The Midwest May Be the Next Frontier In Marijuana Legalization

The Midwest May Be the Next Frontier In Marijuana Legalization

Michigan fully legalized marijuana, Missouri voted to allow medical cannabis and Democrats picked up four gubernatorial seats in the Midwest on Tuesday. What does that say about the future of marijuana reform in the region?

With the gubernatorial wins of Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, J. B. Pritzker in Illinois, Tim Walz in Minnesota and Tony Evers in Wisconsin, the stage seems to be set for a Midwestern green revolution. Michigan became the first state in the region to legalize for adult use, but the overall political landscape bodes well for cannabis reform efforts with the new governors-elect taking their seats soon.

Illinois and Minnesota already have exiting medical cannabis systems in place. Pritzker said on Wednesday that he thinks his state should consider adult-use legalization “right away,” noting the economic benefits. A system designed to expunge the criminal records of individuals who’ve been convicted of cannabis-related offenses is also on the table for Illinois, he said.

Similarly, Whitmer said that Michigan voters have made clear that “no one should bear a lifelong record” for an offense that has since been legalized. She will be “looking into” policies to ameliorate that problem.

“A green Midwest would say [to the federal government] what we’re seeing in so many other arenas,” Jolene Forman, a staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Marijuana Moment. “Marijuana is not an exclusively a leftist or libertarian issue. It’s really an issue that the American public wants to see.”

Historically, the Midwest hasn’t been regarded as a region especially friendly toward progressive cannabis policies. But that’s rapidly changing, and the results of the midterm election could signal a paradigm shift that’s been a long time coming, Forman said.

For example, Walz, in Minnesota, said he wants to “replace the current failed policy with one that creates tax revenue, grows jobs, builds opportunities for Minnesotans, protects Minnesota kids, and trusts adults to make personal decisions based on their personal freedoms.”

In Wisconsin, voters in 16 counties and two cities embraced various marijuana reform proposals in the form of non-binding advisory questions on Tuesday. Outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walter (R) opposed full legalization and called marijuana a “gateway drug” as recently as May, but governor-elect Evers has said he wants to put a legalization question on the statewide ballot for voters to weigh in on and would support ending prohibition if they approved it. In the meantime he wants to enact decriminalization and legalize medical cannabis.

Meanwhile, voters in five Ohio cities approved local marijuana decriminalization measures.

“The Midwest, which is the heartland of America—if legalization starts to take root there, it’s only a matter of time that federal law changes and that the rest of the country follows,” Forman said.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

The Midwest May Be the Next Frontier In Marijuana Legalization

Michigan Voters Just Approved Full Marijuana Legalization

Michigan Voters Just Approved Full Marijuana Legalization

Michigan voters approved a measure to fully legalize marijuana on Tuesday, making it the first state in the Midwest to allow retail cannabis sales for adults 21 and older.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, the initiative, Proposal 1, is up 56-44 percent, and the Associated Press projected it passed.

“This is yet another historic election for the movement to end marijuana prohibition,” Marijuana Policy Project executive director Steve Hawkins said in a statement to Marijuana Moment. “Voters have once again sent a message loud and clear that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana.”

“The victory in Michigan highlights just how widespread support is for marijuana policy reform.”

Under the new law, adults will be allowed to possess, buy and consume marijuana, and each individual can cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use. Adults may possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis at their residence.

Retail purchases will be subject to a 10 percent excise tax. That tax revenue will then be distributed to local governments, K-12 education and infrastructure projects.

Last month, the non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency projected that the state would collect about $730 million in tax revenue in the five years after the legal system is implemented.

Proposal 1 also legalizes the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp in Michigan.

The main political action committee backing the measure was the Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which received significant financial support from national groups including Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance and New Approach.

Anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana dumped more than $1 million into the opposition committee, Healthy and Productive Michigan, through its political action committee. Other opponents to the measure included the Detroit NAACP chapter and the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

Even in the final days before the election, big dollars flowed into committees on both sides. But ultimately, voters chose to usher in a new era of legalization in the Great Lake State.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the latest election results information.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan Voters Just Approved Full Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Raised $12.9 Million, Final Pre-Election Numbers Show

Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Raised $12.9 Million, Final Pre-Election Numbers Show

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

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

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.

Utah

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.

North Dakota

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

Marijuana Campaign Ads Are Flooding Airwaves Ahead Of The Election

Marijuana Campaign Ads Are Flooding Airwaves Ahead Of The Election

Campaigns supporting and opposing marijuana ballot measures are filling up airwaves and social media feeds with political advertisements in the run-up to the midterm elections.

From Utah to Michigan, battles to convince the electorate via video advertisements to vote one way or the other on cannabis-related initiatives are heating up.

Here’s a roundup of ads you can find on TV and the internet as competing camps work to get out the vote in the four states with recreational or medical legalization up for consideration on Election Day.

Michigan

Veterans, police officers and a former television news anchor explain their support for an initiative to fully legalize cannabis in Michigan.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol also produced a series of ads focusing on the safeguards that a regulated cannabis system creates, the economic benefits of legalization and the positive impact of a legal marijuana marketplace on criminal justice.

