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Updated: 5 hours 11 min ago

Texas Medical Marijuana Ad Launched

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/

Categories: Blog Feeds

Nevada’s Opioid Task Force Continues to Explore Options

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.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot in North Dakota

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

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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NORML PAC Endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for Reelection

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.”

Click here to Tweet our endorsement. 

Click here to share on Facebook.

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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New Federal Employment Protections Bill Introduced For Marijuana Consumers

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 08:14

Today, Congressman Charlie Crist held a press conference to announce the introduction of the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, HR 6589.

The bipartisan bill would explicitly bar federal agencies from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a cannabis consumer, or due to testing positive for marijuana use on a workplace drug test.

Send a message to your Representative in support of this bill now!

“Medical marijuana is an issue of compassion, and in the veterans’ community, access is even more important as more and more veterans are turning to cannabis to address chronic pain and PTSD. At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of veterans; however, private cannabis use even in states that have legalized medical marijuana is prohibited in these positions,” said Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL). “Our bipartisan bill would protect federal employment for those in compliance with their state’s cannabis laws. Because our veterans shouldn’t have to choose between treatment options or job opportunities.”

“The time for the federal government to end the practice of arbitrarily discriminating against current and potential workers for marijuana consumption is now,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “With 47 states having reformed their cannabis laws to be in direct conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act, individuals acting in compliance with state law should not be denied the opportunity to serve their country as public servants.”

Enacted in 1986, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program made it a condition for employment that all civilian employees at executive branch agencies be prohibited from using federally illegal substances on or off duty. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 31 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, and 46 states have some form of medical marijuana law; however, it remains illegal under federal law. Therefore, federal employees can be denied employment or terminated due to testing positive for marijuana metabolites, even if their use is in compliance with state law. This conflict between state and federal laws limits treatment options and federal employment opportunities, particularly impacting veterans who comprise approximately one-third of the federal workforce and whose medical cannabis use to treat chronic pain and PTSD has been found to be double the rate of the general public. A recent American Legion poll found that one in five veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition.

Changes in the legal status of marijuana at the state level have not negatively impacted workplace safety. In fact, a pair of studies from 2016 find that the legalization of medical marijuana access is associated with greater workforce participation and with fewer workplace absences. Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences just-released marijuana and health report found “insufficient evidence” to support an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.

In 2018, legislative efforts to reform employment laws were either attempted or successful in California, Florida, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, among others.

Send a message to your Congressperson now and urge them to cosponsor the bill!

Bill Overview:

  •   The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act prohibits marijuana metabolite testing from being used as the sole factor to deny or terminate federal employment for civilian positions at executive branch agencies if the individual is in compliance with the marijuana laws in their state of residence.
  •   The bill only extends to an individual’s past, private use of cannabis, and does not prohibit probable cause testing if an individual is believed to be impaired at work.
  •   The bill does not apply to individuals occupying or seeking a position requiring a top-secret clearance.
Categories: Blog Feeds

Colorado Lawmakers Explore Solutions for Opioid Epidemic

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 13:20

With six meetings scheduled before next year’s legislative session, members of Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee are working diligently to address an issue many local and state governments are currently struggling with across America. As the total number of opioid-related deaths continues to grow beyond the more than 40,000 deaths that were reported in 2016, lawmakers are willing to consider all options.

Click here to urge Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Colorado’s opioid epidemic

The committee was established earlier this year with the passage of House Bill 18-1003 to explore what other states are doing to address substance use disorders, explore harm reduction, treatment, and recovery option, and of course identify possible legislative solutions.

“Among other initiatives, the committee will study data and statistics on the scope of the substance use disorder problem in the state, study current prevention, intervention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery resources available to citizens, as well as public and private insurance coverage and other sources of support for treatment and recovery resources and examine measures other states and countries use to address substance use disorders.”

Read more from The Pueblo Chieftain

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. Colorado lawmakers should not ignore the reality that access to marijuana can play a role in mitigating the opioid abuse crisis.

