Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steven Hawkins walks Geoff and Jonathan through what cannabis policies are on the ballot in the 2020 election. Steven also shares his insight on developing trends in cannabis policy.
Don Murphy, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, illustrates that actions on cannabis speak louder than words. “It's no longer good enough to say, ‘Yes, I support that,’” he says. “Really, how would I know? I don't see your name on the sponsor line.”
At a campaign stop in New Hampshire in February, Biden responded to a query by marijuana legalization advocate Don Murphy of the Marijuana Policy Project by saying, "I think it is at the point where it has to be, basically, legalized," POLITICO reported, quoting from a recording of Biden's remarks.
“A decline in cannabis related arrests is better than seeing an increase for a fourth year in a row, but the amount of these arrests is still abhorrent,” Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins told Marijuana Moment. “There is no reason to continue punishing adults for consuming a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. Arresting adult cannabis consumers has a dramatically disproportionate impact on communities of color, is a massive waste of law enforcement officials’ time and resources and does nothing to improve public health or safety.”
“As we see further legalization in the first half of 2021, when these states meet from January to May in their legislative processes, by the time Congress is taking up cannabis we could be looking at a very different picture than we are right now in terms of the states, and that will influence Biden’s evolution,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project.
On this episode of Let’s Be Blunt with Montel, Montel talks to Karen O’Keefe, State Policy Director for the Marijuana Policy Project about the state of cannabis reform initiatives nationwide, including those that are on the ballot in November and some unexpected prospects for legislative reform in other states. Karen has been an instrumental player in the work of cannabis reform and this episode is can’t miss for those who care about cannabis reform and social justice.
Matt Simon, New England political director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told Marijuana Moment that, “from a racial justice perspective, cannabis prohibition has been a disastrous public policy, and Vermont’s limited legalization law is only a modest improvement.”
“The legislators who developed S. 54 clearly intend to replace prohibition with an equitable, regulated industry—such as by prioritizing licensing for minority-owned businesses,” he said. “Further advocacy will be needed to ensure that the bill lives up to its promises, but the status quo is unacceptable and Vermont urgently needs to move forward.”
The people want pot. And while many efforts to open up new states to cannabis freedom were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we could still see major changes to the legal cannabis landscape by year’s end.
"We’re seeing a range of responses from supporters of marijuana reform. Some voters are relieved that they can securely vote using an absentee ballot or by voting early, while others are excited to go to the polls on Election Day. The campaigns are working to accommodate all preferences. We’re answering questions from voters and assisting with navigating the absentee and early voting processes in each state. Now more than ever, informing voters about the election process is crucial," said Matthew Schweich, MPP's deputy director.
Steve Hawkins, the Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director voices, “MPP appreciates the decades of support Playboy has offered the cannabis reform movement. Playboy recognizes that stigmatizing people because of personal choices in their lives can be the source of great injustice and harm, and their efforts to end that unfair treatment for cannabis consumers has long been a hallmark.”