Recreational

U.S.: Pro-Marijuana Legalization Law Enforcement Group LEAP To Report Election Results In Real Time

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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) will be covering the elections to legalize marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and D.C.; Prop. 47 in California, which would defelonize minor drug possession and other nonviolent crimes; and the battle to legalize medical marijuana in Florida with up-to-the-minute updates on Twitter, press releases as soon as results are announced, and frequent blog updates as results come in.

"In addition, some of our top representatives will be standing by for comment," said LEAP spokesperson Darby Beck.

In advance of the elections, Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who has seen legalization firsthand and just spent a week touring Alaska to talk about marijuana legalization, will be hosting a Reddit IAMA on Tuesday at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET to discuss the current ballot measures and why he thinks legalization is good for public safety.

The title will be "IAMA Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and I want to legalize marijuana. AMA!"

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Backers To Celebrate Election Night In South Portland

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Voters in Lewiston and South Portland are considering ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older

Backers of the initiatives to make marijuana legal for adults in Lewiston and South Portland, Maine, will celebrate Election Night at Thatcher’s Restaurant in South Portland (35 Foden Road). The event will begin after the polls close at 8 p.m. ET. Free Wi-Fi access and parking will be available.

The ballot measures — Question 2 in Lewiston and the “Citizen-Initiated Ordinance Referendum Question” regarding marijuana in South Portland — would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would remain illegal to use or display marijuana in public.

Portland voters approved a similar measure 67-33 in November 2013.

The Lewiston and South Portland initiatives also express support for ending marijuana prohibition in Maine and replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

The organization backing the measures, the Marijuana Policy Project, has filed a committee to support such a statewide initiative in 2016.

WHAT: Election Night watch party for the campaign in support of the Lewiston and South Portland ballot measures to make marijuana legal for adults

WHEN: Tuesday, November 4, after the polls close at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Thatcher’s Restaurant, 35 Foden Rd., South Portland

WHO: David Boyer, Maine Political Director, Marijuana Policy Project

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Measure 91 Endorsed By Colorado Congressman Jared Polis

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis on Friday gave a ringing endorsement to Measure 91, the ballot initiative which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon. Voters will decide the fate of the measure on Tuesday.

"The implementation of our new laws has gone smoothly overall, providing an excellent example for other states to follow," wrote Rep. Polis, who represents Colorado's Second Congressional District. "Our success has made it clear that when marijuana is regulated like alcohol, it can decrease crime, help fund schools and drug education programs, and keep money out of the hands of criminals and cartels.

"Voters in Oregon should look to our experience and success as they make their decision on Measure 91 on their ballot November 4th," Polis wrote in an op-ed which appeared in The Bend Bulletin on Friday.

"Violent crime is down in Denver," Polis wrote. "Fatal car crashes are in decline statewide. Marijuana arrests that mostly hindered low-income people and young men of color are no longer creating obstacles for employment, housing and education."

"I'm excited Oregon will soon decide whether to join Colorado and Washington in regulating marijuana like alcohol," Polis wrote. "More than ever, I believe it's time to change course on decades of failed marijuana prohibition and demonstrate viable, effective alternatives to address the realities of marijuana today."

U.S.: States, Cities and Nation's Capital To Vote On Marijuana Policy Ballot Measures Tuesday

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Alaska and Oregon could make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it like alcohol; Washington, D.C. and two of Maine’s largest cities could make marijuana legal for adults; Florida could become 24th state to allow seriously ill people to access medical marijuana

States, cities, and the nation’s capital will vote on marijuana policy ballot measures on Tuesday.

“From Alaska to Maine, there is a whole lot of enthusiasm for ending marijuana prohibition,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “It’s not easy to overcome 80 years of prohibition and anti-marijuana propaganda. But public attitudes are clearly shifting on this issue, and it’s only a matter of time before that is reflected in laws nationwide.”

In Alaska and Oregon, voters are considering statewide ballot measures that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. The initiatives — Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska and Measure 91 in Oregon — would remove all legal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

The measures would also establish a regulatory framework for licensed businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults. If the initiatives are approved, Alaska and Oregon would be the third and fourth states to end marijuana prohibition.

D.C.: Council Holds Hearing On Marijuana Legalization In Nation's Capital

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Policy Experts and Advocates Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs

Hearing Occurs Just Days Before Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization at Ballot Box

D.C. Councilmembers Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 3) on Thursday are holding a joint public hearing on legislation introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) that would establish a system which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital. Councilmember Orange chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and Councilmember Evans chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The hearing specifically examined sections six through nine of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), and took place Thursday at 11 a.m. in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates provided testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization towards rebuilding the communities harmed by the war on drugs.

