Marijuana on the Ballot

Posted: August 31, 2016 in -
Tags: , , , , , , ,



Marijuana Majority writes:

Hi Joe,

August was another extremely busy month for marijuana news! But don’t worry: We’ve compiled anything you might have missed right here in this email…

This Month’s Top Marijuana Policy Developments

Here’s some of the most important legislative and business news you need to know about from the past month:

DEA refuses to reschedule marijuana. In what might be the biggest marijuana news of the year — until Election Day, that is — the Drug Enforcement Administration finally issued its ruling on whether to reclassify marijuana. Unfortunately, the agency decided to keep cannabis in Schedule I, a classification that’s more restrictive than the one for cocaine and which is supposed to be reserved for drugs with no medical value. Marijuana Majority is pushing back by urging Congress to overrule the DEA. Please take action and contact your senators today if you haven’t already.

More marijuana initiatives qualify for state ballots. We got some good news this month, too. Officials certified that advocates collected enough signatures to put a marijuana legalization measure on Arizona’s November ballot and that a medical cannabis initiative qualified in North Dakota. Here’s a complete look at the confirmed statewide marijuana ballot questions that voters will decide on this year:

  • Arizona: Full legalization – Proposition 205
  • Arkansas: Medical cannabis – Issue 6 & Issue 7
  • California: Full legalization – Proposition 64
  • Florida: Medical cannabis – Amendment 2
  • Maine: Full legalization – Question 1
  • Massachusetts: Full legalization – Question 4
  • Montana: Restore state’s existing medical cannabis law – Initiative 182
  • Nevada: Full legalization – Question 2
  • North Dakota – Medical cannabis – Measure 5

A few other measures are pending the results of lawsuits and disputes over signature and drafting technicalities, so we could still see medical cannabis initiatives on Missouri’s or Oklahoma’s ballots, and voters in Michigan may get the chance to decide on full legalization.

Federal court blocks medical marijuana prosecutions. Dealing a huge blow to the DEA, a federal appeals court ruled that a Congressionally-approved amendment stops the Department of Justice from spending any money to prosecute people for activity that is in compliance with state medical marijuana policies, regardless of the ongoing federal prohibition.

Illinois decriminalizes marijuana. Late in July, after our last newsletter went out, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed into law a bill that will replace many low-level marijuana arrests with fines. Twenty-one states have now removed the threat of jail for possessing small amounts of cannabis.

Marijuana reform gets local. This month the State College, Pennsylvania Borough Council approved an ordinance to reduce penalties for marijuana offenses. In Port Richey, Florida, the City Council advanced a similar measure. City councilmembers in Memphis and Nashville — the two largest cities in Tennessee — are considering ordinances to replace low-level cannabis arrests with modest fines. Local lawmakers in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois agreed to place nonbinding advisory questions about legalizing marijuana before voters on November ballots. And City Council members in Norfolk, Virginia are preparing to push state lawmakers to decriminalize cannabis.

Polls show marijuana reform momentum heading into November. A survey found that 64% of California voters support legalizing marijuana. In Arkansas, 68% of voters back the proposed medical cannabis measure. Florida is likely to approve medical marijuana this year, too, as a survey found that 68% of the state’s likely voters support the initiative on November’s ballot. In Utah, where lawmakers have been considering medical cannabis, 64% of likely voters are on board. In a national survey, 56% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. And a PolitiFact analysis showed that every national poll since 2014 has consistently found more people supporting legalization than opposing it. We. Are. Winning.

As Election Day approaches, please help our movement continue our momentum by making a contribution to Marijuana Majority.


Look Who’s Speaking Out For Marijuana Reform

These are just some of the voices speaking out for much needed-changes to cannabis laws in the last month:

National Conference of State Legislatures:
“The Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from schedule 1 thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D):
“There are too many people who are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts, or carrying modest amounts of marijuana. And that is clogging up our prisons, it’s destroying families and it’s hurting our economy. So I think decriminalization is the first step.”

Los Angeles Times editorial board:
“Officially deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical application, marijuana is listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act — on a par with heroin and LSD… This is a different kind of reefer madness.”

