As you can see in the 2016 strategic plan below, this year has been an ambitious and bold one for MPP. It is also the most expensive year in our 21-year history. Please help us make the most expensive year the most productive year. If you like what you see, would you please donate to our work?
Medical marijuana through state legislatures
Thanks in large part to MPP’s efforts over the last 20 years, medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states and D.C. In 2016, MPP worked with patient advocates and their loved ones to enact medical marijuana laws in Pennsylvania and Ohio. In Ohio, MPP spearheaded a ballot initiative that led to the legislature passing a comprehensive medical marijuana law. We also assisted with successful medical-marijuana initiative efforts in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota in 2016.
Decriminalization through state legislatures
This year, we led the successful effort to decriminalize marijuana in Illinois, making marijuana possession a ticketable offense, rather than leading to arrest and jail. We continue to work to decriminalize possession in Texas and New Hampshire.
Legalization through state legislatures
In 2016, we lobbied to legalize marijuana in Vermont — where the state Senate became the first in the nation to approve such a bill — and Rhode Island. We are making progress toward enacting similar measures in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Texas between 2017 and 2019. The proposals are similar to the legalization laws in eight states.
Legalization through ballot initiatives
MPP and its campaign committees led coalition efforts in support of statewide legalization initiatives in November 2016:
Three of the four measures passed, and the fourth — Arizona’s — received 48% of the vote. We also assisted with the successful California legalization initiative campaign in November 2016.
In 2016, MPP has been lobbying Congress to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which prevented the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) from interfering with state medical marijuana laws through the 2016 fiscal year, which ended on September 30. A stopgap measure — which included the protections afforded by the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment — funding the government through early December was enacted before the election. MPP will continue to lobby for inclusion of this protection in the final FY 2017 spending package. MPP also lobbied for a similar amendment that would prevent the DOJ from interfering with state laws that treat marijuana like alcohol.
Additionally, MPP is lobbying Congress to lift the current federal ban that prevents D.C. from legalizing marijuana on the local level.
On the House side, MPP will maximize the number of co-sponsors on a pair of bills that would end marijuana prohibition on the federal level. The lead sponsor of the Republican bill is Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA), and the lead sponsors of the Democratic legislation are Congressmen Jared Polis (CO) and Earl Blumenauer (OR).
On the Senate side, MPP is working to maximize the number of co-sponsors on legislation that would, among other things, allow states to determine their own medical marijuana policies without federal inference. The lead Senate sponsors are Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). We will also work to increase the number of co-sponsors on legislation sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) that would end marijuana prohibition on the federal level.
The presidential race
MPP made marijuana policy an issue in the presidential race by tracking the positions of the candidates, working to get them on the record, and bringing their positions to the attention of voters and the media.
MPP produced a voter guide for all of the major Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, which was updated whenever candidates make noteworthy statements about marijuana. Once the major-party candidates were nominated, MPP expanded the guide to include independent candidates and nominees of other parties that appeared on enough state ballots to receive at least the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the election.
National and local media outlets are covering the marijuana issue more than ever before. Communicating to voters through news coverage is the most cost-effective way to increase public support for ending marijuana prohibition, so we need to keep the issue in the news.
In 2016, we are continuing to build our online presence by steadily increasing traffic to our website, growing our list of email subscribers, and expanding our presence on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. All of our online/social media properties help us educate our supporters and the public about how we’re working to reform outdated and ineffective marijuana policies.
To this end, MPP is undertaking two massive projects to improve MPP’s infrastructure in 2016. First, we are continuing to overhaul MPP’s website to reduce the number of pages and improve compatibility with mobile devices. Second, MPP is partnering with an outside firm to dramatically increase the number of email subscribers and therefore expand MPP’s ability to inform the public, mobilize supporters, and raise money.
Last updated: November 22, 2016