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Legalized weed headed for November ballot

7/7/20--Backers of a campaign to legalize recreational use of marijuana submitted about 420,000 signatures on petitions Wednesday to put the issue on the November ballot. However, it becomes only the first step in trying to convince Arizonans once again that they want to allow adults to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana or 12 plants. Read

As signature deadlines approach, here’s where marijuana and drug policy reform campaigns stand

7/2/20--Several drug policy reform campaigns are in the final stretch as deadlines to submit signatures for proposed ballot initiatives loom this week and next. The proposed ballot measures would accomplish everything from legalizing cannabis to decriminalizing psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca. This article provides a status update on where they stand. Read

Why more states could legalize cannabis in 2021

6/25/20--Actions by states to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession are fueling momentum for the broader movement to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an economic engine for cash-strapped coffers, industry members and policy experts say. Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, expects a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions. Read

Oklahoma high court rules on firearms, marijuana questions

6/23/20--The court ruled State Question 807 to legalize marijuana may proceed to the signature-gathering stage. Supporters hope to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to legalize marijuana for adults age 21 and over and impose a 15% tax on cannabis sales. Supporters would have to gather about 178,000 signatures of registered voters in 90 days to qualify the question for the ballot. Read

National groups to spend $3M on campaign to legalize marijuana in Montana

6/22/20--The backers of a voter initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana formed a new group, New Approach Montana, with national backing, that’s prepared to spend at least $3 million to get the measure and a companion constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot and pass them. Read

Axel Owen named campaign manager of NJ CAN 2020 to win ‘yes’ vote on NJ marijuana question

6/19/20--NJ CAN 2020, the political committee leading the charge to legalize marijuana in November, announced Axel Owen as the campaign manager for the inclusive and robust effort leading to a “yes” vote on the 2020 ballot question to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. Read

Montana activists submit 130,000 signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives despite coronavirus setbacks

6/19/20--Montana activists are turning in more than 130,000 signatures on Friday to qualify a pair of legalization initiatives for the November ballot. While the coronavirus pandemic took a major hit on the New Approach Montana campaign, forcing a temporary suspension of signature gathering during critical months, they relaunched the process in recent weeks and submitted their final petitions batch on the deadline day. Read

Which cannabis efforts survived the Coronavirus shutdowns?

06/18/20--Months after the novel coronavirus settled into communities across the country, states have begun to emerge from stay-at-home orders, with some legislatures powering through backlogged bills while others fade into recess. Cannabis Wire contacted public servants, elected officials, and activists from Rhode Island to Arizona to find out where legalization initiatives—for medical and adult use—stand as legislators head home for the summer and election boards prepare for November. Read

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board | Canopy Project 2020

6/1/20--The canopy project, started in 2017, provides supplemental information about the physical size of plants grown in Washington. This data is a helpful supplement to both the state traceability and licensing systems because it provides firsthand information about the size of marijuana plants, a data point not captured by either system. Read

Recreational cannabis measure rallies for thousands of signatures still needed

6/5/20--Organizers of one of the two measures that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state is still trying to collect enough signatures to make it on the November ballot. The North Dakota Freedom of Cannabis Act has about 17,000 signatures so far, and the initiated measure needs another 10,000 or so before July 6th. Read

Group ends its ballot push; backers of 2nd recreational-pot proposal keep up efforts

5/27/20--Arkansas True Grass, one of two groups pushing for a constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas, is abandoning its efforts and will refocus on getting the measure on the 2022 ballot. Meanwhile, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, another group hoping to qualify a recreational marijuana amendment for the November ballot, is continuing its signature-gathering efforts. Read

Federal Judge orders Ohio to let marijuana decriminalization campaigns collect signatures electronically

5/20/20--A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that activists seeking to place marijuana decriminalization measures on local ballots across Ohio can collect signatures electronically after they were forced to suspend in-person gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court also ordered state officials to extend the deadline to submit signatures from July 1 to July 31. Read

Arizona’s marijuana activists are united. Will that be enough for legalization this year?

