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MassCann

  • by NORML October 8, 2017

    You can follow MassCann/NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website

    MASS CANN/NORML TESTIMONY BEFORE THE CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION

    10/02/2017

    MassCannWe are the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition, Inc., state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, known as MASS CANN/NORML.

    We are the largest, oldest and most successful cannabis law reform organization in the northeastern United States. We have run the annual Boston Freedom Rally on Boston Common every year for 28 years, which has raised over $500,000 for our cause. We have run over 50 public policy questions in local districts throughout the Commonwealth – all of which were approved by voters by healthy majorities. The results of those public policy questions and our professional polling persuaded the Marijuana Policy Project to finance the decriminalization of marijuana by ballot initiative in 2008.

    We alone have been representing cannabis users for years. Our activists made decriminalization, medical marijuana and, now, regulated cannabis the new reality. We represent the voters who made your Commission possible.

    Unlike others seeking to advise you, we alone purely represent the interests of cannabis users. We are the marijuana user group in Massachusetts. We are motivated by our collective desire to be free from overly intrusive, overly repressive government.

    We are not motivated by money, as so many others who hope to advise you are. We are an all- volunteer organization. None of us are paid for what we do.

    We are not motivated by career interests, as so many others who hope to advise you are. MASS CANN/NORML employs no one.

    We are not motivated by a desire for political power, as so many others who hope to advise you are. We are a public education organization and are barred by law from doing political work.

    What MASS CANN/NORML is asking you to do:

    We are asking for no regulations about marijuana that would be ridiculous if applied to alcohol. As a recreational substance, marijuana is less debilitating and less addictive than alcohol. As a medicine, it is one of the safest therapeutic substances known, far safer than aspirin. Regulations concerning storage, distribution, and handling that require marijuana to be treated like enriched plutonium—regulations like those put out during the disastrous rollout of medical marijuana—have no basis in reality. They’re just the kind of governmental overreach the voters rejected in passing Question 4. You recall that Question 4 was called an act to “tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

    We want you to avoid regulations based on fear-mongering:
    – Legalization has NOT led to increased marijuana use by youths.
    – Legalization has NOT led to more highway accidents.
    – Opening marijuana outlets has NOT increased crime in the neighborhoods that have them.
    There are many, many other examples of false claims that we can disprove.

    Value freedom over compromise. No compromising with our freedom. Freedom is precious. The first colonists came to Massachusetts to escape repressive government. Ever since, many have fought in many ways for freedom and some have died for it. You have no more sacred duty than to maintain whatever freedom is possible.

    We want you to evaluate the other stakeholders in this discussion in light of their particular interests.

    It is in the interest of capitalists, for instance, to corner the market. Therefore, they would favor regulations making it hard for us users to grow our own plants for free. The influence of those well-heeled interests is hard to resist. Please resist.

    Prosecutors and police want to maintain their ability to target us marijuana users and to define us as criminals. They have used marijuana laws to enforce institutionalized racism. They still will seek to criminalize us to the greatest degree they can. Voters rejected their approach when they passed Question 4. The job of prosecutors and police is to enforce the laws that are given them. They should not be shaping policy.

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has proved they are interested only in benefitting their bureaucracy, expanding their budget, employing a larger workforce, and consolidating their power—NOT in helping medical marijuana patients. In fact, they are a principal reason that so many patients have gone for years without legal access to their medicine. They should not be listened to as some kind of voice of experience. They should just be studied as a history of horrible examples.

    Treatment professionals are interested in maintaining their gravy train. They want all cannabis use to be defined as drug abuse, and they want all users to be forced into expensive court-ordered rehab programs. They have no larger social interest at heart, and they do not deserve a seat at our table.

    All of these stakeholders have an interest in treating legal marijuana as a disaster to be delayed and restricted as much as possible. But the voters didn’t vote for a disaster, they voted for an opportunity: new jobs, new revenue, safer communities, better community-police relations. We want you to respect the will of the voters, and that means not working against legalization as some kind of threat, but moving ahead with legalization as a fine new opportunity. Legal marijuana is a great thing for Massachusetts! Make it happen!

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 10, 2012

    This Saturday, MassCann/NORML will be hosting the 23rd annual Freedom Rally in Boston, MA. The rally will be held on the Boston Common on September 15, 2012 beginning at Noon and ending at 6:00pm. Previous rallies have drawn upwards of 50,000 attendees, so be sure not to miss this amazing day of speakers, live music, vendors, community and activism.

    The event is free and open to the public. There is nothing else like the Freedom Rally on the East Coast, come out and stand with us in support of marijuana law reform!

    This year’s speakers include:

    Erik Altieri (Communication Director NORML)
    Rep. Barney Frank (MA Congressman)
    Jodie Emery (Owner of Cannabis Culture Magazine)
    Lester Grinspoon (Author of Marihuana Reconsidered)
    Allen St. Pierre (Executive Director NORML)
    Sabrina Fendrick (Founder of NORML Women’s Alliance)
    Keith Stroup (Founder of NORML)
    Jon Napoli (Hempest)
    Diane Fornbacher (Co-Vice Chair NORML Women’s Alliance)
    Greta Gaines (NORML Board Member & NORML Women’s Alliance)
    Judge Jim Gray (Running Mate with Gary Johnson for Presidential Candidate)

    You can view the full roster of speakers and bands by visiting the Boston Freedom Rally’s webpage here.

