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NORML Blog

  • 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.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator April 12, 2019

    Marijuana HempWelcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    At the state level, a bill to allow licensed social consumption spaces in Oregon was defeated for this year.

    A bill to allow patients to use medical cannabis while on probation or parole died in Montana’s state Senate.

    At a more local level, the city council of New York City approved a pair of municipal bills this week limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for past cannabis use.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list, and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    Colorado

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1230, to allow the social consumption of cannabis by adults in licensed and regulated establishments.

    The measure would establish a license permit process for hospitality spaces to allow cannabis products to be legally purchased and consumed on site.

    Update: HB 19-1230 was approved by the House Committee on Finance on 4/8/19 with amendments, and now awaits action rom the Committee on Appropriations.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of social consumption sites

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1234, to allow licensed marijuana businesses to deliver both medical and adult use marijuana to private residences.

    The measure would establish a licensing system for such delivery services and also require training for delivery permit holders.

    Update: HB 19-1234 was approved by the House Committee on Finance on 4/8/19 with amendments, and now awaits action from the Committee on Appropriations.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis delivery services

    Connecticut

    Senate Bill 1085 permits those age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one and one half ounces of marijuana. The measure would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to have their record expunged.

    Update: SB 1085 was heard and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/8/19.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 24, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would give doctors the discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient for whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use.

    This bill would also remove the requirement that only certain specialists may certify the use of medical cannabis for those under 18.

    Update: SB 24 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health & Social Services Committee on 4/17/19.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senate Bill 37 would reform the expungement processes for individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

    If enacted, the bill would expand the pool of those eligible to seek expungement to include those convicted of a single misdemeanor or felony charge related to marijuana.

    Update: SB 37 was approved by the Senate Judicial Committee on 4/9/19.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.

    Under state law, adults face civil penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses. Senate Bill 45 would make this policy consistent for juvenile offenders.

    Update: SB 45 was approved by the Senate Health & Social Services Committee on 4/10/19.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of juvenile decriminalization

    Florida

    Legislation has been approved by members of the House Health and Human Services Committee to arbitrarily cap the potency of cannabis flowers at ten percent THC.

    Update: HB 7117 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 4/9/19.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in opposition to capping THC levels

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: HB 673 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/9/19, and now goes back to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1383, that would decriminalize certain marijuana possession offenses.

    The bill would impose a civil penalty for the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, punishable by a $30 fine. The measure would also establish a system to expunge certain past cannabis convictions.

    Update: HB 1383 was approved by the Senate on 4/9/19, and will now be transmitted back to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Idaho

    House Bill 300 would allow Idaho to regulate industrial hemp production in addition to allowing for the transportation of hemp throughout the state.

    Update: HB 300 was heard by the House Transportation & Defense Committee on 4/11/19.

    ID resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Indiana

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 516, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 516 was approved by the House on 4/9/19, with an amendment to allow the smoking of hemp flower. The House disagreed with the Senate’s amendments, so the bill will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation.

    IN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, HF 754 and SF 599, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HF 754 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 4/10/19.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Louisiana

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 509, to regulate adult use marijuana.

    The measure would permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

    LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 59, to reduce marijuana possession penalties for first time offenders.

    The measure removes the threat of jail time for first-time offenders who possess no more than 14 grams of marijuana (about half an ounce).

    LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095, reduce marijuana offense penalties in Missouri.

    This measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana or marijuana concentrate from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

    Update: HB 1095 was heard and approved by the Special Committee on Criminal Justice on 4/11/19.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, SB 430, that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.

    The measure would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with anxiety, autism, opioid addiction or dependence, anorexia nervosa, among others.

    Update: SB 430 was heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on 4/8/19, and again on 4/10.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, AB 346, to remove the prohibition on those convicted of certain marijuana related offenses from participating in childcare or healthcare related activities and employment positions.

    The measure also establishes a process to allow individuals to have their records set aside when determining eligibility to serve in such capacities

    Update: AB 346 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services on 4/12/19.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of removing employment restrictions

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: HB 350 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/11/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 168, to expand the state’s medical CBD exemption law.

    The measure expands the pool of individuals eligible for a medical CBD exemption to include those diagnosed with autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and Mitochondrial disease.

    Update: S. 168 was heard by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate on 4/9/19, and was then approved by the full Senate on 4/10. The bill now heads to the House.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical CBD expansion

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2614, to amend the possession penalties for individuals who use cannabis for a qualifying condition, but are not in possession of a medical marijuana identification card.

    The measure would reduce the penalty for this offense from a criminal misdemeanor to a citation, punishable by a maximum fine of $400.

    Update: HB 2614 was approved by the Senate Committee On Health And Human Services on 4/8/19.

    OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of reduced penalties

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 305, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.

    The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: SB 305 was heard in the House Rules Committee on 4/11/19.

    OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 868 / House Bill 2628, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 868 was approved by the House on 4/11/19, and will now be transmitted to the Governor.

    OK resident? Click here to email your governor in support of industrial hemp production

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2655 / Senate Bill 379, to protect responsible adult cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.

    Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 379 on 4/8/19.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.

    The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

    Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a work session SB 420 on 4/9/19.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Texas

    Legislation is pending, HB 1365, to provide qualified patients in Texas with access to medical cannabis.

    Update: HB 1365 was heard in a Medical Cannabis Subcommittee on 4/11/19.

    TX resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Vermont

    S. 54 is pending to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S. 54 was heard by theHouse Committees on General, Housing, and Military Affairs; Government Operations; and Judiciary this week.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 58 was heard in the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry on 4/10/19.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: The House Committee on Appropriations held an executive session on SB 5276 on 4/8/19.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

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