drug policy action

Utah: Poll Shows Strong Support For Asset Forfeiture Reform On Eve Of Primary

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One out of 11 Surveyed Utah Voters Report Having Property Taken by Police without Criminal Charge from Themselves or Someone They Know

Utah Voters Also Signal Support for Presidential Candidates Who Embrace Asset Forfeiture Reform

An overwhelming majority of registered Utah voters support civil asset forfeiture reform, according to a new poll released by Drug Policy Action. The poll was released the day before Utah’s primary election vote.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Utah registered voters, including 83 percent of all Republicans, think police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime. Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters polled, including 70 percent of Republicans, would be more likely to support a candidate for president who took the position that the government should not be able to take property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

Also, a high number of surveyed Utah voters (1 out of 11) reported that a police officer has taken property from them or someone they know without being charged with a crime. Most of these respondents said that property was taken from them during a traffic stop.

Florida: Poll Shows Strong Support For Asset Forfeiture Reform; Bill Heads To Gov's Desk

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An overwhelming majority of registered Florida voters support civil asset forfeiture reform, according to a new poll released by Drug Policy Action. Eighty-four percent of Florida registered voters, including 86 percent of all Republicans and 81 percent of independents, think police should not be able to seize and permanently take away property from people who have not been convicted of a crime.

Sixty-six percent of voters polled, including 65 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of Democrats, would be more likely to support a candidate for president who took the position that the government should not be able to take property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime.

“The notion that police officers can take cash or other property from people never charged with any criminal wrongdoing and keeping any profits from the sale of seized property doesn’t sit well with the public,” said Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs for Drug Policy Action. “Voters want action on civil asset forfeiture.

"Governor Scott should sign the reform legislation on his desk, and presidential candidates would be wise to address the issue,” Smith said.

The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed SB 1044, reforming Florida’s “Contraband Forfeiture Act,” sending the legislation to Gov. Scott’s desk for a signature. Last week the Florida Senate passed the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, in a 38–0 vote.

California: Adult-Use Marijuana Initiative Cleared For Circulation

CaliforniaCannabisLegalization2016[420intel.com]

Coalition announces formation of official committee: Californians to Control, Regulate & Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children

Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to "control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana while protecting children" on Wednesday announced that they have received an official title and summary for their proposed November measure, have been cleared for circulation and intend to “hit the ground running” to qualify their measure for the ballot.

They also announced the formation of an official political committee in support of the measure: “Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children.” (I know! "Is it a committee name or a NOVEL?")

The coalition in support of this measure includes business people, physicians, farmers, environmental leaders and social-justice advocacy organizations, according to the group.

The new committee announced $1.25 million in initial contributions, including from co-chairs and respected advocacy organizations such as Drug Policy Action, Marijuana Policy Project of California, New Approach PAC and Californians for Sensible Reform.

Joint Statement of Co-Proponents

Dr. Donald O. Lyman, MD, former chief of the Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Control at the CA Department of Public Health and
Michael Sutton, former president of the California Fish and Game Commission and former vice president of National Audubon Society:

Washington: One-Year Status Report On Marijuana Legalization

MarijuanaJars[DPA]

New Report Finds Major Fiscal Benefits, Decrease in Violent Crime, No Increase in Youth Marijuana Use or Traffic Fatalities – And Massive Drop in Marijuana Arrests

Popular Support for Marijuana Legalization Remains Strong in Washington; Only Dark Cloud Remains Uncertain Fate of Medical Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As several states consider marijuana legalization initiatives, all eyes are on the initial outcomes of Washington’s marijuana law. In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to pass laws taxing and regulating marijuana.

Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of retail marijuana sales in Washington. Adult possession of marijuana became legal on December 6, 2012, 30 days after the passage of I-502, the voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older. A year-and-a-half later, the first retail marijuana store opened its doors, on July 8, 2014.

A new report by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) highlights data on public safety, youth marijuana use, and the economy before and after passage of I-502. Since adult possession of marijuana became legal 18 months ago, the state has benefitted from a dramatic decrease in marijuana arrests and convictions, as well as increased tax revenues.

