Connect with us

Politics

Voters In Seven States Will See These Marijuana Questions On Election Day

Published

on

When voters head to the polls in November, they won’t just be deciding on U.S. senators, members of Congress, governors and other elected officials. They’ll also be voting on a number of far-reaching marijuana ballot initiatives.

Some concern full marijuana legalization and others would allow medical cannabis, while one is about the definition of hemp. Some are statewide measures and others are local in nature. Some are constitutional amendments, while others are statutory changes. And some are binding as compared to others that are advisory measures which simple give voters a chance to express their opinions to elected officials.

All told, there are 36 separate major cannabis reform measures on the ballot next month, across seven states (in addition to a larger number of local marijuana tax and licensing proposals).

While the campaigns for and against each measure will work to distribute variety of messages in advance of Election Day through mediums like TV ads, robocalls, email blasts and social media, a significant number of voters won’t make up their minds until they have their ballots in hand.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the actual cannabis questions that voters will see when they have a chance to make up their minds on November 6.

STATEWIDE MEASURES

COLORADO

Amendment X – Hemp Definition

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning changing the industrial hemp definition from a constitutional definition to a statutory definition?

○ YES/FOR

○ NO/AGAINST

MICHIGAN

Proposal 1 – Marijuana Legalization

A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers

This proposal would:

· Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

· Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.

· Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.

· Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

· Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

Should this proposal be adopted?

[ ] YES

[ ] NO

NORTH DAKOTA

Measure 3 – Marijuana Legalization

This initiated measure would amend the North Dakota Century Code by removing hashish, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinols from the list of schedule I controlled substances in section 19-03.1-05. It would create chapter 66-01, which would define the terms marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia and prohibit prosecution of any person over the age of 21 for any non-violent marijuana related activity (including growing, manufacturing, distributing, selling, or testing marijuana) or drug paraphernalia relating to any nonviolent marijuana activity, except for the sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21. Any language in the North Dakota Century Code that conflicts with chapter 66-01, including the prohibitions on prosecution, is nullified and repealed. The measure also would add penalties for individuals under the age of twenty-one in possession of, or attempting to distribute, marijuana; and provide penalties for individuals who distribute marijuana to anyone under the age of twenty-one. It would amend the definition of drug paraphernalia in section 19-03.4-01 to apply only to non-marijuana controlled substances. It would amend section 25-03.1-45 to require the automatic expungement of the record of an individual who has a drug conviction for a controlled substance that has been legalized; create an appeals process for an individual who believes the state did not expunge a record properly; and eliminate the state’s sovereign immunity for damages resulting from expungement lawsuits.

○ YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

○ NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.

MISSOURI

Amendment 2 – Medical Cannabis

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
  • impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and
  • use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million.

○ YES

○ NO

Amendment 3 – Medical Cannabis

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
  • impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves per dry-weight ounce to licensed facilities; and
  • use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $66 million. State governmental entities estimate initial implementation costs of $186,000 and increased annual operating costs of $500,000.

○ YES

○ NO

Proposition C – Medical Cannabis

Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

  • remove state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical cannabis (marijuana) with a written certification by a physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition;
  • remove state prohibitions on growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities, and a facility’s licensed owners and employees;
  • impose a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana; and
  • use funds from this tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility?

State government entities estimate initial and one-time costs of $2.6 million, annual costs of $10 million, and annual revenues of at least $10 million. Local government entities estimate no annual costs and are expected to have at least $152,000 in annual revenues.

○ YES

○ NO

UTAH

Proposition 2 – Medical Cannabis

Shall a law be enacted to:

• establish a state-controlled process that allows persons with certain illnesses to acquire and use medical cannabis and, in certain limited circumstances, to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal medical use;

• authorize the establishment of facilities that grow, process, test, or sell medical cannabis and require those facilities to be licensed by the state; and

• establish state controls on those licensed facilities, including:

o electronic systems that track cannabis inventory and purchases; and

o requirements and limitations on the packaging and advertising of cannabis and on the types of products allowed?

☐ FOR

☐ AGAINST

LOCAL MEASURES

OHIO – Marijuana Decriminalization

Dayton:

Shall the Dayton Revised Code of General Ordinances be amended to decriminalize specific misdemeanor marijuana and hashish offenses?

○ YES

○ NO

Fremont:

Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Garrettsville:

Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Norwood:

Shall the proposed ordinance adding Section 513.15 Marijuana Laws and Penalties to the City of Norwood Municipal Code, which would lower the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law, be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Oregon:

Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

Windham:

Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?

