Why Four MJ Initiatives Might Face Trouble
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Why Four MJ Initiatives Might Face Trouble
Posted by CN Staff on October 30, 2014 at 11:52:59 PT
By Daniel Wood, Staff Writer
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles -- In an effort to build on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington in 2012, pot proponents have placed legalization initiatives on next Tuesday’s ballot in Alaska; Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Florida. Win or lose, they say, legalization has become a mainstream issue across the country in part because of what happened last election.It’s way too early to draw any broad conclusions, but the early indicators are good and the sky hasn’t fallen” in Colorado and Washington, says Steven Gutwillig, deputy executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization advocacy group.
But even with momentum running in favor of legalization, a midterm vote has special challenges for drug ballot initiatives, since the electorate in nonpresidential elections is typically smaller, older, and more conservative.“People need to realize that, win or lose, all these laws are going to morph in different states for different reasons over time,” says Nathan Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, which backs legalization.Though often similar, new laws could bring a variety of approaches to cultivation, possession, marketing/advertising, and taxing that will be key for other states contemplating legalization in coming years. Here are the four: • Florida's Amendment 2, would legalize medical marijuana, with new protections for patients, doctors, caregivers and dispensaries. Twenty-three states now allow medical use of marijuana, following the first-of-its-kind California law in 1996. Florida would be the first Southern state. Proponents say they are trying to ensure patients who smoke medical marijuana would not lose rights to children in custody fights and doctors would not face lawsuits just for authorizing pot use. Opponents say these protections are too broad. If adopted, stoned patients could cause accidents and not face consequences, and doctors could authorize pot use frivolously with no fear of penalty.• Oregon Measure 91 would legalize recreational marijuana for people age 21 and older, allowing them to possess up to eight ounces of "dried" marijuana and up to four plants. Additionally, the measure would task the Oregon Liquor Control Commission with regulating sales of the drug. An Oct. 26-27 survey by The Oregonian and KGW radio found that 44 percent backed the legalization measure while 46 percent were opposed. An earlier poll by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Fox 12 showed 52 percent supported Measure 91 and 41 percent opposed.• Alaska Measure 2 would allow people age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. It would also make the manufacture, sale, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia legal. These changes would be implemented at the state level; however, these acts would still remain illegal under federal law. Opinion polling on Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 shows a close race, with the initiative losing in the most recent survey.• Washington, D.C.’s Initiative 71 would would fully decriminalize marijuana in the district, following a law passed earlier this year making possession of one ounce or less a ticketable infraction with a fine of $25. The ballot measure removes any penalty for possession or non-commercial transfers. A recent poll signals nearly 2-to-1 support for the measure.What makes the D.C. initiative compelling is that it is the first reform campaign being fought especially on issues of racial justice and that it is happening in the nation’s capital, Mr. Gutwillig says. Nine out of 10 people arrested for drugs in Washington are black, and most of those arrests were for marijuana, according to the Washington Lawyers' Committee. Yet evidence suggests that blacks are no more likely than whites to use marijuana. “Because the campaign and debate is happening in Congress’s backyard, it will be very noticeable if the residents say, ‘enough is enough.’ ” he adds.Florida’s legalization measure may have the most uphill battle, because although polls show says 80 percent of voters approve of medical marijuana, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has reportedly donated $4 million to oppose the measure.“Four million is an awful lot of money in a situation like this,” says Gutwillig. “Never in 20 years of statewide marijuana initiatives has there ever been big money on the no side.” The money is, in effect, a proxy vote against the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Republican Charlie Crist, he says. The Florida measure needs a 60 percent supermajority of voters for approval.Meanwhile, Florida trial lawyer John Morgan, a law partner of Mr. Crist, has contributed about $4 million into support of the measure – a move that GOP critics say is aimed to motivate young Democrats to vote in the midterm election.Should the Alaska and Oregon measure pass, their experiences leading up to a new round ballot initiatives in 2016 will be scrutinized for what they say about different approaches to regulation. Oregon is proposing a fairly robust regulatory system but relatively low taxes, $35 per ounce. Alaska's ballot measure has less regulations but a higher tax, $50 per ounce.