Marijuana Ballot Measures Boosted By $50K Donation From National Advocacy Group

Marijuana Ballot Measures Boosted By $50K Donation From National Advocacy Group

Campaigns to legalize marijuana in two states have received sizable financial contributions from a national advocacy group less than two weeks before the midterm elections.

The Drug Policy Alliance’s political action committee, Drug Policy Action, said it was contributing $50,000 total in support of adult-use cannabis legalization measures on the ballot in Michigan and North Dakota, with the donations equally divided between the two campaigns.

“While we’ve been very successful with marijuana legalization so far, it’s critical that we keep moving the ball forward in the states, which will help us to further ratchet up the pressure on federal policymakers for national reform,” Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of DPA, told Marijuana Moment. “That’s why DPA is leading the charge for marijuana legalization in New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico, and we’re of course lending our support to ensure that the initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota are successful.”

Legalizing cannabis in North Dakota could be politically advantageous in the long run, Michael Collins, interim director of DPA’s office of national affairs, told Marijuana Moment. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), who is a member of the crucial Appropriations Committee, might be more inclined to support federal cannabis reform amendments that come before the panel if his state votes in favor of the ballot measure, for example.

“Also, adding Michigan and North Dakota to the legal column would further demonstrate the stupidity of any [federal border] policy banning entry to and from Canada for marijuana use,” Collins said. “Almost half the states that border Canada would have legal marijuana.”

“This would also spur moves to end federal prohibition.”

At last check, a prohibitionist committee—funded entirely by Smart Approaches to Marijuana—had raised significantly more contributions in opposition of the North Dakota measure, compared to pro-legalization campaigns. The extra $25,000 will help level the financial playing field.

In Michigan, where there was a key campaign finance reporting deadline on Friday, things seem a bit more equitable. One major source of funding came from New Approach PAC, a national group that contributed more than $220,000 in support of the legalization measure throughout 2018.

DPA also recently put money toward candidates who back marijuana policy reform in a half dozen key congressional races. That includes a contribution to Collin Allred, a Democratic House candidate who’s facing off against the staunchly prohibitionist incumbent, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), in a surprisingly tight race.

Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) also received a contribution from DPA as she competes against incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) for a Senate seat. Heller has been “mostly AWOL on our issues,” Collins said, whereas Rosen has consistently championed reform.

Here’s the full list of new candidate contributions from DPA:

Jacky Rosen (D-NV): $1,000

Bill Nelson (D-FL): $2,000

Collin Allred (D-TX): $5,000

Tracy Mitrano (D-NY): $1,000

Dana Balter (D-NY): $2,000

Sri Kulkarni (D-TX): $2,000

Collins said DPA determined who they would donate to based on whether the candidate is “in a tight race where we could help” or if their election (or opponent’s defeat) could “help us advance drug policy reform on Capitol Hill.”

Michigan’s Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Heat Up, Latest Finance Filings Show

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Marijuana Ballot Measures Boosted By $50K Donation From National Advocacy Group

Michigan’s Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Heat Up, Latest Finance Filings Show

Michigan’s Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Heat Up, Latest Finance Filings Show

Reports from Friday’s filing deadline for Michigan campaign committees show that, of the five committees formed to support or oppose the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, three of the groups are still actively receiving and spending money.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a pro-reform group, reported a total of $529,277 in contributions in the last three months. More than $460,000 of that (87 percent) came from three sources.

New Approach PAC, a national group that has supported cannabis ballot measures in other states in past election cycles, contributed $351,000 from August through mid-October. That’s in addition to a late contribution report filed on Friday 6 to the tune of $67,500. The PAC had also contributed $165,000 from May through July, 2018.

The national pro-legalization organization Marijuana Policy Project provided $110,000 this quarter, building on previous donations this year of $444,205.

The only donation of over $5,000 from an individual came from Rick Steves, a travel writer and cannabis reform advocate, who contributed $50,000. Steves has been attacked by prohibition groups for his efforts in Michigan and North Dakota. The remaining smaller donations came from 126 individuals.

Prohibitionist group Healthy and Productive Michigan (HAPM) reported contributions of $1,086,370. More than $650,000 of that came from the national anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). SAM also provided $128,338 worth of in-kind services in the last quarter, having already provided $500,000 in in-kind services previously in 2018.

Energy corporations and their executives were also heavy contributors to HAPM, with Michigan Energy First donating $250,000 to the cause. The chairman of DTE Energy, Gerard Anderson, donated $50,000—and Jerry Norcia, the company’s president and COO, donated $15,000. The president of DTE Electric, Trevor Lauer, donated $2,500, as did Mark Stiers, president of DTE Gas.

Other executives who made sizable contributions to HAPM include Meijer Grocery Vice Chairman Mark Murray, who donated $50,000. And J.C. Huizenga of Huizenga Group put in $51,000.

