April 18, 2014

Maine Legislature May Debate Legalizing Marijuana

UPDATE 6/14/2011- 11:13AM ET - Maine House accepts the “ought not to pass” report from Criminal Justice Committee – bill sent to Senate. 

6/13/2011 - World leaders and even President Obama say that there should be a “legitimate” debate about cannabis prohibition. But this week a body of elected officials may actually engage in that dialogue. The House and Senate in Maine could consider LD 1453, “An Act to Legalize and Tax Marijuana.” The last two days of the legislative session are this week. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), says that the issue has garnered enough interest among her peers for a floor debate.

[Read more...]

Black Leaders Support New Marijuana Policies

Image from PhillyNORML

6/10/2011 – Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. will deliver a keynote speech at a gathering of prominent black leaders who are calling for an end to criminal drug prohibition. The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) will meet at the National Press Club in Washington DC on June 17, 2011. The date marks 40 years since President Nixon signed an executive order starting the “War on Drugs.”

Top-level policy makers will be presenting at the event such as Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA) and Dr. Elise Scott, the President of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Some of the lecturers in the afternoon program are:  Deborah Small at Break the Chains, Neill Franklin at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Jasmine Tyler, the Deputy Director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance.

IBW President Dr. Ron Daniels,  spoke with Freedomigreen via telephone about why he is leading this effort to shift drug policy.

“We want to expand the conversation about the devastating effects of the war on drugs in general,” said Dr. Daniels. “We are acutely concerned on its impact in black communities across the country. Having this national forum and being involved with other groups is really trying to push for alternatives.”

How about legalizing marijuana?

“I think we need to put everything on the table. In New York City there have been over 50, 000 arrests for marijuana just in the last year. Once you are in the system there are records that can affect you. When you look at the damage that is done to people – they are not addicts – but they end up in jail with a mark they can’t erase from the record. It is really harming our people in an amazing way.”

Daniels added, “If there is a drug that could be legalized… marijuana is the least dangerous to people. I’m not advocating that people use drugs at all, even alcohol. But we need to take out the criminal aspect.”

There were 858,408 Americans are arrested for marijuana violations in 2009; more than for all other illegal drugs combined. There is a striking racial disparity to pot arrests in New YorkPhiladelphia and other cities. Well over 80% of the marijuana arrests in these urban settings are young black men.

More from the interview with Dr. Daniels will be posted next week.

Link: Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW)Declaring War on the “War on Drugs:” Creating Just and Humane Alternatives to a Failed Strategy

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com


Maine, New Jersey React To Federal Marijuana Letters

from maine.gov

Federal laws are not exactly fun reading that you bring to the beach. The complex language often makes them tough to understand. But we’re pretty sure everyone knows how the US federal government feels about marijuana. It is illegal – Just Say Drug War.

Perhaps they ended prohibition down in Washington DC and never told us? Just in case, the Maine Health and Human Services Committee and New Jersey’s Attorney General Paula Dow are making sure the US Department of Justice reaffirms their position on pot. [Read more...]

Big Week for East Coast Cannabis

Marijuana reform is on the move

5/14/2011 – As states on the East Coast move through the spring legislative season there has been significant progress on marijuana reform bills. This week saw major news that governors in Maryland and Delaware signed their medical cannabis bills into law after strong, bi-partisan votes of passage.

Delaware becomes the 16th state with a regulated medical cannabis program, one that has county-level dispensaries.  Maryland does not allow any legal method to obtain marijuana, but patients with serious conditions who get arrested can now offer a positive defense in court. Vermont’s bill is also expecting a signature soon.

Here are some important developments from the last 7 days:

Legislation Would Stop New York City Marijuana Arrests
http://www.freedomisgreen.com/legislation-would-stop-new-york-city-marijuana-arrests/

Medical marijuana in New Jersey gets more complicated

Second Committee Passes Marijuana Decrim in Connecticut


New Hampshire Tables Medical Marijuana Bill

Rhode Island Gov Caves to Fed, Stops Medical Marijuana Centers

Maine Marijuana Legalization Bill Could Go To Voters

Vermont Marijuana Dispensaries Almost Law, More States To Follow

Additional articles from Freedomisgreen.com category editors:

How To Talk to an Undercover Cop at a Marijuana Rally - by Chris Goldstein

New Science Supports Cannabis for Pain Treatment - by Jahan Marcu

A Mother’s Day Message from a Cannabis Legalizing Momby Diane Fornbacher

What I Learned at the 2011 National NORML Conferenceby Beth Mann

CONTACT: Chris Goldstein chris[ at] freedomisgreen.com or 267 702 3731

Follow marijuana reform bills around the country in NORML’s Take Action Center - http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/

 

Maine Marijuana Legalization Bill Could Go To Voters

Rep. Diane Russell

5/11/2011 UPDATE 4:59PM ET - A landmark hearing yesterday in Maine before the Criminal Justice Committee on a bill to tax and regulate recreational marijuana had an interesting outcome: The issue could eventually be decided by Maine residents.  If LD 1453 does pass floor votes in the legislature the bill must also pass a voter referendum to become a  law. [Read more...]

A Mother’s Day Message from a Cannabis Legalizing Mom

Diane Fornbacher with her family. Photo by Kevin Monko

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate and honor those who gave us life. However as a mother, every day I am reminded of a terrible war that is destroying the fabric of our families and putting our children at risk. The so-called War on Drugs happens all around us, but it is mostly a war on cannabis consumers. Today I hope that mothers will join me and pay attention to some peaceful solutions for marijuana. [Read more...]

Comprehensive Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Maine

State Rep. Diane Russell of Maine (D-Portland)

4/8/2011 - Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland) has introduced a new bill in Maine that would cover all aspects of cannabis legalization. HP1067/ LD 1453 An Act To Legalize and Tax Marijuana sets out to carefully do everything in the title. Recreational marijuana can be sold and grown, medical cannabis caregivers will be grandfathered into larger growing spaces and industrial hemp will be farmed for profit.

Russell sat down with Freedomisgreen.com for an interview last month: [Read more...]

Interview: Maine Rep. Diane Russell Works to Legalize Marijuana

State Rep. Diane Russell of Maine (D-Portland)

Hearings were held in Maine yesterday on bills to reduce the penalties for adult marijuana possession. State Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland) is co-sponsoring the reduction but she made waves when she announced her plans to go further: Russell will introduce a bill in April that will fully legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. [Read more...]

East Coast Gets Serious About Marijuana

From the stage of the Boston Freedom Rally - Chris Goldstein

In the eastern United States a dramatic change is stirring for cannabis laws. Medical marijuana, decriminalization and even fully taxed legalization are on the march forward from Maine to Florida. Backed by striking public support, new bills are being introduced and old ones are getting a second chance.

The surge in recent polling is important to note. Most polls show that 70% to 80% of voters (in all demographics) favor their local marijuana reform legislation.

To put this into perspective; the most popular individual politicians quickly open bottles of champagne when they break 45% in their approval ratings.  Soon there may be a safer, greener choice than the old bubbly. [Read more...]