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Updated: 15 hours 17 min ago

Medical Marijuana is Florida Law

Sat, 12/15/2018 - 11:41

Writing from Key West last week, where I addressed the 35thannual legal conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, I was fishing not only for Blue Marlin, but justice.

Two years ago, Florida citizens voted for and passed a constitutional amendment allowing our residents to use marijuana medicinally.

The law passed overwhelmingly, with nearly 72 percent of the vote. No recount was required.  In this hotly contested and partisan state, no candidate running for statewide office won with that much of a majority. Candidate “Cannabis” garnered more votes than every Tom, Dick, and Sally running for office.

Two years later though, there are few, if any, dispensaries on your corner. Two years later, the city commissions are still passing moratoriums on them. They are negligently joined at the hip by irresponsible legislators failing to fulfill their legal duties. The will of the electorate is inexcusably and unjustifiably being denied.

Governor-elect Rick DeSantis has honorably stated that the legislature has a duty and obligation to implement a regulatory scheme, which carries out the will of the people.

While DeSantis also said he does not support legalization, he has committed himself publicly to seeing Florida citizens be allowed access to medical marijuana.

The incoming governor can take the first step by directing his new Attorney General to stop fighting a legal battle in the courts designed to prevent actual cannabis, the flowered plant, to be sold at dispensaries. Under the guidelines authored by Florida’s legislature, you can only buy cannabis oil and edibles. Folks, this “no smoke” is a joke.

Let’s be real. When you, me and nearly 72 percent of all voters cast your ballots to make medical marijuana available, we meant the flowered plant, not a stool sample. You voted to enact a constitutional amendment, which provided for medical marijuana to be reasonably accessible to citizens of our state. You are entitled to make your vote matter.

Unfortunately, the state legislature failed to enact your directive. It fraudulently fashioned rules forbidding dispensary owners from selling actual cannabis. Instead of partnering with a new industry wisely, it has created obstacles foolishly.

The licensees empowered to open dispensaries have paid the state millions of dollars to cultivate cannabis lawfully. They have purchased large tracts of land to initiate outdoor grows. They have acquired enormous warehouse bays to produce high-grade, hydroponically grown marijuana. They are getting screwed, too. They can’t sell it and we can’t buy it.

We are all tired of having to buy cannabis illegally on street corners. We are sick of watching our friends stupidly go to jail for purchasing a product we are now allowing the state to collect money from. Let’s get our act together. Let’s demand a change.

Marijuana initiatives are passing all over the country. States are proactively enacting them, not foolishly postponing them. Seven more states joined the fold in November.

In Florida, attorney John Morgan, out of Orlando, has led the battle to medicalize marijuana. With groups like the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, People United for Medical Marijuana and Regulate Florida also championing this cause, the citizenry of our state has spoken powerfully for medical pot.

It is sheer foolishness and remarkable stupidity for politicians to oppose what is clearly a green wave sweeping across America.  Polling now suggests 65 percent of all Americans want pot legalized. Across America, 32 states have now decriminalized, medicalized, or legalized pot.

It has taken nearly half a century, but now more than half of America is on our side. We have come a long way. If you stand your ground though, and there abide, the world will eventually come around to you.

Marijuana use never should have been criminalized, and cannabis consumers never should have become criminals. Pot always was and still is a simple herb with medicinal uses and recreational qualities. It was never an evil which would end the world. To fulfill their own political agendas, our leaders lied to us. Surprise.

The war against pot has been a waste of national resources, destroying lives, jailing good people, and diluting valuable law enforcement resources. It has been almost 50 years since the one-time governor of Pennsylvania, Raymond Schaefer, a Republican, released a report recommending that the federal government decriminalize the personal use of marijuana.

Today, even the former speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, another Republican, works in the cannabis industry marketing legal marijuana for private entrepreneurs.

In the United States Congress, we must once and for all end the legal farce that permits cannabis to be listed as a Schedule 1 drug with “no accepted medical uses.” This regulation is why 18-year-old kids in 18 states across this country are still having to post bail for using pot.

Reasonable access to medical marijuana is now the law of our state, and if our city commissioners and state legislators don’t enact ordinances to provide for it promptly, they are the ones who should be held accountable at the ballot box.

The failure of our state to make medical cannabis easily accessible in 2018 has inspired a new initiative for 2020. The next ballot amendment will ask you to support statewide legalization. Until then, we have a right to mandate that the constitutional amendment of 2016 be implemented fairly.

If you cannot acquire medicinal pot in our state today, the only ones who belong in jail are the legislators who are failing to carry out your directives, entered at voting booths across this state two years ago. Lock them up, not you.

As for you, there is no doubt. If you are a patient, you should be able to go into a dispensary and acquire cannabis lawfully. We as a people have decreed it as our legal right.

