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NORML Blog

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director May 14, 2014

    Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 9.49.54 AMNORML PAC is endorsing Wes Neuman in his campaign against incumbent John Mica to become the next Congressman for Florida’s 7th Congressional District.

    “NORML PAC is pleased to announce our endorsement of Wes Neuman for Congress in Florida’s 7th district. Florida needs new, bold leadership and we believe Wes will be a great champion for the cause of marijuana law reform in Washington, DC,” said NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri, “A vote for Wes Neuman is a vote to end our failed federal prohibition and to begin to move our country towards new, sensible marijuana policies. NORML PAC is delighted to support him in this campaign.”

    “Current federal marijuana policies waste taxpayer dollars. It is unacceptable to continue allowing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair laws to squander billions of dollars and ruin thousands of lives,” stated Wes Neuman, “That’s why, as a Member of Congress, I will advance policies to fully legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, which will reduce government spending and increase tax revenues. Legalizing marijuana will more efficiently allocate and save $17.4 billion annually. In Florida, that’s as much as $440 million per year, which is nearly 100% of what the Florida Department of Education allocated for Student Financial Aid for 2013-2014. This is an easy policy decision.”

    You can view an interactive map of the 7th district here and see if Wes will be on your ballot in the upcoming election.

    You can learn more about Wes’ campaign on his website, Facebook, or Twitter. You can learn more about NORML PAC and contribute to help marijuana law reform candidates here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 12, 2014

    Nine out of ten Connecticut voters support legalizing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and a majority support allowing adults to possess the plant for any purpose, according to the results of a statewide Quinnipiac University poll, released today.

    Fifty-two percent of voters support allowing adults “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” Forty-five percent of respondents opposed the idea.

    Independents (61 percent), Democrats (52 percent), and men (54 percent) were most likely to endorse legalization, while women (49 percent) and Republicans (38 percent) were least supportive

    When asked whether patients ought to be able to access cannabis for medicinal purposes, public support rose to 90 percent. State lawmakers authorized physicians to recommend cannabis therapy in 2012. However, although some 2,000 Connecticut patients are now authorized to use medicinal cannabis, no state-licensed dispensaries are presently operational.

    According to the poll, 47 percent of Connecticut voters — including 62 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 — acknowledge having tried marijuana.

    By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, respondents said that alcohol is “more harmful to society” than cannabis.

    The poll’s findings are similar to those of recent statewide surveys, including those from Florida, Hawaii, and New York.

    Commenting on the poll, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “The most remarkable thing about these results is that they are no longer remarkable.”

    The Quinnipiac survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director May 9, 2014

    A new report released this week by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project reveals that marijuana arrests have actually increased in New York City under the new leadership of Mayor De Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton.

    In March 2014, the NYPD performed more marijuana possession arrests than in any month in the last six months under the Bloomberg administration. In fact, March 2014 saw more arrests than in 10 of the 12 months in 2013 under the previous administration. The total number of arrests for first quarter of 2014 are higher than both the third and fourth quarters of 2013.

    These arrests also continue the disturbing trend of disproportionately falling on individuals of color. In Brooklyn, in predominately white Park Slope, police made just 7 marijuana possession arrests in the first three months of 2014. In Carroll Gardens and Red Hook they made 12 marijuana arrests in that same time frame. More affluent neighborhoods saw even fewer arrests. In Manhattan, Police only made two marijuana possession arrests in the Tribeca/Wall Street area, one arrest in the Upper East Side, and four arrests in the Upper West Side. The story is quite different in predominately black or latino neighborhoods, where the police made significantly more arrests. In Bedford-Stuyvesant 111 individuals were arrested, 130 in Crown Heights, and 438 in East New York from January to March of this year.

    Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 2.12.19 PM

    Despite similar use rates across racial groups, 86% of those arrested in the first quarter of 2014 were blacks and Latinos.

    Harry Levine, a sociology professor at Queens College, City University of New York, and co-director of Marijuana Arrest Research Project said:

    “At 28,000 arrests a year, New York still makes more marijuana possession arrests than any city in the world. Yet the simple possession of marijuana has not been a crime in New York State since 1978. Isn’t it time for these unfair, biased, damaging, often illegal arrests to just stop, now?”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 6, 2014

    Federal agencies are moving forward with plans to increase the US government’s production of research-grade cannabis.

    Last week, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) publicly announced in the Federal Register that it is increasing its marijuana production quota from 21 kilograms to 650 kilograms (about 1,443 pounds) in order to meet increasing demand for the plant from clinical investigators.

    Federal regulations permit a farm at the University of Mississippi to cultivate set quantities of cannabis for use in federally approved clinical trials. Regulators at the DEA, the US Food and Drug Administration, PHS (Public Health Service), and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse must approve any clinical protocol seeking to study the plant’s effects in human subjects.

    On various occasions, marijuana reform advocates and researchers have publicly criticized NIDA for failing to approve proposed trials seeking to assess the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. However, in March, federal regulators finally signed off on a long-delayed clinical protocol from researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine to evaluate the use of cannabis its in war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Also this spring, lawmakers in several states, including Alabama, Kentucky, and Wisconsin, passed legislation encouraging state-sponsored clinical trials to assess the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol – a nonpsychotropic organic component of cannabis – in the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

    “The additional supply [of cannabis] to be manufactured in 2014 is designed to meet the current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” A NIDA spokesperson told TheHill.com. “[T]his projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana.”

    According to a keyword search using the terms ‘smoked marijuana’ on the clinicaltrials.gov website, eight trials are presently ongoing to evaluate the plant’s effects in humans. Two of these trials are assessing the plant’s potential therapeutic efficacy.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director May 5, 2014

    On Saturday, over two thousand Texans joined DFW NORML in Ft. Worth to rally against the prohibition of marijuana.

    dfwrally

    The rally was part of an all day event hosted by the Dallas-Fort Worth NORML chapter. The day’s activities kicked off at noon with a festival style atmosphere featuring vendors, speakers, and musical entertainment. At 4:20pm the crowd marched from their location to the Tarrant County Courthouse (pictured above).

    Similar rallies were held nationwide, with many being hosted by NORML affiliates, both regionally in locations such as Austin and El Paso and as far away as Newark, Delaware.

    You can become part of the grassroots movement that is sweeping the nation. Join your local NORML chapter and get active in reforming marijuana laws in your own state. Click here to find the group nearest to you.

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