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  • 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.”

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director October 15, 2010

    Dear NORML members and supporters,

    Canadian businessman and law reform activist Marc Emery is a political prisoner of America’s federal government.  Arrested in 2005 for selling high quality cannabis seeds to willing American cannabis consumers and medical patients, he now sits in a federal prison in Washington state costing taxpayer’s thousands of dollars per month, while at the same depriving Canada of an otherwise lawful and tax-generating businessman, and Marc’s family and friends of his presence in their lives.

    Below is a request from Marc’s lawyer and cannabis law reformer Kirk Tousaw to help raise $8,500 to retain an expert in treaty transfers between Canada and the United States so that Marc can serve the reminder of the time he must be in the criminal justice system back in Canada.

    Please join NORML in supporting this effort to help expedite the day Marc can return to Canada, his wife, businesses, (primarily Cannabis Culture Magazine) and to his full-throated advocacy for cannabis legalization in Canada.

    An American prison is no place for Marc.

    I think most every cannabis law reform activist in the US feels guilty that our government decided—if only for pathetically symbolic reasons, like the persecution by the feds of Tommy Chong for selling bongs a few years earlier—to arrest, persecute, extradite and incarcerate Marc for what is effectively legal these days in medical cannabis states like California, New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Montana and Maine.

    Please read the info below from Kirk on how we can all help Marc out.

    Thanks in advance and kind regards!

    I write on behalf of Marc Emery, recently sentenced to five years in prison for selling cannabis seeds as part of his effort to “overgrow the government” and provide funding to the marijuana legalization movement.  Marc made millions in this highly successful campaign and gave every dime away to activist causes and groups.  When arrested in 2005, he had only $11.00 in his bank account.  And now he needs our help more than ever.

    As part of our effort to have Marc repatriated to Canada, he hopes to hire US lawyer Sylvia Royce, an expert in treaty transfers between the United States and Canada.  Ms. Royce will handle the US side of the process while I will continue to assist Marc with the Canadian undertaking.

    In order to retain Ms. Royce, Marc needs to raise $8,500.00, and he needs to do it by the end of October. We are hoping to do it in one day with a Free Marc Emery Money Bomb on October 16, 2010.  A money bomb is a one-day fundraising effort designed to achieve a specific goal.  In this case, it is raising enough money to hire Ms. Royce.  Any extra funds will go toward future legal fees.

    I know that you value Marc’s activism, dedication to our shared cause and sacrifice.  Five years is a long time to be a political prisoner.  Our profound hope is that he can at least serve that time in Canada, near his family, friends and loving wife, Jodie Emery.

    I’m asking you to be a part of this Money Bomb in the following ways.  First, consider making a donation from your organization.  Second, publicize the Money Bomb to your membership through posting on your website and distribution through your email network

    With your help, I know that we can achieve our goal of raising $8,500.00 on October 16, 2010.  If you are willing to donate, your commitment to do so will be recorded and announced on the day of the Money Bomb.  Additional details can be found below my signature.

    Thank you.

    Kirk Tousaw
    Executive Director
    Beyond Prohibition Foundation
    142-757 West Hastings, Suite 211
    Vancouver, British Columbia V6C1A1
    (c) 604.836.1420
    (f) 1.866.310.3342
    (e) kirktousaw@gmail.com
    www.whyprohibition.ca

    * * * * *
    What: Free Marc Emery Money Bomb

    When: October 16, 2010

    Goal: Raise $8500.00 to retain a US expert on prisoner treaty transfers

    Why: Marc Emery raised and donated millions of dollars to help legalize marijuana and is now going to spend five years in prison for his efforts.  Whenever he was asked to help a good cause, he did.  Now he needs your help in his effort to be repatriated to Canada to serve his sentence in his home country.

    How: Donate funds on October 18 (or before) by check, credit card, email money transfer or cash donations.  Donation details can be found at www.freemarc.ca and below:

    1) Make donations with your credit card through the Cannabis Culture Online Store in the “Free Marc” section at www.CannabisCulture.com/store

    2) Send a PayPal donation to Marc’s wife, Jodie, at Jodie_Giesz@hotmail.com and it will be transferred to the US account for the lawyer’s fees

    3) Call 604-669-9069 on Saturday with your credit card information, or email it to: Accounts@cannabisculture.com

    4) Mail a check or money order made out to “0883467 BC Ltd.” to The Free Marc Campaign, 307 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1H6, Canada

    5) Drop off in-person donations at “Marc Emery’s Cannabis Culture Headquarters” at 307 West Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 5, 2010

    Special to The Seattle Times

    By John McKay

    I don’t smoke pot. And I pretty much think people who do are idiots.

    This certainly includes Marc Emery, the self-styled “Prince of Pot” from Canada whom I indicted in 2005 for peddling marijuana seeds to every man, woman and child with an envelope and a stamp. Emery recently pleaded guilty and will be sentenced this month in Seattle, where he faces five years in federal prison. If changing U.S. marijuana policy was ever Emery’s goal, the best that can be said is that he took the wrong path.

    As Emery’s prosecutor and a former federal law-enforcement official, however, I’m not afraid to say out loud what most of my former colleagues know is true: Our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety.

    More

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