Demanding “Perfect Legalization” is a Formula for Defeat

marijuana legalizationYou don’t have to look too hard to see marijuana legalization efforts in several states that have a good chance of being approved by the voters in 2016. But many of those efforts are mired-down with competing proposals and competing proponents that could easily undermine the ability of supporters in those states to actually change public policy and end prohibition.

The inability to accept compromise in the interest of building a winning coalition threatens to turn some of these political opportunities into losing efforts. And that would be a disaster.

Specifically, different factions with different political demands are competing for control of the issue in Massachusetts, Ohio and California, three large and important states that would add enormous legitimacy and political credibility to the legalization movement, were they to approve legalization in 2016.

Click here to read the balance of this column.

59 thoughts

  1. Yeah, this is always an argument in the cannabis forums. Everybody has an opinion on the issue. It;s usually the Ron Paul libertarian types going all or nothing on tax free, grow your own, no government regulated weed. I’m all for that, but good luck in trying to get it passed. We have to compromise.

  2. What happens when a constitutional amendment proposal goes above and beyond to protect a monopoly (i.e. the ResponsibleOhio proposal)?

    At what point will NORML step up to protect the rights of the consumer?

    [Editor’s note: Hobson’s Choices are usually difficult. However, if the only choice is between continuing prohibition vs ending prohibition (with monopolies), NORML favors ending prohibition. In a post-prohibition environment, consumers sufficiently agitated to get politically active can seek to amend the initial legislation or initiative outcome of cannabis prohibition ending with more cannabis consumer-friendly laws.

    Such is not too different than the end of alcohol prohibition, when monopolies in the form of regional distributors were established by ‘wet’ elites, and today, all these years later, there are still dozens of modifications to local and state alcohol policies and rules, with these changes usually brought on by consumers complaining to their elected policy makers/going to court to create more consumer friendly policies.

    Cannabis will not likely be much different than alcohol reform’s trajectory.

    But, firstly, the immorality of cannabis prohibition has to first be confronted before the inefficiencies of monopolies are rightly addressed by consumer-oriented organizations.

    Lastly, if civic-minded citizens were ever to be motivated to raise the necessary funds and build up sufficient political organizing, now would be a good time. Otherwise, in OH specifically, some elites in the state are already out ahead of the activists and stakeholders.

    In the free market place of competing ideas, local stakeholders certainly don’t have to cave to elite/corporate interests, but they have to vigorously organize and fundraise to put out competing ideas/visions about a functional cannabis policy in the state.

    If past is prologue, that support is not going to come from out-of-state non-profit organizations–organize and legalize locally, otherwise, like all of the previous legalization efforts sans the 2010 CA initiative, cannabis law reform initiatives have been organized and funded by out-of-state billionaires.]

  3. Hear! Hear!

    As I recall competing interests in California came into play.

    !
    The shit just hit the fan as I was reading this article in 420times that the IRS just issued new guidelines yet cannabis business are still getting a fucking.

    WTF! You might as well just rewrite their memo and sell it the hell right back to them exactly the way the cannabis community wants it to read. The IRS obviously is incapable of writing the guidelines the way we legalizers want to see the policy. I’m serious. Get together and rewrite these guidelines and send them back to the IRS, and apply whatever pressure you can to get them to go along with them, accept them.

    The IRS must come to realize that 50% tax, as mentioned in Forbes, is only fair if non-cannabis businesses are paying that much BECAUSE they are going to be raking in much more in federal taxes at lower and fair rates even at lower and fair rates with more states opening up adult retail. If they, the IRS, would just get the hell out of the way, more states will legalize all the faster, seeing that the early adopter states with adult retail have cleared the way.

    The article states:
    “The IRS just addressed the issue, apparently allowing dispensaries to take certain deductions and to file their taxes. Unfortunately, according to a couple Forbes magazine analysis of the new guidelines, the rules are not favorable for marijuana businesses.”

    The article, dated January 26, 2015, has the links to two Forbes articles, both dated 1/24/15

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2015/01/24/irs-advice-to-marijuana-dealers-dude-deduct-it-but-prepare-for-50-tax/ and the other

    and

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2015/01/24/irs-futher-limits-deductions-for-state-legal-marijuana-facilities/

    http://the420times.com/2015/01/irs-issues-new-guidelines-for-marijuana-sellers/

    Here is the link directly to the PDF on the IRS site:

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-wd/201504011.pdf

  4. In ohio they want restrict growing to ten spots in the state… thats unacceptable. maybe i’m splitting hairs but smoking isnt all i care about… i want to grow it.

    [Editor’s note: The final language to be submitted in OH isn’t until Friday. What you will likely find is that what you think is in the proposal is not there (i.e., home grown cannabis will not be constitutionally prohibited). Other states (like CT, MA, NJ, MD, IL and MN) currently have strict limitations on the number of cultivation centers allowed (for medical purposes) and don’t allow home cultivation…and the sky has not fallen, patients and consumers can still readily access taxed and untaxed cannabis.