U.S.: Legal Marijuana Industry Could Be Bigger Than NFL By 2020

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new report projects that legal marijuana could be an industry with revenues of $35 billion by 2020 if cannabis is legalized at the federal level. Greenwave Advisors, which authored the report, notes that this is a floor representing revenues in the first year of nationwide legalization.

That figure -- $35 billion -- represents more annual revenue than the NFL (currently $10 billion), and is roughly equal to current revenues from the newspaper publishing industry ($38 billion) and the candy/confectionary industry ($34 billion), reports Christopher Ingraham at .

Greenwave arrived at its estimates by looking at existing and likely marijuana markets, medical and recreational, in states that already have legalized them, as well as in states that appear likely to open such markets by 2020. The research and analysis company estimates 12 states plus D.C. will have legalized recreational cannabis by 2020, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post, with medical marijuana in 37 states.

Currently 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, and two (Colorado and Washington) have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Even without full federal legalization, Greenwave estimates legal marijuana revenues of $21 billion by 2020.

Oregon: 30 Law Enforcement Officials Endorse Marijuana Legalization Measure

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Six days to go: Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, former Multnomah County Sheriff Don Clark and former Denver Police Department Lt. Tony Ryan among the supporters of Measure 91

With only six days left before ballots are due, 30 law enforcement officials from across the western half of the United States have endorsed Oregon’s Measure 91 to regulate marijuana.

The endorsers include former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, former Multnomah County Sheriff Don Clark, former Denver Police Department Lt. Tony Ryan and Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing.

The Yes on 91 campaign announced their support as part of a press conference today featuring former U.S. Attorney Kris Olson; former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs; 30-year law enforcement veteran Paul Steigleder; and Partnership for Safety and Justice director Cassandra Villanueva.

“Marijuana prohibition has a disproportionate and disparate impact on people of color and youth -- fueling their existence and penetration in the criminal and justice systems,” Villanueva said. “It is not an effective use of taxpayer dollars or reflect the value of Oregonians.”

D.C.: Council To Hold Joint Hearing On Bill To Make Marijuana Legal and Regulate It Like Alcohol

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Council committees will hear testimony on provisions regarding licensing and regulations for cultivation facilities and adult retail marijuana stores, as well as a dedicated fund for marijuana business taxes and fees

The Washington, D.C. Council will hold a joint committee hearing Thursday on a bill that would make possession of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

The Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Finance and Revenue will hear testimony regarding sections 6, 7, 8, and 9 of B20-466, the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013, which was introduced last year by Councilman David Grosso.

Those sections would amend District code to establish the regulatory infrastructure for the production and sale of marijuana and marijuana products in D.C. They would also create a dedicated fund, which would consist of excise taxes, license fees, and all other revenues received by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration from marijuana-related activities.

Oregon: Activists Release Comedy Video Series Urging Voters To Legalize Marijuana

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Crowdsourced Videos Feature Comedians and Actors Showing How Easy it is to Vote in Oregon and End Marijuana Prohibition

A new get-out-the-vote video campaign has been launched by Drug Policy Action, a related organization of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The series of videos, entitled "In the Time It Takes,” show how easy it is to vote and to support Measure 91, a measure on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In the videos, supporters of Measure 91, including actor Tate Donovan and comedian Rob Cantrell, demonstrate something that can be done in the same amount of time it takes to vote for measure 91 and mail a ballot in Oregon. From the mundane to the ridiculous, each “In the Time It Takes” video emphasizes the fact that it only takes a minute to fill out and mail a ballot. Drug Policy Alliance and the local Yes on 91 campaign are counting on this new initiative to rally younger voters to get out and vote.

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Would Generate Millions In Taxes

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Millions of dollars in state tax revenue would be generated if Alaska's voters decide in next week's election to legalize marijuana sales to adults, according to a comprehensive report released on Monday by the Marijuana Policy Group, made up of Colorado researchers and economic experts.

The first year of recreational cannabis sales in Alaska would generate about $7 million in state taxes, according to the group, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. Legal recreational sales of marijuana would account for about 22 percent of total demand in that first year, about four metric tons, according to the report.

"Previous studies incorrectly assume that all demand will quickly shift to regulated markets," the researchers noted. "In our experience, such assumptions are naive." That conclusion would certainly jibe with the legalization experience in Washington state, where scant supplies have driven prices past $30 a gram and have driven many consumers back to the black market.

"If retail prices increase significantly, then most heavy users will avoid this supply mode and buy marijuana from black or grey market sources as possible," the researchers wrote.

Adult Alaskans use nearly 18 metric tons of marijuana, according to the researchers, a demand which is now satisfied through the state's black market, as well as a network of medical marijuana caregivers and home cultivators.

