64% in Washington D.C. Support Marijuana Legalization, 75% Support Decriminalization

New polling released today finds that an overwhelming percentage of people in Washington D.C. support reforming their district’s marijuana policies. The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling, found twashington-dchat 75% of all D.C. residents support removing the criminal penalties associated with possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, making it a simple $100 ticket, rather than up to 6 months in prison like it is currently.

In addition, the polling found that 64% support the idea of decriminalizing the private cultivation of up to 3 plants. Just about the same percentage of people, 63%, said that they support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adult recreational consumption (64% support simply legalizing possession). This puts support for D.C. roughly 12% higher than the national average, which is already at an all-time-high.

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New Legislation Would Legalize Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Pennsylvania

If newly-filed House Bill 1181 becomes law in Pennsylvania, residents of the state would be given the legal authority to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and cultivate up to 6 plants, if they obtain a valid recommendation. In addition, it would authorize them to popopopurchase marijuana from safe access points – no specific regulations are given, however.

The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under this measure – cachexia, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures,  severe and persistent muscle spasms,  Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer and glaucoma.

Individuals who have one of these conditions, and get a recommendation from a physician, would then be able to register with the Department of Health in order to get a license indicating that they’re a legal patient. Patients may also have a caregiver, who can possess and cultivate, though not consume, up to 6 plants and up to 6 ounces.

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Initiative Underway to Legalize Marijuana in Alaska

Alaska has one of the more liberal marijuana possession laws in the U.S., with possession of an ounce decriminalized, but advocates are taking it a step forward and have begun an initiative drive to legalize the possession, personal cultivation and state-licensed sale of marijuanamarijuana3 to adults. Voters in Alasaka rejected a similar measure in 2004 with a 44%-56% vote, but the conversation surrounding marijuana has shifted greatly in those past 9 years – for example, support for legalization on the national level in that time frame has gone from under forty percent, to above fifty.

Today, activists took the first major step in putting an initiative to the vote of the people, but submitting draft language, along with 100 signatures, to the state’s lieutenant governor. The state has 2 months to review the measure, making sure the signatures are valid and the draft language is legally sound. Continue reading

Vermont Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes Full House, Goes to Senate


Vermont State seal.

By a vote of 92-49, Vermont’s House of Representatives approved a measure today that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, changing it from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a civil infraction. If passed, possessing an ounce or less would be a simple $300 ticket, rather than up to 6 months in jail like it is currently.

Last week the House approved the measure through its 2nd reading with a slightly more favorable 98-44 vote.

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Illinois Hemp Legalization Bill Passes House Rules Committee Unanimously

A measure to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Illinois passed the state’s House Rules Committee by a unanimous vote of 4-0 yesterday, sendinhempg it towards a full House vote. The bill passed the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee last month with a close 9-8 vote.

Under the legislation, House Bill 2668 – the Industrial Hemp Act – the Department of Agriculture would license individuals to cultivate hemp.

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Over 200 Doctors Call for Medical Marijuana Legalization in Illinois

Today a group of over 200 physicians in Illinois held a press conference to call on lawmakers to allow residents in the state to use marijuana for medical purposes, and to allow physicians to recommend it. Three physicians attended and spoke on behalf of the group. This call to action pot+leafcomes as House Bill 0001 is being discussed in the state’s legislature, a measure which would legalize medical marijuana. The state’s House of Representatives will likely vote on the measure tomorrow – it’s expected to pass, though of course anything can happen.

The nearly 250 physicians signed on to the statement that, “Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial.” Continue reading

New York State Lawmakers Approve Measure to Legalize Medical Cannabis

As we reported was expected, New York’s Assembly Health Committee approved a measure this morning to legalize medical cannabis. The bill, which passed with a vote of 21-4, would establish state-licensed safe acnew york flagcess points that would distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients. Patients, and their caregiver (if they have one), would be authorized to possess up to 2.5 ounces, as long as they get a license through the state. License will be given to those who receive a valid recommendation from a physician.

The measure now moves toward a full Assembly vote, where it’s expected to pass.

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St. Louis Officials Vote to Significantly Reduce Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Today the St. Louis Board of Aldermen (their City Council) voted 22-3 to significantly reduce charges associated with possessing small amounts of marijuana. Its passage sends it to the city’s mayor, who plans to sign the measure short of any legal flaw being found. The proposal was supported by the city attorney. show-me-cannabis-regulation-missouri-smcr

If passed, the bill would give police officers the option to give individuals a summons to appear in municipal court (like a traffic ticket) rather than arresting them. In addition, the ordinance would reduce the penalties associated with possessing small amounts of marijuana to a $100-$500 ticket, and up to 90 days in prison – currently possessing up to 35 grams can net someone up to a year.

“I think this is a good step for the city of St. Louis,” stated Alderman Shane Cohn, one of the prime backers of the proposal, “It doesn’t legalize marijuana, but it gives fairness.”

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New York Committee Expected to Approve Medical Marijuana Legalization

Although the battle is far from over, this could end up being the year that New York finally legalizes medical marijuana. This possibility will take its first big step towards reality tomorrow, when New York’s Assembly HeNYSkylinealth Committee is expected to vote on Assembly Bill 6357, the Compassionate Care Act. The measure would authorize doctors to give recommendations to qualified patients, who would be allowed to legally posses up to 2.5 ounces. The Department of Health is directed to issue licenses to those who receive recommendations from their physician.

In addition, the Health Department would be responsible for handling regulations and licensing for safe access points that would distribute marijuana to registered patients. Caregivers would also be allowed to purchase and posses marijuana, if it’s for a qualified patient, and not for personal consumption. Continue reading

40% of U.S. to Have Decriminalized Marijuana Possession by 2014

Marijuana law reform has become a rapidly growing beast, with consistent movement being made across the globe – especially in the United States. 18 states plus D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, Washington and marij-flag-350wColorado have legalized possession and retail sales (as well as home-cultivation in Colorado), and 30% of the entire nation has decriminalized marijuana possession, making it no longer an arrestable offense.

Decriminalization has shown up in various forms in states that have taken that path, with the underlining element being that they’ve taken the possession of a certain amount of marijuana (typically an ounce or less), and made it no longer a crime. Instead, most of these states have made it a civil infraction – a simple ticketable offense that doesn’t show up on someone’s criminal record, and doesn’t carry the possibility of jail time. The state’s that have taken this path: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

By the end of 2014, judging by current legislative movement, 40% of American states will have decriminalized marijuana possession. Here’s why we think this is. Continue reading