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Vermont Poised to Become the Ninth State to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults

MPP Blog - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 09:48

Vermont is about to make history!

A bill that would make marijuana legal for adults received final approval on Wednesday from the Vermont Senate and will soon make its way to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed a similar bill in 2017.

Gov. Scott indicated again after passage that he intends to sign H. 511 into law.

H. 511 would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants, beginning in July.

Vermont is poised to become the ninth state to make marijuana legal for adults and the first to do so through its legislature. Eight other states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, all through ballot initiatives. In Washington, D.C., voters approved a ballot initiative making personal possession and home cultivation legal for adults 21 and older.

The legislature approved H. 511 just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the removal of guidelines that urged federal prosecutors to avoid targeting marijuana businesses and individuals who are in compliance with state law.

The Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Rhode Island legislatures are expected to seriously consider making marijuana legal for adults this year as well, and the New Hampshire House approved a similar measure on Tuesday.

The post Vermont Poised to Become the Ninth State to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults appeared first on MPP Blog.

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NORML Endorses SQ 788: Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Access Initiative

NORML Blog - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 08:18

Oklahoma City: The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is proud to endorse Oklahoma’s State Question 788 — a statewide ballot measure that provides patients regulated access to medical cannabis. SQ 788 is a patient-centric plan that empowers physicians to use their discretion when determining their patient’s ideal health care plan.

Oklahomans will go to vote on the measure on June 26.

“We’re excited to offer NORML’s support to the Vote Yes On 788 campaign,” said NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji. “Together, we will build a broad-based coalition to ensure that lawmakers do not unduly interfere with the bonafide doctor-patient relationship, and that patients are no longer subject to arrest for accessing or growing this important medicine.”

State Question 788 also establishes a licensed system of medical cannabis distribution.

“State Question 788 was designed to make Oklahoma the most patient-oriented and business friendly state for the medical marijuana industry. SQ 788 will create jobs, sorely needed tax revenue, and possesse a number of patient protections that simply don’t exist in other states with similar laws,” said William Jones, campaign manager for the Vote Yes On 788 campaign.

Under the plan, licensed medical marijuana patients may cultivate up to six mature plants, and may possess personal use quantities of marijuana flower, edibles, or infused concentrates. Statewide polling data finds that over 70 percent of residents endorse patients’ access to medical marijuana.

“Recent nationwide polling shows 94 percent of US adults expressed their support for the legalization of medical marijuana, similarly the vast majority of Oklahomans are ready for a new direction. Regardless of the increasingly hostile from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, voters in Oklahoma and throughout the country will continue to support common sense marijuana law reforms over the failed policies of prohibition,” said NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji.

Between now and June 26, representatives with the Vote Yes On 788 campaign will be traveling statewide and meeting face-to-face with voters. NORML will also be focusing its resources in the coming months to support these campaign efforts.

To follow the Yes on 788 campaign, click here. To donate to the campaign, click here.

More details on SQ 788:

Licenses would cost $100 and expire after two years. Those that are recipients of Medicaid, Medicare, or SoonerCare would pay $20 for a license. An individual 18 years or older who wants to obtain a medical marijuana license would need a board-certified physician’s signature and an individual under the age of 18 would need the signatures of two physicians and his or her parent or legal guardian. SQ 788 does not list specific qualifying conditions, thus giving more discretion to licensed physicians to determine wellness plans with their patients.

Under this initiative, employers, landlords, and schools are forbidden from penalizing persons for holding a medical marijuana license, unless failing to do so causes a loss of benefits under federal law or the license-holders possess or use marijuana while at work.

Individuals possessing a medical marijuana license would be authorized to consume marijuana and possess up to three ounces, six mature and six seedling marijuana plants, up to one ounce of concentrated marijuana, up to 72 ounces of edible marijuana, and up to eight ounces of marijuana in their residences. However, possessing up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana without a license but with a medical condition would be deemed a misdemeanor.

For additional information, contact NORML’s Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji at: KevinM@norml.org.

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Good riddance to the Cole Memo

DrugWarRant - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:27

There’s been a lot of talk about how Attorney General Jeff Sessions has eliminated the Cole Memo – an advisory document intended to reduce the focus on federal prosecutions of state-legal cannabis operations as long as a list of guidelines were followed.

In reality, the Cole Memo was limited, vague, and had no force of law – any Attorney General could overturn it at will (as Sessions has done). It was the appearance of the federal government respecting state law without having to actually, you know, do it.

The good thing about Sessions’ tone-deaf action is that it’s woken a lot of people up to the absurdity of still having a federal prohibition that could allow prosecutors to arrest citizens for openly following state law. Sessions has managed to anger liberals, conservatives and libertarians through his action.

Perhaps the absence of the Cole Memo, and the outrage following its repeal, will finally get Congress to act and do something meaningful.

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Vermont Senate Approves Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Cultivation, Awaits Governor’s Signature

NORML Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 10:30

Today, the Vermont state Senate approved a measure that would legalize the possession and limited home cultivation of marijuana. Under this legislation, H. 511, individuals 21 years of age or older would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a limited amount for personal use.

“While prohibitionists like Attorney General Jeff Sessions desperately try to force our country to return to the dark ages, his flailing seems to be for naught, as Vermont is now positioned to be the first state to legalize marijuana possession by legislative action,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “The American people have made their position clear, it is time to move away from the failed policies of the past and to move in the sensible direction of legalization. Vermont will likely be the first state to take such an action this year, it is unlikely to be the last with New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut and others likely to give legalization legislation serious consideration during the 2018 legislative session.”

H. 511 was approved by the state’s lower chamber last week in a 81-63 vote. Now that it has passed the state Senate, the bill will be sent to Governor Phil Smith for his signature. Despite vetoing a similar effort last year, Governor Scott has stated he would likely sign this renewed effort.

Passage of legalization in Vermont in 2018 would be a legislative first. To date, all eight states that have enacted legalization of the adult use of marijuana, as well as the District of Columbia have done so by a direct vote of the people.

One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers’ actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.

“For the second time in two years, Vermont lawmakers have rejected the failed Flat Earth policies of marijuana prohibition,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said,”The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized. Governor Scott would be wise to provide Vermonters with this path forward, rather than cling to the failed policies of the past.”

WANT TO CHANGE THE MARIJUANA LAWS IN YOUR STATE? CLICK HERE TO EASILY WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN SUPPORT OF REFORM.

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Georgia Considering Medical Marijuana Improvement Legislation

MPP Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 08:39

Yesterday, Georgia lawmakers began their work in 2018, and they are again considering improvements to the state’s medical marijuana program. Two bills, HB 645 and HR 36, have been proposed to establish much-needed medical cannabis access for patients.

If you are a Georgia resident, please send a message to your state lawmakers in support of a workable system that includes cultivation, processing, and sales within Georgia for the state’s seriously ill patients.

Georgia has a very limited medical marijuana law, but prohibits in-state cultivation, processing, and regulated sales of medical cannabis. Georgia’s law encourages patients to obtain medicine through illicit means. It leaves patients with no option but to travel out of state for access to their medicine and bring it back, which is a violation of both federal law and of state law in places where medical cannabis is available. The law puts Georgians in harm’s way.

Rep. Allen Peake, long a champion for compassionate medical marijuana laws, is working on two possible solutions. First, HB 645 would allow two cannabis business licensees to grow, process, and sell medical cannabis oil. Meanwhile, HR 36 would allow lawmakers to place the issues of business regulations before voters in November.

The post Georgia Considering Medical Marijuana Improvement Legislation appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Medical Marijuana to Appear on June Oklahoma Ballot

MPP Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:13

On January 4, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced her decision to place Question 788, which would create a medical marijuana program in the state, on the June primary election ballot. A majority of Oklahomans support medical marijuana, but primary elections tend to have a lower turnout rate than general elections. Democratic candidate for governor Drew Edmondson called the decision an effort by Fallin to stifle the voice of Oklahomans. If this question is to pass, we need absolutely ever supportive Oklahoma resident to get out and vote on June 26 of this year.

You can register to vote in Oklahoma here.

With just a few short months until the election, it’s imperative that we do everything we can to make sure every Oklahoman knows about Question 788. Make sure you mark your calendar, register to vote, and tell all of your friends and family. If you would like to support the campaign, check out Yes on 788 to donate or volunteer! Let’s make 2018 the last year a patient is forced to live without access to medicine in Oklahoma!

The post Medical Marijuana to Appear on June Oklahoma Ballot appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

MPP Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 08:15

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to make marijuana legal for adults on Tuesday by a vote of 207-139. The bill will now move to the House Ways and Means Committee before moving on to the Senate.

HB 656, which was introduced last session by Rep. Glen Aldrich (R-Gilford), would make possession of three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and older. Home cultivation of up to three mature and three immature plants would be legal for adults as well.

Last year, the New Hampshire Legislature voted overwhelmingly to replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with civil penalties. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed the bill into law.

The post New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Hampshire House Votes to Legalize Marijuana Possession and Cultivation

NORML Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 07:41



UPDATE 01/09/18 1:30 PM Eastern: New Hampshire House Leadership, instead of sending the approved bill directly to the state Senate, has referred the legislation back to the House Ways and Means Committee. Now, either the committee declines to take action and sends the bill to the state Senate or holds hearings on the bill before sending it back to the House floor for another full vote.

This morning, in a direct rebuke to the bluster coming from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 207 to 139 in favor of a measure that would legalize the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of 3 mature plants for adults 21 years of age or over. This legislation is similar to a measure passed by members of the House of Representatives in neighboring Vermont last week. Both measures now await action by their respective state Senates, with a vote in Vermont expected for later today.

A broader legalization bill, which included commercial cultivation and retail sales, was voted down in a New Hampshire House committee last November. Today, state Representatives voted to overturn that initial vote and amended that legislation to only include the legalization of personal possession and cultivation. Currently, there is a standing legislative study committee in the state that is researching and reviewing the potential of legalized commercial marijuana in New Hampshire and is expected to give recommendations later this year.

“Despite the best attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to intimidate state governments, the recent votes in Vermont and New Hampshire demonstrate that legislators are ignoring this bluster and are standing up for the will of the people,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “An overwhelming majority of Americans want to see marijuana legalized and their elected officials are smartly siding with this broad public opinion and sensible policy direction over the Reefer Madness being spouted by Attorney General Sessions.”

NORML will keep you updated as these and other legislative reform efforts advance.

TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT OF MARIJUANA REFORM LEGISLATION IN YOUR STATE HERE.

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Kansas State Representative Defends Prohibition, Goes Full Racist

NORML Blog - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 14:11

At an event over the weekend, Kansas State Representative Steve Alford (R) defended the continuation of marijuana prohibition by reverting to the kind of overtly racist rhetoric originally deployed by Henry Anslinger when this failed policy was first implemented.

It is important to remember: Marijuana prohibition perpetuates institutional racism and is itself being perpetuated by racists.

“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas (and) across the United States,” Kansas Rep. Steve Alford said. “What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

Watch the video:

Read more here.

You can share your thoughts with him here (since they apparently don’t have social media back in 1928):
j.stephen.alford@house.ks.gov

Help us fight back against this unacceptable and disgusting ideology. Click HERE to send your Senators a message in support of the Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule marijuana and begin to dial back the devastating impact our nation’s war on marijuana has had on communities across the country.

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Save Marijuana Legalization

Stop The Drug War - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:17

[image:1 align:right]Last week, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Cole Memo, Obama-era Dept.

read more

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Democrats and Republicans Reject Recent Action by AG Sessions

NORML Blog - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 15:03

Following yesterday’s announcement by the DOJ that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era memorandum issued by Attorney General James Cole in 2013, federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle quickly denounced the decision.

Reject AG Sessions’ Efforts to Revert to the Failed Criminal Policies of the ‘Just Say No’ Era

In addition to taking to the floor of the Senate to express his frustrations, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) continued to vent on Twitter. He had this to say:

“This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.”

Sharing some of the same frustrations as her counterpart in the Senate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) shared the following in a email to supporters:

“Sessions’ actions to protect the bottom lines of the for-profit private prison industry, and Big Pharma whose opioids and drugs flourish in part due to the marijuana prohibition, while trampling on states’ rights and turning everyday Americans into criminals, is the latest injustice that the Attorney General has suffered on the American people.”

Being the cosponsor of pending legislation, that if passed by Congress would stop AG Sessions in his tracks, Representative Gabbard also took a minute to encourage support for her bill, HR 1227:

“I am calling on every member of Congress to take up the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances.”

With prominent Democrats and Republicans promising a fight and threatening to derail DOJ nominations, and thousands of calls and emails from activists asking lawmakers to reject Mr. Sessions’ misguided plan, it appears that political courage comes in many forms.

To join the fight, take a few minutes to contact your representative and encourage their support for HR 1227: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act: http://norml.org/action-center/item/federal-bill-introduced-to-end-federal-marijuana-prohibition and email Chapters@NORML.org for a list of upcoming meetings and lobby days.

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Oklahoma: Voters To Decide In June On Sweeping Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative

NORML Blog - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:39

Oklahoma voters will decide this June on State Question 788 — a statewide ballot measure legalizing the use, cultivation, and distribution of medical cannabis to qualified patients.

Oklahomans will vote on the issue on June 26 during the primary election. Republican Mary Fallin set the date via an executive proclamation, issued yesterday.

State Question 788 permits physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients at their discretion. Patients possessing a state-issued medical license are permitted to engage in cannabis possession or cultivation, or they purchase marijuana products from a licensed dispensary.

Initiative proponents gathered sufficient signatures to place the issue before voters in 2016. However, the vote was postponed because of litigation over contested ballot title language. In a 7 to 1 ruling in April, justices rejected the state attorney general’s rewording of the initiative’s ballot title, which proponents had argued was purposely misleading, and ordered that the measure’s initial language be restored.

Under Oklahoma law, the cultivation or distribution of cannabis is classified as a felony offense punishable by up to life in prison.

Proponents of separate statewide medical cannabis initiatives are gathering signatures in Missouri and Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State’s office. In November, proponents of a voter initiative effort to legalize and regulate the personal use and retail sale of cannabis in Michigan turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.

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Vermont State House Passes Marijuana Legalization

NORML Blog - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 07:58

Montpelier, Vermont: Just hours after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidelines instructing US attorneys to take a ‘hands off’ approach in states with legal marijuana regulations, lawmakers in the Vermont House voted to legalize the personal possession and home cultivation of marijuana by a vote of 81 to 63. The measure now goes back to the Senate for a concurrence vote before going to the Governor, who has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.

Passage of legalization in Vermont in 2018 would be a legislative first. To date, all eight states that have enacted adult use regulatory laws, as well as the District of Columbia have done so by a direct vote of the people.

The progress in Vermont is groundbreaking. Should the Green Mountain State’s leadership move forward as promised, it will mark a huge turning point in the national movement to end the criminalization of marijuana. 

One in five Americans resides in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers’ actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.

The political courage of Vermont’s lawmakers to break with nearly a century of legislative stagnation should be interpreted as a siren call in the halls of the state legislatures nationwide as well as the U.S. Capitol.

You can follow the progress of the legislation on our Vermont Action Alert by clicking here.

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Vermont House Approves Bill to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults

MPP Blog - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 15:43

Today, the Vermont House passed H. 511 in a 81-63 vote. Gov. Phil Scott has already pledged that he will sign the bill after it passes one more procedural vote in the Senate.

H. 511 would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants, beginning in July. Meanwhile, a governor-appointed task force will issue a final report on how the state should tax and regulate marijuana sales and commercial cultivation by December 15, 2018.

If you are available next Tuesday, January 9, that would be a great day to visit the State House. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman and allied reform organizations will participate in “a full day of press, advocacy and education” beginning at 10 a.m. in Room 10 of the State House. For more details, and to RSVP, check out the Facebook event page.

Tuesday may also be the day the Senate passes H. 511.

The post Vermont House Approves Bill to Make Marijuana Legal for Adults appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Crackdown On State-Legal Marijuana

NORML Blog - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 07:20

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Department of Justice’s hands-off policy towards state-legal marijuana.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND URGE THEM TO STAND UP TO JEFF SESSIONS AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF PATIENTS AND RESPONSIBLE CANNABIS CONSUMERS.

“By rescinding the Cole Memo, Jeff Sessions is acting on his warped desire to return America to the failed beliefs of the ‘Just Say No’ and Reefer Madness eras. This action flies in the face of sensible public policy and broad public opinion. The American people overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana and oppose federal intervention in state marijuana laws by an even wider margin. This move by the Attorney General will prove not just to be a disaster from a policy perspective, but from a political one. The American people will not just sit idly by while he upends all the progress that has been made in dialing back the mass incarceration fueled by marijuana arrests and destabilizes an industry that is now responsible for over 150,000 jobs. Ending our disgraceful war on marijuana is the will of the people and the Trump Administration can expect severe backlash for opposing it,” said Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director.

The Cole Memo, a Justice Department memorandum, authored by former US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states, directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

During a Q and A with reporters in Richmond, VA in March of 2017, Jeff Sessions said, “The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,”

Additionally in 2017, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo. “Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

Currently, medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, 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.”

“At a time when the majority of states now are regulating marijuana use in some form, and when nearly two-thirds of voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, it makes no sense from a political, fiscal, or moral perspective for Attorney General Sessions to take this step” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “It is time that members of Congress take action to comport federal law with majority public opinion and to end the needless criminalization of marijuana — a policy failure that encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.”