    Law reform organizations, joined by self-intertested business entities, are not going to be satisfied with limited cultivation or retail outlets, and will continue to litigate and lobby for greater consumer access.]

  5. @Editor: I thought that in this era of competing corporate interests, NORML would set the standard for consumer-friendly marijuana policy by advocating for fair employment practices, rational DUI laws, home-grow rights, tax-free cannabis for MMJ patients, etc.

    Ohioans recognized the failure of punishing cannabis users harshly in the 1970s and thus decriminalized personal use… so now Ohio needs to take a rational next step. Why won’t NORML use its vast consumer advocacy experience to help guide the country into a new era of legalized marijuana?

    [Editor’s note: NORML, and its 160 chapters, have since 1970 and will always be at the vanguard of cannabis consumer concerns. But this does not mean that the organization is going to oppose organized efforts to end cannabis prohibition that don’t meet the ideals of every activist, notably when in-state activists themselves fail to champion their own freedom.

    The authors of the OH initiative have invited dozens of local activists to meet with them–only two to date have taken the opportunity to express their concerns (and those concerns were heard and language was favorably amended).

    NORML has never taken a position on whether or not medical cannabis should be tax free.]

  6. @Editor Great points; local (Ohio) activists have been struggling with funding for years. It’s comforting to hear that ResponsibleOhio reached out to the locals too… sad to hear that only two actually answered those calls.

    Ohioans will need to convince the Marijuana Control Commission to de-regulate limited home growing and study new licensing regs for commercial grows to appeal to the mom-and-pop farmer… or the black market will ultimately prevail on pricepoint and supply.

  7. Just reading thru comments… Monopolies are ridiculously strong in this age. They have so much money that they pretty much control the laws and shape them to their own will. I want legalization at pretty much any cost but surrendering to monopolies that will no doubt reap more ridiculous money than we have seen yet will definitely be dangerous to human decency and more importantly our wallets.

  8. This thing here in Ohio could be up for voters
    this November, lets see if the lawmakers in Columbus
    get jealous and pass legislation that they want out ahead
    of the voters,could be the game.
    Either way I’m glad to see my Ohio getting in done.

  9. I don’t mind paying taxes on what I buy, but I don’t think you should have to pay taxes on anything you produce yourself. It really will have to be a compromise.

  10. Editor what do you think of the new mmj amendment florida will be trying to pass? Im up in the air about it. Im not liking how strict it is and that its only for debilitating illnesses cause only a small percent will be able to use. I would hate to see the people with cancer and other serious conditions not be able to use but when i saw the language of the new amdenment i was bummed and said i wont sign the petition nor vote for it when the time comes but i know that is selfish of me so i will be signing the petition and will vote yes. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and is there anyway to get it so it will cover a larger group of people thanks.

    [Paul Armentano responds: At present, there is pending legislation in Florida SB 528 — “The Florida Medical Marijuana Act”, to allow qualified patients to engage in cannabis therapy. Under this proposal, patients diagnosed with cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and persistent pain, severe and persistent nausea, persistent seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms will be able to obtain up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis from a state-licensed retail facility. You can read the full text here: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=53511.%5D

  11. Clearly, this article is a slap in the face of all the lazy California marijuana consumers too content with their easy medical marijuana pass to concern themselves with voting for what is right in 2016 and ENDING prohibition once and for all. Freedom taken from anyone in this nation is freedom taken from us all.
    And I appreciate the perspective from Keith that we should focus on our local legislatures in order to legalize cannabis Federally; It was states with voter initiatives that got the legalization bud rolling, but it sure was nice to read Holder’s retiring gift today canceling certain asset forfeitures out of the C. S.Act: Take THAT prohibitionists!
    We truly are living in great times to get involved and active in cannabis legalization. Congratulations Keith, and to everyone who continues to educate and work so hard to achieve our goal to end prohibition of cannabis.

  12. Legalizing a cannabis monopoly is legalizing the further discrimination of an entire people. Legalize a monopoly and you turn a plant into the new liquor. No doubt the stereotypes will remain, people will continue to get arrested for growing it and habitual use will probably increase because of the perception of this not as a plant, but a drug that only the government should be allowed to produce. Don’t let them rape the cannabis plant and all of it’s strains. Legalize home-growth or legalize nothing .

    [Editor’s note: OK…good to know what your selfish priorities are. You’d keep the government violence, expense and immorality of cannabis prohibition in place if you can’t escape sales taxes or are unwilling to purchase cannabis from a licensed retailer in favor of it being illegal??

    Makes good sense.

    Not!]

  13. Any chance of citing previous ruling of DEA judge to de-schedule cannabis in rewriting the IRS guidelines? Any chance of citing Judge Mueller’s determination IF it espouses de-scheduling cannabis in rewriting the guidelines for the IRS and then send it back to the IRS for implementation.

