Legalization/Decriminalization

City of Chicago Reduces Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Today, the City Council of Chicago voted 43-3 to amend the city’s code to direct police officers to cite, rather than arrest, individuals in possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana. Under the proposal, which has the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, police could still arrest those who cannot produce identification or present a threat to public safety. Those cited would face fines of $200 to $500 dollars and up to 10 hours of community service; however, there would be no risk of jail time.

Passage of the measure means that adults in possession of small amounts of marijuana will no longer be arrested or saddled with criminal records that can make it harder to obtain employment, housing, and student loans. The ordinance will also allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes, like the city’s soaring murder rate, while conserving limited police resources. Violent crime has become… Continue reading

Medical marijuana gains Republican support in New Hampshire Senate

Two Republican senators added their support to SB 409 today, as the New Hampshire Senate voted 13-9 to approve a final draft of the medical marijuana bill.

Senate President Peter Bragdon (R-Milford) and Senator Fenton Groen (R-Rochester) joined the majority in support after having previously voted in opposition.

Advocates noted that 15 senators, including 10 Republicans and all five Democrats, have now voted in favor of the bill this year. One of the previous “yes” votes, former Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Henniker) resigned his seat yesterday to run for office from another district. A cosponsor of the bill, Senator John Gallus (R-Berlin) was not present for today’s vote.

The same final draft was approved by the House in a voice vote this morning. Now that the House and Senate have passed identical language for SB 409, the bill will be presented to Governor John Lynch.

Sadly, Lynch, a fourth-term Democrat serving… Continue reading

The Marijuana Exception

Discussions About Legalizing Marijuana Should Start With a Few Basic Truths.

One is that legalization would save the law-enforcement and social costs of arresting hundreds of thousands of adults each year.  ( Most proposals would keep marijuana illegal for those under 21.  ) Another is that pot’s underground economy – estimated at $15 billion to $30 billion annually – would be largely wiped out if marijuana were legalized throughout the country.  Finally, it is clear that legalization would greatly decrease price and, therefore, increase the number of both recreational and heavy marijuana users.

Beyond these facts, the ramifications get extremely murky.  Being honest about the uncertainties involved is the price of admission to any serious discussion about marijuana legalization.

When my RAND colleagues and I tried to project the consequences if California passed a 2010 marijuana-legalization ballot initiative, we started by calculating the cost of producing… Continue reading

Marijuana Prohibition: Required or Ridiculous?

Recently, the Huffington Post ran an article stating that according to more than 300 economists, the U.S. government could potentially save $13.7 billion dollars by not enforcing the prohibition and taxing it like tobacco and alcohol.

As someone who has always been pro-legalization, I found this interesting and saw it as a ray of light through the thunderstorm that is this ridiculous marijuana prohibition.

So, if it could potentially save the States billions of dollars, what about Canada?

According to the 2009 Angus Reid poll, 53% of Canadians were in favour of legalizing cannabis.

Obviously, possession, trafficking and growing of marijuana is illegal in Canada.

Simple possession ( anything under 30 grams ) can result in a maximum $1000 fine or six months in jail, and trafficking can result in anything from a slap on the wrist and a fine to jail time.

Drug prohibition in Canada started in 1908… Continue reading

Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Tennessee

There’s another attempt in Tennessee to try to legalize marijuana for medical use. Advocates say 25,000 sick Tennesseans use pot.