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Updated: 17 hours 52 min ago

National Gallup Poll Shows 64% Support for Legalization

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 06:56

The latest Gallup poll showed that nearly two thirds of Americans support making marijuana legal, a record high.

Tom Angela reports for Forbes:

The 64% of Americans who say cannabis should be legal in a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday represents the highest level of support in the organization’s 48 years of polling on the topic.

The new survey also shows that a majority of Republicans — 51% — support legalization for the first time. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and 67% of independents are on board.

Gallup been asking the same question — “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not? — since 1969. That year, only 12% of Americans backed legalization.

MPP’s Morgan Fox released the following statement:

It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing. Americans are tired of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. In the five years since the first states made marijuana legal for adults, it has become increasingly clear that — unlike prohibition — regulation works. Adult-use marijuana laws create jobs, generate tax revenue, and protect consumers while taking the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals.

As public support for ending marijuana prohibition continues to grow, it is crucial that states continue to be given the freedom to serve as laboratories of democracy. We urge the Department of Justice in particular to continue its policy of not interfering in states with well-regulated adult-use and medical marijuana programs while lawmakers catch up to the will of the people.

The post National Gallup Poll Shows 64% Support for Legalization appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Texas House Committee Tasked With Studying Marijuana Laws

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 13:56

Although the Texas legislature does not reconvene until 2019, marijuana policy reform is on its agenda in the interim! Yesterday, Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced “interim changes” that committees will look into between legislative sessions — including by holding hearings and reporting back — and one of them is marijuana policy.

The House Criminal Justice Committee, led by Chairman Joe Moody (D-El Paso), will “study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana” and “examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.”

The subject is familiar to both Chairman Moody and his fellow committee members. Earlier this year, the committee heard testimony on and ultimately passed House Bill 81, Chairman Moody’s proposal to replace criminal penalties with a simple citation/ fine for low-level marijuana possession. The bill died after it did not receive a floor vote.

Please stay tuned for opportunities to be part of this important conversation between legislative sessions, during which time an estimated 120,000 Texans will be arrested for marijuana possession.

If you are a Texas resident, please contact your legislators today in support of more sensible marijuana policies for Texas!

The post Texas House Committee Tasked With Studying Marijuana Laws appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Florida’s Dept. of Health to Delay Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Licensing

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:42

The Florida Senate Health Committee convened this morning and received an update from Christian Bax, Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, on the implementation of regulations in Senate Bill 8A, which was passed by the legislature this summer.

The discussion focused on the application structure for adding additional medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs). Last month, a lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of part of the state law that requires a medical marijuana license to go to a black farmer, and today the Office of Medical Marijuana Use said it will not issue any new licenses until the lawsuit is resolved.

When further questioned by the committee, Director Bax said, “We want to move the process as quickly as possible forward,” but cited concerns of legislative process that might invalidate the Department of Health’s licensing. If you’d like to watch Christian Bax’s testimony, the Florida Senate’s Health Policy meeting can be found on its website.

Amendment 2 established a deadline of October 3, 2017 for the Department of Health to issue additional MMTC licenses. If you are a Florida resident, please contact the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, and ask Director Bax to end the delay in medical marijuana licensing so that patients can have more access to treatment.

The post Florida’s Dept. of Health to Delay Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Licensing appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Initiative

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 11:28

Yet another poll has showed that a strong majority of Utah voters support the medical cannabis ballot initiative.

Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utahns continue to show broad support for a proposed 2018 ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state, according to a new poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The new survey finds 75 percent of Utah voters either strongly or somewhat support the proposed initiative, all but mirroring a July poll that had 77 percent of voters backing legalized medical marijuana.

And it appears support for medical marijuana is growing in Utah: A Tribune-Hinckley Institute poll commissioned in January found 54 percent of voters somewhat or strongly backed legalization.

“Things are trending in the right direction,” said DJ Schanz, executive director of the Utah Patients Coalition, the group organizing the ballot initiative.

“It’s a positive change in our state and across the country. We’re seeing such a positive [stance toward medical marijuana],” said Christine Stenquist, president of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), which is working to educate Utah voters on medical marijuana.

