MPP Announces Marijuana Legalization Plans for 7 States

MPP Announces Marijuana Legalization Plans for 7 States

WASHINGTON, DC — Following landmark victories in Colorado and Washington on November 6, many people are asking, “What states will be next to enact measures to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?”

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), one of the nation’s largest marijuana reform organizations  which has been instrumental in passing medical marijuana, decriminalization, and marijuana legalization bills in several states nationwide,  has announced the next seven states that they plan perusing marijuana legalization.

Topping the list is Alaska, where MPP hopes to capitalize on the nation’s strongest level of voter support with a tax and regulate ballot initiative in 2014.  Presently, possession of up to a quarter pound of cannabis in your home in Alaska, while not legal, carries no criminal penalty or fine.  Alaska legalized the use of medical marijuana in 1998.

Up next is Rhode Island, where MPP lobbyists hope to follow up on successful bills passed in the state legislature that legalized medical marijuana in 2009, and decriminalized possession of marijuana in 2012. MPP insiders say they are hopeful that following the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado this year, the Rhode Island legislature will enact a tax and regulate bill in 2013.  If the legislature fails to do so, look for a ballot initiative in 2o14.

In Maine, like Rhode Island, lobbyists will push for a legislative approved tax and regulate marijuana legalization bill in 2013.  Should the legislature fail to pass marijuana legalization on their own, MPP plans to introduce local tax and regulate initiatives in 2014, leading up to a potential statewide ballot measure to legalize adult use of cannabis in Maine in 2016.  Maine voters, like most of their New England neighbors, are favorable to marijuana reform. Maine overwhelmingly legalized medicinal marijuana in 1999, with 61 percent voting in favor in the early days of the modern marijuana reform movement.

Also in New England is Massachusetts, where voters have long supported marijuana law reform. MPP and local reform organizations hope to follow up their successful 2008 marijuana decriminalization campaign, which voters approved with a 65% majority, and the 2012 medical marijuana campaign, where 63% of voters approved the Bay State becoming the nation’s 18th medical marijuana state, with a 2016 tax and regulate for adult use campaign.  If legalization campaigns in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island are successful, the Northeast will have a strong anchor of legalized marijuana use, which could see many other states along the Eastern seaboard follow suit.

Back on the West Coast, activists in Oregon will be working closely with MPP lobbyists to pass a tax and regulate measure through the state legislature in 2013, continuing the momentum from Measure 80, which narrowly failed on November 6.  The underfunded and little known legalization bill surprised activists and reformists with a strong showing at the polls, but was narrowly defeated 46-54%.  Reformists will work with the state legislature to pass a similar bill through the state legislature in coming months, while building up to a potential – and better funded – ballot initiative in 2016 if needed.

Marijuana legalization on the West Coast would’t be complete without California, who’s successful 1996 Proposition 215 campaign sparked new life into the marijuana reform movement. Since California legalized medical marijuana, 17 other states and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Marijuana reform in California was set back with the failure of 2010’s Proposition 19, which was opposed by many in the medical marijuana industry. MPP plans on working closely with reform organizations statewide to build momentum and support for a planned legalization initiative for the 2016 ballot.

Finally, MPP hopes to bring legalized marijuana to Sin City and the rest of Nevada with a tax and regulate campaign slated for 2016. This follows up on successful campaigns to legalize medical marijuana in 2000, and decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis in 2006.

As the New Year begins, 2013 and beyond appears to be the dawn of a new era of the end of marijuana prohibition.

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  • Raymond Tokareff

    Nixon ,the swine, made pot number 1 to punish young people and things haven’t changed

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  • Mike

    This sounds like a pragmatic and realistic agenda for MPP to pursue. We need to keep the pressure on to make best use of the momentum from 2012’s victories in Colorado and Washington. Seven states may even sound ambitious, but I think there’s a need to balance opportunities against resources.

    That said, I think there needs to be some discussion of turning up the heat even further. Electoral politics is important and makes the people’s case in a way that no politician can deny, even though some are trying really hard to do just that, especially at the federal level. Much depends on exactly what, if any, changes will come about in dealing with these democratic (with a small d) rebellions against the dictates of our ruling elites. It’s even possible that the Dems might see the handwriting on the wall and decide to be reasonable in order to reap the political benefits that will accrue to the first of the two dominant national parties to support full legalization — something which is a REAL majoritarian position given the massive public support for marijuana in most demographics.

