Posts Tagged ‘vote’

Vermont House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization

Montpelier — The Vermont House gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill that would change the offense of possessing up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor crime to a civil offense similar to a speeding violation.

On roll call vote of 98-44, the House endorsed the bill, which would impose a fine of as much as $300 for anyone caught with up to an ounce of the drug.

The bill also contains provisions designed to eliminate the possibility of a permanent criminal record or future collateral consequences such as ineligibility for certain jobs or government benefits for those convicted of possessing up to two ounces, or up to four plants.

vermontmarijuanaThe legislation now goes to the Senate, which is also expected to pass it.

Supporters of the bill were in two camps: those who wanted to remove the danger of a permanent criminal record that can face young people convicted of possessing small amounts of pot, and those who said they saw the bill as a small step toward their real goal: legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

“I think that if this is the process it takes to get to where I think we should be, which is legalization, regulation and taxation, then that’s the step that I’m willing to take,” said Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, who added that he had not consumed alcohol for 28 years or any other recreational drug for longer than that.

But members of the Judiciary Committee, which drafted the bill, said their goal was not legalization.

“It was illegal yesterday, it is illegal today and if this bill is passed by both chambers and signed into law, it will remain illegal,” said Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson, D-Essex and a member of the committee who described the bill to her House colleagues.

Vermont would become the 16th state to have decriminalized, or, in the cases of Washington state and Colorado, to have legalized by popular referendum possession of small amounts of marijuana, said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The bill will be up for final House action on Tuesday. Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he supports decriminalization of possession of small amounts.

Sen. Richard Sears, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Friday he expects the Senate will pass it by a similar margin as did the House — “it should be 2 to 1 or more.”

But the powerful committee chairman, who could have a lot to say about the bill’s fate, was unwilling to say for sure he would support it.

“The devil is in the details,” Sears said. Among his misgivings: Under the House bill, someone younger than 21 caught with alcohol could face a criminal charge but would not for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. “That doesn’t make sense to me,” the Bennington County Democrat said.

Not all Republicans opposed the bill during House debate Friday, but most of those speaking out against it were Republicans.

One exception was Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, who called marijuana a “powerful psychoactive drug.” She joined other critics in saying the legislation would send a message to Vermont’s young people that the state was not serious about forbidding marijuana.


Time to Vote Canada – This Monday May 2!

Conservative Stephen Harper could win a majority government with as little as 34% of the vote on May 2. We must ensure this does not happen, or S-10, and mandatory minimums like it, will be law in 100 days. The most important thing you can do is VOTE on May 2! is finalizing its list of strategic votes and will be releasing that with the latest poll information this weekend.

Why so late?

The NDP, led by Jack Layton, has been on an historic and unprecedented rise in the last few days, overtaking the Liberals for 2nd place nationally, and within 5% of the Conservatives as of Friday. Depending on how the votes split riding by riding, this could potentially yield a Conservative majority government but could also result in an NDP minority government. The outcome will likely be decided by who turns out to vote.

The NDP under Jack Layton has been the most positive party in the House of Commons on marijuana law reform and medical marijuana, and is truly a friend to our community. Jack Layton is a man we have personally met with many times, and he has always been honest, open and very friendly. He understands the failures of prohibition, and is not afraid to talk about them.

Beyond Prohibition Foundation and have no doubt that an NDP government would be the best electoral outcome for our community and would represent the best chance for cannabis law reform in Canadian history.

The Conservatives have spent this campaign using a strategy called “micro-targeting” which involves focusing on specific areas in specific ridings to get a majority government with the lowest percentage of popular vote, possibly as low as 34%.

We must ensure that Stephen Harper can not micro-target his way to victory.

By voting strategically, we can not only stop Stephen Harper from obtaining a majority, but could potentially usher in the a government ready to make substantial change to Canada’s marijuana laws.

Please, for our country, for our friends and for our future, get out and VOTE on May 2.


Strong Signs Massachusetts Voters Are Ready to Embrace Marijuana Legalization

Are the voters in Massachusetts ready to embrace marijuana legalization in 2012? Analysis of the vote on local marijuana legalization advisory ballot question strongly points to yes.

Massachusetts allows for citizens to place non-binding local “public policy questions” on the ballot. This year, in several precincts, voters weighed in on whether their local representatives should “vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.” On Tuesday, over 150,000 votes were cast on the issue across the state in districts containing around 8.5 percent of the total vote.

In the districts where it was on the ballot, the advisory question passed with an impressive 61 percent of the vote, but these districts were on the whole slightly more liberal and pro-reform than the rest of the state. To determine how these results might translate to a statewide marijuana legalization ballot question, I used two different metrics. Continue reading for the results. Continue reading

Prop 19 Goes Up In Smoke

LOS ANGELES — California voters declined to make their trendsetting state the nation’s first to legalize marijuana use and sales, heeding warnings of legal chaos and that pot smokers would get behind the wheel and show up to work while high.

The legalization effort was losing by nine percentage points with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting. Backers showed support for the measure by gathering outside the campaign’s headquarters to watch returns come in – some of them lighting up joints to mark the occasion.

Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday’s outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They also acknowledged that young voters had not turned out in sufficient numbers to secure victory, but said they were ready to try again in two years.

