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  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 6, 2012

    According to Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, a group of bipartisan Senators, led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D), have filed legislation seeking to exempt industrial hemp (which, in effect, is very low potent cannabis) from the Controlled Substances Act (which, concerning cannabis specifically, is largely directed at prohibiting recreational and therapeutic use of the herb).

    Update: You can help advocate for this bill’s passage here.

    One of the most indefensible aspects of modern Cannabis Prohibition is the federal government’s continued opposition to allowing American farmers and consumers benefit from a domestic industrial hemp industry, when, ridiculously, other free market and democratic countries who also maintain user prohibitions on cannabis—countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and notably Canada—allow their farmers to legally cultivate industrial cannabis. This inherently places American farmers and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage and American consumers paying higher costs for imported raw and finished hemp products.

    Senator Wyden tells The Hill:

    “I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it  resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked  a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on  industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near  
    future.”

    Read more here.

    To learn everything you need to know about hemp and efforts to reform America’s antiquated industrial hemp laws, please check out our hempen friends:

    VoteHemp.org

    TheHIA.org

     

  • by Sabrina Fendrick June 1, 2012

    The NORML Women’s Alliance has been growing at an unprecedented rate.  Women have been organizing around the country, targeting the female demographic and spreading the word of marijuana law reform.  The enthusiasm for this NORML Foundation program has crossed the border and gone international. The Women’s Alliance has become the latest sensation for marijuana law reformers in Canada, and is spreading like wildfire across the territories. From Vancouver to Toronto, the NORML Women’s Alliance has brought together an amazing group of strong, empowered, like-minded women.

    In early May, the NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada had the honor of serving as one of this year’s Grand Marshals for the Global Marijuana March.  Along with Jodie Emery and other well-known Canadian marijuana figures, the women of NORML lead 20,000 people through the streets of Toronto in support of marijuana law reform.They dressed up in 1920s and 1930’s costumes and were followed by a vintage car of the same era, so as to make a clear connection to America’s ill-fated alcohol prohibition, and women’s role in ending that failed policy.  The goal was to reenact a similar campaign image put on by the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform, which has since become a staple image for reformers today.

    Just last week, our Canadian Sisters were invited to have a presence at the annual Treating Yourself Expo of 2012, a three-day event that brought tens of thousands of people to the Toronto Convention Center.  The women were not only given the opportunity to hand out literature, several of them were even invited to speak on a panel about the purpose and significance of the NORML Women’s Alliance.  This panel featured an amazing group of leaders including Jodie Emery of Cannabis Culture Magazine, NORML Women’s Alliance Coordinator of Canada, Kelly Coulter, Andrea Matrosovs, Lisa MamaKind Kirkman, Joanne Baker, Loretta Clarck and Sandra Colasanti.  Keep up the great work ladies!

    Check out the videos below the fold.
    (more…)

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director April 26, 2012

    A new poll, published today by Angus Reid Public Opinion, looks at the changing attitudes towards marijuana possession penalties in the UK, Canada, and the United States. The poll surveyed 1,011 Americans, 2,015 Britons, and 1,005 Canadians during March of this year. The results show that an overwhelming majority of citizens in these countries no longer believe marijuana possession should result in jail time.

    From Angus Reid:

    Majorities of respondents in the three countries (Britain 56%, Canada 68%, United States 74%) welcome the concept of using alternative penalties—such as fines, probation or community service—rather than prison for non-violent offenders. At least seven-in-ten Britons (70%), Americans (74%) and Canadians (78%) believe personal marijuana use should be dealt with through alternative penalties. Support for similar guidelines for credit card fraud, drunk driving and arson is decidedly lower.

    View the full report here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 11, 2012

    From the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
    IACM-Bulletin of 8 April 2012

    World: Increasing numbers of patients use cannabis for medicinal purposes

    An increasing number of patients in the world are using cannabis for therapeutic reasons, with available data from countries, which have installed programs for their citizens. Good data are available for Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and many states of the US with medicinal cannabis laws and registries. In several more countries only a few patients are allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, including Germany, Norway, Finland and Italy. In many other countries such as Spain and some states of the US without a registry such as California the number of medicinal users is estimated to be high, but no detailed data are available.

    The numbers in California with hundreds of cannabis dispensaries and clinics that issue medical cannabis recommendations are unclear, since the state does not require residents to register as patients (see below**)
    Most of the 16 states that allow the medicinal use of cannabis require a registration. Recently the press agency Associated Press published data on registered patients in different states of the USA based on state agencies responsible for maintaining patient registries:

    State: Number of registered patients (per 1,000 of the whole population) —
    Colorado: 82,089 (16.3)
    Oregon: 57,386 (15.0)
    Montana: 14,364 (14.5)
    Michigan: 131,483 (13.3)
    Hawaii: 11,695 (8.6)
    Rhode Island: 4,466 (4.2)
    Arizona: 22,037 (3.5)
    New Mexico: 4,310 (2.1)
    Maine: 2,708 (2.0)
    Nevada: 3,388 (1.3)
    Vermont: 505 (0.8)
    Alaska: 538 (0.8)
    Patient registration is mandatory in Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), but their registries are not yet up and running. Washington State has neither voluntary nor mandatory registration.

    Data from Israel show that in August 2011 6,000 patients got medicinal cannabis (0.8 patients in 1,000). It is estimated that the number increases to 40,000 in 2016 (5.2 patients in 1,000 citizens).

    In Canada 12,116 patients were allowed to use cannabis on 30 September 2011 (0.35 patients in 1,000 citizens).

    Numbers of patients using cannabis from the pharmacies in the Netherlands were estimated to be 1,300 in 2010 (0.08 patients in 1,000 citizens). However, many patients in the Netherlands use cannabis from the coffee shops or grow their own.

    In Germany about 60 patients are currently allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.

    (Sources: Associated Press of 24 March 2012, website of the Israeli Prime Minister of 7 August 2011, UPI of 31 October 2011, Pharmaceutisch Weekblad No. 20, 2011)

    **[Editor’s note: CA NORML published a white paper last May estimating that California has 750,000 – 1,125,000 citizens who possess a physician’s recommendation to use cannabis medicinally.]

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 10, 2011

    The Israeli government this week formally acknowledged the therapeutic utility of cannabis and announced newly amended guidelines governing the state-sponsored production and distribution of medical cannabis to Israeli patients.

    A prepared statement posted Monday on the website of office of the Israeli Prime Minister stated: “The Cabinet today approved arrangements and supervision regarding the supply of cannabis for medical and research uses. This is in recognition that the medical use of cannabis is necessary in certain cases. The Health Ministry will – in coordination with the Israel Police and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority – oversee the foregoing and will also be responsible for supplies from imports and local cultivation.”

    According to Israeli news reports, approximately 6,000 Israeli patients are supplied with locally grown cannabis as part of a limited government program. This week’s announcement indicates that government officials intend to expand the program to more patients and centralize the drug’s cultivation. “[T]here are predictions that doctor and patient satisfaction is so high that the number could reach 40,000 in 2016,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

    The Israeli Ministry of Health is expected to oversee the production of marijuana in January 2012.

    Similar government-sponsored medical marijuana programs are also active in Canada and the Netherlands.

    By contrast, in July the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) formally denied a nine-year-old petition calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance, stating in the July 8, 2011 edition of the Federal Register that cannabis has “a high potential for abuse; … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; … [and] lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

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