Some State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

ballot_box_leafPolitical leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing cannabis from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified point in time. Legislators have also called for delaying retail sales of cannabis until late 2018, and have proposed increasing marijuana-specific sales taxes. “I believe that when voters vote on most ballot questions, they are voting in principle. They are not voting on the fine detail that is contained within the proposal,” Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said in regard to the proposed changes.

In Maine, where voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law’s implementation. Governor LePage, who adamantly opposed the measure, said that he “will be talking to Donald Trump” about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and pronounced that he “will not put this (law) into play” unless the federal government signs off on it.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made similar statements following voters’ decision to legalize the medical use of cannabis. “I don’t like the idea of implementing laws in Arkansas that violate federal law,” the Republican Governor and former head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration said. “This does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for … a national solution.”

During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump voiced support for the authority of individual states to impose regulatory policies specific to the use and dispensing of medical cannabis, but was less clear with regard to whether he believed that state lawmakers ought to be able to regulate the adult use of cannabis absent federal interference. His nominee for US Attorney General, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, strongly opposes any liberalization in cannabis policy, stating in April, “[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

In 2013, the Obama administration issued a memorandum directing US prosecutors not to interfere with statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided those efforts did not undermine specific federal priorities – such as the diversion of cannabis to non-legal states. According to Gallup pollsters, nearly two-thirds of Americans support allowing states to decide their own cannabis policies.

Voters in eight states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota – approved statewide ballot measures this November regulating marijuana for either medicinal or social use.

74 thoughts

  1. Ah the Pious prohibitionist Profiteers continue to push the lies of oppression via Prohibition.
    They only care about consolidating power and keep the minorities oppressed

  2. In other words challenging the will of the people. Not a good political move. These types need to be ousted!

    1. Mr. Duncombe, I completely agree and for the LIFE of me I do not understand how these cretins get elected…and then RE-elected!!! My only guess is that the enormous amounts of conservative money, largely from the Koch brothers, but there are others, just flood the low information voters with the kinds of lies we saw in the presidential campaign. But, good Lord, when they start living with the results you would think they’d notice that they’re getting run over!!

  3. It’s so funny you fail to mention anything regarding Montana’s legislature and the fact they almost repealed the original 2001 voter approved initiate I along with every other provider in the state had to close our shops and that was the whole reason behind having to vote on medical cannabis use again and once again the state legislature is committed to repealing the voter approved initiative largely in part because they kept the same people in power that worked so hard to take it away a lot of people don’t realize Montana is been one of the first States along with Colorado and California to legalize medical cannabis in my eyes we should be voting on recreational in Montana but we’re still stuck in a a 2001 mind set that marijuana is bad

  4. Well of course – conservative republicans have the intelligence of cottage cheese – what would we expect from the whores of Big Pharma? Get ready, folks, the darkness is about to begin…

    1. not if we stick together and stay put. If we follow the example of the DAPL protesters we could show them who we are and how many of us there are.

      1. Once pro-legalization Trump voters realize they’ve been betrayed, those with functioning brains will seek different representation.

        I say we need to start thinking about a “People’s Party”, which could be comprised of Libertarians, Greens, Progressives, Progressive Democrats, and disenfranchised Republicans. This voter block will favor full legalization of marijuana, and could include 70 percent of voters!

        This doesn’t have to be a third party, but it could be if the Democrats don’t wake up to the threat that Corporate America (and their Republican henchmen) represent — because when the people are given the chance, they legalize. It’s the elected officials and elected legislators who more often look past the voters, in order to do the bidding of their Corporate Sponsors (that being to maintain the Corporate Gravy Train known as the War on Drugs.

      2. This is a brilliant idea. It’s been on my mind all day. My inbox is flooded with an overwhelming number of petitions and donation requests from progressive causes. Diversity is a good thing, it works in nature, and in this case it provides citizens many places to enter the change process. But like you I believe it’s time for an inclusive model to take shape; a People’s Party would be a way to get serious, aggregate resources and provide a voice for the 70%.

