The Marijuana Policy Project has long been a leader in funding cannabis reform at the state and federal levels, but the current election season demonstrates that MPP’s role is shifting in a significant way – toward a more collaborative position with industry trade associations and large MJ companies.
Marijuana Policy Project
Vermont could become the second state in the nation to legalize adult-use marijuana sales through its legislature if a compromise measure hammered out by lawmakers passes both chambers and is signed into law in coming weeks.
While the legislation has yet to be formally approved by the Vermont Senate and House of Representatives, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) noted in a news release early Wednesday it expects the bill, S. 54, to pass both chambers.
House and Senate negotiators crafted the legislation, which can be viewed in summary form on the MPP website.
At a Monday event in Wisconsin, President Donald Trump recalled former Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) loss in the 2018 election.
“The next time you run, please don’t put marijuana on the ballot at the same time you’re running,” Trump told him. “You brought out like a million people that nobody ever knew were coming out.”
But those who have long monitored such issues say it’s unlikely that cannabis ballot initiatives help or hurt a political party in an election.
In the wake of growing unrest over racial injustice, several states have taken steps that may give legalization proponents reason to be optimistic. For example, Georgia lawmakers included decriminalizing marijuana in a recent police reform bill. In New Jersey, a decriminalization bill passed the state Assembly by a 63-10 vote. Taking everything into account, Karen O’Keefe, the director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, believes we will see a record number of states legalize marijuana next year.
“New Jersey is being really progressive in starting this conversation,” said DeVaughn Ward of the Marijuana Policy Project. “At two ounces, it would still be progress for the region. The reality is that for every increase is another life that could potentially be saved; somebody that could not be forced to encounter law enforcement.”
Two Assembly bills – A1897 and A4269 – were merged into a new bill (click here to see it) that was advanced by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee. Democrats voted for the bill, while the Republicans voted to abstain after receiving the 18-page bill around 45 minutes before the meeting.
Under the committee substitute, money from the marijuana fines would go to the municipality where the violation occurred. Rev. Charles Boyer of Salvation and Social Justice said it would be best if it went to the state.
Like protesters around the U.S. who seek to address issues raised by the death of George Floyd and other instances of police violence, the cannabis industry has taken action to promote social equity and business opportunities in the sector.
Below, Marijuana Business Daily offers a sampling of organizations and efforts that support, foster and enhance social equity in the cannabis industry, opportunities for minorities, overall diversity and racial justice – as well as other issues facing marijuana businesses.
When it comes to state legalization – whether it’s medical or adult-use – there is either effort on the legislative front or at the ballot box (or in cases like New Jersey, the battle moves from one arena to the other).
More than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of legal marijuana by the end of 2020, including deep red Mississippi and South Dakota — and they’re doing it with the help of some conservatives.
State lawmakers are teeing up their bills as legislative sessions kick off around the country, and advocates pushing ballot measures are racing to collect and certify signatures to meet deadlines for getting their questions to voters.
Here are three factors to keep in mind as states address either recreational or medical legalization this year: