The 2012 election is, without a doubt, the most important one yet in the world of marijuana law refom. Three states, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will be voting to legalize marijuana use by responsible adults and Montana, along with Massachusetts, will be voting on medical marijuana issues. Couple these reform efforts with a presidential election and we have history in the making.
Have your say, let your voice be heard: register to vote. The end of prohibition begins with you. Utilize our voter tools below to register to vote, find your polling place, see important deadlines, and more. This page will periodically be updated, so be sure to check back for the latest election news.
There are deadlines for voter registration to be met, postmark dates for absentee ballots, and other important dates that need to be remembered. These often vary by state. Find your state info by clicking here. Don't forget Election Day is NOVEMBER 6th!
TThis initiative petition will allow sick and dying Arkansans the ability to use medical marijuana for serious debilitating medical conditions with a doctors recommendation, and to allow patients to purchase their medicine at a tightly regulated not-for-profit dispensary.
You can read the full text of the initiative here.
The initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, Amendment 64, will appear on the November 2012 ballot in Colorado.
NORML enthusiastically endorses the Amendment 64. It restores the rights of adults who find marijuana a safer alternative to alcohol and tobacco. It preserves the rights of patients for whom marijuana is a safe and effective alternative to potentially addictive and fatal prescription drugs.
The Act removes all statewide civil and criminal penalties for the adult personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. It also allows the home-growing of up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed locked space, the number allowed under current medical marijuana laws. It does not change existing regulations for medical marijuana.
NORML further supports the longer-term goals of this measure, which include the creation and regulation of a legal, state-licensed commercial and retail market for cannabis production and sales to those over the age of 21.
Having represented the interests of responsible marijuana smokers since 1970, NORML is proud to have played a cooperative role in the drafting of the initiative as part of a broad-based coalition of state and national organizations which includes the ACLU of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project.
PPP: 49% support to 40% oppose (December 2011) Rasmussen Reports: 61% support to 27% oppose (June 2012)
This inititiave will provide Massachusetts Patients with certain medical conditions access to medical marijuana. It would enable patients to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of non-profit treatment centers regulated by the state Department of Public Health using a registration card issued after their doctor provides written certification.
The ballot language reads: “A yes vote would enact the proposed law eliminating state criminal and civil penalties related to the medical use of marijuana by patients meeting certain conditions" and that patients will be to procure cannabis “produced and distributed by new state-regulated centers or, in specific hardship cases, to grow marijuana for their own use.”
The Montana Medical Marijuana Referendum will appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of Montana as a veto referendum, called Initiative Referendum No. 124. The measure will place a legislative revision of an approved 2004 medical marijuana measure to a vote, instead of making it a law automatically. The measure was slated to become a law on May 13, 2011. The petition to place the legislation on the ballot was filed with the Montana Secretary of State by John Masterson of Montana NORML on May 12, 2011.
Implementation of SB 423 would essentially mean repeal of Montana's 2004 voter approved medical marijuana law. The official ballot language reads as follows:
[ ] FOR Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program.
[ ] AGAINST Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program. A vote against Senate Bill 423 will restore I-148
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 is a citizen’s initiative campaign to regulate cannabis and restore industrial hemp. Our goal is to protect Oregon’s children and increase public safety by creating a series of regulations around the growth and sale of cannabis and industrial hemp. Just as ending alcohol prohibition and regulating that market has protected society, regulating cannabis will help keep cannabis away from children and ensure marijuana is only sold to adults over the age of 21.
Currently the state of Oregon spends $61.5 million in law enforcement, corrections, and judicial costs, just on the enforcement of cannabis related incidents. Not only would this Act eliminate most of those costs, it would generate over $140 million a YEAR by taxing commercial cannabis sales to adults.
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act will restore the hemp industry. Hemp, made from the seeds and stems of the cannabis plant, can be used for food products, clothing, fuel, paper and more. This Act will continue Oregon’s legacy as a sustainability leader and create green jobs in a time when our economy is still struggling.
90% of the proceeds will go into the state general fund, 7% for drug treatment programs, 1% each for drug education in public schools, and two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel and hemp fiber and food
Washington State Initiative Measure No. 502 (I-502) would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over twenty-one; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.
This measure would remove state-law prohibitions against producing, processing, and selling marijuana, subject to licensing and regulation by the liquor control board; allow limited possession of marijuana by persons aged twenty-one and over; and impose 25% excise taxes on wholesale and retail sales of marijuana, earmarking revenue for purposes that include substance-abuse prevention, research, education, and healthcare. Laws prohibiting driving under the influence would be amended to include maximum thresholds for THC blood concentration.
SurveyUSA: 55% Support, 32% opposed, 13% Undecided Elway Research: 48% support to 45% oppose (January 2012) PPP: 50% support to 37% oppose (June 2012)
A Detroit City Marijuana Decriminalization Question will be on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the city of Detroit, which is in Wayne County. This measure seeks to remove penalties for adults over the age of 21 if they are in possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less.
City officials in Flint, Michigan most recently approved a citizens initiative to amend the city code so that the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense.
(a) No person shall possess, control, use, or give away marijuana or cannabis, which is defined as all parts of the plant cannabis sativa l., whether growing or not; its seeds or resin; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the above, unless such possession, control, or use is pursuant to a license or prescription as provided in Public Act 196 of 1971, as amended. This definition does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compounds, manufacture, sale, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.
(b) Violations of this section shall be civil infractions. Persons convicted of violating this section shall be fined $25.00 for the first offense, $50.00 for the second offense, $100.00 for the third or subsequent offense and no incarceration, probation, nor any other punitive or rehabilitative measure shall be imposed. Fines and all other costs shall be waived upon proof that the defendant is recommended by a physician, practitioner or other qualified health professional to use or provide the marijuana or cannabis for medical treatment. The court may waive all or part of the fine upon proof that the defendant attended a substance abuse program. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this section that the use or intended use of the marijuana or cannabis relieves, or has the potential to relieve, the pain, disability, discomfort or other adverse symptoms of illness or medical treatment, or restores, maintains or improves, or has the potential to restore, maintain or improve, the health or medical quality of life of the user or intended user or users of the marijuana or cannabis. Requirements of this subjection shall not be construed to exclude the assertion of other defenses.
(c) In all arrests and prosecutions for violations of this section, appearance tickets and the relevant procedures set forth in Michigan Public Act 147 of 1968, as amended, shall be used.
(d) No Grand Rapids police officer, or his or her agent, shall complain of the possession, control, use, or giving away of marijuana or cannabis to any other authority except the Grand Rapids City Attorney; and the City Attorney shall not refer any said complaint to any other authority for prosecution.
(e) No Grand Rapids police officer, or his or her agent, shall complain and the City Attorney shall not refer for prosecution any complaint, of the possession, control, use, giving away, or cultivation of marijuana or cannabis upon proof that the defendant is recommended by a physician, practitioner or other qualified health professional to use or provide the marijuana or cannabis for medical treatment.
(f) Should the State of Michigan enact lesser penalties than that set forth in subsection (b) above, or entirely repeal penalties for the possession, control, use, or giving away of marijuana or cannabis, then this section, or the relevant portions thereof, shall be null and void.
(g) The people of the City of Grand Rapids specifically determine that the provisions herein contained concerning marijuana or cannabis are necessary to serve the local purposes of providing just and equitable legal treatment of the citizens of this community, and in particular of the youth of this community present as college students or otherwise; and to provide for the public peace and safety by preserving the respect of such citizens for the law and law enforcement agencies of the City.
In Ypsilanti, voters will decide on a proposal to make the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority (LLEP).
Vote YES on Ypsilanti's LLEP Question
Know the Presidential Candidates
NORML does NOT endorse candidates for election to public office. We can, however, educate you on each of the presidential hopefuls' stance when it comes to cannabis legalization. Below you will find a collection of the public statements and actions each candidate has made in regards to marijuana law reform.
“We're not going to be legalizing weed anytime soon. What we are trying to do is that when it comes to drugs is that we are not just thinking about it with law enforcement, but we're also thinking about treating it as a public health problem.”
- Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (April 2012)
“I think it is entirely legitimate to have a conversation about whether the laws in place are doing more harm than good, in certain places. I personally, and my administration's position, is legalization is not the answer. In fact, if you think about how it would end up operating, the capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally, without any restraint, could be just as corrupting, if not more corrupting, than the status quo.
Nevertheless I am big believer in looking at the evidence, having a debate..”
- Summit of the Americas (April 2012)
What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana. I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana – and the reason is, because it's against federal law. I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, "Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books." What I can say is, "Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage." As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.
The only tension that's come up – and this gets hyped up a lot – is a murky area where you have large-scale, commercial operations that may supply medical marijuana users, but in some cases may also be supplying recreational users. In that situation, we put the Justice Department in a very difficult place if we're telling them, "This is supposed to be against the law, but we want you to turn the other way." That's not something we're going to do. I do think it's important and useful to have a broader debate about our drug laws.
- Rolling Stone Interview (April 2012)
“Q: If you can't legalize marijuana, why can't you just legalize medical marijuana to help the people who need it?
Obama: Well, a lot of states are making decisions about medical marijuana. As a controlled substance, the issued then is, is it being perscribed by a doctor as a opposed to well...you know...I'll leave it at that...um..”
-Town Hall Meeting in Cannon Falls, MN (August 2011)
“No, I don't think that (marijuana legalization) is a good strategy to grow our economy.” - Virtual Town Hall (March 2009)
"Since 2009, federal agents and prosecutors have conducted about 200 raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers and brought more than 60 indictments." - Source
"People talk about medicinal marijuana, and, you know, you hear that story: People who are sick need medicinal marijuana. But marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs. I don't want medicinal marijuana. There are synthetic forms of marijuana that are available for people who need it for prescription. Don't open the doorway to medicinal marijuana."
("Ask Mitt Anything" Event in Bedford, NH 2007 - source)
"We've got to not only continue our war on drugs from a police standpoint but also to market again to our young people about the perils of drugs.”