    But I don’t think they’re that smart. And except for a few Paulistas and Tea party fringies, the Reps definitely aren’t gonna be that one.

    Which means a longer and more protracted struggle than many may think. Don’t lose patience folks or we’ll be right back to the 1970s again. While that decade had its moments, some I even remember, marijuana legalization was not one of them much as we thought it was just around the corner. Lesson learned? We need to keep pushing and turning up the heat.

    While the electoral route is preferable at the state level where citizens have the means to access the ballot, that’s not the case everywhere. And it’s clear that even where majority support for ending the war on marijuana and its users has been expressed, there are plenty of folks in government that have no problem ignoring the will of the people. That brings two potential ancillary ideas to mind that are worth serious consideration in jurisdictions where the opportunity presents itself to use these tactics. By no means are these one-size-fits-all, but where the shoe fits, maybe we should wear it.

    Where public officials stonewall reform, run primary candidates against them with platforms that appeal to majority support for legalization. Even if winning is far from certain or even probable, this causes those bums to have to address our issues, not theirs, costs them resources and good will they may need in the general election, and helps focus the ever more dreadfully bad press on important topics they likely have been ignoring. Win, win, win, and we might even actually win! Is this a Dem only thing? Far from it. Candidates from all parties should face these challenges.

    Second is a tactic that may be controversial for some and is certainly dangerous for the person in the hotseat — jury nullification. Individual jurisdictions do vary, but the polls increasingly tell us that in most people now support legalization, not continuing the government’s “drug war” boondoggle with respect to cannabis. It needs to be judged where it’s to be applied carefully for winning use, but there will be many places where prosecutors and judges continue to lower the hammer on marijuana “crimes” in defiance of the public they serve.

    After suitable preparatory educational work and assessment, if it turns out that when juries are asked to decide these cases its a crap shoot whether they will convict, it’s close to being over. Doesn’t matter if they want to drag their heels on changing the law, if juries won’t convict and everyone knows it, it’s game over.

    • wtfk

      The libertarian wing of the Republican party is the future of the Republican party. Don’t be surprised if this budding minority ends up being the biggest backers of cannabis freedom.

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  • steve

    Instead of dicking around with this and that all of this MMJ and MJ needs to be just one entity Marijuana is legal in every state with the feds approval or without either way the head of steam is boiling and about to pop,we got to get the feds in on it,or they can go after the cartels,and we don’t need to be in mexico at all,pull em back and watch the borders,legalize it tax it,create jobs with it,get us out of this slump statr back useing hemp to save our tree’s and everything else that we can explore this plant for all we can and use it but it is like moving into a new neighbor hood nobody likes u til they c u won’t hurt them,this is where we r now,,,,,

    • wtfk

      As a patient who was never a pot smoker and a principled libertarian, it blows my mind to hear potheads sing the praises of taxation and regulation. They’re using it as we speak in Colorado to turn legalization into a byzantine mess.

      • Rainer Wolfcastle

        I’ve turned full circle on it to. I am still happy for WA and CO as it was a huge moral boost to the movement. Decriminalization is a better way to go. I did not know that Alaskans have the best deal of all; defacto legal possession in the home to 4 oz/ 24 plants. No taxes, no reams of new regulatory laws, no bullshit. Alaskans should just push decriminalization outside the home and leave it at that until the feds, eventually, make legalization more workable.

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  • rob

    there not throwing patients in just like obahma said they wouldnt. instead there taking the caregivers/coop operators and inprisoning them. heres why. a street dealer has wepons allies. a coop has sick people and mass quantities of mmj. dealers keep the police busy but not the dea. mmj facilities welcome enforcement and such personal. no fight just hands up surrender. so why risk there live when they know they can destroy someone elses. a street dealer normally does not have 100 pounds. so no real criminal charges can be filed with mandatory sentences. but a coop has well over the needed amount for mandatory sentencing. thus they know the coop will not fight at time of enforcement and guarentees atleast one mandatory minimum of ten years. so they look great to the unknowing people caus ethey got there conviction thus gaining support for continued enforcement.

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