Blog Voices from the Frontlines
In This Issue
- Vote Medical Marijuana Campaign a Success
- Chapter Profile: Nevada County ASA Chapter
- Florida Amendment 2 Garners Strong Majority
- Cannabis Measures Pass in Oregon, Alaska, DC
- Federal Court Hears Evidence on Cannabis Classification
- Seattle Seeks to Close Medical Cannabis Businesses
- DEA Raids Established LA Dispensary
- ACTION ALERT: Register Now for Unity 2015!
Now that the dust has settled and the bulk of mail-in ballots have been counted, it’s a good time to assess the new political landscape for patients in Washington State. Election results fall into three basic categories:
I. State Measures and Advisory Votes
II. Legislative Candidates
III. Congressional Races
State Measures and Advisory Votes
There were three initiatives and two advisory votes on the ballot this year. Of particular interest to the cannabis community was a measure to repeal or maintain Senate Bill 6505. Ballot wording caused a lot of confusion, which ultimately worked against the interests of patients and providers. Essentially, voters were deciding whether cannabis should qualify for tax exemptions given to other agricultural products.
- Message from the CA Director: Let's talk about medical cannabis and the election
- State & Local News: California, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, La Mesa, Nevada County, De Luz, Berkeley
- Public Meetings & Events: San Francisco, Santa Ana, Washington DC, and online
- Court Support: Los Angeles, Visalia, and more
- Take Action Now: Pardon Dr. Mollie Fry, Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act
- ASA Website Spotlight: Resources for Patients
- Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Grass Valley, Yuba County
Election Day in California is over, and medical cannabis advocates can expect a legislative playing field in 2015 that is largely unchanged from this year. Seventeen Assembly Members identified as medical cannabis supporters were up for election on Tuesday. Fifteen were reelected to their offices, and two were elected to serve in the Senate. Fifteen Assembly Members identified as opponents were seeking reelection, but only thirteen succeeded. The supporter/opponent ratio in the Senate, where only twenty out of forty seats were on the ballot, remained unchanged.
Election Day was good for medical cannabis patients on the national level. All of our champions in Congress were reelected, paving the way for more progress in Washington, DC, in 2015 and 2016 – despite the Republican gains in both Houses. Guam became the first US Territory to legalize medical cannabis, and 58% of voters in Florida supported the state’s medical cannabis amendment (it needed 60% to be adopted). Successful legalization votes in Washington, DC, Oregon, and Alaska are likely to reinforce the increasingly mainstream nature of medical cannabis nationwide.
Things did not go so well here in California. Voters decided on a total of nineteen local ballot measures last week, and the outcomes may be challenging for patients moving forward. Voters seem keen on imposing new taxes on medical cannabis, but reluctant to repeal bans on cultivation and distribution or to reform onerous local regulations. That tendency may cast a shadow over the debate about regulating commercial medical cannabis activity in the California legislature next year. State lawmakers may be less inclined to be accommodating towards the emerging medical cannabis industry absent a mandate from voters in local races like these.
What a wild election night! A big thanks to everyone who voted, and an especially big thanks to everyone who worked on a campaign this year to help ensure safe access for patients. As the saying goes, "Democracy is not a spectator sport," and this election medical cannabis advocates across the country put in an incredible amount of work and their voices were heard.
Some positive notes from yesterday's election:
- Every single one of of "Patient Champions" in Congress were reelected, allowing the medical cannabis community to maintain it's strong political leadership in both the Senate and the House. See who the Patient Champions are at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org.
Medical cannabis advocates can claim an early victory in today’s elections. The US Territory of Guam has legalized medical cannabis. Early returns say that voters there approved a ballot measure to allow medical cannabis use for "debilitating medical conditions" by a margin of 56%. Guam joins thirty-four states and the District of Columbia in adopting some form of medical cannabis law. A commission will work out the details of the territory’s medical cannabis program next year.
Guam is an independently governed US territory located in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. The US Constitution gives Congress the authority to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory” (Section 3.2). The US Department of Justice indicated in 2013 that they would make enforcement of federal medical cannabis laws a low priority in states with effective regulations and in cases and where activity did not include certain criteria. Arguably, the same principle applies in US Territories.
Jordan England-Nelson, Daily Breeze
An Orange County pharmaceutical startup has announced plans to develop drugs derived from marijuana plants to treat patients with glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other ailments.
The Florida Medical Marijuana (United for Care) campaign is coming to an end in Florida and although the statewide support for Amendment #2 appears to be favorable - the campaign still needs some volunteers to hit the phones and phone bank up until November 4th. Will you become a volunteer today and help us bring safe access to the south?
Leading up to November, the United for Care field team spent months tabling at events and collected over 25,000 pledge (to vote) forms from voters in support of Amendment #2. We now have to call the pledged voters who have not yet voted and make sure they are planning to go vote on Election Day.
- Message from the CA Director: California has a lot on the line tomorrow
- State & Local News: California, Lake County, San Diego, Humboldt County, Nevada County, Del Rey Oaks, Oceanside, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Malibu
- Public Meetings & Events: Berkeley, Online, Washington DC
- Court Support: Redding, Norwalk, and more
- Take Action Now: Pardon Dr. Mollie Fry, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act, and more
- ASA Website Spotlight: Vote Medical Marijuana 2014
- Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco, Yuba County, Sonoma County, Sacramento
Tomorrow is Election Day, and there is a lot on the line in California. We will elect 53 members to the US House of Representatives, 80 State Assembly Members, 20 State Senators, 8 Statewide Officers, and numerous city and county officials. Voters in 10 different cities and counties will also decide on 12 different medical cannabis ballot measures that will affect if and how legal patients get their medicine. Locate your polling place and help make a difference by casting a ballot tomorrow between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.