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NORML Blog

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director December 20, 2016

    chapter_spotlightNational NORML, Michigan NORML and dozens of other state and local chapters have released an open letter to Vice President-Elect Pence seeking clarity and common sense from the incoming administration regarding marijuana policy. During the campaign, President-Elect Trump, on multiple occasions, has voiced support for allowing states to move forward with medical and recreational marijuana laws if they chose to do so. Yet his nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General, who infamously stated that  “good people don’t use marijuana” during a Senate hearing in 2016, the administration is currently sending mixed messages in regards to the future of marijuana law reform under the incoming administration.

    In keeping with President-Elect Trump’s message of economic growth, the marijuana advocacy groups wrote: “Voters are less and less convinced that cannabis is a criminal problem and no longer want their hard earned tax dollars used to arrest and prosecute non-violent users or entrepreneurs and employees of state licensed cannabis businesses.”

    The letter, co-signed by over 50 NORML chapters throughout the country as well as the national organization, represents tens-of-thousands of advocates for cannabis reform.

    “As a Michigan resident, I know that Mr. Trump would not have won my state had he campaigned on the continued criminalization of responsible marijuana users,” said Brad Forrester, Communications Director of Michigan NORML, “as the transition Chairman and soon to be Vice President, Mr. Pence has an enormous responsibility to his voters and the American people to support federal policy that respects adults to make their own decisions.”

    National NORML recently released a petition to President-Elect Trump with a similar request for marijuana clarity with the letter reading “On behalf of the millions of loyal Americans who use marijuana, we hope he will respect the right of states to determine their own marijuana policy, as you advocated in your campaign. Can you clarify whether you will support states’ rights and allow states that chose to reform their laws to do so or will you use the force of the federal government to interfere with or shut down these programs?”

    The three biggest winners on election night were Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and marijuana. Given the broad support for marijuana reform across essentially all demographics, the Trump-Pence administration would be wise to allow states to continue to set their own marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention. This is not just good policy, it’s good politics.

    Click here to co-sign the letter.

     

    Below is the full text of the letter sent to Vice President-Elect Pence

    Trump Transition Team
    Chairman Mike Pence
    1717 Pennsylvania Avenue
    Washington D.C, United States

    December 20, 2016

    Vice President-Elect Mike Pence,

    American drug policy is at an important crossroads and the incoming Trump/Pence Administration will inherit an unprecedented schism between state and federal law in regards to the regulation and enforcement of cannabis statutes.

    Where will the new administration take cannabis policy? President-Elect Trump has said he supports medicinal cannabis and states’ rights to set their own policies without interference by the federal government while on the campaign trail. Now that you both are about to assume office, we ask for clarity regarding the new administration’s plans.

    Currently, twenty-one states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes with a combined population of over 123 million people, fifteen states have enacted CBD cannabis oil laws with a combined population of over 97 million people, and eight states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult consumption with a combined population of over 67 million people.

    Only six states still reflect the federal prohibition of cannabis, composing just 11% of the U.S. population.

    However, recent cabinet appointments have sent shockwaves through patient communities, emerging industries, and responsible private citizens as many of the recent nominations that have been selected are historic opponents to cannabis law reform. In order to maintain economic stability in a rapidly growing market, the country would benefit from the Trump/Pence Administration articulating its priorities for future cannabis policy in a manner that respects state autonomy as guided by the 10th amendment of the US Constitution.

    National NORML, Michigan NORML, and the undersigned chapters request that the incoming administration meet with advocates from a cross section of the cannabis community in order to formulate workable policies that reflect the popular will of independent states and protect responsible consumers of cannabis within the parameters of enacted state policies.

    The 2016 election was a watershed moment for cannabis reform as it was for the Trump/Pence Presidential ticket. Voters from across the country responded favorably to both the Trump/Pence message of law and order and the message for cannabis reforms that stop the arrests of ordinary cannabis consumers. Voters are less and less convinced that cannabis is a criminal problem and no longer want their hard earned tax dollars used to arrest and prosecute non-violent consumers or entrepreneurs and employees of state licensed cannabis businesses.

    Voters recognize that local resources should be devoted to addressing crimes that adversely affect their communities ranging from burglars and identity thieves to murderers and terrorists. Now more than ever, Americans want law enforcement officers to focus on issues that are truly a threat to public safety, not enforce the outdated prohibition of marijuana at the cost to responsible citizens and businesses.

    Respectfully,

    The Michigan NORML Board of Directors and The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

    Also endorsed by the following NORML chapters: Aiken (SC) NORML, Arizona NORML, Ball State (IN) NORML, Benzie County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Berrien County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Calhoun County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, California NORML, Central Florida NORML, Central Ohio NORML, Charlotte (NC) NORML, Columbia (SC) NORML, Connecticut NORML, Delaware NORML, Denver (CO) NORML, El Paso (TX) NORML, Empire State (NY) NORML, Florida NORML, Greater St. Louis NORML, Harrisonburg (VA) NORML, Humboldt (CA) NORML, Illinois NORML, Indiana NORML, Jackson County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Kalkaska County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Los Angeles (CA) NORML, Las Vegas (NV) NORML, Low Country (SC) NORML, Macomb County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Madison (WI) NORML, Maryland NORML, Eastern Shore Miami (FL) NORML, MN NORML, Monterey County (CA) NORML, NC NORML, NC NORML of the Triad, NM NORML, North Central Ohio NORML, Northeast Indiana NORML, Northeast Lower Peninsula sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Northern Wisconsin NORML, Northwest Indiana NORML, Oakland County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Ohio NORML, Pittsburgh (PA) NORML, Purdue (IN) NORML, Purdue Northwest (IN) NORML, Santa Cruz (CA) NORML, Shiawassee County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML San Luis Obispo (CA) NORML, Stanislaus (CA) NORML, Washington NORML, Washtenaw County sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Wayne State Law Students sub-chapter of Michigan NORML, Western New York NORML, and Wyoming NORML

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 19, 2016

    Maine Yes on 1The group opposing Maine’s marijuana legalization initiative has withdrawn its recount effort.

    Last month, representatives from ‘No on 1’ requested a recount of the vote totals specific to Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act. On Saturday, the campaign conceded that the recount would not impact the Election Day result, which estimated Question 1 winning by slightly over 4,000 votes.

    The measure is now expected to be enacted 30 days after Gov. Paul LePage affirms the result.

    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.

    Speaking live on WGAN radio last week, Gov. LePage criticized the measure, stating, “If there was ever a bill that the legislature should just kibosh, that’s it.” The Governor further suggested increasing the retail sales tax rates associated with the measure, as well as abolishing the state’s medical cannabis program, which has been in place since 1999.

  • by NORML December 15, 2016

    mjunionupdateWith just a few weeks left in 2016, NORML is gearing up for what will be, without a doubt, one of the most eventful and important years in the history marijuana law reform.

    In order to be able to advocate and lobby in as many states as possible in 2017, we need the funding to do so. NORML has always been a purely grassroots organization and we have no single major funder bankrolling our operations. What we do have is thousands of people like yourself who care an awful lot and step up to chip in what they can. However, if we want to have the most impactful political strategy and ground game possible, we need to be able to budget in advance. By signing up as a monthly contributor, you give us the ability to plan for the long term and be the most effective voice for marijuana consumers we can be.

    We’re asking you to join us as a member of the “Marijuana Union” and support NORML’s important work on an ongoing basis.

    With eight states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for adult use and more than half of the country allowing for the medical use of marijuana, it is time we double down on our efforts and finish the job. As we’ve done since 1970, NORML will be on the frontline fighting for legalization nationwide. Will you stand with us?

    We’ve set a goal of having 100 supporters sign up before January 1st. Can you help us reach that goal and spread the seeds of legalization nationwide? Join the Marijuana Union today!

    Supporters who sign up for a sustaining monthly membership not only get the above products as a thank you, but will also receive exclusive email updates from National NORML staff, invitations to conference calls with experts on marijuana policy, members only merchandise, and more.

    Together, we WILL end marijuana prohibition.

    Thanks for all your hard work and support,

    The NORML Team

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    no_marijuanaSelf-reported marijuana use continues to fall among younger teens, according to federally commissioned, nationwide survey data compiled by the University of Michigan.

    Results from the 2016 edition of the Monitoring the Future survey find that marijuana use by 8th-graders and 10th-graders is declining year by year. Further, a greater percentage of younger teens now say that their ability to obtain marijuana is more difficult than ever before.

    Marijuana use patterns among 12th-graders have held steady since 2011, the survey reported.

    Approximately 50,000 students are surveyed annually as part of the University of Michigan study.

    Since the mid-1990s, self-reported lifetime use of cannabis has fallen 44 percent among 8th-graders, 30 percent among 10th-graders, and ten percent among 12th-graders. Twenty-nine states have legalized the medical use of cannabis, and eight of those states have also regulated the adult use of marijuana, since that time.

    Overall, teens’ self-reported use of alcohol and/or any illicit substance aside from marijuana is at a historic low.

    Previous federally funded surveys by the US Centers for Disease Control and others have similarly reported that changes in statewide marijuana laws are not associated with rising levels of youth use.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Legalize marijuanaMassachusetts today became the sixth US state to enact legislation eliminating criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis. The law change ends over a century-long policy of criminal cannabis prohibition in the Bay State. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to criminalize the use of marijuana — a policy it first enacted in 1911.

    “By legalizing the adult use of marijuana, Massachusetts will shrink the illicit black market, generate millions in tax revenue, end the arrest of otherwise law abiding citizens, and better enable society to keep marijuana out of the hands of children,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said.

    Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

    On Election Day, 54 percent of Massachusetts voters approved Question 4, The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Question 4 permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to legally grow up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants, and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or up to 5 grams of concentrate; in addition, adults may legally possess up to ten ounces of marijuana flower in their home). Public consumption of cannabis remains a civil violation.

    Separate provisions in the statute also license the commercial cannabis production and retail sales of cannabis. Those regulations do not take effect until January 1, 2018. However, some state lawmakers have suggested delaying this timeline, raising the state’s proposed sales tax rate, and amending the state’s new home cultivation guidelines — proposals that NORML opposes.

    If you live in Massachusetts, urge your lawmakers to move swiftly to fully implement Question 4: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act as written as approved by voters by clicking here.

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