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Updated: 11 hours 9 min ago

Mexico: Supreme Court Strikes Down Marijuana Ban

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 09:31

Justices for Mexico’s Supreme Court have ruled that laws criminalizing the private use and cultivation of cannabis by adults are unconstitutional. Justices opined, “The effects caused by marijuana do not create an absolute prohibition on its consumption.”

In accordance with the ruling, lawmakers may enact regulatory policies governing adults’ personal marijuana use, but they must repeal those laws that broadly prohibit marijuana use per se. By contrast, neither commercial marijuana production or sales are addressed by the Court’s ruling.

In September, South Africa’s highest court similarly struck down laws criminalizing the personal, private consumption of cannabis by adults.

Mexican lawmakers in 2009 decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis (5 grams or less) and other substances. Last month, Canada began licensing the retail production and sale of cannabis to those 18 years and older.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Missouri: Not All Medical Marijuana Efforts are Created Equal #YesOn2

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 08:59

NORML Recommends:
YES on Amendment 2
NO on Amendment 3
NO on Proposition C

Voters this November have the opportunity to make Missouri the 32nd state to allow for the physician-recommended use of marijuana, and based on the latest polling data, they will likely do so.

Therefore, the important question before voters is no longer if the Show-Me State should legalize medical cannabis access, but how Missouri will do so.

That is because not one, not two, but three medical marijuana measures (two constitutional amendments and one statutory measure) will appear on the ballot on Election Day. But not all of these measures are created equal, and it will be up to voters to decide which one of these three is ultimately in the best interest of Missouri’s patients.

On Election Day, NORML urges voters to stand with New Approach Missouri and vote “yes” for Amendment 2. Quite simply, Amendment 2 — unlike its competitors — puts the interests of patients first.

Amendment 2 will let doctors — not legislators or bureaucrats — decide if marijuana is the appropriate option for their patients. Every day, we entrust physicians to use their discretion with regard to assisting their patients in making the right decisions. Amendment 2 upholds the sanctity of the patient-doctor relationship and leaves these important medical treatment decisions up to those who know best: Missouri’s practicing physicians.

While a competing effort, Amendment 3, proposes the highest tax rate in the nation for medical cannabis products sold at retail (15%), Amendment 2 would set one of the lowest. The revenue raised by the retail sale of medical cannabis will go directly to the Missourian Veterans’ Health and Care Fund and will be used to help provide those in the state who put their lives on the line with necessary health services.

While much has been written about the obvious flaws of the competing constitutional amendment, Amendment 3, these criticisms are worth repeating. While Amendment 2 is supported by a diverse coalition of patient advocates, Amendment 3 was funded entirely by one person, who drafted his amendment for his own personal benefit. It also puts this same funder largely in charge of overseeing the state’s medical marijuana program. This is hardly in the best interest of Missouri patients.

Amendment 2, on the other hand, places the program’s oversight in the hands of the Missouri Department of Health. It also creates a robust statewide system for production and distribution of medical cannabis, with strict deadlines in place to ensure that qualified patients do not have to unduly wait for dispensaries to become operational.

Finally, and most importantly, Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment, which makes it more resilient to legislative tampering and intervention. By contrast, lawmakers can choose to amend Proposition C largely at their discretion, regardless of what voters decide.

If you read each of these proposals closely, one clear choice emerges. Amendment 2 creates a broad and patient-centric program that is designed to be implemented in a timely manner and withstand any legislative challenges along the way. The other two can’t say the same. Not all ballot measures are created equal and that is why we encourage all voters to support the superior one this Election Day. Vote YES on Amendment 2. Vote No on Amendment 3 and Prop C.

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NORML Submits 10,000+ Written Comments to the FDA for the Reconsideration of International Marijuana Prohibition

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 06:23

On October 31, NORML hand delivered over 10,000 comments written by YOU, recommending that the World Health Organization (WHO) re-think their current prohibition of marijuana.

Along with two of our fantastic interns, I drove to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) building in Rockville, Maryland. Earlier this month, The FDA put out a request for public comments on the international scheduling of cannabis. They’re going to use the comments as a response to the WHO as they review the abuse potential, medical efficacy, and other aspects of 16 controlled substances, one of them being marijuana.

