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Updated: 21 hours 20 min ago

NORML Chapter Newsletter

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 18:31

Every day 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.

NORML Chapters Focus on Voter Registration and Education for Midterm Elections

“To help educate our members and supporters about candidates who are supportive of marijuana law reform efforts, NORML is working with “Smoke the Vote” to create state-level and congressional scorecards, similar to our Governor Scorecard, that outlines each candidate’s marijuana policy positions. Furthermore, several NORML chapters, like Arizona NORML and Texas NORML, have created their own regional voter guides for the 2018 midterm elections!”

Read more from NORML.org!

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

Members of Arizona NORML Rate Lawmakers Before Midterm Elections

“Earlier in August, Mikel Weisser, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws of Arizona, published a lengthy report card on the many candidates vying for a public office in 2018. Now that the votes are being counted and most of the races have clear winners, Weisser said he likes what he sees.”

Read more from the Phoenix New Times!

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

Members of El Paso NORML Focus on Education in Advance of Midterm Elections

“Right now, we’re working with local politicians and our state representatives, and also our state senator José Rodríguez, to advance during our legislative sessions,” DeMorris said. “Other than working with our representatives we’re out, educating the public. We have monthly meetings trying to reach out to the public, trying to educate them about policy reform here in Texas, how it works and stuff like that.”

Read more from The Prospector!

Follow El Paso NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Members of Lancaster NORML Advocate for Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

“Rubi Nicholas, executive director of Lancaster chapter of the pro-legalization group NORML, said City Council did the right thing in passing the ordinance, though she said the “ultimate” right thing would be legalization.”

Read more from Lancaster Online!

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

Members of Mass/Cann NORML Host Committee Meeting to Discuss Medical Marijuana

“The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition/National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Mass Cann/NORML) held a committee meeting on the fifteenth floor in the One Beacon Street building. Open to the public, the meeting had around 25 people in attendance.”

Read more from UMass Media!

Follow Mass/Cann NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!  

NORML Chapters in Pennsylvania Rally in Support of Marijuana Law Reforms

“Marijuana activists in Pennsylvania are poised to introduce an aggressive agenda for reform in 2019 when they fill the Capitol Rotunda at 10am on Monday, September 24,” said Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML. “With cannabis arrest counts rising across the state and neighboring states threatening legalization, the time is right for this discussion in Pennsylvania.”

Read more from NORML.org!

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

Southeastern Wisconsin NORML Releases Candidate Questionnaire  

“The Southeastern Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, released results this week of a legislative candidate questionnaire which shows more than 50 candidates for the Legislature support either medical or recreational marijuana legalization or both.”

Read more from Urban Milwaukee!

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

Members of Virginia NORML Team up with Local Brewery for Legalize Virginia Festival

“The polls overwhelmingly indicate that the citizens of Virginia are ready for faster progress,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML. “We are grateful to the O’Connor family for providing this megaphone for reform. In states across the nation, we are seeing business owners like them step up and lend their voices to help lead the way.”

Read more from AltDaily!

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

Ashley Weber, Executive Director, Colorado NORML

“Access for medical patients will become more of a problem because medical patients need a higher quality.”

Read more from Michigan Public Radio!

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

Bailey Hirschburg, Lobbyist, Washington NORML

“With homegrow, we were regularly told, “Why should we vote for it if the other chamber won’t take action?” Hence two bills both trying to move simultaneously.”

Read more from Weed News!

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

Bill Downing, Board Member, Mass/Cann NORML

“Some of the wealthiest people in the entire world live on Beacon Hill and they treat the Boston Common as though it were their backyard,” Downing said. “The people who decided to buy or rent near the Common should know that the Common is going to have events on it. For them to complain is just ridiculous.”

Read more from the Boston Herald!

Follow Mass/Cann NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Dale Geringer, Executive Director, California NORML

“Illegal water diversions to marijuana gardens have been an issue in the past,” Gieringer said. “It will be an interesting experiment to see what actually happens. I have friends in the growing community who said there will be a huge outdoor marijuana drought this year, but that was when the state was bleached white before the last round of rain.”

Read more from Fort Bragg Advocate-News!

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

Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

“Doug Greene, legislative director of the Empire State National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), suggested sealing records of those who have been convicted.”

Read more from AMNewYork!

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

Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

“Eric Marsch, executive director of Southeastern Wisconsin NORML, said the expected public approval of the November referendums should convince legislators there is no need to wait on approving the legalization of marijuana, along with taxing its sales and regulating its production and distribution.”

Read more from the Journal Sentinel!

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

Frank Latta, Executive Director, Wyoming NORML

“Latta served several years on the Gillette council and was mayor of Gillette for eight years. He served four years in the Wyoming legislature. Now, he’s director of the Wyoming chapter of NORML. He said he resents the implication that a support for a change in law makes you a pothead. For him, it’s about what’s the best policy for the citizens of Wyoming.”

Read more from County 17!

Follow Wyoming NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

“It is in the best interests of patients, of consumers, for there to be transparency throughout this process,” Pedini said. “Patients deserve to know who is making their medicine, if that company has been operational in other states, if they have been compliant, if they have had to stop production or have been cited for other issues.”

Read more from the Richmond Times-Dispatch!

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

Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

“The marijuana midterms, so they’re called, are coming up this November, and it’s time for voters to be heard and to put folks in office who want to take action once they’re there,”

Read more from Virginia Public Radio!

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

Matthew Abel, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

“I understand the concerns about dangerous occupations, but short of that, I think employers should take a more tolerant view,” he said. “It’s shortsighted to eliminate those people because you’re eliminating a lot of creative, motivated people from your candidate pool.”

Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

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

Michael Chazukow, Board Member, New Jersey NORML

“Michael Chazukow, a member of the New Jersey division of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said bans on cultivation centers and retail businesses will not keep marijuana out of communities but will prohibit the traffic, jobs and revenue they generate.”

Read more from NorthJersey.com!

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

Patrick Nightengale, Executive Director, Pittsburgh NORML

“Right here in the City of Pittsburgh, people of color are five times as likely to be charged with a minor possession offense than their white counterparts despite similar rates of usage. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Read more from CBS Pittsburgh!

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

Patrick Nightengale, Executive Director, Pittsburgh NORML

“A new industry here in PA that could easily generate recurring revenue of $600 million annually without having to add one single penny of new tax revenue.”

Watch the video from WPXI.com!

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

Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML

“I’m glad to see the Kingsland City Council unanimously approve this ordinance. They join Clarkston, Atlanta, Savannah, Forest Park, South Fulton and Fulton County in enacting sensible marijuana ordinances here in Georgia,”

Read more from NORML.org!

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

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

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

 

Categories: Blog Feeds

NORML Supports Florida Voting Restoration Amendment

Sat, 09/29/2018 - 08:43

NORML is pleased to support the grassroots Voting Restoration Amendment campaign in Florida, run by Second Chances Florida. Florida remains one of only four states with a lifetime ban on voting for people with past felony convictions, even after they have completed their full sentence – including any probation, parole, fines, and restitution. We at NORML believe in second chances, and it is vital that voters have the opportunity to restore voting eligibility for those who have served their time and paid their debts.

Sign up to make phone calls to Florida voters on October 1st!

Can’t make calls Monday? Click here to sign up to volunteer before the election. 

This statewide ballot measure, organized by the grassroots group Second Chances Florida, seeks to restore the voting eligibility of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting eligibility on a case by case basis.

“Ensuring that all Americans have the eligibility to vote is crucial to the wellbeing of our democracy and is the only way that we will have elected officials in office that truly represent the will of their constituents. There is no legitimate reason that, after serving their time and paying their debts, to continue to deny former felons their vote,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “A large number of those being disenfranchised are guilty of non-violent marijuana possession offenses. In Florida, simple possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana for personal use is a felony charge and it is unAmerican to take away their eligibility to cast a ballot during any election.”

Currently, 1.4 million Floridians who have completed their sentences are permanently banned from voting, and the state of Florida ranks far ahead of any other state in the number of people excluded from the voting process entirely. Under the current system, Floridians with past felony convictions can only earn eligibility to vote by appearing in front of the Clemency Board, a process which can take more than two decades after a person’s completion of the terms of their sentence. The Florida Clemency Board, which is made up of only four members and meets only four times a year, hears less than 100 cases at a time, making the process almost impossible for many to complete. Because of this, a federal judge recently ruled Florida’s restoration process as arbitrary and unconstitutional.

If supported by 60% of voters on Election Day, Florida would join the ranks of 46 states and the District of Columbia in allowing people with past felony convictions to earn back their eligibility to vote.

Sign up NOW to make phone calls on October 1st in support!

Can’t make calls Monday? Click here to sign up to volunteer before the election. 

You can also stay up to date on the campaign on Second Chances Florida’s website or Facebook page.

Forward,

The NORML Team

Categories: Blog Feeds

Legalization: Is it Working?

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 15:51

We as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never been in a better position than we are today to further our cause. Prior to states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and others, legalizing and regulating marijuana, there was very little data to support our arguments to end marijuana prohibition. But, things have changed.

So, is the legalization and regulation of marijuana working? Of course it is, but we must be able to articulate why it’s working to be successful in our efforts. We can start by looking at some of the data regarding the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety. Study after study published by the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the National Academies of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control, the Journal of Adolescent Health and the American Journal of Public Health are providing us with all the information we need to make fact-based, data-driven arguments in support of ending marijuana prohibition.

Regardless if you’re looking at state-level data related to crime, teen access and use or the decline in opioid use, hospitalizations and overdose, the legalization and regulation of marijuana is having a positive impact. And this is no longer our opinion; it’s fact, backed by legitimate research and data. The information is there. We no longer have to speculate about the potential impacts marijuana legalization will have on public health and safety, and other areas of concern. We can now depend on facts and data to further our efforts to end marijuana prohibition.