(New Hampshire Voter Event, August 17, 2011 - source)
“I believe marijuana should be illegal in this country. It is the pathway to drug usage by our society, which has made great scourges; it is one of the great causes of crime in our cities. I believe if we are at a state were, of course we are very concerned about people who are suffering in pain, and there are various means of providing pain management. And those who have had loved ones that have gone through an end of life with cancer know nature of real pain. I watched my wife’s mom and dad going through cancer treatments suffering a great deal of pain, but they didn’t have marijuana, and they didn’t need marijuana. Because there were other sources of pain management that worked as effectively.”
(Oct. 4 2007 at St. Anselm's College, Manchester, NH - source)
“But having legalized [medical] marijuana is, in my view, an effort by a very committed few to try to get marijuana out in the public and ultimately legalize marijuana. They have a long way to go. We need less drugs in this society, not more drugs. I would oppose the legalization of marijuana in the country or legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes because pain management is available from other sources.”
(Oct. 4 2007 at St. Anselm's College, Manchester, NH - source)
“Q: I want to know what you thought about industrialized hemp? Romney: About what? Q: Industrialized hemp. Romney: Industrialized hemp? I’m not quite sure what industrialized hemp is.”
(Peterborough, NH Town Hall on January 5, 2012 – source)
“Q: Are you in favor of arresting medical marijuana patients? Romney: I’m in favor of the law not allowing legal marijuana.”
(Tilton School Meet and Greet on January 6, 2012 – source)
No previous political action in regards to marijuana law reform.
Gary Johnson Will End the War on Drugs - Campaign Ad
Right now, 75 percent of the cartels’ activities revolve around marijuana. I think as a nation, when we legalize marijuana, we’re going to take giant steps toward drug reform, which will start off with looking at drugs as a public health issue, rather then a criminal justice issue. I just think legalizing marijuana [will cause] at least a 75 percent reduction in border violence due to the drugs [trade].”
- Raw Story (April 2012)
“Since 1999, I’ve advocated legalizing marijuana, I have always shied away from decriminalizing, because I think that turns its back on half the problem, which is the marketplace for marijuana. You’ve got to make it legal to sell it, otherwise if you just make it legal to possess it and use it, you just shift law enforcement resources to arresting those who sell it, and that’s not going to be the answer.”
- Raw Story (April 2012)
"I was a pile of bones. I was told to lay on the floor, and to stay laying down on the floor for six weeks, to eat off of the floor. I could get up and go to the bathroom. In that state somebody came by and said, 'Gary? Would marijuana help do you think?' And my response was immediately, 'Yes, I don't know why I didn't think of it, but I think that would help immensely.' And it did.
Whatever ails a person, that they should find relief in marijuana and not Percocet, I would think should be a situation of rejoice."
- On Personal Medical Use: HuffingtonPost (November 2011)
“Despite our best efforts at enforcement, education and interdiction, people continue to use and abuse illegal drugs.
The parallels between drug policy today and Prohibition in the 1920’s are obvious, as are the lessons our nation learned. Prohibition was repealed because it made matters worse. Today, no one is trying to sell our kids bathtub gin in the schoolyard and micro-breweries aren’t protecting their turf with machine guns. It’s time to apply that thinking to marijuana. By making it a legal, regulated product, availability can be restricted, under-age use curtailed, enforcement/court/incarceration costs reduced, and the profit removed from a massive underground and criminal economy.
By managing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco – regulating, taxing and enforcing its lawful use – America will be better off. The billions saved on marijuana interdiction, along with the billions captured as legal revenue, can be redirected against the individuals committing real crimes against society.”
- Drug Policy Position Statement: GaryJohnson2012.com
Q: Would you consider issuing a presidential pardon to non-violent drug offenders?
JOHNSON: Yes. … After prohibition of alcohol was repealed, one of the untold stories was of all the pardons that went out to all those people who had been convicted or were serving jail sentences for trading in alcohol. I think that same phenomenon accompanies legalizing marijuana and what I call rational drug policy, which starts with looking at the drug problem or the drug issue first as a health issue rather a criminal justice issue.
- Media Conference Call (October 2011)
Advocated for drug law reform during his second term as Governor of New Mexico. - Source
"President Obama promised to use a science-based approach to public policy. But when it comes to marijuana, he has continued the unscientific policies of George Bush, and has even gone far beyond Bush in his attacks upon medical marijuana clinics. He supports the irrational classification of marijuana in the most dangerous drug category, and he supports the ban on commercial hemp growing. This is mania-based policy, not science-based policy."
- Speech to Denver 4/20 Rally (April 2012)
"We consider marijuana a substance which is dangerous because it is illegal, but it is, in fact, not dangerous; it is far less a health concern than perfectly legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol."
- Toke of the Town Interview (July 2012)
Speech to Boston Freedom Rally
Spread the Word
Now that you have taken the steps to register to vote in the November election and have educated yourself on the issues, help us encourage other like-minded individuals to do the same! Here are some resources below to help us spead the word far and wide: