Ballot Measures

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Measure 74 Aims For Easier Marijuana Access

United States
More than 36,000 Oregonians are allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes, but they can't legally buy the drug -- they have to grow it themselves or find a caregiver to grow it for them. Backers of a measure on this November's ballot want to change that and they want to do it by following California's lead. Sponsors of Oregon's Measure 74 say it takes a more conservative approach to storefront pot sales.

We Won't Stand For Their Lies (Action Alert)


We Are the Drug Policy Alliance.

Show our opponents that their scare tactics aren't fooling anybody!

Take Action!

Sign the Petition

Dear friends,

We need to fight back.

California's marijuana initiative, Proposition 19, would be the biggest drug law reform in U.S. history. But it's being threatened by opponents who are trotting out the same old drug war misinformation and scare tactics.

Tell the opponents of Proposition 19 that we won’t stand for their lies!

Prop. 19, which would make marijuana legal for adults in California, is a game changer. The special interests that benefit from the drug war know it, and are doing everything they can to scare voters away from reforming the state's failed marijuana laws.

Here are some of the outrageous statements the other side has already made:
• "It's going to cause crime to go up. There will be more drug babies."
• "It gives inmates in our prisons and county jails the right to both possess and smoke marijuana while incarcerated."
• "Next Health Nightmare If Marijuana Legalization Takes Place? Killer Black Mold."

And unless we call them on their ridiculous claims, they’re just going to ratchet up the rhetoric as Election Day draws near. Let's show our opponents that the whole country is watching – and that their scare tactics aren’t fooling anybody!


Stephen Gutwillig
State Director, California
Drug Policy Alliance

United States

Prop 19: Amsterdam Psychiatrist Blasts US Drug Czars for Distortions, Fear-Mongering (Letter to the Editor)

On August 25, the Los Angeles Times published an open editorial written by six former US drug czars referring to cannabis policies in the Netherlands while voicing their opposition to California's Proposition 19. On September 2, ENCOD president Fredrick Polak sent an open letter to the LA Times.
Men's News Daily (US)

Dane County Wisconsin to Vote on Medical Marijuana Referendum

Voters in Dane County, Wisconsin, the home of Madison, the state's capital and second largest city, will be asked if they support passage of a state medical marijuana law, and they might not be alone. A city councilman in River Falls last week filed petitions seeking to put the same question on the local ballot in that town of nearly 15,000 in west-central Wisconsin, near the Twin Cities.

In the November 2 election, Dane County, voters will be asked: "Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?"

The move comes after medical marijuana activists such as Is My Medicine Legal Yet (IMMLY) have spent years trying to get the state legislature to pass a bill, to no avail. It is designed to show legislators they have nothing to fear politically by approving medical marijuana, and to suggest that the opposite could be the case.

The Madison resolution was approved by the Dane County Board in a unanimous voice vote on July 15. The charge was led by east side supervisors John Hendrick and Barbara Vedder, according to a report from IMMLY's Gary Storck.

"I would just invite all of you to join Representative Vedder to represent our constituents and to represent the opportunity for all of your constituents to vote on this in November and to advise the legislature that they have nothing to fear from the people of Wisconsin if they decide to pass a bill to  legalize medical marijuana," Hendrick told his colleagues before the vote.

And they took him up on it. Now, the city council in River Falls will have the same opportunity, after City Council Member Bob Hughes filed more than 800 signatures last week with the city clerk's office seeking to put a referendum question with identical language there.

Now, the city attorney will review the referendum question and then submit it to the city council. The council will then vote on whether to add the question to the ballot.

"Some community members contacted me about it and asked if I was willing to help," Hughes said. It is another step in the process of bringing medical marijuana to Wisconsin, he said. 

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have already approved medical marijuana, although programs are not yet in effect in New Jersey or the District. Arizona will vote on it in November.

Madison, WI
United States

We Are All Californians

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (courtesy Daniel Schwen via
Norm Stamper, former police chief of Seattle, wants all of us to support California's Prop 19 initiative to legalize marijuana this November. He writes about it in The Huffington Post this week.

To make sure we realize that "We Are All Californians" really means all of us, Norm details 19 different groups of people who should support marijuana legalization. Well worth the read, I'm sure you'll agree.

While I personally don't plan to move to California even if Prop 19 passes (I'm sure some of you will), I do intend over the next two months to demonstrate that I Am A Californian. Will you?

United States

Marijuana Initiative Challenges Costly, Bloody Drug War (Opinion)

United States
Former California state senator Tom Hayden opines that he supports the November ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana because our country's long drug war is a disaster and there is an alternative that is better for our health, safety and democratic process.
The Huffington Post (CA)

Michigan Court Keeps Detroit Marijuana Initiative Off Ballot

In an August 26 ruling, the Wayne County Circuit Court refused to order the Detroit city clerk to put a municipal marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot. Initiative organizers, the Coalition for a Safer Detroit had gathered sufficient valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, but in a surprise move earlier this month, the city's Election Commission removed the measure from the ballot, saying it was preempted by state law.

Comerica Park, Detroit (
The Coalition for a Safer Detroit is now considering an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. But with election day little more than two months away, there are questions about whether a decision would come quickly enough to get the measure back on the ballot in time.