Touting the economic benefits of legalization such as tax revenues and job creation can also be helpful in our push to end marijuana prohibition. To date, there have been between 125,000 and 160,000 full-time jobs created as a result of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. This includes those who work directly with the plant (e.g., cultivation, bud tenders, infused products) as well as ancillary businesses such as packaging, gardening supplies and lighting companies. Regarding tax revenues, Nevada’s regulated adult-use program generated over $55 million within the first ten months of its roll out. While Colorado’s pulled in more than $245 million in tax revenue for 2017.

If you’re working to advance marijuana law reform efforts on the local, state or federal level, these studies can be used to persuade opponents of legalization that ending marijuana prohibition is a step in the right direction, or at the very least, neutralize their prohibitionist rhetoric. Am I suggesting there’s no need to continue to closely monitor the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety? Absolutely not.

With only a handful of states enacting laws to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana, the jury is certainly still out on whether or not marijuana can be regulated in a way that’s safe and productive for society, so I expect a healthy and thoughtful debate around the issue for years to come. However, since Congress approved the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, we as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never had access to more fact-based evidence supporting our longstanding argument that ending marijuana prohibition is not only good public policy, it’s the right thing to do.

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

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

Categories: Blog Feeds

Weekly Legislative Roundup 9/28/18

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 08:07

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

This week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed CBD medication Epidiolex in Schedule V, the least restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act. The move does not apply to CBD itself or other non-FDA-approved extracts containing it.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released an official statement confirming the federal government’s policy of banning Canadians who work or invest in the marijuana industry from entering the country.

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked yet another marijuana measure from advancing, this time an amendment to remove the 280E tax penalty on cannabis businesses.

At the state level, Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley filed a bill that would legalize the possession, use, and retail sale of adult use marijuana and also expunge certain marijuana convictions.

New Jersey’s Senate president said he anticipates a vote on marijuana legalization legislation on October 29. The bill still has yet to be introduced.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled. See the full list of sessions here. Cuomo also signed a bill into law, adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. But he signed bills allowing local governments to approve temporary marijuana events at any location they choose, creating a grant program to assist with the implementation of local measures to ensure equity in the cannabis industry, and others.

At a more local level, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance to avoid jail time for marijuana possession. The Kingsland, Georgia City Council also approved an ordinance to eliminate jail time as a penalty for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana under the city code. And similarly, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council approved a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

Following are the bills we’ve tracked still sitting on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring 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 email your senators in support of 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. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

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

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

Categories: Blog Feeds

DEA Reclassifies Plant-Derived Marijuana Medicine To Schedule V

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 08:09

Epidiolex, a prescription medicine containing a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), has been reclassified today by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to Schedule V — the lowest restriction classification available under federal law. The US Food and Drug Administration had previously approved the product in June for the explicit treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It is the first botanically-derived medicine from cannabis to receive US market approval.

A spokesperson for the DEA affirmed that the change is only specific to Epidiolex, and does not amend the schedule I status of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD — stating: “As of right now, any other CBD product other than Epidiolex remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance, so it’s still illegal under federal law.”

The drug’s manufacturer estimates that physicians will likely be able to begin prescribing the medicine within six weeks. An annual prescription is anticipated to cost patients $32,500.

Commenting on the scheduling change, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The DEA’s rescheduling of this plant-derived medicine provides an additional option to patients seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. However, it remains to be seen to what degree physicians will be comfortable prescribing this new agent, and whether most patients can feasibly afford it.”

He added: “We anticipated that Epidiolex will be the first of many potential FDA-approved medicines based on the cannabis plant. These are welcome alternatives. But these products should not be regulated in such a manner that patients no longer have ready access to herbal cannabis — a product that humans have used safely and effectively as a medicine for thousands of years and is approved today by statute in 31 states.”

Epidiolex was developed in the United Kingdom. US regulations do not permit private companies to engage in marijuana-derived medicine development, since only the University of Mississippi is federally licensed to cultivate cannabis strains for clinical research purposes.

Schedule V substances, as defined by the US Controlled Substances Act, are medicines deemed to possess a “low potential for abuse,” and may be associated with “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence.”

Categories: Blog Feeds

North Dakota Is Ready To End Criminalization

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 07:29

Last week, I did something that I had never done before: I traveled to North Dakota.

This summer, the grassroots group LegalizeND successfully collected enough petition signatures to place a statewide marijuana legalization initiative (Measure 3) on this November’s general election. If enacted in November, North Dakota would become the tenth state — and by far the most politically conservative one — to legalize the adult use of marijuana in the United States.

And as if I need to tell you, that would be a game-changer in our country.

Measure 3 has a sort of beauty in its simplicity. Thirty days after passage, it removes the criminal and civil penalties for adults over the age of 21 to possess, privately consume, and privately cultivate personal possession of marijuana. Unlike initiatives in other states, that often possessed robust and sometimes overly-complicated and exclusionary regulatory schemes for the licensing of commercial marijuana market, Measure 3 focuses on the individual consumer — not commercial businesses. In short, it halts new arrests and expunges past convictions. It’s that simple.