○ YES

○ NO

WISCONSIN – Marijuana Advisory Questions

Brown County:

Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

Clark County:

Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and regulate its use in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

Dane County:

Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

○ YES

○ NO

Eau Claire County:

Should cannabis:

__ (a) Be legal for adult, 21years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?

__ (b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?

__ (c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

Forest County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Kenosha County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

La Crosse County:

Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Langlade County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Lincoln County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Marathon County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Marquette County:

Shall the County of Marquette, Wisconsin, adopt the following resolution? Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin, support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum requesting Wisconsin to join with thirty-two (32) other states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.

○ YES

○ NO

Milwaukee County:

Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

○ YES

○ NO

Portage County:

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

Racine County:

Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use?

○ YES

○ NO

Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

○ YES

○ NO

Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Rock County

Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

○ YES

○ NO

Sauk County:

Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?

○ YES

○ NO

City of Racine:

Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

Should cannabis be decriminalized in the State of Wisconsin?

○ YES

○ NO

City of Waukesha: Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

○ YES

○ NO

OTHER MEASURES

Voters in a number of counties and municipalities in states with some form of legalization will have a chance to decide on local measures setting marijuana tax rates or to allow or ban commercial cannabis activity. There are far too many of these measures to compile here, so you should use your state or county elections website to take a look at your sample ballot before you head to the polls.

This piece was first published by Forbes.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Politics

Banks Accepted Significantly More Marijuana Businesses In 2019, Federal Data Shows

Published

on

Banks and credit unions have been accepting significantly more marijuana businesses in 2019, according to new federal data.

At the end of the last quarter of 2018, there were 438 banks and 113 credit unions actively servicing cannabis businesses. By March 2019, those numbers grew to 493 and 140, respectively.

That data comes from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which tracks financial services for the marijuana industry by analyzing suspicious activity reports, or SARs, that institutions file in accordance with cannabis banking guidance issued by the Obama administration in 2014.

Via FinCEN.

While banks run the risk of being penalized by financial regulators by accepting cannabis business accounts because their products are still federally controlled substances, an increasing number of them are willing to take that chance. The latest update of quarterly numbers, posted late last month, comes as bipartisan legislation that would protect banks that service state-legal markets advances toward the House floor for a vote.

“As of 31 March 2019, FinCEN has received a total of 81,725 SARs using the key phrases associated with [marijuana related businesses],” the federal agency wrote.

FinCEN also breaks down the types of SARs the banks and credit unions reported for marijuana businesses.

The vast majority (61,036) were considered “marijuana limited,” a term that refers to cannabis businesses that appear to be operating in compliance with state law and meet the agency’s standard for being serviceable under existing federal guidelines.

Via FinCEN.

About 6,000 were defined as “marijuana priority,” which means they “may raise one or more of the red flags” under federal guidelines or they “may not be fully compliant with the appropriate state’s regulations” and are thus under investigation while the banks continue to service the businesses.

Finally, about 20,000 were marked as “marijuana termination.” That means has the cannabis business has violated at least one federal enforcement priority or state regulation and so “the financial institution has decided to terminate its relationship with” the business.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would do a lot to resolve uncertainty in the banking sector as it concerns marijuana. The bill cleared the House Financial Services Committee in March and is expected to get a full House floor vote next month.

Advocates argue that providing for the lawful banking of cannabis businesses would increase financial transparency, mitigate public safety risks associated with operating on a largely cash basis and simplify the tax process.

The legislation enjoys broad support outside of Congress as well. Twenty U.S. governors recently signed a letter encouraging its passage, as did banking associations representing all 50 states, a coalition of state attorneys general and another comprised of state treasurers.

Meanwhile, an annual spending bill that covers the Treasury Department and includes temporary language protecting banks from being punished for working with cannabis businesses is on the House floor this week.

20 Bipartisan Governors Urge Congress To Pass Marijuana Banking Bill

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Politics

Analysis: Breaking Down Congress’s Vote To Protect Legal Marijuana States From Federal Enforcement

Published

on

In one of the most significant legislative victories in the history of the marijuana reform movement, an amendment blocking the Department of Justice from interfering in state-legal cannabis programs was approved for the first time in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

In a 267-165 vote, the measure passed handily, drawing support from all but eight Democrats and nearly a quarter of the Republican caucus. The amendment’s passage seems to affirm what advocates have suspected—that broad reform is within arm’s reach in the 116th Congress.