The Wayne County Circuit Court took and decided the case on an expedited basis. It is not clear whether the appeals court could or would also do so.

The initiative would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana on private property for people 21 or older. It would have done so by simply removing all references to simple marijuana possession by adults from the city code.

The coalition handed in more than 6,000 voter signatures earlier this year, and the initiative was approved by the same Detroit Election Commission that killed it August 9. After it was approved, in accordance with city law, the initiative went before the Detroit City Council, which could have voted to make the initiative law. By failing to vote on the initiative, the Council cleared the way for the voters to make their preferences known in November -- or so everyone thought.

But the Election Commission voted 3-0 to remove the measure from the ballot. The surprise move came after Detroit Corporation Counsel and commission member Krystal Crittenden told the commission that in the opinion of the city's law department, which she oversees, state law forbidding marijuana possession preempted the measure.

Detroit, MI
United States

New Colombian President Joins Call for Drug Legalization Debate

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a Mexico City radio interview Wednesday that he supported Mexican President Felipe Calderon's call for a debate on drug legalization. He also said that he will seek to build a united front with Peru and Mexico on legalization if voters in California approve marijuana legalization in November.

President Santos as candidate, June 2010
meeting with Secretary Clinton
Colombia and Peru are the world's top cocaine producers. Mexico is the leading hemispheric producer of marijuana and opium, as well as being the home to some of the world's wealthiest and deadliest drug trafficking organizations.

"We are entering the era of the drug trafficking business where one must have these types of reflections," Santos said. "President Calderon is right to call for this to be discussed, without meaning that one is in agreement or not with the position of legalization."

Santos eyed California's Proposition 19 marijuana legalization initiative with mixed feelings. "How would we explain to an indigenous person on a Colombian mountain that producing marijuana is illegal and take him to jail or destroy the marijuana when in the US it is legal to consume it?" he asked.

Santos said he was perturbed by the distinction made by some in the US between "soft" drugs like marijuana and "hard" drugs like cocaine or heroin. "Where do we draw the line?" he asked.

"We are all affected by this scourge of drug trafficking," Santos said, referring to Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. "We must sit down and work out how we are going to react and what is going to happen after this referendum," he said. "All strategies that are combined are more effective."

Colombia cannot legalize the drug trade by itself, Santos said. "Unilaterally, we cannot legalize drugs because they are a problem not only for national security, but there are also international implications."

That President Santos should make such remarks is not much of a surprise. In 1998, as head of the Good Government Foundation, he co-signed an open letter to then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calling for a "frank and honest evaluation of global drug control efforts" because "we believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself."

And two years ago, he told a London conference on cocaine that legalization should be part of the debate. He said then that there was no political will to do that. Time will tell if anything has really changed in that regard.


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Backs Mexico's Calderon on Drug Legalization

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos declared his support for Mexican President Felipe Calderon's call for a discussion on drug legalization. "We are entering an era of the narco-trafficking business where one must have these type of reflections," he said. Santos announced that he will seek to form a united stance with Mexico and Peru on the legalization issue if California votes to legalize marijuana at the ballot in November.
Colombia Reports (Colombia)

Drug Czars Past and Present Oppose Prop 19 Marijuana Init

In an absolutely unsurprising turn of events, current head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske and five former drug czars have come out against Proposition 19, California's marijuana legalization initiative. The six bureaucratic drug warriors all signed on to an op-ed, Why California Should Just Say No to Prop 19, published in the Los Angeles Times Wednesday.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske with President Obama
Joining Kerlikowske in the broadside against legalization were former drug czars John Walters, Barry McCaffrey, Lee Brown, Bob Martinez, and William Bennett.

The drug czars claim that Prop 19 supporters will "rely on two main arguments: that legalizing and taxing marijuana would generate much-needed revenue, and that legalization would allow law enforcement to focus on other crimes." Then they attempt to refute those claims.

Noting that marijuana is easy and cheap to cultivate, the drug czars predict that, unlike the case with alcohol and tobacco, many would grow their own and avoid taxes. "Why would people volunteer to pay high taxes on marijuana if it were legalized?" they asked. "The answer is that many would not, and the underground market, adapting to undercut any new taxes, would barely diminish at all."

Ignoring the more than 800,000 people arrested for simple marijuana possession each year, including the 70,000 Californians forced to go to court for marijuana possession misdemeanors (maximum fine $100), the drug czars claim that "law enforcement officers do not currently focus much effort on arresting adults whose only crime is possessing small amounts of marijuana."

They then complain that Prop 19 would impose new burdens on police by making them enforce laws against smoking marijuana where minors are present. Those laws already exist; Prop 19 does not create them.

The drug czars warn that if Prop 19 passes, "marijuana use would increase" and "increased use brings increased social costs." But they don't bother to spell out just what those increased costs would be or why.

The drug czars' screed has picked up a number of instant critiques, including those of Douglas Berman at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog, Jacob Sullum at Reason Online, and Jon Walker at Firedoglake.

We're waiting for a drug czar to come out for pot legalization, not oppose it. Now, that would be real news.

Los Angeles, CA
United States

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