Decriminalize Marijuana in Dutchess County for Adults as in MA, ME, CA, NV, OR, WA, & DC!

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Sign this petition, email countylegislators@dutchessny.gov, and call Gov. Cuomo and state legislators at 877-255-9417 if you agree that marijuana should at least be legal here in Dutchess County for adults 21 and over as it is essentially now already in NYC, CO, WA, AK, OR, DC, CA, ME, MA, and NV!

Fact: 61 percent of Americans support full legalization of marijuana. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/support-for-marijuana-legalization-at-all-time-high/

Legalization has been adopted (either in part or in full) by voter initiatives in a number of US jurisdictions: Colorado (2012), Washington (2012), Alaska (2014), Oregon (2014), Washington, DC (2014), California (2016), Maine (2016), Massachusetts (2016), and Nevada (2016)-- see http://www.NORML.org .

There's nothing but a lack of political will currently here locally for us to not effectively put public pressure on Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady to follow the lead of other sensible prosecutors on this issue across the U.S.: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2017/0717/Meet-a-new-breed-of-prosecutor

Fact: Three years ago the late great former Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana cases (to his credit): https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/nyregion/brooklyn-district-attorney-to-stop-prosecuting-low-level-marijuana-cases.html

Fact: In November 2014 New York City smartly followed Brooklyn's lead on this: https://mic.com/articles/113570/4-months-after-officially-decriminalizing-weed-here-s-the-hellscape-nyc-has-become#.0kFsn51Ak

Fact: "Think globally act locally" re: Jeff Sessions idiocy is our mantra in Dutchess: http://www.salon.com/2017/06/17/jeff-sessions-medical-marijuana-memo-is-not-what-america-needs_partner/

"Like" on Facebook my new "Decriminalize Marijuana in Dutchess County" page: https://www.facebook.com/Decriminalize-Marijuana-in-Dutchess-County-285331068607575/ .

Joel Tyner, Dutchess County Legislator, 324 Browns Pond Road, Staatsburg, NY 12580 joeltyner@earthlink.net 845-464-2245 http://www.DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colorado-marijuana-pot-tax-revenue_us_596f7911e4b01696c6a1fb06?cmpid=sfc_em_greenstate

POLITICS 07/19/2017 03:19 pm ET
Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Revenue Now Exceeds Half A Billion Dollars
The funds have been put to a wide range of uses, such as rebuilding infrastructure.
 
By Ryan Grenoble

DENVER ― These days, cannabis is Colorado’s cash crop. (Ciao, corn!)
In the three-and-a-half years since the state began allowing adults to purchase marijuana for recreational use, cannabis has contributed more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue to both state and local coffers.

That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Denver-based marijuana consulting firm VS Strategies. Based on data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the firm tabulated that cannabis-related taxes from 2014 through mid-2017 totaled $506,143,635.

That includes the taxes on purchases of marijuana for recreational or medical use, as well as fees paid by cannabis businesses. The tax figure is substantially more than some experts predicted in 2012 when Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana. At that time, some analysts projected the state would net between $5 and $22 million a year in taxes.

A majority of money has gone to fund K-12 education (even with that, Colorado’s education funding badly lags behind most of the rest of the country). Amendment 64 requires the first $40 million in tax revenue be allotted for school construction.

The remainder of the state’s share of cannabis taxes helps finance health care, health education, law enforcement and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. 

Local governments, which tax marijuana separately from the state, have used their share of the funds in a variety of ways.

Pueblo County, for instance, used some of the cash to start what’s believed to be the first cannabis-tax-funded college scholarship program. In 2017, it distributed $420,000 among 210 students.

The Denver-area city of Edgewater, which has six marijuana dispensaries and a population of 5,300, has used its cannabis windfall to upgrade outdated infrastructure. Cannabis taxes have generated more than $1.4 million for the city, which CBS Denver reports makes up 20 percent of Edgewater’s annual budget.

Marijuana sales in Colorado now regularly exceed $100 million on a monthly basis. In 2016, total recreational and medical sales exceeded $1.3 billion. By comparison, corn ― the state’s most-valuable non-psychoactive crop ― was valued at $569 million that year.

“Marijuana tax money has been used to improve a wide range of programs and services,” Mason Tvert, a leading advocate for Amendment 64 who now works for VS Strategies, said in an email to HuffPost. “It is funding everything from school construction to substance abuse treatment to fighting homelessness. While it might not fix every school or help every person who needs it, it is having a significant and positive impact on our community.”

Under Amendment 64, local governments still have the power to ban marijuana sales. Colorado Springs, for instance ― a city recovering from massive budget shortfalls ― does not allow the sale of recreational weed, and as such misses out on additional tax revenue.