      3. People’s Party: 70 Percent of voters.

        I call it the “John Thomas” proposal, because John Thomas is an activist who put forth that idea in a conversation I had with him recently on

        Bill Piper of Drug Policy Alliance has, to my relief, been saying similar things, like, we legalizers need to join with the anti-Trump movement, and clean our own house of racism and sexism, etc — and stick up for the broader principles of equality and social justice that are the foundation of our cause (excluding those who just want to get rich of weed.)

        We’re in for a long fight, and we must go in united. There’s no room for bigotry in the marijuana legalization movement.

      4. We have no choice other than action – on a wide range of issues. Sessions scares me a LOT. But, I question whether his stance on Pot will motivate any senators during the confirmation process. I believe he will have to be rejected on grounds more palatable to mainstream voters.

  5. I might have to be schooled on the initiative process in the states of Maine and Massachusetts. Seems to me the failure of the governors to implement the law voted by the people is grounds for a lawsuit?

  6. We always knew ending marijuana prohibition would bring all the hypocrits and parasites out of the woodworks, but a self-contradicting President with Narcissist Personality Disorder emboldening every prohibitionist head of state? Could Harry Anslinger have predicted that while blaming Mexicans?
    The federal right wing Republican coup from our DOJ is both ominous and foreboding for legalization and Democracy. The tantrum from the drug war establishment in every state lashes out at their own voting constituents, talking beyond them to increasingly visible industries for profit of prohibition.
    But in some cases at the state level legislators who have been silently waiting for their time to strike are doing so now. My Republican state representative Jason Isaac-Dripping Springs, is just such a person. He is now cosponsoring HB-81 to decriminalize marijuana in the state of Texas next year, citing the impediment for employment that marijuana records create. Perhaps he cant change the federal schedule 1 status of marijuana, but he calls Town Meetings to address the interference of the federal government in our personal lives.
    Tomorrow I have an interview with Neal Pollack from The Cannabist who has been following Isaac’s leadership in marijuana reform. I met Neal at the Marijuana Reform Training Course in San Antonio last month. Isaac is creating quite a stir.
    Since then I have been contacting Isaac’s office preparing for the Dec. 15th hearing over the Texas DPS application fee hike to 2.3 million dollars for dispensaries on whole plant low THC cannabis oils. I wrote up a Public Information Act form off the DPS website demanding contracts, estimates and calculations for determining the fees and justification for requiring 24 hour surveillance from public security on a nonviolent dispensary for cannabis intended for severe epileptics.
    Ill report back here on my discussions with Pollack tomorrow.

    1. Interesting conversation with Pollack from The Cannabist; His article depends on an interview with Representative Isaac, and I told him “if you want to do that you better attend a town hall or one of his fundraisers.” I learned that just by citizen lobbying. But that takes time=money=work. Which is a reason to appreciate that here in Texas our executive director of Texas NORML, Jax Finkle is paid for her work, which depends on our donations. (Hint hint: DONATE).
      Here is a link to HB81:
      To decriminalize marijuana in the state of Texas to no conviction or jail time for less than 1 ounce of marijuana, starting Sept. 1st of 2017. But it takes picking up the phone and calling your state Representative, asking them to cosponsor HB81. It means calling and visiting your state Senator to help them sponsor the Senate version of the bill. It means get active as a citizen; remember, THEY work for US.

      1. Julian,

        I read Neal Pollack’s article in The Cannabist just last night, and was thinking about you when I read it, was actually looking for you name.

        Congrats on your meeting with him, and thanks for all you valuable work! I’d love to see Texas decriminalize–may get our legislators here in NM off their duffs.

  7. It almost seems like most people against cannabis haven’t ever tried it and have always demonized it to the point where if it saved their own child from dying they would let the child die. Kids with seizures and Vets with PTSD sure don’t bother them.

