For good reason, there was a lot of excitement among marijuana reform advocates after Tuesday’s election. Three states passed measures legalizing cannabis for medical or adult use, after all. But there were also a few smaller cannabis-related measures on state and local ballots that haven’t received quite as much attention.
Here’s what you might have missed:
In Colorado, a measure to change the definition of industrial hemp under the state constitution passed, 61-39 percent. There were some concerns that, should the federal government legalize hemp—as it seems poised to do—the state’s existing definition would be inconsistent with the federal definition, which could put Colorado hemp farmers at a disadvantage. Now Colorado’s definition will have the “same meaning as it is defined in federal law or as the term is defined in Colorado statute.”
Almost 90 percent of voters in Chicago said they want tax revenue from perhaps soon-to-be-legal cannabis sales to go toward public schools in the city and mental health services. The question was advisory in nature, so it won’t actually change the law—but it does signal that people have strong feelings about where marijuana tax revenue should go.
Los Angeles voters rejected a measure that would have established a public bank in the city, 58-42 percent. The measure was designed to mitigate some of the difficulties that cannabis businesses face when dealing with traditional financial institutions, as well as provide financing for affordable housing initiatives.
And more than 90 cities and counties across California voted on measures to change the way that marijuana is taxed, licensed and regulated in their jurisdictions. For example, voters in Malibu, California, approved a measure that allows cannabis delivery services and impose a new tax on gross receipts for non-medical marijuana sales.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Lesser-Known Marijuana Votes You Might Have Missed On Election Day
2018 has been a banner year for marijuana ballot initiatives. Voters in two states are considering legalizing recreational use, while those in another two states will decide whether to allow medical cannabis.
In the lead-up to the election, committees supporting or opposing these initiatives have raised a total of $12.9 million in cash and in-kind services over the past two years to convince those voters, Marijuana Moment’s analysis of the latest campaign finance records filed the day before Election Day shows.
On the day final ballots are cast and tallied, here’s where funding totals now stand for the various cannabis committees, both pro and con, in the four states considering major modifications to marijuana laws.
(Notes: For Missouri, PACS supported one of three initiatives that would bring some form of medical marijuana to the state. Missouri Oppose ($6,000) data isn’t visible on chart due to scale.)
Missouri has three different medical cannabis ballot initiatives, and the resulting competition among and against them attracted the most money in the country: a whopping $5.4 million in funding split between five committees.
Find the Cures, which supports Amendment 3 and is funded almost single-handedly by loans from physician Brad Bradshaw, raised almost $2.2 million.
New Approach Missouri, which supports Amendment 2, raised a total of $1.7 million. Major donors included Drug Policy Action, which contributed $258,500 and the national New Approach PAC, which contributed a total of $173,470 in-kind, most of that coming through in October. Former Anheuser-Busch CEO Adulphus Busch IV contributed $134,000 through individual donations and his Belleau Farms. Seven Points LLC contributed $125,000 over the course of the year, Missouri Essentials dropped in $97,000 and Emerald City Holdings put in $75,000. The group received a last-minute $25,000 donation from 91-year-old Ethelmae Humphrys, former CEO of TAMKO, and realtor Ron Stenger contributed $25,000 over the year.
Latecomer PAC Patients Against the “Bradshaw Amendment,” also supports Amendment 2 and raised $2,530.
Missourians for Patient Care, which supports Proposition C, reports raising $1.48 million, but much of that is in-kind services from staff.
Another group, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, raised only $350.
Citizens for SAFE Medicine, which opposes all the initiatives, did not appear on the scene until September, and accounts for only $6,000 of the total.
Michigan committees raised more than $5 million in the past two years around adult-use legalization on the ballot. The pro-legalization Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol raised the most: $2.3 million. The National New Approach PAC provided almost half of those funds, with $1.1 million in contributions. The Marijuana Policy Project contributed $554,205, while the Drug Policy Alliance provided $75,000 in the last weeks of the campaign.
Anti-legalization committee Healthy and Productive Michigan was right behind, raising $2.2 million, with over a million of that from national prohibition organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). SAM also provided over $125,000 of in-kind support.
MI Legalize raised just over $500,000, most of that in 2017, and two smaller PACS raised a total of $10,000.
Funding has continued to pour in at an extraordinary rate during the last days of the campaign. 31 percent of the total money raised—$1.6 million—has come in since October 21.
Political Issues Committees (PICs) on both sides of a medical cannabis legalization question in Utah raised $1.7 million.
The PIC that raised the most was against the proposition: Drug Safe Utah raised $842,424 in 2018. Over $350,000 of that funding came from a single lawyer, William Plumb, and his associates.
A smaller opponent to the proposition, Truth About Proposition, raised $66,040.
It took pro-reform PIC Utah Patients Coalition 18 months to raise $831,471. The group’s largest donor was the national organization Marijuana Policy Project, which contributed $268,000 in cash and $55,111 of in-kind staff time. The Libertas Institute contributed $135,000, and hemp-infused Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps donated $50,000. Non-profit patient group Our Story contributed $49,000 and DKT Liberty Project put in $35,000.
With the exception of Drug Safe Utah, most campaign finance activity surrounding the race has slowed significantly following the announcement last month of a deal to pass a compromise medical cannabis bill through the legislature after Election Day.
The state with the smallest population of the four considering marijuana measures not surprisingly raised far less money during the year, but interest caught fire in the last month of the campaign. Committees for and against Measure 3, the Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative, raised $413,868 in cash and $304,498 in-kind, with 82 percent of that coming in October.
The committees supporting the initiative were heavily out-funded in cash funding, by a ratio of 18 to one. Healthy and Productive North Dakota, which opposes the measure, accounted for more than half of the total funds raised, even though it didn’t start raising money until October. It raised a total of $226,234, entirely from SAM, which also supplied $237,234 of in-kind support.
North Dakotans Against the Legalization of Marijuana raised a total of $163,180, almost two-thirds of that in October. Big donors last month included the North Dakota Petroleum Council with $30,000, and the Greater North Dakota Chamber, which contributed $10,000 on top of their $30,000 donation in September. The Associated General Contractors of North Dakota dropped in $10,000. Outdoor sports magnate Steve Scheels contributed $10,000 personally, and $9,500 through the Scheels corporation.
Pro-legalization group LegalizeND raised only $19,754 in cash, but received another $67,264 in in-kind services. A separate group, Legalize North Dakota, appears to have raised approximately $12,750, but the reports it filed are not consistent.
After all the money that has been spent across the four states, the decision is in the hands of voters. Within hours, the ballots will be counted, and the effectiveness of the funds contributed and spent on both sides of the various measures in the four states can be evaluated.
See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:
Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Raised $12.9 Million, Final Pre-Election Numbers Show
Arkansas will have a chance to become America’s first truly Southern state with medical cannabis come this election.
The Arkansas secretary of state’s office announced today that 77,516 of the Arkansans for Compassionate Care (ACC) initiative’s signatures collected qualified as valid signatures. Thus, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA), which legalizes medical marijuana dispensaries and allows for home growing, will appear on Arkansas’ ballot come November.
The AMCA would make medical marijuana available to those with chronic and severe illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Chron’s disease, lupus, autism, and Parkinson’s disease. While the bill’s restrictive nature wouldn’t create a full-fledged medical marijuana industry, the AMCA would provide safe access to Arkansas’ patients with the most dire need for medicine.
A competing, more prohibitive measure (the AMMA) that does not allow home growing is expected to submit its signatures for state approval any day. Should that bill also make the ballot, state supporters are concerned the two competing measures will cause both to ultimately fail.
The AMCA constituency has asked the AMMA to drop its proposal so one bill could pass. Sadly, the AMMA appears intent on submitting its signatures and making the ballot–which will spell doom for Arkansas’ patients in need of safe access.
Still, should Arkansas’ voters approve the measure, Arkansas would become America’s 26th or 27th medical marijuana state, depending on your definition of Louisiana’s unrecognized medical marijuana program. However, that number could easily jump to 28 or 29 this fall as Florida and Missouri also have similar medical marijuana measures that voters will decide the fate of this fall.
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!
Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has previously suggested he would end prohibition of marijuana. should he be elected. At a rally in Puerto Rico on Monday, Sanders answered an audience’s question: “Would you legalize marijuana?”
He responded in the affirmative: “Si. You see, my Spanish is good enough to know that word.”
Sanders has been clear on his position regarding the Controlled Substances Act, which ranks cannabis in the same category as heroin. He reiterated this to the crowd in Puerto Rico.
“We’ve got marijuana and heroin together, that’s pretty crazy to my mind,” he said.
His views on the failings of the War on Drugs have also been voiced in October 2015.
In the United States we have 2.2 million people in jail today, more than any other country. And we’re spending about $80 billion a year to lock people up. We need major changes in our criminal justice system – including changes in drug laws.”
Sanders has focused on the failures of the War on Drugs as a reason to legalize cannabis.
Presidential candidates running for office in 2016 have been more vocal about cannabis legalization than ever before, regardless of their position.
Hillary Clinton has stated she would consider rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance, but seems to think no research has been done on the benefits of cannabis, despite plenty of evidence indicating otherwise. She may be unaware that significant research is being conducted in other countries.
“…the problem with medical marijuana is there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions, but we haven’t done any research. Why? Because it’s considered what’s called a Schedule I drug and you can’t even do research in it.”
While Clinton can be labeled as a weak ally in the legalization movement, Republican candidate Donald Trump has more or less supported medical marijuana.
“I know people that have serious problems… and… it really, really does help them,”
he said to Bill O’Reilly.
Sanders is an example of the growing support for cannabis legalization that has nothing to do with personal use and more to do with public safety, public health and the mass incarceration of U.S. citizens for minor drug crimes.