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ACTIVISM

  • by NORML December 7, 2018

    Washington, DC: Today, President Trump announced his intention to nominate former Attorney General William Barr to be considered by the Senate to replace former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

    “With every move by the Department of Justice facing intense public scrutiny, maintaining Jeff Sessions’ policy of reefer madness would be self-defeating,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The movement to end the failed and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization is larger and stronger than ever, supported by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisans.”

    “In 2018, five states legalized either the medicinal or adult-use of marijuana, making the total number of states out of compliance with the Controlled Substances Act now 47. It would be utterly absurd for William Barr or any agent of the Department of Justice to take any action against these state-sanctioned and operational programs.”

    “Over half of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee represent states that have or are in the process of enacting a legal marijuana marketplace. It is our intention that Mr. Barr be put on the record regarding his current position on cannabis given his record as a proponent of the failed War on Drugs.”

    Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional fifteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

    Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

    Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.

    To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safetycrime ratestraffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

    Specifically, a 2017 report estimates that over 149,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abusehospitalizations, and mortality.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator

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

    At the state level, certain provisions of Michigan’s voter approved legalization measure specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis took effect on Thursday. Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana measure also took effect on Thursday.

    Iowa’s first medical cannabis dispensary, MedPharm, opened on Saturday. And Alzheimer’s disease was added to Minnesota’s list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions by the state’s Department of Health.

    Members of the New York state assembly held a public hearing on adult use marijuana legalization at Babylon Town Hall on Long Island.

    At a more local level, Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, Colorado, announced via Twitter that his administration will begin to “vacate low-level marijuana convictions.” And two city councilmen in Cincinnati, Ohio are advocating for marijuana decriminalization in the city with legislation that would put the question on the ballot.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act 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 at the federal level. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: 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.

    Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

    Utah

    House Bill 3001 is “compromise” legislation that sought to significantly amend Proposition 2, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. The changes are likely to adversely impact patients’ medical cannabis access and unduly delay the law’s implementation.

    Update: On 12/3, Governor Herbert (R) signed HB 3001 into law shortly after it was approved by the Utah House of Representatives 60-13, and then the Senate 22-4. The new law takes effect immediately.

    Illinois

    House Bill 2367 seeks to vacate criminal records among those with certain past marijuana possession convictions.

    The bill amends the Cannabis Control Act so that Illinoisans may file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. Several other states, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have enacted similar laws.

    Update: On 11/29, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 67-37 to pass HB 2367. The measure now awaits action in the Senate.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expungement

  • by NORML December 5, 2018

    Key provisions of the state’s voter-initiated marijuana measure, Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, will take effect this Thursday, December 6. Michigan is the tenth US state to legalize and regulate the use and sale of marijuana by adults, and it is the ninth to do so via voter initiative.

    “The legalization of the adult use of marijuana in Michigan represents a victory for common sense public policy, while delivering yet another body blow to our decades long failed prohibition on marijuana,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Instead of continuing to arrest over 22,000 citizens a year for marijuana related charges, Michigan will now be able to reallocate precious law enforcement resources to combat violent crime while respecting civil liberties and advancing racial justice. This is a great day for the state of Michigan and, as the first midwest state to legalize marijuana for adult use, a huge step forward in the nationwide fight to end the failed policy of prohibition and incarceration and to replace it with a sensible system of legalization and regulation.”

    Provisions specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis will take effect at 12am. Those over the age of 21 may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates in a private residence. Adults may also legally cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in private, and possess the harvest (up to ten ounces) of those plants. Public use of cannabis will remain a violation of law.

    Under the new law, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has up to 12 months to begin accepting applications from those seeking to operate licensed cannabis businesses.

    Despite majority support for the new law, legislation (SB 1243) introduced by outgoing Sen. Majority Leader Arian Meekhof in the lame duck session seeks to significantly amend many of its provisions. The measure, which NORML opposes, would eliminate adults’ ability to home cultivate personal use amounts of cannabis, among other changes.

    “Home cultivation is a vital component of Michigan’s new law, and this policy is consistent with those policies regulating alcohol — which permit home brewing,” Altieri said.Fifty-six percent of Michigan voters approved Proposition 1. Politicians should respect the will of the electorate; they should not be seeking to undermine them.”

    Click here to email your lawmakers and urge them to vote ‘no’ on SB 1243.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 3, 2018

    Marijuana medicine[Update: Governor Gary Herbert has signed the replacement measure into law.]

    Lawmakers voted in a special legislative session on Monday to replace the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access program. The former law, Proposition 2, was approved by 53 percent of voters on November 6.

    NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri criticized lawmakers’ decision. “Lawmakers should have respected the will of the voters and should have moved expeditiously to honor the spirit of the law — not undermine it,” he said. “Patients deserve the right to cultivate their own medicine, doctors should be empowered to decide what is best for their patients, and there should be no undue hurdles to licensing an adequate number of dispensaries to provide cannabis related products in a retail environment.”

    Legislators announced in October their intent to rewrite the legislation, prior to its passage, after meetings with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — who opposed the bill — and other groups, including some backers of the original bill. However, other proponents of Proposition 2, including the group TRUCE Utah (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), have announced their intent to file a lawsuit in response to lawmakers’ decision to amend the law.

    The replacement legislation, House Bill 3001, significantly differs from the language that was approved by the voters. It eliminates patients’ option to home cultivate cannabis, it largely discourages the dispensing of edible cannabis products, it narrows the list of qualifying conditions, and it significantly reduces the total number of permissible state-licensed dispensaries, among other changes.

    Members of the House voted 60 to 13 in favor of the new language. Members of the Senate voted 22 to 4. The bill required two-thirds support from both chambers in order to become law.

    The vote to rewrite the voter-initiated law broke down largely along party lines, with Republican lawmakers deciding in favor of the change and Democratic members largely voting ‘present.’ An alternative measure backed by members of the Democratic Caucus that sought to make only minor administrative changes to the initiative was defeated.

    Once signed by Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, the new law takes immediate effect.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 1, 2018

    Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

    Members of  NORML Chapters in Missouri Host Community Discussion About Amendment 2

    “MU NORML, the Mizzou chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hosted a cannabis conference Saturday with Missouri NORML and Show-Me Cannabis.”

    Read more from ABC 17!

    Follow University of Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    NORML Leaders in the Media

    Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

    “We’re going to set ourselves up for the best chance possible,” Brown said. “We’ve sent letters out and have contacted all of our elected officials in North Carolina, and those that were running, to get their responses about how they felt about cannabis reform.”

    Read more from WSPA 7 News!

    Follow North Carolina NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

    Robinson could not be happier about Walker’s election defeat, since he historically has not supported legalizing marijuana and in May referred to it as a “gateway drug” during an interview on WISN-TV.

    Read more from The Badger Herald!

    Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Ali Nagib, Deputy Director, Illinois NORML

    Nagib said regulations might include limits on the potency of marijuana. And he wonders whether the “number of licenses will be limited and if there’ll be something favoring small businesses.”

    Read more from the Rockford Register Star!

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Chris Goldstein, Executive Director, South Philly NORML

    “Goldstein, however, said the new bill is part of a blinkered mentality that will prevent the city from taking full advantage of the medical marijuana industry and, he claims, eventually full-scale legalization.”

    Read more from WHYY Public Media!

    Follow South Philly NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Andy Lee, Communications Director, NORML Canada

    “A diverse cannabis sector will, ultimately, provide the most innovation, establish high-quality products and a better experience for consumers,”

    Read more from The Province!

    Follow NORML Canada on Facebook and become a member today!

    Christeen Landino, Deputy Director, Michigan NORML

    “Landino recalls getting busted for pot in 1968 and attending her first demonstration about marijuana in Detroit in 1974. That one was in support of a decriminalization effort that never made it to the ballot.”

    Read more from the Detroit Metro Times!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    The measure will officially go into effect Dec. 6, according to Dan Viets, president of New Approach Missouri. But it could be as much as a year later before patients will have access to cannabis.”

    Read more from KOMU 8!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Prices will reflect the content of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetryhydrocannabinol (THC), both active compounds found in marijuana, said Dan Viets, president of Amendment 2’s campaign committee and president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation, or the NORML Foundation.”

    Read more from the Missourian!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “‘Certification’ is the correct term,” Viets said. Doctors will provide patients with a document allowing marijuana use if the patient has been diagnosed with one or more of a list of diseases listed in the amendment.

    Read more from Springfield News-Leader!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Dan Viets, Executive Director, Missouri NORML

    “Viets has been working with Missouri NORML to answer as many questions as possible about the new laws, and admits that there are still a few things that are still coming together but said they’re working to get everything in motion as quickly as possible.”

    Read more from ABC 17 News!

    Follow Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    David Holland, Board Member, Empire State NORML

    National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) lawyer David Holland was recruited by Tesoriero to explain the impacts marijuana arrests can have on people.”

