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Pro-marijuana eyes seven states for campaign September 22, 2005 - boston.com
A pro-marijuana group based in Washington, D.C., is looking for activists in seven states to build grass-roots support for legalized marijuana, with the eventual goal being to get the drug legalized for all adults.
The nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project is targeting Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
The effort is in its infancy, and project officials emphasize they have no master plan for the seven states.
Instead, the group is looking for local activists whose efforts would be funded by the project's grant program. The eventual goal is to put marijuana in the same category as alcohol, with the same kind of taxes and regulation.
A request for proposals has been issued in the seven states, where grant applicants are asked to list "escalating tactics that would lead to a change in state law in three to five years via the state Legislature or the statewide ballot initiative process," according to a job listing on the Internet.
Tactics could include organizing demonstrations, lobbying state lawmakers, building a coalition of supportive organizations and generating favorable news coverage.
"It's about providing funding and providing organization," said Krissy Oechslin, a spokeswoman for the project. "We'd like to bring it off the street and regulate it."
Barnett Lotstein, a special assistant in the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Attorney's Office, said the effort would go much further than previous Arizona medical marijuana initiatives, but it's not surprising.
"The objective was, once you get people to think of drugs as medicine, the next step is legalization," he said. "The ultimate goal of people who propose the legalization of marijuana is the legalization of all drugs."
The project has targeted Arizona because of support residents have shown for medical marijuana, Oechslin said. Arizona voters approved a ballot initiative in 1996 that gave doctors authority to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients.