Marijuana legalization has made the November ballot in Massachusetts. With north of 25,000 signatures supporting the initiative, legalization proponents successfully gathered well over the necessary 10,792 signatures to qualify.
As long as at least 10,792 of those signatures are certified as legitimate, a foregone conclusion, then Massachusetts’ voters will decide the state’s legal cannabis future come this fall. Should voters approve the Massachusetts Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Initiative, the state would become the fifth to adopt legal cannabis.
The proposal would “allow the use, cultivation, possession, and distribution of recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old.” Like in Colorado and other legal states, the initiative strives to regulate cannabis like alcohol and set up a legitimate legal cannabis market.
This decision would supplement the state’s current medical marijuana law which Massachusetts has had been in place since 2013; the state’s dispensaries began opening last summer. If the initiative passes, Massachusetts would become the first East Coast state to adopt a fully legal marijuana policy.
However, Massachusetts is not the only state that could join Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington as a legal state. With California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine also voting on legalization this fall, the United States could conceivably have nine legal marijuana states (plus the District of Columbia) by November.
The “cannabis election” is shaping out as a major story this fall, and one that could provide far more excitement than the Clinton-Trump debacle. Stay tuned and cast your vote for cannabis come November 8!
After acquiring enough votes to qualify for November’s ballot, Maine voters will have the chance to legalize cannabis this fall.
The legalization referendum received more than the necessary 61,123 signatures to qualify for November’s ballot. Until the bill’s proponents submitted more signatures yesterday, the referendum’s fate was in serious doubt since 26,000 signatures had been previously denied “because of a discrepancy.”
Maine’s bill would legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and set up a regulated, retail marijuana system much like Colorado’s. With the additional possibility of legalization in states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts this fall, the East Coast might soon have its first three legal states in one full swoop.
Pennsylvania is feeling sweet today as the Keystone State has officially become America’s 24th medical marijuana state!
As expected, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that makes medical marijuana law in the Keystone State. The bill allows medical marijuana prescribed for 17 illnesses including epilepsy, cancer, and Multiple Sclerosis, but like in New York, does not permit patients to smoke dried cannabis flowers. Instead, patients will ingest cannabis in concentrated forms like capsules, vaporized oils or liquid tinctures.
The state expects it could take as long as two years for Pennsylvania’s new law to result in a regulated retail system with licensed dispensaries. That delay is unfortunate, but Pennsylvania’s many medical marijuana patients can take solace knowing that relief is on the way. Here’s what the pro-cannabis governor had to say about this monumental bill:
Clearly, Governor Wolf represents the kind of forward-thinking legislator who understands the need for safe access in his state. Most notably, Pennsylvania’s new law will bring relief to its many epileptic patients that campaigned for the change and shed tears last week when the House approved this bill.
On a national scale, this news means America remains just one state away from reaching the “half of the country now has medical marijuana” tipping point. Every East Coast state north of Virginia now has some form of medical marijuana law in place.
Florida should add to that tally come November while hopefully the Carolinas and Virginia aren’t too far behind.
April 20 (4/20) is nearly (eight days!) upon us and that means it’s time for the cannabis community to celebrate its national high holiday.
From smokey concerts to peaceful park smoke-outs, there’s never a shortage of 4/20 celebrations in the air. But this year brings a new, special kind of celebration coming from the East Coast in the form of a “Unity Torch.”
This symbolic, Olympic-sized torch, shaped like a marijuana joint, will make its way from the top of the East Coast (Portland, Maine) to the bottom of the East Coast (Miami, Florida) starting this Wednesday, April 14. Presented by the East Coast Cannabis Coalition, the 2016 Unity Cypher will be passing through all 15 East Coast states before finishing its journey in Florida on May 1.
You can view all the states and the schedule right here.
The goal of the Unity Cypher is far bigger than just getting high for 4/20. In fact, actual cannabis plants seem to be an afterthought. The Cypher’s true goal is to spread even awareness for the plant on the East Coast, where marijuana remains stifled, and to promote the de-scheduling or at the very least rescheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act.
Both of those issues may be nearing resolutions, as Rhode Island and Vermont appear poised to legalize this year while the DEA claims it will consider rescheduling cannabis by mid 2016. Still, a torch passing through states and creating more press for the plant’s freedom should only help these initiatives gain more steam.
photo credit: Kottonmouthkings