"The news, which sets the stage for yet more growth of the U.S. cannabis industry, was hailed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as a major victory, especially considering that Vermont is only the second state in the nation to legalize adult use via the legislature and not at the ballot box."
"The significance of Vermont’s decision to legalize and regulate cannabis sales, especially in a state with a Republican governor and through the legislative process, cannot be overstated. The fact that Vermont accomplished this through the legislative process is also incredibly important because it shows that representative, democratic government is up to this challenge and is proving responsive to average citizens," said Steve Hawkins, MPP's executive director.
"This victory represents the product of more than five years of study, public hearings, difficult conversations, and hard work by legislators and advocates. Vermonters overwhelmingly support legalizing and regulating cannabis sales, and one by one their elected officials have joined the chorus of support. Vermont should be commended for the thoughtful process that resulted in the bill’s passage, and lawmakers in other states should strive to emulate Vermont’s successful example, " said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.
"We’ve seen this complete evolution in thinking. New Jersey is one of the bluest states in the nation and South Dakota is one of the reddest — and they both have ballot initiatives in November," said Steve Hawkins, MPP's executive director.
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.