"Removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession is an important first step. But as we have seen in states around the U.S., decriminalization alone will not stop the arrest and persecution of people of color—or so many others touched by the war on cannabis. It is only when we take a comprehensive approach through the framework of legalization that can we move away from the cycle of abuse," said Steve Hawkins, MPP's executive director.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) acts as a bridge between the activist and social justice community and the business community in cannabis, both of which want to see the creation of cannabis legislation for well regulated markets. MPP Executive Director Steve Hawkins spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about upcoming ballot initiatives the organization is helping to champion and how he sees the ground shifting toward nationwide support for legalization.
"It’s easier to repeal something like a 30% potency cap on flower than it is to pass a whole new bill. The things that aren’t great, we can improve over time. Overall, it’s a really strong bill that gets a lot moving," said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.
"The need for a regulated cannabis market in Vermont has never been more urgent, and this bill has come too far to fail—it would be a terrible shame if Vermont doesn’t finish the job and pass S. 54 into law," said Matt Simon, MPP's New England political director.
"The precise timing of the MORE Act vote will not change the fact that 66 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization and a growing number of states are enacting marijuana reform policies," said Matthew Schweich, MPP's deputy director.
"We’re now working in very red states," said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of pro-legalization advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project. "If we win in Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota … it becomes more difficult for those senators to oppose legislation that allows their home states to implement laws the voters have approved."
"We've seen public support continue to grow every year," said Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, the legalization advocacy group backing several of the measures.
“This is an outrageous and deeply flawed decision by a group of activist judges. This ruling means that sick and suffering medical marijuana patients, including veterans, will continue to be criminals in Nebraska when they try to live healthier lives,’ Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “This ruling tramples on the constitutional rights of over 190,000 Nebraskans who signed the petition and deprives the voters of Nebraska of their opportunity to decide this issue at the ballot box.”