Legalization in Oregon got a huge boost today when it was revealed there was a new quarter million dollar donation to the New Approach Oregon campaign. A political action committee formed by the brother, sons, and ex-wife of the late billionaire Peter Lewis made the donation, adding to $96,000 Mr. Lewis donated before his death last November. Committee members also include perfume heir Henry van Ameringen, who had already given $100,000; adult mail order businessman Phil Harvey, who’s donated $50,000 previously; Cari Tuna, the wife of Facebook’s co-founder Dustin Moskovitz; and David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Soaps. New Approach Oregon also received another $150,000 from Drug Policy Action, the funding arm of Ethan Nadelmann’s Drug Policy Alliance, adding to a previous $200,000 donation. In all, New Approach Oregon has raised over $900,000 for the campaign, which has until July 3rd to turn in over 87,000 valid signatures.
Speaking of Oregon, a new Survey USA poll shows legalization barely topping majority support. 51% of Oregon voters are in favor of legalization with 41% opposed and 8% undecided. The poll did not ask specifically about the New Approach Oregon or OCTA / HEMP initiatives, merely whether voters support allowing adults to possess and grow marijuana and allowing the state to tax and regulate marijuana. Support was greatest among voters under 35 at 70% and between ages 50 and 64 at 57%. Democrat and Republican support were mirror images; 65% of Democrats support and 67% of Republicans oppose legalization. But support wasn’t just buoyed by liberal urban voters; 51% of Portlanders and 50% of non-Portlanders support legalization.
More news about money for legalization – the campaign to legalize in Alaska just received a $140,000 donation from the Marijuana Policy Project. This donation pushes the campaign over the half-million dollar mark and dwarfs the money raised by the opposition. “Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2”, the group fighting legalization, has raised only $31,000 since April.
The next time you rock down to Electric Avenue, taking you higher will only be a fine. The government of Jamaica announced Thursday they will be decriminalizing the personal possession of two ounces of marijuana, known on the Caribbean island as ganja. Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller decided early this month that ganja use for personal, medical, and religious purposes shall only be a ticketable offense. Minister of Justice Mark Golding noted that the parliament will make the formal changes this summer, as well as proposing a bill to expunge the criminal records of people convicted for personal amounts of ganja.
Medical marijuana dispensaries in San Jose have been relegated to just one percent of available city business space. The tight new regulations, adopted in a 7-3 city council vote Tuesday, will require the vast majority of the city’s eighty dispensaries to close within a year. Under the new rules, dispensaries must be 1,000 feet from schools, parks, areas where children gather, major business parks; 500 feet from drug rehabs and 150 feet away from homes. Maybe five or ten current dispensaries could meet all those requirements. Store hours are also limited, round-the-clock security is required, on-site consumption is banned, and no candy medibles are allowed.
The Washington DC City Council has unanimously pledged to open the district’s medical marijuana program to any patient. On Thursday, the council’s thirteen members agreed to support a bill that would remove DC’s qualifying condition list – which only includes HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and muscle spasms – and replace it with language allowing doctors to recommend cannabis for any patient the doctor believes could benefit. The limited condition list has kept the patient rolls in Washington DC at just around 400. In March, the City Council approved marijuana decriminalization where possession of an ounce is subject to only a $25 fine. Activists are currently working to place legalization with home grow on the November ballot. Polls show 2-1 support for legalization among DC voters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning that medical marijuana could be “a major negative” for New York. Speaking at an event in upstate New York, Gov. Cuomo called marijuana a gateway drug to other illegal substances and expressed worries about the “entire system for marijuana growing, production, distribution, [and] sales.” Gov. Cuomo added, “if you don’t put in the correct system, you could have a serious problem on your hands.” The medical marijuana bill was transferred out of the Senate Finance Committee over the objections of the chairman and could get a Senate vote before the end of the session next Thursday.