Fighting for legal marijuana has always been a civil rights cause, more now than ever. Your right. Your body. Your choice.  No one can or should be allowed to stand in your way. Stand up and let your voice and votes be heard from South Florida to Tallahassee.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 12/14/18

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:28

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

There’s been some key developments in Congress this week, including the passage of The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’) by both the U.S. House and Senate. The hemp-specific provisions of the Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This would pave the way for states to commercially regulate hemp and hemp-derived products as they see fit. The President is anticipated to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

Additionally, newly introduced legislation, the Maintaining Appropriate Protections For Legal Entry (MAPLE) Act, would ease the tension for Canadians involved in the newly legal marijuana industry trying to enter the United States. The measure would provide protections for individuals whose actions are “lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred” or that was “subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction,” in regard to the emerging legal status of marijuana in the United States and internationally. You can send a message to your Representative in support of The Maple Act by clicking here.

At the state level, it’s official that legalization legislation in New Jersey will not be passed before the end of this year. Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin, along with Governor Murphy, still have not decided on key details of the proposal, including tax rates and the governing body that would oversee the regulated industry.

Lawmakers in Nebraska have established a campaign committee called Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws that will aim to qualify a 2020 medical cannabis ballot measure, and possibly even adult use as well. Click here to read more.

As New York State begins to draft adult use marijuana legalization legislation, the state’s Department of Health, in partnership with NYU and RAND, are funding a survey to gain insight on individuals’ first hand experience with cannabis consumption. The survey responses will help shape what the legislation will entail, and what the adult use market will look like. Click here to submit your response.

Following are the bills 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. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Your Highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

Missouri

A state lawmaker has pre-filed legislation, House Bill 157, to eliminate criminal and civil penalties specific to the adult possession and cultivation of marijuana.

If passed, the measure would permit those age 21 or older to privately possess up to two ounces of marijuana or cultivate up to six marijuana plants, three of which may be mature.

MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of depenalization

Legislation has been pre-filed, HB 238, to protect the privacy of registered medical marijuana patients.

The measure would prohibit the state government from sharing medical marijuana user or registry info with the federal government.

MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort

California

Legislation has been re-introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

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

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Michigan Bill to Ban Home Cultivation Fails in Senate

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:00

An effort to undermine Michigan’s Proposition 1, a voter approved initiative that legalized adult-use marijuana failed to gain support in the Senate. In a last-ditch effort to deny Michigan residents the legal right to grow marijuana in their home, Senate Majority Leader Meekhof introduced SB 1243 that would have stripped the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of language that allows adults to grow 12 plants at home for personal use.

Due to a limited timeframe and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unwilling to support the bill, Majority Leader Meekhof’s effort to undermine the will of voters failed miserably. With the Legislature scheduled to adjourn next week, marijuana consumers in Michigan have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season!

“When Senator Meekhof introduced SB 1243, the advocate community in Michigan coalesced like mercury. Everyone was unified in opposition to overreaching bill so we were able to apply a lot of pressure in both chambers of the legislature,” said Brad Forrester, Board Member of Michigan NORML. “I would like to think that’s the reason the bill failed, but frankly, it failed because it was a bad bill and even Meekhof’s own colleagues couldn’t bring themselves to support it.”

Read more here: https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2018/12/13/michigan-marijuana-bill/2300912002/

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Michigan NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website

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Demand Protection For Consumers At The Canadian Border

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 12:33

Legal Marijuana Sales Being in Canada

Following Canada’s decision to become the first country in North America to legalize the use and retail sale of cannabis, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a memorandum affirming that those Canadians either involved or invested in the legal cannabis industry may be barred admission into the United States. The agency modified their policy directive on October 9, 2018, acknowledging: “A Canadian citizen working in … the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the US for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the United States. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the US for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

In response to this hard-line position, Representative Earl Blumenauer, the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has introduced the Maintaining Appropriate Protections For Legal Entry Act (HR 7275), or The MAPLE Act for short.

This legislation provides protections for individuals whose actions are “lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred” or that was “subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction,” in regard to the emerging legal status of marijuana in the United States and internationally.

You can send a message to your Representative in support of The Maple Act by clicking here. 

There have already been examples of the United State’s punitive border policy needlessly wrecking lives. In one such example, an individual received a lifetime ban from entering the United States on November 14th simply because he was an investor in a legal Canadian marijuana business.

It is crucial that the United States recognizes the rights of both our citizens and our international allies to be able to travel freely between our two nations, and to reform federal border policies to acknowledge this new reality.

Click here to tell your lawmaker to support The Maple Act. 

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Congress Lifts Longstanding Ban on Hemp Production

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:53

Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’), which for the first time includes provisions lifting the United States’ centuries-long prohibition on domestic, commercial hemp production. The President is anticipated to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

“The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.”

He added, “As statewide and public support in favor of broader marijuana reforms continues to grow, it is apparent that this federal change won’t be the last when it comes to the cannabis plant.”

The hemp-specific provisions of the Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including …. extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis.

The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess “primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp” to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture. The agency has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan. In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, “it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state … without a license.” Federal grant opportunities will be available to licensed commercial farmers, as will the ability for farmers to obtain crop insurance. The Act does not federally recognize non-licensed, non-commercial hemp cultivation activities.

Nothing in the new language (Section 297D) shall “affect or modify” the existing regulatory powers of the US Food and Drug Administration or other agencies with regard to the enforcement of the US Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act or the Public Health Service Act. The FDA has previously acknowledged: “We’ll continue to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims. We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.”

Interstate commerce in hemp and hempen goods is permitted under the Act (Section 10114).

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “These changes represent a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will likely still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft consistent benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”

On Background:

What is hemp?

Unlike traditional cannabis, which is primarily grown for the purpose of harvesting its flowers, industrial hemp is a fibrous crop grown mainly for its stalk and seeds — which can be utilized in the manufacturing of textiles, paper, animal feed, food-stuffs and numerous other products. Because only trace levels of THC, the primary psychotropic compound in marijuana, is present in hemp, most countries — including Canada and Japan — appropriately define it as an agricultural crop and not as a controlled substance. In fact, according to the Congressional Research Service, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol is one of a number of naturally occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It possesses a number of known therapeutic effects, such as anxioltytic and anti-convulsant effects. Like other cannabinoids, it is most prominent in cannabis flowers, and not in the plant’s stalks. As a result, some experts opine, “Traditional hemp is an inefficient source of CBD.” Federal agencies have generally opined that CBD sourced from traditional cannabis meets the criteria of a schedule I controlled substance.

Can’t some states already grow hemp?

Yes. Under Sec. 7606 of the 2014 Farm Act, states may license farmers to cultivate hemp as part of a university-sanction pilot program. Over 40 states have enacted legislation permitting such activity.

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Texas NORML Announces Dates for Capitol Meet and Greet, Advocacy Training and 2019 Lobby Day

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 07:39

We already have a lot of events on the calendar for 2019. Check out few highlights below!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019 – Opening Day – Capitol Meet & Greet

Join Texas NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy at the Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session! Opening day is one of ceremony and gratitude. It’s a great day to visit your legislator’s Capitol office and meet his/her staff. It’s not a day for lobbying, but certainly offers an opportunity to enrich your relationship with your legislators. Complimentary Breakfast Thanks to GRAV Labs!

Follow event page for updates.

 

Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Capitol Advocacy Workshop

This training event is designed to help you become a more effective advocate for marijuana law reform in Texas and to prepare you to lobby effectively for our bills during the Legislative Session. This training event will offer you the tools you need to make effective arguments, dispel common myths, confidently communicate with your legislators, and positively affect policy during the upcoming legislative session. Please pre-register for this event so we can have adequate supplies for all attendees.

Follow event page for updates.

 

Thursday, February 7, 2019 – Texas Marijuana Policy Lobby Day

Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State! We are excited to team up with our coalition members to host another huge Lobby Day. Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State. Since there will be hundreds of Texans participating, it is imperative that you pre-register for this event.

Follow the event page for updates and more information on caravans from Houston and DFW.

We also will be hosting our Monthly Meetings, several other special events at the Capitol (including Veteran, Patient and Senior Lobby Days), Direct Actions every other week during the session and multiple educational exhibits. Keep up to date by following our Event Page or adding our calendar to yours!

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

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Take This Short Survey to Help Shape Marijuana Policy in New York

Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:12

How much cannabis do you consume? How much do you pay for your cannabis? How much extra would you pay for cannabis delivery? How often do you share your cannabis with friends?

New York State plans to legalize cannabis for adult-use with the 2019 Budget in April. The time is NOW to make your voice heard loud and clear!

The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with NYU and RAND, want to know your (anonymous) answers to these questions, and more! Please take this short survey to offer your first hand experience as a cannabis consumer, advocate, or supporter in New York. Answers will be used to help shape the legislation currently being drafted that is going to determine what the the adult-use cannabis market will look like.

Survey responses are requested ASAP, but will be accepted until January 15th. Please send this survey to your friends and family, pull out your phone during holiday parties and ask people to fill it out, and talk to your co-workers (if they’re cool) and ask them the fill out the survey. We need to get at least 1,000 cannabis consumers, advocates, and supporters to fill out the survey. Will you help us reach this goal?

Click here to submit your survey response now.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Low-Income Medical Marijuana Patient Evicted for Doctor Recommended Therapy

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 18:50


Up until a few years ago low-income housing that received federal subsidies were required to maintain a “drug-free” environment. This meant that if anyone living in subsidized housing was caught possessing and/or consuming marijuana onsite, everyone living in the property was at risk of being evicted.

Fortunately, in 2014 the Obama Administration amended this policy to no longer mandate evictions which provided some discretion to housing management. As a result, the decision is now left to property management so they can insist on a “drug-free” environment, but are not required by law to impose such restrictive policies.

