Drug Law

New Marijuana Laws: November 2010 will be Interesting

| by NORML

This coming November’s mid-term election is going to have major implications for cannabis law reform.

In South Dakota, election officials last week certified Measure 13, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, for the November ballot.

If approved by voters, Measure 13 would exempt state criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or six plants by authorized patients — making South Dakota the fifteenth state to legalize medicinal cannabis use. Proponents of the measure, the grassroots South Dakota Coalition for Compassion, collected over twice the number of signatures necessary to place the proposal on the 2010 ballot — a feat that they believe is indicative of medical marijuana’s growing support in the Great Plains. In 2006, voters narrowly rejected a similar proposal – marking the only time that citizens have rejected a statewide medical marijuana legalization proposal.

The stakes are arguably even higher in California, where election officials last night confirmed that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will appear on the November ballot.

If approved, the measure will allow adults 21 years or older to possess, share or transport up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption, and/or cultivate the plant in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence. It will also permit local governments the option to authorize the retail sale of marijuana and/or commercial cultivation of cannabis to adults and to impose taxes on such sales. Personal marijuana cultivation or not-for-profit sales of marijuana would not be taxed under the measure.

The measure will not alter or amend any aspect of the California Health and Safety code pertaining to the use of marijuana for medical purposes, when such use is authorized by a physician.

You can read more about this proposal here.

According to an April 2009 California Field Poll, 56 percent of state voters back legalizing and regulating the adult use and sale of cannabis.

Other states are in play as well. Ballot drives in Washington and Oregon are ongoing, and numerous municipal measures are also pending. Meanwhile, in the nation’s Capitol, DC council members are discussing allowing authorized patients to grow their own marijuana legally — despite the federal ban.

No matter how you look at it, this November is shaping up to be the most important month for marijuana law reform ever.

Let the battles begin.