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California

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 26, 2013

    Six out of ten likely California voters support making cannabis legal, according to survey data released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters also believe that the US government should not enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved the plant’s use. The percentages are the highest ever reported by the polling firm in favor of allowing adults to possess and consume cannabis socially.

    Support for marijuana law reform fell slightly among all adults. Among all Californians, not just likely voters, 52 percent responded that “marijuana should be made legal,” and 61 percent believed that the federal government should not interfere with statewide marijuana laws.

    Men (57 percent), Democrats (64 percent), and Independents (60 percent) were more likely to express support for legalizing marijuana than were women (47 percent) or Republicans (45 percent). Caucasians (63 percent) and African Americans (61 percent) also expressed far greater support for legalization than did Asians (48 percent) or Latinos (36 percent).

    Pollsters surveyed 1,703 Californians, including 1,429 registered voters. The PPIC poll possesses a margin of error of between 3.7 percent.

    In recent months, polls in several other states — including Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma — have shown majority support for marijuana law reform, as have national polls.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 9, 2013

    DEA seizures of indoor and outdoor cannabis crops declined dramatically from 2011 to 2012 and are now at their lowest reported levels in nearly a decade, according to statistics released online by the federal anti-drug agency.

    According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report, the total number of cannabis plants eradicated nationwide fell 42 percent between 2011 and 2012. This continues a trend, as DEA crop seizures previously fell 35 percent nationwide from 2010 to 2011.

    In 2010, the DEA eliminated some 10.3 million cultivated pot plants. (This figure excludes the inclusion of feral hemp plants, tens of millions of which are also typically seized and destroyed by DEA agents annually, but are no longer categorized in their reporting.) By 2011, this total had dipped to 6.7 million. For 2012, the most recent year for which DEA data is available, the total fell to 3.9 million — the lowest annual tally in nearly a decade.

    The declining national figures are largely a result of reduced plant seizures in California. Coinciding largely with the downsizing of, and then ultimately the disbanding of, the state’s nearly 30-year-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program, DEA-assisted marijuana seizures in the Golden State have fallen 73 percent since 2010 — from a near-record 7.4 million cultivated pot plants eradicated in 2010 to approximately 2 million in 2012. DEA-assisted cannabis eradication efforts have remained largely unchanged in other leading grow states during this same period.

    The DEA’s 2012 Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Statistical Report is available online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 6, 2013

    The California Supreme Court ruled today that municipalities possess the legal authority to prohibit the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries.

    The unanimous ruling upheld a 4th District Court of Appeals opinion (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients’ Health and Wellness Center, Inc.) which held that local zoning measures banning the establishment of brick-and-mortar facilities that engage in the distribution of cannabis to state-authorized persons are not preempted by state law. Other lower courts had ruled against such local bans, arguing that cities can’t use zoning laws to bar activity legal under state law.

    It is estimated that some 200 California cities presently impose moratoriums on medicinal cannabis facilities. At least 50 municipalities have enacted local regulations licensing dispensaries.

    Opined the Court:

    “We have consistently maintained that the CUA (the California Compassionate Use Act aka Proposition 215) and the MMP (the Medical Marijuana program Act) are but incremental steps toward freer access to medical marijuana, and the scope of these statutes is limited and circumscribed. They merely declare that the conduct they describe cannot lead to arrest or conviction, or be abated as a nuisance, as violations of enumerated provisions of the Health and Safety Code. Nothing in the CUA or the MMP expressly or impliedly limits the inherent authority of a local jurisdiction, by its own ordinances, to regulate the use of its land, including the authority to provide that facilities for the distribution of medical marijuana will not be permitted to operate within its borders.”

    Although language included in Proposition 215 explicitly called for the state government “to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana,” to date, lawmakers have failed to enact any specific statewide regulations regarding the retail production and distribution of cannabis to those patients authorized to consume it.

    Commenting on the ruling, California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer said, “The court essentially affirmed the status quo. Local governments may choose to allow or limit dispensaries as they please. The unfortunate result of this decision is to leave many needy patients without legal access to medical marijuana in their communities, thereby promoting illegal black market suppliers. It is time for the state and federal governments to step up to the plate and fulfill the mandate of Prop 215 to implement a system of ‘safe and affordable’ access for all patients in medical need.”

    Legislation is presently pending in both the California Assembly (AB 473) and Senate (SB 439) to impose statewide regulations governing the dispensing of marijuana produced for medical purposes.

    Full text of the California Supreme Court’s opinion is available online here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director March 12, 2013

    Lets Be HonestIn an interview with the Denver Post, published this week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke about the marijuana legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington in November.

    When asked, “What are the measures in Washington (DC) that might address states that legalize marijuana and what is your view of federal policy?,” Minority Leader Pelosi expressed her support of state laws regarding marijuana and encouraged a tax and regulate policy:

    Q: What are the measures in Washington (DC) that might address states that have taken steps to legalize marijuana and what is your view of the federal role?

    Rep. Pelosi: I support the leadership of Jared Polis, who has been a leader on this issue as well as other members..I understand some of the Republican members support the law now that is passed, even if they didn’t before.

    But in any case, to answer your question, what is my position regarding the states that have medical marijuana or recreational marijuana as the law of their states: I think that has to be respected. I think tax and regulate.

    In order to do that, there has to be a level of respect for the fact, that if you are going to have recreational marijuana, someone is in business to do that and they have to have tax treatment in order for them to function as a business.

    How the state of Colorado interacts with the federal government on the taxation issues is something they have to work out, but I think they should.

    You can view the full interview here.

    Representative Pelosi now joins the growing list of prominent politicians who are coming out in support of rational marijuana policy. Take a minute of your time and click here to easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support Representative Polis’ legislation, HR 499: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, and put an end to our nation’s war on cannabis consumers.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 27, 2013

    According to survey data released this week by The Field Poll, a record number of Californians now support legalizing and regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

    The poll, conducted February 5-17 among 834 registered California voters, found that 54% support making the use of marijuana legal, with age and other controls like those that apply to alcohol, only 43% were opposed. This is the highest level of support for legalization since The Field Poll began asking the question. In their 2010 poll, only 50% of California voters supported legalization and 46% were opposed.

    This survey also found that an overwhelming 72% of Californians support the state’s medical marijuana program and 52% favor allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to open in their town.

    California narrowly rejected Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana in 2010, but clearly public opinion has continued to move in our favor since then. It is reasonable to expect that by 2016, when many believe there will be another voter initiative to legalize marijuana, support will have reached the critical mass required to approve of such a measure.

    You can view the full poll results here.

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