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NORML Blog

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 31, 2014

    NORML PAC is endorsing Representative Alan Grayson in his campaign to be re-elected to the US Congress representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

    “Representative Grayson is a proven leader with a track record of tenaciously advocating for causes he believes in and building the necessary coalitions required to see them approved,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “In 2015, Rep. Grayson wants to be a champion for marijuana law reform at the national level and we’d strongly encourage voters in his district to vote him in for another term.”

    This year, Rep. Grayson joined many of his colleagues in the House in voting in favor of amendments that would have prevented the Department of Justice and DEA from expending funds interfering with state medical marijuana programs and help clear the way for marijuana businesses to have access to banking and credit card services.

    You can learn more about his campaign, including how to donate and volunteer, on his website or Facebook page.

  • by admin October 30, 2014

    vote_keyboardNORML PAC is endorsing State Representative Diane Russell in her campaign to be re-elected to the Maine House of Representatives for Maine’s 39th Legislative District.

    “There are few lawmakers, at either the state or federal level, that have exhibited the same level of passion and commitment to the responsible regulation and legalization of marijuana for adults as Rep. Diane Russell,” state NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Voters in her district should elect her to another term so she can continue to fight for an end to the state’s prohibition of marijuana, a battle she is uniquely equipped for as one of the country’s strongest champions of reform.”

    Rep. Russell has been the lead sponsor of measures that would legalize and regulate marijuana in Maine every year since 2011, and she intends to reintroduce a similar measure in 2015. She was also a key proponent of Portland’s 2013 vote to legalize adult marijuana possession in the city.

    Commenting on the endorsement, Rep. Russell said, “NORML has been so supportive of our work here in Maine to responsibly legalize marijuana, and it’s an honor to have their endorsement this year.”

    You can learn more about Rep. Diane Russell’s campaign by following her on Facebook here.

  • by admin October 28, 2014

    vote_keyboardNORML PAC is endorsing Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in her campaign to be elected to the United States Congress representing the 12th Congressional District in New Jersey.

    “Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has been a proponent of reforming New Jersey’s marijuana laws during her time in Trenton. She voted in support of legalizing medical marijuana in New Jersey, co-sponsored legislation to decriminalize possession of marijuana in the garden state, and supports a move to the legalization and regulation of marijuana,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “Voters in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District should vote to send her to Congress where she will be a great asset in pursuing reform at the national level.”

    Bonnie Watson Coleman was named by MSNBC as one of the 30 women candidates to watch in 2014 and was named one of the top five female pro-marijuana candidates in Freedom Leaf Magazine.

    You can learn more about her campaign, including how to donate and volunteer, on her website her Facebook page.

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel October 27, 2014

    marijuana_seedlingThe marijuana voter initiative that is almost guaranteed to pass on November 4th is DC Initiative 71, the “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014.” However, as we will discuss, it is far from certain when the provisions of this proposal will take effect.

    Readers should first understand that the District of Columbia is not a state; rather it is a special district created in 1790 by Congress from land along the Potomac River, formerly part of the states of Maryland and Virginia, as the seat of our national government. In 1973 the Congress gave the District a limited form of local control, called the Home Rule Charter, which provides for an elected mayor and City Council, which have the authority to enact and enforce local laws. However, any legislation passed by the City Council is reviewable by the Congress, which has 60 legislative days (when Congress is actually in session) to review and amend or reject the proposed legislation. Those same limitations apply to voter initiatives enacted in the District. In addition, under the Home Rule Charter, voter initiatives may not mandate the expenditure of city funds.

    That background is necessary to understand the limited nature of the legalization proposal currently on the ballot for DC voters.

    What Initiative 71 Would Do

    Initiative 71, sponsored by the DC Cannabis Campaign, would eliminate all criminal and civil penalties for adults, making it legal to:

    possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use;
    grow no more than six cannabis plants (with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants) within the person’s principal residence;

    transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years of age or older; and
    use or sell drug paraphernalia for the use, growing or processing of marijuana or cannabis.

    Initiative 71 does not attempt to establish legal marijuana dispensaries, as that would run afoul of the home rule prohibition on voter initiatives mandating the expenditure of city funds. And it does not protect marijuana smokers against job discrimination, nor alter the child custody issues pertaining to the use of marijuana or the DUID laws in the District.

     

    To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 22, 2014

    Moderate cannabis consumption by young people is not positively associated with changes in intelligence quotient (IQ), according to data presented this week at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual congress in Berlin, Germany.

    Investigators at the University College of London analyzed data from 2,612 subjects who had their IQ tested at the age of eight and again at age 15. They reported no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15 when confounding factors such as subjects’ history of alcohol use and cigarette use were taken into account.

    “In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors wrote in a press release cited by The Washington Post. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”

    Quoted in the Independent Business Times, the study’s lead author said: “Our findings suggest cannabis may not have a detrimental effect on cognition, once we account for other related factors particularly cigarette and alcohol use. This may suggest that previous research findings showing poorer cognitive performance in cannabis users may have resulted from the lifestyle, behavior and personal history typically associated with cannabis use, rather than cannabis use itself.”

    The investigators acknowledged that more chronic marijuana use, defined in the study as a subject’s admission of having consumed cannabis 50 times or more by age 15, was correlated with slightly poorer exam results at the age of 16 — even after controlling for other variables. However, investigators admitted: “It’s hard to know what causes what. Do kids do badly at school because they are smoking weed, or do they smoke weed because they’re doing badly?”

    Commenting on the newly presented data, the meeting’s Chair, Guy Goodwin, from the University of Oxford, told BBC News: “This is a potentially important study because it suggests that the current focus on the alleged harms of cannabis may be obscuring the fact that its use is often correlated with that of other even more freely available drugs and possibly lifestyle factors.”

    In a recent review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the NIDA Director Nora Volkow alleged that cannabis use, particularly by adolescents, is associated with brain alterations and lower IQ. However, the IQ study cited by Ms. Volkow as the basis of her claim was later questioned in a separate analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That paper suggested that socioeconomics, not subjects’ cannabis use, was responsible for differences in IQ and that the plant’s “true effect [on intelligence quotient] could be zero.”

    A previous assessment of cannabis use and its potential impact on intelligence quotient in a cohort of young people tracked since birth reported, “[M]arijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”

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