• by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 19, 2019

    Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that the use of marijuana by adults “should be legal,” according to national polling data compiled by CBS News. That figure is six percentage points above last year’s total, and is the highest percentage of support ever recorded in a CBS poll.

    Majorities of Democrats and Republicans back legalization, and most respondents agree that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol or other drugs. Fifty-five percent of Americans also acknowledged having personally consumed cannabis, the highest total reported in the poll’s history.

    Most Americans (62 percent), including a majority of Republicans and Democrats, also say that they oppose the federal government taking action to disrupt the production and sale of marijuana in states where it is currently legal.

    The CBS poll results are consistent with those of other recent major surveys, such as those by Gallup (66 percent), Pew (62 percent), and Quinnipiac University (60 percent) — all of which similarly show support for legalization at record or near-record highs.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 18, 2019

    home cultivationCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.

    Foxx’s office is negotiating with the same non-profit group that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.

    Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to bring criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses.

    Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.

    In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities – including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate past cannabis-specific convictions. .

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 17, 2019

    Marijuana CBD OilRepublican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation into law today to facilitate regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of oils and other products containing limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

    House Bill 324 (aka Georgia’s Hope Act) establishes a regulatory commission to oversee the eventual “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC to qualified patients. The law allows for the licensing of up to six cultivation operations, and seeks collaboration with the University of Georgia in the manufacturing of THC-infused extracts and oils.

    Under a 2015 state law, qualified patients are exempt from criminal prosecution for the possession of oil extracts containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than the amount of THC. However, the law failed to provide any mechanism for patients to obtain low-THC products from a state-regulated producer or provider.

    Approximately 9,500 patients are currently registered with the state to possess medical cannabis products.

    For additional information on pending state legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

  • by NORML April 15, 2019

    As we approach April 20, we’d like to take a minute to thank you for being an active supporter of NORML’s efforts to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

    As we say, “when we’re talking, we’re winning.” So, as a token of our appreciation for your support, we want to send you our conversation-starting sticker!

    When NORML was founded in 1970, only 12% of the country supported legalizing marijuana; 88% were opposed to our goals. After decades of hard work by thousands of committed advocates like you, we have gradually won the hearts and minds of a majority of the public. Today, over 60% of adults nationwide support ending marijuana prohibition and establishing a regulated market where consumers can obtain marijuana in a safe and secure setting.

    NORML’s work is fueled by the power of grassroots supporters just like you – not big donors or the emerging cannabis industry. Because of that, we are the only organization that focuses on the issues facing consumers, ranging from criminalization, employment discrimination, child custody, expungement, and a litany of other issues that impact responsible marijuana consumers.

    Make a contribution of $10 or more now to keep our momentum going and we’ll send you a sticker to show off your support!

    We still have lots of work ahead of us, even in those states that have enacted some form of marijuana legalization. But, as we continue to educate our lawmakers and fellow citizens alike, we’ll get there together.

    Thanks for all you do,

    The NORML team

    P.S. Don’t want a sticker but want to help offset the costs of us distributing them around the country? Click here to make a contribution to keep NORML going strong.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Marijuana FieldMarijuana grown by the University of Mississippi for clinical research purposes is genetically divergent from strains of cannabis commercially available in retail markets, according to an analysis prepared by researchers at the University of Northern Colorado. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to legally cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research.

    Authors reported that samples available via the U-Miss program shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis. They concluded: “NIDA research grade marijuana was found to genetically group with hemp samples along with a small subset of commercial drug-type cannabis. A majority of commercially available drug-type cannabis was genetically very distinct from NIDA samples. These results suggest that subjects consuming NIDA research grade marijuana may experience different effects than average consumers.”

    A separate study published in 2017 reported that U-Miss samples contain far lower levels of both THC and CBD than do commercially available cannabis. Clinicians wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally-provided samples are of inferior quality.

    According to the program’s current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD.

    In 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration publicly announced that it would, for the first time, begin accepting applications from private entities wishing to grow research-grade cannabis. However, since that time, neither the agency nor the Justice Department have taken any action to move this application process forward.

    Full text of the study, “Research grade marijuana supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse is genetically divergent from commercially available Cannabis,” appears online here.

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