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ACTIVISM

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML September 14, 2018

    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?

  • by NORML September 13, 2018

    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.”

  • by NORML

    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.”

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director September 12, 2018

    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. 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!

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director September 11, 2018

    Lawmakers have removed language from pending federal legislation that sought to facilitate veterans’ access to medical cannabis in jurisdictions that regulate it.

    The decision to strip out the Veterans Equal Access Amendment flies in the face of the horrific medical realities that our nation’s heroes who are desperate to mitigate. This move thwarts the will of the majority of Americans who support medical marijuana and 81% of veterans who believe that the federal government should protect its therapeutic access. Further, by not creating protections for veterans, the Congress continues to view 22% of those who have worn the uniform as criminals.

    Under existing federal regulations, physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs are prohibited from filling out the necessary paperwork required in legal medical marijuana states. A budgetary amendment included in the Senate’s version the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill sought to end this prohibition. However, Congressional leaders this week elected to eliminate the provision during hearings to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill.

    Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the author of similar legislative language now pending in the House of Representatives, said “Denying veterans the care they need by the doctors they trust is shameful. The Senate passed this amendment. It has broad bipartisan support in the House. This should have been a no brainer. Yet, Republican leadership has once again stymied progress toward fair and equal treatment for our veterans. Their continued neglect of commonsense and the will of the American people is a disgrace.”

    Veteran and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said, “Our veterans put their lives on the line for our country, and many come home dealing with visible and invisible wounds. To continue limiting their access to quality healthcare through the VA is a disservice to them and the sacrifices they’ve made.”

    The Veterans Cannabis Coalition released a statement saying “Every day that cannabis prohibition continues is a day a veteran dies unnecessarily. The Republican conferees on the House Appropriations Committee and House Republican leadership should be ashamed of this backroom deal that stripped the Veterans Equal Access amendment from this year’s MILCON-VA appropriations bill. This decision of Republican leaders flies in the face of science, compassion, and overwhelming public support. The Republican conference has steadfastly voted to send millions of other people’s sons and daughters to fight in endless wars while fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent the study of something that provides relief and healing to those injured in military service. Leadership can’t claim to care about veterans health and well-being while refusing to even discuss cannabis. Enough hypocrisy. We call on House Republicans to listen to the literally tens of thousands of veterans who have benefited from cannabis access, negotiate in good faith, and allow votes to take place.”

    “This move by Congressional leadership is egregious and constitutes a slap in the face to the heroes who put their lives on the line to defend our country,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “Continuing to treat veterans who risked it all as criminals when they opt to utilize a safe and effective treatment option like cannabis is immoral and un-American.”

    Similar language was included by both chambers in the 2016 version of the funding bill, but was similarly stripped from the text in conference committee.

    Last week, Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) for the first time introduced stand-alone Senate legislation to expand medical cannabis access to military veterans. A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four veterans use marijuana to alleviate a medical condition.

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