Currently, under international treaties, cannabis is scheduled in the most restrictive category. And as we all know, it does not belong there due to it’s widespread therapeutic and medical uses and very low potential for abuse.

In NORML’s latest comments to the FDA, it opined that “cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis’ use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use.”

Comments from NORML members totaled 10,117, making up just under 50% of the total comments submitted to the FDA nationwide.

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Beware of this frightful marijuana menace!

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 08:56

It’s time exorcise this demon!

It’s not the myth of “marijuana-laced candy,” devilish ghouls, or vampire bats that are terrifying Americans this Halloween. It’s Jeff Sessions.

This monster wants to lock up law abiding citizens who choose to responsibly consume marijuana. This fiendish freak shrieks “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” This reefer madness zombie believes marijuana has no medical use and is as dangerous as heroin. And, this Department of Justice demon thinks marijuana is fueling the opioid epidemic, not helping to save lives.

While you’re enjoying your trick-or-treat haul, burn a few calories by standing up to this goblin. Tell Congress to cast a spell to stop Jeff Sessions.

The trick’s on Sessions. Today, one in five Americans live where the adult-use of marijuana is legal, the majority of citizens live where medical marijuana is legal, and over 66% now believe that marijuana should be legal.

Hanging garlic around your neck can’t protect you from Jeff Sessions. Help NORML exorcise prohibitionists like him. It’s time to drape the death shroud on prohibition.

Happy Halloween!
The NORML Team

P.S. Our efforts are supported by thousands of mere mortals throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and the federal level. Can you kick in $5, $10, or $20 a month to help nail the coffin shut on prohibition?

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David Crosby Stars in Radio Ads for North Dakota Measure 3

Wed, 10/31/2018 - 06:18

Music legend David Crosby is the star of a new radio advertising campaign in support of Measure 3. The radio ad will be premiering on Thursday, November 1st in markets around the state and will run through Election Day. David Crosby is a musician, songwriter, author, and activist who was the founding member of two of the most iconic rock bands, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Byrds. He also serves on the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ Advisory Board.

In the ad, Crosby says: “Hi, I’m David Crosby. You may know me for my music, but today I’m here to talk to you about marijuana. This election, North Dakota has the chance to take a new, sensible approach to marijuana by approving Measure 3. Measure 3 would end the arrest of adults in North Dakota for marijuana, letting the police focus their resources on violent crime. It would remain illegal for minors, but we wouldn’t be spending any more your tax dollars needlessly locking up our fellow citizens for possessing a plant that is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. Let’s end adult marijuana arrests and respect individual freedom. Vote Yes on Measure 3 on November 6th.

Commenting on the ad’s launch, Crosby stated: “I feel a responsibility to stick up for those people who have been punished as a result of this oppressive and senseless policy. I believe that people should not be arrested or go to jail for the responsible use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol, tobacco, or most prescription drugs. I’ve looked at the success of states like Colorado and Oregon that have elected to move in a different direction. That is why I’m proud to support Measure 3 and encourage all North Dakotans to vote Yes on November 6th.”

The Legalize ND campaign was enthusiastic to receive Crosby’s support. Campaign spokesman Cole Haymond commented: Legalize ND is humbled and honored to have the support from David Crosby. A voice like his will surely turn some heads as we quickly approach the election. Measure 3 supporters are fully energized and ready to turn out to vote.

The initial ad buy covers Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot media markets including KLXX, KBYZ, KQHT, KCJB, and KZPR.

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NORML at the University of Utah Hosts Proposition 2 Panel Discussion

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 13:31

Members of the newly established NORML at the University of Utah hosted a panel discussion on the current state of marijuana law reform efforts in Utah, which included Proposition 2, as well as the negative impacts marijuana prohibition has had on Utahns. Panelists included Salt Lake County District Attorney, Sim Gill, as well as Alex Iorg who is the campaign manager for Utah Patients Coalition, the group sponsoring Proposition 2, and Tom Pasket, policy director for TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), a well known medical cannabis advocacy group in Utah.

