Browsing: Elections

norml-summer-camp-marijuana-flag-smores-collins-2018 (1)Jacqueline Collins

While immigration, health care and gun control continue to divide the country, at least one issue is starting to bring us together: legalizing cannabis.

After the November 6 election, Michigan will be joining Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont as the tenth state to legalize recreational cannabis, while Utah and Missouri each approved medical marijuana measures. And those weren’t the only victories for cannabis.

hemp-cbd-oil-shutterstockShutterstock

Amendment X, a ballot measure that takes industrial hemp out of the Colorado Constitution, passed by a narrow margin on Tuesday, November 6. The proposal needed 55 percent approval from voters to succeed, and it currently sits at slightly over 60 percent, with more than 90 percent of the state’s votes counted.

Colorado was the only state in the country to have industrial hemp defined in its constitution, but a large portion of the hemp industry believed that definition was going to prove more of a hindrance than a help. The Colorado Constitution currently defines hemp as a marijuana plant containing no more than 0.3 percent THC; anything over that threshold is considered marijuana by the State of Colorado.

medical marijuanaScott Lentz

Four weeks from now, voters in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah will all be deciding measures that would lift legal restrictions on marijuana — but all in different ways. And Colorado, too, has another marijuana-related issue on the ballot.

A Michigan ballot proposal would set up a licensed retail system similar to Colorado’s, while North Dakota voters will decide whether to allow marijuana possession and distribution (but without a comprehensive business licensing system), as well as expunging certain marijuana-related crimes.

img_8301Jacqueline Collins

To help remedy its well-publicized affordable-housing shortage, Mayor Michael Hancock wants to use a lifeline that mayors of most major cities don’t have: pot. On April 16, the city floated the idea of using $105 million in bonds from the Denver Housing Authority — a quasi-municipal corporation that provides housing for middle- and low-income families and individuals — to help cover a proposed $105 million surge in funding for affordable housing over the next five years.

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Four states legalized recreational marijuana in the 2016 election, following in the footsteps of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. But in the year since, only Nevada made retail pot sales a reality. While California and Massachusetts are moving forward to enact permanent legislation and issue licenses for pot establishments, the future of weed in Maine, the fourth state where residents voted in favor of legalization, is at a standstill after a veto by the Republican governor.

Kate McKee Simmons

Momentum for federal cannabis reform may be slowing down under the current presidential administration, but the industry has never had more lobbyists in Washington, D.C., than it does now. And few have been lobbying longer than the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which visited Capitol Hill last week to advocate for a number of pot-friendly bills and amendments.

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Members of the Justice Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety have been ordered to “undertake a review of existing policies” regarding federal marijuana law enforcement, among other things. Their report is due on or before July 27, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws believes the document may use as its template a list by a fellow at the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation of eleven ways the administration of President Donald Trump can shut down legal cannabis.

The tactics, shared below, include employing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), as was just allowed via a ruling in a potentially groundbreaking marijuana-smell lawsuit in Colorado earlier this month.

moak-debbie-gage-skidmoreDebbie Moak, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, worked closely with the group that helped defeat Proposition 205 in November.

That much is not in dispute. But did Moak use the resources of her office — including her work time — improperly to campaign against the marijuana-legalization measure?

Moak denies it, but e-mails New Times obtained from the governor’s office under Arizona’s public-records law show that to some extent she did.

Gage Skidmore

 

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