Unfortunately, due to inconsistencies in the different policies adopted by property management companies and limited knowledge of the law, marijuana patients residing in subsidized housing are losing their homes. A situation that is becoming all too common. Most recently, John Flickner, a 78-year-old wheelchair bound medical marijuana patient, was evicted from his low-income senior housing facility in Niagara Falls for using medical marijuana that was recommended by his physician.

In response, Lynne Patton, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional official announced that she is working to resolve the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws as it applies to tenant rights in federally-subsidized housing.

“State & federal law needs to catch up with medicinal marijuana usage & require private landlords to legally permit the same. Period,” Patton wrote. “Regardless, my team is already working with Mr. Flickner & a local grantee to place him in permanent housing again, as anyone else in his boat.”

Read more here: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-official-wants-to-legally-permit-medical-marijuana-in-federally-subsidized-housing/

That’s why NORML is supporting the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would prohibit property owners of federally assisted housing from establishing standards to prevent access to federally assisted housing to anyone who engages in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana as long as they are in compliance with state laws.

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A NORML Statement on William Barr as Attorney General Nominee

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:01

Washington, DC: Today, President Trump announced his intention to nominate former Attorney General William Barr to be considered by the Senate to replace former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

“With every move by the Department of Justice facing intense public scrutiny, maintaining Jeff Sessions’ policy of reefer madness would be self-defeating,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The movement to end the failed and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization is larger and stronger than ever, supported by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisans.”

“In 2018, five states legalized either the medicinal or adult-use of marijuana, making the total number of states out of compliance with the Controlled Substances Act now 47. It would be utterly absurd for William Barr or any agent of the Department of Justice to take any action against these state-sanctioned and operational programs.”

“Over half of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee represent states that have or are in the process of enacting a legal marijuana marketplace. It is our intention that Mr. Barr be put on the record regarding his current position on cannabis given his record as a proponent of the failed War on Drugs.”

Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional fifteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.

To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that over 149,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abusehospitalizations, and mortality.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 12/7/18

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:01

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

At the state level, certain provisions of Michigan’s voter approved legalization measure specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis took effect on Thursday. Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana measure also took effect on Thursday.

Iowa’s first medical cannabis dispensary, MedPharm, opened on Saturday. And Alzheimer’s disease was added to Minnesota’s list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions by the state’s Department of Health.

Members of the New York state assembly held a public hearing on adult use marijuana legalization at Babylon Town Hall on Long Island.

At a more local level, Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, Colorado, announced via Twitter that his administration will begin to “vacate low-level marijuana convictions.” And two city councilmen in Cincinnati, Ohio are advocating for marijuana decriminalization in the city with legislation that would put the question on the ballot.

Following are the bills 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. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

Your Highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

Utah

House Bill 3001 is “compromise” legislation that sought to significantly amend Proposition 2, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. The changes are likely to adversely impact patients’ medical cannabis access and unduly delay the law’s implementation.

Update: On 12/3, Governor Herbert (R) signed HB 3001 into law shortly after it was approved by the Utah House of Representatives 60-13, and then the Senate 22-4. The new law takes effect immediately.

Illinois

House Bill 2367 seeks to vacate criminal records among those with certain past marijuana possession convictions.

The bill amends the Cannabis Control Act so that Illinoisans may file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. Several other states, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have enacted similar laws.

Update: On 11/29, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 67-37 to pass HB 2367. The measure now awaits action in the Senate.

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

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Michigan: Marijuana Possession Becomes Legal This Thursday

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 05:00

Key provisions of the state’s voter-initiated marijuana measure, Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, will take effect this Thursday, December 6. Michigan is the tenth US state to legalize and regulate the use and sale of marijuana by adults, and it is the ninth to do so via voter initiative.

“The legalization of the adult use of marijuana in Michigan represents a victory for common sense public policy, while delivering yet another body blow to our decades long failed prohibition on marijuana,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Instead of continuing to arrest over 22,000 citizens a year for marijuana related charges, Michigan will now be able to reallocate precious law enforcement resources to combat violent crime while respecting civil liberties and advancing racial justice. This is a great day for the state of Michigan and, as the first midwest state to legalize marijuana for adult use, a huge step forward in the nationwide fight to end the failed policy of prohibition and incarceration and to replace it with a sensible system of legalization and regulation.”

Provisions specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis will take effect at 12am. Those over the age of 21 may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates in a private residence. Adults may also legally cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in private, and possess the harvest (up to ten ounces) of those plants. Public use of cannabis will remain a violation of law.

Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has up to 12 months to begin accepting applications from those seeking to operate licensed cannabis businesses.

Despite majority support for the new law, legislation (SB 1243) introduced by outgoing Sen. Majority Leader Arian Meekhof in the lame duck session seeks to significantly amend many of its provisions. The measure, which NORML opposes, would eliminate adults’ ability to home cultivate personal use amounts of cannabis, among other changes.