    1. It’s not about never having tried marijuana. I swear if any of these people are in their late 50’s or early 60’s there’s a 90% chance they’ve at least tried it. Trust me I was a Midwest teenager in the 70’s. MJ was practically legal then as it is even more now. Then just as looks to be happening now, it suddenly got snatched back into Reefer Madness days and was demonized for the next 20 years.

      No it’s not about lack of personal experience to it. Almost any politician will privately tell you that it’s no big deal.

      Follow the money, as they say. Big Pharma stands to lose big if marijuana is legalized nationally. People would no longer need their opioid pain meds, there would be a lower incidence of diabetes and perhaps even fewer antidepressants prescribed (I abruptly stopped taking a combination of 3 meds after going to Colorado and seeing what good cannabis can do for you)(I have been medication-free ever since).

      It’s but one of many ways that so-called “conservatives” (want small government and fewer regulations except when it comes to marijuana) are bending over to big pharma and (making us) take it in the…..

  8. Marijuana teaches you. It exposes the lie of society: that elected officials are public servants; that drugs are bad; that employers are good; that cops are good; that the law is good; that votes will be honored; that the system works.

    Marijuana is a teacher, because it exposes these lies. All you have to do is pay attention, and you can learn!

    1. Yes. I learned to use my MJ advocacy to develop that comparison between truth/lie in many different dealings with local government. The local politicos can be held to accountability face to face. Never let the rascals rest, tag team the prohibitionists.

  9. I forgot to say “Fuck Jeff Sessions.”

    Here is a quick and easy way to contact your Senators to urge them to oppose the Sessions nomination.

    (You might ask: if society is all a lie, as I just got done saying, then why would I want you to contact your Senators? Because: it still matters — the point is to fight back with your eyes open and seeing the machine as it truly is, and not as it bills itself.)

    1. Unlike the current regime, Sessions respects and understands states rights.

      The Obama Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.

      1. You’re fucking nuts. If AG Sessions shows more respect for the state-by-state marijuana legalization movement than AG Lynch, based on a respect for “states rights” or any other principle, I’ll eat my (hemp) hat.

    2. Unlike the current regime, Sessions respects and understands states rights.

      AG Lynch could declassify marijuana herself as well as under the direction of King Obama, but you see where we are with that.

      1. It’s often interesting to read the stuff people ‘spin’ on here. I wonder if they realize they fool no one but themselves.

      2. Having spent formative years of my youth growing up in the bible belt, I’ve had many personal dealings with these kinds of right-wing nut-cases; and so when Trump’s spokesperson says “facts no longer exist,” I can almost understand (somewhat) who she’s talking to, and what she means.

        This may sound strange, but you have people who genuinely believe the horseshit they’ve been fed, and which they now peddle; but yet who simultaneously know it’s all a lie, and delight in taking part in it — it makes them feel slick, like they’re clever, because it’s their lie now, and they feel superior to the “suckers” who buy into it. That’s why they get all smug and happy when we on the left become outraged at their blatant horseshit.

        So either way, they don’t care, as long as they “feel like a winner.” That’s a duplicity and a lack of integrity to us, but to them, it satisfies their criterion for analysis.

        I know that’s a crazy psychology, but it helps to explain people like Trump, and why people who actually listen to what he says as if it means anything have already been played for a sucker.

  10. All prominent Republicans coming out against it.

    Contradictory signals from the President Elect.

    The battle for reform rages on…

  11. This is the reason that we need guidance at the federal level regarding any legal consumption of cannabis. There are many avenues that are available to resolve the “bottle necks” that have occurred and problems will continue until marijuana can be rescheduled as medicine that can be prescribed by physicians to patients who benefit from the therapeutic value of cannabis for the treatment of disease.

