will be on the ballot next year. Under state law, if an initiative has enough signatures, the legislature can then move to enact it. If the legislature doesn’t act, the campaign must then gather an additional 10,800 signatures to put it before the voters. One recent poll had support for legalization at only 41%, but it had a small sample size and large margin of error. Polls from 2014 had legalization winning by anywhere from six to 13 points, and the voters previously supported medical marijuana and decriminalization initiatives with a 63% vote.

Michigan

Another state with two competing campaigns, and the one that looks the iffiest in terms of qualifying for the ballot. Some 252,000 valid voter signatures are needed to qualify, and neither campaign is there yet. Backed by Republican business interests, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition said it had collected 200,000 signatures for its legalization initiative by the end of October before making a “strategic decision” to temporarily suspend petitioning. It has until the end of January to come up with more. Meanwhile, state activists have created the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MI Legalize) and are signature gathering around their own legalization initiative. Last week, they said they were 90,000 signatures short—although it that is just raw numbers, they will need substantially more to have a comfortable cushion—and they have until the end of December to get them. Both campaigns have money in the bank and are paying signature-gatherers.

STILL IN A CONFUSED MUDDLE

California

California should have been an almost sure there next year, and probably still is, but it is getting late in the game, and the evident divisions among legalization proponents are starting to make for some worried wondering. There are no fewer than 18 legalization initiatives in play (some various versions of the same initiative), most of which have little to no chance of coming up with the 365,000 signatures needed to qualify. State activists organized as the California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (ReformCA) thought they had the support of national reform organizations and associated pots of money for their initiative, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. Instead, groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance seem to be throwing their support to an initiative sponsored by tech billionaire Sean Parker. Neither the latest version of the ReformCA initiative nor the Sean Parker initiative has been cleared for signature gathering. Both initiatives now face a ticking clock. Campaigns have six months to get those necessary signatures, but the real hard deadline is June 30. Initiatives must have been cleared for the ballot by then in order to make the November ballot. The Parker initiative will likely have the financial support to do an expedited signature-gathering campaign; whether ReformCA will remains to be seen. While the state-level polling is good—a June poll had support at a record 54%–this late disarray doesn’t bode well.

LEGISLATIVE STATES

Rhode Island

This year, the legislature took up a legalization bill only to see it held for further study by the Judiciary Committees in both chambers. Next year, it could actually move, and it would if the legislature listens to the voters. In an April poll, 57% said they would support a bill to tax and regulate marijuana.

Vermont

This is probably the best bet for the first state to legalize pot through the legislative process. The groundwork has been being laid for years, it has the support of key state political figures, including Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and House Speaker Shap Smith (D), and legislative hearings on how—not whether—to legalize next year are already underway. The legislature failed to move legalization bills this year, but the stage is set for 2016.


This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


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Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Campaign Collects 100,000 Signatures

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Campaign Collects 100,000 Signatures

Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Collects More Than 100,000 Signatures in Support of Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition: 64,750 valid signatures are required to move the initiative another step closer to the November 2016 ballot

BOSTON, MA — The MPP-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced Monday it has collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts. The signatures must be reviewed and certified by town and city clerks before being submitted to the secretary of the commonwealth by December 2.

64,750 valid signatures of registered state voters are required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. After the secretary of the commonwealth’s office tallies and confirms the signatures, the petition will be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

“Massachusetts voters want the opportunity to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in 2016,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “This initiative will replace the underground marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of licensed businesses that pay taxes and create good jobs.

“It should not be a crime for adults to engage in the responsible consumption of a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol,” Luzier said. “Police have far more pressing things to worry about than issuing citations to every adult they find in possession of a small amount of marijuana.”

In summary, the proposed initiative would:

  • allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
  • create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC);
  • provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
  • create a 3.75% state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2%. [Medical marijuana will NOT be subject to these additional taxes.]

The proposal is one of two competing marijuana legalization campaigns currently underway in Massachusetts.  The other is a grassroots effort led by Bay State Repeal.


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.