U.S.: Hillary Clinton Calls For End To 'Era of Mass Incarceration'

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2016 Presidential Candidates United on Need for Major Criminal Justice Reforms

From Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton, Candidates Seek to Reduce Number of People Behind Bars

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday became the latest Presidential candidate to embrace criminal justice reform. In her first major policy speech since announcing her candidacy, Clinton called for an end to the “era of mass incarceration.”

“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their lifetimes, and an estimated 1.5 million black men are ‘missing’ from their families and communities because of incarceration and premature death,” Clinton said. “The consequences are profound. … It’s time to change our approach,” she added, citing the fact that 1 out of every 28 American children have a parent locked up behind bars.

“The fact that the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president chose the subject of mass incarceration as the focus of her first major policy address since she announced her candidacy is of great significance politically,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Action. “So is the fact that all of the other Democratic candidates and most of the Republican ones agree that something needs to be done to reduce incarceration in our country.”

Washington: Marr Announces He's Leaving (Marijuana) Liquor Board

ChrisMarr(WSLCB)

Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) member and former State Senator Chris Marr will leave the regulatory panel in January 2015, the former Spokane auto dealer has announced.

In a prepared statement to Governor Jay Inslee, fellow board members and Board Executive Director Rick Garza, Marr thanked them all for their hard work over the last two years during which Washington undertook the implementation of I-502, the legalization of recreational use of cannabis, reports Jim Boldt at Cannabis Wire.

Marr said he will pursue a career in lobbying. He leaves the Board at probably its second most important juncture, the real possibility of legislative action to mend the medical marijuana (MMJ) law and blend it with the state’s new recreational use law.

In addition to Marr’s leaving, LCB chair Sharon Foster’s term on the Board is up in January and rumors are she will not ask for reappointment. This would leave the Board with an institutional knowledge shortage, according to Cannabis Wire, and only one remaining member, Ruthann Kurose, who worked through the problematic implementation of the recreational use law, I-502.

Those involved in cannabis policy in Washington mention former state Rep. Lynn Kessler and former state Senator Tracey Eide as possible candidates for either or both slots.

Marr's statement is below:

California: Prop 47 Takes Significant Step Towards Ending Mass Incarceration and War On Drugs

YesOn47(California2014)

Passage of Proposition 47 Will Spare Thousands From Unnecessary Time Behind Bars and Save Billions of Taxpayer Dollars

DPA: Overwhelming Support Sends Powerful National Message

California voters on Tuesday took a significant step toward ending mass incarceration and the War On Drugs by approving Proposition 47. On the heels of reforming the state’s “three strikes” law in the 2012 election, Californians overwhelmingly voted to change six low-level, nonviolent offenses – including simple drug possession – from felonies to misdemeanors.

“The overwhelming support for this reform sends a powerful message nationally, demonstrating that voters are not just ready but eager to reduce prison populations in ways that can enhance public safety,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

“This is a win for everyone in California,” said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.), a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “We’ll save millions keeping nonviolent drug offenders out of state prison, and those resources will be redirected toward public education, victim services, and mental health treatment programs that actually address the problems of addiction.”

U.S.: Drug Policy Action Grades Members of U.S. House of Representatives on Drug Policy Reform

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Historic Bipartisan Majority in Favor of Reforming U.S. Drug Laws and Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies

Ideologically Diverse Representatives – From Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) – Named 2013-14 “Champions of Reform”

Drug Policy Action on Wednesday released the 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, which grades members of Congress on how they voted on seven key drug policy reform votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 and 2014.

The guide is designed not just to educate voters on which members of the U.S. House of Representatives support drug policy reform – but also to send a firm message to elected officials that they will be held accountable for supporting draconian policies that exacerbate the worst harms of the Drug War. Clear bipartisan support now exists both among the American public and in Congress for ending the Drug War and letting states set their own marijuana policies.

