Tags Posts tagged with "MPP"

MPP

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West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill that makes his state the 29th to allow medical use of marijuana. West Virginia is the sixth state to legalize medical marijuana in the last year and the third (along with Ohio and Pennsylvania) to do so through the legislature. In the other three states: Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota, voters approved ballot initiatives authorizing medical marijuana last November.

West Virginia’s new law recognizes marijuana as a treatment for patients with terminal illnesses or any of 14 specified conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and intractable pain. Patients whose doctors recommend marijuana will be able to obtain it in the form of pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquids, and vaporizable extracts from state-regulated dispensaries. The dispensaries will not sell buds for smoking or marijuana edibles, although patients can prepare their own at home. The law does not allow home cultivation, and patients can legally possess no more than a month’s supply at a time.

Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) stated, “This legislation is going to benefit countless West Virginia patients and families for years to come. Medical marijuana can be effective in treating a variety of debilitating conditions and symptoms. It is a proven pain reliever, and it is far less toxic and less addictive than a lot of prescription drugs. Providing patients with a safer alternative to opioids could turn out to be a godsend for this state.”

One downside to West Virginia’s law is a new standard for driving under the influence of marijuana that erroneously equates impairment with a blood THC level of three nanograms per milliliter. That’s even lower than the unfair and unscientific five-nanogram cutoff that Colorado and Washington adopted when they legalized marijuana for recreational use. As MPP notes, West Virginia’s DUID standard “could make it illegal for some patients to ever drive, since many patients have THC levels at this amount or greater many hours or days after last administering cannabis.”

West Virginia’s rules put it on the less liberal end of a medical marijuana spectrum that ranges from highly permissive (e.g., California) to highly restrictive (e.g., New York). Eight of the 29 medical marijuana states also allow recreational use. Medical use was approved by ballot initiative in 14 of those states, beginning with California in 1996. In the rest, as in West Virginia, medical marijuana laws originated in the state legislature.

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    The people of Arizona are close to gaining the chance to vote out the cannabis prohibition this year. The director of the Marijuana Policy Project announced Tuesday that the group successfully completed a signature drive, and will be able to place the proposal on the November ballot. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) currently has 150,642 valid signatures and counting, qualifying it for the initiative on July 7th. This is according to Rob Kampia, the director of the national lobbying group MPP, which sponsored the drive. Signature gathered over 200,000 names and $1 million in donations.

    Under the desert state’s measure, adults 21 or older would be allowed up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in public and grow six plants. The department of marijuana licenses and Control would be the one to oversee licensing and regulation of the plant statewide. Representative Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) is the first congressman to endorse the CRMLA.

    “We will be far better off if we shift the production and sale of marijuana to taxpaying Arizona businesses that are subject to strict regulations. It will also allow the state to direct law enforcement resources toward reducing violence and other more serious crimes,” said Gallego. “I am proud to support this initiative, as it represents a far more sensible approach to marijuana for our state.”

    Arizonans, when polled, support legalization of cannabis 50-43. Prohibition supporters, called Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, have raised $480,000 in order to defeat any recreational bill in Arizona, however, the pro-legalizes group has raised double that amount. Additionally, a small group of pro-marijuana forces promises to fight legalization along with the law enforcement establishment. Medical marijuana dispensaries will get priority for recreational marijuana business licenses, according to officials. Arizona is one of over 12 states to consider either adult use legalization or medical legalization on the November ballot.

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    The inquiry of whether to let on-site cannabis use throughout the city of Denver has been the topic of quarrelsome debate for all of 2015. As of right now, activists and local officials have not yet been able to find a similar floor to put in front of citizens. It is this undetermined hiatus at the discussion that has advanced a newly organized section of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to enter the debate in an endeavor to put the bills for recreational cannabis use this year.

    During the summer of 2015, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the organization that was acknowledged with the passing of Colorado’s Amendment 64, revealed that they were putting together a bill with the goal of letting cannabis be consumed in specific areas of places where alcohol is sold. The initiative was named the “Limited Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative,” and its goal was to allow bars as well as restaurants to have a portion of their area to those who wanted to smoke recreational pot.

    However, as the initiative generated enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in last November’s vote, the MPP announced in September that they were taking the proposal back to try to work with city officials and dining and hotel services to make a proposal that would compromise for everyone involved. Their aim was to start meeting with nearby lawmakers and members of the business community worried about the possible effect of recreational use to make a more favorable measure to offer to voters later on this year.

