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NORML Endorses North Dakota Legalization Ballot Measure

NORML Blog - Thu, 08/23/2018 - 07:07

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is endorsing North Dakota’s voter-initiated, adult use marijuana legalization effort, Measure 3.

“NORML is pleased to support the grassroots Measure 3 campaign. With state legislators continuing to drag their feet with regard to reforming North Dakota’s outdated and failed marijuana prohibition laws, we believe that it is vital that voters have the opportunity to make their voices heard in favor of enacting a sensible and rational cannabis policy,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “North Dakota is among the top states in the nation when it comes to per capita marijuana possession arrests, by approving this measure voters can reprioritize limited police resources toward targeting more serious crimes and they can end the practicing of saddling otherwise law abiding citizens with the stigma of a lifelong criminal record and the lost opportunities that come with it.”

“The Legalize ND campaign is honored and humbled to welcome NORML as a partner in our fight to pass Measure 3. We are excited to work with the NORML team to educate voters as to how recreational Cannabis will be a major benefit for all North Dakotans,” said David Owen, Chair of the Legalize ND campaign.

This statewide ballot measure, organized by the grass-roots group Legalize North Dakota, seeks to legalize the personal possession and use of cannabis, as well as the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, by those over 21 years of age. It also establishes a process for the sealing of non-violent marijuana-related convictions. Unlike the adult use laws established in various other states, the measure does not establish explicit regulations for commercialized marijuana-related activity, such as retail sales.

If enacted by a majority of voters on Election Day, North Dakota would be the tenth state to legalize adult marijuana use.

NORML is going to be fighting hard to help pass legalization in North Dakota, but it is going to take all of us working together to win.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE MEASURE 3 CAMPAIGN

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER FOR MEASURE 3

You can also stay up to date on the campaign on their website or Facebook page.

 

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California key cannabis bills advance; public comment period continues on proposed rules

MPP Blog - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 14:56

Two compassionate cannabis-related bills are advancing, and, if you’re a California resident, now is a good time to voice your support. Here’s a rundown:

AB 1793 would make expungement automatic for cannabis-related convictions that today are no longer considered crimes. It passed the Assembly in May, the Senate earlier today, and it’s now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk! If you live in California, let Gov. Brown know it’s time to repair the harm caused by outdated marijuana-war policy. Californians shouldn’t be branded with a scarlet letter for conduct that is now legal.

Meanwhile, SB 829 would waive cultivation fees for donations medical cannabis businesses make to low- or no-income patients. This bill passed the Senate on May 17 followed by three Assembly committees after that. Now it faces an Assembly floor vote. If you’re a Californian and you haven’t already, use this link to send a message to your Assemblymember in support.

Finally, it’s not too late to comment on proposed agency rules for cannabis businesses. For the proposed text, summaries, and contact info for submitting comments, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.

The post California key cannabis bills advance; public comment period continues on proposed rules appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Jersey: Momentum Grows For Passage Of Adult Use Marijuana Legalization

NORML Blog - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 11:02

Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters support legalizing the adult use of marijuana and expunging past criminal convictions associated with the substance, according to statewide polling data released today by Quinnipiac University.

Sixty-two percent of voters say that they support allowing adults “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” Support is strongest among voters ages 18 to 34 years of age (90 percent) and Democrats (78 percent). Support was weakest among Republicans (41 percent) and those voters over the age of 65 (46 percent).

“New Jersey legislators must support the will of their constituents and approve legislation to legalize and regulate adult marijuana use in New Jersey,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri.

He added: “New Jersey holds the dubious distinction of ranking second in the nation in per capita annual marijuana arrests. This policy disproportionately impacts young people of color, violates civil liberties, and is an egregious waste of public resources that can be reprioritized elsewhere. The people of New Jersey are ready to end this failed prohibition and move toward the sensible policy of legalization and regulation. State lawmakers should not make them wait any longer.”

Sixty-three percent of voters also say that they support “erasing criminal records for marijuana possession.” Once again, those voters ages 34 and younger were most supportive of the changes (81 percent), as were Democrats (74 percent).