4/16/20--Arizona politicians and activists have spent the last year introducing various bills and initiatives to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2020. However, a single ballot initiative has outlasted the rest spearheaded by the dispensary-led Smart and Safe Arizona Act. The campaign had amassed more than 300,000 signatures — seemingly well over the necessary threshold to get approved for the ballot in July. Read

Civil society organizations call for drug decriminalization as a necessary response to COVID-19

5/14/20--More than 50 leading human rights, health, and drug policy organizations from across the country, including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Pivot Legal Society, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Association of People who use Drugs, Amnesty International, the BC Centre on Substance Use, and the Canadian Public Health Association, are calling on key ministers in the federal government to immediately decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in response to the twin crises of opioid overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic. Read

Nebraska and Montana marijuana activists resume ballot signature gathering amid Coronavirus

5/15/20--Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana and medical cannabis in Nebraska are back in action after temporary suspensions due to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, The Nebraska initiative would allow physicians to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. Montana activists are pushing two measures: one statutory initiative to establish a regulated cannabis market for adult use as well as a constitutional amendment stipulating that only those 21 and older can participate in the market. Read

Government reveals cannabis referendum legalization details

5/1/20--On Friday, the Government released details of the Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill, which will be voted on in one of two referendums at this year’s general election. The final version also confirmed the wording of the cannabis referendum question will be a straight 'Yes or No' option. The Bill sets out the regulation regime that would legalize the production, possession and uses of cannabis in New Zealand for those aged 20 years and older. Read

Push to legalize pot in New York still on

3/24/20--New York Gov. Andew Cuomo supports legalization. He said last month he will visit states that allow pot shops to research how the market is regulated. Those plans are now on hold due to the health crisis caused by the virus, but the governor offered no indication that he is stepping back from the legalization measure stitched into his proposed state budget package. Read

Arizona marijuana activists have more than enough signatures to put legalization on ballot, they say

3/26/20--At a time when drug policy reform campaigns across the country are suspending efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, marijuana activists in Arizona say they’ve already collected more than enough signatures to qualify a legalization measure for the state’s November ballot. The Smart and Safe Arizona campaign to legalize cannabis for adult use said it has gathered more than 320,000 signatures—about 80,000 more than is required to make the ballot. Read

Competing recreational marijuana petition filed to change Oklahoma constitution

3/6/20--A third constitutional initiative petition has been filed seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma, but organizers expect to withdraw and refile it by next week after some problems were identified in the language. Read

Who’s spending the most to legalize marijuana

2/2/20--Major marijuana players have been spending big to influence pot policy in New York. Most are multistate companies that already have a foothold in the Empire State through medical marijuana, and would likely have a leg up in the recreational market under the current proposals. Read

Marijuana reform advocates divided between decriminalization or legalization

1/15/20--House Bill 1507 wants to exclude marijuana from a list of controlled substances that are illegal to possess. Under current law. Less than half an ounce of marijuana is considered a class one misdemeanor. Nine other bills have been introduced this session relating to the possession of marijuana. Some propose legalization, while others propose decriminalization. Although the terms are used interchangeably at times, the two carry dramatically different meanings. Read

Raimondo budget sets up clash with lawmakers over car tax, marijuana

1/16/20--Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $10.2 billion tax-and-spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would make Rhode Island the first state in the country to have total control over the sale of marijuana, but asks for more time to fully phase out the car tax. However, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio have repeatedly said they oppose the legalization of marijuana. Read

Pot politics : Some Northeast states regroup on legalization

1/13/20--Although marijuana legalization already passed in three of the Northeast region’s states and was a priority for governors in three more, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal even after legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns. These governors, as well as Pennsylvania’s governor have been comparing notes on how to do it. Read

Missouri activists take steps to put marijuana legalization initiative on November ballot

1/17/20--Missouri activists are gearing up for a push to put marijuana legalization on the state’s November ballot. A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize for adult use, which was submitted last year, has been cleared for signature gathering by the secretary of state, which certified the ballot title last month. Read

Florida marijuana lawsuit: ‘Stealth Deadline’ means legalization might miss 2020 ballot

