Month: October 2018

New Gallup Poll Finds 66% of U.S. Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana, Record High

A new Gallup poll released Monday has found that support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has reached a record high of 66%, with just 32% opposed.

The poll found majority support spans the political spectrum, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents in favor. Support among Republicans grew to 53%, up from 51% last year, with opposition dropping to just 45%. Approximately two out of three voters support legalization in each of the four major geographic regions of the country.

The poll results come as voters in two states, Michigan and North Dakota, are considering ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Nine U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory, the Northern Mariana Islands, have enacted laws making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. Eight of those states and the Northern Marianas have also established systems for regulating commercial cultivation and sales.

“There is a growing sense among the U.S. population that it is time to end our nation’s failed experiment with marijuana prohibition”, says Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “People are sick and tired of adults being treated like criminals simply for consuming a substance that is, by every objective measure, less harmful than alcohol. Americans are more informed about cannabis than ever before, and they can now see that regulation is a viable and effective alternative to prohibition.”

Hawkins continues; “There are not many issues out there that enjoy majority support among both of the major political parties and in every region of the country. This support is consistently translating into wins at the ballot box, and it should further motivate elected officials to take action at the state and federal levels. Hopefully lawmakers are paying attention to this clear trend in public opinion. If they ignore these poll numbers, they do so at the risk of seeing a drop in their own.”

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Just Two Weeks Until These Four States Vote on Marijuana Legalization

In just two weeks and a day two states will vote to legalize medical marijuana, and two other states will vote to legalize marijuana for all uses. Here’s a look at these four initiatives.

We’re just a month away from the November 6 general election. During this election two states will be voting on the legalization of marijuana for all purposes, and two will be voting for the legalization of marijuana for medical use.

Below is a look at these four initiatives.

Recreational marijuana initiatives:

Michigan (Proposal 18-1):

Proposal 1, put forth by Michigan’s Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, would allow anyone 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, or up to 10 ounces at a private residence. Those 21+ would also be allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants.

In addition, the initiative would establish a licensed and regulated system of marijuana retail outlets. Marijuana would receive a 10% excise tax in addition to the standard 6% sales tax.

North Dakota (Measure 3):

Measure 3, if passed into law this November, would legalize the possession, personal cultivation and licensed distribution of marijuana and marijuana products – including hash and oil – for those 21 and older.

In addition, the initiative establishes a 3-step system for marijuana expungements:

  • Step 1.) The state begins to analyze all those currently in prison with charges that would be applicable under the law and flags them for expungment.
  • Step 2.) 30 days after their release from prison, the state shall automatically expunge their records.
  • Step 3.) The state then has 10 additional days to send via certified mail notification of such an event occurring.

If that state fails to expunge a record that qualifies, the person has a right to a court appeal. If the person wins the court appeal, they can sue the state for fiscal damages with the state waiving it’s sovereign immunity in the case.

Medical marijuana initiatives:

Missouri (Proposition C, Amendment 2 and Amendment 3:

Missouri’s situation is a little… shall we say… complicated. Three entirely separate measures will be voted on this November. All three would legalize medical marijuana, but would do so in different ways, including all three having their own tax system. Rather than tell you which you should support, we’ll link below to the full text of all three measures so that you can read them and decide for yourself.

Utah (Proposition 2):

Utah voters will also have the opportunity to legalize medical cannabis – including dispensaries – this November through the passage of the Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative.

Specifics of the initiative include:

  • Dispensaries would be allowed to sell marijuana to individuals with medical cards. During any one 14-day period, an individual would be allowed to buy either 2 ounces of unprocessed marijuana or an amount of marijuana product with no more than 10 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol.
  • After January 1, 2021, individuals with medical cards would be allowed to grow six marijuana plants for personal use within their homes if there are no dispensaries within 100 miles.
  • The measure would exempt the sale of medical marijuana from the sales tax.

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Election 2018: A Complete Guide to Cannabis on Next Month’s Ballot

By Bruce Barcott, Leafly.com

Cannabis legalization goes before the voters in a number of states on Nov. 6. This year’s highlights:

  • Michigan and North Dakota will decide statewide measures on the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
  • Utah and Missouri will consider medical marijuana legalization initiatives.
  • Other states will consider smaller reforms or advisory measures, including Ohio and Wisconsin.

Leafly’s political staff will continually update this page with the latest poll numbers, financial contributions, and election data. Follow our campaign features and expanded coverage at Leafly Politics.

Nine states and Washington DC have legalized the adult use of cannabis. Thirty-one states allow patients to legally access medical marijuana. Click map to enlarge. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)
In November, Michigan and North Dakota are voting on adult-use legalization. Missouri and Utah will consider medical legalization. Click map to enlarge. (Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)

States in Play: November 2018

Adult Use

STATE BALLOT MEASURE CURRENT STATUS
Michigan Proposal 1 2018 Polls:
61% Yes
35% No
5% Undecided
North Dakota Measure 3 No Polling Available.