“Home cultivation is a vital component of Michigan’s new law, and this policy is consistent with those policies regulating alcohol — which permit home brewing,” Altieri said. “Fifty-six percent of Michigan voters approved Proposition 1. Politicians should respect the will of the electorate; they should not be seeking to undermine them.”

Click here to email your lawmakers and urge them to vote ‘no’ on SB 1243.

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Utah: Lawmakers Replace Voter-Initiated Medical Marijuana Law

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:49

[Update: Governor Gary Herbert has signed the replacement measure into law.]

Lawmakers voted in a special legislative session on Monday to replace the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access program. The former law, Proposition 2, was approved by 53 percent of voters on November 6.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri criticized lawmakers’ decision. “Lawmakers should have respected the will of the voters and should have moved expeditiously to honor the spirit of the law — not undermine it,” he said. “Patients deserve the right to cultivate their own medicine, doctors should be empowered to decide what is best for their patients, and there should be no undue hurdles to licensing an adequate number of dispensaries to provide cannabis related products in a retail environment.”

Legislators announced in October their intent to rewrite the legislation, prior to its passage, after meetings with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — who opposed the bill — and other groups, including some backers of the original bill. However, other proponents of Proposition 2, including the group TRUCE Utah (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), have announced their intent to file a lawsuit in response to lawmakers’ decision to amend the law.

The replacement legislation, House Bill 3001, significantly differs from the language that was approved by the voters. It eliminates patients’ option to home cultivate cannabis, it largely discourages the dispensing of edible cannabis products, it narrows the list of qualifying conditions, and it significantly reduces the total number of permissible state-licensed dispensaries, among other changes.

Members of the House voted 60 to 13 in favor of the new language. Members of the Senate voted 22 to 4. The bill required two-thirds support from both chambers in order to become law.

The vote to rewrite the voter-initiated law broke down largely along party lines, with Republican lawmakers deciding in favor of the change and Democratic members largely voting ‘present.’ An alternative measure backed by members of the Democratic Caucus that sought to make only minor administrative changes to the initiative was defeated.

Once signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, the new law takes immediate effect.

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NORML Chapter Newsletter

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 17:58

Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

Members of  NORML Chapters in Missouri Host Community Discussion About Amendment 2

“MU NORML, the Mizzou chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hosted a cannabis conference Saturday with Missouri NORML and Show-Me Cannabis.”

Read more from ABC 17!

Follow University of Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

NORML Leaders in the Media

Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

“We’re going to set ourselves up for the best chance possible,” Brown said. “We’ve sent letters out and have contacted all of our elected officials in North Carolina, and those that were running, to get their responses about how they felt about cannabis reform.”

Read more from WSPA 7 News!

Follow North Carolina NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

Robinson could not be happier about Walker’s election defeat, since he historically has not supported legalizing marijuana and in May referred to it as a “gateway drug” during an interview on WISN-TV.

Read more from The Badger Herald!

Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Ali Nagib, Deputy Director, Illinois NORML

Nagib said regulations might include limits on the potency of marijuana. And he wonders whether the “number of licenses will be limited and if there’ll be something favoring small businesses.”

Read more from the Rockford Register Star!

Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Chris Goldstein, Executive Director, South Philly NORML

“Goldstein, however, said the new bill is part of a blinkered mentality that will prevent the city from taking full advantage of the medical marijuana industry and, he claims, eventually full-scale legalization.”

Read more from WHYY Public Media!

Follow South Philly NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Andy Lee, Communications Director, NORML Canada

“A diverse cannabis sector will, ultimately, provide the most innovation, establish high-quality products and a better experience for consumers,”

Read more from The Province!

Follow NORML Canada on Facebook and become a member today!

Christeen Landino, Deputy Director, Michigan NORML

“Landino recalls getting busted for pot in 1968 and attending her first demonstration about marijuana in Detroit in 1974. That one was in support of a decriminalization effort that never made it to the ballot.”

Read more from the Detroit Metro Times!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

“The measure will officially go into effect Dec. 6, according to Dan Viets, president of New Approach Missouri. But it could be as much as a year later before patients will have access to cannabis.”

Read more from KOMU 8!

Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

“Prices will reflect the content of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetryhydrocannabinol (THC), both active compounds found in marijuana, said Dan Viets, president of Amendment 2’s campaign committee and president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation, or the NORML Foundation.”

Read more from the Missourian!

Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

“‘Certification’ is the correct term,” Viets said. Doctors will provide patients with a document allowing marijuana use if the patient has been diagnosed with one or more of a list of diseases listed in the amendment.

Read more from Springfield News-Leader!

Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

“Viets has been working with Missouri NORML to answer as many questions as possible about the new laws, and admits that there are still a few things that are still coming together but said they’re working to get everything in motion as quickly as possible.”