San Jose Mercury News editorial board:
“Once again, California voters will decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. They have previously rejected initiatives to do this, but while this year’s Proposition 64 isn’t perfect, it is a much more thoughtful proposal. It’s time to say yes… Our police, judges and jailers have bigger issues than pot-smokers.”

West Hollywood, California City Council:
“Legalizing marijuana would help to eliminate the black market associated with its use and move marijuana purchases into a legal structure with strict safeguards.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):
“If Colorado wants to legalize marijuana, they have the right to do so.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ):
“The DEA’s failure to reclassify marijuana is disappointing. There are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows, and choosing to ignore the medical value of marijuana defies common sense and the scientific evidence. Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws supporting its medical use, and it’s time that federal policy caught up.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA):
“The DEA is saying that oxycodone and methamphetamine have medical uses, though they seem to have determined these drugs do not have high potential for abuse. I would say to the DEA, ‘Get your head out of the sand and look around. Marijuana has significant issues for which we should be concerned, but it seems to have nothing near the addictive qualities of oxycodone and methamphetamine.'”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):
“The decision by the DEA to continue to categorize marijuana in the same schedule as heroin, LSD, and other very dangerous drugs shows the disconnect between the Obama administration and the common sense of the American people…The Obama administration has had the chance to correct a foolish and counterproductive policy. Now it’s up to the Congress and the next administration.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR):
“I think in five years this game’s over. Medical marijuana will be available to people in every state, and most states will be treating marijuana like they treat alcohol. The train has left the station, if we all do our job this year.”


Your Donations At Work: Marijuana Majority In The News

This month we continued to be a go-to source for pro-reform quotes and context in the media:

When the DEA finally announced it was refusing to reschedule cannabis, Marijuana Majority was the first organization to respond, and we helped shape the story in a way that showed just how absurd it is for the government to keep pretending the plant has no medical value:
NPR  DEA Rejects Attempt To Loosen Federal Restrictions On Marijuana
USA Today – Marijuana to remain illegal under federal law, DEA says
Wall Street Journal – U.S. Refuses to Reclassify Marijuana, but Will Support More Research
Fox News Radio – Angell: The FDA Is Out Of Touch On Marijuana
Washington Times – DEA rejects request to reclassify marijuana
And many, many more articles. Check out this Google News search to see some of them.

After a federal court ruled that the Justice Department couldn’t spend money to prosecute people abiding by state medical marijuana laws, we were there to help the media understand what it meant:
Washington Post – Yet another federal court has told the DOJ to stop harassing medical marijuana providers
Huffington Post – The Largest Federal Appeals Court Tells DOJ To Back Off State-Legal Medical Marijuana
LA Weekly – Court to Federal Anti-Pot Crusaders: STFU

After Ohio announced it would hire a consultant to help implement its new medical cannabis law but that the person would have to personally abstain from consumption, we made the case that drug testing in the marijuana industry is unacceptable:
420 TimesMarijuana Jobs That Drug Test Are Ridiculous

The press is taking note of the fact that there are far more marijuana policy reform measures on state ballots this year than in any past election cycle. We helped clarify the stakes for what wins and losses would mean for the movement:
Washington Times – Marijuana initiatives on ballot in record 9 states despite feds’ firm stand
The Hill – Pot proponents plot legislative blitz


Coming Up Next…

Congress goes back into session next month, and the House could soon vote on an amendment to continue prohibiting the Justice Department from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. If and when the details are finalized, Marijuana Majority will send out an action alert that makes it easy for you to let your representative know how you feel, so stay tuned!

And as November approaches, the campaigns to pass state marijuana law reform initiatives will heat up. Make sure you’re registered to vote and, where possible, cast your ballot early to make sure your voice is heard.

If you can afford it, please make a financial contribution to help support Marijuana Majority’s continued work. We can’t keep spreading the message without your help, and even a few dollars from each supporter goes a long way when added together.

Thanks for all you do,





Tom Angell
Founder and Chairman
Marijuana Majority

P.S. Unlike our well-financed opposition, we have no endowments or revenue-generating investments, and receive no public funding. We can only continue to keep up our momentum if we have support from people like you. Even if you can’t make a donation, please support Marijuana Majority on Amazon Smile. If you use this link to start your shopping, Amazon will make a contribution to our efforts at no added cost to you.



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