Latest Legalization Landscape

Yesterday’s News – March 23, 2015


Image: Beyond the Beltway Insights Initiative

Image: Beyond the Beltway Insights Initiative


There are rumblings of legalization all across the country, and, regardless of what President Obama thinks, cannabis law reform is of growing importance for many Americans. We think keeping cannabis illegal is too big of a priority for our federal government, and we encourage them to consider the work they (and we) might accomplish in other areas if they would refocus on issues that matter to their constituents and to the world at large. Though Obama does think we might “make some progress on the decriminalization side,” it’s disappointing to see such a lack of leadership from the president here. But it’s not the first time. Christopher Ingraham piece on The Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” compares Obama’s approach to this issue to his stance on gay marriage, calling him “content to evolve rather than lead the way:”



Another survey corroborates previous findings that the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization. The “Beyond the Beltway” report, from the Beneson Strategy Group and SKDKnickerbocker, indicates that 61 percent of registered voters are in favor of “state-regulated sales of marijuana…just like…in states like Colorado and Washington.” Even more people believe that penalties for cannabis possession should be “fines of $25-$100” rather than arrest and possible jail time; this type of decriminalization had the support of 72 percent of poll participants. The HuffPost breaks down the numbers for you:



Nevada is the first state to make it official: voters will consider cannabis legalization on the ballot in 2016. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) filed an initial petition and collected over 200,000 signatures in order to qualify the measure, “The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana,” for the election. The state legislature had a chance to vote on the measure but did not, sending it to the 2016 ballot for the voters to decide. This piece on Alternet, by NORML’s Paul Armentano, has the specifics of the initiative:



While they missed a chance to end cannabis prohibition in their state, some Nevada lawmakers were busy introducing legislation that would allow medical marijuana for pets, as long as they’re under the supervision of a veterinarian. Read more at the Columbus Dispatch:



According to a Drug Policy Alliance press release, the New York City Council has called for the state legislature to approve measures to decriminalize possession of cannabis and to tax and regulate its sale, making cannabis a part of the council’s official legislative agenda for the first time. The Fairness and Equity Act seeks to end racially biased marijuana arrests and address institutional racial bias across the criminal justice system, and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act would create a state-legal adult use recreational cannabis industry. Check out the press release for more details:



Despite public opinion that favors legalization and successful efforts in a number of states to legalize, decriminalize, or implement medical cannabis programs, Italy might legalize it before we do. Sixty members of the Italian Parliament support the proposal, which is not yet a bill, that would make cannabis legal throughout the country; marijuana is currently decriminalized in Italy but is still illegal for medical and recreational use:



Finally, we thought cannabis was legal in Alaska as of last month, but apparently that law is open to interpretation, because Charlo Greene and the Alaska Cannabis Club are in some trouble again. Anchorage Police raided the clubhouse on Friday and took boxes of “evidence” including cannabis plants and computers, claiming they’d received reports of illegal marijuana sales at the property. No charges have been filed and Greene says she plans to sue the city. Alaska Dispatch News has the complete story:






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