- Published on 04 May 2013
- Written by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director
Representative Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) has introduced a measure that would put marijuana legalization on the ballot before state voters. House Joint Resolution 6 would place a question on the Ohio ballot asking voters to approve allowing people 21 or older to purchase and use marijuana. Under this proposal marijuana would be sold only by state-licensed establishments and would be subject to a 15 percent excise tax.
“With billions upon billions spent on the war on drugs with little progress to show for it, it is time for more-sensible drug policy in this country,” stated Representative Hagan.
To be placed on the ballot, HJR 6 would need to receive a three-fifths vote from the legislature. The full text of the measure is available online here.
Please take a moment to contact your Representative and urge him/her to support this historic legislation! It is time to let the people of Ohio decide for themselves whether or not it is time to legalize marijuana. Use the link below to contact your representative and then call them or better yet setup a meeting in your district with them.
- Published on 14 April 2013
- Written by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel
Washington, DC: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled last week 5 to 4 to limit law enforcement's use of drug sniffing dogs in situations where police did not possess probable cause or a warrant. The ruling upheld a Florida Supreme Court decision finding that police violated the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution when they allowed a drug identification dog to sniff around the front door of a private home absent a search warrant specifically authorizing them to do so.
Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia opined: "The police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trawling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of the home. And the officers here had all four of their feet and all four of their companion's, planted firmly on that curtilage - the front porch is the classic example of an area intimately associated with the life of the home."
Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined in the opinion.
Writing for the minority, Justice Samuel Alito opined that law enforcement's use of the dog "did not constitute a trespass and did not violate respondent's reasonable expectations of privacy."
The case is Florida v. Jardines.
The Supreme Court in 2005 had previously ruled (Illinois v. Caballes) that an alert from a police dog during a traffic stop provides a constitutional basis for law enforcement to search the interior of the vehicle.
According to a 2011 study published in the scientific journal Animal Recognition, the performance of drug-sniffing dogs is significantly influenced by whether or not their handlers believe illicit substances are present. International statistics indicate that drug dogs are prone to false alerts, with data indicating an 80 percent failure rate in some cases.
- Published on 14 April 2013
- Written by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
Washington, DC: Fifty-two percent of Americans say that the adult consumption of cannabis ought to be legal, according to national polling data released last week by the Pew Research Center. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew, which began surveying public opinion on this issue in 1973.
This year's percentage marks an 11 percent increase in support since 2010, the last time Pew posed the question. Forty-five percent of respondents said they opposed liberalizing marijuana laws.
Democrats, (59 percent), males (57 percent), African Americans (56 percent), and those respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 (64 percent) were most likely to favor legalizing marijuana. Female respondents (48 percent), Republicans (37 percent), and those age 65 and over (33 percent) were least likely to back legalization.
Pollsters also reported that 77 percent of Americans - including 72 percent of self-identified Republicans and 60 percent of those respondents age 65 or older - believe that cannabis possesses "legitimate medical uses," a position that directly conflicts with federal policy.
According to Pew, a solid majority of Americans also question present federal efforts to enforce the criminalization of cannabis. The poll reported that 72 percent of respondents agreed that "government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth," and 60 percent of Americans said that the government should no longer enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved of its use.