New England Marijuana Legalization Bills Coming

In the wake of this month's marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington, legislators in New England are ramping up efforts to be the next state to legalize. Solons in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all signaled they will be filing legalization bills next year.

''Last week, Washington and Colorado replaced their states' prohibitions on marijuana with a system of regulation and taxation,'' said Robert Capecchi, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, which organized a press conference with legislators last week.

''Both measures passed with roughly 55% voting in favor,'' Capecchi noted. ''Gallup found 50% support for making marijuana legal last year, and that support has risen over the years. We are passing the tipping point when it comes to this issue. Unfortunately, lawmakers have traditionally been behind public opinion when it comes to marijuana policy reform. With these thoughtful legislators in at least four states planning on introducing sensible proposals to remove criminal penalties and regulate marijuana in their states, it's clear that ending marijuana prohibition is gaining momentum.''

At the press conference, Rhode Island state Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence), who introduced legalization bills in 2010 and 2011, said she would do so again. ''Our prohibition has failed,'' she said. "I think legalizing and taxing it, just as we did to alcohol, is the way to do it."

Maine state Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) said she, too, will reintroduce a marijuana legalization bill, LD 1453, in her state. "The people are far ahead of the politicians on this," Russell said. "Just in the past few weeks we've seen the culture shift dramatically."

Legislators in Vermont and Massachusetts have also signaled they will be filing marijuana legalization bills next year. The legislative process is frustratingly slow, often taking several years to get a measure through, but in the wake of the Colorado and Washington votes, we could see a sudden collapse in support for pot prohibition, even at the state house.

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why wait?

Seriously, why wait for next year? We have the power to end prohibition now across the board. We don't need to be waiting up to 40 years for full legalization diplomacy is too slow of a process.

Patience

Things are already moving far more swiftly than we ever anticipated.  Within DAYS of the measures passing, we are already seeing significant action.  Things will keep moving forward, you'll see.  Don't expect anything Earth-shattering, like Obama stepping forward and removing Marijuana from the CSA or anything like that.  It's going to take time, but remember the road is still just a little bit bumpy.  50% of Americans support legalization, but that means that 50% don't.

Those who don't support legalization have to be shown that ending prohibition won't cause the sky to fall, it won't cause our culture to degrade, and it won't cause society to destroy itself.  But most importantly, they have to be shown, not told, that prohibition is causing more harm than the substance being prohibited.

Also for politicians it remains a sensitive matter.  I think they are just starting to warm up to the fact that supporting legalization can gain them votes, whereas less than a decade before it practically meant political suicide.  Remember they don't REALLY care one way or the other, they only care about winning over more voters.  I think they're starting to warm up to the idea that this marijuana thing is quite popular and that supporting legalization can win elections.

In with the new

^ This. It is just going to take time for the older voters to be replaced by the new voters. Every year, huge swaths of older, conservative voters are replaced by 18 year olds.  Combine this with the fact that marijuana advocates will never quit in their legalization mission and we will have full scale legalization.  I predict that small amounts of marijuana will be perfectly legal in 1/4-1/3 of the U.S. states within the next four years.

And, although it would be great if all fifty states legalized, some states will move quicker than others.  But really, if 1/3 of the states are legal, then who really cares where its illegal - I mean you can just travel. Marijuana prohibition will go the way of gambling prohibition.

There is still a problem that

There is still a problem that is ridiculous:  My wife works for a fascist company in the the middl e of Washington State that declared they would STILL fire anyone with marijuana in their blood streams.  How can  that be?  PISS!

We'll just have to work on

We'll just have to work on making that illegal.

Good points

I appreciate your attitude of temperance and optimism, echoing the quotes from MLKjr regarding the arc of history bending toward justice. Eventually the bend becomes a slide, and things snowball.

I was not in despair even while Obama became demonized by the extreme left after the CA fed raids. (I think all drugs should be legalized, but I understand how politics works.) Obama, the first admitted user of hard drugs to be president, does run a huge federal agency called the DEA, which is supposed enforce laws on books, however bad. .What was he to say when the DEA head proposed her plan? No? Just be an idle agency?  

Only the most naive people of color -- and Obama ain't naive--  don't understand how the war on drugs is 100 x worse on them than whites. But he had to get healthcare passed. It was a moderate. corporate friendly  bill, and it still was demonized zealously by the insane right. Obama said early, "You want something? You have to MAKE me do it." Think of what Romney would have done if Obama had decriminalized all drugs too early.. Images of white teens from Plano, TX getting hooked on "Obamasmack", true or not, would have saturated the airwaves and jeopardized a tough election victory that will bring 40 million people health care who had none before. I was one of those people at one point, even though I had a job.. One day that health care will --- legitimately -- be used  help people afford cannabis to treat cancer and even anxiety, which is what I use it for. (I'd just grow my own, I am not looking for handouts).  I am given Klonopin, but the withdrawal is horrible, memory is far more impaired, motor control is lost, so working and driving is hard. I am not say "free govt. weed" for everyone. But recreational weed, like booze and cigs, will be. I only dread the arrival of cigarette type marketing of weed on billboards.But oh well, it will all balance in time.

Many dispensaries shut down in CA were opportunists, shady, and did not have true respect for the medicine, the patients or the process. I don't like those crackdowns but think about Holder's different reaction to the nine DEA heads calling for him to speak against the WA and CO initiatives. Total silence. That is very auspicious. It's been 75 years of this B.S., and it's actually beginning to end. Hallelujah.

Actually, this 50-50 bit is

Actually, this 50-50 bit is false.  Americans across the board want pot legalize, however, a great deal of those who want it, don't vote, so don't count.

You can keep down a good plant

Marijuana aka cannabis hemp is the most useful plant on the planet. Food, clothing, shelter, energy, medicine, insight, and re-creation. Henry Ford even built a car  out of it. It is only fitting that in a country that values freedom that the people would wake up to the many uses. Many brave souls have awakened their fellow humans. Keep up the good work. The work is not yet done but we are getting closer. The people have the power and the people have spoken.

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challenge the prohibs to debate

They can't refuse to discuss the subject like they did for so very long, and their claims are going to get scrutinized now. Your thug party is almost over, prohibs, it's time to get real. Science tells us that alcohol is so much more dangerous to life, limb, and fetus than weed that there is utterly no comparison. Deal with it before you kill and maim more than you already have, you damn control freaks.

And you go, Uruguay!

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