But a closer look at the vote tally reveals subtle trends, dissents, individual vote flips and developments that paint a fuller picture of the state of marijuana politics in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

First, a top-level look: the last time this amendment was up for consideration in 2015, it came nine flipped votes short of passing, with a final tally of 206-222. It gained 61 “yes” votes in that time, which is a reflection of evolving public opinion on the issue and was also likely influenced by the fact that several sizable states such as California, Michigan and Illinois have since opted to legalize cannabis, putting pressure on lawmakers to embrace a policy that protects their constituents from federal harassment.

State Action Makes A Difference

Geographic changes in the vote tally can be seen in the images below, courtesy of GovTrack.us. Blue represents Democrats and red represents Republicans, with dark shading indicating “yes” votes and lighter shading standing for “no” votes.

2015:

2015 vote, via GovTrack.us

2019:

2019 vote, via GovTrack.us

Among states that legalized adult-use marijuana subsequent to the prior amendment’s consideration, here’s how the the number of “yes” votes for the measure grew:

  • California: 40 vs. 46
  • Illinois: 10 vs. 14
  • Massachusetts: 6 vs. 9
  • Maine: 1 vs. 2
  • Michigan: 6 vs. 10
  • Nevada: 2 vs. 3
  • Vermont: 1 vs. 1

But not all of the growth came from states that have recently enacted legalization. All told, 20 individual members who were present for the prior amendment’s consideration switched their vote from “nay” to “aye” since 2015.

“No” to “yes” votes:

  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
  • Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
  • Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO)
  • Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
  • Rep. William Keating (D-MA)
  • Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL)
  • Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MD)
  • Rep. Tom Reed II (R-NY)
  • Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
  • Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
  • Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
  • Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)
  • Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)
  • Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)

Meanwhile, seven members flipped their votes in the opposite direction.

“Yes” to “no” votes:

  • Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
  • Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)
  • Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
  • Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
  • Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)

Support And Opposition Across Party Lines

The measure enjoyed some bipartisan support, but while a sizable bloc of members joined the “aye” side, there were actually four fewer total Republicans who voted in favor of the amendment this round as compared to 2015. Why? The shift is partially related to loss of marijuana-friendly GOP members in the 2018 midterm election. For example, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) each voted in favor of the 2015 amendment and otherwise championed cannabis reform to some extent, but lost reelection bids last year.

Plus there are those noted above who actually supported the measure last time but voted against it this year.

Perhaps some members took issue with the broader language of the new version, which extended protections to Washington, D.C. and U.S. territories, unlike the prior amendment, which lined up more squarely with Republican “states’ rights” views.

Another explanation could come down to partisanship. GOP Congressman Tom McClintock of California was the lead sponsor of the 2015 version, when Republicans controlled the House, whereas Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) took the helm this year, with McClintock as a cosponsor. With dozens of amendments to consider in a row in floor voting blocks of just two minutes each, it’s within reason to assume that some lawmakers approached some votes along party lines, leading some Republicans to vote for the prior measure led by their caucus-mate in 2015 after a quick glance.

An even simpler answer to the question of why there were fewer Republican “aye” vote this time is that there are just fewer GOP members in the chamber to begin with in light of Democrats’ electoral success in last year’s midterms in which they readily won control of the chamber.

Regardless, the 267-vote win is remarkable. More members voted for this amendment than they did for a narrower measure that simply prevented Justice Department interference in state medical cannabis programs in 2015. That tally was 242-186.

After the amendment was adopted, questions remained about the eight Democratic members who voted against the measure, given that marijuana reform is widely popular, especially among the party’s voters.

The most noteworthy Democratic “nay” vote came from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, who has historically been opposed to many cannabis reform measures. She was joined by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) in opposing the measure.

But overall, Democratic members sent a forceful message about where the party stands on the issue. Leadership sent a “yes” recommendation in a whip email distributed before the vote, and presidential candidates and even some who’ve historically been reluctant to back cannabis reform joined hands to push the measure forward.

Presidential hopefuls Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) voted for it. (Other contenders Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) were absent for the vote as well as others taking place on Thursday.)

Leadership votes in favor of the amendment include Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY); Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY); Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY); Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Deputy Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NJ) and Majority Whip Jim Cylburn (D-SC).

Every Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the measure—another positive sign as lawmakers continue to pursue various pieces of marijuana legislation that will likely have to pass through the panel.

Curiously, however, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), minority ranking member on the Judiciary who’s advocated for a separate bill to let states set their own cannabis policies, voted against the amendment. That said, McClintock and other GOP members of the panel—Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Ken Buck (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Gregory Steube (R-FL)—voted for the measure, indicating that broad legislation to reform federal cannabis laws could sail through the Judiciary Committee with solid bipartisan support.