    Be sure to RSVP to the Rally on Facebook and encourage your friends to join you!

    Click here to RSVP.

    See you on the Common!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 10, 2011

    58% support in Massachusetts for legalizing marijuana and regulating it as other agricultural commodities

    Georgetown, MA – This evening, attendees at the Second Annual Massachusetts Cannabis Convention hosted by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition/NORML (MassCann/NORML) at the Crowne Plaza in Natick heard the major results of a live telephone poll conducted in November by DAPA Research Inc. of 600 Massachusetts voters with a margin of error of +/-4%.

    The most significant findings:

    *Fifty-eight percent (58%) support legalizing marijuana and regulating it in the same manner as other agricultural commodities with sales prohibited to underage persons (69% Democrats, 44% Republicans, 54% Other).

    *Sixty-two percent (62%) are more likely to support legalization if the proposed law would regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults and tax it in the same manner as the state currently regulates alcohol (70% Democrats, 56% Republicans, 60% Other).

    *Fifty-four percent (54%) oppose the federal government disregarding state law in states legalizing marijuana, while only 35% support the federal government’s disregarding state law.

    “The data strongly suggests that Massachusetts voters are more ready than voters in any other state to end prohibition and establish reasonable regulation of cannabis cultivation and commerce for all purposes,” said Steven S. Epstein, a founder and currently an officer of MassCann/NORML. “The data also establishes that if the legislature does not enact a law allowing medical use of marijuana this session the voters will overwhelmingly, perhaps 80%+, approve the voter initiative for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana at the ballot box in November.”

    “Legalization is essential to ending crime created by the prohibition of cannabis,” said Cara Crabb-Burnham, a member of MassCann/NORML’s Board of Directors. “It is important to recognize legal vendors will card customers and keep it out of the hands of children.”

    * * *

    For more information contact:
    Michael Crawford, 978-502-4080
    Attorney Steven Epstein, 978-352-3300

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 16, 2011

    Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over twenty states, and progressive measures have been pre-filed in many more. Below is this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — activists’ one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country.

    ** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and to make the changes they want to see.

    Massachusetts: State lawmakers have reintroduced legislation, HB 1371, that seeks to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults. The measure has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. You can learn more about how to support this legislation by contacting MassCann, NORML’s Massachusetts affiliate here. You can also contact your House and Senate members and urge them to support legalization by going here.

    Washington: On Tuesday, February 8, members of the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness heard testimony in favor of HB 1550, which allows for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products. You can view archived video from this hearing here. The Committee is anticipated to vote on this measure on Friday, February 18. Last year the members of this Committee rejected a similar measure by a 6 to 2 vote. Urge them this year to vote ‘yes.’ You may contact the members of this Committee here or contact your individual House member here.

    Hawaii: Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary and Labor and members of the Senate Committee on Health on Friday, February 4 voted in favor of Senate Bill 1460, which reduces the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a civil violation punishable by a fine of not more than $100. You can read NORML’s testimony in support of the bill here. You can contact your state lawmakers in support of the measure here.

    Maryland: Over 20 members of Maryland’s House of Delegates are backing legislation, HB 606, to reduce the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $1000 maximum fine) to a civil offense, punishable by a $100 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. House Bill 606 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 22nd at 1pm. You may contact the members of the Committee here. You can follow the progress of HB 606 on Facebook here. If you reside in Maryland, you can contact your Delegate in support of this legislation by clicking here.

    Indiana: Members of the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters on Tuesday voted 5 to 3 in favor of Senate Bill 192, which calls for a legislative review to be conducted by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee later this year. The measure now awaits action from the full Senate. You can contact your state Senator and urge him or her to endorse the measure by clicking here. Additional information on this and other marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana is available from Indiana NORML here or on Facebook here.

    Montana: Bad news to report from Montana. On Thursday, February 10, members of House of Representatives voted 63 to 37 for HB 161, which would repeal the state’s existing medical cannabis law. The measure must be reapproved during a final House vote (third reading), which will likely take place imminently. If approved by the House, the measure then goes before the Senate. There has never been a single state medical marijuana law that has been repealed. Do not let Montana be the first. Please make sure that your state elected officials heard from you. You can contact him or her via the Montana NORML website here or via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. You can also visit Patients and Families United Facebook page here for up-to-date information on pending hearings and votes.

    To be in contact with your state officials regarding these measures and other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 3, 2010

    [Friday morning update!] In California, voters decided 46 percent to 54 percent, against Prop. 19, which sought to legalize the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana in private, and to allow for local governments to regulate its commercial production and retail distribution. The 46+ percent (3,471,308 million Californians) voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 19 marks the greatest percentage of citizen support ever recorded on a statewide marijuana legalization effort.

    Commenting on the vote, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that marijuana legalization is no longer a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘when.’