Panelists discussed the potential fate of Proposition 2 and highlighted the compromise that was recently reached between proponents of Proposition 2, opposition groups, and the state legislature. Unfortunately the new compromise has many proponents on edge as some feel their vote will no longer matter if state lawmakers can simply adopt a more restrictive program using the legislative process. Throughout the discussion, Mr. Gill, who believes Proposition 2 is “an indictment of the failure of the Legislature to listen to its citizens,” stressed his support and even urged those in attendance to support the ballot proposal on November 6th. Others in attendance shared this sentiment and encouraged voters to hold Utah state lawmakers accountable by voting YES on Proposition 2.Panelists also explored some of the legal implications of the ongoing conflict between state-sanctioned marijuana programs and federal law. Some leading public officials in Utah have warned that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and that it is the job of law enforcement to make that clear. However, several panelists thoroughly unpacked the CJS amendment highlighting how federal law has actually been amended every year since 2014 to prevent the Department of Justice from going after state-sanctioned marijuana programs. When asked about the 6,000 marijuana arrests in Utah and how possession cases are handled, our panelists agreed that the criminal penalties for marijuana in Utah are too punitive and would like to see reform in that area as well.

Our goal by hosting this panel discussion was to bring education to Utahns about the current state of marijuana reform efforts in Utah, as well as other avenues of reform such as decriminalization. In the future, we hope to host similar events in order to deconstruct the reefer madness rhetoric and advocate for the liberalization of marijuana laws in our state.

To learn more about marijuana law reform efforts in Utah, follow NORML at the University of Utah on Facebook and visit our website today!

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Here are the California Cities and Counties Voting on Marijuana this November 6th

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 13:20

With the marijuana midterms right around the corner, it’s imperative that you know who and what is going to be on your ballot leading up to Election Day on November 6th. To see who the Votemarijuanamost pro-cannabis reform candidates are in your district, check out our Smoke the Vote scorecard and voter guide.

One of the biggest hurdles to expanding the legal market in California has been local municipalities banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdiction. This election, at least 82 marijuana related measures will appear on ballots before voters across the state, spanning 10 counties and 58 municipalities.

A majority of the local initiatives are asking about business taxes, which is often the first step needed to actually open up a cannabis business.

You can check out the full list of local ballot initiatives here. If you live in any of those cities or counties, be sure to get out to the polls and vote on the marijuana ballot questions! Make sure you know where your polling location is before the election on November 6th and get ready to #SmokeTheVote!

 

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Here are the Wisconsin Counties Voting on Marijuana this November 6th

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 12:30

With the marijuana midterms right around the corner, it’s imperative that you know who and what is going to be on your ballot leading up to Election Day on November 6th. To see who the most pro-cannabis reform candidates are in your district, check out our Smoke the Vote scorecard and voter guide.

In addition, if you live in any of these 16 counties and/or two cities, be sure to vote YES on the following marijuana ballot questions. In no way are these questions binding, but passing results often serve as an antecedent for legislative action by lawmakers.

Brown County

Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

Clark County

Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

Dane County

Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

Eau Claire County (Vote option A)

Should cannabis:

(a) Be legal for adult, 21 years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
(b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?
(c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

Forest County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

Kenosha County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

La Crosse County

Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

Langlade County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

Lincoln County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

Marathon County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

Marquette County

Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum Wisconsin to join the thirty-two (32) states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.

Milwaukee County

Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

Portage County

Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

Racine County

Question No. 1: “Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use? Question No. 2: Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older? Question No. 3: Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?”

City of Racine

Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin? Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?
Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
Should cannabis be decriminalize in the State of Wisconsin?

Rock County

Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

Sauk County

Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?

City of Waukesha

Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

Just under half of Wisconsin’s population lives in the counties that will be voting on cannabis advisory questions. Make sure you know where your polling location is, and be sure to get to the polls on November 6th to #SmokeTheVote!

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Read NORML’s Latest Op-Eds

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 09:09

One of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by authoring and routinely placing op-eds in high-profile, mainstream newspapers and media outlets.

Below are links to several of NORML’s most recent commentaries:

“More Americans than ever want marijuana legalized. Lawmakers should listen”
Otherwords.org

“Support for marijuana legalization growing like a weed”
TheHill.com

“End the arrests. Vote yes on Measure 3”
The Dickinson Press (North Dakota)

“This November, not all medical marijuana efforts are created equal”
The Springfield News-Leader (Missouri)

“Marijuana dependence: falling sharply”
The New York Times

“Marijuana and the mid-terms”
TheHill.com

“Republican leadership is denying medical marijuana for veterans”
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida)

As we rapidly approach the midterm elections, we believe that it is more important than ever that our educational and media outreach efforts reach as many people as possible. Please show your support of NORML’s work by sharing and commenting on these commentaries, and most importantly, by making a contribution here.

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New Gallup Poll Finds 66 Percent Of Americans Want Marijuana Legal

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 09:15

Sixty-six percent of US adults believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to national survey data compiled by the Gallup. The percentage is the highest ever reported by Gallup, which has been tracking Americans’ views on the subject of marijuana legalization since 1969.

Support was strongest among Millennials (78 percent), Democrats (75 percent), and Independents (71 percent). Support for legalization was prevalent among the majority of Republicans (53 percent) and those 55 or older (59 percent), groups who have historically opposed reform.

Commenting on the poll’s findings, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“It is time for lawmakers of both parties to en masse acknowledge the data-driven and political realities of legalization. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and implement common-sense, evidence-based regulations governing cannabis’ personal use and licensed production by responsible adults. An outright majority of every demographic, including age, political party, and region of the country support the outright legalization of marijuana”

“Our time has come,” he added.

The Gallup data is consistent with those of other national polls, including those conducted by Pew (62 percent) and Quinnipiac University (63 percent).

Thirty-one 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 63 million Americans now reside in the nine states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional 15 states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

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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NEW POLL: Majority of North Dakotans Ready to Say YES to Legalization

Mon, 10/22/2018 - 06:37

This November, Measure 3 will be on the ballot in North Dakota to prohibit the prosecution of any person over the age of 21 for any nonviolent, marijuana-related activity and seal the records of adults with past nonviolent marijuana charges. The measure also would add penalties for individuals under the age of twenty-one in possession of, or attempting to distribute, marijuana; and provide penalties for individuals who distribute marijuana to anyone under the age of twenty-one.

The most recent poll finds voters in support of passage, 51-36 percent.

This poll distinguishes itself from earlier polling by questioning respondents using the language found on the Nov. 6 ballot. The poll was conducted by the Kitchens Group from Oct 11 through Oct 14, and cites a 4.9% margin of error.

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated:

“Despite a big-money funded misinformation campaign from the opposition, this poll reveals that most North Dakotans are ready to end the failed prohibition of marijuana in the state.  By voting ‘Yes’ on Measure 3, North Dakotans could save the state millions of taxpayer dollars currently being spent on arresting otherwise law-abiding adults for possession of a plant that is objectively less harmful than legal alcohol and tobacco, allow law enforcement to allocate their limited resources to focus on violent crime, and defend individual freedom. A majority of residents already support this sensible move and we expect more undecided voters will choose to join them on Election Day.”

Commenting on the poll’s findings, Legalize ND campaign advisor Cole Haymond said:

“The message of ending marijuana arrests is resounding in North Dakota, and these results demonstrate that voters are hearing our call for action. This is a dogfight, and LegalizeND will continue to set the record straight when it comes to adult-use Marijuana. The people of North Dakota believe in personal freedom and criminal justice reform. Marijuana prohibition has hurt this state and our nation as a whole, and North Dakotans believe it’s time to end that failed practice in the state once and for all.”

If Measure 3 is approved, North Dakota would join the nine states plus the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands who have legalized marijuana for personal use. Legalize ND argues the measure would have a strong positive impact across the state, highlighting potential benefits to law enforcement, the state agricultural industry, and the funding of education and infrastructure through tax revenue.

States that have legalized marijuana have seen significant reductions in opioid abuse and overdose fatalities, and Legalize ND is optimistic that legalization could have a similar impact in North Dakota.

Legalize ND is quick to point out that driving under the influence and distribution to minors will remain illegal and strengthened if Measure 3 is approved, and that current laws regarding smoking in public will apply to marijuana as well.

If approved by voters on November 6, the provisions of Measure 3 related to ending criminal penalties for marijuana would go into effect 30 days after the measure’s approval. Within 60 days of approval, the state must seal the records of individuals with previous non-violent marijuana charges.

YOU CAN HELP US WIN! CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE LEGALIZE ND CAMPAIGN TODAY!

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 10/19/18

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 09:20

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

Some news from across the border to start off, this week Canada became the second nation to explicitly legalize the social use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis. The new law will also include pardons of all criminal possession charges of less than 30 grams.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments specific to whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a controlled substance. Members of the public have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA for consideration. They’ve already gotten at least 2,000 submissions. Click here to submit your own comments quickly and easily now.

In Congress this week, the Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans affairs to study medical cannabis (VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

The House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis (Veterans Equal Access Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of 29.

At the state level, four New York Assembly committees held a joint hearing in Manhattan on marijuana legalization proposals.

Utah Democratic lawmakers will hold a town hall meeting on medical cannabis next Wednesday 10/24. They’ll discuss the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, Proposition 2, and the medical cannabis landscape more broadly.

Rhode Island regulators added autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation into law prohibiting marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

At a more local level, the mayor of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is helping to collect signatures for the state’s proposed 2020 medical cannabis ballot measure.

A draft Seattle, Washington 2019 legislative agenda says the city supports state legislation to allow marijuana delivery services and cannabis vaping lounges, as well as expunging misdemeanor convictions.

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

A4510 seeks to create a state bank to provide financial services to licensed marijuana business operating in accordance with state law.

The measure would permit the bank to make loans to, and accept deposits from, any marijuana-related business. Currently, many financial institutions are discouraged from interacting with the cannabis industry because of the plant’s illegal federal status.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded banking access

That’s all for this week!

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NORML Welcomes David Crosby to Advisory Board

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 07:04

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is pleased to welcome world famous musician David Crosby (founding member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and The Byrds) to its Advisory Board.

Commenting on joining the organization, David Crosby stated:

“I’d like cannabis to be legal everywhere. I knew people who were in jail for years over a couple of joints and it’s just not right. I do feel a responsibility to stick up for people who have been stuck in jail for it unfairly, and that is why I’m partnering with NORML to lend my name and talents to help end our multi-decade failure that is prohibition. Bottom line is: It should be legal and people shouldn’t be going to jail for it, and I want to reinforce that to the degree that I can.”

“People are looking at the success in places like Colorado and Oregon. The places that have done it are winning and they will have money for schools, roads, and hospitals and are no longer arresting otherwise respectable adults for consuming marijuana. I’m proud to join the NORML Advisory Board to help bring this sensible policy to the entire country.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri welcomed Crosby to the Advisory Board, saying:

“We are absolutely ecstatic that David wants to lend his considerable talents and celebrity to help advance the cause of marijuana law reform. While we have made great progress in ending our country’s failed prohibition, with nine states plus the District of Columbia legalizing the adult use of marijuana and 31 states allowing for medical access, there is still much work to be done. Despite all our gains, over 650,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related offenses last year. Together with David, we will continue to fight for legalization across the country. We will end this disastrous war on marijuana consumers that has gone on for far too many decades and ruined far too many lives.”

Music legend David Crosby is best known for being a founding member of two of the world’s most successful rock bands – CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG – as well as THE BYRDS. The globally-recognized, Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, author and activist has had an unparalleled career and sold over 35 million albums worldwide. His songs are heard by millions around the world each day. and he has twice been inducted into the prestigious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He now serves on the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Advisory Board alongside other notable advocates such as country music legend Willie Nelson, former Dallas Cowboy Mark Stepnoski, Harvard Professor Emeritus Lester Grinspoon, and movie and television producer Ann Druyan.

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Music Legend David Crosby: Join Me and NORML and Let’s Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 08:27

Hello. My name is David Crosby. You might know me as a founding member of rock legends The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. But today I’m wearing a very different hat. Today, I am writing to you to personally introduce myself as the newest member of NORML’s Advisory Board.

Why have I decided to become involved with NORML? It’s simple. I’d like cannabis to be legal everywhere, and I – like the good folks at NORML – feel a responsibility to stick up for those people who have been punished as a result of this oppressive and senseless policy. That is why I’m partnering with NORML to lend my name and talents to help end this multi-decade failure that is marijuana prohibition.

TOGETHER, WE CAN END FEDERAL PROHIBITION. JOIN US.