    I mean, remember the NerdWallet study? Well, the 4.7 billion or whatever the actual total comes to is money that basically is not going to, let’s say, Mexico. It’s staying in the U.S. Legalization is separating the hard drugs sales from the soft drugs sales of cannabis products. It is a separation of the hard drugs market which has much smaller demand from the cannabis market which has a large demand. Legalization virtually eliminates cannabis as a gateway drug to hard drugs BECAUSE the same dealer you normally get your weed off of who claims he is out of it and who is trying to sell you some heroin or crack or some other shit you don’t really want is out of the picture. A legal cannabusiness is NOT going to sell anything BUT cannabis.

    Barry, you really need to give Judge Mueller the green light to announce de-scheduling, then have the IRS and Treasury and whoever else adapt their policies and guidelines to honor the states’ conferring of legality on the cannabis trade in the language so that the feds can’t go after you or give you shit because it’s in Schedule I. I mean, specifically, the federal agencies defer to the states’ Schedule(s) and which Schedule, if any, the state places cannabis, and not which Schedule the feds have cannabis in. Period. You’ve got to give the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy type bureaucrats the option to go by the state’s legal status and scheduling concerning cannabis.

    The big picture is harm reduction, to both people by separation of the hard drugs market from the cannabis market, carding people/age requirements, and all that money staying in the U.S. economy and a steady tax stream versus the continued chaos and violence and the money basically leaving the country to Mexico, the major supplier to whom the U.S. has outsourced its demand for the supply of cannabis.

    http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/economics/how-much-money-states-make-marijuana-legalization/

    [Paul Armentano responds: Judge Mueller has scheduled final oral arguments in this case for February 11.]

  14. Over the last several months, I’ve often gotten the sense from the comments here that some folks are more interested in pushing their own political agenda rather than reform of the marijuana laws.

  15. Who wants “perfect”???

    The ill and disabled citizens of Illinois just want safe access to their medicine per “The Compassionate Act”?…not feeling that compassion here in The Land of Lincoln…just a bunch of greedy pot profiteers trying to grind profits from the poor and ill citizens who have legitimate medical need for cannabis.

    Illinois could foul up a rightful law due to nothing more and nothing except pure greed.

    Shame on you greedy bastards!

    The article below made my guts twist…with disgust!

    “The inexplicable unwillingness of Governor Quinn to finish the job on the medical marijuana program means one thing: unnecessary prolonged pain and suffering of very sick people,” Lang said. “The people suffering from cancer, epilepsy will be further victimized by the governor’s failure to do his job.” “This single failure may doom the medical cannabis program,” Lang said. “This single failure said to all of those folks that made applications to be cultivators or dispensary owners that, ‘We took your $5 million, but we’ll get to you when we feel like it.’” Gov. Rauner, who was inaugurated on Monday, is now in charge of the medical marijuana licensing process. Rauner has criticized the selection process as subject to cronyism. During his campaign for governor, the venture capitalist suggested just auctioning the licenses off to the highest bidders. With yet more delays now occurring in a pilot program set to expire in 2017, some discouraged patients are speculating the law might never result in any safe access at all. “Here we sit again at the whims of the politicians and what they decide they’re going to do,” said multiple sclerosis patient Julie Falco of Chicago. “People are definitely frustrated, the patients are really upset that they are waiting,” said Linn of Illinois NORML. “Some very sick people were hurt,” Lang said on Tuesday. “And some very innocent people were hurt yesterday. And some very innocent families were hurt yesterday. From a person who has spent his life talking about health care.” “The state of Illinois has a responsibility to fulfill its obligations under the law,” Lang said. “We did not do that.” – See more at: http://hemp.org/news/node/4592#sthash.hR8ziFhy.dpuf

  16. When people must still must have “permission” to grow or possess from government, the job is unfinished.

    It isn’t about Pot, it’s about whether or not people own themselves or somebody else does.

    I’ll take a reduction in harm and appreciate those that work to reduce it, but let’s not confuse the emerging permission based models with actual freedom of ourselves. They are not the same thing.

    Free people do not need permission to own themselves or have limits placed on how much of a given plant they can own. Free people do what they want to with THEIR body and respect others right to do the same.

  17. I would just like to add that this post on “perfect legalization” is a “slap in the face” not only for those Lazy Californians willing to conform to prohibition if they receive an unwarranted medicinal marijuana card, but also this is a Great Slap in the face to all the Libertarians preaching “No taxes” on marijuana when recreational marijuana tax legalized Colorado and we should be preaching “subsidized” taxes on medicinal marijuana while pursuing a variable tax rate for industrial, residential and commercial marijuana according to current interest rates.

    By the way:
    @ Paul: THANK you for revealing the date of Feb. 11th for Judge Mueller’s historic verdict. For those of us that have been following this case closely, every detail matters, and this was a BIG detail. THANK YOU! And THANK YOU for all of the evidence you presented in this case! You are a real American Cannabis Hero!

    [Paul Armentano responds: While the Judge in this case will hear final oral arguments on February 11, it is unlikely she will render a decision on that date. She could, but it is more likely she will consider the issue for several more weeks and then render a decision.]

