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  • by NORML January 12, 2017

    for_painThe National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report today acknowledging that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, and sharply criticized longstanding federal regulatory barriers to marijuana research – in particular “the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance” under federal law.

    Authors of the report also addressed various aspects of marijuana’s effect on health and safety, acknowledging that the substance may pose certain potential risks for adolescents, pregnant women, and for those who may be driving shortly after ingesting cannabis. In each of these cases, these risks may be mitigated via marijuana regulation and the imposition of age restrictions in the marketplace.

    Commenting on the report, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:

    “The National Academy of Science’s conclusions that marijuana possesses established therapeutic utility for certain patients and that it possesses an acceptable safety profile when compared to those of other medications or recreational intoxicants are not surprising. This evidence has been available for some time, yet for decades marijuana policy in this country has largely been driven by rhetoric and emotion, not science and evidence.

    “A search on PubMed, the repository for all peer-reviewed scientific papers, using the term ‘marijuana’ yields over 24,000 scientific papers referencing the plant or its biologically active constituents — a far greater body of literature than exists for commonly consumed conventional drugs like Tylenol, ibuprofen, or hydrocodone. Further, unlike modern pharmaceuticals, cannabis possesses an extensive history of human use dating back thousands of years, thus providing society with ample empirical evidence as to its relative safety and efficacy.

    “Today, 29 states and Washington, DC permit physicians to recommend marijuana therapy. Some of these state-sanctioned programs have now been in place for nearly two decades. Eight states also permit the regulated use and sale of cannabis by adults. At a minimum, we know enough about cannabis, as well as the failures of cannabis prohibition, to regulate its consumption by adults, end its longstanding criminalization, and to remove it from its Schedule I prohibitive under federal law.”

    The report marks the first time since 1999 that the National Academy of Sciences has addressed issues surrounding marijuana and health. Authors reviewed over 10,000 scientific abstracts in their preparation of the new report.

    You can read the full report here.

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 9, 2016

    Marijuana medicineAccording to the Associated Press, voters in Montana have approved Initiative 182, the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative. The Associated Press’s final vote count is 58 to 42 percent. 

    “This decision restores the rights of patients and providers,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Voters were clear in 2004 when they initially enacted the state’s medical law, and they remain resolved in their opinion that state lawmakers ought not to restrict patients access to medical cannabis.”

    I-182 expands the state’s medical marijuana laws. It permits licensed medical marijuana providers to serve more than three patients at one time and allows for providers to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical marijuana. I-182 repeals the requirement that physicians who provide certifications for 25 or more patients annually be referred to the board of medical examiners. It removes the authority of law enforcement to conduct unannounced inspections of medical marijuana facilities, and requires annual inspections by the state.

    The new law takes effect on June 30, 2017. You can read the full text of the initiative here.

    Congratulations Montana!

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate

    pain_reliefAccording to the Associated Press, voters in Arkansas have approved Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. The AP’s final vote count is 53 to 47 percent.

    “Thanks to the support of Arkansas voters, their state now joins the majority of states in this country in allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana. This will provide patients with access to a safe and effective medicine and apply further pressure on Congress and the incoming administration to bring federal policy in line with the overwhelming will of the American people.” said Erik Altieri, NORML’s new Executive Director.

    Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, amends the state constitution to permit qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. The home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the law. Under the law, regulators will license up to 40 dispensary providers and up to eight marijuana cultivators.

    The new law takes effect on November 9, 2016. Regulators have 120 days following the law’s enactment to develop rules overseeing the new medical marijuana program.

    A summary of the Amendment is available here.

    Congratulations Arkansas!

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 8, 2016

    According to the Associated Press, voters in Florida approved Amendment 2, an expansive medical marijuana law. The AP’s is reporting a final vote count of 71 percent to 29 percent. The Amendment required over 60 percent of the vote to become law.

    “The overwhelming majority of Floridians, like voters nationwide, believe that patients ought to have the legal option to choose marijuana therapy as an alternative to conventional, and often dangerous, pharmaceuticals,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “With this historic vote, we can expect to see similar programs acknowledging the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis begin to take hold in the southeastern region of the United States.”

    Florida Medical Marijuana

    Amendment 2 amends the Florida state constitution so that qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. Under the law, a “debilitating medical condition” for which marijuana may be recommended includes is defined as “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.” The home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the law.

    Existing Florida law restricted limited qualifying patients only to high CBD strains of cannabis, unless they were terminally ill.

    Department of Health regulators must begin issuing patient identification cards within nine months of the new law’s enactment. You can read the full text of Amendment 2 here.

    “With broad support across all demographics, voters in Florida approved Amendment 2 by a landslide,” said Erik Altieri, NORML’s new Executive Director. “These results are a victory, not just for common sense public policy, but for patients all across the state who will now have access to a safe, effective treatment for a number of debilitating ailments.”

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate

    It’s Election Day and there is no more important day if you are a marijuana consumer or a legalization supporter. Voters in an unprecedented nine states are deciding on statewide ballot measures to legalize and regulate marijuana use.

    Adult Use Ballot Initiatives


    Arizona

    Election Night Results: 47.8 percent approve, 52.2 disapprove with 81.7 percent reporting
    Name: Arizona Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
    Ballot Number: Proposition 205
    Proponents: The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (Marijuana Policy Project)
    Summary: Permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to five grams of concentrates) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law imposes a 15 percent tax on commercial marijuana sales, much of which is earmarked for school construction. Under the law, regulators must adopt rules governing the commercial production and retail sales of marijuana by September 1, 20

    Read the full text of the measure here.