Medical

STATE PROPOSAL CURRENT STATUS
Missouri Amendment 2
Amendment 3
Proposition C
No Polling Yet
Utah Proposition 2 Yes: 64%
No: 33%
Undecided: 2%

Local Decriminalization

LOCATION BALLOT MEASURE WHAT IT AFFECTS STATUS
Dayton, Ohio Advisory Measure City Of Dayton Non-Binding Advisory Vote: If Passed, It Would Still Take A City Commission Vote To Amend City Ordinances
Ohio State Issue 1 Entire State Of Ohio Measure Would Reduce Felony Drug & Paraphernalia Possession To Misdemeanors
Wisconsin County-By-County Advisory Referendums 16 Of Wisconsin’s 72 Counties 16 Counties Will Vote On Cannabis Policy. Some On Medical, Some On Adult Use. All Will Be Non-Binding, Advisory Votes Only.

Statewide Ballot Measures

Michigan

Proposal 18-1, Adult Use

Prop 18-1 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 or older. The measure would allow flower, concentrates, and cannabis-infused edibles, as well as homegrow (up to 12 plants) for personal consumption. Possession limits: 10 ounces of cannabis flower. Local opt-out would be allowed, giving local municipalities the ability to ban or severely restrict cannabis businesses. A 10% cannabis tax would be imposed on retail sales. That revenue would be devoted to regulatory costs, clinical research, schools, roads, and municipalities where cannabis businesses are located.

Who’s backing the initiative: The MI Legalize 2018 campaign includes buy-in from the Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Michigan NORML, the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, the marijuana law section of the State Bar Association, and other groups. That amount of unity is unusual for a legalization campaign–and indicative of the organizational power behind the movement in Michigan.

Who’s opposing it: Nobody yet.

See the full text of the measure here.

Flying the flag for legalization at Michigan’s annual Hash Bash. (Courtesy MI Legalize)

Missouri

Amendment 2, Medical (New Approach Missouri)
Amendment 3, Medical (Ben Bradshaw)
Proposition C, Medical (Travis Brown)

Yes, Missouri has three competing measures on the same ballot. That’s the bad news. The good news: It’s pretty easy to differentiate between them. Amendment 2 is the grassroots standard MMJ measure. Amendment 3 and Proposition C are one-off attempts by individuals to pass measures that may or may not benefit them personally.

Leafly’s Dave Howard has an outstanding piece explaining the differences between the three measures, linked here.

RELATED STORY
Missouri Has Three Legalization Measures. Two Are Very Odd

Amendment 2: This New Approach Missouri effort would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for medical purposes. It would:

  • Tax medical cannabis at 4%.
  • Use tax revenue for healthcare services for military veterans, and administer the state cannabis regulatory program.
  • Allow patients to grow their own medical cannabis.

Amendment 3: This effort, led by personal injury lawyer Ben Bradshaw, would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for medical purposes. It would:

  • Tax medical cannabis at 15%.
  • Use tax revenue to establish and fund a state-run cancer research institute.
  • Not allow medical patients to grow their own cannabis.
  • The cancer institute would be chaired by Brad Bradshaw, author of the amendment.
  • Brad Bradshaw would also select the institute’s governing board.

Proposition C: This measure, written and led by lobbyist Travis H. Brown, would amend Missouri law to allow the growth, sale, and use of marijuana for medical purposes. It would:

  • Tax medical cannabis at 2%.
  • Create regulations and licensing procedures for medical cannabis facilities (cultivation, production, testing, dispensing).
  • Not allow medical patients to grow their own cannabis.
  • Use tax revenue for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and public safety in cities with medical marijuana facilities.

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The latest: The wild cards in this race are, of course, Brad Bradshaw and Travis H. Brown, authors of the two off-brand initiatives. Bradshaw, a physician and personal injury lawyer based in Springfield, is essentially running a one-man “Ohio ’15” campaign, whereby he would control all the tax revenue generated by the state’s MMJ system. After getting his measure on the ballot, he then sued to knock the competing measures off the ballot. The courts tossed the case in early September.

Brown, a public affairs lobbyist, is keeping a lower profile, but St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger has accused Brown of being a stalking horse for a group of silent financial partners tied to St. Louis County Executive Steve Senger. According to Messenger, Prop C’s language grants local municipal authorities like Senger wide zoning and regulatory power to determine who gets the licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis.

Micheal Mahoney@KCMikeMahoney

Mo. Gov Mike Parson on medical marijuana questions on November ballot: “I think it has a good chance of passing”. Says might be tough for voters to pick between the 3 MedPot Questions. Says he has not focused on it personally.

The odds: “I think it has a good chance of passing,” Gov. Mike Parson said of medical cannabis legalization, in an interview with KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney on Sept. 5. Of course, Parson didn’t say which version of legalization he believes will carry the day.

