States Marijuana Legalization Guide in 2020

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Latest news on the Smart and Safe Act Arizona

July 22 (AP) — A group opposed to legalized recreational marijuana in Arizona filed a lawsuit to halt an initiative that would allow adults in the state to possess up to 1 ounce of adult-use cannabis. Voters see the summary when they sign petitions to qualify an initiative for the ballot. The lawsuit challenges the 100-word summary of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act, saying it misleads voters about the initiative’s key provisions.

The lawsuit filed by several voters belonging to a group called Arizonans for Health and Public Safety, a political committee that opposed legalizing marijuana. The challenge to the marijuana legalization initiative claims the summary of the proposal failed to tell voters who signed petitions that the proposed law:

· Would cover more potent forms of marijuana.

· Doesn’t explicitly say that the Legislature can’t increase a 16% tax on cannabis sales.

· Change state law on driving under the influence.

The lawsuit will be heard in the coming weeks under expedited scheduling orders. Arizonans for Health and Public Safety’s primary funding comes from the Center for Arizona Policy, a conservative organization that backs traditional families and promotes religious freedom and anti-abortion legislation.

Medical or Recreational?


What the latest polls say

65% in favor (June 1, 2020, HighGround Public Affairs poll, 5% margin of error)

What the law would do

The Smart and Safe Act would legalize the possession of cannabis for Arizonans 21 years or older, and create a market for regulated sales. Furthermore, it would require that fixed amounts of tax revenue allocated to various education, public health, and public safety programs.

Campaign sponsors

· Smart and Safe Arizona is a citizen-led initiative.

· Strategies 360 is running the campaign. Former Rep. Chad Campbell and political consultant Stacy Pearson are leading the charge.

Local legalization advocates

· MITA-AZ, the Marijuana Industry Trade Association

· Arizona NORML

Local legalization opponents

· Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

· Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy

· Arizonans for Health and Public Safety

How many stores would be licensed?

The Act calls for the licensing of about 160 retail cannabis stores in the state. The majority of the licenses would go to the pre-existing 130 licensed medical dispensaries. The state would allocate 26 additional social equity licenses and a handful of new licenses in rural counties that currently fewer than two medical dispensaries.

Would marijuana be taxed?

All retail cannabis products would be subject to a 16% excise tax and the state’s pre-existing sales tax.

Five things to know about the proposed law

· Adults will be able to possess 1 ounce of marijuana (with no more than 5 grams of it being marijuana concentrate)

· “The law limits home cultivation to 6 plants at an individual’s primary residence and 12 plants at a residence where two or more individuals who are at least 21 years old reside at one time.”

· Employers will have the right to maintain a drug (and alcohol)-free workplace.

· The state cannot consider rule changes to allow for delivery services until January 1, 2023.

· “Beginning on July 12, 2021, people convicted previously of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana or six or fewer plants or paraphernalia can petition to have the record expunged.”

Current cannabis law in Arizona

· The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) was approved by voters in 2010.

· $700 million in estimated medical marijuana sales in 2020

· 220,000 patients as of December 2019

Montana’s Initiative 190

Read the full proposal here: Montana’s Initiative 190 (adult-use legalization)

Montana’s Constitutional Initiative 118

Read the full proposal here: Montana’s Constitutional Amendment 118 (allowing the state legislature to set a legal age of 21 for the purchase and possession of cannabis)

Medical or recreational?


What Initiative 190 would do

Montana’s Initiative 190 would legalize recreational marijuana in Montana, “establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales,” and tax it at a rate of 20%.

What Constitutional Initiative 118 would do

Montana’s Constitutional Initiative 118 (CI-118) sets the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana at 21.

Why are two initiatives necessary?

I-190 and CI-118 are not opposing or competing initiatives. They work in tandem.

Amendment 118 is a necessary partner to Initiative 190. I-190 legalizes the purchase of cannabis for all adults, but the Montana Constitution defines “adult” as an individual 18 years or older. To let state regulators set a legal minimum age of 21 for cannabis, CI-118 would allow the establishment of legal age of purchase by either the state legislature or via a voter initiative.

