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WHO Finalizes CBD Recommendations

NORML Blog - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:15

The use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and therefore should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations finalized today by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Concludes WHO: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance). The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

A preliminary report issued by WHO in November affirmed, “[T]here is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the imposition of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies that advised the World Health Organization in their review.

Despite the international health agency’s acknowledgment that CBD is therapeutic, safe, and well-tolerated, it remains classified under US law as a schedule I controlled substance.

“The domestic classification and criminalization of cannabidiol as a schedule I controlled substance is out of step with both available science and common sense,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is yet another example of the US government placing ideology over evidence when it comes to issues related to the cannabis plant.”

Text of the WHO recommendations are online here.

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Indigent Marijuana Defendants Will Be Covered Under Amended Contract Between Kansas City and Legal Aid of Western Missouri

NORML Blog - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 11:57

On April 4, 2017, Kansas City residents decriminalized marijuana possession with an amazing 75% of voters supporting that move. The Initiative was led by NORML KC, the Kansas City Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The Petition decriminalized marijuana possession by eliminating arrests, eliminating the possibility of jail as a sentence, and requiring almost all such cases to be handled in municipal court which does not result in a criminal conviction. The previous range of punishment was up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. The new maximum fine is $25.

Prior to the election in April, certain public officials claimed they were concerned about the welfare of indigent marijuana defendants who would no longer be eligible for free legal services under the City’s contract with Legal Aid of Western Missouri (LAWMO). Supporters of the Initiative pointed out that this problem could easily be fixed by amending the City’s contract with LAWMO. Now, that has happened.

The previous KC/LAWMO contract limited free legal services to indigent defendants charged with offenses which carry possible jail sentences. The new amendment specifically allows for LAWMO to represent indigent defendants facing marijuana possession charges.

According to The Kansas City Star, April 4, 2017, LAWMO represented defendants in about 59% of municipal marijuana cases during the past fiscal year.  The Star reported that approximately 70% of marijuana defendants are black, in a city where the population is only 30% black.  Studies consistently show that marijuana use rates are virtually the same between black and white Americans.

“NORML KC is pleased that the City has chosen to do the right thing in protecting its most vulnerable population by amending the contract with LAWMO,” said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of NORML KC. “Prosecuting non-violent cannabis offenses should not be a priority in our city when over half of the nation has some form of safe and legal access.”

Attorney Dan Viets, Missouri NORML Coordinator and a member of the national NORML Board of Directors, said that the voters of Kansas City spoke loudly and clearly in getting the Initiative a landslide victory. “It was incredible that with no funding and only a small group of volunteers supporting the effort, this Initiative passed with the support of 75% of the voters!”

Further reform efforts are underway statewide. The New Approach Medical Cannabis Initiative campaign intends to place a measure legalizing medical cannabis on the November 2018 Missouri ballot. Missouri NORML Chapters, including NORML KC, are an important part of the coalition which is supporting this measure. The Initiative would provide funding for veterans’ services and regulate cultivation, processing and dispensing of cannabis to patients whose doctors have recommended such use. The campaign has gathered more than 125,000 signatures.  Nearly 170,000 valid signatures will be required to qualify for the ballot.

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WHO Report: No Public Health Problems Attributable To CBD

NORML Blog - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 16:53

The use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD is safe, well tolerated, and is not associated with any significant adverse public health effects, according to the findings of a preliminary report compiled by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Authors of the report declare that CBD is “not associated with abuse potential” and that it does not induce physical dependence. “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” they conclude.

Nonetheless, they acknowledge that CBD remains classified as a schedule I controlled substance under US federal law – a classification that defines it as possessing a “high potential for abuse.”

The WHO report also comments on CBD’s therapeutic efficacy, finding that the substance has “been demonstrated as an effective treatment for epilepsy,” and that there exists “preliminary evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and psychosis.

While authors acknowledge that the “unsanctioned medical use of CBD” oils and extracts is relatively common, they affirm, “[T]here is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

The World Health Organization is in the process of considering whether to place CBD within the agency’s international drug scheduling code. In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the enactment of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies advising WHO in their final review.

Full text of the preliminary report appears online here. The full text of NORML’s written testimony appears here.

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Congress Extends Window for Continuing Medical Marijuana Protections

MPP Blog - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 10:35

On Thursday, Congress reached a deal that would continue current government spending for another two weeks while they work toward reaching a final deal on next year’s spending budget. This means that the amendment to the current budget, which prevents the Department of Justice from interfering in state medical marijuana programs, will remain in place for now.

In September, the amendment that would continue these protections for patients and providers who are in compliance with state law were included in the Senate version of the budget, but the House Rules Committee prevented the House from voting on it. Now, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees must decide if they will include this language.

Marijuana policy advocates were increasingly concerned at the end of this week. If the amendment had not been included in the budget, or if this deal had not been reached and the government shut down, it would have allowed Jeff Sessions to direct the Department of Justice to begin targeting state-legal medical marijuana programs for the first time since 2014. Sessions has been trying to get rid of these protections for months, and he sent a letter to Congress in May urging them to strip the amendment from the spending bill.

The new deadline is now December 22. Please contact your members of Congress, and urge them to protect state medical marijuana programs.

The post Congress Extends Window for Continuing Medical Marijuana Protections appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Federal Medical Marijuana Protections Temporarily Extended

NORML Blog - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 09:26

Congressional leadership voted to enact a two-week continuing resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through December 22, 2017. The resolution extends medical cannabis patient protections imposed by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment until that date.

The amendment, which has been in place since 2014, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

“While we are pleased that these critical protections will continue, two weeks is not enough certainty for the millions of Americans who rely on medical marijuana for treatment and the businesses who serve them. As Congress works out a long-term funding bill, it must also include these protections. And ultimately, Congress must act to put an end to the cycle of uncertainty and permanently protect state medical marijuana programs—and adult use—from federal interference. The American people have spoken. It’s past time that Congress catch up.” – Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Reps Rohrabacher and Blumenauer are both co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Congressional leadership must reauthorize this language as part of the forthcoming budget in order for the provisions to stay in effect. In July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered identical language before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved it. However, House Rules Committee Chair Peter Sessions (R-TX) has refused to allow House members to vote on similar language. The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled.

Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of continuing these protections beyond December 22nd by clicking here. 

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Open Thread

DrugWarRant - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 07:20

The Onion comes to the rescue:

FDA Confirms Psilocybin Reduces Risk Of Mindlessly Following Society’s Rules Like Fucking Lemming

SILVER SPRING, MD—Following months of research into the psychedelic compound’s effects, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed Thursday that psilocybin could significantly reduce the risk of mindlessly following society’s rules like a fucking lemming. “After numerous clinical trials, we can state with a high degree of certainty that ingesting small doses of psilocybin greatly decreases the chances of blindly marching in lockstep like a bunch of goddamn sheep being led to the slaughter,” said FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb

He’s got a point.

Let Marijuana Travel Between States If Guns Can, Dem Congressman Says

Republicans on Capitol Hill are pushing legislation this week that would allow people permitted to carry concealed guns in one state to bring their weapons with them when they travel, even if their destination state has more stringent requirements to qualify for concealed carry.

But if the GOP wants to do that, a Democratic congressman argues in a new video, they should also be in favor of forcing states to recognize protections granted under each another’s marijuana laws.

Philipines:

Highlights from the Supreme Court oral arguments on the drug war

Must be rough for the government:

In his comment filed before the SC began oral arguments, the government’s chief legal counsel said that the drug war is being “emasculated and undermined” by petitions of the families who lost their loved ones in the violent police operations.

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Minnesota Adds Two Qualifying Conditions to Medical Marijuana Program

MPP Blog - Tue, 12/05/2017 - 09:04

Starting in July 2018, Minnesotans diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and autism spectrum disorders will qualify for medical marijuana. Congratulations to all the patients, families, and health care providers whose personal stories and expertise convinced regulators to expand the program.

Here’s the complete list of conditions that currently qualify for medical marijuana in Minnesota:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

The post Minnesota Adds Two Qualifying Conditions to Medical Marijuana Program appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Dallas Implements “Cite and Summons” Policy for Possession

MPP Blog - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:38

On Friday, Dallas — Texas’ third largest city — implemented a policy that instructs police officers to issue citations and a summons to appear in court, rather than arresting those found in possession of marijuana. This new policy will spare people an initial trip to jail, which is a step in the right direction. However, individuals still face all the same criminal penalties, including up to six months in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, and a lasting criminal record.

In Texas, a criminal record carries the following collateral consequences:

-Hindered access to employment
-Diminished educational opportunities
-Impeded housing options
-Jeopardized parental rights
-Suspended drivers license (six months)
-Obstructed right to self defense/ license to carry (five years)

To see meaningful changes to marijuana laws in Texas, we must change the unreasonable statewide policies that allow for such harsh penalties.

If you are a Texas resident, please contact your legislators now in support of more reasonable penalties for marijuana possession.

The post Dallas Implements “Cite and Summons” Policy for Possession appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Study: Alcohol Sales Fall Following Cannabis Legalization

NORML Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 12:18

Sales of alcoholic beverages decline following the enactment of medical marijuana access laws, according to a working paper authored by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University.

Authors evaluated the relationship between medical marijuana laws and retail alcohol sales for more than 2,000 US counties for the years 2006 to 2015. Alcohol sales trends in medical cannabis states were compared to sales trends in states where cannabis remained illegal. Researchers determined that counties located in medical cannabis states, on average, experienced a reduction in monthly alcohol sales of 15 percent.

Researchers concluded: “We find that marijuana and alcohol are strong substitutes. … States legalizing medical marijuana use experience significant decreases in the aggregate sale of alcohol, beer and wine. Moreover, the effects are not short-lived, with significant reductions observed up to 24 months after the passage of the law.”

Consumer trend data from California reports that those with legal access to cannabis frequently reduce their alcohol intake. A 2016 analysis of beer sales in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington reported that retail sales “collectively underperformed” in the years following the enactment of adult use marijuana regulation.

Full text of the study, “Helping settle the marijuana and alcohol debate: Evidence from scanner data,” appears online here.

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Legalizing Marijuana May End the Opioid Crisis, Say Scientists

DrugSense Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 11:28
As we reported previously, scientists from the University of New Mexico have been studying how access to marijuana may help alleviate the opioid crisis, declared a national emergency by President Trump. Their study has now been published in the journal PLOS One, with the researchers concluding that there is “clinically and statistically significant evidence” that […]
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First Maryland Dispensaries Opening

MPP Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:00

Maryland dispensaries are finally beginning to sell medical cannabis today, and more plan to do so by the end of next week according to media reports. Maryland’s rollout of the medical program has been one of the slowest in the country, so we are very glad to see it finally getting off the ground!

Unfortunately, prices are expected to be high, but hopefully they will decrease as more cannabis becomes available. Some dispensaries are using pre-registration or are limiting the amount patients can purchase to try and stretch the available supply. So far, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has licensed 14 out of 15 growers, 12 out of 15 processors, and 10 out of 104 dispensaries. The licensed dispensaries’ locations are listed on the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s website.

Disappointingly, local opposition has delayed some dispensaries. Despite concerns about crime increasing around dispensaries, a recent study showed that the opposite is true — crime increased when the dispensaries were forced to close.

MPP congratulates all of the advocates, patients, lawmakers, regulators, business owners, and individuals who helped make this moment possible, and we will keep fighting to ensure that Maryland patients have the access they need.

The post First Maryland Dispensaries Opening appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Illinois Governor Announces Opposition to Sensible Marijuana Policy

MPP Blog - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 08:55

In an interview with WSIL-TV in Marion yesterday, Gov. Bruce Rauner officially announced his opposition to ending the harmful policy of cannabis prohibition in Illinois. The governor wrongly claimed we don’t yet know the effects of legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, despite significant data available from states like Washington and Colorado, which both ended prohibition five years ago.

By announcing his stance, the governor is saying no to new jobs and to hundreds of millions of dollars (or more) in much-needed revenue for the state, and saying yes to allowing criminal enterprises to continue their control of a thriving and unregulated market. An estimated 750,000 Illinoisans consume marijuana monthly despite its prohibition — consumers who will likely continue to make illicit purchases whether it’s regulated or not. That money should go to our state and not into the pockets of drug cartels.

Chicago is one of the U.S. cities most closely associated with the failure of prohibition policies, and today, violence and harm continue on its streets. Instead of perpetuating a system that contributes to crime, revenue from taxing marijuana could be used to help prevent it.

Please make sure everyone in your network knows about Gov. Rauner’s misguided position. If you are an Illinois resident, please send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults.

The post Illinois Governor Announces Opposition to Sensible Marijuana Policy appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Bipartisan Letter To Congressional Leadership Urges Continued Protections For Medical Marijuana Programs

NORML Blog - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 12:24

Today, sixty-six members of Congress representing both Republicans and Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, and Leader Schumer urging them to maintain the federal protections for the 46 states that have implemented some form of medical cannabis programs throughout the country.

This comes on the same day the Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference to discuss America’s opioid epidemic and made disparaging comments about marijuana.

“We’re working on that very hard right now,” Sessions said on Wednesday. “We had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length. It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental and we should not give encouragement in any way to it. And it represents a federal violation which is in the law and is subject to being enforced, and our priorities will have to be focused on all the things and challenges that we face.”

From Rep. Rohrabacher’s press release:

Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) spearheaded a letter, signed by 64 other members of the House of Representatives, urging House and Senate leadership to ensure the inclusion of medical marijuana protections in any appropriations bill that funds the government beyond December 8, 2017. The provision, previously known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” and now “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer,” bars the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with their state’s medical marijuana laws. The provision was first signed into law in December 2014 as part of a larger spending package, and has been in force ever since.

Reps Rohrabacher and Blumenauer are both co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

In September, President Donald Trump reached an agreement with Congressional leadership to enact a three-month continuing resolution that maintains present federal spending levels and priorities through December 8, 2017, which included the amendment that was passed in the previous session of Congress.

Congressional leadership must reauthorize this language as part of the forthcoming budget in order for the provisions to stay in effect. In July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) offered identical language before the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved it. However, House Rules Committee Chair Peter Sessions (R-TX) has refused to allow House members to vote on similar language. The provision will now be considered by House and Senate leadership when the two chambers’ appropriations bills are reconciled.

It is imperative that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment remain the law of the land and AG Sessions not be given the green-light to enact a crackdown. Click here to send a message to your federal lawmakers and urge them to speak out about the need to protect the 2 million registered medical marijuana patients throughout the country.

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Rick Steves Testifies In Illinois In Support Of Legalization

NORML Blog - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 07:56

Rick Steves with Illinois NORML’s Ali Nagib

On Tuesday, travel radio and television host Rick Steves, a NORML Board Member, journeyed to Illinois to testify in support of marijuana legalization effort in the state legislature.

“When you legalize marijuana, use does not go up, teen use does not go up, crime does not go up, what goes up ix tax revenue, what goes down is the black market,” Steves said. “Seventy thousand people are locked up in our country every year, 700,000 people are arrested, for possession of marijuana, not violent crimes. They’re not rich white guys, they’re poor people and they’re black people. It’s amazing that it’s happening in our country right now and there is just a way out of this.”

Steves is well known for his public support of reform and has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy in support of outright legalization. During his press conference in Chicago, he was flanked by state lawmakers who have introduced the legislation. In their remarks, they laid out the economic realities of prohibition.

“It is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that by lifting cannabis restrictions we can encourage economic development in Illinois,” State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said. “We are carefully considering all aspects and potential impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis, including job growth.”

“Legalizing cannabis will spur the creation of new small businesses and much-needed jobs,” State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said. “We are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity on the table by continuing the outdated status quo of prohibition.”

A recent poll of Illinois voters shows that 66% support the outright legalization of marijuana, and 74% support an end to arrests and penalties for simple possession.