If lawmakers in the future wish to enact specific regulations licensing and taxing the marijuana market, that decision will be up to them.

But can Measure 3 win this November? I went to North Dakota to see for myself.

The fundamentals are strong. In 2016, voters passed a medical cannabis regulatory program with 64% of the vote. But then the legislature gutted the law, rewrote the rules, and ultimately ignored the patients who still today bear the black mark of being criminals in the eyes of the state. And voters in North Dakota are, to say the least, very upset.

This bodes well in the event of Measure 3’s passage, as pressure would ramp up on the lawmakers to swiftly implement a pro-consumer set of rules to compensate for the new legal status of cannabis.

According to the polling by the campaign earlier this year, a plurality of voters favor the measure. In my time in North Dakota, I spoke with numerous supporters — going to door-to-door with campaign volunteers — and appeared on several media outlets to discuss the initiative. As we like to say at NORML, “The more we’re talking about ending prohibition, the more we’re winning.”

Here is just some of the media hits that NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri and I participated in while supporting our friends at LegalizeND and their quest to end criminalization in North Dakota.

National marijuana reform leaders visit ND to offer support: 

The message to North Dakotans from one of the nation’s most well-known marijuana reform organizations is fairly simple as voters consider a ballot measure to approve recreational marijuana this fall: They want to protect the personal freedom of responsible adults to smoke it without a negative effect on public safety.

The executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Erik Altieri, and federal political director, Justin Strekal, were in the state for a three-day visit starting Friday, Sept. 21, to discuss the issue through the media, hold a fundraiser, train volunteers supporting the measure and to “support our friends.”

 Read more: Grand Folks Herald, Bismarck Tribune, Inforum, Jamestown Sun, Dickinson Press

 

Washington D.C. advocacy group in North Dakota in support of recreational marijuana: 

A Washington DC advocacy group has arrived in North Dakota to support the Measure 3 campaign.

Measure 3 would legalize marijuana for adult use and cultivation. Erik Altieri is executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He says NORML has a 50 year history and they’ve worked in several states that have already legalized marijuana for recreational use. Altieri says North Dakota is 5th in the nation for per capita incarcerations related to marijuana, and this measure would help keep otherwise law abiding citizens out of jail. He says much like campaigns they’ve worked on in other states, here they will educating the public about recreational marijuana.

Political director Justin Strekal says the legislation would be beneficial to veterans. He says 22 percent of veterans report using cannabis to treat ailments, but if they do it in North Dakota they are considered to be criminals.

Read more: Prairie Public (NPR)

 

Washington nonprofit pushes for legal recreational marijuana in North Dakota: 

Supporters of legal recreational marijuana in North Dakota are getting backers from Washington.

The director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is asking North Dakota voters to say yes to Measure 3 this November.

Read/Watch: WDAY

 

Volunteers Advocate for “Yes” Vote on Measure 3, Which Would Legalize Marijuana:

When you head to the polls, you’ll see something on the ballot called Measure 3. It will legalize marijuana in the state of North Dakota, and advocates say that would help many families.

Read/Watch: KVRR-TV

 

NORML and Measure 3 in ND:

Source: POVnow CBS-KX4 / West Dakota FOX

 

GET INVOLVED: You can follow LegalizeND on Facebook, visit their website at http://legalizend.com/ and click here to support their work.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Cities Across Georgia Continue to Ease Penalties for Marijuana Possession

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 04:31

Following the lead of municipalities around the state, the City Council of Kingsland, Georgia, voted to approve a new ordinance to ease penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

“I’m glad to see the Kingsland City Council unanimously approve this ordinance. They join Clarkston, Atlanta, Savannah, Forest Park, South Fulton and Fulton County in enacting sensible marijuana ordinances here in Georgia,” said Tom McCain, executive director of Peachtree NORML.  

Citing concerns of racial profiling and the effects of the black market regarding teen access and use, Councilman Mike McClain was one of the most vocal proponents during Monday’s meeting to discuss the proposal.

“There is a definite amount of racial profiling with the outdated law. We need to be on the right side of history, and I want to do the right thing,” said Mclain. “We are a small town, but we are not afraid of change when it goes to correctly police our community.”

Read more here: https://www.allongeorgia.com/camden-local-news/kingsland-city-council-passes-relaxed-marijuana-rule/

As state lawmakers around the country continue to drag their feet on marijuana law reforms, municipalities are taking matters into their own hands. As a result, more than 50 localities in a dozen states have adopted municipal ordinances to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“While they cannot change Georgia Law, they can indeed lower penalties for simple possession, and in doing so, send a message to the General Assembly that it needs to follow suit at the state-level,” added McCain.

Click Here to Review NORML’s Decriminalization Report

To learn more about marijuana law reforms in Georgia, follow Peachtree NORML on Facebook, and Twitter or check out their website!

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

Categories: Blog Feeds

Are you ready to #SmokeTheVote?

Tue, 09/25/2018 - 09:39

Happy National Voter Registration Day!

It’s critically important that we make sure all reform supporters are registered and turnout to vote for pro-cannabis candidates this year for the “Marijuana Midterms.”

With just six weeks until Election Day, NORML is proud to roll out the following educational tools for you to take with you to the ballot booth.

Smoke the Vote: NORML has graded every incumbent and major candidate for federal office throughout the country – making it easy for you to get the facts.

NORML chapters around the country have recorded many of the positions of candidates for state-level offices. This scorecard is meant to be a living document, and with over 10,000 legislators at the state and federal level across the nation, we NEED your help to keep it up to date. If you see that we’re missing a candidate’s position or a great quote from them regarding marijuana policy, send it our way.

NORML Election Central: Learn about the various ballot initiatives around the country and see all of the NORML PAC endorsed candidates.

NORML Voter Registration Tool: NORML has partnered with Rock the Vote making it easy and fast for you and your friends to register to vote!

We need more voices supporting reform in the political process. If our supporters are not registered and voting, lawmakers will not hear the need for legislative action. Make sure your friends, family, and neighbors are registered to #SmokeTheVote and make 2018 the Marijuana Midterms!

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

Below are a few more resources that should come in handy over the next couple of months.

Resources and Tools for Voter Registration:

Stay informed – Rock The Vote offers voter registration resources, election FAQs, and opportunities to help build the political power of young people in the United States.Voter Registration Deadline – Use U.S. Vote Foundation to find your state’s deadline.

Long Distance Voter – Is a website where you can request an absentee ballot.

Verify your Registration Status – Vote.org offers an online tool to check the status of your voter registration.

Polling Place – Check out Rock the Vote to find a polling location near you.

Additional Resources:

Election Laws: https://bit.ly/2MdVn1s

State Information: https://bit.ly/2xb1SPW

Voting Rights: https://bit.ly/2NrVM57

Categories: Blog Feeds

Exercise your civic duty on National Voter Registration Day

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 10:44

Are you ready to legalize marijuana? Registering to vote is the first step. Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day, and you can help NORML make sure everyone knows voting is an essential part of the fight to end the prohibition. It is crucial that supporters of reform register to vote in time to cast their ballots in the November 6th election.

Are you registered to vote? Check the status of your voter registration here.

Ready to register to vote? You can do so by clicking here.

We need more voices supporting reform in the political process. If our supporters are not registered and voting, lawmakers are will not hear the need for legislative action. Make sure your friends, family, and neighbors are registered to vote.

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

As the old adage goes, elections are decided by those who show up. The 2018 midterm elections will be decisive for marijuana reform. NORML is working to bring as many supporters of responsible marijuana policy to the polls as possible. Will our communities voice be heard on November 6?

Let’s finish what we started. Let’s legalize it.

Categories: Blog Feeds

FBI: Marijuana Arrests Spike For Second Straight Year, Far Outpace Arrests For All Violent Crimes

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 08:55

The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the second consecutive year, according to data released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations last year. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017.

Of those arrested for marijuana crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses, a slight increase over last year’s annual totals. Total marijuana arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade. The uptick comes at a time when ten states, including California, have legalized the adult use of cannabis – leading to a significant decline in marijuana-related arrests in those jurisdictions.

“Actions by law enforcement run counter to both public support and basic morality,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “In a day and age where twenty percent of the population lives in states which have legalized and nearly every state has some legal protections for medical cannabis or its extract, the time for lawmakers to end this senseless and cruel prohibition that ruins lives.”

As in previous years, marijuana possession arrests were least likely to occur in the western region of the United States, where possessing the plant has largely been either legalized or decriminalized. By contrast, in Midwestern states, marijuana-related arrests comprised over 53 percent of all drug arrests.

The 2017 FBI report, “Crime in the United States,” is available online here.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 9/21/18

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 08:05

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

This week, reports circulated that  the US Customs and Border Protection Agency will enforce a federal policy denying entry into the United States any individual involved in Canada’s burgeoning marijuana market. Under the policy, US officials are to bar entry to Canadians who acknowledge having consumed marijuana at any time in their past, as well as those who are either employed or invested in legal cannabis enterprises. NORML responded here.

The U.S. Senate’s VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 got one more cosponsor, for a total of five. And The U.S. House’s Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

At the state level, the New Jersey Department of Health removed the ban that prohibited licensed medical cannabis dispensaries from selling concentrates to patients. Separately, details arose about New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill, which includes what would be the lowest tax rate in the country, home delivery, social consumption sites, and provisions benefiting small and minority owned businesses, but nothing about home cultivation. Nothing is final yet.

Several New York Assembly committees have scheduled the first of what will be four joint hearings this fall on the prospect of legalizing marijuana in the Empire State. This comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is holding a series of separate listening sessions across the state to gather public input on cannabis legalization.

Mississippi activists kicked off their signature gathering effort for a 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative. Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting. Kentucky lawmakers held an interim hearing on medical cannabis, and the West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health met to discuss banking access issues for medical cannabis businesses.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed two bills into law this week,  one preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes, and another clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. Brown also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

At a more local level, the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

Following are the bills we’ve tracked this week pending before California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring 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 email your senators in support of 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. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

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

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

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Marijuana Law Reform Advocates Head to Harrisburg

Thu, 09/20/2018 - 13:25

With a state legislative session spanning almost an entire calendar year, supporters of marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania are working overtime to make sure their voices are heard. That’s why members of Lehigh Valley NORML, Pittsburgh NORML, Lancaster NORML and Philly NORML are teaming up with the Keystone Cannabis Coalition and ACLU of Pennsylvania for rally and lobby day next week in the state’s capital of Harrisburg.

Click Here to RSVP Today!

“Marijuana activists in Pennsylvania are poised to introduce an aggressive agenda for reform in 2019 when they fill the Capitol Rotunda at 10am on Monday, September 24,” said Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML. “With cannabis arrest counts rising across the state and neighboring states threatening legalization, the time is right for this discussion in Pennsylvania.”

But activists in the Keystone State have come a very long way in just a short amount of time.

Local Victories

In late 2014 Philadelphia’s city council decriminalized simple possession of marijuana. Little did they know, their decision would trigger a wave of municipalities across the Commonwealth to adopt similar measures. In the years following, local lawmakers in Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg, York, Erie, and most recently, Bethlehem followed suit.

These local victories were celebrated not just by advocates, but also the Commonwealth’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who shared the following statement:

“Decriminalization saves millions of dollars spent yearly on marijuana prosecutions. Decriminalization also has human benefits by reducing the loss of income and other social, personal and emotional impacts on those arrested for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.”

Full statement here: https://bit.ly/2NvfopR

Statewide Victories

Following the flurry of local marijuana law reform victories across the Commonwealth, lawmakers in Harrisburg passed SB 3: The Medical Marijuana Act in 2015 which was later signed into law by Governor Wolf in early 2016. Passage of the law established rules and regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program which permits registered patients to access cannabis oils, pills and tinctures, but due to a restriction against smoking, the availability of marijuana flower was delayed.

After months of pressure from patients and advocacy groups, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana advisory board recommended several updates to the state’s program. One of which, was allowing the sale of marijuana flower. The catch? It must be consumed using a vaporizer. This means no smoking. Regardless of a few hiccups, dispensaries began serving patients earlier this year.

Looking ahead, advocates are hoping to educate state lawmakers about the benefits of ending the criminalization and harassment of honest, hardworking Pennsylvanians for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.

“New legislation will be introduced at the rally, as 2019 will mark the first time that PA will have partner bills for decriminalization and legalization in both House and Senate. If Pennsylvanians could vote on cannabis legalization in November, I am confident that we would win,” added Riedy.

Midterm Election

Considering Pennsylvania is one of several states that lacks a ballot initiative process, all marijuana law reform efforts must be pursued through the state legislature. This means, in order to be successful, advocates must educate those who are willing to listen or elect new, more supportive lawmakers to represent them in Harrisburg. So make no mistake, the outcome of this November’s election will certainly have an impact on the future of marijuana in the Keystone State.  

Register To Vote Today!

That’s why we’re encouraging voters in Pennsylvania to support Jon Fetterman, an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana, who is running for Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Fetterman was the very first candidate endorsed by NORML PAC for the 2018 midterm elections.

Read more about our endorsement here: https://bit.ly/2OMBjoM

For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Twitter and Facebook!

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NORML Endorses Utah’s Proposition 2

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 07:03

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) endorses Proposition 2: The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which regulates the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis products to qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation.

Seventy-seven percent of adults express support for the law change, according to statewide polling data compiled in March.

“Proposition 2 is the result of years of intransigence on the part of Utah politicians who have time and time again refused to move forward with legislation to provide regulated cannabis access to the array of patients who could benefit from it,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said.

Under legislation enacted by the legislature in 2018, only those patients who are terminally ill may potentially access cannabis-infused products. To date, however, such products are not yet legally available.

“Passage of Proposition 2 will assure that those patients with qualified debilitating conditions who need medical cannabis have access to lab-tested products via a tightly regulated system of licensed, above-ground state-licensed facilities,” Strekal added.

If enacted by voters this November, Utah would become the 32nd state to permit patients’ access to medical cannabis.

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NORML Responds to US Border Policy Barring Canadians Involved In Legal Marijuana Market

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 13:24

NORML staff today responded to reports that the US Customs and Border Protection Agency will enforce a federal policy denying entry into the United States any individual involved Canada’s burgeoning marijuana market. Under the policy, US officials are to bar entry to Canadians who acknowledge having consumed marijuana at any time in their past, as well as those who are either employed or invested in legal cannabis enterprises.

Canada legalized the regulated production and distribution of medical cannabis in 2,000. In June of this year, Canadian lawmakers gave final approval to separate legislation regulating the adult use marijuana market. The new law takes effect on October 17, 2018.