Let’s face it. I, like all of you, believe that people should not be arrested or go to jail for the responsible use of a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol, tobacco, or most prescription drugs. And I’ve looked at the success of states like Colorado and Oregon that have elected to move in a different direction. That is why I’m proud to become a part of America’s oldest and most well-recognized marijuana law reform organization, and that’s why I’ve joined NORML’s Advisory Board to help bring these sensible policies to the entire country.

I know that many of you have been involved with NORML for many years, and for that I’m grateful. It is because of people like you that NORML has been able to move popular opinion and change laws. So today, let me say ‘thank you’ for your time and efforts, and I’m looking forward to joining you and NORML in the fight to end marijuana prohibition in America once and for all.

WILL YOU JOIN ME IN STANDING WITH NORML IN THE FIGHT FOR NATIONWIDE LEGALIZATION BY DONATING TODAY?

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Review: Thousands Of Peer-Reviewed Studies Specific To Medical Cannabis Have Been Published Over Past Decade

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 08:08

The total number of peer-reviewed scientific papers dedicated to cannabis, and the therapeutic use of cannabis in particular, has increased exponentially in recent years, according to data published the journal Population Health Management.

Israeli researchers assessed trends in the number of scientific publications specific to cannabis as compared to all scientific publications during the years 2000 to 2017. They reported: “The overall annual number of scientific publications … increased 2.5 times between 2000–2017 from 531,664 to 1,282,229. In contrast, the corresponding number for publications on cannabis increased 4.5 times … and increased 9-fold for publications on medical cannabis.”

Overall, authors identified just over 29,000 cannabis-centric scientific papers published during the study period, with over 3,300 of those dedicated to the subject of medical marijuana. Papers specific to medical cannabis were most likely to address its use in the treatment of HIV, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, or epilepsy.

Over 60 percent of the papers were classified as “original research,” and 66 percent of all scientific papers originated from authors in the United States.

Commenting on the findings, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These results stand in stark contrast to the popular narrative that we lack adequate scientific understanding of cannabis and its effects. In fact, ample studies already exist to contradict cannabis’ federal, schedule I status as a substance without medical utility, lacking acceptable safety, and possessing a high potential of abuse.”

He added, “More clinical research is welcome, but unfortunately science has never driven marijuana policy. If it did, the United States would already have a very different policy in place.”

An abstract of the study, “Trends in publications in medical cannabis from the year 2000,” appears online here.

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Canadian Legalization Day Is Here

Wed, 10/17/2018 - 07:00

Today, Canada becomes the second nation to explicitly legalize the social use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis. The new law marks the culmination of an effort led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised in 2015, shortly after taking office, to legalize and regulate the marijuana market.

Further, the new law will include expungements of all possession criminal charges of less than 30 grams.

Trudeau was not always in favor of legalization. In fact, for many years he opposed it. That was until he met face-to-face with NORML Canada advocates Kelly Coulter and Andrea Matrosovs in 2012. They presented Trudeau with pro-legalization arguments that he’s still using today as prime minister.

According to the Toronto Star:

Coulter told Trudeau flatly that decriminalization would not keep gangs and organized crime out of the marijuana business. “Al Capone would have loved it if alcohol had only been decriminalized,” she said — a line she often used when talking to politicians.

“I saw the light go on in his eyes,” Coulter said. “He was seeing this as a politician, realizing ‘I can sell this,’ ” she recalled.

Speaking with the Huffington Post in 2013, Trudeau acknowledged that he reversed his position after speaking with NORML members admitting their “line of argument did a long way towards convincing me.” Their conversation persuaded Trudeau that legalizing marijuana use for adults would be the best way for the government to regulate sales, provide consumer safety, and keep it out of the hands of kids.

The Act, Bill C-45, permits those age 18 and older to legally possess (up to 30 grams) and grow cannabis (up to four plants of any size per household). Individual provinces possess the authority to enact additional regulations with respect to distribution, such as raising the legal age limit to purchase cannabis or by restricting home grow operations.

The Act also federally licenses commercial producers of cannabis and certain cannabis-infused products, while permitting provinces to regulate retail sales in public (government operated) and private stores, subject to local rules. Online cannabis sales will also be permitted in certain provinces.

