A Mandate For Marijuana Reform

Bruce Mirken at MPP points out that marijuana reform initiatives in Massachusetts and Michigan pulled higher percentages than Obama. The numbers really are incredible:

Consider this: As I write this, with 67% of precincts reporting, marijuana decriminalization is passing in Massachusetts with 65% of the vote. Obama, who is carrying the state handily, is getting 62%.

In Michigan it’s similar. With 40% of the vote in, medical marijuana is passing with 63% while Obama is carrying the state with 55%.

These victories were expected, but the margins are just staggering. This is testament to the apparent impotence of the typical scare tactics brought to bare by our opposition. On many levels, this election left "tough on crime" politics in the dust, as a host of new issues, ideas and concerns took their place. But the significance of that would be much harder to articulate without scoring towering victories for marijuana reform. The results in Massachusetts and Michigan are the exclamation point on an electoral season that ought to entirely reshape the way crime politics are perceived by public officials.

As I’ve argued at length, the future of reform relies heavily on our ability to depict a popular mandate for changes in our drug policy. Indeed, it seems we are increasingly able to meet that challenge. A new administration brings new obstacles and new opportunities, but enter into the next stage with considerable momentum.
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marijuana legalization


The voters are sending a message to Washington. Expect Congress to pass legislation to legalize "medical" marijuana as well as marijuana for personal use at the Federal level in 2009 . Surely Obama will sign it into law. States will show their rascists stripes and the show will be on. Criminalizing a plant is beyond cave man behavior.

Mandate for marijuana reform?

Turning marijuana possession into $100 fine in one of the most liberal states in the country is a great accomplishment for the citizens of Massachusetts, but I wouldn't call it a mandate for reform on the national stage. Besides a dozen states have already decriminalized marijuana down to a fine or no penalty, so why is this initiative so significant? The way Sarah Palin came out against marijuana legalization I wonder if many people even are aware of these laws.

!Mandate for Marijuana Reform!!

It is so significant because it's the first state IN DECADES to decriminalize pot. the other states decrim'd back in the 70's when pot was all but legal.

Every pot smoker in the country needs to donate to at least one legalization organization, and be vocal in writing their representatives. The numbers by which the Michigan and Massechusets initiatives past; over 65%, is huge and an indicator that the majority of Americans, whether they smoke it or not, support the idea of responsible adults being permitted to use marijuana. If we were as vocal and financially active as the NRA or the AARP we'd have this legalized within a year!

Irrelevant in my opinion to the larger goal

"The numbers by which the Michigan and Massechusets initiatives past; over 65%, is huge and an indicator that the majority of Americans, whether they smoke it or not, support the idea of responsible adults being permitted to use marijuana."

First of all Michigan only passed medical marijuana possession. Massachusetts is one of the most liberal states in the country, hardly representative of the rest of America, so it's not surprising it passed by a large margin.

Also, the fact that marijuana legalization groups after nearly 40 years are not even half as vocal and financially active as the NRA or AARP, and have only passed one marijuana decrim initiative since Jimmy Carter was President, is quite telling.

Furthermore, considering that a dozen states have already decriminalized marijuana, the Massachusetts initiative seems irrelevant to the ultimate goal of legally regulating the marijuana market. The reason is that if you are going to pass initiatives that will legally regulate the market, the primary campaign message will need to emphasize protecting the communities from the unregulated market, not issues that concern consumers.


It's a great day for consumers in Massachusetts.

The movement is NOT irrelevant

Who the hell do you think organized the state activists responsible for decrim?
I have been involved with NORML and DCRNet for years and the level of information and organization is much higher than in the 70's and 80's.Medical marijuana may be irrelevant to you but I doubt seriously ill patients feel the same way.

isnt that something

just discussing medical marijuana to a canidate for sherriff in south georiga .brought me two helicopters full of gun toting police to my house today where there spent nearly a hour flying over my property .hanging out looking through binoculars.over ever inch of my land this was second time in two days.how much money was wasted on that.help us president obama before they start shooting


Whether it's a "mandate for marijuana reform" remains to be seen. I think we're going to see some movement on the med pot thing, with more and more states endorsing it in some form or another and maybe some federal legislation. Or (I'm not sure about the law, here) the DEA could reschedule it as Schedule 2, treating it the same as cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine. If we see this rescheduling, then a lot of the rationale for these state initiatives will go any.

In any case, the med pot thing affects a tiny fraction of all those who might use marijuana.

As for the Massachusetts decrim, that is welcome, but I'm not sure how much practical impact it will have. The previous law had no jail time for the first offense of possession of any amount of marijuana, probation only, and for the second and subsequent offense a maximum sentence of six months. Probation is permitted, and that means if you show up in court and plead guilty, you'll almost certainly get probation if you're caught with a less-than-an-ounce baggie that is now subject to a small fine.

I don't know how they do things in Massachusetts, but in many jurisdictions the cops aren't likely to take you in if they catch you smoking a joint in your car in a parking lot. They might pretend not to see you; they might simply tell you to move along and just be a little more discreet; at worst they might take your stuff away. They don't want to drive you downtown and fill out all kinds of paperwork, fingerprint, photograph you, all that stuff, eventually have to show up in court, for something as piddling as that.

With the new law, they might take your stuff away and write you out a ticket. It doesn't take up any more of their time. Just speculating; I might or might not be right.

I think we are changing direction in attitudes about drug policy. The old arguments about getting tough are not having the resonance they used to. Let's hope we keep moving in this new direction.


Screw "schedules"...

and the DEAth. 870,000+ people were arrested. Regulation is what's needed. Not control. We already have the FDA.But a step is a step.


I have been a loyal activist for marijuana reform for decades, but several months ago I wrote to Mirken suggesting that a special commission be called by the new president.Mr Mirkens response shocked me...he answered with a raving,pompous insulting response and called me a "nut case".
I notice in the mean time that NORML has also called for a special commission.
How's that crow taste Mirken?Who's the nut case now?
Mr Mirken should appreciate the work and ideas the common man contributes to the reform movement and get off his pompous high horse.

marajuana reform - finally is coming

As an expatriot, living in Central America, the problem starts with the US demand, and this is bringing down all the democracies....We are practically, with Panama, the last one to go.

A big policy change is coming....Whether the US is on board or not... Hugo and Daniel and Evo are going to do it without US permission. What can wake up the politicians to see the war on drugs has become a referendum on democracy.

It is time to take action.....How can we help?

Stephen [email protected]

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