What the latest polls say

54% of Montanans support legalization, while 37% are opposed (University of Montana Big Sky Poll, Feb. 2020).

Legalization initiative sponsors

· New Approach Montana (NAM)

· Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

Legalization initiative opponents

· No one has officially filed as an opponent, but Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and Attorney General Tim Fox are both opposed to legalization.

Would cannabis stores be licensed?

Yes, by the Montana Department of Revenue, the agency assigned to regulate legal cannabis sales statewide.

There are no limitations on the number of licenses contained in the two initiatives, but there’s also nothing that would prohibit the state legislature and/or regulatory agency from establishing limits on the number of licenses issued.

For the first year of the adult-use program, currently licensed Montana medical marijuana providers would be first in line for recreational retail licenses.

Would marijuana be taxed?

Yes, there would be a 20% excise tax at the point of retail purchase.

Medical marijuana is currently taxed at 4%. Montana does not have a general retail sales tax.

Five things to know about Montana’s I-190 and CI-118

· 10.5% of the retail cannabis tax revenue goes to the state general fund, with the remaining 89.5% dedicated to accounts for conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, healthcare costs, and localities where marijuana sold.

· I-190 prohibits an adult-use store from advertising the prices of their products—or to solicit business—via its website.

· The state adult-use cannabis regulatory program (via the Department of Revenue) must begin accepting and issuing licenses by October 1, 2021.

· An individual currently sentenced on charges “permitted by I-190” may apply for resentencing or an expungement. Individuals who have already completed such a sentence can petition to have their records expunged or have their convictions redesigned as misdemeanors.

· Homegrown of “four mature marijuana plants and four seedlings” is permitted under the initiative.

Current cannabis law in Montana

Montana first enacted its medical marijuana program in 2004. Since then, the program has mostly existed in a state of flux and chaos. Earlier this year, the state finally ended its “tethering” policy, which prohibited patients from purchasing from more than one licensed medical marijuana provider.

As of July 2020, there were roughly 33,000 registered patients in the state and about 235 dispensaries.

Despite the long-established legality of medical marijuana, non-patients still face draconian consequences for possession. A first offense for 60g (a little over two ounces) or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $500 fine. A second offense can land you in prison for three years. Possession of more than 60g is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail or a $50,000 fine. Selling or cultivating non-medical cannabis is also a felony in Montana.

The state’s USDA-approved program for hemp production will be implemented on November 1, 2020.

Mississippi’s Initiative 65

Read the full proposal here: Mississippi’s Initiative 65

Mississippi’s Alternative 65A

Read the full proposal here: Mississippi’s Alternative 65A

Medical or recreational?

Medical (both initiatives)

What Initiative 65 would do

Mississippi Initiative 65, put forward by citizen advocates, would allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana. This amendment would allow medical marijuana to be provided only by licensed treatment centers (dispensaries), and create a system to permit caregivers to administer cannabis to debilitated individuals. The Mississippi State Department of Health would regulate and enforce the provisions of this amendment.

What Initiative 65A would do

The alternative proposed by Republican state legislators, Initiative 65A, presents a tightly constricted and largely ineffective version of the same initiative. 65A would “restrict smoking marijuana to terminally ill patients; require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and treatment oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.”

The trick in 65A is hidden in the phrase “pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products,” which do not exist within medical marijuana systems. The only pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products are FDA-approved drugs like Epidiolex (CBD) and Dronabinol (THC). Those products are already available to all appropriate patients via prescription. It’s unlikely that any medical cannabis flower or oil would meet 65A’s definition of “pharmaceutical-grade.”

Mississippi House Democrats argue that 65A is “designed to confuse voters by placing a similar initiative on November’s ballot to dilute the vote to legalize medical marijuana. … The sole intention of HCR 39 [65A] is to mislead and confuse voters and kill a measure for which the majority of Mississippians are in favor.”

Initiative 65 sponsors

· Ashley Ann Durval / Medical Marijuana 2020 (Mississippians for Compassionate Care)

Initiative 65A sponsors

· Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) opposes Initiative 65, and spearheaded 65A, which would “restrict smoking marijuana to terminally ill patients; require pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products and treatment oversight by licensed physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.”

· Mississippi State Board of Health

What the latest polls say

67% of Mississippians say they support medical marijuana. It’s unclear whether that polling reflects Initiative 65, Initiative 65A, both, or just legal, medical marijuana in general. (Jan. 2019, Millsaps College & Chism Strategies poll).

Would dispensaries be licensed?

Yes, by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Dispensaries would be referred to as Treatment Centers.

Would marijuana be taxed?

Possibly. Per Section 6 in Initiative 65: “The department may assess up to the equivalent of the state’s sales tax rate to the final sale of medical marijuana.”

There is no mention of taxation in 65A.

Five things to know about Mississippi’s Initiative 65

· There are 20 qualifying conditions presented in 65, including PTSD, cancer, glaucoma, and epilepsy.

· Patients will be limited to obtaining or possessing no more than 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every 14 days.”

· Homegrown will not be permitted.

· Initiative 65 requires the state Department of Health to create and make its medical marijuana regulatory program operational by August 15, 2021.

· Instead of conventional medical marijuana dispensaries, the state will regulate an undefined number of “treatment centers,” the initiative’s preferred term for dispensaries.

· Patients will need to renew their state medical marijuana cards annually.

Current cannabis law in Mississippi

Mississippi has decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis. The first-offense possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana (a little more than an ounce) is punishable by a $250 fine instead of jail time and a civil summons as opposed to arresting, as long as the offender provides proof of identity and a written promise to appear in court.”

Latest news on the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

July 20 — Although Idaho’s campaign has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, the game ain’t over yet.

In early July, activists threatened to sue the state if they weren’t provided with more time to gather signatures in light of the coronavirus pandemic. They cited a recent ruling in which a District Court judge in Idaho granted a different organization more time to gather signatures for a separate statewide initiative, and a panel of judges blocked the state’s appeal.

Idaho’s secretary of state denied the Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s request on July 17. The group is expected to file a lawsuit later this month.

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

Read the full proposal here: The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

Medical or recreational?


What the law would do

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act would legalize marijuana possession for registered patients and establish a legal framework for growing, production, testing, and retail facilities.

Campaign sponsors

· Idaho Cannabis Coalition

· Russ Belville, spokesperson

· New Approach PAC

Legalization opponents

· Rep. Jerald Raymond (R)

· Gov. Brad Little (R)

· Idahoans for Healthy Kids and Communities

Latest polling

· 73% “strongly” or “somewhat” support medical marijuana, but 57% are opposed to recreational marijuana. (March 2019 poll)

Would dispensaries be licensed?

· Yes

Would marijuana be taxed, and at what rate?

· Yes, at 4% plus Idaho sales tax.

Five things to know about the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

· The Act would allow patients and their caregivers to possess up to four ounces of marijuana.

· Most patients would not be permitted to grow marijuana at home unless they qualify for “hardship cultivation exemption – meaning they have a physical, financial, or distance difficulty in acquiring marijuana at a dispensary,” in which case they can grow six cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked facility (a caregiver can help them).

· The Act would require individuals to have a qualifying condition or a terminal illness to become a medical marijuana patient. Those conditions include cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, and many more. The Department of Health would be authorized to add more qualifying conditions.

· The program would permit out-of-state patients but may require “some form of registration” from them.

· Tax revenue generated from the program would be split between the Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the state’s General Fund.

Current cannabis law in Idaho

An individual charged with possession of up to three ounces of marijuana (misdemeanor) faces a year in jail and/or up-to a $1,000 fine. Possession between three ounces and a pound (felony) can put you in jail for up to five years and a $10,000 fine.

Latest news on the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment

July 28 — A new DKC Analytics poll found that 68% of New Jersey registered voters support adult-use cannabis legalization. The favorable numbers are up significantly from a Monmouth University poll in April, which found 61% support. More at

Full text: NJ Marijuana Legalization Amendment

Read the full proposal here: New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment (S2703/A4497)

Medical or recreational?