  18. I do agree that we should not let perfect be the enemy of good. But sometimes we do have to advocate against bad. And the ResponsibleOhio bill is just bad. It is a blatant attempt to monopolize the cannabis industry in Ohio. The group is proposing a constitutional amendment that will restrict cultivation to just 10 locations in Ohio, locations which have not been disclosed but which one can assume are controlled by the secret cabal of wealthy ResponsibleOhio supporters. The whole thing sends shivers down my spine and I think I have to go freat out about this now, excuse me, and thanks for listening…

  19. We needn’t look further than our own opponents on the issue to see how far intolerance and lack of compromise takes us. We succeed not only because our policy fits American culture and priority better, but also because we’re willing to look at the issue from a long standing point.

    Let’s not fall into the same “chicken little” mentality that our opponents often do. Imperfect laws can be changed and improved. If we’ve waited 80 years for this, we can wait a few more to get things right.

  20. So, don’t work on existing initiatives that are perfect, lets support the bad ones and work on fixing them later? With ResponsibleOhio spending millions, they will use their money to actively oppose any changes later, more so than we have seen in any other state because no other state has such a cartel dominating the market. A formula for defeat? Wasn’t it Keith that said Jack Herer talking about hemp and medical marijuana was a formula for defeat? Sorry, I think you’re crystal ball still doesn’t work, Keith. If perfect legislation is out there working on becoming law in your state, then work on it and support it. Who is “scared” of too much cannabis freedom? Have they not been paying attention? Do they really know what the People of Ohio want?

    [Editor’s note: The main problem being funding the so-called ‘perfect initiative’…if self-described activists in OH can’t fund a legalization initiative, begrudging those that can is not at all productive.

    What is being proposed in OH is hardly unique regarding business interests trying to gain competitive advantages
    as there are limited production/sales licenses in ME, MA, CT, NJ, MD, MN, IL and DC.

    Question for OH cannabis consumers who don’t politically organize to rival business interests is, will they vote to keep prohibition in place or favor highly controlled market.

    If past is prologue, in the states of CO, WA, AK, OR and DC, voters favored imperfect cannabis legalization measures over keeping cannabis prohibition.

    The same is likely for Ohioans in 2016.]

  21. No Norml, you need to focus on making sure marijuana is legal, to grow and use. Making deals with the devil only gives the devil more work.

    Stop calling “partial” legalization, “legalization”. Let people know it is only half way there legislation. The amendment in Florida didn’t fail because it was too permissive, it failed because the corruption in Florida feeds on marijuana being illegal. You’re confusing yourselves. Even if the amendment was written like the new bill, it would have lost simply because the people already politically entrenched in Florida are corrupt crackers. You’re not making a deal with someone logical, you’re making a deal to keep treating marijuana users as criminals even though marijuana might be thought of as “partially legalized”.

    You can’t make a deal with these scums and think we the marijuana community will support it. They cause us harm in the name of public safety. They will twist any deal made into bullshit.

    And I do hope the ridiculous “non-compassionate medical marijuana programs” are abolished in New Jersey. Can we get a real medical marijuana program? All my neighbors and elected officials already support this, but it still isn’t happening!!!!!!!!!! What else is there to do, huh normal? Make deals with the devil?

    [Editor’s note: NORML’s primary concern is ending cannabis prohibition. The organization has never sought to position itself as trying to pick the winners and losers post-prohibition.

    Those tasks have always been intended for locally elected policy makers and the free market.

    If cannabis consumers in a state where cannabis is legal find the laws to be too burdensome, just like with the previous public advocacy to end cannabis prohibition, those citizens need to politically organize and positively affect those laws.

    Don’t like NJ’s medical cannabis laws? Guess who has the burden and expense of changing them?: Citizens of New Jersey.

    If local citizens don’t organize to affect their politics, don’t be too surprised when out of state and/or corporate interests move in to fill the breech.

    The real ‘deal with the devil’ was cut a long time ago in states like HI, AK, WA, OR, CA, NV, CO, AZ, MT, MI, IL, NJ, MA, ME, etc…] when local cannabis consumers looked to out-of-state billionaire elitists to deliver the personal freedoms they themselves choose to not actively pursue.

    More accurately, a deal with the devil would be to keep cannabis prohibition in place…holding out for the ‘perfect initiative’ while the prohibition enforcement machine still chews up over 700,000 lives a year with cannabis offenses.

    Want maximum personal freedom of choice? Don’t look for elites in NYC or Washington DC to fund and deliver such.

    Question: Will there ever be a mj legalization initiative not funded by billionaire non-stakeholders? So far, only one to date was funded in a different manner (the 2010 CA legalization initiative was largely funded by Oaksterdam founder and medical cannabis patient Richard Lee…which unfortunately lost by three percentage points) Will a new pattern emerge in 2016? Currently, the answer is ‘no’.]

  22. I agree with the author’s main point. Perfect is the enemy of the good. If it advances our main goal, it is good. California and Oregon both blew chances to legalize earlier when the reform community allowed itself to be split. If it’s not perfect, we can always tweak it later. But the key is to remove penalties for marijuana smokers. All the rest is gravy.

