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Washington DC Voters To Decide On Legalization

Washington D.C. voters will be able to decide whether to make recreational marijuana legal later this year.  Question 71 to legalize it was approved yesterday by the D.C Board of Elections and will be included on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Council Member Jack Evans (D) believes that “it will pass overwhelmingly.”  If that holds true, then it will become legal to:

  1. “possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use;
  2. grow no more than six cannabis plants with 3 or fewer being mature, flowering plants, within the person’s principal residence;
  3. transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older; and
  4. use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing, or processing of marijuana or cannabis.”

Source: DC Cannabis Campaign

Selling cannabis would still be illegal, and we’re a little concerned about the limits, but this is a huge step in the right direction!

Washington DC petitioners and residents produced over 57,000 signatures to make this happen, and they only needed 22,000.  They chose to do a legislative amendment rather than a constitutional amendment.  They almost always require much less signatures, but, like here in Ohio, legislative amendments usually give the legislature the ability to make any final changes.  Unfortunately, we have very little confidence or trust in our Ohio representatives on this issue, as most have yet to even consider medical use.

Back to DC, though, it seems that the US Congress is poised to block this legislation even if it passes.  If they do, however, it could finally invoke a federal judicial review of prohibition itself – something the Administration chose to avoid in CO & WA, but may prove inevitable in DC.  The federal government’s constitutional authority for prohibition lies in its mandate to “protect the public health and safety.”  It would be their legal responsibility to prove that that is what prohibition does, and in this era of cannabis knowledge, we’d really like to see them try.

Cannabis is Safer than…

… Anything that has ever caused a death in human history.  That’s right, not even one death has EVER had cannabis officially listed as the primary cause.  This has been studied several times in recent history, most notably in the Schafer Commission’s report to Nixon, which he ignored “with prejudice” (like he did everything else) then signed the Controlled Substances Act in the early 1970′s.  It should be noted that this was around the same time he was illegally bombing Cambodia and trying to cover up the Watergate scandal, which ultimately ended in his resignation.  Getting off point, but he was the President responsible for what are still our current federal drug laws.

So why is the thought of legalizing cannabis, or marijuana, still so taboo (for a growing minority of the population)?  It still has its social stigma, as evidenced by history, and most recently, by “activists” that accept, even fight for, harsh regulations and excessive taxes.  The government told us that cannabis made you violent, then that it made you lazy and too peaceful, and the only lasting prohibitionist mantra is that it is a gateway drug.

Dr. Peter Barss observed 2 deaths in 4 years in Papua New Guinea.  Cannabis is safer than coconuts.

Dr. Peter Barss observed 2 deaths in 4 years in Papua New Guinea. Cannabis is safer than coconuts.

Since cannabis is so safe, beneficial, and simply relaxing and enjoyable, many people prefer it to alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and cigarettes, and use it without ever getting involved with any harder, illegal drugs.  The assumption that it is a gateway drug is nothing more than that, an assumption; there’s simply no statistics to support that theory, especially now that cannabis is so well accepted in half the country.  It’s certainly true that many accounts of first time hard-drug users got it from their cannabis dealer, but the frequency of those accounts is unknown and not verifiable, and is likely increasingly rare in legal cannabis states.

We feel that if we are to worry about dangerous, gateway drugs, then we should have a little more scrutiny directed towards the medicine cabinet, beer cooler, and cigarette racks, though we would never advocate prohibition of anything, as history has shown us that it’s unenforceable.  Cannabis having so many benefits and virtually no verifiable, serious harms should be as legal as lettuce, since it’s even safer than, yes, lettuce.  There should be no need to appease any governmental body unless they can prove actual harms, and to date, they can’t even link it to lung cancer, despite it having many of the same carcinogens found in tobacco smoke.

Please join us in fixing this egregious, racially motivated mistake in history and make this a better place for our progeny.

Summary Submission Coming Soon

Have you helped us collect signatures and have petition packets to turn in?  If so, we need them ASAP!

Please make sure to fill out the first and last pages per the petitioning instructions on our Amendment Page.

Please Contact Us and let us know that your petitions are on their way and about how many signatures you have, if possible.  We also have our new Volunteers Facebook Group.

We can also arrange a meet / pick up if necessary, or you can feel free to meet us in Columbus when we submit – the more the merrier!

We need to hear from you soon in order to best coordinate this if you have petitions!  Thank you so much for your help and efforts, and we look forward to working more closely together once our summary is approved.

June 2014 Update – Yellow Springs Street Fair

The deadline for the 2 medical marijuana initiatives currently circulating Ohio is fast approaching.  There are only a couple of weeks left before the deadline to submit enough signatures to secure their place on the November 2014 ballot.  The Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment (OATA) and the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment (OCRA) – ANY proposed Ohio Constitutional Amendments currently petitioning for this year’s ballot – need just over 385,000 signatures by July 5th.  We wish them the best of luck and hope that if they succeed, that Ohio will pass medical marijuana in November.

Our initiative, the End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act (EOCPA), is still in the early stages of our goal to get on the November 2016 ballot.  We have almost exactly 2 years to get this done  Our first step is to submit 1,000 valid signatures for summary approval, which by our estimation, we should be ready to do very soon.  I have confidence that our summary will be approved this time, then we can start the main signature drive to get the 385,000+ needed to get on the ballot.

Regardless of what happens this year, we will continue to push for full legalization in 2016.  We will continue to notify everyone when we have information that needs sharing.  We don’t post a lot of educational information because we feel that most people know the facts already, such as cannabis’ many medical benefits and virtually no harmful side effects, not to mention the benefits of hemp and harms caused by the drug war.  If your Facebook and email is anything like ours, you get plenty of educational links and updates already, about medical studies and changes in other states and on the Hill.  For that reason, we like to use our site and Facebook page simply to update on what we are doing.

On that note, we will be at the Yellow Springs Street Fair all day this Saturday, June 14th.  If you want to sign, ask any questions, or just come have a good time, the Street Fair is never boring – tons of wonderful people, vendors, and free music!  Your fellow Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis thank you for your support and look forward to meeting / hearing from you.

April ’14 Update

First we’d like to apologize for not posting anything in a while.  I can assure you that our resolve to get our initiative on the 2016 has not wavered.  The first step is to get our petitions submitted for summary approval with 1,000 valid signatures.  We are nearly there and are looking forward to submitting soon.  We do have an event coming up that should put us over the top.  Look for us at the May Daze Music Festival May 2-4.  Once submitted and approved, we expect to be at more events and have our volunteer information better organized.

Thanks for your continued support.  We are not asking for donations at this time, just your signatures and any help or sharing of information that you can.  Contact us any time with any questions you may have, and be sure to sign up on our Volunteers page if you’d like to be a part of changing history for the better!

Legal as Lettuce!

We have not given up and never will!  We do apologize that this has been a tough winter for us, we are regular people trying to get by, and this is not a paying “job” for us.  In fact, some of us and our volunteers have taken time off of work to help petition before.  Please consider helping us in any way you can.  We have purchased an easier to say (and hopefully remember) domain name / url that redirects to this website –> “Legal as Lettuce” — legalaslettuce.com.  There are some big differences of course, legally speaking, but everyone being able to grow their own lettuce and cannabis would not be one of them!

The End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act (EOCPA) is based off of Jack Herer’s initiative.  We included all of Jack’s protections and added a couple more that were suggested from many sources, then replaced his excise tax proposal with a “sales taxes only” model at the prevailing rate, which shouldn’t be too excessive, as long as the supply is sufficient enough to keep up with demand.  Still yet, Ohio is mostly around 7% depending on tax district, which is less than the 14.25 – 29% taxes for cannabis as reported in CO.  With the cap on license fees for any one commercial retail or production site at $1,250, unlike California’s $50,000+ / year, Ohioans would not have to worry about that additional cost being passed on to the consumer.