    But Denver’s newest NORML section, led by executive director Jordan Person, is concerned that the hunt for similarities on the problem will have no effects, which is why the organization is going to jump over the lack of initiative launching.

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    November was an extremely important month for marijuana reform; its impact will probably be seen for years in the future. California headed towards total legalization with the revealing of a well-funded, extremely supported 2016 ballot initiative. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders proposed a Senate bill that would halt federal cannabis prohibition. As a result, another Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, ended up loosening up how she felt about marijuana as well. In addition, Mexico’s Supreme Court voted in support of personal cannabis use, which could quickly lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Also, the Ohio population was able to vote an initiative that would have made the state the largest recreational marijuana market in the country; however, it was unfortunately.

    However, one of the largest developments in the movement did not see much time in the headlines. The development was that Dan Riffle, a federal policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), announced that he was quitting his job. Riffle is one of the most outspoken advocates of marijuana legalization. Earlier in November, Riffle highlighted in an email that the “industry is taking over the legalization movement and I’m not interested in the industry.” That very same day, MPP publicized that a new political campaign funded by marijuana industry revenues was commencing. The fact that these two announcements were announced on the same day was not a coincidence.

    “I think it is a pretty stark example of the kinds of things I was concerned about and that were the reasons why I left,” Riffle noted of MPP’s new campaign. “I felt for the last few months the industry was kind of dominating the legalization movement’s work in general, and MPP’s specifically.”

    Riffle states that business has been mixed with politics in the United States, but he is anxious that the substance being focused on in the movement is a potent drug. Although the drug may not be as dangerous as some people say, there may be some benefits for the welfare of society if access to the product was limited.

    “They might lobby for preferential tax treatment that drives down prices, they might lobby for less regulation,” Riffle stated. “The industry’s goal is to make money, but from a public health perspective, we might have other goals that are at odds with the industry’s goal of making money.”

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    Was 2014 the last year where activist-led marijuana legalization?
    The story focuses on Sean Parker, who is the founder of Napster and early investor in Facebook. He has made he decision to throw his considerable wealth at drafting a marijuana legalization initiative all his own.
    That’s left longtime California legalization activists all over the place, some of whom had already put in well over 10 years worth of fighting for cannabis legalization by the time Sean Parker was born, just 28 days before 1980.
    ReformCA was presumed to be the activist coalition to champion the legalization fight. Made up of veterans of the failed Proposition 19 campaign from 2010, ReformCA was to be the cautious, mainstream approach to legalizing marijuana in contrast to more extreme approaches, such as the biennially-proposed “Jack Herer Initiative” known as CCHI (California Cannabis Hemp Initiative), or the slightly less extreme MCLR (Marijuana Control, Legalization, & Revenue Act).
    ReformCA built up the support of major California marijuana cultivators and medical marijuana associations, civil rights leaders like Ms. Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP as well as the big established legalization activist groups Americans for Safe Access (ASA), California NORML, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
    Yet then MPP and DPA backed out of ReformCA. SF Weekly’s Chris Roberts also documents that the New Approach PAC, which financially backed Oregon’s legalization and is funded by the late Peter Lewis’ estate, is on board with Parker, as well as two Pritzker family Hyatt Hotel heirs.
    That leaves ReformCA without the major funding they need, except for a few like Justin Hartfield of WeedMaps, who takes a seat on the National NORML’s and MPP’s boards. The difference would be that Sean Parker shows up as #268 on the Forbes 400 at $2.5 billion net worth, and Hartfield has not yet earned his third comma in his net worth.
    Whatever initiative Parker moves forward with, it appears as if that would be the front-runner for California legalization, just based on the advantages using the power of money in politics. In just short of two weeks, ten wealthy financiers are set to pass marijuana legalization in Ohio that is as much a personal investment as it is a social reform. Billionaires in California are eyeing the world’s largest marijuana market and deciding they can create it themselves without the help of advocates or activist.
    California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’ blue ribbon commission issued a report on how California legalization should progress forward. In it, his commission stated that marijuana legalization “should not be California’s next Gold Rush.” However unless the California Assembly puts forth a marijuana legalization proposition, any initiative battling for the 2016 ballot will need major amounts of financing, and those billionaires are seeing cannabis gold in those west coast hills.

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