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  Marijuana Won Tuesday's Election
Posted by CN Staff on November 08, 2017 at 05:53:18 PT
By Tom Angell 
Source: Forbes 

cannabis USA -- Voters in two states chose new governors on Tuesday. Both of those elections -- as well as the results of a number of local races across the country -- will have huge implications for efforts to legalize marijuana.

Here's an overview of cannabis-specific ballot measures that voters approved, along with details on how the Democratic gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia will boost marijuana reform campaigns in those states.

New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy

Phil Murphy, the incoming governor, campaigned on marijuana legalization.

"The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana," he said during his primary night victory speech. "And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”

This summer he tweeted, "NJ's marijuana laws cost $143M/yr & come w a 3:1 racial disparity in arrests."

With Murphy replacing vocal cannabis opponent Chris Christie (R) as governor, New Jersey is poised to potentially become the first state to allow legal recreational marijuana sales with an act of its legislature, as opposed to by voters through a ballot measure.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) is "committed" to bringing up a legalization bill early in 2018. "We are going to have a new governor in January 2018," he said. "As soon as the governor gets situated we are all here and we intend to move quickly on it."

Virginia Governor-Elect Ralph Northam

Ralph Northam, who just got a raise from lieutenant governor to the state's top job, made marijuana decriminalization a centerpiece of his campaign, often putting the issue in stark racial justice terms.

"We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana," he wrote in a blog post. "African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation."

Northam also sent a letter to the Virginia State Crime Commission, which is conducting a review of the effects of potential decriminalization. "Virginia spends $67 million on marijuana enforcement - enough to open up another 13,000 pre-K spots for children," he wrote. "African Americans are nearly 3 times as likely to get arrested for simple possession of marijuana and sentencing guidelines that include jail time can all too often begin a dangerous cycle of recidivism."

GOP Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has already announced he will introduce legislation next year to decriminalize first-time marijuana possession offenses.

Also on Tuesday, Democrats picked up a large number of seats in the House of Delegates, which likely bodes well for Northam's efforts to pass cannabis reform bills. Still-pending results in a handful of House of Delegates races could flip the chamber to Democratic control altogether.

Northam has also spoken in favor of expanding the state's limited medical cannabis law and allowing industrial hemp.

Athens, Ohio Marijuana Ordinance

Voters in the college town overwhelmingly approved a measure to completely eliminate fines and court costs for possessing and cultivating up to 200 grams of marijuana, a move that advocates believe will significantly disincentivize police from making low-level cannabis arrests. The result was 77 percent to 23 percent.

Last year, similar depenalization measures were passed in several other Ohio cities. Together, the results increase pressure on state lawmakers to more seriously consider further reform's to overarching marijuana prohibition laws following last year's passage of medical cannabis legislation.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania District Attorney

Lawrence Krasner, the incoming top prosecutor, is a vocal criminal justice reform advocate who has made bold statements about cannabis enforcement.

"One of the things we see in other jurisdictions is that, where marijuana is readily available, there’s a 25 percent reduction in opiate/opioid overdose deaths," he said this year. "So if Philadelphia is looking at 500 opiate/opioid overdose deaths a year, a district attorney, by choosing not to enforce against marijuana usage, can potentially save 125 lives. That’s what a district attorney should exercise his or her discretion to do."

Detroit, Michigan Medical Cannabis Propositions

Voters in Wayne County strongly approved two ballot measures that will allow medical cannabis business to operate in more areas and to stay open longer.

Advocates appear likely to place a full marijuana legalization measure on Michigan's 2018 statewide ballot, and Detroit's strong show of support for cannabis commerce bodes well for that broader effort.

New York Constitutional Convention Proposal

Voters resoundingly rejected a ballot proposition to convene a constitutional convention that some advocates hoped would provide a pathway toward marijuana legalization. Others remained skeptical of the multi-step plan to first pass the proposition and then elect anti-prohibition delegates in 2018, lobby the convention to approve a cannabis amendment and then ask voters to pass that on the ballot.

Now, advocates will focus their efforts on convincing the state legislature to pass legislation legalizing marijuana.

Look Ahead To 2018

Overall, Tuesday's election results were extremely positive for marijuana reformers.

Next year, advocates are likely to qualify medical cannabis ballot measure in at least three states -- Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah. Meanwhile, Michigan voters will probably decide on a full marijuana legalization measure.

And Murphy's New Jersey will race Vermont and a handful of other states to become the first to end cannabis prohibition through legislators' actions.

For now, it's clear that marijuana just won the election.

Tom Angell edits cannabis news portal Marijuana Moment and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Follow Tom on Twitter and subscribe to his newsletter.

Source: Forbes Magazine (US)
Author: Tom Angell
Published: November 8, 2017
Copyright: 2017 Forbes Inc.
Contact: readers@forbes.com
Website: http://www.forbes.com/
URL: http://drugsense.org/url/CvKTo57M

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Comment #15 posted by Runruff on November 10, 2017 at 08:15:45 PT
Inside a fascist factory!
This morass purposely created by local and state govs are by design. In private they are being coached on how to confiscate our laws and create havoc among us.