  23. @Shawn
    Excellent point. It blows my mind to read the President’s current goals and guidelines for the DOJ, and to hear him say on youtube the other day “treating marijuana as a criminal problem instead of a health issue is counterproductive.”
    “KaPoooooffff…” I think I need a few more buds of Trainwreck to rebuild some neurons after THAT statement.
    To think; It was only 3 years ago to this date that President Obama told a Drug-War-Scrutinizing Summit of the Americas that “We will not be changing U.S. Drug Policy at this time.”
    Look how far we’ve come.

  24. “while the prohibition enforcement machine still chews up over 700,000 lives a year with cannabis offenses.”

    Yes! You know, simple decriminalization achieves those ends and is extremely short sighted. Gays might be harassed in those numbers, but they don’t get arrested in general simply for being gay. Being denied a marriage liscense is far less injurous to a person than being arrested is. Congress is not leading on the issue, just like with ending marijuana prohibition, there still isn’t any nation level monentum to end it and replace with normal regulations. Yet the courts are knocking down anti gay-marriage state laws left and right as non-consitutional and I hope they turn their attention to the non-consitutional War on Drugs next and bring relief the continually increasing numbers of Drug War Victims. A strong economy is vital to our ability to compete with other nations and constantly knocking people out of the work force is an attack on our economy. The different parties are motivated by different arguments. Most liberals are on board with marijuana legalization. Yet, a lot of conserative consider marijuana a “liberal issue”. It isn’t! You guys at NORML need to develop language even these boners in the Republican Party can understand and get behind in large numbers. You got to realize when some Republicans hear that blacks are arrested at rates eight times higher than whites in their areas, they celebrate the fact so many blacks are going to jail??? This makes liberals want to vomit (along with anyone that believes in justice), but this is literal advertising for our more subversive and antisocial people. Which is why after finding out these facts, republicans still only support ending the War on Marijuana by 40 to 45%. 55% like what they are hearing!

    We need a new message they get.

  25. Yeah, science? They don’t really like that either… That would be one thing to avoid mentioning, it is like poisoning your own argument. After all 99% of scientists say global warming and evolution are factual, and any red blooded American knows they are a bunch dope smoking liberals looking for government handouts, trying to use scare tactics on us.

  26. The states want their piece of the pie, so folks might as well accept regulation and taxation. That said, there does need to be a 4 plant, per person residing in the home, home grower allotment[commonly referred to as the “homebrewer” option].

    Additionally, any medical marijuana laws currently in place need to stay as is. To limit patients access to inexpensive, self care, is to invite continued black market presence.

    Another rough spot that requires real debate is how the tax dollars are going to be distributed amongst the competing state government agencies. Schools in every state basically could use a serious boost in funding and that should be at the heart of any functional bill, but be assured law enforcement will want a piece as well.

    To add to the dilemma, if your state provides the option, there needs to be serious consideration of making the initiative a state constitutional amendment. This will make it much more difficult for opposing legislation to turn a once prosperous bill/measure into a shell of its former self. We are facing that problem here in Oregon right now.
    91 is facing serious assault from many different corners of the political spectrum; The governor is attacking citizens’ right to grow at home while other officials want to end the medical marijuana law in place.

    It is a tough tough prospect to create a bill that is lean enough to pass, but has enough meat to feed the masses.

  27. Nathaniel, sounds like legal marijuana in Oregon is still just a theory; while NORML is telling us to “celebrate a win” and how this example can help others (fuck up their marijuana policies).

    New Jersey does not have a medical marijuana program. We do have a broken system which keeps being “improved” and still remains broken. It isn’t a “win”, it is a “loss”. The Will of the People denied. This so called fixing of the problems down the road isn’t happening, like how “trickle down economics” doesn’t work and reads like a joke. People in politics see legalization working and they still don’t like it. After all this effort and time, we are still left just waiting on dumb fucks to die off. Twenty more years of this bullshit???

  28. The ending of cannabis prohibition requires no dollars.

    Why should it?…give it a think?

    [Editor’s note: Not one dollar spent to end a 78-year-old national prohibition wins the pie-in-the-sky award for delusional. Of course women, minorities and LGBT didn’t spend any dollars either throwing off bad government policies and oppression. Their decades of litigation, lobbying, rallies, protests, advertising, public education, etc…all for free, like manna from Heaven.

    Not.

    Freedom was never free of economic sacrifices by the aggrieved and their supporters. Achieving and maintaining freedom will never be free. Those looking for freedom for free in a free market oriented democracy will likely be disappointed every time–and always frustrated by their political marginalization.]

  29. Crucify the bastards, spoilers!

    Now, in Washington, there were spoilers. They were uptight guys basically. They said the Washington legalization ballot measure didn’t go far enough.

    Fortunately, this worked to our advantage. The opposition was split between serious prohibitionists and those who said the ballot measure didn’t go far enough. The WA voter’s guide statement against, was split in this manner, hilariously.

    Now the spoilers are going to make another run at sabotaging legalization, basically because they’re uptight.