1/2/20--Organizers behind an effort to place a marijuana legalization measure before Florida voters this November are suing the state over what they say are unconstitutional hurdles in the way of ballot access. At the center of the dispute is a controversial new law the legislature enacted last year that places additional restrictions on the signature gathering process that the campaign says pose “an enormous (if not insurmountable) barrier to the ability of sponsors.” Read

State lawmakers discuss new bill to legalize marijuana

1/1/20--Some state representatives said they are hopeful New Mexico will be the next state to jump on board with legalizing recreational pot. Rep. Javier Martinez, (D)-Albuquerque, is part of the task force created by Gov. Michele Lujan Grisham working to legalize marijuana here in New Mexico. Martinez is pre-filing a new bill in the coming days to legalize marijuana. He said under the new legislation, recreational marijuana would be a private industry, regulated similar to the way the state does liquor stores. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: Unaccountable legislature pushing ahead

11/13/19--According to Stephen D. Reid, executive director of New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (NJRAMP), votes on controversial bills, like marijuana legalization, usually warranting thoughtful consideration become more easily swayed. So, to try and move legislation with such dire potential consequences for people at a time when lawmakers can be completely unaccountable to the public they were elected to serve only makes sense if one realizes this entire movement is about one thing: profits. Read

South Dakota groups file petitions to legalize marijuana

11/6/19--South Dakota groups submitted separate signed petitions Monday that would allow residents to vote next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Monday was the deadline for submitting signatures to the South Dakota secretary of state’s office for measures for the November 2020 ballot. Read

Is recreational marijuana coming to Florida?

11/6/19--According to the Florida Division of Elections, there are currently about 57,000 valid signatures submitted statewide so far to get a recreational marijuana question on the ballot. But organizers have a long way to go; they need almost 800,000. Read

As recreational marijuana becomes possible in Florida, state lawmakers ask Oregon for nuggets of wisdom

11/6/19--Facing the possibility that Floridians could be asked next year to legalize recreational marijuana, a House panel on Tuesday turned to Oregon to learn more about the economic, environmental, and health impacts the state has faced since authorizing adult pot use four years ago. Read

Democrats push for marijuana decriminalization in Wisconsin

10/30/19--Possession of small amounts of marijuana would be decriminalized in Wisconsin under a bill that Democratic lawmakers introduced Wednesday in their latest push to loosen Wisconsin's marijuana laws in the face of Republican opposition. The bill would decriminalize possessing, distributing, and manufacturing up to 28 grams of pot or more than two marijuana plants. The bill would also prohibit police from using the smell of marijuana as probable cause to arrest someone. Read

Gwinnett solicitor on marijuana: ‘It’s out there, so let’s make it legal’

10/3/19--There's  and the man pushing the idea and organizing lawmakers is a prosecutor. Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside is pushing a new proposal to legalize all forms of marijuana in Georgia. He says the time has come and thinks it could help raise some $4 billion in tax revenue. Read

Think tank backs marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania

10/4/19--A policy brief from a liberal-leaning Harrisburg think tank on the possible legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania concluded that doing so would generate millions in revenue for the state, create thousands of jobs, and reduce incarceration rates and court costs for prosecuting marijuana-related crimes. Read

Recreational marijuana could become legal in Florida. How should the governor act?

8/22/19--Florida may soon be turning to pot in a way that could realign politics for generations to come. Surveys show that making recreational marijuana legal – with strict restraints and regulations in play -- is already favored by two out of three Floridians. While this would have seemed unimaginable a few years ago, the interest is rolling in. Read

Revised initiative for North Dakota marijuana legalization submitted

7/12/19--A group seeking to plant marijuana legalization in North Dakota's Constitution has resubmitted its petition for the June 2020 primary ballot. The petition would need 26,904 qualified signatures by Feb. 10 to be placed on the primary ballot. Read

Group starts ballot petition process to make recreational marijuana legal in Arkansas

7/9/19--The Drug Policy Education Group, an Arkansas 501(c)4 nonprofit dedicated to reducing harm and promoting education about drug policies, will file two ballot petitions with the Arkansas Secretary of State on Wednesday, July 10. The first ballot petition proposes to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use in the state by December 4, 2020 while the second would allow persons with marijuana convictions involving less than 16 ounces to petition for expungement. Read