Beyond the $1.1 million disclosed in the October 26 report, the group provided individual late contributions of $125,000. $50,000 of that came from Business Leaders for Michigan, with another $50,000 from ITC Holdings. Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee donated $15,000, and billionaire William Parfet donated $10,000.

The group originally recorded a late contribution report that they had received $600,000 from AdVictory LLC. But the Associated Press’s David Eggert tweeted on Friday morning that the company had informed him this was a filing error, and that they had in fact been the recipient of funds to create ads for HAPM. The PAC reported $40,000 in payments to AdVictory in their July filings to the Secretary of State, but no payments in the October filing. In a revised contribution report, AdVictory was removed from contributors.

Three other committees showed little or no activity. Abrogate Prohibition Michigan said it had received $23 and spent $22. The Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools filed a report indicating they had neither received or spent any funds in the past quarter.

MI Legalize 2018, another pro-legalization PAC, reported that it had raised $22,319 in the most recent funding quarter. Unlike the other PACS, its donations came mainly from small donors. Mark Sellers, the Owner of Barfly ventures, which operates a set of restaurant and bars, contributed $10,000. Another individual contributed $5,000. The remaining contributions came from 106 additional individuals, who donated an average of $69.05 each.

As for how much the committees have left of the funds they’ve raised, two have substantial sums to spend. In its Friday report, Healthy and Productive Michigan declared that it had $697,268 left in the bank. With the late contributions reported, it potentially has $827,268 on hand to spend in the last week and a half before Michigan voters go to the polls. Meanwhile, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol reported $151,264 in the bank, so with late contributions, has $218,764.

MILegalize2018 disclosed a $9,462 balance, while the Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools reported $3,075 on hand. Abrogate Prohibition Michigan has spent everything it brought in, leaving them with $2.98.

In separate contributions that haven’t yet been officially reported, the Drug Policy Alliance also recently pledged $25,000 to the Michigan legalization measure, in addition to contributions to North Dakota’s legalization campaign and a half dozen candidates who back marijuana policy reform.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan’s Marijuana Ballot Initiative Campaigns Heat Up, Latest Finance Filings Show

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

If Michigan voters elect to legalize marijuana in November, the state can expect to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue over the next five years, according to a new report from the non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.

In fact, the new estimates are even higher than those projected by the group sponsoring the legalization ballot measure.

While that group, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol In Michigan, predicted that the state would collect about $520 million in cannabis sales and excise tax revenue in the five years after implementation, the government estimate is closer to $730 million over the same time span.

Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency

Via Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.

The initiative, Proposition 1, would impose a 10 percent excise tax on non-medical cannabis sales in addition to the state’s six percent sales tax. It would also eliminate a three percent tax on medical cannabis “provisioning centers,” which was accounted for in the fiscal report.

Where would all that money go?

The 10 percent excise tax revenue would be distributed for transportation infrastructure (35 percent), schools (35 percent) and local jurisdictions that permit adult-use marijuana businesses to operate in their municipalities and counties (15 percent each).

Based on the government report, that means that by the 2022-23 fiscal year, out of of $252 million in total marijuana tax revenue, about $126 million will go toward road construction and K-12 education funds on an annual basis from the excise tax alone. On top of that, schools would receive an additional $77 million a year due to marijuana commerce, allocated from the state’s six percent sales tax.

Then, of course, there’s the cost savings of simply ending marijuana arrests and related prosecutions and incarcerations, as the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency noted. The proposition “could have a positive fiscal impact on State and local government,” according to the report.

“Fewer felony arrests and convictions could decrease resource demands on court systems, community supervision, jails, and correctional facilities. In 2016, 199 people were sentenced to prison for a marijuana-related felony conviction, and 3,620 were sentenced to jail, probation, or a combination of both.”

The chances that Michigan ends up legalizing marijuana for adult-use seem fairly strong. A September 2018 poll from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV found that 56 percent of likely Michigan voters favor fully legalizing cannabis, compared to just 38 percent who said the opposed ending prohibition.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Next month, voters in seven states will get the chance to approve or reject a number of far-reaching marijuana proposals. But one thing many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to wait until November 6 to make your voice heard: many states allow for early or absentee voting, and people across the country are already voting on cannabis initiatives today, as you read this.

Before getting into the specifics, an important aside about voter registration deadlines: They’re coming up hot. You can check your state’s registration deadline here.

OK, back to early voting on cannabis. Marijuana Moment compiled a list of each major state and local marijuana-related initiative that will appear on ballots. They range widely—from proposals to fully legalize cannabis in Michigan to amending the definition of industrial hemp in Colorado—and some will only go before voters in specific cities or counties.

There’s a lot of information to review before heading to the polls, but fortunately, there’s still about a month to go.