The new polling data comes just days after Senate President Steve Sweeney publicly announced that leadership has likely secured sufficient support in both chambers to pass an adult use legalization reform act.

Governor Phil Murphy campaigned on a pledge to reform the state’s marijuana policies, and yesterday reiterated his hopes to sign legislative reforms by the end of this year. In his spring budget address, Gov. Murphy said: “Legalization will allow us to reinvest directly in our communities – especially the urban neighborhoods hardest hit by the misguided war on drugs – in their economic development, in health care and housing, child care and after-school programs, and other critical areas. …. [F]rom the standpoint of social justice, and from the standpoint of protecting our kids and lifting up our communities, I could not arrive at any other conclusion.”

In July, the state’s Attorney General has called on county and municipal prosecutors to suspend marijuana-related prosecutions until early September.

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California: Teen Marijuana Use Declines Sharply Post-Legalization

NORML Blog - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 07:57

Marijuana use by adolescents continues to decline in California, according to statewide data provided by the California Healthy Kids Survey, a biennial survey funded by the Departments of Health and Education.

Among 7th graders, 4.2 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 7.9 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-47 percent). Among 9thgraders, 17.4 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 23.1 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-25 percent). Among 11th graders, 31.9 percent reported ever having used cannabis during the years 2015 to 2017, as compared to 37.9 percent during the years 2013 to 2015 (-16 percent).

“These initial reports confirm that legalizing and regulating cannabis doesn’t increase youth marijuana use, but rather it has the opposite effect,” said Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML. “The fact that the biggest drop in reported use came from younger age groups is a particularly encouraging indicator of the success of regulation.”

“It’s time to stop trying to ‘send a message’ to young people about drugs and instead implement sound, science-based policies that best protect our children and public safety, along with our privacy and human rights,” concluded Komp.

The percentage of teens reporting using cannabis multiple times and/or repeatedly within the past 30 days also declined for all age groups.

California law legalized the adult use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults in November of 2016. Retail adult use marijuana sales did not go into effect until January 1, 2018.

The findings are consistent with those of other studies and surveys from other states finding that the enactment of adult marijuana use laws is not associated with upticks in young people’s use of marijuana or access to the substance.

Full text of the study, “School Climate, Substance Use, and Well-being Among California Students: 2015-2017,” appears online here.

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Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor

MPP Blog - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 14:39

Students in Illinois who require access to medical cannabis during school hours were granted relief earlier in August, when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Ashley’s Law into law. This marked a major step forward for patients, including the new law’s namesake, Ashley Surin, who sought access to help manage her seizure condition. Another bill, which would allow those prescribed opioids to qualify for the state program, is still awaiting the governor’s signature.

The governor only has until August 28 to sign, amend, or reject the bill.

The Opioid Alternative Pilot Program Act, which passed on May 31, not only allows those who could be prescribed opioid drugs to qualify for the medical cannabis program, it also dramatically improves current law by streamlining wait times and removing fingerprint requirements for patients. For a summary written by bill supporters — including key changes to background checks and shortened approval process — click here. The final bill draft language is here.

Gov. Rauner needs to hear from those who support this important change. If you are an Illinois resident, please click here to send an email message to his office.

The post Illinois students get relief, but opioid patients still waiting on governor appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Delaware Senator Cosponsors Federal Reform, Ten Percent of Senate Now Support Descheduling Bill

NORML Blog - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 08:04

Just a few weeks after Delaware NORML made the trek down to Washington DC, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) cosponsored The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (S. 3174), far-reaching legislation that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana and provide resources to expunge the criminal records of those who suffer the collateral consequences of a possession charge.

Send a message to your Senators now and tell them to cosponsor the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act NOW! 

Given the public support for outright legalization in Delaware has regularly polled with over 60% support in the First State and across the country, public support is in the low to mid 60 percent range, Senator Carper’s new-found commitment to reform represents another important mile-marker on the highway to victory.