North Dakota

Measure 3, Adult Use

With Measure 3, it feels like the state’s legalization advocates decided to roll the dice on a tomato-plant initiative,* the kind of measure envisioned by the cannabis pioneer Jack Herer. Measure 3 would remove “hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols” from the state’s list of Schedule I substances, and prohibit prosecution of anyone over 21 for any non-violent cannabis related activity (including growing, processing, selling, or testing), except for the sale of cannabis to a person under 21. The measure would also require the automatic expungement of prior cannabis arrests and convictions.

What Measure 3 would not do is regulate cannabis in any way. There’s no mention of licensing. There are no limits on possession. North Dakotans could stack it like hay bales in the barn. North Dakotans could see that as a feature or a bug, hard to say.

North Dakota residents could stack cannabis like bales of hay under the no-limit language in Measure 3. (kevinjeon00/iStock)

Who’s backing the measure: Legalize ND, the local advocacy group, is flying solo here. There’s no financial help or drafting language from Drug Policy Alliance or the Marijuana Policy Project. “We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job — regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever,” Cole Haymond, an adviser to the Legalize ND campaign, told the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham. “This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country.”

See the full text of the measure here.

* A tomato-plant initiative is a measure that treats the cannabis plant like a tomato plant, free for all to grow, consume and distribute as any person sees fit, without any state or local regulation whatsoever.

Utah

Proposition 2, Medical

Utah’s Prop 2 would establish a state-controlled process that allows persons with qualifying medical conditions (cancer, HIV, epilepsy, chronic pain, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, MS, PTSD, autism) to acquire and use medical cannabis.

Leafly’s David Downs has an informative FAQ on what Prop 2 would and wouldn’t do, available here.

In certain limited circumstances, patients would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal medical use. Prop. 2 would authorize the establishment of facilities that grow, process, test, or sell medical cannabis and require those facilities to be licensed by the state; and establish state controls on those licensed facilities, including: seed-to-sale inventory tracking, as well as limits on packaging, advertising, and the types of products allowed.

Medical marijuana enjoys widespread support throughout the state. It was polling at 75% earlier this year, but recently that support dropped to 64% following the Mormon church’s official statement opposing Prop 2.

Current Polling

Click on chart to enlarge. (UtahPolicy.com)

Who’s backing the proposition: The Utah Patients Coalition, led by director DJ Schanz, includes support from TRUCE (a Utah patients group), Libertas Institute (a Utah think tank), and the Marijuana Policy Project.

Who’s opposing it: The Utah Medical Association, Gov. Gary Herbert, and the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the single most powerful political entity in the state. The Drug Safe Utah Coalition, which is running an active “No on Prop 2” campaign, includes the Utah Sheriffs’ Association, DARE Utah, the Utah Eagle Forum, and others.

See the full text of the measure here.

Down Ballot: Contests Affecting Cannabis

California

Governor

At the top of the ticket, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen as a shoo-in to replace Gov. Jerry Brown, which would increase cannabis’ support in the governor’s mansion. Gov. Brown has repeatedly denigrated cannabis users as lazy and unfocused. By contrast, former San Francisco Mayor Newsom embraced cannabis law reforms early, similar to his leadership on same-sex marriage.

US Senate

Polls suggest California Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) will skate into re-election in the mid-terms, fending off an insurgency on her progressive flank. After decades as a drug war hawk, Feinstein has been forced into evolving on supporting states’ rights to set cannabis policy. This September, the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee member also signed on as a co-sponsor of a cannabis descheduling bill.

US House

Also of note in California, incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R – Huntington Beach)—cannabis’ most staunch ally in the House of Representatives—faces a formidable Republican challenger for his seat. After 2016’s election interference by Russia, Rep. Rohrabacher’s pro-Russia statements and positions have dogged him.

Municipal Cannabis Measures

At the local city and county level, California is awash in dozens if not more than 100 ballot initiatives to set local cannabis taxes and/or decide on allowing local dispensaries or farms. Voters also hold the power to approve of local stores and cannabis businesses through the election of hundreds of local city council members or county supervisors, many of whom are taking key positions on local store bans.

Florida

Governor

The race between Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) is a battle between an unabashed advocate of legalized regulation (Gillum) and an old-school prohibitionist (DeSantis). Whoever replaces outgoing Gov. Rick Scott will have a lot of say over the state’s emerging medical marijuana system, and over any possible adult-use legalization campaign. Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott wrote about the race here.

Ohio

Statewide
State Issue 1, an omnibus drug policy reform measure, would reduce many cannabis possession and paraphernalia felonies to misdemeanors.

City of Dayton
Dayton voters will consider an advisory measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. If voters pass the measure, the city council would still have to vote to confirm it. The measure calls on the council to eliminate the current $150 fine for minor misdemeanor marijuana and hashish possession offenses.

Wisconsin

(Cannabadger.com)

In an unusual campaign, cannabis activists in the Badger State have waged county-by-county combat to put legalization advisory measures on the ballot in November.

Because Wisconsin has no statewide initiative process, any full-state legalization measure would have to be approved by the state legislature.

These county ballots are expected to show legislators how popular cannabis reform is, and put added pressure on them to pass statewide medical or adult-use legalization in 2019.

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