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NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 28, 2016

    ballot_box_leafPolitical leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana.

    In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing cannabis from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified point in time. Legislators have also called for delaying retail sales of cannabis until late 2018, and have proposed increasing marijuana-specific sales taxes. “I believe that when voters vote on most ballot questions, they are voting in principle. They are not voting on the fine detail that is contained within the proposal,” Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said in regard to the proposed changes.

    In Maine, where voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law’s implementation. Governor LePage, who adamantly opposed the measure, said that he “will be talking to Donald Trump” about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and pronounced that he “will not put this (law) into play” unless the federal government signs off on it.

    Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson made similar statements following voters’ decision to legalize the medical use of cannabis. “I don’t like the idea of implementing laws in Arkansas that violate federal law,” the Republican Governor and former head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration said. “This does not call for a state-by-state solution, it calls for … a national solution.”

    During the Presidential campaign, Donald Trump voiced support for the authority of individual states to impose regulatory policies specific to the use and dispensing of medical cannabis, but was less clear with regard to whether he believed that state lawmakers ought to be able to regulate the adult use of cannabis absent federal interference. His nominee for US Attorney General, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, strongly opposes any liberalization in cannabis policy, stating in April, “[M]arijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized.”

    In 2013, the Obama administration issued a memorandum directing US prosecutors not to interfere with statewide marijuana legalization efforts, provided those efforts did not undermine specific federal priorities – such as the diversion of cannabis to non-legal states. According to Gallup pollsters, nearly two-thirds of Americans support allowing states to decide their own cannabis policies.

    Voters in eight states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota – approved statewide ballot measures this November regulating marijuana for either medicinal or social use.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 24, 2016

    turkey-jointAs we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, NORML would like to acknowledge and give thanks to you, our faithful members and supporters. Without you, there is no us.

     As we reflect upon this unprecedented year, we have much to be thankful for:

    • – Lawmakers in 24 states approved more than 30 pieces of legislation specific to marijuana policy reform in 2016.
    • – We also made history at the ballot box on Election Day. Eight states voted in favor of statewide law changes to both medicinal and recreational use.

    These notable victories would not have been achieved without your courage, conviction, and support.

    Click here to continue the momentum and show your support for marijuana legalization this holiday season. 

    As we look toward an uncertain future, we know we must work to both sustain our existing gains and to assure future progress. With your continued support, we are confident that we can bring the era of marijuana prohibition to an end and usher in the new era of legalization. Together, we will be unstoppable. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana across this great country.

    From all of us at NORML to all of you, we hope you have a hempy and happy Thanksgiving.

    Erik Altieri
    NORML Executive Director

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director November 23, 2016

    11188089675_194d0213aaGovernor Chris Christie is the first and last to admit that there is only one more roadblock preventing the legalization of marijuana in the state of New Jersey – himself.

    Speaking on New Jersey 101.5’s “Ask the Governor,” Christie took a call from one of his constituents on efforts by the legislature to move reform forward in the Garden State. The caller brought up prospect of using the projected tax revenue to either replace the regressive gas tax or simply have the additional revenue supplement the state’s budget, to which the Governor replied “…“There is nothing we spend in government that is important enough to allow me to willfully poison our children for that money. That’s blood money.”

    Well Governor, 60% of the voters in the United States do not agree with you – and neither does your state legislature. Support among elected officials in New Jersey is rising faster than ever. Fresh off of a trip to Colorado to see first hand how the state that pioneered legalization handles their regulations, NJ Senate President Stephen Sweeney said “I was on board before we went, but I am absolutely sold that this industry can be regulated. It’s safe, it’s well managed. Colorado has done an amazing job.”

    It doesn’t hurt that according to a recent report by New Jersey Policy Perspective and NJ United for Marijuana Reform projects that the public coffers would add an estimated $300 million dollars a year in tax revenue.

    However, nothing can move until there is a change in leadership in the Governor’s office. In recent his interview, Christie went one step further, exclaiming that “You’re damn right I’m the only impediment [blocking reform]. And I am going to remain the only impediment until January of 2018.”

    So there you have it – the Governor proudly proclaimed that the only thing preventing the end of marijuana prohibition in NJ is Christie himself. Conveniently for the residents of New Jersey, the Governor is term-limited out and the next election is November 7th, 2017.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director November 18, 2016

    We have some dire news to share. This morning, President-Elect Trump announced his pick for Attorney General and it couldn’t be much worse for the marijuana law reform movement and our recent legalization victories.

    Trump’s pick, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, is a militant prohibitionist. We could go into great detail how Senator Sessions has been an outspoken opponent against reform, but in this case his rhetoric is so off the wall…we’ll let his past statements speak for themselves:

    “You have to have leadership from Washington. You can’t have the President of the United States of America talking about marijuana … you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn’t lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal.”

    “It was the prevention movement that really was so positive, and it led to this decline. The creating of knowledge that this drug is dangerous, it cannot be played with, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about, and trying to send that message with clarity, that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

    “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to [marijuana] and it is not harmless.”

    His former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”

    SOUNDS CRAZY, RIGHT? DONATE TODAY TO HELP US BE READY TO FIGHT BACK

    Senator Sessions is clearly out in the deep end when it comes to issues of marijuana policy and he stands diametrically opposed to the majority of Americans who favor the legalization and regulation of marijuana. This could foreshadow some very bad things for the eight states that have legalized marijuana for adult use and in the 29 states with with medical marijuana programs. With the authority the position of Attorney General provides, Sessions could immediately get to work attempting to block the implementation of the recent ballot initiatives, dismantling a legal industry in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Alaska, and begin conducting massive raids on existing medical and recreational retail stores.

    We must be ready to fight back. We must be ready to mobilize in defense of all of our hard fought victories. We already have our opponents calling for a recount in Maine and prohibitionists in Massachusetts working to gut core provisions like home cultivation from their state’s initiative. With an assist from a newly minted prohibitionist Attorney General, things might get worse before they get better.

    Help us send a message to President-Elect Trump and his Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions that the American people won’t stand for intervention into state marijuana programs and we want to move towards descheduling at the federal level and legalization in all 50 states.

    DONATE $20 TODAY TO HELP US RAISE $4,200 FOR OUR EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND!

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 16, 2016

    Maine Yes on 1Marijuana legalization opponents in Maine are formally challenging the results of Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, a statewide ballot initiative that received slightly over 50 percent of the vote on Election Day.

    Legal counsel for the No on 1 campaign today turned in petitions to the Secretary of State’s office formally requesting a recount. If the recount goes forward, the process is expected to take approximately 30 days and cost taxpayers nearly $500,000.

    If the vote is upheld, the measure will become law by January 7, 2017.

    The Act permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to possess personal use quantities of marijuana (up to two and one-half ounces and/or the total harvest produced by six plants). The measure also establishes regulations for the commercial cultivation and retail sale of cannabis to adults. Regulations governing marijuana-related businesses are scheduled to be in place by August 8, 2017.

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