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https://mic.com/articles/113570/4-months-after-officially-decriminalizing-weed-here-s-the-hellscape-nyc-has-become#.pxS52YAWM

4 Months After Officially Decriminalizing Weed, Here's the Hellscape NYC Has Become
 
Published March 25, 2015
by Gregory Krieg
 
On Nov. 10, 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called a press conference to reveal a remarkable piece of news: The world's marijuana arrest capital would stop filing criminal charges against people caught with small amounts of pot.

Not surprisingly, the number of misdemeanor marijuana charges have dropped precipitously since the new policy went into effect Nov. 19. An Associated Press report found a 75% drop in arrests the next month, with about 460 in December 2014 compared to 1,820 the previous year. Through March 8, the city had recorded 1,956 low-level marijuana busts in 2015, a 62% decrease from the 5,157 conducted over the same period a year ago, according to the New York Times.

But for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, the decision came more than three decades too late. The Empire State decriminalized the possession of less than 25 grams of marijuana in 1977, provided it was not in "public view." But the city largely ignored the law for the better part of 38 years, busting anyone caught with even a small joint. Police officers would exploit the loophole by asking suspects to empty their pockets, thereby bringing drugs into "public view." Since the mid-1990s, those arrests often followed a police search made permissible by NYPD's controversial (and now rare) stop-and-frisk tactics.

With people of color being the disproportionate target of those arrests — the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks were nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested on marijuana charges, despite using it at the same rate — the city is moving, however slowly, toward a more just law enforcement standard.

"It is certainly an improvement that marijuana arrests are down," Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Mic. "Not only is it good in terms of social justice because fewer people are being punished for using something that is safer than alcohol and communities of color are bearing less of the brunt of arrests, but the police now have more resources that they can direct at preventing and solving serious crime."

False threats: Violent crime has been on the decline in New York City for more than two decades, in line with a nationwide trend, that has continued through the four months of decriminalization. Felony assault complaints in the five boroughs for the week of March 9 to 15 were down 9.1% from the same period in 2014, according to CompStat figures from the NYPD. The year-to-date total has decreased by nearly 500 complaints, a 12.8% fall. There has been a 6% decline in felony assault arrests over the past 24 months and more than 53% in New York City over the past 22 years.

Despite those positive trends, the commissioner has remained an often dissembling skeptic. During a press conference on March 2, Bratton blamed the recent jump in homicides on "the seemingly innocent drug that's been legalized around the country." There have been 66 murders so far in 2015, compared to 55 over the same period in 2014, according to CompStat.

"In this city," Bratton said, "people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything that we had to deal with an '80s and '90s with heroin and cocaine."

It was a searing accusation, and a completely bogus one.

In 1989 and 1990, with a real drug war — over crack cocaine — underway in the city, the total murder counts were 1,905 and 2,245, respectively. If homicides continue at their current rate through 2015, the final figure would come in at 324. Bratton, who ran the New York City Transit Police from 1990 to 1992 before beginning his first stint as commissioner in 1994, should know better. 

Source: Mark Lennihan/AP
"If, indeed, there is violence in the illicit marijuana marketplace between those who are selling marijuana, there is one very basic and smart way to solve that problem," Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance wrote in a blog for the Huffington Post, "end marijuana prohibition."

The roadmap: "Starting decriminalization at the local level makes a lot of sense as a way to change policy in a concrete manner and help stop arrests without the tremendous resources and political support necessary for a statewide campaign," Fox said, turning his focus to what New York City's decision means in the larger fight to end marijuana prohibition. "These types of laws are great at keeping the conversation going at the state and local level, and their limited scope make them easier to implement than state laws."

City and state governments in Colorado, Washington state, Alaska and Oregon all decriminalized low-level possession before voters approved initiatives to legalize and regulate recreational use. There are "currently 12 states [and an untold number of local jurisdictions with] laws that reduce the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil fine," according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

In New York, state Sen. Liz Krueger (D) has introduced a modified proposal — her first attempt failed in 2014 — to end marijuana prohibition statewide. Speaking to WNYC about legal drugs like alcohol and cigarettes, she said, "We don't outlaw those, we put regulations on them and we tax them. That is a failed model after 80 years of the drug wars against marijuana," according to the Observer.

Other state legislators remain unlikely to sign on, especially with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) keeping up his vocal opposition. But the tide is turning. New York legalized medicinal marijuana in September 2014. Now, with New York City primed for its annual springtime resurgence, the green shoots of March and April will be a pleasant afterthought to police and prosecutors who are no longer be compelled to waste their time arresting, processing and making hardened criminals of teenagers caught holding a happy little joint.