    They want to put multiple contradictory measures on the ballot and try to get more than one passed, so that the conflicting laws will make legalization seem too complicated to work.

    Hangings too good for em.

  30. Paul, thank you for letting me know about the February 11 date last call for oral arguments, and what you shared with Julian that she will consider her decision for several more weeks.

    I certainly hope she is not a prohibitionist, nor someone who kowtows to the prohibitionists.

    My battle with cancer is ongoing, and I am hoping for legal cannabis in Pennsylvania even though it doesn’t look like anything positive will happen at all. State Senator Mike Folmer (R Lebanon County)was on tv just the other day for re-introducing the medical cannabis legislation, and it show him saying it would be for tinctures basically because the prohibitionists have been shamed into moving forward to help little kids who suffer from seizures. No vaping, smoking, eating allowed, as it appears the vegetable matter will, buds, will not be for sale. Another state politician, Ryan Aument (R), won’t vote for anything pro-cannabis, not even for the children, until he hears from doctors in his district. Knowing him, I can tell you that he is literally not going to lift a finger to meet with, phone, email or solicit opinions from doctors in his district in any way, shape or form. THE DOCTORS WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIM OF THEIR OWN VOLITION; HE WON’T CONTACT THEM. Aument is a dick like that. And, we have so very many other state politicians exactly like him when it comes to cannabis. It’s like, oh well, no doctors sent or told me anything about legalizing cannabis, even though I never lifted a damn finger to get their opinion.

    So there’s that battle where you’d have to organize doctors in the state to do that, basically send them pre-printed post cards urging their state politicians to vote for legalization, you know, address and all on them and sent to the doctors through their professional associations so that all the doctors have to is print their name and address on the damn thing, slap a stamp on it and mail it.

    I certainly hope Judge Mueller can nudge things along toward the legalization end of the cannabis continuum.

    I’m running out of time.

  31. @ Galileo,

    You’ve gotten the sense “over the last several months” that some people on these boards are pushing their own political agenda more than MJ reform?

    You should’ve been here a couple of years ago–maybe you were–when there was a virtual libertarian feeding frenzy against Pres. Obama. I recall many of the attacks against him had little to do with pot. He was gonna send in his jack-booted thugs, etc etc etc, take away the guns, etc etc etc, was a socialist Kenyan who was gonna consign the elderly to death panels, etc etc etc. It was like arguing with ten year olds.

    I spent months and months debating/arguing with them about several issues. Most of those same people–and this shows you how long ago this was–were against legalizing recreationally in California. Their reasons? They couldn’t possibly support legislation that included taxing recreational pot. I heard, “Free the bud!” so many times I felt like Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange when he’d hear Beethoven’s 5th. Or “I can only grow seven plants?!? That’s tyranny!!!” Like five year olds who’d just learned a new word.

    My point is that personal agendas on these boards are anything but new.

  32. So in the end, sadly, it looks like it’s likely to keep amounting to signing away the last bastion of free enterprise, and the rights to proactively care for ones own needs, independently, in exchange for freedom from the threat of incarceration( in MOST cases ) I guess that will have to be considered a victory……Yet somehow I get the feeling there isn’t going to be much cheering and dancing in the streets.

    [Editor’s note: Yah sure, let’s wax about 26 million arrests for cannabis possession, tens of thousands in prison and paying someone $400-$600 for an ounce of a readily grown vegetable matter…already pining for the good ol’ days of cannabis prohibition, when they where never good or romantic?

    Americans are constantly schooled and educated that the country’s economy is the ‘greatest consumer economy in the world’. If true, as cannabis prohibition ends cannabis consumers will enjoy increased, not decreased, influence over the marketplace and policy making in what will be a three legged stool of cannabis producers, sellers and consumers.]

  33. And here is another example of more Cracker Bullshit:

    “THE DOCTORS WILL HAVE TO CONTACT HIM OF THEIR OWN VOLITION; HE WON’T CONTACT THEM. Aument is a dick like that. And, we have so very many other state politicians exactly like him when it comes to cannabis. It’s like, oh well, no doctors sent or told me anything about legalizing cannabis, even though I never lifted a damn finger to get their opinion.”

    Lots and lots of dicks! Pissy Christie–he spends his time telling people he is making it rain while pissing in their ears. Right-Right.

    http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/overkill/fromtheundergroudbelow.html#8

  34. Hello Everyone
    Please come support the legalization of Marijuana in the state of Maryland. Anyone interested in attending join other supporters in Annapolis:
    Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland Lobby Night
    Monday, February 2 at 5 p.m.
    House Office Building, Room 170
    6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD

    For more information: https://ms.clicks.actions.aclu.org/t/cffbS6H4SeQALElDS3fIWjaNN7G3SF~aaaaIWjNN7?p=6%40w82-2&j=bwVsYrV8Y_mjyhfdq.Xth&jZ=lmfiihfyi_ctorVng.hjr&g=Gy1&s=&w=%23

  35. Requesting Safe Access hasn’t worked. Demanding secure and safe medication has led to the overdose deaths of millions globally. Chemical companies and their monopolies over perscribed medications has crippled our healthcare professionals in their attempts to aleviate our conditions or even cure our maladies. The FDA has ceased to protect our consumers, the EPA has never protected us from industrial pollutions wreaking havoc on our dna, and the DEA has perpetuated the negative demonization of a medicinal plant anyone can cultivate with the proper education.

