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SOCIETY

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 15, 2016

    legalization_pollFifty-two percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana “for recreational use,” according to national tracking poll data compiled by Morning Consult — a Washington DC consulting firm. Forty-three percent of respondents polled said that they oppose legalization and five percent were undecided.

    Respondents between the ages of 18 to 29 (63 percent), Democrats (61 percent), and those aged 30 to 44 (60 percent) were most likely to support legalization. Republicans (37 percent) and those age 65 or older (36 percent) were least likely to be supportive.

    In response to separate polling questions, 68 percent of respondents said that they support legalizing marijuana “for medical use.” Fifty-nine percent endorse decriminalizing marijuana, defined as “no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount,” and 83 percent of respondents said that cannabis did not belong classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law.

    The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.

    The Morning Consult polling data is similar to those of other recent national polls, such as those by reported by Gallup, CBS, and Pew, finding that a majority of Americans now support ending marijuana prohibition.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 9, 2016

    no_marijuanaThe enactment of statewide laws permitting the physician-authorized use of cannabis therapy has not stimulated increases in marijuana use by young people, according to findings published in The International Journal on Drug Policy.

    A team of researchers from Columbia University in New York City reviewed federal data regarding rates of self-reported, monthly marijuana use among 12 to 17-year-olds between the years 2002 and 2011.

    While the study’s authors acknowledged that many medical marijuana states possess greater overall rates of youth cannabis use compared to non-medical states, they affirmed that these jurisdictions already possessed elevated use rates prior to changes in law, and that the laws’ enactment did not play a role in influencing youth use patterns.

    “While states with MML (medical marijuana laws) feature higher rates of adolescent marijuana use, to date, no major U.S. national data set, including the NSDUH (US National Survey on Drug Use in Households), supports that MML are a cause of these higher use levels,” investigators concluded. “[W]hen within-state changes are properly considered and pre-MML prevalence is properly controlled, there is no evidence of a differential increase in past-month marijuana use in youth that can be attributed to state medical marijuana laws.”

    Their findings are similar to those of a separate 2015 study assessing the relationship between state medical marijuana laws and rates of self-reported adolescent marijuana use over a 24-year period in a sampling of over one million adolescents in 48 states. Researchers in that study reported no increase in teens’ overall cannabis use that could be attributable to changes in law, and acknowledged a “robust” decrease in consumption among 8th graders. They concluded “[T]he results of this study showed no evidence for an increase in adolescent marijuana use after the passage of state laws permitting use of marijuana for medical purposes. … [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded.”

    Other studies reaching similar conclusions are available here, here, here, here, and here.

    The abstract of the study, “Prevalence of marijuana use does not differentially increase among youth after states pass medical marijuana laws: Commentary on and reanalysis of US National Survey on Drug Use in Households data 2002-2011,” appears online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 4, 2016

    personal_cultivationIs less marijuana entering the US from Mexico today than in years past? According to newly released data provided by the US Border Patrol, the answer may be ‘yes.’

    Federal statistics reveal that law enforcement seized an estimated 1.5 million pounds of marijuana at the US/Mexico border in 2015. That total is the lowest amount reported in a decade and continues a steady year-by-year decline in seizure volume that began in 2009, when nearly 4 million pounds of cannabis were confiscated.

    Overall, 99.8 percent of all marijuana seized by federal border patrol agents was seized at the southern border.

    It has been previously reported that increases in US marijuana production, particularly the rise of state-authorized commercial growing in jurisdictions like Colorado, has significantly undercut US demand for Mexican-grown cannabis, which is typically presumed to be of lesser quality.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 2, 2016

    cannabis_pillsA super-majority of Florida voters say that they will vote ‘yes’ on a proposed constitutional amendment this November that seeks to permit the physician-authorized use and distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    According to Public Policy Polling data provided this week, 65 percent of voters endorse the medical marijuana legalization measure and only 28 percent oppose it.

    Seventy five percent of Democrats back the measure, as do 70 percent of Independents. Among Republicans, 53 percent of respondents say that they will vote ‘yes’ in November.

    According to Florida law, 60 percent of voters must approve a constitutional amendment in order for it to become law. In November 2014, Floridians narrowly rejected a similar amendment, which received 58 percent of the vote.

    The 2016 ballot measure, entitled the “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions,” will appear before voters as Amendment 2. Passage of the amendment would permit qualified patients to possess and obtain cannabis from state-licensed facilities.

    A 2014 Florida law that sought to provide low-THC varieties of cannabis to patients with pediatric epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, or cancer with cannabis access is not yet operational. Separate legislation is presently pending on the House and Senate floor that seeks to permit any patient with a terminal illness the legal right to use medical marijuana.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director February 29, 2016

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 29, 2016

    Contact:
    Jordan Person
    720.588.3814
    responsibleusedenver@gmail.com
    www.responsibleusedenver.com

    DENVER NORML FILES MARIJUANA SOCIAL USE INITIATIVE for 2016 CITY BALLOT
    Would Legalize Private Marijuana Social Clubs and Special Events Where Marijuana Could be Consumed

    Denver, CO – The Denver Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Denver NORML) submitted an initiative today that would legalize marijuana clubs and special events in the city in 2016.

    “Denver residents and visitors alike need places other than private homes to legally and responsibly enjoy legal marijuana with other adults,” said Jordan Person, executive director of Denver NORML.

    “This submission to city council is the first step. We’ll get feedback from the city, finalize the language, then start gathering signatures to put it on the ballot,” Person said. If Denver voters approve this November, private 21+ marijuana social clubs will become legal, as will private 21+ events where marijuana can be lawfully consumed.

    “The city will be able to license and regulate private marijuana clubs and special events to ensure public health and safety,” Person said. “But we want to be sure that the regulations are reasonable and consumer-friendly.”

    Clubs would be stand-alone venues which could not sell or distribute marijuana, and bars, nightclubs and restaurants could not become private marijuana clubs, Jordan said. “We expect there will be a wide range of clubs to serve Denver’s huge and diverse marijuana market,” Jordan said. “What can’t continue is the current situation that leaves so many people frustrated, angry, and tempted to violate the law so they can enjoy a legal product.”

    Since its founding in1970, NORML has been the leading voice for marijuana consumers, and for the end of prohibition that treats otherwise law-abiding marijuana smokers like criminals.

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