There was one issue that Jack said he would’ve changed if given the time in regards to a possible abuse of the expungement clause, a fix that we were able to incorporate quite a while ago.  We feel that we have put together a great amendment / ballot initiative proposal that would give us a truly sustainable and viable cannabis / hemp / marijuana (or “marihuana”) industry without any excessive costs or restrictions.  It would allow commercial and non-commercial production and sales, letting the People have a truly “free market.”  It started with the framework, many ‘Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis’ helped craft it and get it this far, and it will take a lot of us working together to get it on the ballot and passed!

“Legalization is a proven reality in the US; We believe that Ohio is ready for this – In the court of public opinion, We believe that all of US have already won!”

Patients would also have full access to this medicine when EOCPA passes without having to put their name on a list, be forced to buy it while illegal to grow, or pay their doctors and lawyers to prove some medical need for what is quite literally one of the most beneficial, safe, and effective foods and drugs that have ever been discovered.  It is very much about freedom and giving Ohioans a firm legal ground to stand on.  There are many people that accept the idea that alcohol may have some therapeutic value, to some extent at least, because it can help you relax.  At the very least, certainly the same can be said about cannabis!  And everyone knows which is safer.

We would rather not pay high taxes nor risk an increase in green-DUI charges like we have witnessed in CO, neither.  When we think of “treat it like alcohol,” though, considering taxes, it’s hard not to point out that beer is taxed @ $5.58 / barrel here in Ohio.  As far as driving high, Unimed has this to say about their drug, Marinol, which is 95% synthetic THC – “You should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such tasks safely.”  It does NOT say “never do it, it’s not safe.”

And so we continue on for the 2016 General Election.  Please consider helping us get this initiative on the ballot for Ohioans to decide.  We support the medical marijuana initiatives in Ohio, too, but with any medical marijuana laws, you still have excessive taxes and regulations, and people still go to jail.  We support full freedom and hope you will, too.

We have had a slow winter, but now that the warm festival season is upon us again, keep watch for when we’re in your neck of the woods for your chance to sign!

Thank You!

 

Legalization Campaign Kicks Off In Ohio, Again

Our proposed Ohio Constitutional Amendment, the End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act, has been revised to fix the summary problems from before.  We have begun to collect the initial 1,000 valid signatures to submit the new summary for approval.  We have also added an affirmative medical defense.  Medical research, education, and access to legal cannabis for all who need it are extremely valid points and necessary legal changes that would be made by our initiative.

The plant’s medical benefits can not be denied, but neither should our freedom, especially for such a benign and beneficial plant.  That is why we have always advocated for the right to grow your own, buy it from your neighbor, or buy it from the store, make any list of products that the plant can be used for, or study it for any known or unknown medical or industrial applications.

Adding this affirmative defense allows for medical access to juveniles that would otherwise have no access.  It will make the cannabis plant truly legal for ALL uses in Ohio!  And by doing it this way, there are no additional doctor protections, licensing requirements, excessive restrictions, or high costs associated, as is the case with some medical marijuana initiatives.

We will be working on videos and setting up online meetings when we are able.  Most questions have been answered on our FAQ’s page, and the Amendment page has the summary and our proposed initiative available for everyone to read.  If you have any additional questions, you can always comment anywhere on the website or Facebook page, or by any other means listed on our Contacts page.

I just know this is going to be a quick run to 1,000 this time, and I am so happy and inspired by the amount of support we have seen!  So many of you have answered the call to help change the course of history!  The end of federal prohibition may soon be near, and we’re going to need help ending it here in Ohio, too!  If you’d like to help, please see our Volunteers page.

Also, we will be at the Yellow Springs Street Fair next weekend on Saturday, October 12th, to kickoff our campaign.  Stop out to sign, help petition, or just to have a great time!  We will either be in front of the Spirited Goat Coffee House or walking the crowd.  We will be hard to miss, but if you can’t find us, email or call us any time, details on our Contact page.

Thanks, and I look forward to working with every Responsible Ohioan for Cannabis!

Don McAdams

Re-Hashing Our Full Legalization Initiative!

Life is like photography – you can’t develop without the negatives.