    I know that our next President of the United States will “hit the ground running” on his “list of priorities” when President Trump officially takes office and we have heard his opinion on this topic however there are more pressing issues that will command the attention of the new administration, naturally, before the item of cannabis consumption can be addressed.

    1. The guidance is already there as put out by the Obama administration.
      The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.

      1. Youre a troll. Youre not fooling anyone on this blog so gonback to yahoo news or facebook or somewhere people might believe you.
        If the Obama administration had not written memos to the DOJ to stop raiding state commercial marijuana dispensaries under federal guidelines you would not be posting propaganda on a blog about reversing marijuana policies for there would be nothing to reverse.
        Sessions is a proven racist prohibitionist and needs to be blocked for nomination by the Senate.

      2. How am I trolling? I support marijuana declassification completely, but the reality is that the precious Democrats want illegal marijuana just as much as old age staunch Republications.

      3. Not true. Read the party platforms; or just review the grades on NORML’s Congressional Scorecard. Republicans are clearly worse on the issue of marijuana legalization.

    2. Guidance from Trump?

      According to the Huffington Post, Trump is a big fan of Duterte’s Drug War in the Philippines — a state-wide campaign of extra-judicial murder. Duterte is on a killing spree, having authorized lynching by vigilante for any and all drug users. Trump gave Duterte high-fives for that!

      Is that the kind of “guidance” you seek? You are looking for a bullet to your head?

      1. You use a far left liberal rag as a source? That’s like me pulling up something against Obama from Bill O’reily.

      2. Since you don’t deny it happened, or provide any other useful information, I’ll stand by what I wrote.

  12. These hypocritical ass holes ALL talk about “state’s rights” and “laboratories of democracy”, BUT when the PEOPLE speak with their votes they tell them “fuck you”. So much for the good ole US of A.

  13. So, looks like we can look forward to years of resistance on the issue. Read up on our new HHS SecretaryTom Price.

    Damn Liberals. Lock ’em up and throw away the keys.

    Be careful out there. They will be coming to get us!

      1. Attorney General Loretta Lynch on marijuana:
        “Marijuana is not a gateway drug, prescription drugs are.”

        Senator Jeff Sessions on marijuana:
        “I didnt have a problem with the KKK until I found out they smoked pot.”

  14. These narcissist politicos need to honor the fact that they work for us. Not Big Pharma or any other of the vast multitude of deep pocket donors. In our system of government, democracy, in case you’ve understandably forgotten, the will of the people is what they were elected to facilitate. There are other instances (i.e. Oklahoma, where a blindly ambitious AG managed to keep a legally and timely filed petition for medical MJ off the ballot by himself). Alcohol, tobacco, guns and gambling cause great and often deadly consequences but they pay our elected “Czars” very well. Medical MJ eases the suffering for many voters and is okay with the majority of voters. Apparently, you’ve got to pay big to play in our current system of democracy?

    1. GGAT– guns, gambling, alcohol, tobacco– thanks for mentioning all of them. Did I leave out prescription drugs? That’s the chaser.

  15. These governors should be ashamed of themselves (they obviously never will with those paychecks coming from LEOs, prisons, rehab corps, and pharma corps) trying to subvert the will of the people they serve and attempting deference to the FedGov, states are supposed to be sovereign (and the GOP is “in theory” all for state’s rights, though not when someone might be consuming something they don’t like without their permission) not sniveling little bitches to Washington’s every terrible idea

  16. Ultimately I believe that the prohibitionists will lose in the end. I believe these initiatives will go though.


    I also believe the prohibitionists will fight it tooth and nail, even if they still lose. The noise they are making will continue, and the laws will continue to change against their will.

    I read a few comments about these people, and never have used themselves, and I agree… they’ve probably never tried cannabis. But. Some of these same people uphold the alcohol laws as the way they are, and also drink. Some of them are even alcoholics, and seem unaware as to how much they are hurting their bodies with that.

    Life goes on.

    I choose POT over many other drugs, and always will.