 

The post Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Initiative appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Maine Legislature Approves Marijuana Implementation Bill

Tue, 10/24/2017 - 07:31

Maine lawmakers approved a bill late Monday that would establish regulations for the legal marijuana market, with the House voting 81-50 and the Senate voting 22-9 before both chambers passed the measure in an “under the hammer” or unanimous vote. This omnibus bill, LD 1650, was the culmination of nearly seven months of work by the Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee. The bill creates the rules for licensing and regulating marijuana producers, processors, and retail establishments; sets the tax rates for adult-use marijuana; and will delay marijuana consumption social clubs until the summer of 2019.

“We commend the legislature for supporting the will of the people by passing this bill to implement a regulated marijuana market without further delay,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This bill was created transparently and inclusively, and while it may not be perfect, it essentially does what Maine voters wanted when they approved Question 1 last year. It is time to start working toward that goal of getting the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals and under the control of the state and legitimate businesses.”

Last week, Gov. Paul LePage and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) announced legislation that would further delay legal marijuana sales and cultivation until 2019 — three years after voters approved Question 1, which made marijuana legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol. This moratorium bill was defeated in the legislature on Monday. Gov. LePage has also threatened to veto the implementation bill, but MPP will continue working to ensure that the voter initiative is rolled out in a timely manner.

The post Maine Legislature Approves Marijuana Implementation Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Controversial New Hampshire Marijuana Study Commission Holds First Meeting

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:28

On Tuesday, the inaugural meeting of the New Hampshire marijuana legalization study commission took place in Concord. The commission, which was created by the passage of HB 215, is tasked with studying the potential impacts of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults’ use.

MPP’s Matt Simon released the following statement:

This commission has a fantastic opportunity to learn what is really happening in states that have pioneered sensible marijuana regulations. Sadly, the commission includes staunch opponents of reform such as the Association of Chiefs of Police and New Futures, but supportive organizations such as the ACLU-NH were excluded in the language of the final bill. Additionally, none of the six legislators who were appointed to the commission has ever publicly expressed support for ending marijuana prohibition.

Regardless of what this commission decides to recommend, most Granite Staters clearly recognize that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they’re ready for the state to start treating it that way.

The post Controversial New Hampshire Marijuana Study Commission Holds First Meeting appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Kentucky Republican Senate Leader Proposes Regulating Marijuana

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:08

The lack of progress on marijuana policy reform in Kentucky has been frustrating, but it appears that the tide may finally be turning. Last week, Senator Dan Malano Seum (R-Fairdale) gave Kentuckians something to get excited about when he announced that he would sponsor a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana.

Advocates couldn’t ask for a more influential champion than Senator Seum. He has been in the state Senate for more than 20 years, and he currently serves as caucus chairman for the Senate Republicans, who hold a 27-11 majority in Frankfort. However, he won’t be able to pass this bill unless he receives a great deal of support from his colleagues.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please email your representative and senator today, and urge them to support Senator Seum’s proposal!

We expect that this bill will be introduced in early 2018, but the important work of building statewide support for reform must begin now.

The post Kentucky Republican Senate Leader Proposes Regulating Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

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What Are the N.J. Gubernatorial Candidates’ Views on Marijuana Policy?

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 08:50

New Jersey will elect its next governor on November 7, 2017. Our friends at Marijuana Moment put together this useful guide on where the major party candidates for governor, Phil Murphy (D) and Kim Guadagno (R), stand on marijuana policy reform issues — please check it out!

In brief, Mr. Murphy supports legalizing marijuana, and Ms. Guadagno opposes legalization but supports decriminalization. Additionally, this article outlines the views of the five declared candidates from other parties if you’d like more information.

In order to vote, you must register by Tuesday, October 17. Even if you have a criminal record, you can vote as long as you are not currently incarcerated, on parole, or on probation, but you must re-register after you have served your sentence.

Can’t make it to the polls between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 7? Any New Jersey voter can vote by mail; click here for more information. If you are a New Jersey resident, please make your voice heard, and register to vote in the Garden State today!

