Take Action for Marijuana Law Reform

Voters yesterday decided on a number of state and local ballot initiatives specific to marijuana policies.

On the nation’s only statewide marijuana-centric ballot proposal, Colorado voters rejected Prop. 119, which sought to increase state sales taxes on retail cannabis sales. NORML’s Colorado state affiliate had campaigned against the proposition, opining that excessive taxation on regulated marijuana products would drive consumers back to the illicit market. In Denver, city voters similarly rejected a separate measure (Ordinance 300) that sought to impose additional municipal taxes on marijuana sales.

Local voters also decided on a variety of municipal ballot measures. In Philadelphia, the largest city to vote on marijuana policy in yesterday’s election, voters overwhelmingly decided in favor of Question 1, which states, “The citizens of Philadelphia call upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor to pass legislation that will decriminalize, regulate, and tax the use, and sale to adults aged 21 years or older, of cannabis for non-medical purposes.” The state’s Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has campaigned in favor of legalizing the adult use market, but legislative efforts have failed to gain traction in the state’s GOP-leaning legislature.

As in past years, voters in a number of small Ohio towns decided on municipal proposals to depenalize local marijuana possession. To date, 22 cities in the state have removed local penalties for marijuana-related violations. Yesterday, several addition towns joined that list, as a majority of voters in the townships of Martin’s Ferry, Murray City, New Lexington, Ryland, Tiltonsville, and Yorkville decide in favor of ballot measures sponsored by the Sensible Movement Coalition and by NORML Appalachia of Ohio.

Voters in localities in several other states, including Connecticut, Montana, Michigan, and New Jersey, also decided on a variety of municipal ordinances — primarily with respect to permitting local marijuana retailers and/or the imposition of new cannabis-related sales taxes.


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