    Not long ago, I was down to my last 20, did I buy beer? NO. You all know where this is going. I smoked it in a matter of days.

    This will come and pass, and then more states will legalize.

    Signing Off.

    Denny. 😉 🙂

  17. WOW….These ass clowns must be really deep in the pockets of Big Pharma and Big Alcohol and have absolutely no respect for those who they are supposed to represent….The People.

  18. As a Republican, I’m a strong proponent of marijuana being completely declassified from the federal controlled substances act. I am however in favor of an individual state having their own classifications.

    Having said that, although we still have two months of the Obama presidency left, how come these democrates have not legalized? All they have said is “play nice”.

    The Attorney General under direction from Obama can make this all go away at the swipe of a pen. US code allows the reclassification or declassification of marijuana administratively without the assistance of Congress.

    Also, from the White House website itself, “The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.”

    1. Ok, at least this was a more dignified post. But you still dont seem to understand that Congress has to declassify marijuana through the Controlled Substaces Act. If any president under the current Congress tries to deschedule through executive order it will end up in federal court where a federal judge will have to shoot state law down as federal law “Trumps” state law. Call your Senator and block the nomination of Sessions.

      1. The Federal Attorney General has authority as well; please visit 21 U.S. Code § 811 (a) (2):

        a) Rules and regulations of Attorney General; hearingThe Attorney General shall apply the provisions of this subchapter to the controlled substances listed in the schedules established by section 812 of this title and to any other drug or other substance added to such schedules under this subchapter. Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), the Attorney General may by rule—

        (2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.

      2. The Federal Attorney General has authority as well; please visit 21 U.S. Code § 811 (a) (2).

      3. So, are you suggesting an AG Sessions will deschedule cannabis? Or what? Sounds like you don’t really have a point, maybe you just enjoy flinging shit at the Obama administration?

        We’ve made great progress under the Obama administration’s two terms. Including with AG Lynch. Anyone who doesn’t see that just isn’t trying. But that’s water under the bridge now. I get it — you hate the Obama administration. But we’ve got to deal with the “now”!

        So: is that all you got? Got a grudge, stuck in the past? Or are you suggesting that an AG Sessions will be a better legalizer? If so, come on out and say it — state your claim. Back it up with evidence.

        Or you just talking shit?

    2. If Obama removed marijuana from schedule 1 with ” a stroke of a pen by executive order ” well let see, what was that Trump promised,, oh yeah,, reverse all of Obama’s executive actions on day one…
      They don’t grow weed strong enough to make a nominally sane person think the Republican rank and file… (hats off to a very few exceptions) are ever going to liberalize marijuana laws in any way, shape or form.
      If Obama had a Democratic congress the last six years, it would now be re-scheduled, decriminalized, medicalized, and lowest law enforcement prioritized on the FEDERAL level.
      Trump would have overheated his rallys with cries to ” lock em up,, all the potheads ”
      And you still would have voted for him..

      1. You forgot the word “unconstituational”. Trump said he would remove all UNCONSTITUTIONAL executive orders. That is a clear distinction.

      2. If you’re in favor of marijuana legalization, and you voted for Trump, you’ve been betrayed.

  19. Well you know,,, will of the people and all that,,, the really funny thing is all the people who voted for legalization of some sort and then pulled the hammer for Trump,, that’s why they call ya dope.
    Don’t worry the Republicans are the party of state’s rights, RIGHT?????
    I mean it’s not like the Republican national platform specifically rejects cannabis liberalization
    like the Democratic national platform specifically endorsed cannabis liberalization
    I mean like wow !!!!!!
    Legal in 8 states,, medical in over half,,
    and now a new Attorney General who makes Harry Anslinger look like Willie Nelson…
    You can’t write this..

  20. Governors who impede the progress and/or implementation of what their constituents have voted for should be IMPEACHED!