The post What Are the N.J. Gubernatorial Candidates’ Views on Marijuana Policy? appeared first on MPP Blog.

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South Dakota Enters Final Month for Signature Collection

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 08:34

In the final weeks of signature collection, New Approach South Dakota is pushing forward to reach their goal. Two petitions are being circulated — one petition seeks to legalize marijuana for medical uses and the other to legalize certain amounts of marijuana for adult use and to regulate and tax marijuana establishments.

These ballot measures are of critical importance since the South Dakota Legislature has only taken a symbolic step toward patient access. A bill passed during the last session would hypothetically allow patients access to CBD oil, but the law includes a requirement that any recommended CBD oil be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which would indefinitely curtail access to the oil in South Dakota.

Furthermore, South Dakota’s marijuana possession laws may be the nation’s harshest. Specifically, individuals who have consumed marijuana elsewhere are subject to penalty if they test positive for past use — even if they consumed marijuana in a state where it was legal!

November 6 is the date to submit signed petitions, so if you haven’t added your signature, there is still a bit of time left! Check out New Approach South Dakota’s Facebook page for most up-to-date information on signing locations and events!

The post South Dakota Enters Final Month for Signature Collection appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Voters Defeat Business Bans in Alaska

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 07:10

Three measures aimed at banning cannabis businesses were soundly defeated in Tuesday’s Alaska elections. Voters in the city of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough each rejected measures aimed at banning cannabis businesses.

This is fantastic news! Huge congratulations go out to all those who voted, and the many supporters and advocates who worked hard in opposition. Your great work paid off!

All indications are that the measures were defeated by wide margins. The KPB’s unofficial result was 64% in opposition, with the city of Fairbanks estimated at 69% and FNSB’s estimate at a whopping 70%.

If the prohibitionists had succeeded, businesses would have been shuttered, taking jobs and livelihoods with them, and adult consumers would have been cut off from legal, regulated access. But just as they have in other legalization states like Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, voters continue to support the better approach.

The post Voters Defeat Business Bans in Alaska appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Washington to Consider Allowing Home Cultivation

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:09

Regulators overseeing the Washington state adult-use cannabis industry are considering a change in the law that would allow adults to cultivate cannabis at home. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) conducted a hearing yesterday and is accepting written testimony through Wednesday, October 11.

We strongly encourage Washington residents who support home cultivation to submit comments. Comments can be submitted to rules@lcb.wa.gov.

All seven of the other adult-use states allow at least some adults to grow their own cannabis at home, and every state allows adults to brew their own beer.

The law directs the board to study home cultivation in light of federal policy and consider options. One option would be for the state to oversee home cultivation activities directly. Another option would provide more local control. A third option would simply leave the law as is and continue to prohibit non-medical home cultivation.

The post Washington to Consider Allowing Home Cultivation appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Atlanta City Council Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:01

In Georgia this week, he Atlanta City Council took a historic step when it voted unanimously to stop jailing people for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana! Following the vote, Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted that he will sign the ordinance into law.

Once the measure is in effect, a person caught with one ounce or less of marijuana in the city would face a maximum fine of just $75 and no jail time under city law. Unfortunately, state law would not change, so it is possible that local law enforcement could still arrest under the harsher state penalties. This is also the case on college and university campuses, which may or may not change policy.

In other words, advocates should remain vigilant to ensure the spirit of the law is respected.

For the measure’s sponsor, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, the change is about fairness in Atlanta’s criminal justice system. Shockingly, 92 percent of those arrested for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in the city of Atlanta are African-American, even though they make up just over half the resident population in the city. This change to the law is a welcome one.

You can read the text of the measure adopted by the city council here.

If you are a Georgia resident, please let your state lawmakers know that you want them to follow Atlanta’s lead and stop arresting marijuana consumers.

The post Atlanta City Council Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

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D.C. Bill Would Dramatically Expand Access to Dispensaries

Wed, 10/04/2017 - 08:37

In the District of Columbia, Councilmember David Grosso (I, at large) has introduced a bill, B22-0446, that would allow anyone 21 and over to access a dispensary if they provide a signed affidavit that they are using marijuana for medical purposes and are aware of state and federal marijuana laws. It is being co-sponsored by Robert White (D, at large), Brianne Nadeau (D, Ward 1), and Vincent Gray (D, Ward 7).