Read more from ABC 17 News!

Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

David Holland, Board Member, Empire State NORML

“National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) lawyer David Holland was recruited by Tesoriero to explain the impacts marijuana arrests can have on people.”

Read more from The New Paltz Oracle!

Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

“Some marijuana advocates downstate, meanwhile, think Michigan’s legalization could spur Hoosier legislators — maybe within the next year or two — to take action on the issue of medical marijuana, which has gradually gained attention over the last decade.”

Read more from News Bug!

Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

“New York — which already allows medical use of marijuana — will legalize its recreational use next year. He noted that the newly elected senators headed to Albany in January include a number of young progressives who will support legalization.”

Read more from Times Herald-Record!

Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

“It’s clear that its popularity is overwhelming. It’s even more popular than many of the candidates who were elected in those areas.”

Read more from WISN 12 News!

Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

“Both are very supportive of medical cannabis and open-minded on recreational cannabis,” Marsh said in an interview. “The close margin in those statewide races means they both owe their jobs to the hundreds of thousands of cannabis voters who came out to support the referendums.”

Read more from the Daily Cardinal!

Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

“I don’t think that’s going to be a conversation this session,” Finkle told the Dallas Observer. “Texans like to consider themselves their own nation state. We like to do things our own way, and that means that [recreational legalization] will probably be later.”

Read more from Civilized!

Follow Texas NORML on Facebook and become a member today! 

Kandice Hawes, Executive Director, Orange County NORML

“Hawes founded Orange County NORML in 2003 after losing her college financial aid due to a marijuana possession charge. OC NORML has been instrumental in getting recreational marijuana legalized in California, organizing the Medical Cannabis Conference for Seniors in Laguna Woods Village, and working to end the lengthy incarceration of nonviolent marijuana prisoners.”

Read more from The Indy!

Follow Orange County NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Luis Nakamoto, Executive Director, San Antonio NORML

“San Antonio NORML, the local chapter for reform on marijuana laws, is hopeful this go-around in terms of the next legislative session. State Senator Jose Menendez filed S.B. 90. He hopes to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program.”

Read more from KENS 5!

Follow San Antonio NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Madisen Saglibene, Executive Director, Nevada NORML

“It’s unlikely that President Trump’s new attorney general will spread reefer madness and misinformation to the same extent that Mr. Sessions has,”

Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal!

Follow Nevada NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

“It’s already in our communities, kids are already getting it. When you regulate it, you take it out of the black market, you put it into a store and then you can go after the people who are giving it to kids.”

Read more from News 10 NBC!

Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

“She and other justice advocates urge lawmakers to vacate or seal records of low-level possession and sale charges brought in the past. They also push for people who are currently incarcerated for such crimes to be released or have their sentences reduced to time served.”

Read more from The River Reporter!

Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

“I expect a rush on the grow stores in December because people are going to be getting lights and fans for Christmas.”

Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

“It has not been a smooth roll out on the part of the state,” Abel said. “You’d think Michigan would learn from other states — simple things, like license growers first.”

Read more from Revue!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Michael Ford, Executive Director, Minnesota NORML

“Michael Ford and lifelong marijuana activist Oliver Steinberg, offers a moralistic wish list that includes home growing, release of nonviolent offenders, retroactive expungement, public consumption, and a purchasing age of 18.”

Read more from City Pages!

Follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Mya Smith, Board Member, Purdue NORML

“I have no doubt in my mind that it would become legal if they put it on a ballot.”

Read more from WLFI 18!

Follow Purdue NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

“This isn’t done. Just because we passed legalization we have many more hurdles to accomplish. expungement is one, federal banking is one, criminal justice reform on the national scale.”

Read more from NBC 25 News!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

“A person who may have consumed cannabis several days ago might still test positive for the presence of cannabis,” said Thompson. “That does not indicate they were using their automobile in an impaired way.”

Read more from WSBT 22!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

“It was very predictable that this would happen and just underscores that there needs to be a change in federal law.”

Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Pam Dyer, Executive Director, Eastern Washington Women of NORML

“Dyer says consuming raw cannabis has also relieved a friend’s rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While she doesn’t get high from eating the leaves and stems, Dyer does say that she has to reduce how much cannabis she ingests through other methods.”

Read more from The Spokesman-Review!

Follow Eastern Washington Women of NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML

“We know it’s safer than alcohol,” he said “If we can honestly have an open conversation about cannabis, we can realize that right now there are 30,000 people in Connecticut who are living proof that it’s not something to fear. Adult consumption, however, requires a certain level of responsibility.”

Read more from the Connecticut Post!

Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

For more than 45 years NORML chapters have been the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please email NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji at KevinM@NORML.org for help with starting your own!

Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 11/30/18

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 12:40

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

U.S. House and Senate lawmakers this week have agreed on final language for the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp. These provisions amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance.

