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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

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

Competition Heats Up Between Missouri Medical Marijuana Campaigns

Competition Heats Up Between Missouri Medical Marijuana Campaigns

Missouri officials announced last week that three separate medical marijuana initiatives officially qualified for the state’s November ballot, and competition between the sponsoring advocacy groups is already heating up.

While all three measures seek to establish regulated medical cannabis systems in the state, two are proposed constitutional amendments and the third would be a statutory amendment. In Missouri, the top vote-getter generally prevails.

But in this case, if votes for the statutory amendment exceed those for either of the constitutional measures—and one of the constitutional measures also passes—the fate of Missouri’s medical marijuana law could be left up to the courts.

The stakes are high for each sponsoring advocacy group to avoid vote splitting. If a sufficient number of voters go to the polls and only support their favored approach while voting against the other two, it could end up being the case that no measure garners majority support.

But just days after the ballot qualification announcement, advocates are already sniping at competing proposals.

Missouri NORML has gone to bat for the proposed constitutional measure sponsored by New Approach Missouri, which would allow doctors to recommend cannabis for certain medical conditions, let patients grow up to six plants and possess up to four ounces and tax medical marijuana from registered dispensaries at four percent.

“Having three initiatives on the same ballot dealing with the same issue complicates the situation considerably,” Missouri NORML executive director Dan Viets wrote in a blog post on Friday.

New Approach Missouri and the state NORML chapter established an alliance early on—and now that all three initiatives are set to appear on the November ballot, the organization isn’t mincing words about its competition.

“Most observers believe that either of the constitutional amendments would prevail over the statutory initiative even if it got more votes, which seems very unlikely,” Viets wrote. “The other constitutional initiative is funded by a single individual, a wealthy personal injury lawyer from Springfield, Missouri.”

“His campaign has a single contributor. It would establish the highest tax on medical marijuana in the nation and use that tax money to establish a new medical research facility which the filer of the petition, attorney Brad Bradshaw, would personally run. His initiative specifies that the filer of his initiative will choose the Board of Directors and that the Chief Executive of that research agency must be someone who is both a physician and a lawyer, which Bradshaw is! If the press exposes the blatant vested interest he has in this measure, we think the public will reject it.”

Marijuana Moment reached out to the Find the Cures campaign for comment, but did not receive a response.

https://twitter.com/FindTheCuresMO/status/1025024445382045696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1025024445382045696&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.marijuanamoment.net%2Fcompetition-heats-up-between-missouri-medical-marijuana-campaigns%2F

A spokesperson for the statutory amendment sponsor, Missourians for Patient Care, told Marijuana Moment that the group was actually optimistic about the fact that multiple medical cannabis legalization amendments were on the table.

“We’re ecstatic that Missouri has the chance to decide this issue this November on behalf of all of the initiatives, but we’re especially excited that if voters support one or more of these that Missouri won’t be left behind for patients,” Travis Brown, the signature collection leader for Missourians for Patient Care, said.

There remains a possibility that the competing groups “could cooperate or prevail together,” he said. But at the end of the day, “it’s really ultimately up to the people to decide whether they want to amend their constitution, which has some advantages of permanence.” That same advantage “comes at a disadvantage because it can’t be adapted over time, or improved or tweaked in any way.”

“At this point, it’s a Jenga game to see what the courts may ultimately decide after the voters make their decision.”

Reform efforts in Missouri could have been even further complicated if lawmakers had passed a medical marijuana legalization bill earlier this year.

As advocates hustled to collect signatures for their respective ballot initiatives, Missouri lawmakers debated a bill that would have legalized “smokeless” medical cannabis for patients suffering from serious illnesses. The bill cleared a number of hurdles—but it ultimately died in committee just days before the end of session in May.

Some of those lawmakers have weighed in since the Missouri Secretary of State announced that the three medical marijuana ballot measures had qualified.

“I am concerned that the competing campaigns of the three medical marijuana initiatives certified for the November ballot certified for the November ballot… will alienate voters and lead to Missourians waiting longer to have access to these therapeutic options,” Missouri Rep. Cheri Reisch (R) said in a press release Thursday.