While fewer than 200 total retailers are anticipated to be operational on day one of the new law, additional facilities are anticipated to be operational in the near future. Cannabis-infused edible products are anticipated to be regulated and available at retail stores early next summer. The new social use regulations do not amend Canada’s existing medical marijuana access laws, which have been in place since 2001.

In anticipation of the law change, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a memorandum in September affirming that those Canadians either involved or invested in the legal cannabis industry may be barred admission into the United States. The agency later updated 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.”

But what about America? We still have a long way to go to achieve the kind of freedom Canadians are celebrating today.

NORML is hard at work making sure Americans have the information they need when they head to the polls on November 6 to elect the most pro-reform candidates in history with our Smoke the Vote voter guide to legalizing marijuana. We’re arming advocates around the country with the persuasive arguments and undisputed facts necessary to have conversations like the one that changed Trudeau’s mind. We aren’t stopping until responsible marijuana consumers are no longer subject to arrest anywhere in America. We need your help to make this goal a reality.

Make a pledge today of $25, $50 or $100 to make sure NORML has the resources to legalize marijuana in the US!

Together, we can legalize marijuana in America, end the arrest of responsible consumers, and make sure there is access to safe, quality products at affordable prices. Together, we’ll keep fighting for our freedom.

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New Endorsements Made By NORML PAC For November Elections

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 13:09

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML PAC) has announced their most recent slate of bi-partisan endorsements of candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and a Governorship, including both incumbents and challengers.

“In 2018, more and more politicians are realizing that ending our nation’s failed prohibition on marijuana is not just good public policy, but good politics. In order to enact real reform at both the state and federal level we need to elect, and re-elect, real reformers to Congress and state legislatures,” said NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri,  “NORML PAC is pleased to endorse our allies currently in office and those running for elected positions that believe it is long overdue we take the sensible approach of legalization and regulation over our failed status quo of criminalization and incarceration.”

The newly announced endorsements are listed below.

U.S. House Endorsements: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA-15), Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA-33), Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA-46), Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Katie Porter (D-CA-45), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-07), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO-01), Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA-10), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), Richard Ojeda (D-WV-02), Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26),

U.S. Senate Endorsements: Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Governorship Endorsement: Andrew Gillum (D-FL)

You can see our full election scorecards at vote.norml.org, which covers candidates for state and federal offices.

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FDA Seeks Public Comments Regarding International Classification Of Cannabis

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 11:33

The US Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments specific to whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a controlled substance. Members of the public have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA for consideration.

The FDA says that the comments “will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization regarding the abuse liability and diversion” of marijuana and certain other substances.

In April, in response to a similar FDA request, NORML collected and hand-delivered over 10,000 comments to the agency calling on it to recommend a lifting of international restrictions criminalizing the plant. In total, comments from NORML members totaled over 60% of the public comments submitted nationwide. 

Click here to submit a public comment NOW

In NORML’s latest comments to the FDA, it opined that “cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis’ use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use.”

Let’s continue to dominate the debate. Click here to submit your own public comment now.

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DECRIM, an Inference from a Year of Data in Atlanta – Most Cops Don’t Care

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:02

One Year Anniversary

October 2nd, 2018 marked the one year anniversary of the unanimous passage of Atlanta City Ordinance 17-O-1152, which reduced the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana within the city limits of Atlanta to $75.00 and no jail time.  While this ordinance isn’t a true “decrim” bill, because those arrested are still being fingerprinted, it was a great step toward sensible marijuana legislation here in Georgia.

Curiosity

I wanted to know just what effect 17-O-1152 had on “simple possession” arrests in Atlanta.  After all, the ordinance didn’t make it “legal”, it just reduced the penalties.  It didn’t really even “decrim”.  APD officers are still free to arrest offenders and take them to jail.  The question burned in my mind; “Did they, or did they use 17-O-1152 as a justification to act on a moral conviction?“.  I knew where to find at least a clue to the answer.

ACDC — No, Not the Band

I have to hand it to the folks in the Records Department of the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC).  I’ve asked them for data several times and they are always quick to respond.  It seems I even have a nickname with them.  More on that later …. maybe.

