MJ Legalization Considered in Maine, DC, Calif.

Jul 16, 2013

Advo­cates of mar­i­juana legal­iza­tion have seen an accel­er­a­tion of their cause in recent years, par­tic­u­larly after res­i­dents of Wash­ing­ton state and Col­orado voted to legal­ize recre­ational cannabis in November’s elec­tions. Now, more juris­dic­tions are tak­ing up, or at least con­sid­er­ing tak­ing up the issue. In Maine Mon­day, Port­land City Coun­cil planned a pub­lic hear­ing to dis­cuss a citizen-proposed mea­sure legal­iz­ing pos­ses­sion of up to 2.5 ounces of mar­i­juana for those 21 and older. After the meet­ing, the city coun­cil will decide whether to adopt the mea­sure, send a ref­er­en­dum to vot­ers or write an alter­na­tive pro­posal along­side the cit­i­zen mea­sure. Pro­po­nents gath­ered more than twice the 1,500 sig­na­tures required to get the pro­posal, which would pro­hibit smok­ing pot in pub­lic spaces such as schools or pub­lic parks, and allow land­lords to pro­hibit it in their apart­ments, on this year’s bal­lot. Maine law allows med­ical mar­i­juana, and has already decrim­i­nal­ized its use, but pos­ses­sion of a small amount still car­ries a max­i­mum fine of $600. A state-wide ref­er­en­dum on legal­iza­tion is expected in 2014. In the nation’s cap­i­tal, a D.C. coun­cil­man intro­duced a bill Wednes­day to decrim­i­nal­ize pos­ses­sion in the Dis­trict. Coun­cil­man Tommy Wells unveiled leg­is­la­tion to drop the penalty for car­ry­ing less than an ounce of mar­i­juana to $100, down from $1,000 or a six-month prison stint. Wells’s leg­is­la­tion also stip­u­lates minors attend a drug aware­ness pro­gram and com­plete com­mu­nity ser­vice. An Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union report in June found the Dis­trict bears the country’s high­est arrest rate per capita in the coun­try for mar­i­juana possession-related arrests, at three times the national aver­age. Those are three times more likely to involve an African Amer­i­can than a cau­casian. Moves toward decrim­i­nal­iza­tion and legal­iza­tion receive broad sup­port in D.C., with 75 per­cent of res­i­dents say­ing they sup­port decrim­i­nal­iza­tion in small amounts and 63 per­cent say they’re in favor of legal­iza­tion, accord­ing to an April PPP poll. And in Cal­i­for­nia, which rejected a 2010 mea­sure for legal­iza­tion, already has med­ical mar­i­juana and decrim­i­nal­iza­tion laws on the books. But the legal­iza­tion effort is likely to make another bal­lot appear­ance in 2016, with the back­ing of some of the state’s wealth­i­est cit­i­zens. Sil­i­con Valley’s entre­pre­neurs and the bil­lion­aires behind some of the world’s most suc­cess­ful tech com­pa­nies are expected to back the effort. Coali­tion for Cannabis Pol­icy Reform chair­woman Dale Sky Jones said 2010′s Propo­si­tion 19 failed largely because of fundrais­ing short­falls. Lib­eral bil­lion­aire George Soros helped back that mea­sure and Prop. 215, the suc­cess­ful 1996 med­ical mar­i­juana bill, will prob­a­bly help again, and Pro­gres­sive insur­ance chief Peter Lewis are still “engaged” Jones said. But it’s Sil­i­con Val­ley that gives her the most opti­mism. Bay-area entre­pre­neurs such as Face­book founders Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz, who both put sub­stan­tial funds into the 2010 effort have “net­work of friends” to tap into, Jones said. “There’s money to burn in those indus­tries.” Source: United Press Inter­na­tional (Wire) Author: Gabrielle Levy, UPI​.com Pub­lished: July 15, 2013 Copy­right 2013 United Press Inter­na­tional Con­tact: healthbiz@​upi.​com Web­site: http://​www​.upi​.com/

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MJ Legal­iza­tion Con­sid­ered in Maine, DC, Calif.

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