Intuit Quickbooks is currently running a contest, with the grand prize being a professionally produced ad run during the big game this year. The first round of the contest is public voting and we are pleased to say NORML, after just a few short days, has skyrocketed to the #6 most popular submission.
Together, we the people, are ending America’s war on pot. With the last election and with the recent announcement from the attorney general in Washington DC, we are beautifully positioned to make sure a responsible, adult American citizen is never again arrested for the use of recreational marijuana.
But this doesn’t just happen. Please take a moment of your time to support our campaign to bring the message of legalization to the masses during the most watched TV program of the year.
The voting process is simple. Click the link below and you will be taken to NORML’s entry. Click “Vote for Us” and you’re done (no login, no Facebook connect). Then share with your family and friends via your social media pages. Don’t forget that you can vote once a day. Together we can make marijuana legalization a topic of conversation at every game watching party across the country!
If you vote, we will win.
Speaking today before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Deputy Attorney General James Cole reaffirmed that the Justice Department is unlikely to challenge statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided that these efforts impose “robust regulations” which discourage sales to minors and seek to prevent the diversion of cannabis to states that have not yet legalized its use.
“We will not … seek to preempt state ballot initiatives,” Cole told members of the Committee, adding that state “decriminalization [laws] can co-exist with federal [drug] laws.”
In an August 29 Department of Justice memorandum, Deputy Attorney General Cole previously directed the US Attorneys in all 50 states not to interfere with the implementation of state marijuana regulations, unless such activities specifically undermined eight explicit federal law enforcement priorities.
In response to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Cole also stated that federal prosecutors should utilize similar discretion and not interfere with the activities of state-compliant cannabis dispensaries, as long as their actions “are not violating any of the eight federal enforcement priorities” outlined here. Rhode Island is one of six states, as well as Washington, DC, that presently licenses the production and distribution of medical cannabis. Six additional states are expected to enact similar licensing regulations in the coming months.
Several Senators and witnesses questioned whether the Justice Department would consider amending federal financial regulations which presently inhibit state-compliant cannabis businesses from taking standardized tax deductions and partnering with conventional financial institutions. Deputy Attorney General Cole responded that such proposed changes in law were arguably the responsibility of Congressional lawmakers, not the Justice Department.
Commenting on the hearing, NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri said, “For the first time in modern history, members of the US Congress and the Justice Department were not discussing furthering cannabis prohibition, but instead were testifying to the merits of cannabis legalization and regulation.”
Today’s hearings marked the first time that members of Congress have explicitly weighed in on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws since voters in Colorado and Washington elected to legalize the retail production and sale of the plant this past November. The hearing was called for by Senate Judiciary Chairmen Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who acknowledged that the federal government “must have a smarter approach to marijuana policy.” Witnesses at today’s hearing also included King County, Washington Sheriff John Urquhart — a vocal supporter of the state’s new legalization law — and Jack Finlaw, Chief Legal Council for the Colorado Governor’s Office.
Archived video of today’s US Senate Judiciary hearing is online here.
DEA seizures of indoor and outdoor cannabis crops declined dramatically from 2011 to 2012 and are now at their lowest reported levels in nearly a decade, according to statistics released online by the federal anti-drug agency.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, the total number of cannabis plants eradicated nationwide fell 42 percent between 2011 and 2012. This continues a trend, as DEA crop seizures previously fell 35 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2011.
In 2010, the DEA eliminated some 10.3 million cultivated pot plants. (This figure excludes the inclusion of feral hemp plants, tens of millions of which are also typically seized and destroyed by DEA agents annually, but are no longer categorized in their reporting.) By 2011, this total had dipped to 6.7 million. For 2012, the most recent year for which DEA data is available, the total fell to 3.9 million — the lowest annual tally in nearly a decade.
The declining national figures are largely a result of reduced plant seizures in California. Coinciding largely with the downsizing of, and then ultimately the disbanding of, the state’s nearly 30-year-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program, DEA-assisted marijuana seizures in the Golden State have fallen 73 percent since 2010 — from a near-record 7.4 million cultivated pot plants eradicated in 2010 to approximately 2 million in 2012. DEA-assisted cannabis eradication efforts have remained largely unchanged in other leading grow states during this same period.
The DEA’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report is available online here.
It is often said that the South will be the last region in the United States to take up marijuana legalization, but, as support grows nationwide, it is becoming evident the southern states likely won’t be left behind.
Polling data released today by the ACLU of Louisiana revealed that 53% of Louisiana voters supported regulating marijuana in a manner similar to the models approved last November in Colorado and Washington. Only 37% were opposed and 10% were not sure.
Hopefully state politicians are paying attention, as it seems advocating for marijuana law reform will also win you support from voters. 49% of respondents stated that they’d be more likely to vote for a lawmaker who advocates for reducing marijuana related penalties.
You can read the full survey here.
A huge congratulations is due to NORML’s state chapter in the Old Dominion. Last week, Virginia NORML joined the ranks of the the Kiwanis Club and the Cub Scouts when they posted the first NORML “Adopt-a-Highway” sign in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And while they didn’t get highway 420 (located in Alexandria), they did get a nice segment in Northern Virginia west of the DC beltway, and just 20 miles north of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The Northern Virginia regional affiliate, NOVA NORML has organized the first clean up to take place Sunday September 29th, 2013 at 11am. Volunteers will be meeting near Dulles International Airport, at the corner of Woodland Rd and Severn Way. We encourage all NOVA supporters to come out and get involved.
VIRGINIA STATE CONFERENCE: In addition, Virginia NORML will also be holding a statewide conference on Saturday October 5th near the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Va. It will feature well-known experts in cannabis law and policy, as well as longtime Virginia marijuana activists. Speakers include the associate director of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (1971-73) and secretary of the first National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (1975-80), Richard Bonnie (professor, University of Virginia), former National NORML executive director Jon Gettman, and current Virginia gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis (libertarian). Conference tickets and additional information available here.