This bill would allow many more people to access the regulated dispensary system who are currently forced to shop in the grey market if they are unable to cultivate their own cannabis. It will increase public safety, because disputes in illicit markets are often solved with violence, and protect public health, because consumers will know what they are purchasing. The bill would also give patients a safe, lawful place to consume cannabis outside their home.

Additionally, this bill allows D.C. to move forward in expanding access to cannabis in an environment where Congress is blocking it from setting up adult-use retail stores. It gives people who cannot afford to see a doctor access to this medication and could also facilitate access for people who may be struggling with opioid addiction, for whom studies suggest marijuana can be an “exit drug.”

If you are a D.C. resident, please ask your councilmembers to support this bill.

The post D.C. Bill Would Dramatically Expand Access to Dispensaries appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Maryland Expungement Bill Becomes Law

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 07:43

On Sunday, SB 949, which makes it easier for people who have been convicted of marijuana possession to clear their records in Maryland, went into effect. The bill became law in May without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature.

Prior to the bill’s passage, anyone convicted of cannabis possession was required to wait 10 years before applying for expungement, despite Maryland decriminalizing possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana in 2014. Now, the waiting period has been reduced from 10 years after conviction to four years.

While this reform is a step in the right direction, it is far short of the improvements Marylanders need. If you are a Maryland resident, please write to your state legislators, and ask them to support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

The post Maryland Expungement Bill Becomes Law appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Marijuana Arrests Increasing Nationally Despite State Reforms

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 09:16

On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released their annual Crime in the United States (CIUS) report, and the stats are concerning.

Tom Angell reported for Forbes:

Marijuana possession busts comprised 37.36% of all reported drug arrests in the U.S. in 2016, and cannabis sales and manufacturing arrests accounted for another 4.18% of the total.

Added together, marijuana arrests made up 41.54% of the 1,572,579 drug busts in the country last year.

That means, based on an extrapolation, that police arrested people for cannabis 653,249 times in the U.S. in 2016.

That averages out to about one marijuana arrest every 48 seconds.

According to the same calculation, there were 643,121 U.S. cannabis arrests in 2015.

So arrests for marijuana are on the rise, even as more states legalize it.

These figures are only estimates based on the available information provided by law enforcement agencies, but represent the best current method for determining arrest rates. In addition, the FBI has ceased publishing the information about the drug arrest percentages by type of drug, making analysis even more difficult.

MPP’s Morgan Fox released the following statement:

Arresting and citing more than 650,000 people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty. Despite a steady shift in public opinion away from marijuana prohibition, and the growing number of states that are regulating marijuana like alcohol, marijuana consumers continue to be treated like criminals throughout the country. This is a shameful waste of resources and can create lifelong consequences for the people arrested. Regulating marijuana for adults creates jobs, generates tax revenue, protects consumers, and takes money away from criminals. It is time for the federal government and the rest of the states to stop ruining peoples’ lives and enact sensible marijuana policies.

The post Marijuana Arrests Increasing Nationally Despite State Reforms appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Minnesota Hearing on Adding Qualifying Conditions to Take Place This Week

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 08:09

The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program will be holding its second New Condition Review Panel Meeting on Tuesday, September 26. The panel will be reviewing five of the 10 petitioned conditions: liver disease, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, endocannabinoid deficiency, and dementia.

It’s important to expand Minnesota’s qualifying conditions so that more patients have access to medical marijuana. This meeting is open to the public. If you cannot make the meeting, written comments can be sent to: Health.Cannabis.AddMedicalCondition@state.mn.us

Here are the meeting details:

When: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: State Office Building
100 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Room 200
St. Paul, MN 55155

In legalization news, we are glad to find out that most of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates for governor support taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. The Star Tribune reports that “St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, state Reps. Erin Murphy, Tina Liebling and Paul Thissen, and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz all support legalizing marijuana for recreational and not just medical use. Among the major DFL candidates, only State Auditor Rebecca Otto declined to do so.” Unfortunately, none of the Republican candidates support making marijuana legal.