    “Social change doesn’t happen overnight, and in this case we are advocating for the repeal of a criminal policy that has existed for over 70 years federally and for nearly 100 years in California,” he said. “We are taking on the establishment and those who have vested interests in maintaining this longstanding failed policy. Yet, despite these odds, we have momentum and an unparalleled coalition of supporters – from law enforcement personnel, to civil rights groups, to organized labor, to lawyers, clergy, and public health professionals. In just a few short months, this campaign moved public opinion forward nationally, and led to the signing of historic legislation here in California that will end the arrest and prosecution of tens of thousands of minor marijuana offenders.”

    He continued: “Throughout this campaign, even our opponents conceded that America’s present marijuana prohibition is a failure. They recognize that the question now isn’t ‘Should be legalize and regulate marijuana,’ but ‘How should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’”

    He concluded: “In the near future there will be a slew of other states deciding on measures similar to Prop. 19 in their state houses and at the ballot box. And no doubt here in California, lawmakers in 2011 will once again be debating this issue, as will the voters in 2012.

    Backers of the measure have already announced plans for a similar campaign in 2012.

    In Arizona, voters are narrowly against Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which would permit state-registered patients to obtain cannabis legally from licensed facilities. But the gap is closing. As of Friday morning, the the race still remains too close to call, with Prop. 203 is trailing by less than 4,000 votes. With as many as 300,000 ballots and provisional ballots left to be counted, it could be several more days before election officials make an official decision. The proposal is sponsored by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, an affiliate of the Marijuana Policy Project. Learn more about Proposition 203 here: http://stoparrestingpatients.org/home/.

    In South Dakota, voters decided against Measure 13, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, which sought to exempt state criminal penalties for state-authorized patients who possessed marijuana. South Dakota voters had previously rejected a similar proposal in 2006. It is the only state where voters have ever decided against a medical marijuana legalization initiative.

    In Oregon, voters decided against Measure 74, The Oregon Regulate Medical Marijuana Supply System Act of 2010, which sought to create state-licensed not-for-profit facilities to assist in the production and distribution of marijuana to qualified patients. Oregon voters initially authorized the physician-authorized use of marijuana in 1998. Several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine, have enacted statewide regulations licensing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis.

    In other election developments that are pertinent to marijuana law reformers, California Democrat Kamala Harris is still narrowly leading Republican Steven Cooley for the office of state Attorney General. As of Friday morning, Harris is leading Cooley by less than one tenth of one percentage point (some 9,000 total votes) with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Yet with over two million ballots still left to count, The L.A. Times today reports, “With such a slim gap, the race for California’s top law enforcement office remained too close to call, and a clear winner may not emerge for days or even weeks.” Cooley is opposed by many marijuana reform organizations, including Americans for Safe Access, for his public opposition to medical marijuana, and his contention that any retail sale of medical cannabis is in violation of state law.

    Also, in California, voters approved citywide ordinances in Albany (Measure Q), Berkeley (Measure S), La Puente (Prop. M), Oakland (Measure V), Rancho Cordova (Measure O), Richmond, Sacramento (Measure C), San Jose (Measure U), Stockton (Measure I) to impose new taxes on medical marijuana sales and/or production and businesses licenses. California NORML, along with several other reform groups, specifically opposed the Rancho Cordova measure as an excessive penalty on medical cannabis growers. Groups were divided in their support of many of the other local proposals.

    Voters in Berkeley also approved a separate ordinance (Measure T) to permit a fourth medical marijuana dispensary in the city and reconstitute the city’s Medical Marijuana Commission Voters in Morro Bay and Santa Barbara rejected proposed municipal bans on dispensaries.

    New Mexico voters elected Republican Susan Martinez to be the state’s next Governor. While campaigning for the office, Martinez voiced opposition to the state’s medical cannabis law, which since 2007 has allowed the state Department of Health to authorize medical marijuana users and third party, not-for-profit providers.

    In Vermont, Democrat Peter Shumlin narrowly leads in the Governor’s race, with 91 percent of precincts reporting. While serving as state senator, Shumlin has been an advocate for both medical marijuana and decriminalization.

    Connecticut voters have narrowly elected Democrat Dan Malloy for Governor. However, as of Friday morning, his Republican challenger Tom Foley appears ready to legally challenge the vote count. Malloy reportedly supports decriminalizing marijuana for adults, and also supports the legalization of medical cannabis. Malloy’s predecessor, Republican M. Jodi Rell, vetoed legislation in 2007 that would have allowed for the legal use of marijuana by those authorized by their physician.

    In Massachusetts, voters in over 70 cities and towns decided favorably on non-binding public policy questions regarding the taxation of the adult use of marijuana and the legalization of the physician-supervised use of medical cannabis. Approximately 13 percent of the state’s registered voters weighed in on the questions.

    Finally, Dane County (Madison), Wisconsin voters resoundingly backed a non-binding local initiative that asked, “Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?” Seventy-five percent of voters decided ‘yes’ on the measure. In recent years, Wisconsin has been a highly contested battleground state in the fight for medical cannabis access.