NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 6, 2015

    ballot_box_leafThis week was a busy one for marijuana law reform around the country. There were several election day measures and a new bill was introduced in the Senate. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s marijuana happenings:

    The controversial ResponsibleOhio measure failed to garner enough support in Ohio to become law. You can read more on what was learned from the campaign here. The measure was defeated 65 to 35 percent so it’s clear the initiative had some qualities that were less than desirable by Ohio residents. Those living in the city of Logan, OH also had the chance to vote on a local depenalization measure but voters rejected that measure 57 to 43 percent.

    On the successful end of things, residents in two Michigan cities approved local measures to reduce the penalties associated with the possession, use, transfer and transportation of small amounts of marijuana.

    Following election day, Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders introduced legislation, S 2237, to remove marijuana from the US Federal Controlled Substances Act. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 would deschedule cannabis from the CSA, as is alcohol and tobacco. This legislation provides states the power to establish their own marijuana policies and banking policies free from federal interference.

    What’s notable about this legislation is that it is the first ever bill introduced in the Senate that has called for the end of marijuana prohibition at the federal level. And it’s only the fourth marijuana law reform bill to have ever been introduced in the Senate. You can take action on this legislation, here.

    While not necessarily legislative news, a couple other important events took place this week:

    Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 decision that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional. The ruling declares that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use.

    While this is definitely a step in the right direction for a country that is almost crippled with drug cartel problems, what happens next remains to be seen. The ruling does not strike down current drug laws and it only applies to the four plaintiffs involved in the case. It could however, pave the way for more substantive policy changes to be made later on.

    Disappointingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief, Chuck Rosenberg said this week he doesn’t believe smoking marijuana is actually medicinal and called the entire premise a “joke”.

    He said, “What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not. We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine. That is a joke.”

    “There are pieces of marijuana — extracts or constituents or component parts — that have great promise” medicinally,” he said. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana, which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana, it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

    To have a top official, largely responsible for our country’s drug policy, refuse to acknowledge the therapeutic effects of the whole marijuana plant is disappointing and very misleading. To learn more about medical marijuana and it’s scientifically proven medical efficacy, click here.

    Thanks for catching up on what happened in marijuana law reform this week and keep following our blog for more updates as they happen!

    19 responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up”

    1. Michael says:

      Should be the DPA (Drug Prohibition Administration), I believe it is named wrong!

    2. Julian says:

      Thanks Danielle;
      Perhaps DEA director Chuck Rosenberg should watch a child having seizures calm down after oral administration of whole plant cannabis extract. Then, with cameras on him, ask him if he still thinks marijuana isn’t medicinal.

    3. Matthew says:

      Congressman Howard Coble died, at 84. He was at least one of our very worst adversaries.

    4. Raven says:

      It’s amazing to see the DEA grasping at straws and getting defensive about justifying the continued existance fo this out-dated agency.

    5. Lenny says:

      Chuck Rosenberg makes our country look stupid. Regardless of recreational views, science is science.

    6. Matthew says:

      Canadian Activist Dana Larson makes some of the most succinct points, today: “This century of war on cannabis and cannabis users was not some well-intentioned mistake. This persecution was not a noble effort to protect health or improve society…”

    7. Cat Cassie says:

      So the new DEA head is calling cannabis bad and dangerous . Too bad. I’ll bet he was dancing when Ohio didn’t pass issue 3. Even though it wasn’t for the reason he would like. He will still spin it to fit his opinion.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      Way to go, Bernie!!

      To those who will complain that he’s an “opportunist” on this issue, please explain to me, what the hell are we trying to do here except get the politicos to support or change their minds on pot legalization?

      He’s introduced legislation to remove pot from the controlled substance act, for crying out loud!

      Even you Rand Paul admirers should like that! (?)

    9. mexweed says:

      Chief Joke Chuck hasn’t gotten beyond the “$moking leaf” talkstyle even though Vaporizers sell 80% more each year? Bad and dangerous: “$moking” is a drug cocktail of carbon monoxide, heat $hock and 4221 Combu$tion toxins– which his ilk continue to blame on “marijuana” of course. Government are too comfy with their tax revenues from H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarettes it would appear. The train wreck Chucky sees down the track is the $igarette format itself derailed by universal preference for vaping with a flexdrawtube one-hitter made by You in Your garage (“disruptive technology”).

    10. Julian says:

      The Times may have gone tabloid from their days of true investigative reporting with that awful piece on Sanders “not kissing babies”, but at least their editorial board is stilling beating the drums of legalization;


      I find Canada and Mexico’s recent actions coinciding with quickly shifting Drug Policy from the UN fascinating. We can finally all see the tiger from the trees within the DOJ behind the scary veil known as the CSAct, and the cage that was made for the poor, the sick and minorities appears more and more to be fitted for the pacing predators of prohibition, behaving like arrogant wild cats, darting back and forth within their shrinking territory, only to find the same new walls the architects and profiteers if the CSAct built for themselves; druglords, DEA agents and prohibitionist Congressman who cant believe the end of their fearmongering is plainly in sight.