NM to begin push to legalize recreational marijuana

7/8/19--The push to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in New Mexico is beginning this week. On Wednesday, industry officials and policy experts will meet for the first time to begin crafting proposals to move legalization legislation forward. Read

Marijuana bill likely to come up early when lawmakers return

4/25/19--Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat and key supporter of an initiative to legalize adult recreational marijuana in the state, said substantial bill language will be filed soon, and the issue could be one of the first discussed by state lawmakers when they return to the Statehouse from their two-week spring break next week. Read

Cardinale: Recent pro-marijuana editorials are rife with inaccuracies

3/20/19--Senator Gerald Cardinale, (R-39) the ranking Republican on the State Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a response to two pro-marijuana editorials he claims spouted misinformation, and going out of their way to hide data that illustrates the grave consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Cardinale believes marijuana legalization will not ‘cure all the ills facing New Jersey.’ He urges every Senator and Assembly representative to vote no on legalizing marijuana. Read

New Mexico bill would create first state-run pot shops in US

3/12/19--New Mexico would become the first U.S. state to set up its own government-operated marijuana stores and subsidize medical cannabis for the poor under a bill brokered between Republicans and Democrats, as a new wave of states weighs legislation that would legalize recreational sales and consumption. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: Top NJ Democrat says legal weed vote needs to happen now

3/8/19--New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney wants to vote this month on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. He believes the longer it takes to vote on the bill, the harder it will be for the measure to pass. However, a bill has not been formally introduced. Read

New Mexico moves toward legalizing recreational marijuana

3/8/19--New Mexico took a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana when its House approved a bill that would allow state-run stores and require customers to carry a receipt with their marijuana or face penalties. The measure mixes major provisions of a Republican-backed Senate bill that emphasizes aggressive regulation with a draft by Democrats concerned about the U.S. war on drugs. The 36-34 vote sends the bill to the Democratic-controlled Senate for consideration. Read

Legalizing marijuana in Arizona gains support in new poll

3/8/19--A new poll from OH Predictive Insights shows most Arizona voters support legalizing "adult use" of marijuana, an encouraging sign for advocates who hope a ballot measure that uses similar language will pass next year. This poll of likely 2020 voters showed 52 percent in favor of marijuana legalization, 41 percent opposed, and 7 percent were undecided. Read

Dueling bills lay out different visions for recreational marijuana

2/23/19--Very different visions for legalizing marijuana in New Mexico are a bit closer to becoming reality after legislative hearings on Saturday. It remains unclear whether the full Senate would approve either Senate Bill 577 and/or House Bill 356 this year, making the campaign to legalize cannabis something of a long shot as the legislative session nears its end March 16. Read

New Mexico Republicans say legalize marijuana, but let the government sell it

2/15/19--Republican state lawmakers in New Mexico want recreational marijuana to be legally sold in stores, but they’re proposing that the state government own and operate marijuana dispensaries. The New Mexico proposal would be a new model for the United States. In nearby Nevada as well as California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, where recreational marijuana is legal and available in stores, it’s sold at government-regulated, privately run businesses. Read

Marijuana meetings start in Harrisburg with strong showing of support for legal pot

2/11/19--Lt. Gov. John Fetterman kicked off is pot legalization listening tour in Pennsylvania with dozens of people packing the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg to talk about legalizing marijuana. There were some opponents who voiced their opinions, but the public comments on this opening night ranged about four-to-one in favor of a broad legalization of pot for recreational use. Read

The most interesting 2019 marijuana bills that you might have missed

1/31/19--The Boston Globe presents some of the most interesting marijuana legislation filed this year that may have been missed. These are just a small handful of the more than 500 marijuana-related bills that have already been filed for 2019 legislative sessions that in most cases began less than a month ago. Read

Raimondo will propose legalizing pot in Rhode Island

1/13/19--Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Sunday she will propose legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island, joining other states across the Northeast in a rapid embrace of the policy. The governor is scheduled to release her budget plan on Thursday, which will include the legalization and strict regulation of adult-use marijuana. Read