“If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana, they will be taking billions of dollars away from regulated, state-sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels,” Strekal concluded.

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Attorney General Rescinds DOJ Marijuana Policy Guidelines

MPP Blog - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 04:45

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Department of Justice policy that directed federal law enforcement not to target individuals or businesses that are in compliance with state law.

In a memo to federal prosecutors dated January 4, Sessions said, “In deciding which marijuana activities to prosecute under these laws with the Department’s finite resources, prosecutors should follow the well-established principles that govern all federal prosecutions. …. Given the Department’s well-established general principles, previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement is unnecessary and is rescinded, effective immediately.”

From August 2013 until yesterday, the Department of Justice policy had been not to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals or businesses in states that are complying with state medical or adult-use marijuana laws, provided that one of eight federal priorities is not implicated. A Department of Justice task force subcommittee on marijuana policy recommended in August that the policy described in the 2013 Cole memo be maintained going forward.

MPP’s Matthew Schweich made the following statement in a press release:

This extremely misguided action will enable a federal crackdown on states’ rights with regard to marijuana policy. Attorney General Sessions has decided to use the power of the federal government to attack the ability of states to decide their own laws. A majority of Americans support legalization, and Sessions has simply decided to ignore their views. In the states where marijuana is legal, voters approved those legalization policies at the ballot box. This is a direct attack on the will of the people.

This decision may very well lead to federal agents raiding licensed, regulated, and tax-paying businesses — these businesses are employing thousands of Americans and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for public services including substance abuse treatment programs and new school construction. MPP will be pushing Congress to pass legislation this year that establishes marijuana policy as a states’ rights issue and prevents federal interference.

 

The post Attorney General Rescinds DOJ Marijuana Policy Guidelines appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Study: Marijuana Use Not Linked With Reduced Motivation

NORML Blog - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:32

Neither the occasional nor the heavy use of marijuana by adolescents is associated with decreased motivation, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Substance Use & Misuse.

A team of Florida International University researchers assessed the relationship between cannabis use and motivation in 79 adolescent subjects. Participants consisted of both long-term regular consumers and occasional users. Investigators assessed subjects’ motivational tendencies through the use of two validated tools, the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Motivation and Engagement Scale.

Authors reported: “After controlling for confounds, no significant differences were observed between regular and light users on any motivation index. Similarly, no associations between motivation and lifetime or past 30-day cannabis use amount were observed.”

They concluded, “Our findings do not support a link between reduced motivation and CU among adolescents after controlling for relevant confounds.”

An abstract of the study, “Is cannabis use associated with various indices of motivation among adolescents?”, appears here.

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NORML Chapters Energized and Organized for 2018 Lobby Days

NORML Blog - Sun, 12/31/2017 - 09:26

As support for marijuana legalization in America reaches an all-time high, NORML chapters are hoping to tap into the energy and enthusiasm of their most ardent supporters for their 2018 lobby days. According to the most recent nationwide polling data compiled by Gallup, Sixty-four percent of US adults support the legalization of adult-use marijuana. That’s why NORML chapters are gearing up for an aggressive push to advance marijuana law reforms in states across the country.

Looking Back

As the year comes to an close, NORML chapters have certainly earned the right to celebrate their hard work and a very productive year. With a record number of state-level lobby days, the passage of several decriminalization measures and a strong presence at congressional town hall meetings, and legislative offices, NORML chapters had an undeniable impact on marijuana policy in 2017.

To kick things off earlier this year, NORML chapters around the country organized more than two dozen lobby days, where legislative victories ranged from an effort by Virginia NORML to end automatic driver’s license suspension for marijuana possession, to a push by Delaware NORML that resulted in the passage of a marijuana legalization bill out of committee. A first for the Delaware legislature.

After wrapping up state legislative sessions, NORML chapters continued their work well into the summer months, but shifted their focus to local efforts. While some chapters dedicated their time to collecting signatures for statewide marijuana law reform initiatives and others to community outreach projects, NORML KC, Peachtree NORML, Madison NORML and Ohio NORML set their sights on decriminalization. Each chapter was successful in reducing the penalties for personal possession of marijuana in their community from a criminal infraction to a simple fine or no fine at all.

Following a busy summer filled with local activism and congressional town hall meetings, chapter leadership from around the country gathered in our nation’s capital for NORML’s 2017 Conference and Lobby in Washington DC. With the help of NORML’s political team led by Justin Strekal, NORML coordinated more than 150 meetings with congressional offices, and to the surprise of many, a face-to-face meeting with Senator Cory Booker, who recently introduced The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.