Missouri Rep. Phil Christofanelli (R) echoed that sentiment, saying that while he supported the legalization bill in the House, voters must be “cautious about proposed changes to our laws, especially those built into the constitution, and must work to ensure any voter approved framework is implemented in ways that protects the rights of Missourians to healthcare freedom and equitable commercial access.”

In any case, with a majority of Missourians in favor of medical marijuana legalization according to polls, it seems highly likely that the state will push reform forward, unless advocates sufficiently tarnish each other’s proposals in the public’s eye. But what path they ultimately take in November—and beyond—is yet to be seen.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Competition Heats Up Between Missouri Medical Marijuana Campaigns

Missouri Groups Deliver Signatures For Medical Marijuana Ballot Measures

Missouri Groups Deliver Signatures For Medical Marijuana Ballot Measures

Medical marijuana legalization got one step closer to making it on Missouri’s November ballot on Friday.

Just two days before the deadline to submit petitions on measures to change state law or amend the state constitution, two groups filed signatures to place competing medical cannabis proposals before voters. A third group turned in signatures for its additional medical marijuana initiative at the last minute on Sunday.

New Approach Missouri delivered more than 370,000 signed petitions to the Missouri Secretary of State. Approximately 168,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition. Registered patients and caregivers would be allowed to grow up six marijuana plants and purchase up to four ounces from dispensaries per month. Medical cannabis sales at dispensaries would be taxed at four percent.

Find the Cure, an organization promoting a separate proposed constitutional amendment, also turned in signatures in a bid to get on the November ballot on Friday, according to the Associated Press. The group’s measure would let doctors recommend medical marijuana to patients. The retail sales tax on medical marijuana under the Find The Cures Amendment would be set at a much steeper 15 percent, however.

Find The Cure Amendment

A proposed statutory change, backed by Missourians for Patient Care, would remove state laws prohibiting the use, possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis. Medical marijuana sales would be taxed at two percent under the proposal.

The group submitted signatures for its petition to the Missouri Secretary of State just ahead of the Sunday deadline, the Associated Press reported. If the signatures are verified and the initiative ultimately qualifies for the November ballot, that could cause complications in November. With two campaigns already confident of having enough support to appear on the ballot, there’s already a risk of splitting votes and jeopardizing any citizen-led petition to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

(A fourth group filed signatures on Sunday in support of a broader measure that would legalize marijuana for adults over 18.)

“All polling has indicated that support for medical marijuana in Missouri is well above 60 percent. Only 50 percent of voters is required in order for this initiative to succeed in amending our state’s Constitution,” Dan Viets, the chair of New Approach Missouri’s board, said in an email. “Although one or possibly two other medical marijuana initiatives may be placed on the ballot, ours will be first among the Constitutional amendments on this topic. If both of the two Constitutional amendment initiatives pass, the one with more votes will prevail.”

The Other Way Missourians Could Have Legal Medical Cannabis

Last month, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy or HIV. It has since been sent to the Senate for consideration, and insiders are confident that it stands a solid chance of passing there, too.

That said, there are only about two weeks left in Missouri’s legislative session, so any delays—including amendments, filibusters, or committee hold-ups—could ultimately back-burner the legislation. (A quick aside on that point: Missouri lawmakers are expected to take up a special session to consider the impeachment of the state’s governor, Eric Greitens, who has been charged with two felonies. The medical marijuana bill could theoretically be taken up during a special session.)

Advocates in Utah have already submitted enough signatures to qualify a medical cannabis measure that state’s November ballot, county clerks said. And elections officials in Michigan ruled last week that activists collected a sufficient amount of signatures to place a full marijuana legalization measure before voters.

UPDATE May 7, 2018 1:34 PST: This story has been updated to reflect that a third group backing a medical marijuana legalization initiative in Missouri turned in signatures before the state’s deadline.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Missouri Groups Deliver Signatures For Medical Marijuana Ballot Measures

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