2016 May Be Tipping Point on MJ Legalization
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2016 May Be Tipping Point on MJ Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2016 at 08:49:38 PT
By David Scharfenberg, Globe Staff
Source: Boston Globe
Massachusetts -- Efforts to legalize recreational use of marijuana appear to be on the verge of a major step forward this fall, as polls show voters in five states, including Massachusetts, leaning toward approval. If that momentum holds through Election Day, the proportion of Americans living in states where they can legally smoke a joint or eat a pot brownie will surge from about 5 percent to roughly one quarter.A clean sweep at the ballot box would be the culmination of a big swing in public opinion. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed 57 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization, and just 37 percent are opposed — nearly the inverse of just a decade ago.
“It’s really quite a striking shift,” said Jocelyn Kiley, an associate director at Pew.In Massachusetts, the debate over Question 4 has focused almost exclusively on the ramifications for public health, criminal justice, and the fabric of urban and suburban communities. But the votes here and in the other states with referendums — Arizona, California, Maine, and Nevada — could have national implications, too.A string of unexpected losses, particularly in left-leaning states like Massachusetts and California, would stall — if not stop — the legalization movement. A sweeping victory on Nov. 8, on the other hand, would ratchet up the pressure on the federal government to lift its decades-long prohibition.Advocates say they don’t expect Congress to fully legalize the drug anytime soon. But they say Washington could move to give its formal, legal blessing to states that decide to make marijuana lawful on their own.That would provide some stability for an industry that has been forced to rely on the forbearance of the Obama administration, which has declined to use federal resources to crack down on marijuana sales in states like Colorado and Washington, where the drug is legal.In recent years, baby boomers and members of Generation X have warmed to the idea of legalization. But Kiley, of Pew, said strong support among millennials, ages 18 to 35, has been a driving force in the overall change in public opinion.What has moved millennials and others into the legalization camp is not entirely clear. But last year, when Pew asked supporters why they backed legalization, many said they did not believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes. Others touted the drug’s perceived medicinal benefits.Twenty-five states, including Massachusetts, have full medical marijuana programs in place. Voters in four states — Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota — will decide medical marijuana referendums next month.Advocates say November’s five statewide ballot initiatives may deliver the biggest step ever toward legalization.“I think we’re almost certainly at a tipping point,” said Keith Stroup, founder and legal counsel for NORML, a Washington-based group that has been lobbying for legalization since 1970. “If we should run the table, which is possible . . . there’s simply no turning back.”Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national group trying to block legalization, downplayed the idea that a big win for the marijuana movement this fall would mark a turning point in the debate.“I have a long view on all this,” said Sabet, whose group has pushed more than $100,000 into the “No on 4” campaign in Massachusetts. “This effort is not going to be won or lost this November, or November 2018, or November four years from now.”Congress, he said, has “no appetite” for big changes in marijuana policy, and that’s unlikely to change. And he predicted that public opinion will swing against legalization when its full effects become clear.Sabet, who founded SAM with former Democratic congressman Patrick Kennedy and conservative commentator David Frum, makes no moral judgments about marijuana. And he said no one should be locked up for using the drug.Instead, he warned that legalization would mean creating a multibillion-dollar marijuana industry on par with “Big Tobacco,” almost certain to market to children. “This isn’t about Cheech and Chong anymore,” he said. “These are people with Yale MBAs and Harvard law degrees. . . . It’s about money, and it’s high time people started to talk about this.”Governor Charlie Baker and other leading opponents of marijuana legalization in Massachusetts have made similar arguments, as have opponents in California and other states.But supporters say making marijuana legal — and taxing and regulating it — is better than leaving it underground.“What is the worst kind of marijuana business to have in your state?” asked Graham Boyd, director of the pro-legalization New Approach political action committee. “It’s criminal cartels. And that’s what you’ve got now.”New Approach, based in Washington, D.C., is funded by the family of the late insurance executive and marijuana activist Peter Lewis and other philanthropists, with some money from the marijuana industry. The group has given $4.3 million to the “Yes on 4” effort in Massachusetts, according to the latest campaign finance filings, making it the largest player in the campaign by far.Boyd, whose organization is also active in the Maine legalization effort, said advocates have to take the concerns of centrist voters seriously if they’re going to be successful in ballot campaigns — emphasizing strict controls on marketing and sales to minors, for instance, and efforts to curb drugged driving.The Massachusetts campaign, like others around the country, has been infused with that kind of rhetoric this year. And it seems to be working — or, at least, not standing in the way of the broad drift toward legalization.After stumbling in the polls in the spring and summer, the legalization campaign appears to be leading. A WBUR survey released last week showed 55 percent of voters backing legalization and 40 percent opposed.“I think that Massachusetts has long been a state that moves issues nationally,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the “Yes on 4” campaign. “We saw it happen it with gay marriage. . . . It wouldn’t surprise me in the least — if we succeed in Massachusetts, in conjunction with California — to see a movement that, again, will spread across the country.”Source: Boston Globe (MA)Author: David Scharfenberg, Globe StaffPublished: October 19, 2016Copyright: 2016 Globe Newspaper CompanyContact: letter globe.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on October 25, 2016 at 20:13:35 PT
observer and fellow family,
