While most of the political attention is on the congressional midterms tomorrow, there are some big marijuana measures on the ballots tomorrow. There is some debate as to which party will be better on cannabis policy over the next couple of years, with two Congressman, Democrat Earl Blumenauer and Republican Dan Rohrabacher (both previous International Cannabis Business Conference speakers), it is undoubtedly great for our fight for freedom if positive cannabis law reform pass tomorrow. Here’s a great breakdown of three key initiative efforts before voters across the nation, courtesy of Rolling Stone:
Michigan could become the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational cannabis use, joining nine other states, if voters pass Proposition 18-1. The ballot initiative would make marijuana legal for adults who are age 21 or older, and allow for flower, concentrates or cannabis-infused edibles. Prop 18-1 would also give consumers permission to cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use, but limit possession to 10 ounces of marijuana products stored in their home and to 2.5 ounces in public, provided no more than 15 grams are in concentrate form. (Using cannabis in public, though, is prohibited under the measure). The state would also impose a 10 percent cannabis sales tax, the revenue from which would go toward infrastructure, clinical research, education and regularly costs, as well as localities where marijuana businesses operate. Prop 18-1 would also give local municipalities the ability to opt out of the program, letting them ban or restrict the commercial cannabis industry in their area. The opt-out scheme, though, only applies to recreational marijuana businesses and doesn’t apply to personal cultivation or possession.
North Dakota is another state where cannabis legalization is on the table for voters. The state’s Measure 3 would remove “hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols” (THC) from its list of Schedule I substances, ultimately making recreational pot use legal for all adults. If passed, the ballot initiative would prohibit anyone over 21 years old from being prosecuted for a nonviolent cannabis-related offense, such as growing, possession or selling, and wouldn’t impose any limits, so there’s no cap on the amount of cannabis a North Dakotan could possess or how many cannabis plants they can cultivate at home. But the legislation is not just about legalization — it also fits into the larger criminal justice reform and expungement movement. Measure 3 would give thousands of North Dakotans a fresh start by triggering the automatic expungement of all nonviolent convictions for “a controlled substance that has been legalized” (in this case, cannabis) and create an appeals process for people who claim the state didn’t expunge their record properly. A potential downside: Measure 3 doesn’t have provisions for regulations or licensing, nor does it create a cannabis-specific tax, which means the state won’t reap the rewards of legalizing weed.
Missouri: Unlike Michigan, North Dakota and Utah, Missouri has three — yes, three — legalization initiatives on its ballot, all of which relate to medical marijuana only. Though competing, the measures are markedly different in scope and intention. The first one, Amendment 2, is the most substantive ballot initiative and aligns most closely with other state medical marijuana programs. Amendment 2 would legalize medical cannabis and impose a 4 percent sales tax, the revenue of which would fund veteran health care services. The second measure, Amendment 3, written by Brad Bradshaw, a local attorney and physician, is less comprehensive — it would legal medical marijuana and imposes a 15 percent sales tax that would fund a research and drug development institute. That clinical facility, though, would be run by Bradshaw, which critics claims it means he stands to gain millions if his measure got the green light from voters. Bradshaw, though, denies this, telling Fox2Now, “People think I`m actually going to make money off of this. But it’s actually written into the constitutional amendment that the person who serves in the spot where I will be temporarily, will be unpaid.” The third and last initiative, Proposition C, penned by lobbyist Travis Brown, would create a whole new law rather than amend the state’s constitution, legalizing medical cannabis and implementing a 2 percent sales tax that would help pay for veteran’s services, drug treatment, education and law enforcement. Though that seems great on paper, Brown has been tightlipped about who’s bankrolling Proposition C, which has caused as stir in the state. As for the kinds of products patients will get under these measures, it’s unclear if there’s any discernible difference.
Missouri voters, please vote YES on New Approach Missouri’s Amendment 2 and NO on Amendment 3 as no medical cannabis law is complete without home cultivation. Utah is also voting on a medical cannabis measure, but legislators and advocates have already struck a deal to pass a legislative bill next session, regardless of how voters cast their ballots tomorrow. There are also some important local measures, to monitor, particularly in California, so please get informed, vote accordingly and spread the word.
Stay up-to-date on the latest political, business, and cultural developments in the cannabis industry by attending the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco this February 7-8, 2019. Be sure to purchase your early-bird tickets by January 18th to secure your spot before the event sells out and to save some hard-earned money. Following San Francisco, the IBC will be heading to Barcelona on March 14th for a special conference with Spannabis and then Berlin from March 31st to April 2nd. Stay tuned for more fantastic locations being announced soon!