As states continue moving forward with ending their war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were impacted by this oppressive prohibition are able to see previous harms remedied, and be provided the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with legalization and regulation. Crucial aspects of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act include funding to provide record expungements, funding for small entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration paid for by the taxes on the existing industry, and other provisions.

With the addition of Senator Carper, there are now 10 Senators on the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act and 13 out of 100 Senators are declared in support of descheduling legislation (including the Marijuana Justice Act). An additional 7 Senators support of the States Act, which would create an exemption in the Controlled Substances Act to protect states that have reformed.

This is in contrast to the last congressional session when there was only one bill to deschedule marijuana from the CSA, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders which none of his colleagues had the foresight to cosponsor.

Send a message to your Senators now and tell them to cosponsor the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act NOW! 

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Proximity Of Dispensaries To Schools Not Linked With Teen Use

NORML Blog - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 13:17

The establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries within close proximity of schools does not make teens more susceptible to using marijuana, according to data published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers from UC San Diego examined the association between the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in school neighborhoods and teen use patterns in California. They reported: “The distance from school to the nearest medical marijuana dispensary was not associated with adolescents’ use of marijuana in the past month or susceptibility to use marijuana in the future, nor was the weighted count of medical marijuana dispensaries within the 3-mi band of school. Neither the product price nor the product variety in the dispensary nearest to school was associated with marijuana use or susceptibility to use. The results were robust to different specifications of medical marijuana measures.”

Authors concluded, “We did not find empirical support of the associations of medical marijuana availability, price, and product variety around schools with adolescents’ marijuana use and susceptibility to use … in the future.”

The paper’s findings are consistent with prior studies finding that the prevalence of cannabis retailers is not positively associated with increases in either teen marijuana use or access.

The abstract of the study, “Medical marijuana availability, price, and product variety, and adolescent’s marijuana use,” appears here. The NORML fact-sheet, “Societal Impact of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers,” appears online here.

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NORML PAC Endorses Cannabis Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Blumenauer and Young

NORML Blog - Mon, 08/20/2018 - 07:28

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML-PAC) has announced their endorsements of Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Don Young (R-AK) in their reelection campaigns. Blumenauer and Young serve as lead co-chairs of the Cannabis Caucus in the House of Representatives.

“Representative Earl Blumenauer has been supporting sensible marijuana law reform longer than anyone currently serving in the House of Representatives. He cast a vote in favor of decriminalization in Oregon in the 1970’s as a member of the state legislator and has been one of the leading champions for ending our failed prohibition on marijuana at the federal level since he was first elected to Congress,” commented NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “It is our honor to support his reelection in 2018 and supporters of marijuana law reform couldn’t ask for a better ally to have in the arena.”

“Representative Don Young has shown how truly bipartisan marijuana law reform efforts can be by his leadership as a co-chair of the House Congressional Cannabis Caucus,” said NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Alaska voters should send him to Congress for another term so he can continue to advocate for federal reform and help convince more of his colleagues in the Republican Party to join the fight against the outdated and failed policy of prohibition.”

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus was formed in 2017 to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

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Burning Man and Marijuana Laws

MPP Blog - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 18:43

Heading to Burning Man? Here’s what you need to know about Black Rock City’s and Nevada’s marijuana laws.

If you are heading to Burning Man this year, you may be thinking about bringing cannabis to the playa, since Nevada has legalized marijuana. Not so fast! Before you head out, there are some important things you need to know:

• Burning man is held on FEDERAL land, and the Bureau of Land Management will enforce federal law, which unfortunately considers all marijuana possession a criminal offense — even if you have a medial card! BLM may also ticket you for violations of various rules in the “closure order,” though these, thankfully, are civil rather than criminal.

• “Gifting” marijuana to others is drug trafficking under federal law, even though no money is being exchanged. And if you are caught selling marijuana, or are found in possession of more than one ounce, you will likely be prosecuted under Nevada law by the local Pershing County Sheriffs, who also patrol Burning Man.

• Especially important: GATE ROAD is also federal property, and a lot of the law enforcement activity happens while people are driving into the event. In addition, some of the roads into the event, near Wadsworth and Nixon, pass through tribal reservations, where federal law enforcement can and do make arrests. Keep in mind that you have fewer rights while driving than you do in your home (or in this case, your tent or RV), and can be stopped for a broken taillight or any other minor infraction by law enforcement, who may ask you for consent to search your vehicle (you have the right to refuse). Any marijuana consumption while on the Gate Road could result in a ticket or charges for DUI or marijuana possession.

• Before or after Burning Man, when you are not on federal land: Adults ages 21 and older may legally purchase marijuana from retail establishments in Nevada! MPP supported the initiative that made Nevada the fifth of eight states to end prohibition.

Public consumption could result in a misdemeanor charge, with a fine of up to $600. And because the casinos’ regulators directed them to follow federal law, you cannot consume in hotel-casinos. MPP and our allies hope to establish safe, legal consumption spaces for tourists, but that won’t happen before Burning Man 2018. But you can consume in private homes, which may include private homes for rent.

• You should also know that Nevada has very strict laws on driving under the influence of marijuana. There is a “per se” threshold of two ng/mL of THC in your blood, meaning that you can be convicted based on a positive test result whether you were impaired or not. If you are a regular marijuana consumer, please note that you can have this amount in your system even if you haven’t consumed in a couple of days.

• If you do have an encounter with law enforcement, it’s always a good idea to know your rights. In addition, Burning Man would like to know about your experience, and if you get into trouble, you can reach out to the volunteer group Lawyers for Burners for help after you return home.

This legal information is provided as a courtesy and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, which is an interpretation of the applicable law to your specific circumstances, we encourage you to consult an attorney. MPP is offering this information as a public service and is in no way affiliated with the Burning Man Project. 

The post Burning Man and Marijuana Laws appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 8/17/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:40

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

At the state level, North Dakota’s secretary of state’s office determined that activists collected enough signatures to qualify a far-reaching marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot. The campaign behind one Missouri medical cannabis initiative filed lawsuits seeking to block two other measures from appearing on the ballot.The measure sets no limits on possession amounts or plant counts.

New Jersey’s Senate president said lawmakers are close to agreeing on a final draft of a marijuana legalization bill and that a vote could happen next month. The Oklahoma legislature’s medical marijuana working group heard concerns from law enforcement at a meeting and Utah lawmakers met in an interim committee to discuss medical cannabis issues.

At a more local level, activists in Nelsonville, Ohio are submitting new petitions for a proposed marijuana depenalization ballot measure after errors were identified with their first attempt and activists in Fremont, Ohio qualified a marijuana depenalization measure for the November ballot. The Sacramento, California City Council approved an equity plan intended to let people impacted by the war on drugs participate in the legal cannabis industry.

Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

Your Highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

End Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

Click here to e-mail your senators and urge them to support this important legislation

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

House Bill 20-178 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp. HB 20-178 was re-introduced by Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) after amending SB 20-62 by Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) since the latter’s bill had revenue-generating sections that led to procedural issues. The bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.

Update: The bill is expected to unanimously pass and could be on Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ desk before the year ends.

CNMI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

California

Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence. The bill was already approved by the Assembly earlier this year.

Update: AB 1793 was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee again on 8/16, and approved by the committee with a 5-2 vote.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expungement

Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee with a 12-0 vote on 8/16.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of helping needy patients

Senate Bill 930 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

Update: SB 930 was heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 8/16, and then tabled by the committee, killing the bill for this year.

That’s all for this week!

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Lehigh Valley NORML Prepares for Next Push in Pennsylvania

NORML Blog - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 07:32

Greetings from your friends at Lehigh Valley NORML! With Summer rushing by, we just wanted to check in with our supporters. We want to fill you in on recent activities and upcoming meetings, events, and happenings.

As many of you hopefully already know, we have planned a Rally and Lobby Day in Harrisburg for Monday, September 24, along with our friends at Pittsburgh NORML, Keystone Cannabis Coalition, AND ACLU-PA. The Rally is 10-11 AM, with lobbying to follow. We hope that many of you can find the time to join us. To help bring our friends to the rally, we have priced out a chartered bus with TransBridge, seating 56 people. The bus would leave the Lehigh Valley at 7am from the William Penn Rideshare off Route 33, between Freemansburg Avenue and William Penn Highway. And would bring everybody to Harrisburg and then back home around 6pm.

