“Among other criminal justice changes, SB 3 would reduce the sentences for several marijuana offenses, including by doubling the amount of marijuana that is decriminalized,” Karen O’Keefe, the Marijuana Policy Project’s director of state policies, told Marijuana Moment.
“Twenty-seven states have now decriminalized cannabis, and Virginia’s decriminalization law is the strongest among them. Once the law is in effect, it will prevent Virginians from being criminalized and having their lives derailed for simple cannabis possession,” Olivia Naugle, a legislative analyst for MPP, said.
"I expect a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions," said Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, the lobbying organization behind many state cannabis policies in place today.
“Idaho medical marijuana advocates are exploring their options with the goal of still qualifying for the November 2020 ballot,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment. “If Idaho enacts medical marijuana this November it would be by a wide margin, because we know the support is very strong among Idaho voters. It would further increase pressure on Congress to address the unsustainable conflict between state and federal law, and Sen. Crapo would have added reason to address this issue.”
“New Jersey is being really progressive in starting this conversation,” DeVaughn Ward of the Marijuana Policy Project, told NJ Cannabis Insider. “At two ounces, it would still be progress for the region. The reality is that for every increase [it] is another life that could potentially be saved; somebody that could not be forced to encounter law enforcement.”
Cannabis policy is “starting to see a lot of movement,” Karen O’Keefe, Director of State Policies for Marijuana Policy Project, said of the past week or two. “A lot of movement in a short amount of time.” Cannabis is an essential part of police reform, O’Keefe said. Black Americans are disproportionately arrested for low-level cannabis offenses. Even minor convictions can impact employment, housing and education options.
“Police make a marijuana possession arrests in New Jersey every 22 minutes,” said DeVaughn Ward, senior legislative counsel with the Marijuana Policy Project. “This means that unless the Legislature enacts decriminalization between now and Election Day, thousands of New Jerseyans will have their lives turned upside down by cannabis possession arrests …This bill is of urgent importance because we’ve seen the cannabis justification used repeatedly in civil rights tragedies throughout the nation.”
“This was the most innovative signature drive I’ve ever seen,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director at the Marijuana Policy Project, which helped coordinate the effort, told Marijuana Moment. “The campaign used mailings, online ads, phone calls, and texting. Signature gatherers travelled all across the state collecting signatures every day while strictly adhering to internal health protocols.”
For what it’s worth, Meadows can’t plead ignorance on cannabis issues, Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy told Marijuana Moment. “There’s no way he’s unaware. There’s just no way. I have talked to Mark Meadows dozens of times about this issue. We have had real conversations,” Murphy said. “I can’t imagine that he doesn’t know. Meadows has been around long enough to know that the president does what the president does.”