When thousands of police veterans agree it’s time to end the War on Drugs and legalize marijuana, you know it’s time. Our interview with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) staff Neill Franklin (Exec. Dir.) and Diane Goldstein (Sec.).
About the AuthorMichael is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.
You Might also like
By Michael A. Stusser — 6 years ago
Higher Ground has created a new ad to support legalization reform efforts across the country. “Cannabis Clicker” will air in the five States with recreational legalization ballots: California, Maine, Nevada, Arizona and Massachusetts. The ad will also run in States with medical marijuana votes – including Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana. All told, nine states will be voting on ballot initiatives related to legalizing and regulating cannabis on November 8th.
“We wanted to use the old reefer madness propaganda as part of our ad,” noted Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser, “and juxtapose it with what’s really going on.” The ad, titled “Cannabis Clicker,” shows side-by-side living rooms, one playing anti-drug commercials and films from a now by-gone era, while the set in the modern living room plays news stories about legalization from the past few years. “Sometimes it’s best just to let the story tell itself,” Stusser notes. “Teen drug use has actually gone down since legalization, massive taxes have been raised, there has been no increase in traffic fatalities – and the sky has not fallen.”
The Cannabis Clicker ad uses clips from the original Reefer Madness movie, the infamous “Your Brain on Drugs” PSA, as well as modern day news clips featuring studies and research related to the legalization of marijuana.
Based out of Seattle, where recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, Higher Ground is attempting to “Elevate the Dialogue” and broaden the movement nationally. While legal in Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon, the use, sale or distribution of cannabis is still a felony at the federal level, and over 700,000 Americans are arrested every year for marijuana-related offenses. The parody ad has been provided to all the pro-legalization campaigns, and is being used both on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and VIMEO) as well as paid television in selected markets in California and Nevada.
By Gonzo Man — 8 years ago
Americans could learn from Canada, as the New York Times explains in When Cannabis Goes Corporate. Canada’s free-for-all approach prompted complaints from police and local governments, so Canada adopted a regulated system for growth and sales. Enter Tweed Marijuana, one of the companies licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada.
The new rules allow prescription holders to buy from approved, large-scale, producers. More informal growing operations suffer. But the changes have spawned an industry of more legitimate producers with bigger business models. And that should mean more sales.
Canada expects to collect taxes on over $3.1 billion in annual sales. The figures stateside could be vastly better. In Washington State, where even recreational marijuana is now legal, the Liquor Control Board hired Prof. Mark Kleiman of UCLA to research the state’s marijuana market. He estimated Washington’s medical and illicit consumption generated approximately $1.2 billion in sales annually.
Medical marijuana neon sign at a dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Colorado too voted to legalize marijuana even for recreational use. Already, Colorado gets $2 million from marijuana taxes. And while there are rules in Colorado and Washington, both states seem well on their way to regulating and profiting from the industry. Medical use is far more prevalent, now numbering 20 legal medical marijuana states and D.C.
Yet in the Feds’ view, regardless of state legality, marijuana is a controlled substance and illegal under federal law. As more states have clashed with federal law, this mismatch has become more contentious. The Department of Justice issued a response suggesting that it will lay off the raids and prosecutions.
But the feds will lay off only if the states create “a tightly regulated market” with rules that address federal “enforcement priorities” such as preventing interstate smuggling, diversion to minors, and “adverse public health consequences.” Those phrases seem imbued with discretion. This memo to U.S. attorneys makes clear that the DOJ can still prosecute growers and sellers.
To be sure, this is much bigger than a tax problem. And yet the tax problems of the industry are huge and are thought to be one of the industry’s major impediments. Section 280E of the tax code denies even legal dispensaries tax deductions. The main culprit is Congress, not the IRS. The IRS has said it has no choice but to enforce the tax code passed by Congress.
How big is the industry’s problem? “The federal tax situation is the biggest threat to businesses and could push the entire industry underground,” the leading trade publication for the marijuana industry reported. One answer has been for dispensaries to deduct expenses from other businesses distinct from dispensing marijuana. If a dispensary sells marijuana and is in the separate business of care-giving, the care-giving expenses are deductible. If only 10% of the premises are used to dispense marijuana, most of the rent is deductible.
Another idea is for marijuana sellers to operate as nonprofit social welfare organizations. That way Section 280E shouldn’t apply. The industry needs to operate more like other businesses. Sometimes such matters involve structural questions. To avoid trouble with the IRS, some claim that dispensaries should be organized as cooperatives or collectives.
The Marijuana Tax Equity Act would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed. The bill would also impose an excise tax on cannabis sales and an annual occupational tax on workers in the growing field of legal marijuana.
By Zoe — 8 years ago
(AP) – Oklahoma pro-marijuana advocates are pushing for a second signature drive to get the issue a statewide vote, this time for full legalization of cannabis, similar to Colorado and Washington.
Supporters of marijuana legalization filed an initiative petition on Friday with the Oklahoma secretary of state’s office. They will have three months to gather more than 155,000 signatures from registered voters to get the proposal on a statewide ballot.
It is the second marijuana-related initiative petition underway in Oklahoma. Supporters of medicinal marijuana already have launched a petition drive that would legalize the drug only for medical purposes.
Several politicians from both sides of the political aisle have announced their support for pro-marijuana initiatives, including both of the Republicans running against Gov. Mary Fallin in the June 24 GOP primary election.