“This is an irrational and discriminatory policy that unduly penalizes tens of thousands of Canadians who pose no health or safety risk to the United States. Let’s be clear: these are people engaged in activity that is legal in their home country of Canada — and it is activity that is also legally regulated in a majority of US states,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Further, to inappropriately classify those who are either employed or simply have invested in the Canadian cannabis industry, an industry that has been legal in Canada for well over a decade already, as drug traffickers fails to pass the smell test.”

He added, “At a time when public opinion and the culture around marijuana is rapidly shifting, not just in the US but around the world, it is inane for US border officials to maintain such a draconian and backward-looking policy.”

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 9/14/18

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 11:11

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

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved legislation (HR 5634: The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018) to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials assessing the efficacy of whole-plant cannabis. The vote marks the first time that lawmakers have ever decided in favor of easing existing federal restrictions which limit investigators ability to clinically study marijuana in a manner similar to other controlled substances.

On the other hand, a congressional conference committee opted not to include a Senate-passed provision in a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The measure is known as the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, which sought to facilitate veterans’ access to medical cannabis in jurisdictions that regulate it.

Also, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), one of Congress’s more ardent drug warriors—signed on as a cosponsor of the STATES Act, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales.

At the state level, New Mexico’s health secretary approved adding obstructive sleep apnea as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but rejected adding opioid addiction, muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, eczema and psoriasis. Separately, regulators are holding a series of public meeting next month to receive feedback on proposed hemp rules.

Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee held a meeting. And California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill prohibiting the marketing of cannabis products on websites used by minors.

At a more local level, Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney is moving to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions. And Manhattan’s district attorney is moving to vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants. He appeared in court to move to dismiss 3,000 marijuana cases dating back to 1978.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council amended a proposed marijuana penalty reduction ordinance, with a final vote expected later this month. The Green Bay, Wisconsin Common Council is considering lowering fines for marijuana possession. And Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s City Council heard testimony on a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

Following are the bills we’ve tracked this week pending before California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring 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 email your senators in support of 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. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

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

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

Categories: Blog Feeds

Justice for Botham: Law Enforcement and Media Attempt to Slander Murder Victim Over Marijuana

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 10:47

After the murder of Botham Jean by Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, in his own home, some, but not all, of the search warrants that were executed were released to public record. One of which, that was released the same day as Botham Jean’s funeral, listed a small amount of marijuana among the items found in Jean’s apartment.

Commenting on the developments, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated:

“The release of a Dallas police affidavit into the public record regarding marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment is nothing more than an attempt by law enforcement and the media to posthumously criminalize and cast aspersions on a man who by all accounts is guilty of nothing other than sitting quietly in his own home. Over half of all Americans have consumed marijuana at some point in their lives and to pretend in any way the possession of a plant that is objectively safer than alcohol or tobacco provides legitimacy to his extrajudicial execution is disgusting and egregious. Whether or not the victim possessed marijuana is irrelevant to the case and a sad attempt to slander an otherwise innocent person. Botham Jean and his family need and deserve justice, not a pathetic attempt at a smear campaign.”

You can read more about this developing situation here and here.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Kentucky NORML Newsletter for September 2018

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 06:37

State News:

On Sept. 7th, 2018, the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee held a meeting to discuss medical marijuana and the bill being proposed by Rep. Nemes (R-), Rep. St. Onge (R-), Rep. Hart (R-) and Rep Sims (D-). They discussed their bill and invited Louisville resident Cassie Everett and her family to speak at the event. Link to article Link

Kentucky Farmers Find Hemp More Profitable Than Tobacco. Link to article

McLean Businessman Among State-Approved Cannabis Growers Link to article

Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, presents information on proposed legislation on medical marijuana for the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly during the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations. Link to article

National News:

A Rare Moment of Bi-Partisan Agreement is Underway for Sen. McConnell Sponsored “Hemp Farming Act” (Link to article).

Upcoming Events:

September 14th – Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations – 10 am – The Capitol, Frankfort, KY

September 18th – KY NORML General Meeting –  One Love Hemp Dispensary, 1908 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205. Meeting from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM.Ice Cream Social Put on by Cozmic Gardens from 5 PM – 6:30 PM. 20% of all sales at One Love Hemp Dispensary from 5PM-Close (8 PM) go to benefit KY NORML.

October 5th – Commemorating the Victims of Prohibition – On October 2nd, 1937, the United States enacted the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act which effectively outlawed cannabis. Three days later, on October 5th, the FBI and the Denver police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell and Moses Baca. Caldwell and Bacca are recognized as the first citizens convicted of selling and possessing cannabis. Both men served the entirety of their sentences, with Caldwell dying shortly after his release from four years of hard labor.

October 18th – Economic Development and Workforce Transportation – 10 AM, Lexington, KY (more info to come)

October 25th – Appropriations and Revenue Committee Meeting – 1 PM, Northern Kentucky (more info to come)

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 or purchase some of our apparel below! 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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Congressional Committee Approves Legislation To Facilitate Clinical Cannabis Research

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:10

Members of the House Judiciary Committee voted today in favor of legislation (HR 5634: The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018) to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials assessing the efficacy of whole-plant cannabis. The vote marks the first time that lawmakers have ever decided in favor of easing existing federal restrictions which limit investigators ability to clinically study marijuana in a manner similar to other controlled substances.