What the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment would do

The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment (S2703/A4497) would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. It would also legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail cannabis. The constitutional amendment would take effect on January 1, 2021.

What the latest polls say

DKC Analytics poll released July 28, 2020, found that 68% of New Jersey registered voters support adult-use cannabis legalization. The favorable numbers are up significantly from a Monmouth University poll in April, which found 61% support. More at In that Monmouth poll, 74% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 40% of Republicans said they would support the amendment.

Legalization initiative supporters

· State Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D-3), senate president

· State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-22)

· NJ CAN 2020 / Campaign Manager Axel Owen

· NJ CAN 2020 coalition includes these organizations:

· ACLU of New Jersey

· Latino Action Network

· American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp

· Doctors for Cannabis Regulation

· Law Enforcement Action Partnership

· NAACP New Jersey State Conference

· NJ CannaBusiness Association

· New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform

Legalization initiative opponents

· NJ RAMP (Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy)

· Smart Approaches to Marijuana

Would retail cannabis stores be licensed?

Yes, but there are barely any specifics in the amendment itself, which calls for the state Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC), which already regulates the state’s medical marijuana program, to establish and oversee the adult-use program’s rules and regulations.

Would recreational marijuana be taxed?

The amendment prohibits specific marijuana excise taxes, but the sale of adult-use cannabis would be subject to the normal state sales tax of 6.625%. The state Legislature could allow local governments to tackle an additional 2% sales tax if desired.

Five things to know about the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment

· The devil will be in the (forthcoming) details: In addition to licensing procedures, the state Cannabis Regulatory Committee (CRC) and the state Legislature will still need to figure out homegrown, possession limits, and other basic regulations.

· If the amendment passes, New Jersey will become the first mid-Atlantic state to legalize adult-use cannabis.

· The new law would create an online portal that allows individuals with marijuana convictions (possession charges of up to five pounds) to expedite expungements. The amendment also requires pending possession charges to be downgraded or dismissed.

· The amendment dedicates at least 25 percent of licenses “specifically for residents of ‘impact zones’ – municipalities with more than 120,000 people, or those communities with the highest rates of marijuana arrests, crime, and unemployment in the state.”

· The amendment prevents employers, landlords, and others from discriminating against people with marijuana convictions, and permits state residents to take legal action against such discrimination.

Current marijuana law in New Jersey

New Jersey first passed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in 2010. That law, which legalized medical marijuana and established regulations around dispensaries, was actively undermined by then-Gov. Chris Christie, an aggressive opponent of all forms of cannabis legalization.

In 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which dramatically improved the program. Those 2019 reforms increased monthly limits from two ounces to three, legalized medical cannabis edibles for adults, and phased out the sales tax on cannabis medicine. There are currently around 80,000 registered patients and 11 state-licensed dispensaries in New Jersey.

A major cannabis decriminalization bill is, as of July 2020, making its way through the state Legislature.

Latest news on South Dakota’s marijuana legalization measures

July 1 — Medical marijuana advocates in South Dakota marked and mourned the passing of Larry Smith, an inspiring figure whose spirit infused the state’s push to legalize cannabis in the Nov. 2020 election. Smith died on June 25 in hospice in Sioux Falls, SD. Read more about the life and legacy of Larry Smith here.

South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A

Read the full proposal here: Constitutional Amendment A (legalizing recreational marijuana)

South Dakota Initiated Measure 26

Read the full proposal here: Initiated Measure 26 (legalizing medical marijuana)

Medical or recreational?

Both. Constitutional Amendment A (CA-A) would legalize the adult purchase and possession of cannabis. Initiated Measure 26 (IM-26) would legalize medical marijuana.

What Constitutional Amendment A would do

Constitutional Amendment A (CA-A) would legalize the recreational use, possession, and distribution (up to one ounce) of marijuana for individuals 21 years old and older. Additionally, the amendment would require the state legislature to create a medical marijuana program, and legalize the sale of hemp, by April 1, 2022. Furthermore, it would require all revenue—aside from implementation costs—to be split between the state’s general fund and the public education system.

What Initiated Measure 26 would do

Initiated Measure 26 (IM-26) would establish a medical marijuana program for individuals with a physician-certified debilitating medical condition (including minors). Patients would be allowed to possess a maximum of three ounces of marijuana, plus additional marijuana products. Patients could grow at least three plants at home, and more with a physician’s approval. The program’s rules would be established and enforced by the South Dakota Department of Health.

What the latest polls say

No polling available yet.

Legalization initiative supporters

CA-A sponsor: Brendan Johnson, former US Attorney for South Dakota. Johnson served as US Attorney from 2009 to 2015, one of the longest tenures in state history.

IM 26 sponsor: Local activist Melissa R. Mentele. A member of a longtime South Dakota agricultural family, Mentele has been a driving force for progressive cannabis law reform in the state for many years.

Supporting organizations: 

· South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws

· Marijuana Policy Project

· New Approach PAC

Supporting individuals:

· Drey Samuelson, political director for both campaigns and former chief of staff for Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)

Legalization initiative opponents

· South Dakota Chamber of Commerce

· Gov. Kristi Noem (R)

Would cannabis stores be licensed?

Under CA-A, recreational cannabis stores would be licensed by the Department of Revenue (which would oversee the adult-use retail program). Local governments would have the legal authority to ban any license (cultivation, testing, wholesale, retail). Source

Under IM-26, medical marijuana dispensaries would be licensed and regulated by the South Dakota Department of Health.

Would marijuana be taxed?

Adult-use cannabis would be subject to a 15% tax at retail. Medical marijuana would not be taxed.

Five things to know about South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A

· CA-A still allows for $250 fines if homegrown plants are visible to the public if plants not kept in a locked space or if plants are being grown in a jurisdiction with retail stores (unless homegrown has authorized in that jurisdiction).

· Additionally, the amendment allows for $100 fines for public consumption (unless that place has been licensed for consumption and $100 fine or four hours of a drug education/counseling program for a minor caught smoking marijuana.

· The amendment requires the state legislature to pass separate laws regarding the medical use of marijuana. Furthermore, it requires the state legislature “to pass laws regulating the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp.”

· The bill is endorsed by a coalition of over 50 South Dakota thought leaders, including legislators, venture capitalists, and Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe President Tony Reider Source

· Recreational marijuana could generate “more than $10 million in the fiscal year 2022 and over $29 million in the fiscal year 2024. Source

Five things to know about South Dakota Initiated Measure 26

· Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients include “cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristics of multiple sclerosis.” The Department of Health can add to this list.

· IM-26 makes it clear that the Department of Health must treat the medical marijuana patient registry as private health information that cannot be shared or disclosed except in very limited and specific cases. This is a safeguard built into the law to protect South Dakota’s law-abiding firearm owners’ privacy.

· Non-residents may use out-of-state registration cards to purchase and possess medical marijuana in South Dakota.

· The initiative does not prevent an employer from disciplining an employee for consuming or being under the influence of cannabis in the workplace.

· The initiative requires that any hard drive or other data-storage device owned by the Department of Health that is no longer in use must be destroyed to protect patient privacy.

Current cannabis law in South Dakota

Officials at Marijuana Policy Project say South Dakota’s current possession laws may be the most draconian in the country:

Possession of just a small amount of marijuana in South Dakota carries a potential penalty of a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Individuals who have consumed marijuana elsewhere are also subject to this penalty if they test positive for past use—even if they consumed marijuana in a state where it was legal. South Dakota appears to be the only state with such an “internal possession” law.

Besides, possession of any amount of hash or concentrates is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Even just possessing drug paraphernalia, like a marijuana pipe, in South Dakota can land you a misdemeanor charge, up to 30 days in prison, and up to a $500 fine.

Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment

Read the full proposal here: Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment

Medical or recreational?


What the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment would do

The ballot measure would permit individuals 18 years or older (and minors, too, with a parent or guardian’s consent) to obtain a physician or nurse practitioner’s recommendation for the use of medical cannabis to treat a serious medical condition.