“We have a lot to learn about how to tax marijuana,” says Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. “The initiatives in Oregon and Alaska propose to tax marijuana as a function of its weight, which is different from the value-based taxes levied in Colorado and Washington. So if either of these initiatives pass, analysts will want to pay close attention to the pros and cons of this alternative tax regime.”With activists in California preparing an initiative for the 2016 ballot, analysts say that how these laws – or their failures – play out will be grist for what comes next.“There is a lot of policy space between prohibition and the commercial legalization approach,” adds Mr. Kilmer. For example, he says jurisdictions considering alternatives to prohibition could allow home production, co-ops, or even limit the industry to nonprofit organizations.“Another option is a state monopoly," he says, "But that does not get much attention in the US, since states can’t force their employees to violate federal law.”Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author:  Daniel Wood, Staff WriterPublished: October 30, 2014Copyright: 2014 The Christian Science Publishing SocietyContact: letters csmonitor.comWebsite: URL:   -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on October 31, 2014 at 10:33:15 PT
It's sad that Christianity has been so co-opted in this country. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise though. Today's Inquisition and gulag system is harsh but pales in comparison to the Vatican's past adventures in bigotry, and scapegoating, and cruelty.When we had the decrim referendum a few years back the state's Unitarian churches rallied around it - the ministers told their congregations to vote yes, a couple of them even got invovled with advocacy. Unitarians are awesome! All positive, no negative. You don't even have to believe in "God" to join.
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Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on October 31, 2014 at 09:17:40 PT
runruff- Interesting Discussion, That
I have often wondered how, since Jesus said, "love your enemy, feed the hungry, heal the sick, etc.", did we ever end up with the Inquisition (in addition to the famous Spanish version, there was also a French version), the Crusades, the Conquistadors, wars all over Europe and eventually heaps of dead indigenous tribespeople everywhere who would not accept what would become the most heinous oxymoron of all: "Western Civilization"Martin Luther nailed to the church door, a total of 94 problems related to this curious idea of honoring our Creator with shows of force.All of us are in a free will "manufactory". If you take the bat out of anyone's hands, how can they come to the truth on their own? All of us have to deal with this "cross" between the objective truth and the subjective kind. You came into this world as a singular individual (unless you're a twin or more), and you will leave this world as an individual, so don't partner yourself off with just any prime number, because the one everyone is looking for is unlisted. Jesus said that he was the truth, the way and the life. He did not say that he was the Creator (this is the elephant in the room that people are afraid to speak of).
On that subject, he said in the book of Matthew, "This is how you should pray… Our Father,…" Please note the use of the pronoun, "Our". He is including himself with our number, as a human being. If Jesus was to identify himself as the source of all life, he would have addressed the prayer to himself (to make it clear to us) but he did not and that is noteworthy. Because Jesus stood up to the crooked powers of his day, I am aware of the crooked powers in mine. He did what he did so We The People wouldn't have to try to take out the same garbage. None of us would've been able to get through it, no matter how hard one might feel obligated to try. He was given control of his own life. He could pick it up and lay it down anywhere he wanted.Capital punishment worked for Him, but he was the only one it was meant for. And now it's done. Fini. Now we have come to the final oxymoron, and it's a one-worder: "Justice" as in the phrase, "Justice is done." (So don't ask for any more)We are in the "Age of Singularity" folks, where group dynamics is trumped by the smart phone and earbuds.Believe it or not the president's Press Secretary is an oxymoron named Josh Earnest. Now, I am sure that Mr. Ernest is a very smart man, and I am sure he is trying his very best to do something right, but I am not sure that he understands that whenever he opens his mouth, no one really expects him to say things that are "true", only things that are expedient from the point of view of the President of the United States.Likewise, from any group spokesperson. That trust is gone. The perceived "needs of the many" over the freedom of the individual is again being used to stir up fears, fear being that all-purpose political commodity some think they need to keep everybody else in check.In the Age of Singularity, you are on your own!FREE THE PRISONER OF SCHEDULE ONE!THEY ARE TRYING TO PUT GOLD INTO PERMANENT BACKWARDATION!
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 30, 2014 at 12:57:21 PT
Is the CSM an oxymoron?
Or something like the square wheel?How about a hairless toupee?A cocktail of oil and water?Science and religion?Is metaphysics a science or the study of theology and superstition?Can anyone create a science out of the unanswerable? CSM, I must say to you, " I scoff in your general direction"!
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