  36. What are the results from any brainstorming about how to legalize in states in legislatures in states that lack the ballot initiative?

    There’s the cost

    tv ads are probably the most expensive

    online ads, but are they going to reach mainly people who are already pro-cannabis? Demographic opposed target group would be older.

    Mass newspaper ads to reach the local? Probably have to come from AP articles or something. Trial balloon on select articles from The Cannabist that are positive about cannabis and beat the drum of making banking legal in states that have some kind of legalization. A steady, don’t know at which intervals, drum beat (or drip as in Chinese water torture if you’re hardline prohibitionist) of pro-cannabis articles in the Associated Press and UP and whatever, from The Denver Post or The Cannabist. Find a way to fit in easy fundraising and donation to pro-legalization by mention and that they’re on the Internet or blatantly show an advertising logo to donate, same goes for QR codes and URLs, etc.

    My fear is the momentum will slow or halt once all the ballot initiative states as possible have legalized.

    First class or bulk mail directly to supporters–will the Democratic Party donate a list–or some other list to target the population segments that are opposed, bring over ones on the fence first for a % approval boost, then now this many % are pro-legalization and even a high % in the combined categories of those who are neutral or not-opposed to legalization in with those who are outright for legalization, hm, if there is such a situation like that.

    I mean, with these prohibitionist state politicians in the legislature states, it’s like there has got to be a way to lean on them to legalize. Legalization is just not a topic they bring up because they’re too busy sucking up to the money and looking to get themselves re-elected, basically. They’ll have to hear from the grassroots, from isolated individuals not acting in concert who are basically bitching to them to legalize, at national level to permit legal banking and interstate commerce between medical marijuana states even if there are prohibitionist states in between. That ought to put a fire under the asses of states that have MMJ but everything is mostly on paper, because they’ll be loosing money out of state and should get a move on supplying their own demand, like people shouldn’t have to leave New Jersey to get their medicine or for their kids. With older folks it’s like they were so much better behaved and we need to plea for sympathy because we’ll never get their approval without it. If you don’t want to wait for them to fade away as nature takes its course then you have to convince them, I guess, at least to remain unopposed to legalization even if they previously would not have acquiesced and remained quiet so that legalization can win.

    It’s like canned letters and post cards, the same canned form letter same content from a group of people somehow doesn’t convince politicians that they have no other choice but to legalize. Letters that are not all the same do not immediately signify it is an organized letter campaign. A bunch of repeat letters the same from different people, you know.

    You know, reform organizations send me these links, change.org not limited to cannabis reform, to canned letters, so is there such an online letter program that can randomly very the wording in the contact your politician letters. Let them think that there are as many different organized pro-cannabis groups out there as there are different versions of the letter or email, whatever. I mean, even doctors must have personal email, if you can get them to click on a link and verify their already filled in information, blast the politician with pleas and urgings to legalize. letters to the editor?

    just brainstorming here, could be total crap, like to read other ideas, better ideas, ideas that’ll lead to full legalization sooner

  37. Yes perfect legalization is a formula for defeat, for NORML and their ilk. With real legalization, like tomatoes or any other ag product, these jokers would be out of a job and they are more concerned with their privileged positions rather then the advancement of humanity. Just like Civil Rights people oppressed by government policy should get what is offered by those who benefit the most and shut up about a perfect world.

    [Editor’s note: Who is the joker here suggesting cannabis is like tomatoes? Who can be taken seriously at all advancing the notion that cannabis, an herbal drug with psychotropic effects, should be treated legally like blueberries or asparagus?

    Cannabis is a drug. After 45 years of cannabis law reformers making the obvious comparison to alcohol and the it’s failed prohibition, no serious minded cannabis law reform organization is going to pivot to the absurd and politically disconnected argument that cannabis, at the precipice of it being legal in more and more states, should be treated under the law like strawberries and corn.

    Cannabis is a drug. Cannabis can cause mild impairment. Cannabis can misused. It is not a agricultural product subject to no regulations, licensing, taxing or controls.

    Get real, politically, and fast.]

  38. something’s going on with the white house “we the people” site gathering signatures on mmj’, is messed up! the number tally isn’t showing correct. because i went there 1/27/15 and it showed 18,998 now it’s lower. there is no showing of signatures after 1/26/15. what i seen of the traffic on the 25th and the 26th i would believe that we are close by now of reaching the numbers.? why does it take so many signatures when other petitions not close? anyone know what’s up?

  39. 2016 will bring in a new press. If it is a repulican u can see every thing we work far and got go down the dran. Medical the repulicans can care less. Look at Jed Bush he will shut it down as soon as he is in office. The repulican party is the one that are keeping it illeagl. We must vote Dem. But I
    am most marijunan smokers doent vote. Its not cool to vote as one person told me.