The voter guide examines historic votes on a wide range of issues, such as whether to bar the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws and whether to allow banks to accept deposits from marijuana businesses. The voter guide also summarizes decisive steps taken over the last two years by congressional lawmakers and officials in the Obama Administration toward advancing drug policy reform.

Oregon: Activists Release Comedy Video Series Urging Voters To Legalize Marijuana

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Crowdsourced Videos Feature Comedians and Actors Showing How Easy it is to Vote in Oregon and End Marijuana Prohibition

A new get-out-the-vote video campaign has been launched by Drug Policy Action, a related organization of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The series of videos, entitled "In the Time It Takes,” show how easy it is to vote and to support Measure 91, a measure on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In the videos, supporters of Measure 91, including actor Tate Donovan and comedian Rob Cantrell, demonstrate something that can be done in the same amount of time it takes to vote for measure 91 and mail a ballot in Oregon. From the mundane to the ridiculous, each “In the Time It Takes” video emphasizes the fact that it only takes a minute to fill out and mail a ballot. Drug Policy Alliance and the local Yes on 91 campaign are counting on this new initiative to rally younger voters to get out and vote.

New Mexico: Santa Fe City Council Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

ReducingMarijuanaPenalties(NewMexico)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Santa Fe City Council, in a surprise move on Wednesday night, decriminalized marijuana possession. The city of about 70,000 residents became the first in New Mexico to decriminalize pot.

The resolution, passed on a 5-4 vote, changes the city's penalties for cannabis possession from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a $50-$100 fine and up to 15 days in jail, to a civil infraction and a $25 fine, reports Joey Peters at the Santa Fe Reporter.

It also instructs Santa Fe's police force to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as the lowest law enforcement priority. The decrim measure applies to possession cases involving one ounce or less, and also decriminalizes marijuana paraphernalia.

The vote came after pressure from Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM to get decriminalization on the November general election ballot.

"Obviously from a policy perspective, this is incredible," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico director of Drug Policy Action, affiliated with Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. "The people have won tonight no matter what."

Kaltenbach added, though, that the Reducing Marijuana Penalties initiative was formed with the aim of getting decrim on the ballot so that voters could have a say on the issue. Petitioners submitted more than 11,000 signatures from residents to qualify for November's ballot.

New Mexico: Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative Officially Certified In Santa Fe

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First Time in New Mexico History People will Vote on Marijuana Reform

The Santa Fe City Clerk on Monday announced the Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the city's citizen initiative process setting the stage to give voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a vote on reducing marijuana penalties.

The Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign, headed by Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM, submitted close to 11,000 signatures in 52 days, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot. The initiative now goes before the City Council where the governing body has two options, vote for the ordinance change outright or send the initiative to the people for a vote.

Not only will this be the first time in history that New Mexico's voters will cast their ballots on reforming marijuana laws, it is the first time that the people of Santa Fe brought forth an issue via the City’s citizen initiative process. The Santa Fe city charter permits voters to petition their government for changes to city ordinances, including those relating to marijuana.

Oregon: New Poll Shows 51% Want To Legalize Marijuana In November

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With less than three months until Election Day in Oregon, and as many as three separate marijuana legalization initiatives vying to appear on the ballot, a new poll shows 51 percent of voters support allowing adults to use, possess and grow cannabis.

The SurveyUSA poll released on Tuesday didn't ask voters which of the three measures they would prefer; instead it simply asked them whether they would support or pose allowing adults in Oregon to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax it, reports Thomas H. Clarke at The Daily Chronic.

Just more than half, 51 percent of those polled support marijuana legalization, while just 41 percent oppose it. There are no regional differences within the state on this question, according to the poll, but there are enormous age differences: younger voters support legalization by 48 points, while senior citizens oppose it by 24 points.

Democrats were more likely to support cannabis legalization, and Republicans were more likely to oppose it, according to the poll.

None of the three initiatives has yet qualified for November's ballot, but supporters of all three said they are optimistic that they will turn in more than enough signatures to qualify before the deadline on July 3.

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