Please talk to your local officials and explain that regulating marijuana is working in states like Colorado and can work in Minnesota too. With your help, we can continue to bring sensible marijuana policy reform to Minnesota.

The post Minnesota Hearing on Adding Qualifying Conditions to Take Place This Week appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:02

The 2018 medical cannabis campaign in Utah is fully underway. Right now, the Utah Patients Coalition is collecting signatures from across the state in order to qualify for next year’s ballot.

A new poll was released showing that 74 percent of Utahns support medical cannabis. Other recent polls have showed similar levels of support.

With legislative inaction, a group now puts forward a citizen petition which would set up a medical marijuana (non-smoking) system in Utah, where a limited number of registered growers would provide types of marijuana to be prescribed by a limited number of doctors for specific diseases and/or chronic pain.

Here are some of the interesting numbers found by Jones in his latest survey:

— Utah Republicans favor passage of the citizen initiative on MM, 61-35 percent.

— Democrats really like the idea, 93-7 percent.

— Political independents, who don’t belong to any political party, favor MM, 87-13 percent.

— Even those who self-described themselves as politically “very conservative” favor medical marijuana legalization, 51-42 percent.

— The “somewhat conservatives,” favor it, 71-25; the “moderates” like the petition, 84-14 percent; “somewhat liberals,” 92-8 percent; and the “very liberals,” 97-2 percent.

Those who said they are “somewhat active” in the LDS Church like MM, 80-15 percent; former Mormons who have left the faith like it, 87-5 percent; Catholics favor MM, 80-20 percent; Protestants (which includes born-again Christians), 61-26 percent; and those with no religion like it, 96-4 percent.

The post Another Utah Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Florida Accepting Medical Marijuana Business Applications

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 09:32

The Florida Department of Health has proposed regulations to establish the procedure to apply for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses and to outline the evaluation process for applicants. The application is posted on the Office of Compassionate Use website, and applicants may begin completing applications for submission.

In order to become a licensed MMTC, each applicant is required to submit financial statements and to pass a background check. The law regulating Amendment 2 provides for 10 new licenses to be granted to growers in the state in addition to the seven that already exist and would require another four licenses to be issued for every 100,000 patients added to the state’s medical marijuana registry.

The post Florida Accepting Medical Marijuana Business Applications appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Delaware Adds PTSD to Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 09:20

On Monday, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed the Bravery Bill into law, which allows PTSD patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from any properly licensed physician. Previously, patients suffering from PTSD could only get a medical marijuana recommendation from a licensed psychiatrist.

While this is a step in the right direction, there are many other patients in Delaware who do not have access to medical marijuana. Whether they have a condition that the state hasn’t approved or they simply cannot afford the cost of a recommendation, many would benefit from expanded access. The best way to expand access for suffering patients is by taxing and regulating marijuana for all adults.

As you may know, the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force had its first meeting this month. They are discussing how Delaware could make marijuana legal. The next meeting will cover consumer safety and local authority and control. Here are details:

When: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4
Where: House Chamber, 411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, DE 19901

The post Delaware Adds PTSD to Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Hampshire Decriminalization Law Takes Effect

Sat, 09/16/2017 - 08:10

New Hampshire will finally take a critical step toward living up to its motto today as HB 640 takes effect, and the “Live Free or Die” state becomes the 22nd state — and the final New England state — to decriminalize marijuana possession. You can read a summary of the new law here.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please call Gov. Sununu’s office today to thank him for signing the decriminalization bill and to encourage him to support ending marijuana prohibition.

MPP has been working with our allies in Concord since 2008 to achieve this victory. We greatly appreciate all of the support you have provided over the years!

Unfortunately, we know that our work in New Hampshire is far from complete. A commission has been formed to study marijuana legalization, and most of the commission’s members are skeptical if not downright hostile to our position.

The post New Hampshire Decriminalization Law Takes Effect appeared first on MPP Blog.

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