But in this ad, anti-legalization Healthy and Productive Michigan president Scott Greenlee falsely conflates active impairment from marijuana with the presence of cannabis metabolites in drug tests.

The group also created an ad fear-mongering about the risks that the legalization of cannabis edibles poses to young people.

Missouri

New Approach Missouri, a campaign vying to pass one of three separate measures to legalize medical cannabis in the state, presents several ads championing support from doctors, patients and veterans for Amendment 2.

https://www.facebook.com/newapproachmo/videos/325888127987065/

The same pro-legalization committee blasted the backer of a competing amendment over his measure’s proposed tax policy on legal medical cannabis.

https://www.facebook.com/newapproachmo/videos/378386116037089/

Dr. Brad Bradshaw, the main supporter of Missouri’s Amendment 3, released a video touting his credentials and arguing that a vote “yes” means supporting cancer research. (The video is not embeddable, but you can view it here).

A campaign committee in support for Amendment 3 also released several attack ads on Amendment 2, including the fact that it allows patients to cultivate their own medicine at home. (These videos are also not embeddable. You can view them here).

North Dakota

“Personal freedom and criminal justice reform are at the heart of Measure 3,” a pro-legalization ad states. “On November 6, let’s exercise our rights and vote ‘yes’ to legalize recreational marijuana.”

On the other hand, ads attacking North Dakota’s bid to legalize marijuana for adult use range from interviews with a former Denver mayor to a commercial focusing on edible cannabis products, produced by the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Utah

Drug Safe Utah, an anti-legalization committee, released an ad indicating that the group was sympathetic to efforts to legalize cannabis for medical use—but that the legalization proposal at hand goes “too far.” (The video is not embeddable, but you can view it here.)

It’s likely that pro- and anti-legalization camps in Utah would have funded more ads ahead of Election Day—but competing campaigns effectively reached a ceasefire in light of a proposed legislative compromise deal that lawmakers are expected to consider soon after November 6, regardless of whether the ballot measure is approved by voters.

Wisconsin

Voters in 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin will have the chance to voice their opinion on marijuana legalization in November—in the form of non-binding advisory questions that could help inform future legislation. The pro-reform advocacy group Forever Wisconsin released an ad recently that delivers a short and sweet message to prospective voters:

https://www.facebook.com/foreverwisconsin2018/videos/711233512565459/

https://massroots.wpengine.com/news/money-flows-michigan-missouri-marijuana-ballot-initiative-campaigns/

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Marijuana Campaign Ads Are Flooding Airwaves Ahead Of The Election

More Money Flows To Michigan And Missouri Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns

More Money Flows To Michigan And Missouri Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns

Major late contributions are flowing into the coffers of Michigan and Missouri political action committees that have been set up to support or oppose marijuana ballot initiatives in those states, Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis of campaign finance data shows.

In Michigan, the two largest marijuana initiative committees have seen a quarter-million dollars in contributions in just the last three days since quarter three figures were filed on Friday. The pro-legalization Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol officially reported a $25,000 donation that had been announced last week by the Drug Policy Alliance. Washington, D.C.-based New Approach PAC donated an additional $58,650 to the committee over the weekend, bringing their October contributions to over $300,000.

Meanwhile, the largest committee working against the initiative, Healthy and Productive Michigan, is reporting a sizable new contribution of $75,000 from national prohibition organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which has already provided over $1 million in cash and in-kind services to the effort. The prohibitionist committee also reported $100,000 from Dow Chemical Corporation.

DTE Energy executives continued to weigh in against the initiative, with David Meador, vice chairman of DTE Energy, and David Ruud, president of DTE Power & Industrial, each giving $2,500 to the anti-legalization committee. The group had already reported a total of $70,000 in donations from DTE Energy Chairman Gerard Anderson, company President and COO Jerry Norcia, DTE Electric President Trevor Lauer and DTE Gas President Mark Stiers.

In total, Healthy and Productive Michigan has racked up $310,000 in late contributions since October 20, while the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has brought in $151,150. For each committee, these new donations in the last nine days equal about one-third of their total cash previously raised in all of quarter three (August 20 – October 20).

In Missouri, physician Bradley Bradshaw continues to pour money in the Find the Cures PAC in support of Amendment 3. For October, since filing quarter three reports, Find the Cures reports $343,000 in cash contributions from Bradshaw. He had contributed $7,500 in cash in quarter three, and also provided $186,121 in loans. Find the Cures is also getting late support from legal firms, with five outfits contributing $45,000 in October.

Missourians For Patient Care, which supports Proposition C, has reported $105,289 in contributions in several “48 Hour Reports of Contribution Received Over $5,000” in October, but the source of the largest of those contributions is not specified, and they have not yet filed a report due by the end of Monday, eight days before the election.

A committee set up to combat Bradshaw’s Measure 3, Patients Against Bradshaw Amendment Formally Known As Find The Cures Political Action Committee, reported only $757 in contributions in a filing made on Monday.

Additional reports are due in Missouri by the close of business on Monday, and we will provide updates on those as they are filed.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

More Money Flows To Michigan And Missouri Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns

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