    California

    Election Night Results: 55.6 percent approve, 44.4 percent disapprove with 42.5 percent reporting
    Name: Adult Use of Marijuana Act
    Ballot Number: Proposition 64
    Proponents: Let’s Get It Right CA
    Summary: Permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrates) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. (Medical cannabis patients are not subject to these limits.) The measure prohibits localities from taking actions to infringe upon adults’ ability to possess and cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. The initiative does not “repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt … laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.” Several other marijuana-related activities not legalized by the measure are reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. The law also provides for re-sentencing consideration for those found guilty of prior marijuana convictions. The revised marijuana penalties take effect on November 9, 2016. Retail sales of marijuana by state-licensed establishments are scheduled to begin under the law on January 1, 2018. On site consumption is permitted under the law in establishments licensed for such activity. Large-scale corporate players are restricted from becoming involved until 2023.

    Read the full text of the initiative here.

    Maine

    Election Night Results: 50.5 percent approve, 49.5 percent disapprove with 85.9 percent reporting
    Name: Marijuana Legalization Act
    Ballot Number: Question 1
    Proponents: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol
    Summary: Permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants, and/or up to 12 immature plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to two and one-half ounces of herbal cannabis) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law imposes a 10 percent tax on commercial marijuana sales. Under the law, localities have the authority to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses. On site consumption is permitted under the law in establishments licensed for such activity. The new law takes effect within 40 days. Regulations for marijuana-related businesses are scheduled to be in place by August 8, 2017.

    Read the full text of Question 1 here.

    Massachusetts

    Election Night Results: 53.4 percent approve, 46.6 percent disapprove with 93.9 percent reporting
    Name: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
    Ballot Number: Question 4
    Proponents: The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts
    Summary: Permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce and/or up to 5 grams of concentrate; in addition, adults may legally possess up to ten ounces of marijuana flower in their home) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The law imposes a 3.75 percent excise tax on commercial marijuana sales. Under the law, localities have the authority to regulate, limit, or prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses. The new law takes effect on December 15, 2016. Regulators are scheduled to begin accepting applications from marijuana-related businesses on October 1, 2017.

    Read the full text of Question 4 here.

    Nevada

    Election Night Results: 54.3 percent approve, 45.7 percent disapprove with 68.5% reporting
    Name: Nevada Marijuana Legalization Initiative
    Ballot Number: Question 2
    Proponents: Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada
    Summary: Permits adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally grow (up to six plants, including all of the harvest from those plants) and to possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to 3.5 grams of concentrates) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. (Home cultivation is not permitted if one’s residence is within 25 miles of an operating marijuana retailer.) Commercial marijuana production is subject to a 15 percent excise tax, much of which is earmarked to the State Distributive School Account. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2017. Regulations governing commercial marijuana activities must be in place by January 1, 2018.

    Read the full text of the initiative here.

    Medical Use Ballot Initiatives


    Arkansas

    Election Night Results: 53.2 percent approve, 46.8 percent disapprove with 98.2 percent reporting
    Name: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment
    Ballot Number: Issue 6
    Proponents: David Couch
    Summary: Amends the state constitution to permit qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. The home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the law. Under the law, regulators will license up to 40 dispensary providers and up to eight marijuana cultivators. The new law takes effect on November 9, 2017. Regulators have 120 days following the law’s enactment to develop rules overseeing the new medical marijuana program.

    A summary of the Amendment is available here.

    Florida

    Election Night Results: 71.3 percent approve, 28.7 percent disapprove with 100 percent of the vote counted
    Name: Use of Marijuana For Debilitating Conditions
    Ballot Number: Amendment 2
    Proponents: United For Care
    Summary: Amends the Florida state constitution so that qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. Under the law, a “debilitating medical condition” for which marijuana may be recommended includes is defined as “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.” The home cultivation of cannabis is not permitted under the law. Department of Health regulators must begin issuing patient identification cards within nine months of the law’s enactment.

    Read the full text of Amendment 2 here.

    Montana

    Election Night Results: 56.3 percent approve, 43.7 percent disapprove with 63 percent reporting
    Name: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative
    Ballot Number: I-182
    Proponents: Montana Citizens for I-182
    Summary: Expands the state’s medical marijuana laws. It permits licensed medical marijuana providers to serve more than three patients at one time and allows for providers to hire employees to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical marijuana. I-182 repeals the requirement that physicians who provide certifications for 25 or more patients annually be referred to the board of medical examiners. It removes the authority of law enforcement to conduct unannounced inspections of medical marijuana facilities, and requires annual inspections by the state. The new law takes effect on June 30, 2017.

    Read the full text of the initiative here.

    North Dakota

    Election Night Results: 63.7 percent approve, 36.3 percent disapprove with 98.6 percent reporting
    Name: The North Dakota Compassionate Care Act 2016
    Ballot Number: Measure 5
    Proponents: North Dakota Compassionate Care
    Summary: Permits qualified patients who possess a physician’s recommendation may legally possess and obtain medical cannabis provided by state licensed dispensaries. Those who reside 40 miles or more away from an operating medical marijuana dispensary are permitted to grow limited quantities of marijuana (up to eight flowering plants) at home. The new law takes effect 90 days following voter approval.

    Read the full text of the initiative here.Marijuana Ballot Initiatives 2016

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