Click here to urge Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Colorado’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 marijuana can play in reducing opioid-related deaths, hospitalizations, and total number of opioids prescribed.

 

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 8/3/18

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 08:41

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

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) filed a new bill in the US House of Representatives this week to shield federal employees from being fired for marijuana use that is legal in the state in which they live.

The Oklahoma Board of Health reversed course this week and revoked their previous set of proposed rules that went against the intent of SQ 788, which voters approved in the June special election. This reversal comes shortly after the state’s Attorney General warned health officials that they “acted in excess of their statutory authority” when they amended State Question 788. These new rules now go to Governor Fallin’s desk, she has 45 days to approve or reject them. As a reminder, the proposed rules remove the ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, eliminate the requirement that dispensaries hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer mandate that women of childbearing age undergo a pregnancy test prior to receiving a medical cannabis recommendation.

Missouri’s secretary of state certified that three separate medical cannabis initiatives have enough signatures to appear on the November ballot. The Missouri Constitution specifies that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one which receives the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three of these measures will have the support of a majority of the voters. Two are constitutional amendments and the third is a statutory initiative.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) formed a working group to draft marijuana legalization legislation for the legislature to consider in 2019. And Hawaii regulators convened a working group to address employment issues for medical cannabis patients as well as edibles manufacturing.

Also at the state level, about half of the medical cannabis dispensaries in Pennsylvania began selling medical cannabis in herbal form to registered patients, and the other half are anticipated to do the same this coming week. And Rhode Island medical cannabis dispensaries began serving out-of-state patients.

Additionally, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed a bill allowing medical cannabis in schools. Also, autism and obstructive sleep apnea became Minnesota medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Wednesday.

At a more local level, Manhattan’s district attorney announced that his office will no longer prosecute marijuana use or possession.

The Racine, Wisconsin City Council is considering placing a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot, and similarly, the Eau Claire County, Wisconsin Administration Committee voted to advance consideration of marijuana advisory ballot questions. The Oregon, Ohio City Council placed a marijuana depenalization measure on the November ballot, but a proposed Nelsonville, Ohio marijuana decriminalization measure did not qualify for the November ballot.

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

Senate Bill 20-62 seeks to legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.

Update: The House of Representatives sent SB 20-62 back to committee on 8/1, but will soon introduce its own version of the legislation that should solve procedural issues around it being a revenue generating measure.

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

California

Expungement

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.

Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 8/6 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.

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

Banking

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

Update: SB 9030 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 8/8 at 9am in the State Capitol, Room 4202.

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

That’s all the legislative updates for this week!

Categories: Blog Feeds

New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative Certified for November Ballot

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 06:23

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to be able to tell you that this morning, Thursday, August 2, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office certified that the New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative will appear on the November 6 ballot this year! New Approach Missouri is closely allied with Missouri NORML and the active Missouri NORML Chapters around the state whose members were instrumental in gathering the signatures which were submitted in early May and have just been certified sufficient to place this measure before the voters.

In fact, the Missouri Secretary of State certified that three medical marijuana initiatives will appear on the ballot this November, an unprecedented event in the marijuana law reform movement and possibly in the history of our state, and possibly the nation!

Having three initiatives on the same ballot dealing with the same issue complicates the situation considerably. The Missouri Constitution specifies that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one which receives the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three of these measures will have the support of a majority of the voters. Two are constitutional amendments and the third is a statutory initiative.

Most observers believe that either of the constitutional amendments would prevail over the statutory initiative even if it got more votes, which seems very unlikely.

The other constitutional initiative is funded by a single individual, a wealthy personal injury lawyer from Springfield, Missouri. His campaign has a single contributor. It would establish the highest tax on medical marijuana in the nation and use that tax money to establish a new medical research facility which the filer of the petition, attorney Brad Bradshaw, would personally run. His initiative specifies that the filer of his initiative will choose the Board of Directors and that the Chief Executive of that research agency must be someone who is both a physician and a lawyer, which Bradshaw is! If the press exposes the blatant vested interest he has in this measure, we think the public will reject it.

Sincerely,

Dan Viets

Categories: Blog Feeds

UPDATE: Oklahoma Board of Health Revokes Previous Undemocratic Meddling with Medical Marijuana

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 08:01

The Oklahoma Board of Health reversed course this week and revoked their previous set of proposed rules that went against the intent of SQ 788, which voters approved in the June special election. The measure, which legalized medical marijuana in the state, was approved with support from 57% of voters.

After SQ 788’s passage, the board initially attempted to meddle with its implementation, passing rules that would have banned or severely restricted key components of the ballot question – including a ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, a requirement that dictated that dispensaries hire state-licensed pharmacists, and an arbitrary limit on the THC content of medical cannabis products. These former proposed rules have all been reversed.

“The actions taken by an unelected group of health officials in Oklahoma were egregiously undemocratic. We are heartened to see them now reverse course, but they should have never attempted to meddle with a voter approved measure in the first place. It is our hope that state officials take heed at the nearly unanimous backlash they faced due to these actions and move to swiftly enact SQ 788 in the patient-centric manner the ballot language called for,” commented NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri.

This reversal comes shortly after the state’s Attorney General warned health officials that they “acted in excess of their statutory authority” when they amended State Question 788. These new rules now go to Governor Fallin’s desk, she has 45 days to approve or reject them.

Categories: Blog Feeds

NORML Chapter Newsletter

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 13:23

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.

Lehigh Valley NORML Continues Push to Decriminalize Possession of Marijuana

Members of Lehigh Valley NORML are circulating a petition with the hopes of convincing members of the Easton City Council to reconsider an ordinance that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Read more from The Morning Call!

Follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today!

 

Collaboration and Education Remain a Priority for Kentucky NORML

Members of Kentucky NORML recently teamed up with the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana (KY4MM), the Alliance for Innovative Medicine (AIM), to host an educational forum.

Read more from NORML.org!

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

NORML Leaders in the Media

NORML Chapter Leadership in Pennsylvania Question Police Tactics That Led to Man’s Death Over Small Marijuana Grow

“The body of a suspect in the case, Pennsylvania resident Gregory A. Longenecker, was found earlier this week under a bulldozer operated by a Pennsylvania Game Commission worker. The bulldozer was carrying a Pennsylvania state trooper in pursuit of Mr. Longenecker, who was suspected to have been cultivating ten marijuana plants in Penn Township, PA. A police helicopter was also used in the search.”

Read more from NORML.org!

Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Mikel Weisser, Executive Director, Arizona NORML

“Exactly how many cannabis extracts Arizona patients consume isn’t known for sure, but products with extracts are among the best sellers at many dispensaries. Mikel Weisser, executive director of Arizona’s National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws chapter, estimated concentrates made up about 40 percent of dispensary sales.”

Read more from the Phoenix New Times!

Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

But it’s still a felony to use minors to sell cannabis or to repeatedly grow large amounts of marijuana without a license, and advocates say they never expected marijuana-related arrests would drop to zero under the new law. “That’s like saying no one is arrested for alcohol anymore because alcohol is legal,” said Dale Gieringer, director of the advocacy group California NORML.

Read more from The Mercury News!

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

Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

“Edibles are attractive to young people and pets,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “The new labeling and packaging rules mandated by Prop. 64 should alleviate the problem.”

Read more from the L.A. Times!

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

Ellen Komp, Deputy Director, California NORML

“According to the Attorney General’s annual crime report for 2017, arrests for marijuana offenses dropped precipitously in California following the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use for adults in November 2016.”

Read more from City Watch!

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

Cynthia Ferguson, Executive Director, Delaware NORML

Cynthia Ferguson, executive director of Delaware’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the new measure is not enough but is a step in the right direction. “It’s nice for first-timers. Expungement is a big thing. When you are charged with a cannabis crime I don’t care if it’s one time or five times, it’s ridiculous,” she said.

Read more from WHYY!

Follow Delaware NORML on Facebook and Instagram and become a member today!

David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

“You’re going to be shocked,” says David Phipps, the communications director for the Indiana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, when asked for a prediction. “I think we have a realistic chance, as long as we do a good job with the summer study, educating our legislators on the truth behind this. I think we can get it as early as the next General Assembly.”

Read more from the Indianapolis Monthly!

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

Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

Now the head of North Carolina National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, he and others are touring the Tar Heel State, talking with residents and hoping to see cannabis legalized in 2019. Brown said the group will be working in 2018, ahead of the 2019 long General Assembly session.

Read more from WECT!

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

Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

“Several counties in Wisconsin could have referendums for legalizing marijuana on the ballot this fall including La Crosse, Rock, Brown, Dane, Winnebago, Racine and Marathon. Selthofner says public polling on the issue clearly indicates a shift in perception on marijuana and legalization, he says, appears inevitable.”

Read more from WIZM Talk News!

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

Jay Selthofner, Executive Director, Northern Wisconsin NORML

“I think once we have plants in the ground and they see it’s processed just like any agricultural crop a lot of our legislators are going to look at marijuana, medical marijuana differently,”

Read more from Fox 11 News!

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

Norma Sapp, Executive Director, Oklahoma NORML

Norma Sapp of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws remains optimistic. “Yes it’s going to be close. And we knew that going into it.  But it’s not impossible.  It depends on how fast they count the signatures,” Sapp said.

Read more from News 9!

Follow Oklahoma NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML

“This story went worldwide. The family collected more than $60,000 in donations on their GoFundMe page,” said Tom McCain, executive director of Peachtree NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “It changed their lives. Whether it has any effect on changing Georgia laws, I doubt it.”

Read more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution!

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

Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

If Wisconsinites don’t vote pro-cannabis candidates into office, Marsch says, legalization is unlikely to happen anytime soon. “When we talk to people now, they say, ‘It’s coming soon, we’re going to get there,’” Marsch says. “But we’re only going to ‘get there’ if people push for it. It’s not just going to happen on its own.”

Read more from the Shepherd Express!

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

Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

Jenn Michelle Pedini, the Executive Director of the marijuana advocacy group Virginia NORML, applauded Kaine’s support for the bill. “Virginia NORML is thrilled that Senator Kaine has joined Congressmen Garrett and Taylor in calling for the end to federal marijuana prohibition. Senator Kaine is clearly listening to his constituents. He’s heard their stories, he’s seen the data, and now he’s taking action,” she said in a statement.

Read more from WHSV!

Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Jack Porcari, Board Member, Western New York NORML

Legalizing marijuana could lower costs for the transport and sale of medical marijuana, he said. It could also legalize other ways of ingesting medical marijuana, like a gummy form of the drug, he said. “This is a big deal,” said Porcari, an organizer for the Western New York chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “It’s finally coming to fruition.”

Read more from The Buffalo News!

Follow Western New York NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

For over 45 years NORML chapters have been leading marijuana law reform conversations and continue to be 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 reach out to chapters@norml.org for help starting your own!

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

Categories: Blog Feeds

Pennsylvania: Dispensaries To Begin Selling Herbal Cannabis

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 15:46

Licensed dispensaries in Pennsylvania are anticipated to begin providing herbal cannabis this week to registered patients.

Nearly half of all Pennsylvania dispensaries will begin selling medical marijuana in plant form on Aug. 1, with others following suit by Aug. 8, according to a Department of Health news release.

As initially enacted by lawmakers, state law mandated that patients only have access to non-herbal cannabis preparations, such as infused oils and pills. However, in April Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine approved a unanimous recommendation by the state’s 11-member Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to permit sales of cannabis flowers.

“The dry leaf form of medical marijuana provides a cost-effective option for patients, in addition to the other forms of medication already available at dispensaries,” Dr. Levine said in a prepared statement. Retail prices for medical cannabis products in Pennsylvania are among the highest in the nation.

NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or arbitrarily restrict patients’ access to whole-plant herbal cannabis. (See NORML’s op-ed, “The case for whole-plant cannabis” here.) Many patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms experience fewer benefits from cannabis-infused pills, tinctures, or edibles because they possess delayed onset compared to inhaled cannabis and are far more variable in their effects. Furthermore, isolated formulations of individual cannabinoids lack the so-called ‘entourage effect’ associated with the concurrent administration of the plants naturally occurring compounds, oils, and terpenes.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Study: Patients Report Herbal Cannabis Provides Insomnia Relief

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 14:40

The use of herbal cannabis is associated with reductions in self-perceived insomnia severity, according to data published in the online, open-access journal Medicines.

University of New Mexico researchers assessed the influence of marijuana use on self-perceived insomnia severity levels in 409 subjects. Study participants recorded real-time ratings of their symptom severity on a zero to 10-point scale using a mobile software application.

Authors reported that subjects “experienced a statistically and clinically significant improvement (-4.5 points on a zero to 10-point scale) in perceived insomnia levels. However, products made with C. sativa were associated with less symptom relief and more negative side effects than products made from C. indica or hybrid plant subtypes.” They added, “CBD potency levels were associated with greater symptom relief than were THC levels.”

Researchers concluded: “[O]ur results show that consumption of cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles. The widespread apparent use of cannabis as a sleep aid underscores the importance of further medical research regarding its risk-benefit profile and the effectiveness of cannabis as a substitute for other substances, including alcohol, over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, and scheduled medications (e.g., opioids and sedatives), many of which are used in part as sleep aids.”

Full text of the study, “Effectiveness of raw, natural medical cannabis flower for treating insomnia under naturalistic conditions,” is available online here.

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Denver Mayor Ignores Science in Opioid Response Strategic Plan

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 13:53

During Denver’s State of the City Address, Mayor Michael Hancock addressed many of the biggest issues facing residents of the Mile High City — including his plan to respond to the city’s opioid epidemic. With Denver’s Office of the Medical Examiner reporting 110 overdose fatalities involving opioids in 2017 and data from Denver Needs Assessment on Opioid Use, Mayor Hancock’s response is not a moment too soon.

In the plan’s welcome letter, Mayor Hancock proudly states, “I present to you the Opioid Response Strategic Plan, the result of a collaborative effort among more than 100 government agencies and community organizations to address the opioid crisis in Denver. The work here represents a truly united effort by the Collective Impact Group, which was formed to combat opioid and other substance (mis)use in the city.”

If you’re in Denver, click here to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Denver’s opioid epidemic

While we appreciate Mayor Hancock’s leadership, his decision to not highlight the role that  marijuana access can play as an alternative to opioids is concerning. 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.

Mayor Hancock should not ignore the reality that access to marijuana can play a role in mitigating the opioid abuse crisis. Click below to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana access can play in combating the prescription drug overdose epidemic, and promoting greater public health and safety.

If you’re in Denver, click here to urge Mayor Hancock to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Denver’s opioid epidemic

Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to chapters@norml.org for help starting your own!

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Harris Poll: Majority Of Americans Want Marijuana Legalized

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 11:21

Eighty-five percent of Americans believe that marijuana “should be legalized for medical use,” and 57 percent of respondents endorse regulating it for anyone over the age of 21, according to national survey data compiled Harris Insight & Analytics.

Among younger respondents (those ages 18 to 44), 68 percent agree that cannabis should be legal. Most respondents (57 percent) say that legalizing the plant would “help alleviate the opioid crisis.”

Data evaluating prescription drug use trends among individual patients enrolled in state-licensed medical marijuana programs reports that chronic pain subjects frequently reduce or eliminate their use of opioids following enrollment.

“Voters believe that ending America’s failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common-sense issue, not a partisan one,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told HealthDay, which commissioned the poll. “It’s time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”

Reasons provided by those who opposed legalization included fear of diversion and concerns that legalization could negatively impact traffic safety.

The Harris polling data is largely consistent with those of prior surveys finding that a majority of Americans back adult use legalization and that a super-majority of voters support medicinal cannabis access.

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Oklahoma: Health Officials Reversing Course Regarding Medical Marijuana Rules

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 11:52

Oklahoma health officials on Wednesday will discuss a series of revised rules and regulations to govern the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis access program. The newly proposed changes eliminate several restrictive amendments enacted by the Department earlier this month. The proposed changes come just days after the state’s Attorney General warned health officials that they “acted in excess of their statutory authority” when they amended State Question 788.

Specifically, the newly proposed rules — which are available online here — remove the ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, eliminate the requirement that dispensaries hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer mandate that women of childbearing age undergo a pregnancy test prior to receiving a medical cannabis recommendation. No such restrictions initially appeared in State Question 788.

Other proposed changes would remove arbitrary limits on the THC content of medical cannabis products, and permit dispensaries to sell cannabis plants and seedlings to qualified patients.

Fifty-seven percent of voters approved State Question 788 on June 28.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 7/27/18

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 08:16

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

We’ve got a new piece of legislation at the federal level. In conjunction with NORML’s 2018 Lobby Day, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) introduced The Marijuana Data Collection Act. The act calls upon the National Academy of Sciences to collect and synthesize relevant data and to generate a formal report to Congress quantifying the impact of statewide marijuana legalization on matters specific to public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues. The report would also outline best practices for state-led data collection, as well as recommendations to overcome any barriers preventing data collection and gaps in data. Watch the press conference.

Earlier in the week, the US House Rules Committee led by prohibitionist Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) blocked two amendments related to marijuana from receiving consideration by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from the DOJ when it comes to cannabis. The amendments included allowing the District of Columbia to implement adult-use sales program, originally passed by voters in 2014, and protections for banks to provide services to marijuana businesses.

At the state level, New Jersey’s state Attorney General has called on county and municipal prosecutors to suspend all marijuana-related prosecutions until early September. Also, a fiscal report issued by Pennsylvania’s Auditor General estimates that taxing Pennsylvania’s existing retail cannabis market would yield $581 million in new annual revenue. The report estimates that just under 800,000 Pennsylvanians are currently using cannabis. On that note, Pennsylvania dispensaries are set to begin selling medical cannabis in flower form this week.

Oklahoma’s secretary of state said that proposed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis expansion initiatives are unlikely to appear on the November ballot even if they do collect enough signatures. But regulators will meet on August 1 to revisit widely criticized restrictive medical cannabis rules. The newly proposed changes eliminate several restrictive amendments enacted by the Department earlier this month, including removing the ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, eliminating the requirement that dispensaries hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer mandating that women of childbearing age undergo a pregnancy test prior to receiving a medical cannabis recommendation. No such restrictions initially appeared in the voter approved State Question 788. Meanwhile, it seems unlikely that lawmakers will go into special session to deal with medical marijuana implementation.

At a more local level, the Marathon County, Wisconsin Board voted to place a medical cannabis advisory question on the November ballot. The Ostego County, Michigan Board of Commissioners voted to oppose the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, and the Grand Rapids, Michigan City Commission voted to allow medical cannabis businesses in its jurisdiction.

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

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.

Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 8/6 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.

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

Kentucky

House Bill 166 seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions.

Update: Rep. Jason Nemes, one of the bill’s cosponsors, announced on Twitter that the bill will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 9/7.

KY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical cannabis access

That’s all for this week!

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Attorney General Sessions Reiterates His Threats To Legalization

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:59

During a press conference in Boston earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his hostility to marijuana reform and doubled down yet again on his tired, fear-mongering talking point regarding it being sold at every street corner.

“Personally my view is that the American republic will not be better if there are marijuana sales on every street corner,” said Sessions.

He seems to tiptoe the line in a response to a reporter’s question, saying, “but states have a right to set their own laws and will do so,” but concluded his comments by stating “but we’ll follow the federal law,” – meaning complete prohibition and criminalization.

Send a message to your member of Congress and tell them to stop Jeff Sessions. 

Earlier this year, Sessions had rescinded an Obama-era guidance policy, known as The Cole Memo, which directed the Department of Justice’s hands-off policy towards state-legal cannabis regulatory programs, licensed businesses, and their consumers.

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

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

Currently, medical marijuana protections are still in effect, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment. Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. This amendment maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

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

Send a message to your member of Congress and tell them to stop Jeff Sessions. 

If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana, they will be taking billions of dollars away from regulated, state-sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels, while forcing consumers to go back to the black market.

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Kentucky: Cannabis Activists Schedule Educational Forum in Henderson

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 05:42

There will be an educational forum on the benefits that medicinal cannabis has to offer to Kentucky and its citizens. Featuring support from state cannabis activists including members from Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), Kentucky affiliate for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (KY NORML), Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana (KY4MM), the Alliance for Innovative Medicine (AIM), as well as Industry Expert, Ashly Taylor, and Matthew Daley, State Director for the Office of Secretary of State.

This will be a good opportunity for members of the community to come out and learn more about cannabis, how cannabis affects our bodies, how a regulated industry would look like in Kentucky, and how cannabis affects our communities.

What: Community Cannabis Educational Forum
Where: The Preston Art Center, 2660 South Green Street, Henderson, KY 42420
When: July 31st, 2018 7 pm – 9 pm. Doors Open at 6:30 pm

Discover More on the Facebook Event Page!

KY NORML‘s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.

To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5$10 or $20 to help us keep going?

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New Federal Legislation To Quantify The Health and Economic Impacts Of Regulated Marijuana

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 08:04

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) led a group of bipartisan lawmakers in introducing The Marijuana Data Collection Act. The act calls upon the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to collect and synthesize relevant data and to generate a formal report to Congress quantifying the impact of statewide marijuana legalization on matters specific to public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues.

Numerous published peer-reviewed studies have assessed the impact of state-regulated marijuana legalization on these issues, but despite the publication of these reports, a lack of consensus and acceptance of this data continue, particularly amongst members of Congress and the Department of Justice.

Speaking about the new bill on the House floor, Congresswoman Gabbard stated, “For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed war on drugs that’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, incarcerating Americans for nonviolent marijuana charges. Our outdated marijuana policies have turned  everyday Americans into criminals, strained our criminal justice system, cost taxpayers tremendously and torn families apart.”

You can watch the press conference announcing the legislation featuring the bill’s lead GOP cosponsor Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), lead Democrat cosponsor Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), we well as former U.S. Attorneys Barry Grissom (KS) and Bill Nettles (SC) below:

Commenting on the legislation, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said, “This report will ensure that federal discussions and policies specific to this issue are based upon the best and most reliable evidence available. The data collected and compiled by the National Academy of Sciences will help to guide future marijuana legislation at federal, state, and local levels. This is not a marijuana bill, it is an information bill. No member of Congress can intellectually justify opposition to this legislation. Our public policy needs to be based on sound data and science, not gut feelings or fear-mongering. Approving the Marijuana Data Collection Act would provide legislators with reliable and fact-based information to help them decide what direction is most beneficial to society when it comes to marijuana policy.”

This bill requires data collection and study with regard to the impact of state-regulated marijuana legalization on public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues. Specifically, this bill requires the Secretary of HHS to coordinate with the DOJ, DOL, and States (to the greatest extent possible) and direct the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to publish a biannual study on the health, safety, and economic effects of state legalized marijuana programs. The report would also outline best practices for state-led data collection, as well as recommendations to overcome any barriers preventing data collection and gaps in data.

Thirty-one states, Washington, DC and the US territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis, while an estimated 63 million Americans now reside in jurisdictions where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. Voters overwhelmingly support these policy changes. According to a 2018 CAP poll, 68 percent of Americans support full marijuana legalization and according to Quinnipiac University, 71 percent believe that states, not the federal government, should set marijuana policy.

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 123,000 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.

CLICK HERE TO QUICKLY AND EASILY WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE IN FAVOR OF THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION.

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