Looking Ahead

With the new year quickly approaching, NORML Chapters around the country are busy mobilizing supporters in advance of their 2018 lobby days. NORML activists will be meeting with state representatives where they’ll help educate them about the advantages of ending marijuana prohibition and encourage support for dozens of statewide reform bills. To date, Virginia NORML, NORML KC, NORML of Florida, Lehigh Valley NORML, NORML Women of Washington, Pittsburgh NORML, Ohio NORML, Missouri NORML, Illinois NORML, Delaware NORML, Kentucky NORML, Maryland NORML, New Mexico NORML, Wyoming NORML and Greater St. Louis NORML have scheduled the first round of NORML lobby days for the new year.

In Pennsylvania, Jeff Reidy, executive director of Lehigh Valley NORML will be in Harrisburg with a broad coalition consisting of marijuana activists from the Keystone Cannabis Coalition and several other NORML chapters for what’s expected to be one of the largest grassroots marijuana-centric lobby days in the state’s history. With Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients now receiving their state registration cards and the expected opening of dispensaries in early 2018, the coalition will be pushing for statewide decriminalization.

“Marijuana activism begins with NORML. Being a member of this organization implies a desire to push our agenda, while engaging policy makers,” said Reidy. “Lobbying our elected officials is the simplest way to deliver the voice of the people to our politicians. We only win when we engage, speak out, endure, and fight for our freedoms. It’s time to Lobby!”

In Washington State, where medical and adult-use marijuana is already legal, Danica Noble, executive director of NORML Women of Washington and her colleagues with Washington NORML will be focused on protecting progress and expanding the rights of marijuana consumers by addressing issues like home cultivation and workplace discrimination.

“In Washington State, our top legislative priorities will be on legalizing homegrows, expunging felony convictions for simple possession, and establishing workplace protections for marijuana consumers, said Noble. “In addition to not having the legal right to grow our own marijuana, marijuana consumers in Washington are being denied employment opportunities and still carry the burden of a felony conviction for simple possession. This has to change.”

While the legislative priorities of each NORML chapter can vary, the goals of protecting the rights of marijuana consumers and ending marijuana prohibition are shared by all.

Empowerment Resources

To support these grassroots lobbying efforts, we recently updated NORML’s Citizen Lobby Guide. This comprehensive guide will assist NORML activists in the planning and execution of a successful lobby day and also provides organizational checklists and a legislative questionnaire. So regardless of the state or legal status of marijuana, NORML activists will be fully prepared to discuss meaningful marijuana law reforms and effectively communicate NORML’s message of ending the prohibition of marijuana on the local, state and federal level.

NORML Lobby Guide: http://norml.org/pdf_files/NORML_CitizenLobbyGuide.pdf

NORML’s Action Center

In addition to offering support through NORML’s Citizen Lobby Guide, we have created more than a dozen action alerts targeting lawmakers across the country urging their support for marijuana law reform legislation being considered in their state. To join the conversation, simply click on the link below, find the action alert for your state and enter your information!

NORML Action Center: http://norml.org/act

For more information about a NORML’s 2018 Chapter Lobby Days, please email Chapters@NORML.org or visit http://norml.org/about/chapter-calendar for list of upcoming chapter lobby days and meetings.

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Rob Kampia Departs MPP

MPP Blog - Sat, 12/30/2017 - 14:08

MPP co-founder, former executive director and recent director of strategic development Rob Kampia has departed MPP and its board. This decision was the result of a deliberative process that lasted several weeks. Kampia plans to launch a cannabis policy reform consulting firm in the near future.

The post Rob Kampia Departs MPP appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Out with the old, in with the new

DrugWarRant - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 11:41

A strange year, to say the least.

2017: The Year Pot Policy Stood Still as Opioids Ravaged the Nation – a year-in-review from Rolling Stone.

The take-away quote:

While many federal lawmakers have called for overhauling the criminal justice system and for rethinking the government’s relationship with substances like marijuana, 2017 saw little to no action on drug policy.

“Status quo year,” Democratic Representative Jared Polis tells Rolling Stone. “It was a year of stagnation.”

Civil liberties predictions for 2018 – in an annual tradition for Radley Balko, he puts together a post of ridiculous predictions of the most outrageous things that couldn’t possibly happen, and you quickly realize that they all actually occurred this past year.

Stunningly disheartening.

Here’s wishing everyone on the couch a better new year. Take the time to celebrate what you have, and then continue your work on improving the world.

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