You can watch the press conference by clicking here.

Make sure to follow Illinois NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website: https://illinoisnorml.org/

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Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 09:14
The clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrants further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain. Study: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0187795
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Federal marijuana legislation clears House of Commons, headed for the Senate

DrugSense Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 09:11
MPs passed the Liberal government’s bill to legalize cannabis Monday evening, sending the legislation down the hall to the Senate for further study and debate. The legislation was largely supported along partisan lines, although it secured the support of the NDP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. The final vote was 200 MPs in favour, […]
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Travel Guru Rick Steves Joins MPP and Illinois Lawmakers to Support Legalization

MPP Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 08:49

On Tuesday, travel guru Rick Steves visited Illinois to advocate for legislation to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Steves joined Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and House Committee on Public Safety and Appropriations Chairwoman Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) for a news conference to discuss why Illinois lawmakers should support regulating and taxing marijuana. Immediately following the press conference, Steves testified in front of a joint hearing of the Illinois General Assembly.

From CBS Chicago:

“What we need to do is take that black market down and turn it into a highly regulated, highly taxed legal market so that we can gain credibility and focus on the real risk to young people in our society which is hard drug abuse,” Steves said.

Steves said prohibition does not work. He said this is not about being pro-pot. He knows it can be dangerous, but said it’s time to stop making it criminal.

His travels in Europe opened his eyes.

He also studied the effects legalization has had on Colorado and his home state of Washington. He said more people are not using it.

State Senators Kelly Cassidy and Heather Steans are the lead sponsors of the bill to regulate cannabis. They estimate legalization could generate up to $700 million for the state every year.

“It would enable individuals to buy and possess up to 28 grams or grow five plants, just for adult use,” Steans said.

The post Travel Guru Rick Steves Joins MPP and Illinois Lawmakers to Support Legalization appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Double Your Impact on #GreenTuesday

NORML Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 08:22

#GivingTuesday is a day that unites us in generosity and celebration for all that we have accomplished. After the two most busiest shopping days of the year, #GivingTuesday gives us all a chance to give back. This year we’re going BIG, and the only way we can ensure that happens is with your help.

The holiday season is in full swing, and naturally we are forced to think about all we are thankful for. We at NORML could not be more grateful for YOU and all of your continuous, unconditional support as we work for our shared vision of a legalized nation.

During this joyous time of giving thanks, one of our generous supporters offered to match the first $5,000 in donations for #GivingTuesday.

Double your impact and make a donation to propel us to the finish line and end marijuana prohibition.

We’ve made so much progress over the last year, all thanks to you. But there is still so much to be done. We expect 2018 to be even more successful for the movement, and we need you to help continue our momentum by making a contribution in honor of #GivingTuesday. Now more than ever is when we need your support to ensure that we achieve a fair legalization and equitable marijuana market.

Donate today to have your contribution matched dollar for dollar!

Every act of generosity counts, and each means even more when we give together. Join NORML’s global giving movement where millions of people have come together to support and champion our cause of ending marijuana prohibition. Become one of those people today, on #GivingTuesday.

Many thanks,
The NORML Team

P.S. Shopping on Amazon for holiday gifts or just day to day expenses? Through the Amazon-smile program, you can have a portion of your costs be donated to NORML and our reform efforts.  

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Canada: House Members Overwhelmingly Pass Adult Use Regulation Bill

NORML Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 04:34

Members of the Canadian House of Commons voted 200 to 82 to approve legislation that seeks to legalize and regulate the adult use cannabis market. Liberal Party members, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, back the measure, which now faces debate in the Senate.

The Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, amends the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so that those over the age of 18 may legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use quantities of cannabis. It further seeks to establish rules and regulations governing the commercial production of retail cannabis products. Proponents of the legislation hope to have the new law in place by July 1, 2018.

Health Canada is presently seeking public feedback regarding the regulations. Written comments will be accepted through January 20, 2018.

Additional information regarding C-45 is available from NORML Canada. Updates regarding the text and status of the legislation is available from the Library of Parliament here.

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