So last week I asked them to provide me with the following data, which they promptly did.  I’ve added their response in blue:

a) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2016, and Oct 2, 2017, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is an included charge:  2136

b) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2016, and Oct 2, 2017, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is the ONLY charge:  952

c) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2017, and Oct 2, 2018, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is an included charge:  683

d) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2017, and Oct 2, 2018, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is the ONLY charge:  252

The Inference

To sum it up, personal-use possession arrests fell from 3088 to 935 the first year after implementation of this ordinance.  When you do the math, that’s a 69.8% reduction.  So consider these factors:

  • 17-O-1152 was not directed to the Atlanta Police Department, rather to the Municipal Court.
  • APD officers can still arrest
  • Folks in the Metro live it like it’s legal anyway

I searched through APD’s Standard Operating Procedures and didn’t find a mention of reducing the emphasis on simple possession arrests, so that doesn’t seem to be a factor.  Chief Shields may have issued an internal memo to that effect, but I’ve found no evidence of it, and I’m fairly certain that would have made its way into print somewhere.  She did say publicly during the hearings associated with 17-O-1152 that possession of small amounts was not high on the APD’s priority list, and that certainly has to be taken into consideration.

So what can we deduce from this information?  I think it’s simply this; Nearly 70% of cops in Atlanta really don’t have a problem with NOT arresting marijuana users and now that they have an opportunity to exercise their moral discretion, they are doing so.  I think that’s significant.

Too Optimistic?

I’m optimistic by nature.  I’m always looking to what’s around the corner, to what the positive, rather than the negative outcome of a situation can be.  When this ordinance was passed many of you in the marijuana movement in Georgia cast aspersions on it.  You felt like it was a hollow gesture, with no substance, and that it wouldn’t make a difference.  Well, apparently you were wrong.  ‘Nuff said.

So now I’m excited to see how this pans out in Savannah, South Fulton, Fulton County, Forest Park, and Kingsland as they reach the anniversary dates of their “decrim” ordinances.  We already know that Clarkston’s City Council and Mayor Ted Terry were the first to enact such an ordinance, and their program is working well.

I’m also interested, as we all should be, in whether or not our State Legislators are listening …. or rather, who they are listening to.  This is The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association’s (GSA) position on marijuana  posted boldly on the front page of their website:

“The position of the GSA concerning marijuana and medical cannabis is as follows:

  • OPPOSE the legalization of marijuana for all social, recreational or industrial purposes.
  • OPPOSE the cultivation of marijuana for all purposes.
  • SUPPORT the use of chemicals derived from cannabis for medical use for certain well defined serious health conditions.
  • OPPOSE the medical delivery or application of chemicals derived from cannabis plants through smoking.
  • OPPOSE legislative proposals where appropriate controls and security measures do not exist and where strict civil and criminal penalties are absent.

The Executive Vice President of the GSA is a paid lobbyist.  Sheriffs and other law enforcement execs are always telling us, “We don’t make the laws, we just enforce them” and “If you don’t want us enforcing the law, get it changed.”  How are we supposed to do that when phrases like “Danger, danger” and “slippery slope” and “gateway drug” are constantly being whispered in our law-makers’ ears by a paid lobbyist?  Get out of our way and we WILL change the law.  We’re going to change it anyway.  It’s now a matter of when not if.  Your Rank and File support it.  I know.  I talk to them.

I also find it telling that the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police doesn’t even mention it on their website.

Tom McCain is the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML, fighting for the rights of Georgian cannabis consumers. You can visit their website at www.peachtreenorml.org, follow their work on Facebook and Twitter, and please make a contribution to support their work by clicking here. 

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A Coalition Of Groups Bills October 20th-27th as National Expungement Week

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 11:04
New York,  A coalition of over 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, will join local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) October 20-27, 2018. Conceived to aid those disenfranchised by the war on drugs, N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records.

N.E.W. events will be held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Haven, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Organizers will also provide attendees with a varied (depending upon location) range of supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, health screenings, and more. The N.E.W. website also provides a link to an online toolkit so that interested parties can host their own record change events.

In recent months, District Attorneys in a number of cities – such as New YorkSan FranciscoSan Diego, and Seattle  have moved to automate the process of expunging past marijuana convictions.

For more information, visit https://www.offtherecord.us/ 
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