While we were hoping to have our proposed ballot’s summary approved last week, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office routinely rejects these on their first submission.  It is unfortunate, and we take full responsibility for our omissions.  We will do our best to make sure that it does NOT happen again.  Our resolve has never been stronger, and the outpouring of support that we have received has been very inspiring!

We will have the petitions, instructions, and helpful tips available after they have been thoroughly examined to make sure that there are no more mistakes.  We are anticipating this to happen within the next week, but we can NOT rush this part of the process!  So please be patient.

The road ahead just became a lot longer since the wording was rejected.  Collecting 385,000+ signatures by the first week of July, 2014, would require over 8,000 signatures per week!  Collecting that many at this time would not be realistic for us, and it would be irresponsible for us to claim otherwise.  A more realistic goal is to quickly get the 1,000 signatures needed to resubmit for summary approval.  Then, since the signatures don’t expire, we would have plenty of time to collect the needed signatures for 2015 or 2016.

What we are planning for now is to get on the November 2016 ballot, for a number of good reasons.  Besides 2014 being unrealistic for us, 2015 is an odd year, which notoriously have low voter turnouts.  Mostly conservatives vote in odd years, and they do not support our issue, for the most part.  We believe that we would have a very difficult time getting full legalization to pass under these circumstances.  Even if we have enough signatures by the 2015 deadline, we do NOT want to see all of Ohio’s hard work setup to fail!

2016 is, therefore, the most feasible conclusion.  Not only does that give us plenty of time to have our wording approved, get better organized, and collect all of the signatures needed, it will also be a Presidential election year.  There should be a good voter turnout, and since cannabis freedom is becoming such a widely accepted idea, I suspect that we are not alone in our excitement for the future!

To be clear, there are 2 medical marijuana initiatives currently petitioning in Ohio which have already had their summaries approved.  We strongly encourage you to support their efforts, as well.  We have collected signatures for both of them, and hope that either will make it to the ballot box next year!  We are asking you to ALSO support full legalization of cannabis for ALL uses in Ohio and our goal to get it on the 2016 ballot!

Please browse our website for more information – the Amendment, as linked on that page, will remain unchanged, except one addition that we will talk about more once it is finalized.  We look forward to hearing from all of you very soon!

Webinar Tomorrow

The technical difficulties we experienced with the webinar today were crippling.  Framing the webinar did not work, so we will have to share the new screenleap link again after we begin tomorrow, at 2pm.  I will post that link to the website and our Facebook page after the show starts.

Also, you will not be able to hear me unless you call in!  Not knowing this bit of information is what monkey-wrenched the operation today.  If you do not have good cell phone service, or the number is long distance for you, try using an online VOIP service like Skype or Gmail.  If anyone needs any help on that, I will be offline tonight, so Google it, and I will try to help before the webinar tomorrow.  Please contact me before the webinar for any assistance (Contact page on our website, Facebook page, my personal Facebook profile, etc.).

We will be looking into other webinar options throughout next week and may decide to have a couple every weekend, but for tomorrow, we will try this method again.  I am also going to create a video(s) to cover all the important information that our Volunteers will need.  So don’t worry, we will not leave you hangin’ with unanswered questions.

Hopefully I’ll hear from all of you after 2pm tomorrow!

Thanks again,
Don McAdams

Volunteer Sign Up and Webinar

The volunteer signup part of our website is finished and can be found here!  The following information will be sent to you if you sign up to help us collect signatures, but we’re not limiting the online meetings / webinars to just volunteers.  We welcome everyone to at lease tune in, as we will be covering a lot of ground and answering a lot of questions…

Starting this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, August 10th and 11th, 2013, we will host online meetings 2-4pm EST via “screenleap.”  It is free with no software to install!  All you will need to do is go to a web page to watch from any browser or device, then call in to hear and / or join the conversation.  Any phone carrier charges will apply, but there is no additional cost to join the meeting.

I will see how well the screen capture software works so I can make a video of the meeting afterwards, but this will be our first run, so no guarantees.  If we find that we only need about an hour, we may break it up into 2 one hour meetings.  We’ll play that by ear.  If you miss the email & post with the meeting link and we couldn’t record it, don’t worry, we will be doing this again!

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