But for those who are eager to make their votes count sooner rather than later, many places with cannabis questions provide ways to cast your ballot early via mail or in-person before Election Day.

Here’s when early or absentee voting starts in states where marijuana will be on the ballot:

Colorado

A proposal to amend the definition of industrial hemp under the Colorado constitution. 

Ballots handed out to voters who request them: October 5*

*A county clerk “must begin issuing mail ballots to any eligible elector who requests one in person at the county clerk’s office” by this date. Otherwise, mail ballots will be sent to voters between October 15 and 22.

Michigan

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: County clerks begin sending out mail-in ballots* September 22

*Non-military Michigan voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be over 60 years old, unable to vote without assistance, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event or have been appointed to work “as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.”

Missouri

Three competing proposals to legalize medical cannabis

Absentee voting begins: September 25*

*Missouri voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be physically incapable to vote due to illness or disability, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event, have been appointed to work an election official or currently involved in a confidentiality program due to safety concerns.

North Dakota

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: September 27

Early voting begins: Counties may begin offering early voting as soon as October 22. Consult your county’s election office, as start dates vary.

Ohio

Proposals in six municipalities across Ohio to locally decriminalize cannabis.

Early voting begins: October 10

Absentee voting begins: October 10

Utah

A proposal to legalize medical cannabis.

Absentee voting begins: For military and oversees residents, mail-in ballots will be sent out by September 22. Other mail-in ballots will be sent out by October 16. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted by October 30.

Early voting begins: October 23*

*Be sure to check your county’s early voting poll dates here.

Wisconsin

Non-binding advisory questions in 16 counties asking voters to weigh in on medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.

Absentee voting: Requests for an absentee ballot must be submitted by November 1

Early voting begins: September 22*

*The bulk of Wisconsin municipalities allow for early voting starting September 22, but there’s no statewide timeline so check with your municipal clerk to confirm. The University of Wisconsin maintains a list of updated early voting dates here.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Has Enough Signatures

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Has Enough Signatures

Activists in Michigan have collected enough signatures to place a marijuana legalization ballot initiative before voters in November, state elections officials have determined.

Staff with the Bureau of Elections announced on Monday that they estimate organizers collected 277,370 valid signatures, exceeding the 252,523 needed to qualify for ballot access.

The Board of State Canvassers is expected to formally certify the count at a meeting on Thursday.

The proposed Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act would allow adults over 21 to possess, grow and use small amounts of marijuana legally. Specifically, they could grow up to 12 total marijuana plants in a single residence, possess 2.5 ounces outside their homes and store 10 ounces at home (in addition to what they grow legally).

State regulators would grant business licenses for cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, retail stores and microbusinesses (i.e. small businesses cultivating a low number of plants from which they would sell product directly to consumers). Municipalities would be empowered to regulate or ban cannabis businesses.

Retail sales would be subject to a 10 percent excise tax in addition to the state’s regular six percent sales tax. Revenues would cover the cost of regulation and additionally fund schools, roads, local governments and FDA-approved research on medical marijuana’s role in helping military veterans struggling with PTSD and other conditions.

The measure enjoys broad support from mainstream Democratic players.

“Michiganders have the right to decide this important issue, and Senator Peters supports the ballot initiative effort underway in the state to legalize marijuana for recreational use,” a spokesperson for U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D), told VICE. “Senator Peters believes this change will generate desperately needed tax revenue to support Michigan’s deteriorating schools and aging roads and bridges, and prevent people who use marijuana from ending up in the prison pipeline.”

“It’s time to decriminalize medical and recreational marijuana. It’s also important to move forward thoughtfully and work closely with law enforcement, public health officials, business leaders and communities to ensure we get this right and avoid unintended consequences,” Sen. Debbie Stebenow (D), told VICE through a spokesperson.

Democratic candidates in this year’s gubernatorial and attorney general races have endorsed legalization as well.

And Republicans may be realizing that cannabis has political momentum, too. While they are not endorsing the measure, reports have circulated in recent weeks that GOP legislative leaders are considering simply passing legalization through the legislature instead of letting the question go to the ballot because they fear it will drive voter turnout among young people and other constituencies that tend to support Democrats.

Elsewhere, Utah activists collected enough signatures to qualify a medical cannabis measure for that state’s November ballot, county officials determined last week.

Utah Medical Marijuana Measure Has Enough Signatures For Ballot

And in Oklahoma, voters will see a medical marijuana question on their June 26 primary ballot, while proposed cannabis measures are still pending in several other states.

These States Will Probably Vote On Marijuana In 2018

See the Bureau of Elections’s estimate of marijuana legalization signatures below:

[scribd id=377170819 key=key-TrruK5zthKvyGwGM96Qp mode=scroll]

This is a developing story and will be updated.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment here:

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure Has Enough Signatures

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