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NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 8, 2014

    City mayor Michael Nutter announced today that he will sign municipal legislation into law decriminalizing marijuana possession penalties.

    Under the measure, penalties pertaining to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis would be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-summary civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine – no arrest and no criminal record.

    Members of the City Council in June voted 13 to 3 to reduce municipal marijuana penalties. A slightly amended version of this proposal is anticipated to be before the mayor by the end of this month. The revised language is expected to take effect on October 20.

    Anyone cited under the pending ordinance would be required to make an appearance before a Municipal Court judge, but would not face criminal charges or a criminal record. Those caught smoking marijuana in public would face a $100 fine, which could be waived if the defendant agreed to perform several hours of public service.

    Philadelphia NORML had long lobbied in support of a change in the city’s criminal classification of marijuana possession offenses. A 2013 review of marijuana arrest data by the organization reported that African Americans are arrested in Philadelphia for minor marijuana violations at five times the rate of whites despite both races consuming the substance at nearly equal rates.

    “This will go a long way toward a much more saner and a much better policy for people in Philadelphia,” said Chris Goldstein, PhillyNORML co-chair. “This is something that should have happened earlier in the summer. It would have alleviated almost 1,000 people getting arrested.”

    It remains to be seen to what extent local police will enforce the new ordinance, once enacted. In past statements, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey had publicly pledged to ignore the ordinance, stating, “State law trumps city ordinances.”

    [UPDATE! It is now being reported that Chief Ramsey is on board with the amended ordinance.]

  • by Sabrina Fendrick

    Julie's 2-c logoNORML is pleased to announce the newest member of the NORML Business Network; Julie’s Baked Goods.  The Denver-based edibles company produces of some of the highest quality, all-natural cannabis snacks in the state, and is also a prime example of responsible labeling among infused food companies.  Formerly known as Julie & Kate’s Baked Goods, the inspiration behind starting the business came when both women were dealing with a serious illness and agreed that marijuana could be beneficial to managing their symptoms. What started as a friendly trial, with a bag of weed in a domestic kitchen in 2008, has turned into one of the leading marijuana edible companies in Colorado.

    The product line for Julie’s Baked Goods is geared toward “foodies” and health conscious consumers.  Items have turned out to be especially popular in Boulder, and among the senior crowd.  Each creation starts with clarified butter or coconut oil that is infused with specific strain of organically grown marijuana and is slowly heated to carefully extract every last bit of activated cannabinoids. They use only premium, all-natural ingredients for their gluten-free THC infused edibles. The founders built product testing into the budget of their business plan before they even opened – unlike most of the other marijuana companies around at JKBG Aug 14 Ad2that time. The company has nearly a half-dozen products, including a fresh granola snack, a roasted Seed Mix (which took 1 year to develop), the Nutty Bite (37 recipes), the Groovy Granola Bar and clarified cannabutter.

    “Consume ¼ of the package, wait 60 minutes, eat more if necessary. Try eating with yogurt, milk or other healthy food. Fat facilitates THC digestion and intensifies psychoactive effects. If you over ingest: drink water or tea, avoid eating fatty foods. Onset: 45-60 minutes after ingestion. Effect Duration: 4-10 hours. First Euphoric Peak: 2 hours. Second Euphoric Peak: 3-4 hours. Please Plan Accordingly.” - Text from the label of a Julie’s Baked Goods product

    Most notably, Julie’s Baked Goods has been on the forefront of responsible edible education for consumers from the beginning.  Since their first sale in 2010, the company has been a model of proper labeling (prior to the implementation of labeling laws), dedicated to making sure that the consumer is prepared for the experience.  Products include information about the recommended amount, the onset of the high, how long it might last, certain foods that can intensify the feeling and how to mitigate the negative effects of over ingestion.  When Colorado implemented new edible labeling laws a few months ago, they didn’t have to change a thing.

    Julie’s Baked Goods is a wonderful example of how the industry can be proactive about incorporating responsible business practices and self-regulation into such their burgeoning market.  The products are sold in over 125 different cannabis stores around the state, including locations such as Preferred Organic Therapy in Denver, and The Farm in Boulder.

    Throughout every facet of their business, Julie’s Baked Goods has gone above and beyond the letter of the law, setting a standard that embodies the ideals of corporate social responsibility, and the principles of the NORML Business Network. This is how an edibles company does it right.

    **Julie’s Baked Goods is a licensed and regulated marijuana business whose products can only be purchased in the state of Colorado, either by medical marijuana patients or retail customers who are 21 and older.**

    ——

    For more information about joining the NORML Business Network go to www.norml.org/businessNORML Business Network

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

    As we approach the annual Boston Freedom Rally in mid-September, held on the historic Boston Common, I thought it might be a good time for me to share with the readers the details of a bust I experienced, along with High Times associate publisher Rick Cusick, for sharing a joint at the combined NORML/High Times booth at the 2007 Freedom Rally.

    The reality is that marijuana smokers remain the target of aggressive and misguided law enforcement activities in most states today. They read about the newly-won freedoms in a handful of states, and dream of the day when their state laws will become more tolerant; but they are still being busted in large numbers and have to worry that next knock on the door may be the police with a search warrant, about to destroy their homes and wreck their lives, looking for a little weed.

    In fact, 749,825 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges in 2012 (the latest arrest figures that are available), and approximately 87% of those arrests (658,231) were for simple possession for personal use; they were just marijuana smokers, not traffickers. Another marijuana smoker is arrested every 48 seconds in this country!

    And for each of these unfortunate souls unfairly caught-up in the criminal justice system, the experience is personally frightening and alienating, even if they manage to avoid a jail sentence (and far too many still go to jail).

    But my story is a little different; a story of two old men arrested for sharing a joint at the Freedom Rally, with the court subsequently trying to dismiss the charges, but the defendants demanding to go to trial.

    TO READ THE BALANCE OF THIS COLUMN, GO TO MARIJUANA.COM

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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 3, 2014

    Nearly 60 percent of Americans support regulating cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, according to an analysis of over 450,000 online responses collected by the online polling data company CivicScience over a nearly two-year period.

    Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that they would support “a law in [their] state that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol?” Thirty-five percent of respondents said that they would oppose such a change in law.

    An analysis of responses provided within the past three months found even stronger support for legalization, with 61 percent of those polled endorsing marijuana law reform.

    Democrats, men, and those respondents between the ages of 25 to 34 were most likely to support regulating cannabis.

    Though the CivicScience survey is not a scientific poll, its findings are similar to those previously reported by Gallup in 2013. In that poll, 58 percent of respondents similarly backed legalizing marijuana. More recently, in April, national polling data published by the Pew Research Center reported that 54 percent of Americans support legalizing the plant.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 2, 2014

    More than 60 percent of Florida voters say that they support Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional amendment to permit cannabis therapy to qualified patients, according to a recently released Gravis Marketing poll.

    Sixty-four percent of respondents said that they would vote in favor of the amendment, up from 50 percent in late June. Twenty-six percent of respondents said that they opposed the measure.

    Because Amendment 2 seeks to amend the state constitution, 60 percent of voters must decide in favor of it before it can be enacted.

    Although previous statewide polls have reported greater support among Floridians in regard to the concept of legalizing medical marijuana, the Gravis survey specifically polled voters on whether or not they endorse Amendment 2.

    Among those polled, 90 percent said that they were either “very likely” or “likely” to vote in the 2014 general election.

    The Gravis Marketing poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

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