Another aspect about Adelson (who I really know nothing about) is that it makes a nice playing field.I play co-ed D & E league hockey (any lower and You play PEE WEE). The short description is that it is an addictive sport, fast moving, fast thinking and exhilarating. -When I play against A league players, I don't get much out of it; they shut Me down and I don't have as much fun...-0-If We play against a level playing field; that is, schmucks who also bring an equal amount of money to gamble with, in this case, it is more fun. It's a fair game of sorts. We don't just want to beat them; We want to beat the money out of them too.BUT, there is another important aspect which will emerge.Once Mass gets the rich man's money & THEY LOSE, it will become crystal clear that money doesn't matter; NO MATTER WHAT THE PROHIBITIONIST DOES, Their gonna LOSE.-0-Later, people will think twice about contributing cash for a game their sure to lose.Thus, WE WIN.We have had a long strange trip but now it's game on. Prohibitionists are exposed as cheaters, liars and dubious, vulgar people (stop Me, I'm enjoying this) and there isn't a comfy place for cheaters.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on October 25, 2016 at 19:40:38 PT
The Fabulous 5
Hold on, it's still not quite time to get excited. But, it is time to share.-0-One modern day Bozo exclaimed, Pot OK Would Be 'Pouring Gasoline On The Fire' Bozo, acknowledges WE HAVE A FIRE!-0-Why do We have a fire??? Because of the actions of prohibitionists, who have created a recipe that supports fires...And the prohibitionist believes Colorado has regrets!? KAPOW. "REGRETS"Wrong a mundo:US NV: PUB LTE:Coloradans don't regret pot legalizationTom Hellmann ("Pot OK Would Be “Pouring Gasoline On The Fire,” Voices, Oct. 21) is mistaken to believe Colorado has “regrets” regarding cannabis (marijuana) and our end to cannabis prohibition. Every subsequent poll indicates citizens continue supporting the end of that quagmire. There is every reason to believe when Nevada citizens end cannabis prohibition, citizens will not look back with regret either.It’s time for America to stop caging responsible adults for using the relatively safe God-given plant cannabis. Oct. 26, 2016 edition.-0-I'd like voters in the FAB 5 states which are voting to end cannabis prohibitIon to know since COLORADO ended cannabis (marijuana) prohibition, EVERY SUBSEQUENT POLL INDICATES WE CONTINUE SUPPORTING THE END OF CANNABIS PROHIBITION.ALL OF THEM!
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Comment #6 posted by observer on October 25, 2016 at 15:16:00 PT
re: Adelson
I think the money he's spending is going to backfire, in the sense that more people will vote for legalization after seeing those ads. Mass. anti-pot ad, commentary
etc.Those kind of ads probably were a waste of money in Florida, and as time goes on, more and more voters get angry for being lied to. So they may have the opposite effect Adelson is intending. But a few years back (or in Arkansas), they might still have some prohibitionist effect. There are some dry counties in the USA, still.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on October 25, 2016 at 12:08:45 PT
Just robbed? Humiliated? Slapped?
Sabet, who founded SAM with former Democratic congressman Patrick Kennedy and conservative commentator David Frum, makes no moral judgments about marijuana. And he said no one should be locked up for using the drug.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on October 25, 2016 at 11:54:40 PT
From Keith Stroup's article...
"One cannot help but wonder what would motivate an individual to want to continue a failed public policy that results in the needless arrest of so many of our fellow citizens. In Adelson's case, it was apparently a personal family tragedy. His 48-year-old son, Mitchell, died in 2005 of a drug overdose involving cocaine and heroin. Another son, Gary, has also struggled with drug addiction and is allegedly estranged from his father altogether. Adelson has said he sees marijuana as a "gateway drug" that led to his sons' problems."Well there it is. Because his son did heroin and cocaine he wants to continue under the plan that has prevailed all his sons' lives. It makes sense. It makes perfect sense on a certain level of lunacy. Because of his son's tragedy he wants to continue putting herbalists in peril of their very lives and freedom. Because of his superstition? The one about gateways and stepping stones?Fear of herbalists? It got more than one person burned alive.Odd thinking, isn't it? Maintain the status quo that prevailed all his son's lives? Ignore the truth and go after herbalists because his son got "overdosed" because of prohibition? It's going to work some day... right? It looks like he might have accidentally stumbled on to the truth somewhere along the line. But, no. As old as he is and he still can't see the lunacy of his authoritarian rage and delusion. It's really sad. I think he's a monster. But I see the sadness of it. His one son used prohibited chemicals, and apparently accidentally died under doubtful circumstances, and he wants to jail and persecute and prosecute herbalists because of that? He obviously despises his surviving son and apparently the son doesn't care for his company, but Adelson has got the money to show him!He'll show him. I see his behavior as a prime example of "Showing his ass"... his authoritarian ass.He despises his son. He despises a lot of people. He likes this "Whipping boy", this "Cannabist", and he wants to keep whipping him.Major ugly situation. Not a nice man. I think that some people thrive on anger and drama. It won't kill them... maybe shorten the lives of those around them, but they actually seem to thrive on vitriol, bitterness, anger, hatred, subterfuge, and plotting revenge... hatred.Not a nice man at all. I can imagine him, with dramatic flourishes, wrapping his delusions around himself like a great ermine robe and walking away... naked as a jay-bird emperor.It's sad. One of those cases where you have all the money in the world... and no one loves you but Kevin Sabet.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on October 25, 2016 at 10:04:17 PT
Keith Stroup
Who Is This Anti-Marijuana Backer Sheldon Adelson?
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on October 25, 2016 at 09:22:58 PT
Sheldon Adelson
I wonder what is getting his bowels in an uproar over not persecuting people and harming them over their use of an herb?Wow. I haven't read anything about what makes him such a hater of the herbalists.He just likes burning witches... I mean herbalists, I guess.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 25, 2016 at 08:52:49 PT
Adelson Joins Fight Against Arizona Marijuana 
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Joins Fight Against Arizona Marijuana LegalizationURL:
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