If we fill the bus (56 person capacity), it would cost $25pp at full price. HOWEVER, Lehigh Valley NORML IS PAYING HALF THE COST OF THE BUS, and may have a benefactor to help with the other half. So, with our contribution, a full bus will cost each rider $12.50 ($14pp w/ 50 riders to $20pp w/ 35 riders), but you’ll have to be one of the first to register for the bus. We expect a few backouts and will accept about 100 registrants, BUT only 56 seats will be available (unless we find benefactors to cover a second bus). We will call in chronological order to reserve your spot on the bus. There are already a few people pre-registered. Don’t hesitate, as we’ll need to confirm riders by the end of the month, with payment in full. We are allowing our mailing list advanced notice, but by week’s end we will reveal the remaining inexpensive seats to all on Facebook.

**We cannot smoke on the bus, but we’re working on a cool after-party when we return! Please CLICK HERE to reserve your seat!**

LOBBYING? We’ll be lobbying in Harrisburg after the Rally. Soon we’ll be setting up a scheduler to help organize lobbying appointments for those who want to press their legislators.

UPCOMING FESTIVALS… We want to remind everybody that we’ll have a booth at Pride in the Park this coming Sunday, August 19, noon-6pm. Because of recent rains, the festival is at Allentown’s Jewish Community Center, at 22nd and Tilghman Sts.. We also plan to table ArtsFest again this year, September 28-30, at Allentown’s Cedar Beach Park.

PETITIONING EASTON is still in our mind. We hope to start organizing people, petitions, and clipboards for Downtown Easton in the coming weeks. If you might have some spare time to ask for residents’ signatures on a petition pressing City Council to reconsider Citywide Decrim, drop us a note, please! We hope to make this the start of our Action Committees, to help us coordinate future events and volunteers, as we build our community.

NEXT MEETING: As August flies by, we’re already planning for our September meeting. We are hosting an all-afternoon family affair, and renting the larger pavilion (closest to street) at Illicks Mill/ Monocacy Park in Bethlehem on Sunday September 16, noon-6pm. There will be a short meeting, and then we’ll just hang, play, commune, drink beers (canned beers allowed), and eat some food. Maybe a POT LUCK (wink)? Bring the kids. Pack a basket!

Meeting page: http://www.facebook.com/events/2138643323124158/?ti=icl

WEEDSTOCK, hosted by our friends at Delaware NORML is happening August 24-26. Two days of bands, camping, and fun in the First State! Details can be found here:  http://www.facebook.com/events/181136362592813/?ti=icl

Finally, we want thank everybody who came out to say hello at the GRATEFUL FOR GREG fundraiser the other week. The incident at Bernville was tragic and still hurts, but we managed to get some media coverage, opening a view to the world. All over TEN PLANTS! Our work is not done, until incidents like this never happen again.

In the Leaf 

Lehigh Valley NORML

P.S. Here is the Facebook Event page for the Harrisburg Rally. Please RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/2081707708735937/?ti=ia

P.P.S. And please remember that all these programs we run and events we help fund happen only through your kind donations and merchandise purchases. We’ll soon have a revenue site up, but in the meantime DONATE, DONATE, DONATE. Hit us up on PayPal with your donation @ lehighvnorml@gmail.com.

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Texas Medical Marijuana Ad Launched

NORML Blog - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:45

The Foundation for an Informed Texas (FIT) extends educational program dedicated to rural Texans to cable television. This continues an already successful statewide tour and social media campaign that gives voice to rural Texans. The result of the successful efforts is an expanded rural education effort that combines multiple communications channels, including cable television ads. The first cable ad ran on August 13, 2018, airing on a range of networks including Fox News and MSNBC.

Please support helping FIT expand their program to educate even more Texans!

Texas NORML is extremely proud of our sister organization, Foundation for an Informed Texas!

“Around 62% of Americans can access medical cannabis, including people in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana,” says Jax Finkel, Executive Director of FIT. “However, medical cannabis is legal for less than 1% of Texans—that isn’t medical freedom or the Texas way.”

The issue of medical cannabis is an important one to many rural Texans whose livelihoods depend on physical labor. Pain and inflammation are symptoms that are effectively treated by medical cannabis. The current medical regiment for these conditions are opioids and over-the-counter medication—both of which present dangerous side effects.

“Texans, across party lines, are supportive of access to medical cannabis,” says Ms. Finkel, “The next steps is to ensure that Texans have access to accurate information about the laws and the benefits of medical cannabis.”

In 2017, the Texas legislature saw 78 legislative sponsors of HB 2107—the comprehensive, medical cannabis bill—nearly 40 percent of those sponsors were Republicans. In addition, a recent poll conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Tribune found that 84% of Texans agree with some form of general, marijuana legalization.

The FIT educational campaign is a grassroots effort to ensure that the most accurate information is available to the general public and the real voice of medical cannabis is heard—hardworking Texans who want to keep working hard, for longer. This will be the first cable ad dedicated to education regarding medical cannabis in Texas.

Please support this important work today!

Watch the cable ad here.

Jax Finkel is the Executive Director of Texas NORML and the Foundation for an Informed Texas. You can follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website at https://www.texasnorml.org/

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Nevada’s Opioid Task Force Continues to Explore Options

NORML Blog - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 06:34

Due to growing concerns about the impact America’s opioid crisis is having on his state, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval along with Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Charlie Backer of Massachusetts, and Kate Brown of Oregon, recently sent a letter to federal lawmakers requesting support for state and local-level initiatives:

“Every day governors face the devastating impact of this disease on our communities, health care system, schools and families,” the letter reads. “Governors need increased financial and technical support to address this crisis and we urge Congress to avoid burdensome requirements on state programs.”

Read more here: https://www.nga.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NGA-Letter-6.7.2018.pdf

In addition to his formal request for Congressional support, Governor Sandoval created the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to explore, among other things, education and guidelines for treatment options and data collection.

Click here to urge the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Nevada’s opioid epidemic

When asked about the Governor’s actions, Executive Director of Nevada NORML Madisen Saglibene had this to say: “State data shows that per 100,000 patients, Nevada ranks 2nd highest for hydrocodone and oxycontin addiction in the nation. Furthermore, Las Vegas ranked 4th highest in the nation for methadone, and 7th for codeine. So while we appreciate the efforts of Governor Sandoval, we’re encouraging members the the Governor’s Task Force to consider the positive role access to marijuana can play in addressing this issue.”

Several observational studies – such as those here, here, and here – find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs is consistent with this conclusion, finding that many chronic pain subjects reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

Nevada lawmakers should not ignore the reality that access to marijuana can play a role in mitigating the opioid abuse crisis. Use NORML’s online action center below to urge members of the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the positive role that access to marijuana is playing in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic, and promoting greater public health and safety.

Click here to urge the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Nevada’s opioid epidemic

Is there an active opioid commission or task force in your community? Email KevinM@NORML.org and we’ll create an action alert to engage and educate your elected officials about the role access to marijuana can play in reducing opioid-related deaths, hospitalizations, and total number of opioids prescribed.

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California Bureau of Cannabis Control accepting public comments on proposed rules

MPP Blog - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 06:04

Members of the public are invited to provide comments on California’s proposed rules for cannabis businesses. The Bureau of Cannabis Control and other agencies seek public comments as they consider a permanent set of rules — replacing those temporarily in place.

For background, including the text of the proposed rules, summaries, and the agencies’ reasoning for seeking changes, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.

For the most part, permanent rules would mirror those currently in place – but there are some key differences. A big improvement is a clarifying statement that adults 21 and older could receive cannabis deliveries at their own homes, statewide. This is a much-needed solution for those who live in parts of the state that have banned retail sales.

Unfortunately, the transition from illicit to legal sales has not gone as quickly as many had predicted in California, due in large part to rural communities that have refused to allow legal sales. By ensuring that deliveries are available for adults everywhere, consumers are given an option for safe, discreet, and legal sales.

Not all proposed rule changes are positive. One change would limit medical cannabis dispensaries to the sale of cannabis products and branded merchandise, preventing them from offering holistic health services such as counseling and support.

If you are a California resident, take a look at the proposed rules and be sure to send comments so they can be received before the deadline on the 27.

The post California Bureau of Cannabis Control accepting public comments on proposed rules appeared first on MPP Blog.

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MPP has a new executive director!

MPP Blog - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 05:56

We’re pleased to announce that Steve Hawkins has been named the new executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. Steve brings three decades of experience fighting for criminal justice reform, having previously served in leadership roles at the NAACP, Amnesty International USA, and the Coalition for Public Safety.

The entire MPP staff is thrilled to welcome Steve to our organization.

Steve began his career as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund challenging racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He later served as executive vice president of the NAACP, spearheading its efforts to end the police practice of “stop and frisk” in New York City and successfully encouraging the NAACP board of directors to adopt a policy in support of marijuana decriminalization. Steve also previously served as executive director of Amnesty International USA, as a program executive for the Atlantic Philanthropies, and as a senior program manager at the JEHT Foundation. You can read a more detailed biography here.

The marijuana reform movement has made incredible gains in the past several years but there’s still a great deal of work ahead. With Steve leading our experienced and talented team of reformers, and with your support, MPP will continue to enact medical marijuana and marijuana legalization laws that serve the interests of the American people.

The post MPP has a new executive director! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Vermont’s primary election is tomorrow

MPP Blog - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:34

Check out our updated voter guides to learn where candidates for state legislature and governor stand on cannabis regulation!

The Vermont state primary election will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14. If you are a Vermont resident and haven’t already voted, please check out our legislative voter guide to learn where candidates for state legislature stand on marijuana policy. Then, please read our guide on the candidates for governor.

This year, we sent candidates a survey consisting of only one question: “Do you support regulating and taxing the production and sale of cannabis in Vermont for use by adults 21 and older?” Our voter guides include responses from candidates for state representative, state senator, and governor, in addition to public statements and incumbent legislators’ votes on the legalization bill.

We have updated the gubernatorial voter guide to include a fifth candidate, state Sen. John Rodgers, who is running as a write-in candidate. At a recent public forum, all five Democratic candidates talked about their support for taxing and regulating cannabis.

For information on where and how to vote in Vermont, click here.

The post Vermont’s primary election is tomorrow appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot in North Dakota

NORML Blog - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 09:56

Today, the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office confirmed that LegalizeND has submitted more than enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot.

The voter-initiated measure, organized by the grass-roots group Legalize North Dakota, legalizes the possession, use, and sale of cannabis, as well as the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, by those over the age of 21 and also expunges past marijuana convictions.

Commenting on the initiatives approval, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated:

“We applaud the hard work and dedication from the campaign and countless volunteers on the ground in North Dakota who went door to door and out into their communities to gather the signatures required to put this on the ballot in November. Marijuana legalization is no longer a regional or partisan issue. Well over 60% of all Americans support ending our nation’s failed prohibition and I expect North Dakota voters to send shockwaves across the country this fall when they join the growing contingent of states who have chosen the sensible path of legalization and regulation over prohibition and incarceration.”

More information, including how to volunteer or donate to the initiative campaign, can be found on LegalizeND’s website HERE.

North Dakota now joins Michigan on the list of states voting to legalize adult use this fall, with Missouri and Utah voting on medical marijuana access.

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Study: Medical Cannabis Access Laws Associated With Fewer Workplace Fatalities

NORML Blog - Fri, 08/10/2018 - 14:07

Medical cannabis access programs are associated with year-over-year declines in fatal workplace accidents, according to data published online ahead of print in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Investigators with Montana State University, Colorado State University, and American University in Washington, DC assessed the relationship between the enactment of medical cannabis laws and workplace accidents between the years 1992 to 2015.