The proposed amendment to the state constitution would legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana, and authorize the state government to develop laws, rules, and regulations to govern the industry.

What the latest polls say

A Feb. 2017 poll found that 77% of eligible Nebraska voters favored legalizing medical marijuana for patients with severe or debilitating conditions (Fairbank/MPP poll).

Legalization initiative supporters

· Sen. Adam Morfeld (D-46)

· Sen. Anna Wishart (D-27)

· Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana

· Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

· New Approach PAC

Legalization initiative opponents

· No official opponent groups have formed yet

· Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is extremely prohibitionist-minded

Would dispensaries be licensed?

Yes, but details are sparse at this time. The initiative states: “This subsection shall not prevent the expeditious licensing and reasonable regulation of [growers, manufacturers, etc.]. Such regulation and licensing shall not impose an undue burden on the ability of individuals authorized to use cannabis as provided in this section to access the type and quantity of cannabis, cannabis products, and cannabis-related equipment they need.

Would medical marijuana be taxed?


Two things to know about the Nebraska Medical Cannabis Constitutional Amendment

· The initiative does not allow for public consumption, nor does it allow for impaired driving under the influence of medical cannabis.

· The initiative would allow employers to restrict an employee from working while impaired by medical cannabis.

Current cannabis law in Nebraska

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, this is the state of affairs in the Corn Husker state:

“PossessionPossession is currently illegal in Nebraska. Possession of one ounce or less is an infraction, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $300, and the judge may order the offender to complete a drug education course. A second conviction for possession of one ounce or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500, and the third and subsequent convictions for possession of one ounce or less are a misdemeanor and are punishable by a maximum sentence of seven days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500. Cultivation is not allowed. Cultivation penalties in Nebraska based upon the total weight of the plants found.”

The latest news on IP 34 and IP 44, Oregon’s drug reform initiatives

July 29 — Oregon’s state Criminal Justice Commission released an analysis of IP 44, the statewide initiative to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs on different racial and ethnic groups. The results, according to The Oregonian:

The draft racial and ethnic impact statement prepared by the Criminal Justice Commission suggests there would be a significant decrease in misdemeanor and felony drug possession convictions across demographic groups if voters decide to decriminalize possession of small amounts of all drugs. Total convictions for Asian Oregonians could fall by 82.9%, for Latinos by 86.5%, for whites by 91.1%, for Blacks by 93.7%, and Native Americans by 94.2%.

IP 34, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative

Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative (Initiative 34) (the therapeutic use of psilocybin)

IP 44, the Oregon Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act

Read the full text of the proposal here: Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act (Initiative 44) (all-drug decriminalization and treatment)

Medical or recreational?


IP 34 (psilocybin) would legalize the medical use of psilocybin under the care of a licensed facilitator.

IP 44 (all-drug discrimination) would decriminalize all drugs.

It’s unclear whether IP 44, if passed, would make IP 34 redundant, as IP 44 would make possession of psilocybin no longer a criminal act.

What IP 34 (legalize medical psilocybin) would do

Initiative 34, the Oregon Psilocybin Program Initiative, would create a program and screening process for providing psilocybin to individuals 21 years of age or older. Licensed ‘facilitators would supervise consumption,’ and the program would exist under the purview of the Oregon Health Authority, as well as an advisory board of 14-16 individuals appointed by the governor. The measure requires a two-year development period for the Oregon Health Authority to lay out the program’s regulations.

What IP 44 (all-drug decrim) would do

Initiative 44, Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act, is the first measure to reach a statewide ballot in the United States. It would remove criminal penalties for the personal, non-commercial possession of all drugs listed as Schedule I, II, III, or IV by the federal Controlled Substances Act. Possession of small quantities would be classified as a “violation” similar to a speeding ticket. Penalties would be a $100 fine and/or a health assessment at an addiction recovery center.

IP 44 would also provide holistic, wide-reaching treatment to drug users, including housing and accessible consultations with social service providers. The proposed program would be funded almost exclusively through $100 million in annual cannabis tax revenue.

Would sales be allowed and/or licensed?

Initiative 44 (drug decrim): No. Initiative 44 removes drug possession as an arrestable offense. There are no provisions within the initiative to allow or regulate the sale of drugs. I-44 does not remove or invalidate the state’s current regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of alcohol and cannabis.

Initiative 34 (psilocybin): Yes. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Program would license and regulate producers, processors, delivery services and possession of psilocybin “exclusively for the administration of psilocybin services by licensed facilitators to qualified clients.'”

Would drugs be taxed?

Initiative 44 (drug decrim): No. Because Initiative 44 does not allow or regulate the legal sale of drugs aside from alcohol and cannabis, there are no new taxes involved.

Initiative 34 (psilocybin): Yes. Medical psilocybin would be subject to a 15% excise tax.

What is psilocybin?

We defer the experts at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), who have the most accurate information:

Psilocybin is the main ingredient found in several psychoactive mushrooms, making it perhaps the best-known naturally-occurring psychedelic drug.

Although psilocybin is considered active at doses around 3-4 mg, a common dose used in clinical research settings ranges from 14-30 mg. Its effects on the brain are attributed to its active metabolite, psilocin.

Psilocybin is most commonly found in wild or homegrown mushrooms and sold either fresh or dried. The most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms is Psilocybe cubensis, usually taken orally either by eating dried caps and stems or steeped in hot water and drunk as a standard tea dose around 1-2.5 grams.

For more in-depth information, see this Psilocybin Mushrooms Fact Sheet published by DPA.

How to correctly pronounce “psilocybin”

“Silluh-SIGH-bin.” We’ll go with author Michael Pollan’s pronunciation in this YouTube clip:

What the latest polls say

· Initiative 34, psilocybin: In Feb. 2019 poll, 64% of Oregon voters expressed support for lawful access to therapeutic psilocybin services. 55% supported reducing existing criminal penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms. (DHM Research poll, Feb. 2019)

· Initiative 44, all-drug decrim: Polling not yet available.

Initiative supporters

IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization: 

· Yes on IP 34

· Oregon Psilocybin Society (Thomas and Sheri Eckert)

· Sam Chapman, Yes on IP 34 campaign manager

· Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D)

· Dr. Bronner’s Soap Company

IP 44, all-drug decrim: 

· Yes on IP44

· Janie Gullickson, executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon

· Drug Policy Alliance


· Unite Oregon

Initiative opponents

IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization: 

· Decriminalize Nature Portland

IP 44, all-drug decrim: 

· Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton

· Oregon District Attorneys Association

Five things to know about Oregon’s IP 34, medical psilocybin legalization

· Health insurers will not be required to cover the cost of psilocybin.

· The Oregon Health Authority must begin accepting applications for manufacturing, service centers, facilitators, and testing licenses by January 2, 2023.

· An individual applying for a license can be denied if they are found to be “not of good repute and moral character.”

· An individual is prohibited from having a financial interest in more than one psilocybin product manufacturer or more than five psilocybin service center operators.

· To become a licensed ‘facilitator,’ an applicant must pass an examination offered by the Oregon Health Authority at least twice a year.

Five things to know about Oregon’s IP 44, the all-drug decrim measure

· The measure requires the establishment and funding of ‘addiction recovery centers’ by October 1, 2021; they would provide drug users with triage, health assessments, treatment, recovery services, and more.

· Additionally, it requires the creation of a statewide temporary telephone Addiction Recovery Center by February 1, 2021, which would be staffed 24/7/365.

· Once treatment centers open, they will also be required to be staffed 24/7/365.

· The initiative offers individuals caught with a drug the option to choose between a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine or a referral to a health service provider who can recommend further treatment.

· An Oversight and Accountability Council, established for “determining how funds will be distributed to grant applicants and to oversee the implementation of the Centers,” is required to be made up of qualified individuals representing an extensive list of professions and backgrounds, including physicians, individuals charged with possession of any of the substances decriminalized by the measure, people who have suffered from substance use disorder and individuals specializing in housing services for people with substance use disorders or a diagnosed mental health condition.

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