On the Democratic side, Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), who have historically been hostile to cannabis reform, also voted for the measure this time around.

On the flip side, here are all 41 Republicans who bucked party leadership in voting in favor of the amendment:

  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
  • Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
  • Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH)
  • Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO)
  • Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
  • Rep. James Comer (R-KY)
  • Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
  • Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-ID)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
  • Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT)
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
  • Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH)
  • Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR)
  • Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
  • Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK)
  • Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN)
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
  • Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH)
  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
  • Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL)
  • Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)
  • Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA)
  • Rep. Amata Radewagen (R)
  • Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)
  • Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA)
  • Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
  • Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA)
  • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)
  • Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX)
  • Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)
  • Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL)
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
  • Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL)
  • Rep. Steve Watkins (R-KS)
  • Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK)

Who Voted To Let The Feds Arrest Their Constituents?

While the increased number of votes in favor of the amendment seems to correspond, in part, with the rising number of states with legal marijuana programs, there were 17 members representing legal states who voted against protecting consumers who participate in their state’s cannabis system. Here’s a breakdown:

California

  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R)
  • Rep. Paul Cook (R)
  • Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R)
  • Rep. Devin Nunes (R)
  • Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R)

Colorado

  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R)
  • Rep. Scott Tipton (R)

Illinois

  • Rep. Mike Bost (R)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R)
  • Rep. Darin LaHood (R)
  • Rep. John Shimkus (R)

Michigan

  • Rep. Jack Bergman (R)
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga (R)
  • Rep. John Moolenarr (R)
  • Rep. Tim Walberg (R)

Nevada

  • Rep. Mark Amodei (R)

Washington

  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)

Advocates walked away with a demonstrable win on Thursday but, as a final note, the roll call tally might well have been even larger if it weren’t for certain absentees. Besides Ryan and Swalwell, those members include Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Tom Emmer (R-MN)—all of whom voted in favor of the measure in 2015. There was just one member absent from the latest vote who voted against it last time.

Another indicator bodes well for the future of marijuana reform by demonstrating growing support from political newcomers is that among current members of Congress who weren’t in office during the 2015 vote, 98 voted in favor of the amendment while 50 voted against it.

Though advocates are celebrating the historic victory in the House, it remains to be seen whether the Republican-controlled Senate has an appetite for reform. That chamber’s Appropriations Committee is expected to begin its consideration of appropriations legislation that a similar amendment could potentially be attached to within the next few weeks.

Congressman Withdraws Veterans Marijuana Measure Amid VA Opposition

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading

Politics

Federal Transportation Official Says Marijuana Consumers Think They Drive Better While High

Published

on

Federal research shows that marijuana consumers believe they drive better when they’re high, a leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said during a congressional hearing last week.

Appearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King testified that the department is combating impaired driving from cannabis, opioids and other drugs by issuing grants for law enforcement training and expanding public education campaigns on the issue.

Part of the reason public education is particularly necessary, she said, is because “most users of marijuana who have participated in market research we have developed are saying they believe they drive safer when they’re high because they’re very focused and they’re being very cautious.”

“We know from the driver simulator studies it’s not true,” she said. “We are doing everything we can, putting out more grant funds and supporting communities where the rubber hits the road to make sure we get ahead of the problem. And we educate consumers to make better decisions.”

NHTSA’s objective to that end is to debunk five myths: “That it’s safe to drive when under the use of a substance, that they’re not going to get stopped, that they’re not going to be arrested, not going to be prosecuted, not going to be convicted.”

But while King referenced simulator tests showing that people do not drive better under the influence of cannabis—and most advocates and opponents of legalization alike share the opinion that nobody should drive after consuming marijuana—a congressional report released in May found that the science isn’t quite so clear.

“Although laboratory studies have shown that marijuana consumption can affect a person’s response times and motor performance, studies of the impact of marijuana consumption on a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash have produced conflicting results, with some studies finding little or no increased risk of a crash from marijuana usage,” the Congressional Research Service report stated.

And several independent studies have found that legalization isn’t associated with an increase in traffic fatalities.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) asked whether NHTSA was focusing its research efforts on states that have legalized cannabis, such as his home state of Alaska.

“Yes, we have actually first traveled to Washington we later traveled to Denver in Colorado to have meetings and learn from them and learn best practices,” she said. “One of the things we find is the states that have been early legalizers of marijuana products like Washington and Colorado, they have a great deal to learn. Other states that were early medical marijuana adopters like the state of California also have something to share.”

Congressional Report Raises Questions About Whether Marijuana Impairs Driving

Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Stay Up To The Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!