Pubdate: Thu, 6 Nov 2008
Source: Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco, CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Bay Area Reporter
Author: Liz Highleyman
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Popular)


Marijuana reform measures fared well in Michigan and Massachusetts on 
Tuesday, November 4, but a California measure that would have reduced 
penalties for possession of a small amount of pot was defeated by a 
substantial margin.

In Michigan, voters approved Proposal 1, the state's medical 
marijuana initiative, by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent.

Seriously ill patients with a physician's recommendation who register 
under the new law will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of 
cannabis without facing arrest. Patients, or their designated 
caregivers, will also be permitted to grow up to 12 plants in a 
secure indoor facility. The initiative is scheduled to go into effect 
in early December, and the state health department will have 120 days 
to issue regulations for a medical marijuana registry.

The win makes Michigan the 13th state to allow the use of cannabis 
for medicinal purposes, and nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population 
now lives in a state with a medical marijuana law, according to the 
Marijuana Policy Project, which helped fund the Proposal 1 campaign. 
Eight of these states passed laws by voter initiative -- starting 
with California's Proposition 215 in 1996 -- while the remainder went 
through state legislatures.

"Michigan voters just dealt a fatal blow to the federal government's 
cruel, dishonest war on medical marijuana and sent a stunning message 
to the new presidential administration and Congress," said MPP 
Executive Director Rob Kampia. "One in four Americans now live in a 
medical marijuana state, and the federal government has no business 
fighting a war against a quarter of our citizens."

Opponents warned that the proposal could result in an explosion of 
"pot shops," pointing to the proliferation of medical cannabis 
dispensaries in California before several localities, including San 
Francisco, took measures to bring them under stricter control.

In Massachusetts, voters overwhelmingly approved Question 2, a 
decriminalization initiative that will substitute a civil violation 
and fine -- similar to a traffic ticket -- for criminal penalties for 
possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana.

"Tonight's results represent a sea change," said Kampia. "Voters have 
spectacularly rejected eight years of the most intense government war 
on marijuana since the days of Reefer Madness ."

But in California, voters soundly defeated Proposition 5, the 
Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, by a margin of 60 percent to 
40 percent. In addition to changing sentencing guidelines for 
non-violent drug offenses and expanding treatment and rehabilitation 
programs, the measure would have reduced penalties for possession of 
less than 1 ounce of marijuana. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake