The number of marijuana-related
voter initiatives headed for the ballot in November continues to increase
as Oakland made it official this week and statewide initiative organizers
in Arkansas and Oregon marked signature hand-ins that should ensure voters
in those states have the chance to vote on medical marijuana this fall.
Two weeks ago, DRCNet reported on initiatives making the ballot in Ann
Arbor, MI, Berkeley, CA, and a signature hand-in in Montana that should
mean Big Sky voters will be grappling with medical marijuana, too (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/343/onthemove.shtml).
More medical marijuana initiative
votes are already set for Detroit (in August) and Columbia, Missouri.
The Missouri college town will also host a "lowest priority" initiative.
In Alaska, an initiative to regulate and legalize marijuana possession
by adults is on the ballot, and in Nevada, organizers of that state's high-rolling
regulation initiative are on tenterhooks waiting to see if they have enough
In Oakland, the Alameda County
Registrar of Voters certified on June 28 the 20,000 valid signatures needed
for the Oakland Cannabis Initiative (http://www.taxandregulate.org)
to go on the November 2 ballot. The Oakland initiative is a two-parter:
One section would direct the city to support changes in public policy that
move toward a regulated marijuana market while the second section would
direct the city to make the enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest law
According to campaign organizer
the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance, the initiative would:
In Arkansas four days later,
proponents of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act turned in some 67,000
signatures to qualify that voter initiative for the November ballot.
But with the number of required valid signatures set at 64,456, the margin
for error is razor-thin. Still, according to Arkansas law, if some
signatures are invalidated, the petitioning group is allowed to submit
more signatures to clear the hurdle. Chloe Crater, a spokesperson
for the Arkansas Alliance for Medical Marijuana (http://www.arkansasalliance.org),
told the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that the group would continue canvassing
signatures for the next few weeks just in case.
Establish a system to license,
tax and regulate cannabis for adult use as soon as possible consistent
with California law, with regulations to prevent access by minors, require
good business practices and health and safety standards, prohibit sales
near schools, limit public advertising, and license on-site consumption.
Make investigation, arrest,
prosecution and imprisonment for private, adult cannabis offenses lowest
law enforcement priority, while continuing to enforce violations involving
distribution to children, street sales and use, operation of motor vehicles,
Create a community oversight
committee to monitor implementation of the ordinance and to oversee disbursement
of funds raised through cannabis fees and taxes to ensure that they are
being spent properly.
Lobby the state and federal
government for changes in law to allow Oakland and other communities to
tax and license cannabis.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana
Act would allow patients with cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, and other serious
diseases to use marijuana upon a doctor's recommendation. The act would
create a registry system where patients are their caregivers are issued
cards allowing them to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana for
According to the language
of the act, patients and designated caregivers "shall not be subject to
arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege...
for possessing, acquiring, cultivating, or transporting up to one ounce
of usable marijuana and six marijuana plants."
In Arkansas, an organized
opposition has begun to form, according to the Democrat Gazette.
Larry Page, the executive director of the Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council
(http://www.afec.org), which offers "Biblical
perspectives" on issues such as abortion, alcohol, gambling, homosexuality,
and pornography, attacked the initiative for being funded by Marijuana
Policy Project bankroller Peter Lewis, whom the Arkansas Alliance readily
admits kicked in $366,000 for the effort.
Page announced this week
that he was forming a ballot committee, the Coalition Against Legalized
Marijuana, to oppose the initiative. Forming such a committee and
filing papers with the state Ethics Commission allows Page to raise and
spend money to defeat the measure.
The sailing appears a little
smoother in Oregon, where organizers of OMMA2, the Oregon Medical Marijuana
Act II (http://www.voterpower.org) piled on with signatures. The
measure needs 75,360 valid signatures to make the November ballot.
Organizers submitted more than 95,000 signatures in May, but went back
to the hustings after some were deemed invalid. Just to be safe,
they handed in another 28,000 signatures on July 2, virtually ensuring
that Oregon voters will have a chance to expand and deepen the medical
marijuana initiative they approved in 1999.
Oregon currently has about
9,000 medical marijuana patients registered under the state's existing
program, but OMMA2 would not only lower fees and loosen restrictions in
various ways, it would also direct the Oregon Department of Health to set
up a system of regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. Among its
other features, it would:
And so the November election
picture for drug policy initiatives begins to come clear. Medical
marijuana and "lowest priority" initiatives continue to be popular, but
the Alaska and, one hopes, the Nevada "regulation" initiatives have the
potential to really break new ground. As for any other drug policy
initiatives, there are no signs of life this year.
-- END --
Lower the annual $150 application
fee to $20.
Include nurse practitioners
and naturopaths in the definition of "attending physician." (In Oregon,
both are currently allowed to prescribe the same drugs as MDs, including
Increase the amount of cannabis
patients can grow and keep, to 10 plants and as much as six pounds, eliminating
the distinction between mature and immature plants. Seedlings and
cuttings would no longer be counted as plants.
Allow physicians to recommend
cannabis for any illness or condition they think appropriate.
Allow caregivers to charge for
their labor and to grow for more than one patient at one location.
Require Oregon to honor other
states' medical marijuana laws and not prosecute out-of-state patients.
Prohibit employers from firing
employees merely for being registered medical marijuana patients.
Issue #345, 7/9/04
Editorial: Time for Congress to Get Real |
In the Wake of Blakely: Federal Sentencing Chaos as Defense Attorneys, Prosecutors, Lawmakers Ponder How to Respond |
House Votes Down Medical Marijuana Bill -- Election Year Politics, Organized Opposition Cited |
International AIDS Conference Puts Focus on Thai War on Drugs |
Making it Official: More Initiatives Move Toward November Ballot |
ALERT: "Thank or Spank" Your Congressman for This Week's Medical Marijuana Vote |
Newsbrief: Rep. Ron Paul Brings Pain Doctor Prosecution Issue to House |
Newsbrief: US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects DEA Motion for New Hemp Hearing |
Newsbrief: Kansas Supreme Court Says Cut Methamphetamine Sentences |
Newsbrief: Tommy Chong Walks Out of Prison |
Newsbrief: Iranians Protest US, UK Blind Eye to Afghan Opium Crop |
Newsbrief: United Arab Emirates Ponders First Step Toward Harm Reduction |
Newsbrief: Head of National Drug Intelligence Center Fired |
Newsbrief: Prohibition as a Marketing Tool -- Camel Ad Campaign Touts "Forbidden Fruit" Appeal |
Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story |
Newsbrief: California Prisons "Dysfunctional," State Report Concludes |
Movie Opening: Maria Full of Grace |
Media Scan: New CSDP Ad -- Richard Paey and Rush Limbaugh |
This Week in History |
Psilocybin Cancer Research Study Still Seeking Participants |
The Reformer's Calendar
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