By Gregory Krieg@GregJKrieg
Greg Krieg is a senior staff writer at Mic, covering politics. He is based in New York and can be reached at greg@mic.com.

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http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2017/06/12/legalizing-marijuana-ny-tried-again/102787840/

New push for legal recreational marijuana in NY

Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief Published 3:57 p.m. ET June 12, 2017 | Updated 4:40 p.m. ET June 12, 2017

ALBANY — Some Democrats in the state legislature on Monday called on New York to legalize recreational marijuana, saying the drug should be taxed and regulated.

They reintroduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which would create a legal market for marijuana, urging that the decriminalization of pot disproportionately hurts communities of color.

"This is not about usage," said Sen. Jamaal Bailey, a freshman Democrat from the Bronx who also represents parts of Westchester County. "This is about making sure we are making smart decisions on behalf of our state economically and making sure the prohibitions that are in our communities of color are taken away."

The bill's support comes less than two weeks before the end of the legislative session and stands no chance of passage in the Republican-led Senate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, also has not supported the legalization of marijuana.

But the bill's sponsor, Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, said the goal is to build support for the measure. She pointed out that Cuomo once opposed medical marijuana, but he changed his mind, and the state passed a law in 2014 to legalize it.

The bill would legalize marijuana for those 21 years or older and establish a system where it could be grown, regulated and taxed.

"Time changes people’s opinion," she said. "Public opinion changes people’s opinion, and so what this is about growing attention to an issue that is really important."

New York has neighboring states that are legalizing marijuana. Massachusetts last year legalized recreational marijuana, and Vermont is also nearing a deal to do the same [since then has]. Nationally, seven states have legalized it.

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From http://www.NORML.org :

The term 'marijuana' (sometimes spelled 'marihuana') is Mexican in origin and typically refers to any part of -- or any one of -- the three distinctive subspecies of the cannabis plant: cannabis sativa (which tends to grow tall and stalky), cannabis indica (which tends to grow smaller and bushier), or cannabis ruderalis (found primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe.) Grown outdoors, the cannabis plant typically achieves maturity within three to five months. Cultivated indoors under optimum heat and lighting, the plant may reach maturity within as few as 60 days.

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.

Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.

Personal Marijuana Use
NORML supports the adoption of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers can buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source. This policy, generally known as legalization, was adopted by voter initiative in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Voters in Washington, DC approved the removal of criminal and civil penalties regarding the adult possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and/or the cultivation of up to six plants, but a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial cannabis market is not established.

NORML also supports the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This policy, known as decriminalization, removes the consumer -- the marijuana smoker -- from the criminal justice system.

More than 25 percent of the U.S. population lives under some form of marijuana decriminalization, and according to government and academic studies, these laws have not contributed to an increase in marijuana consumption nor negatively impacted adolescent attitudes toward drug use.

Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 600,000 individuals per year -- far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

 


Of those charged with marijuana violations in 2015, approximately 89 percent, about 575,000 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. Recently enacted changes in law in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have resulted in fewer marijuana arrests in those jurisdictions.

Medical Use
Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity's medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.

Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief -- particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) -- nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.While much of the renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics is a result of the discovery of the endocannabinoid regulatory system, some of this increased attention is also due to the growing body of testimonials from medical cannabis patients and their physicians.

Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician's supervision.

Legal Issues
Driven by the Drug War, the U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as most Western European nations. In 2015, more than 643,000 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related offenses alone. Marijuana prohibition causes more problems than it solves, and ruins thousands more lives than it supposedly tries to save.

NORML's State Laws outlines the laws & penalties for marijuana conduct in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and under federal law. Marijuana laws change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. The NORML Legal Committee provides legal support and assistance to victims of the current marijuana laws. NORML also monitors developments in state and federal law, and files appellate and amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in cases which may affect the interpretation of existing marijuana laws, or which will, hopefully, change them.

Industrial Hemp
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant similar to flax or kenaf. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products.

Hemp produces a much higher yield per acre than do common substitutes such as cotton and requires few pesticides. In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting.

The hemp plant is currently harvested for commercial purposes in over 30 nations, including Canada, Japan and the European Union. Although it grows wild across much of America and presents no public health or safety threat, hemp is nevertheless routinely uprooted and destroyed by law enforcement. Each year, approximately 98% of all the marijuana eliminated by the DEA's "Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program" is actually hemp.

Marijuana Research Library
For over 40 years, NORML has served as a clearinghouse for marijuana-related information that includes health reports, the latest national and state polls, written testimony, and arrest data. To date, there are approximately 22,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, nearly half of which were published within ten years.



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