“It’s still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Project. “Unquestionably, because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix.”

Tim Rosales, who managed the No on 19 campaign, scoffed at that attitude from the losing side.

“If they think they are going to be back in two years, they must be smoking something,” he said. “This is a state that just bucked the national trend and went pretty hard on the Democratic side, but yet in the same vote opposed Prop 19. I think that says volumes as far as where California voters are on this issue.”

The campaign pitted the state’s political and law enforcement establishment against determined activists. Images of marijuana leaves and smashed-up cars and school buses appeared in dueling ads during the campaign.

In a sign of what a tough sell it was, an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press showed opposition cutting across gender and racial lines, as well as income and education levels.

The ballot measure lost in the state’s vaunted marijuana-growing region known as the “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Many in the region feared the system they have created would be taken over by corporations or lose its purpose. Continue reading

Marijuana on the ballot: 6 states moving toward ‘legalization’

While the battle to control Congress is getting most of the pre-election ink, voters in several states will also be deciding how to states handle the touchy issue of marijuana’s legal status. Fourteen states already have medical marijuana laws on the books, and more are likely to vote in doctor-approved pot use this year or in 2012. (Watch a Reason Magazine report about legalization’s consequences.) Here are six states that could take a major step down the path toward decriminalization (or even legalization) on Nov. 2:

Passage of Proposition 19 by Golden State voters would create by far the most permissive marijuana law in the nation. The ballot measure would legalize — at the state and local level, anyway — recreational amounts of marijuana and allow local goverments to tax and regulate sales of the drug. The contentious battle over Prop 19 is creating some strange political dynamics, says NPR‘s Mandalit del Barco. For instance, many growers and “stoners” are opposed to the new taxes and government oversight, while some cops and mothers’ groups support Prop 19 as a way to take profits out of the hands of drug dealers and Mexican cartels. None of that may matter, says Nate Silver in The New York Times, since support for the measure appears to be “going up in smoke” as the election nears. Today it stands no better than a 50-50 chance of passing.

More than one in every 100 Oregonians already smokes marijuana legally for medical purposes, and Measure 74 would let them purchase their pot from state-licensed growers and nonprofit retailers, or dispensaries (under current law, card-carrying smokers have to grow their own marijuana, or designate someone to grow it for them). The problem with the measure, says The Portland Mercury in an editorial, is it has no regulation mechanism to assure “all pot is safe and legal,” like other medicines. Oregon should learn from the mistakes in California and Colorado, “and do ours better.” But Oregon already “took the main step” of legalizing medical marijuana, says the Albany (Ore.) Democrat-Herald in an editorial, and “if something is legal to use — such as liquor and tobacco — it’s not unreasonable to authorize places where it may be sold.”

Proposition 203 would allow Arizonans with a host of diseases to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot with a doctor’s recommendation. They would be allowed to buy medical marijuana from nonprofit, state-licensed dispensaries, or grow it themselves if the nearest outlet is more than 25 miles away. “Opponents worry it will bring more crime, substance abuse, and corruption to our state,” says Lori Jane Gliha at ABC News 15. But with polls showing it the most popular measure on the ballot, with 54 percent support, “we’ll go out on a limb and say [it] will probably pass” anyway, says Ray Stern in the Phoenix New Times.

South Dakota
Measure 13 is a do-over for South Dakota medical-marijuana proponents, after a similar measure in 2006 fell short by about 15,000 votes, or 4 percentage points. Activists “think they can get over the top this time around,” says Phillip Smith in Drug War Chronicle, with restrictions carefully tailored “to win over a skeptical and conservative prairie electorate” — to wit, the proposed law limits people with specific conditions to one ounce and only upon the recommendation of a doctor with whom they have “bona fide relationship.” But not all skeptics are convinced: “I just think it’s a total scam being done by people interested in legalizing marijuana,” says Yankton County (S.D) Sheriff Dave Hunhoff. “If they want to legalize marijuana… they should just stand up and use that argument.”

The Democratic candidate for governor of the Green Mountain State, Peter Shumlin, publicly advocates the decriminalization of marijuana, says Ron Kampia in The Huffington Post. And if he beats Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R), who is “ultra-hostile to decriminalization,” Vermont — which already has a medical-marijuana law — “has a good chance of decriminalizing the possession of marijuana,” too. But Shumlin can’t count on getting every pro-pot vote, says Brad Sylvester in Yahoo News, since he’s also facing Liberty Union candidate Ben Mitchell, whose platform calls for making Vermont into the “Amsterdam of the U.S.”

In November, 73 Massachusetts towns and cities will vote on a nonbinding ballot measure instructing state lawmakers “to vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate the taxation, cultivation, and sale of marijuana to adults” — in short, to legalize pot. Although only 13 percent of the state’s voters will see the ballot initiative, its sponsor, the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, says majority approval would lay the foundation for a statewide, binding ballot measure in 2012. State voters have already approved decriminalization, says Michael Cutler in Wicked Local, and “the sky hasn’t fallen.” Full legalization would better limit access to the drug and raise revenue.

Article written by The Week

Must-See: Why do old people rule the world? [video]

Hopefully this video will change some people. Please vote in November. That is all.

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