I read reports regularly on the effects mmj legalization is having in the now 30 states, on big pharmaceutical profits. They are in a panic! They are now loosing $billions in every state. Being the underhanded predatory capitalist that they are, they are sending advisors to the various states to instruct the pro prohibition bureaucrats and fossil brained politicians on how to do this.

We voted for mmj and legalization. Do we keep and maintain our freedoms here or do we go back to last 40 years of congress and state reps selling out to the profit addicts?

I will stand up for my rights until I am the last man standing like scarecrow in a corn field. For me, freedom is a personal thing! I see tough talk, I see bad asses talk, but your truth is in your walk! We can stand up and protect our incomes and our futures or we can whimper and whine like kids do when the school bully takes their lunch money.

I refuse to live in legislated poverty!

Overgrow the Government!

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #14 posted by Hope on November 09, 2017 at 22:28:38 PT
Excellent work, again, from Mr. Tom Angell
Thank you, Sir!

Back in the sixties and seventies, when we complained about how wrong and unjust the marijuana laws were, the prohibitionists would smirk and say, "If you don't like the law... change it."

Now we actually have a name as a group. Those who smirked down their noses at us didn't expect that, either.

Reformers!

That's right. Changing the law.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #13 posted by Hope on November 09, 2017 at 22:03:20 PT
Governor-elect Phil Murphy. He speaks truth.
"The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana," he said during his primary night victory speech. "And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just.”

I like that. I like it a lot.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by runruff on November 09, 2017 at 10:07:20 PT
Genies are free spirited beings.
You can'take put the genie back in the bottle if He don'the wanna go!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #11 posted by Vincent on November 09, 2017 at 06:56:01 PT:

Maine
Maybe in the next gubernatorial election in Maine, they can get rid of LePage, their King -- oops! I meant, ah, their "governor". Not only is he trying to overturn last years election results re: The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, but he just tried to undo this Tuesday's election results of Medicaid expansion!!!

He has got to go!

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 09, 2017 at 06:49:04 PT
HempWorld
Thank you so much! You made me smile!

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #9 posted by Soupherb on November 09, 2017 at 01:33:48 PT:

Growing?
D.C. allows growing.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on November 09, 2017 at 00:02:40 PT
ohio
Wow, if I'm not mistaken this is the first time a city in the US has legalized home growing within its borders! Impressive.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on November 09, 2017 at 00:00:18 PT
New Jersey
So the new governor promised repeatedly to have MJ legalized within 100 days of taking office! Can't wait to see what happens there. Many large Pharma corporations are located in NJ.

At the same time, the state govt. must be dreaming of millions of New York and Pennsylvania people pouring over its borders to buy cannabis at a 89% tax rate! It could be an epic tax raid on the honey pot of Philly and NYC.

Will be interesting to see if the NJ legislature's idea of "legalization" includes growing plants. I bet not but I will maintain hope for a just law.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by HempWorld on November 08, 2017 at 19:00:57 PT
Tuesday and EVERYDAY!
God Bless FoM and all her followers...

Thank you FoM for doing God's work! You will be rewarded in the afterlife!

Key word here, justice!

Truth last longest! (or so I was told, ha, ha)

God the prime creator is at our side!

Justice, will be served!

The PEOPLE have spoken, loud and clear!

Jeff are you listening? Sorry, I forgot you are just a stooge! Bought and paid for, like congress, so that makes it ok?

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #5 posted by FoM on November 08, 2017 at 17:47:24 PT
The GCW
You're welcome! I always believed the drug war will not end with a bang but with a whimper. The war on marijuana is slowly fading away.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by The GCW on November 08, 2017 at 14:49:27 PT
FoM,
Good explanation roundup about some related issues I was unaware of.

Thanks

We are only going forward.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 08, 2017 at 13:32:22 PT
BGreen
Hi! Great to see you! We have already won but the people in political power have to get it and it will be done.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by BGreen on November 08, 2017 at 11:19:00 PT
It is very good (Hi, everyone!)
It's easy to keep upbeat when things appear to be going our way but the real test has always been contentment in times of turmoil. I knew everything was going to be okay because times truly have changed. The old has passed away in order to allow the new to grow and prosper. Some people just haven't gotten the memo, yet.

One of the answers I've discovered is to always dwell on whatever I want to see. There's no better way to know what we want than by seeing (and living through) whatever we don't want.

I've always seen us as the winners we are. The amount of compassion and benevolence I've experienced with my fellow CNews family is the proof that positive energy = good vibrations and good vibrations put us closer to our Creator and our true self. The truth will always prevail.

Bud

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 08, 2017 at 06:44:48 PT
This is Good!
Maybe we will be able to get things going again.

[ Post Comment ]

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