Researchers reported: “Legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a 19.5 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. … The association between legalizing medical marijuana and workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44 grew stronger over time. Five years after coming into effect, MMLs [medical marijuana laws] were associated with a 33.7 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities. Medical marijuana laws that listed pain as a qualifying condition or allowed collective cultivation were associated with larger reductions in fatalities among workers aged 25-44 than those that did not.”

Authors described the association as “robust,” suggesting that “it cannot be explained by slowly evolving, but difficult-to-measure factors at the state level such as attitudes or health behaviors.”

They concluded: “The current study is the first to explore the effects of medical marijuana laws on workplace fatalities. Our results suggest that legalizing medical marijuana leads to a reduction in workplace fatalities among workers aged 25–44. This reduction may be the result of workers substituting marijuana in place of alcohol and other substances that can impair cognitive function and motor skills.”

Separate studies evaluating the relationship between medical cannabis access and employment have reported that legalization is associated with lower rates of workplace absenteeism and with increased participation rates among older employees. Other studies have documented lower rates of both alcohol sales and opioid consumption following the enactment of marijuana legalization.

An abstract of the study, “Medical marijuana laws and workplace fatalities in the United States,” appears here. The NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana legalization and impact on the workplace,” is online here.

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Connecticut primary election will take place Tuesday, August 14

MPP Blog - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 10:01

Strong contrast emerges between Democratic candidates for attorney general

The Connecticut primary election will take place next Tuesday, August 14. If you’re a Connecticut resident and you’re not sure how or where to vote, please visit the secretary of state’s website for more information.

On the Democratic ticket, both candidates for governor and both candidates for lieutenant governor have said they support taxing and regulating marijuana. However, in the race for attorney general, there is a strong contrast between the Democratic candidates’ positions. At a recent debate, former U.S. Attorney Chris Mattei spoke strongly in favor of regulating marijuana, while the other two candidates, state Rep. William Tong and state Sen. Paul Doyle, “expressed reservations.” Additionally, Mattei has criticized Tong for his failure to support the medical cannabis bill when it passed in 2012.

None of the five Republican candidates for governor have spoken publicly in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.

The post Connecticut primary election will take place Tuesday, August 14 appeared first on MPP Blog.

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NORML PAC Endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for Reelection

NORML Blog - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 07:32

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML PAC) has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for reelection in Vermont.

“Bernie has become one of the most outspoken and visible advocates for ending marijuana prohibition,” stated NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “He has called for sensible drug policy throughout his career, made descheduling marijuana a key component of his platform when running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, and has co-sponsored key pieces of federal legislation such as the Marijuana Justice Act. Senator Sanders doesn’t restrict his fight for reform to backroom meetings and floor speeches in Congress, he takes our message with him as he holds massive rallies and town halls across not just the state of Vermont, but throughout the country. His fire and passion have helped elevate our issue in the national dialogue and we are honored to support his reelection campaign. He is a true leader in the marijuana legalization revolution.”

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Commenting on marijuana prohibition earlier this year, Senator Sanders said:

“Millions of Americans have had their lives impacted by the federal prohibition on marijuana – arrests, convictions and even jail time. Even when people don’t go to jail, the criminal record they receive makes it harder for them to find a job, get housing or go to college. Is this a widespread problem? It sure is. In 2016 alone, over half a million people were arrested for marijuana possession.

These harmful impacts are felt far more acutely in communities of color and poor communities because enforcement of marijuana laws is much stricter there than in more affluent, white communities. Incredibly, African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana even though marijuana usage rates are basically the same across racial lines.

As a first step, we need to remove marijuana from Category 1 of the federal Controlled Substances Act where it is currently ranked alongside drugs like heroin. In fact, marijuana is classified more harshly than cocaine. That doesn’t make any sense.

Let’s have states decide the issue of marijuana for themselves like they do with alcohol. More and more states are moving in the direction of decriminalization. Let them make those decisions without federal interference.”

To learn more about Bernie’s 2018 campaign visit: www.berniesanders.com

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