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NORML Blog

  • by NORML July 21, 2015

    The Associated Press recently highlighted public and industry 420 Food Safety Logoconcerns regarding the use of herbicides and pesticides in the commercial cannabis operations.

    Understandably, many commercial growers, producers, and wholesalers have numerous questions about good agricultural practices, food safety, and quality management systems.

    420 Food Safety, a NORML Business Network Partner, assists cannabis businesses with those important questions!

    420 Food Safety’s President and CEO is a certified Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) auditor through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) with extensive experience in food safety and quality management. 420 Food Safety helps companies make food safety and quality systems work from seed to sale.

    420 Food Safety offers:

    • Consulting in safety and quality management from seed to sale
    • Training on safety and quality management systems
    • Help with HACCP MJ Planning and practice
    • Help with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Planning

    Right now, 420 Food Safety is promoting their “Food Safety Helpdesk”.  For just $50, an organization can get 30 minutes of top-grade consulting on quality and safety management systems for their business!

    To learn more about 420 Food Safety and their great services, visit their website! 420FoodSafety.com

    DISCLOSURE: This post is provided as a service of the NORML Business Network, which works to create mutually beneficial partnerships with marijuana-related businesses that seek to use their enterprise as a positive example of corporate social responsibility. 420 Food Safety is a proud member of the NORML Business Network. To learn more about our Network partners, or to become a member, please visit here.

     

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    In my lifetime, the island nation of Jamaica, which gained its independence from Great Britain in 1962, has been one of the world’s most cannabis-friendly nations, both for locals and for tourists. While technically marijuana, or ganja as they call it in Jamaica, was until recently illegal, in fact marijuana and marijuana smoking was largely ignored by authorities, and one could not get through the airport at either Negril or Kingston without being offered marijuana by several local entrepreneurs, competing for your business.

    I know because I accepted the hospitality of these “Welcome Wagon” connections on a couple of occasions, and found the product to be excellent, and the cost was a bargain, at least compared to high-quality home-grown marijuana in the US.

    And, of course, Jamaica is home to the Rastafarians, a fascinating and colorful (frequent use of red, yellow and green stripes in their hats and other clothing, the colors from the Ethiopian flag) religion that was started in Jamaica in the 1930s by descendants of African slaves, that celebrates the spiritual use of cannabis and is practiced by an estimated 1,000,000 adherents world-wide.

    For many Americans, their first awareness of Jamaica may well have been cultural, when they first heard Bob Marley, a Rastafari musician, songwriter and singer who introduced reggae music and dreadlocks to the world, openly preached the benefits of marijuana smoking, and who became enormously popular in the U.S. and around the world, selling more than 75 million albums. Similarly, Peter Tosh, another reggae music star who first performed with Marley as part of the Wailers, before becoming a successful solo artist (who could ever forget his 1976 “Legalize It” anthem), popularized Rastafarianism, and advocated for marijuana legalization.

    Sadly, Marley died of melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36, but his influence and reputation continue to fascinate, even today. The Marley family earlier this year announced that, in conjunction with the Privateer Holding Company from the U.S., they will be offering a new global cannabis brand to be called Marley Natural, featuring “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains inspired by those Bob Marley enjoyed.” And President Obama, in a state visit to Jamaica in February, made an unscheduled stop at the Bob Marley museum. Obama had earlier, in an interview with MTV, discussed the influence Marley had on him during his youth.

    I traveled to Jamaica on two occasions during the 1990s to work with Jamaica NORML to move proposed legalization proposals forward through their parliament. On both occasions, despite a clear majority of legislators wishing to officially legalize ganja, senior government officials became convinced the U.S. would punish Jamaica were it to legalize marijuana, by cutting important aid programs, and the legalization drive was stopped dead in its tracks. They wanted to legalize ganja, but they needed our foreign aid, and the U.S. was more than happy at that time to use the leverage of our aid programs to dismantle their ganja reform efforts.

    But all of that leverage ended once states in the U.S. began to push forward with marijuana legalization, without sanctions or punitive responses from the federal government. Seeing that legalization was no longer verboten within the U.S., the Jamaicans realized they now had the freedom to determine their own domestic marijuana policy without fear of U.S. economic retribution.

    6_8_NORMLK.StroupPortrait_zJamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana

    In late February of this year, the Jamaican Parliament enacted new laws governing ganja, which took effect on July 15, removing criminal penalties for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, substituting a $5 civil fine with no arrest or criminal record. In addition, households will be permitted to cultivate up to five marijuana plants. The legislation also authorized officials to enact regulations licensing the cultivation and dispensing of medical and industrial cannabis, as well as the right of the Rastafarians to use ganja as a religious sacrament.

    While the Parliament has not yet authorized regulations to license commercial growers and recreational dispensaries, most observers expect that will come in the near future. Already they have invited U.S. marijuana tourism by announcing that those from the U.S. who hold medical recommendations will also qualify to obtain up to 2 ounces of medical ganja while they are in Jamaica. Justice Minister Mark Golding described the reforms as “long overdue.”

    And to appropriately celebrate the addition of Jamaica to the growing list of countries that have decriminalized the use of marijuana, High Times recently announced they will be holding a World Cannabis Cup in Negril this year, on Nov. 12–15. Now that’s an occasion I would not want to miss.

    Yeah, mon! See you in Negril.

  • by NORML July 16, 2015

    Hello NORML supporters!

    Have you heard of O.penVAPE?

    O.penVAPEFounded in 2012 by six dispensary owners and growers, O.penVAPE produces reliable and easy to use vaporizer pens. Their signature “go.pen” is rechargeable, has seven available color options, and comes with a lifetime warranty. The upgraded “go.pen plus” has a more powerful battery, provides a two-second longer puff than the go.pen, and is also backed by a lifetime warranty.

    O.penVAPE also offer accessories like chargers, cartridges, and even apparel on their website! They work with Organa Labs to provide organically extracted cannabis oils for their vape pens. Additionally, O.penVAPE is a founding member of the NORML Business Network and is a financial supporter of NORML’s legalization efforts!

    So if you’re looking for a great vaporizer pen for a great price, support the NORML Business Network and consider O.penVAPE!

    Check out O.penVAPE products on their website: http://www.openvape.com/.

    DISCLOSURE: This post is provided as a service of the NORML Business Network, which works to create mutually beneficial partnerships with marijuana-related businesses that seek to use their enterprise as a positive example of corporate social responsibility. O.penVAPE is a proud member of the NORML Business Network. To learn more about our Network partners, or to become a member, please visit here.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

    Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with seven other Senators, has directed a letter tmj_researcho the Obama administration demanding regulators answer questions specific to the facilitation of research into the medical benefits of marijuana.

    Senators acknowledged the need for unbiased research. They wrote, “While the federal government has emphasized research on the potential harms associated with the use of marijuana, there is still very limited research on the potential health benefits of marijuana — despite the fact that millions of Americans are now eligible
    by state law to use the drug for medical purposes.”

    The Senators applauded a recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate the HHS Public Health Service review process. But they also acknowledged the drawbacks of NIDA’s monopoly on supply of marijuana for research purposes and the need for alternative providers.

    Senators also questioned marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and its classification under international treaties and if the FDA is prepared to call for the reclassification of cannabidiol.

    Addressed to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the letter signals to many that medical marijuana is becoming an even more important issue in the political sphere not only to voters but also to their elected officials.

    Co-signing the letter with Senator Warren  were Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). The Senators are seeking a reply to their questions from the administration by August 31.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 15, 2015

    Hawaii: Measure To Provide Safe Access To Medical Cannabis Becomes Law Legislation to establish a system of medical dispensaries for the state’s nearly 14,000 medical marijuana patients has become law.

    Governor David Ige signed the measure, stating, “I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana. We know that our challenge going forward will be to adopt rules that are fair, cost effective and easy to monitor. The bill sets a timeline. We will make a good faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”

    House Bill 321 permits the state “to issue eight dispensary licenses statewide; provided that three dispensary licenses shall be issued for the city and county of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each shall be issued for the county of Hawaii and the county of Maui, and one dispensary license shall be issued for the county of Kauai. … Up to two production centers shall be allowed under each dispensary license, provided that each production center shall be limited to no more than three thousand marijuana plants. A dispensary licensee may establish up to two retail dispensing locations under the licensee’s dispensary license.”

    The state Department of Health has until January 4, 2016 to finalize rules governing the dispensary program. Licensed dispensaries are anticipated to be operational by July 15, 2016. Once operational, qualified patients will be able to obtain up to four ounces of cannabis or cannabis-infused products, such as oils, tinctures, or lozenges, from a licensed provider every 15 days.

    A separate provision included in HB 321 also adds post-traumatic stress as a qualifying condition under the state’s medical cannabis law.

    Legislation initially enacted by the legislature in 2000 provides qualified patients the legal right to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes, but did not allow for its production and distribution via dispensaries.

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