The Obama Administration has pushed back hard against Congress’s attempt to gut the recently-passed marijuana decriminalization law in Washington, DC. Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, attached an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prevent the District from using any of its local funds to implement marijuana law reforms. Its primary intent seems to be the blocking of the decriminalization law, with a secondary goal of forestalling an attempt this November to legalize marijuana outright through an initiative petition recently submitted by activists. “[T]he Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies,” the administration admonishes in its Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 5016, “which again undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule. Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.”
A new poll from YouGov/HuffPost has found that 61 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. The poll asked “Do you support or oppose Colorado’s new law which makes recreational marjuana use legal but applies a heavy tax on marijuana sales, limits the sale of marijuana only to people 21 years old or older, and makes it illegal to take marijuana out of state?” Majority support for Amendment 64 crossed all demographic categories, including support in the South and Midwest topping 60% while the Northeast and West remained in the mid-50% range. Even Republicans support Colorado legalization at 52% and senior citizens aged 65 and older support it at 64%. This support comes despite American majorities’ belief that legalization will lead to more youth using marijuana (53%). Majorities across every demographic do not believe the “gateway theory” and all demographics agree that marijuana legalization will not increase crime rates, except for Republicans who are split on the issue.
Medical marijuana activists in San Jose are offering free weed and medical marijuana recommendations in exchange for petition signatures. The City Council passed new zoning regulations for dispensaries that threaten to put almost all of them out of business this Friday. In response, the Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition, a group of dispensary owners, lawyers, and growers, are attempting to gather enough signatures to have a referendum on the council’s decision. The Coalition explains that they have 45,000 free grams of weed, worth about $450,000, to offer to those who sign the petition, along with doctors’ commitments to provide 30,000 free medical marijuana recommendation examinations, worth about $1.2 million. About seventy dispensaries would be affected by the new regulations.
The Los Angeles City Attorney is putting a stop to the marijuana farmers’ market that drew long lines over the July Fourth weekend. Calling it a “public nuisance” that “detracts from the quality of life of the community”, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer [FOY-er] announced a lawsuit Monday against the West Coast Collective. Feuer claims the market violates city zoning laws and regulations against unfair competition. “We will do everything we can to put a halt to them,” Feuer said in a statement, claiming that the market caused big crowds, traffic, and interfered with access to public property.
Voters in South Portland, Maine, will probably be voting on legalization of an ounce of marijuana. Activists from Citizens for a Safer Maine, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project, dropped off 1,521 signatures to city hall on Monday, surpassing the 959 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. Voters in greater Portland already voted to legalize in the last election and MPP is working to have voters in York and Lewiston join South Portland in a 2014 legalization vote in anticipation of a statewide legalization campaign for 2016.
The campaign war chest to pass medical marijuana in Florida will easily surpass $10 million dollars. John Morgan, the high-profile personal injury attorney who has already bankrolled $3.75 million of the $5 million United for Care campaign to pass the constitutional amendment says he has another “at least $6 million committed as of today, without more money from me.” Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino tycoon whose wife works in drug rehab and whose son died of an overdose, has spent $2.5 million funding the opposition Drug Free Florida Committee.