Legal weed is great, but black and brown communities can’t be left behind

1/11/19--Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now, a grassroots community organization working to build power and fight for racial, social and economic justice in low-income Black communities in Chicago, believes marijuana legalization must bring both equity and justice for those most impacted by the War on Drugs. According to Johnson, while it’s critically important both for Black and Brown entrepreneurs to gain equal access to the burgeoning market, using marijuana revenue to fill budget gaps and backlogged debt does a grave disservice to the decades of inequity faced by communities of color as a result of the War on Drugs. Read

County creates marijuana task force to prepare for state legalization

1/11/19--Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Thursday the creation of a task force to prepare for the anticipated state legalization of recreational marijuana. The task force will be co-chaired by county Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and county Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Syosset). According to Lafazan, the group intends to consult with experts and the community to compile a report that can be used to inform potential county legislation. Read

Thorny questions threaten to slow legal marijuana in New York

1/13/19--Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use in New York are gaining steam. Although there’s broad agreement on the idea of legalization, there’s no consensus on a long list of details that must be figured out first, and New York has a history of taking a slow, cautious approach when it comes to marijuana. Read

Marijuana: Cities, towns could opt-out under Andrew Cuomo’s plan

1/14/19--Cities and towns in New York would still be able to ban marijuana sales under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's soon-to-be-released plan to legalize the drug statewide. Cuomo is expected to unveil his full recreational marijuana proposal on Tuesday as part of his budget plan and State of the State address, which is set for 2 p.m. Read

Bill sponsor says legal marijuana is example of limited government, personal liberty

1/14/19--A bill introduced by Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, into the Virginia House of Delegates would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years or older. Heretick stated that legalizing the plant would serve the aim of “limited government” and “personal liberty,” which he said is something he thinks both major political parties value. Read

New congressional marijuana bill is actually numbered H.R. 420

1/9/19--Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have officially reserved the number H.R. 420 for a bill that would dramatically change federal marijuana laws. The new bill filed in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is titled the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. If passed, it would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: What will NJ get from legal weed taxes?

12/10/18--The Office of Legislative Services, a nonpartisan Statehouse bureau that assists with crafting and studying legislation, estimates that New Jersey would bring in a little over $210 million in state taxes from nearly $1.8 billion in annual marijuana sales, according to its fiscal impact study of the legal weed bill. Read

Marijuana legalization hearing includes … broccoli, bar fights and Bills games

11/19/18--During a statewide debate at Monday’s State Assembly public hearing on proposals to legalize, regulate, and tax the adult use of marijuana in New York State, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn talked about vegetables and bar fights and State Assembly members brought up Buffalo Bills games in relation to their objection and support of marijuana. This was the second of four statewide public hearings scheduled by the Assembly. Read

Marijuana ballot initiative campaigns raised $12.9 million, final pre-election numbers show

11/6/18--In the lead-up to the election, committees supporting or opposing marijuana ballot 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. Read

How can legal weed impact NJ’s economy? Five questions for a cannabis industry leader

10/7/17--Karson Humiston founded Vangst, a Denver-based organization that has connected more than 7,500 people to leading marijuana companies across the U.S. and Canada. Her company employs more than 60 people, and in the last year, Vangst has reported a 567 percent revenue increase and projects revenues of $5 million for 2018. North Jersey Record presented and published five questions posed to Humiston about what legalization could do for New Jersey's economy. Read

A vote for legal weed in N.J. coming on this day, top lawmaker says

9/27/18--New Jersey's Senate President Stephen Sweeney has set a new date for at least one house of the state Legislature to vote legalizing recreational marijuana in the Garden State: Oct. 29. Sweeney said Thursday that lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy's administration have only "two issues" left to work out related to the bill that would make marijuana legal. Read

Rick Steves to hold marijuana legalization talks in Michigan

9/26/18--Rick Steves, host of the hit PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe” and prominent marijuana policy reform advocate, will be holding talks across Michigan to discuss the benefits of legalizing and regulating marijuana, and how world travel has shaped his views on the issue. Read