Oregon: Jeff Merkley Becomes First U.S. Senator To Support Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has said he plans to vote for Measure 91, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, which would make him the first sitting U.S. Senator to support legalization.

"I lean in support of it," Sen. Merkley told Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur last week. Reporter Jeff Mapes reported on Sen. Merkley's stance earlier this month, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.)

"I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products -- and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington.

"But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure," Merkley said.

A Merkley staffer said her boss had stopped short of officially endorsing the ballot initiative, reports Courtney Sherwood at Reuters. "The senator has not endorsed the ballot measure, but he has said he will vote for it," said Courtney Warner Crowell, Merkley's deputy communications director.

Colorado: Denver Police, Federal Agents Conduct Large Raids On Marijuana Grows

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday morning conducted large raids on multiple marijuana growing operations near Denver.

One Denver police officer seen in a blue hazmat suit entering a building on North Bryant Street told The Denver Post that he and other officers were executing a search warrant, and that several other raids were being conducted around town.

"It's a very large and successfu investigation," claimed James Gothe, group supervisor of the DEA's special support unit in Denver. "We're assisting."

Gothe called it an "ongoing operation" and wouldn't comment other than to say it involved the Denver Police Department and the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

The Denver Police Department announced at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Twitter that area law enforcement officers were conducting "an ongoing investigation into drug activity," but claimed no further information was available.

Denver police spokesman Ron Hackett said officers are investigating illegal drug activity at "multiple locations," reports The Denver Channel. Hackett said the department "may" provide more information about the raids later Tuesday or on Wednesday.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Backers Unveil Halloween-Themed Mobile Billboard

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Mobile Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

Billboard satirizing ‘Reefer Madness’-style propaganda calls Question 2 ‘[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston’ because it would allow adults to use a substance that is ‘Less toxic! Less addictive! Less scary than ALCOHOL!’

Backers of the initiative to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston unveiled a Halloween-themed mobile billboard Tuesday that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

The orange and black billboard, which will run through Halloween, satirizes “Reefer Madness”-style propaganda and calls Question 2 “[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston” because it would allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. It features a screaming face and reads, “MARIJUANA: LESS toxic! LESS addictive! LESS scary than ALCOHOL!”

Facts regarding the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol are available at http://www.MarijuanaIsSafer.org .

Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

The measure also expresses support for ending marijuana prohibition in Maine and regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

Maine: Backers of Lewiston Marijuana Initiative To Launch Mobile Billboard

MarijuanaLessToxic!LessAddictive!LessScaryThanAlcohol!

Halloween-themed Mobile Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

Billboard satirizing ‘Reefer Madness’-style propaganda comes as opponents ramp up efforts to scare voters into keeping marijuana illegal for adults; ad calls Question 2 ‘[a] safer marijuana policy’ because it would allow adults to use a substance that is, ‘Less toxic! Less addictive! ‘Less scary than ALCOHOL!’

Backers of the initiative to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston, Maine, will launch a Halloween-themed mobile billboard on Tuesday that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) will hold a news conference in front of the billboard at 10 a.m. ET in Heritage Park. The ad will run through Halloween.

The orange and black billboard, which satirizes “Reefer Madness”-style propaganda, comes as opponents of Question 2 are ramping up efforts to scare voters into keeping marijuana illegal for adults. It features a screaming face and reads, “MARIJUANA: LESS toxic! LESS addictive! LESS scary than ALCOHOL!”

It calls Question 2 “[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston” because it would allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. Facts regarding the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol are available at http://www.MarijuanaIsSafer.org .

Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

D.C.: Community Organizations, Advocates and Faith Leaders Call For Marijuana Legalization

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A diverse group of community organizations, policy reform advocates and faith leaders is calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in the nation’s capital which has resulted in gross racial disparities in the arrests of marijuana users. They are also emphasizing the need to repair the damage done to many African-American communities as a result of this policy.

The group of pastors and advocates emphasized that they do not take this decision lightly and “do not condone the use of marijuana.” But they are resolved that the current system of controlling drug use is ineffective and destructive of families and communities.

They are calling for that destruction to end, and for a reinvestment of resources from taxation and regulation of marijuana into the communities that have suffered the most from its criminalization.

“We believe that when we support a person’s self worth and dignity, the person can make more responsible choices and be accountable to the larger community,” the group said in a prepared statement.

The ACLU estimates that the District has spent as much as $43 million per year since 2010 on marijuana possession enforcement, more per capita than any state in the nation. “This money could otherwise be invested in our community to enhance public health and safety, extend drug treatment programs and to improve police-community relations,” the report concludes.

What: Press Conference

Where: Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street, NW, Washington, DC

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 28th, 2014

Time: Noon

Speakers:

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