  21. It is the time to push back, if we give them an inch, they will take a mile. Let’s remind them who they work for.

  22. Perhaps someone could create a new petition on Change.Org to request that President Obama issue an executive order to legalize marijuana nationally. That would be a great last order.

  23. “I believe that when voters vote on most ballot questions, they are voting in principle.”

    In other words, politicians still hate democracy.

  24. I’m hoping that President Obama will have the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. request that cannabis be removed altogether from the international Schedule/Prohibition in addition to other things to move things along.

    Barry, please do something to make sure legalization is beyond the point of no return. Trump is looking like he is hell-bent on making the country do a 360 turnaround back to the bad old days. It looks to me like Trump is picking people for key positions who are way behind the times. Sessions and Price are likely to preside over policies and enforcement of regulations that are horrible for the little people, especially people of color. Here I am in my shit job, going nowhere, taking shit from people on a daily basis and putting on a smile, you know. Most people wouldn’t stoop so low as to do my job, and then they want to deny you employment and ruin your life and put you in jail for weed. They’re targeting people of color and those who side with them. Jim Crow, here we go again!

    1. I believe that soon, the Trump supporters will realize they’ve been betrayed, and the higher-functioning types will be looking for new representation.

      I think we legalizers need to join with the anti-Trump movement. We will need a “People’s Party” that will consist of libertarians, progressives, and progressive Democrats. We cannot allow Trump to divide us along racial and social lines.

  25. Their resistance us futile, something will give, thank God Trump isnt a vocal anti pot person but its his bastard appointment for attorney general that is the real worry.

    1. Trump has also said he’s for bringing back mandatory minimums for drug crimes, and according to Huffington Post, Trump is a big fan of Duterte’s state-wide extra-judicial murders of all drug users.

      Trump wants to put a bullet in your skull, too. Jeff Sessions will do the dirty work.

      1. Must have meant “Law of the jungle” and “Order up an assassination.” I guess.

  26. impeach the governor’s who refuse the petition as the petition is voice of the people
    the federal law is lie base on prohibitionist scum who under color of law enforce hell upon the public , the maine governor must be removed he is brain dead diseases with prohibition values can’t be help must be removed , his statements are based in hog wash pig mud dirt impeach him now

  27. I agree with Ar. gov Hutchinson. However I feel it should be a nation wide vote on cannabis legalization. The Ar. gov. is just wrong about the government telling us what’s right. They should listen to the people. The people have spoken “LEGALIZE CANABIS” or this may well be your last term in office.

  28. This was the point I had attempted to point out to the Republican crowd at Alex Jones, those who were claiming marijuana legalization was Republican and not Democrat in its nature. My illustration to the Republicans at Alex Jones was(excluding Trump lied about everything) that no one understood what Donald Trump meant concerning ‘state rights’ Did he mean the power of state legislators and federal laws, or did he mean the tiny people that throw a tiny vote but are not authorities or professionals. Clearly he meant the people who have been voted into office to design the laws which Federal government (The country Republican people) intended for the little people to live by, and now you have all those lies the Republican crowd and those Republicans running for election told secretly attempting to do what they had intended. To make marijuana illegal like a drug.

  29. They’re coming after you. I told everybody. I told everyone at Alex Jones. Believe me. I live in a Republican state. And when you live in a Republican state you see everybody working on an effort to subdue marijuana or make it a flawed attempt at drug use. In a Republican state you see it with broadcasting stations and those working for them doing the news, commercials are now brainwashing people that there is a national addiction epidemic a mask you wear around high not seeing the world around you.
    I watched a one hour documentary here, and believe me they can make medical marijuana legal here but if they believe you wanted to get high it goes to criminal investigation and Doctors are not going to prescribe it they will prescribe a pill instead. Because they live with Republicans for a reason.

  30. Fear of the unknown led to the prohibition paradox. Perpetuation of the stigma will not weaken resolve. Information from personal experience is sent globally instantly. Ignorance is not bliss, it is restricting.

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