  40. I don’t want corporate cannabis in Pennsylvania but keeping it illegal is more evil. So even though a $50,000 growing permit is ludicrous I would rather be challenged than arrested. PA legislators have this fallacious idea that regulation matters- it doesn’t! As long as it’s taxed who cares who qualifies and how it’s consumed because people are going to get cannabis whether or not it regulated strictly. But prohibition costs more than amending laws…and one of the reasons that PA isn’t already legal is because we don’t have the infrastructure to legalize it like other states who are medical….

  41. I appreciate the educated responses in this blog from our editor. You made me aware of contradictions I wasn’t fully aware I have been making… Like comparing cannabis to corn (if only for subsidies) while criticizing those who keep using the “tomato model” just because tomatoes aren’t taxed. (Sigh… When someone shows me some dude eating tomatoes in his chanclas with Chinese eyes listening to whale music… Without consuming any cannabis… MAYBE THEN I’ll listen to these foolish tomato-cannabis comparisons… Until then, all you Libertards, please keep your tomato policy out of my cannabis policy…) All this confusion lacks detail that threatens to keep voters away from the polls.
    The greater point I gather from here is that our freedom; our pro cannabis policies… Are up to us to deliver together. We have to keep writing our Congressman… Even prohibitionists like mine, Lamar Smith, need to be confronted with conscious education of the consequences of their own deceit:

    “YOU, Congressman, are preventing medicine from the sick.”

    “YOU, Congressman, are preventing farmers from maintaining the family farm.”

    And if WE don’t organize to make these points clear to the voting public, we’re not doing OUR job to participate in OUR Democracy.

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your Country.”

    …Same goes for cannabis policy.

    One thing this NORML site has taught me is that despite my fascination with our hypocritical Federal Drug Policy, change starts at home. If we have no sense or involvement in our local cannabis policy, at least with education, than we have no sense of national cannabis identity. When I look back on last year and ask myself ” What did I do locally to educate my little conservative community about cannabis?” All I recall, (And I mean BESIDES writing my local Congressman or donating to my local NORML chapter), is creating a Hemp History booth and selling hemp soap at a local festival with my daughter. I recall the march in Austin, where dread-locked men with piercings walked together with red-dressed conservative housewives pushing strollers with their autistic children. I recall countless discussions with my wife, who was raised to disdain marijuana from a strict upbringing in Mexico, begin to understand the injustice when I shared stories of another disproportionate arrest of a minority, another child with epilepsy denied medicine, or another healthy child taken from loving patents for the mere suspicion of adult cannabis consumption.
    These are the stories that shape our drug policy. These are the stories we need to share with our Congressman so that they feel the personal depth and gravity of their prohibitionist positions.
    If we want to let Jeff Bezos or George Soros to run the show, and God Bless them for their contribution to our cause, but without our participation, we can’t be upset if we wanted drug policy to spend on education and that wasn’t part of a single billionaire’s agenda.
    We may not all agree on taxation, implementation and zoning of cannabis policy, but we cannot allow our differences… Or imperfect compromise… to prevent us from voting, donating and organizing for the common goal to end prohibition once and for all.

  42. Correction: I meant to say “loving parents.” I’m not aware of any “loving patents,” for cannabis or otherwise, to which degree I believe in open source patenting or parenting.

  43. @ The Oracle,

    I wrote an email to my Representative about three days ago, regarding MJ recreational legalization.

    Her office had sent me an email regarding some petition I’d signed. In my reply, I thanked her for her vote in regards to that particular legislation, then used the opportunity to request her support for recreational MJ legalization. I was very polite and respectful, but laid out several reasons, including her own political future, why supporting legalization was the smart and right thing to do.

    So, yes, I agree with you that it is incumbent upon us–the grassroots–to urge our politicians forward on legalization. Too many of them are still frightened about the subject, and it is up to us to help nudge them forward, and assure them that there are indeed people who want to see this through. I have written to or called up her office at least three times in the last two years about legalizing recreationally. (I’ve also called and written my Senator, Tom Udall’s, office.)

    If enough of us get involved, we may yet see a speeding up of the process.

  44. @ Julian,

    I give you plenty of credit, my friend, for contacting your Republican congress critters. I’ve written many letters (actually emails) and made my share of phone calls to my Reps and Senators, most of whom have been Dems. Their office people are invariably polite, tho I have run into the occasional ambivalent person on the phone.

    The one time I did call up my Republican state senator, his secretary cut me short, and assured me (in a somewhat snarky tone) that she’d pass along my message.

    But, that will not deter me. Now that the Repubs are in charge of the state houses in NM, they’re due for a few phone calls from me.

  45. @ Douglas

    Why do I get the feeling you are a troll?

    Mehbez thuh waah yu tend tu goh overbor wit yer mixspelingz and pour grammr?

    You wouldn’t be trying to paint “marijuana smokers” in a poor light would you? Nawwww, prohibitionists wouldn’t stoop to such things would they?

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