“The federal hurdles in place that currently discourage clinicians from engaging in clinical cannabis research have long been onerous and irrational,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “It is high time that lawmakers recognize this problem and take action to amend it so that investigators may conduct the same sort of high-quality clinical research with cannabis that they do with other substances.”

Currently, federal regulations mandate that investigators participating in FDA-approved clinical trials involving cannabis must obtain marijuana from a single, federally-licensed source, the University of Mississippi. However, many of those familiar with their product have criticized its quality, opining that it possesses subpar potency, is often poorly manicured, and that it does not accurately reflect the wide variety of cannabis products and strains available to consumers.

As the result of a lawsuit, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner in 2007 ruled that expanding the pool of federally licensed providers would be “in the public interest.” The agency ultimately rejected that decision. In 2016, the DEA publicly changed its stance and amended regulations in a manner to permit additional applicants to apply for federal licensure to grow marijuana. However, the United States Attorney General’s office has failed to take action on any pending 25 applications submitted following the 2016 rule change.

House Bill 6534, sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and 40 cosponsors mandates the Attorney General to take action on these pending federal applications, and to approve at least two additional marijuana manufacturers within a year. The measure also explicitly permits the Veterans Affairs office to engage in clinical trials involving the cannabis plant.

While some Democrats on the Committee, as well as some drug policy reform organizations, expressed criticism with regard to a provision in the bill restricting applicants with a drug-related conviction, lawmakers indicated that they would consider revising this language prior to the bill receiving a vote on the House floor.

Armentano concluded: “While this vote marks a step forward, it must also be acknowledged that despite existing barriers to research, 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. 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.”

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NORML Endorses Michigan’s Proposal 1

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 09:12

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is pleased to endorse Proposal 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which will appear on November’s electoral ballot.

The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

“NORML endorses Proposal 1 because it will bring an end to the criminal arrest and prosecution of tens of thousands of adults annually, while generating new economic and tax revenue for the state of Michigan,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Voters in recent years have consistently voted ‘yes’ on these types of adult use ballot measures, and we believe that Michigan’s voters will similar embrace this common-sense proposal.”

Over 56 percent of likely voters say they back the passage of Proposal 1, according to polling data released this week by The Detroit News. Among voters between the ages of 18 and 39, over 70 percent support the ballot initiative.

If enacted by voters this November, Michigan will become the tenth US state to regulate adult marijuana use.

Proponents of the effort, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, include members of Michigan NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association MI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers from the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section.

Commenting on the endorsement, Rick Thompson of the Michigan NORML Board of Directors stated, “The people of Michigan have waited a long time and suffered for decades as cannabis was criminalized. By bringing an end to that sad chapter in our state’s history, we hope to be an inspiration to cannabis advocates in other states, and that our Coalition’s language is used as the new starting point for legalization proposals across America.”

Categories: Blog Feeds

NORML Chapters Focus on Voter Registration and Education

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 02:31

As the summer months come to a close and as political campaigns around the country ramp up outreach efforts, NORML chapters are working to make sure that supporters of marijuana law reform efforts are registered to vote. Through our partnership with Rock the Vote, we’ve made it quick and easy for our members and supporters to make sure their voices are heard this November. This is especially important in states like Missouri, Michigan, North Dakota and Utah — where marijuana law reform initiatives will appear on ballot this November.

Register to Vote Today!

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

From hosting voter registration drives, and voting parties, to providing education about voting laws and the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition, NORML Chapters will be busy engaging voters and mobilizing supporters in advance of this November’s election.

“With Missouri’s voter registration deadline quickly approaching, it’s important for supporters of Amendment 2 to make sure they’re registered to vote. Historically, marijuana ballot initiatives perform better when younger people vote. Voter turnout will absolutely be a factor in the outcome of this November’s election,” said Jamie Kacz, Secretary of Missouri NORML.

Also, to help educate our members and supporters about candidates who are supportive of marijuana law reform efforts, NORML is working with “Smoke the Vote” to create state-level and congressional scorecards, similar to our Governor Scorecard, that outlines each candidate’s marijuana policy positions. The final version will be available within the next few days. Furthermore, several NORML chapters, like Arizona NORML and Texas NORML, have created their own regional voter guides for the 2018 midterm elections!

“Texans rely on elected officials to change marijuana laws,” added Jax Finkle, executive director of Texas NORML. “This is why registering to vote and getting to the ballot box is so important. With several key races polling only points apart, it is integral you know where legislators stand on the issue. Stay tuned for our General Election Voter Guide coming out at the beginning of October.”

Below are a few more resources that should come in handy over the next couple of months.

Resources and Tools for Voter Registration:

Additional Resources:

Register to Vote Today!

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

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 KevinM@NORML.org for help starting your own!

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

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