Following are the bills 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. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

Your Highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

New Jersey

Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act seek to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

Update: S2703/A4497 were heard by the Joint Committee on Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday 11/26, and then both measures were approved by the committee.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of this effort

Legislation is pending, S 10, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, amongst other changes.

Update: Members of the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee, along with members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, voted on Monday 11/26 to advance the bill. Separate language contained in S2426 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis to any patient they believe will benefit has also been incorporated into S10.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion.

Legislation is pending, S2318, to permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expedited expungement in the event of decriminalization or legalization.

If passed, the bill would would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law, but only upon enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana.

A separate measure, S3205, is also pending. If signed into law, it would make more crimes eligible for expungement — including offenses involving controlled dangerous substances — and cut the wait time down to five years. It also includes a “clean slate” process that will wipe away all offenses at once for anyone who has a clean record for 10 years after their last offense. Many more serious crimes would not be eligible.

Update: S3205 was heard by the Joint Committee on Budget and Appropriations on 11/26, then approved by the committee.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

Illinois

Rep. Kelly Cassidy plans to introduce legislation in 2019 to legalize marijuana for adults in Illinois.

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

Michigan

HB 6508 would allow those who are currently incarcerated for a violation “based on the use, possession, or distribution” of marijuana, to petition the parole board for release from prison. If the parole board denies a petitioner’s request for release, the petitioner would be permitted to appeal the decision to the Department of Corrections.

Another measure, SB 1200, would allow those convicted of certain marijuana-related offenses to file a petition with the court to “set aside” their records.

MI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of vacating past conviction records

SB 1243 seeks to amend the voter-initiated Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act in a manner that would strip away language that currently permits adults to home cultivate cannabis, among other changes.

The measure removes provisions from the law that permit adults to home cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants on their private premises. NORML opposes this legislation.

MI resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to vote NO on SB 1243

North Carolina

Lawmakers plan to reintroduce legislation in 2019 to decriminalize the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.

NC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of decriminalization

Indiana

State Senator Karen Tallian plans to introduce a bill in 2019 to decriminalize the possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana.

IN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of decriminalization

Sen. Tallian also plans to introduce a bill in 2019 that would allow qualified patients to use and possess physician-authorized medical marijuana.

IN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

Utah

A majority of Utah voters decided on election day in favor of Proposition 2, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. However, politicians are threatening to significantly amend this Act during a special legislative session in December. Their proposed changes are likely to adversely impact patients’ medical cannabis access and unduly delay the law’s implementation.

Update: The Health and Human Services Interim Committee? held a public hearing? on the legislation, prior to the special session that will convene on Monday 12/3.

UT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in opposition to this effort

California

Legislation was reintroduced that 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. Last session, the measure was vetoed by Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of protecting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

Categories: Blog Feeds

Reconciled Farm Bill Includes Provisions Lifting Federal Hemp Ban

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 11:23

Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a reconciled version of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill), which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.

“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, commercial hemp production will no longer be federally prohibited in the United States,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “This represents a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft simple benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”

The hemp-specific provisions – which Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) included in the Senate version of the bill, but were absent from the House version – amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: ‘Conforming changes to controlled substances act.’) Certain cannabinoid compounds extracted from the hemp plant would also be exempt from the CSA.

House and Senate lawmakers will need to vote on the engrossed version of the Act, and they are anticipated to do so before the end of the year. Passage of the bill would allow state governments, rather than the federal governments, to be the primary regulators of hemp and hempen products.

Senator McConnell previously shepherded hemp-related language (Section 7606) in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill, permitting states to establish hemp research and cultivation programs absent federal approval. A majority of states have now enacted legislation to permit such programs.

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Utah: Make Your Voice Heard; Make Your Vote Count

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 07:08

Lawmakers are planning to convene a special session beginning on Monday, December 3 to debate replacing Proposition 2: The Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

Yet, the reason a majority of Utah voters decided in favor of Prop. 2 was precisely because many of these same lawmakers, year after year, failed to adequately address this issue in a manner that provided adequate access to those patients who could benefit from it. Do you trust them to do the right thing now?

Proposition 2 assures that those patients with qualified debilitating conditions who need medical cannabis have access to lab-tested products via a tightly regulated system of licensed, above-ground state-licensed facilities. Rather than amending this voter-initiated proposition – and removing many of its key provisions (such as enabling patients’ rights to home cultivation) – politicians should respect the will of the electorate and move swiftly to enact medical cannabis access in a manner that comports with both the spirit of the law and the letter of law.

Don’t let politicians rewrite Prop. 2 in a way that serves the best interest of bureaucrats rather than patients. Thirty-three states now regulate medical cannabis access, and many of these programs were similarly enacted via voter-initiated measures. Utah patients should not be forced to wait any longer for safe, above-ground medical cannabis access.

Click here to tell your state lawmakers to move expeditiously to enact Proposition 2 in the manner that voters intended

Categories: Blog Feeds

A #GivingTuesday Message from NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 10:23

Thanks to all the work we have done together, our issue of ending marijuana prohibition is no longer a regional one confined to deep blue states on the West Coast or the Northeast, we have gone nationwide. Voters increasingly agree with us that legalization is an important issue of civil liberties, personal freedom, racial justice, and sound economics. We are winning this fight, but that is no reason to relent in our struggle, we must double down and end this war on cannabis once and for all.

This #GivingTuesday can you chip in to help us keep the fight going? We have ten states (plus DC) that have legalized marijuana for adult use and are looking at more potentially joining that list in 2019, but we need the resources to help get those states across the finish line.

Donate today through Facebook and Paypal/Facebook will match your donation, doubling your impact! (If you don’t use Facebook you can donate directly to NORML here)

Together, we have already accomplished so much. When we stand shoulder to shoulder and fight with one voice against these unjust laws, we will cross that final finish line. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana nationwide.

Thank you very much.

Erik Altieri
NORML Executive Director

Categories: Blog Feeds

Growing Change on Giving Tuesday

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 10:05

Today’s the day to give!

We need your help to raise $25,000 that will make advancing common-sense federal marijuana legislation in 2019 possible.

The best referral we can get is from supporters like you. In addition to your donation today, could you also post this on your social pages? As the day goes on, we’ll keep you updated on the progress toward our goal and give special thanks to our supporters. Stay tuned!

It’s time to #LegalizeAmerica.

Categories: Blog Feeds

New Jersey Lawmakers Advance Adult Use Marijuana Legislation

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 14:21

Senate and Assembly lawmakers voted on Monday, November 26, in favor of legislation that seeks to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

Members of a 26-member joint committee decided to move forward the legislation: Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act. Lawmakers will engage in further debate on the measure prior to voting on the bill on the floor.

“Today’s Senate and Assembly votes are a victory for common sense and for sound public policy in New Jersey. We look forward to lawmakers on the Assembly and Senate floors acting swiftly to approve this legislation to send to Governor Murphy to sign into law.” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “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 move forward. Their representatives should approve this legislation this year and replace the failed practice of prohibition with the sensible policy of legalization and regulation.”

Key provisions of the initial drafts of the legislation are available here.

Governor Phil Murphy campaigned on a platform that includes legalizing the adult use marijuana market in New Jersey, stating: “Decriminalization alone will not put the corner dealer out of business, it will not help us protect our kids, and it will not end the racial disparities we see. If these are our goals – as they must be – then the only sensible option is the careful legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales to adults.”

Fifty-eight percent of voters support “completely legalizing the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana,” and 79 percent support “allowing an individual to clear their record” of a past marijuana possession conviction,” according to an October 2018 Rutgers-Eagleton poll.

NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS: CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN SUPPORT OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

Categories: Blog Feeds

Weekly Legislative Roundup 11/23/18

Fri, 11/23/2018 - 10:20

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! I hope everyone had a happy and festive Turkey Day!

In the U.S. Senate this week, it was announced that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chair of the Judiciary Committee and avid prohibitionist, is stepping down from his position. As Chairmain, he refused to hold any hearings or permit votes on marijuana legislation.

At the state level, Michigan’s new legalization law goes into effect on December 6, which means adults can legally possess and grow marijuana for personal use. And Massachusetts dispensaries began selling adult use marijuana this past Tuesday.

Ned Lamont (D), Connecticut’s soon to be Governor, stated that marijuana legalization is one of his priorities for 2019. The president of the Senate supports this as well. Democratic and Republican lawmakers think legalization is likely next year. And The Senate president in Vermont said he expects a bill regulating marijuana sales to be introduced shortly after the new year.

At a more local level, the attorney general of Washington, DC said he supports regulating marijuana sales if and when the congressional rider blocking the city’s ability to do so is removed.

People in Jackson County, Missouri will no longer be pursued by the county prosecutor in most instances of marijuana possession. Marijuana cases in Kalamazoo County, Michigan are also being dismissed.

Door County in Wisconsin was considering a proposal to put marijuana advisory questions on the April 2019 ballot, but it was rejected.

Following are the bills 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

Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

New Jersey

S2703 seeks to legalize adult marijuana sales and further expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

The legislation permits those age 21 and older to legally possess and/or purchase up to one ounce of cannabis. It also permits the licensing of 218 retail dispensaries — 120 of which would provide marijuana to adults while 98 would provide marijuana to authorized patients. At present, one half-a-dozen medical dispensaries are operating in the state.

Update: S2703 will be heard in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of this effort

Legislation is pending, S 10, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

The measure would increase the number of licenses the Department of Health can issue to new providers in order to meet New Jersey’s increased patient demand.

Update: S10 will be heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion.

Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit.

Update: S2426 will be heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of letting doctors, not politicians, decide what’s best for their patients

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