    Read more from The New Paltz Oracle!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    David Phipps, Communications Director, Indiana NORML

    “Some marijuana advocates downstate, meanwhile, think Michigan’s legalization could spur Hoosier legislators — maybe within the next year or two — to take action on the issue of medical marijuana, which has gradually gained attention over the last decade.”

    Read more from News Bug!

    Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML

    “New York — which already allows medical use of marijuana — will legalize its recreational use next year. He noted that the newly elected senators headed to Albany in January include a number of young progressives who will support legalization.”

    Read more from Times Herald-Record!

    Follow Empire State NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “It’s clear that its popularity is overwhelming. It’s even more popular than many of the candidates who were elected in those areas.”

    Read more from WISN 12 News!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Eric Marsch, Executive Director, Southeastern Wisconsin NORML

    “Both are very supportive of medical cannabis and open-minded on recreational cannabis,” Marsh said in an interview. “The close margin in those statewide races means they both owe their jobs to the hundreds of thousands of cannabis voters who came out to support the referendums.”

    Read more from the Daily Cardinal!

    Follow Southeastern Wisconsin NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Jax Finkle, Executive Director, Texas NORML

    “I don’t think that’s going to be a conversation this session,” Finkle told the Dallas Observer. “Texans like to consider themselves their own nation state. We like to do things our own way, and that means that [recreational legalization] will probably be later.”

    Read more from Civilized!

    Follow Texas NORML on Facebook and become a member today! 

    Kandice Hawes, Executive Director, Orange County NORML

    “Hawes founded Orange County NORML in 2003 after losing her college financial aid due to a marijuana possession charge. OC NORML has been instrumental in getting recreational marijuana legalized in California, organizing the Medical Cannabis Conference for Seniors in Laguna Woods Village, and working to end the lengthy incarceration of nonviolent marijuana prisoners.”

    Read more from The Indy!

    Follow Orange County NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Luis Nakamoto, Executive Director, San Antonio NORML

    “San Antonio NORML, the local chapter for reform on marijuana laws, is hopeful this go-around in terms of the next legislative session. State Senator Jose Menendez filed S.B. 90. He hopes to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program.”

    Read more from KENS 5!

    Follow San Antonio NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Madisen Saglibene, Executive Director, Nevada NORML

    “It’s unlikely that President Trump’s new attorney general will spread reefer madness and misinformation to the same extent that Mr. Sessions has,”

    Read more from the Las Vegas Review-Journal!

    Follow Nevada NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “It’s already in our communities, kids are already getting it. When you regulate it, you take it out of the black market, you put it into a store and then you can go after the people who are giving it to kids.”

    Read more from News 10 NBC!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mary Krueger, Executive Director, Rochester NORML

    “She and other justice advocates urge lawmakers to vacate or seal records of low-level possession and sale charges brought in the past. They also push for people who are currently incarcerated for such crimes to be released or have their sentences reduced to time served.”

    Read more from The River Reporter!

    Follow Rochester NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “I expect a rush on the grow stores in December because people are going to be getting lights and fans for Christmas.”

    Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Matthew Able, Executive Director, Michigan NORML

    “It has not been a smooth roll out on the part of the state,” Abel said. “You’d think Michigan would learn from other states — simple things, like license growers first.”

    Read more from Revue!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Michael Ford, Executive Director, Minnesota NORML

    “Michael Ford and lifelong marijuana activist Oliver Steinberg, offers a moralistic wish list that includes home growing, release of nonviolent offenders, retroactive expungement, public consumption, and a purchasing age of 18.”

    Read more from City Pages!

    Follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Mya Smith, Board Member, Purdue NORML

    “I have no doubt in my mind that it would become legal if they put it on a ballot.”

    Read more from WLFI 18!

    Follow Purdue NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “This isn’t done. Just because we passed legalization we have many more hurdles to accomplish. expungement is one, federal banking is one, criminal justice reform on the national scale.”

    Read more from NBC 25 News!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “A person who may have consumed cannabis several days ago might still test positive for the presence of cannabis,” said Thompson. “That does not indicate they were using their automobile in an impaired way.”

    Read more from WSBT 22!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Rick Thompson, Board Member, Michigan NORML

    “It was very predictable that this would happen and just underscores that there needs to be a change in federal law.”

    Read more from the Detroit Free Press!

    Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

    Pam Dyer, Executive Director, Eastern Washington Women of NORML

    “Dyer says consuming raw cannabis has also relieved a friend’s rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While she doesn’t get high from eating the leaves and stems, Dyer does say that she has to reduce how much cannabis she ingests through other methods.”

    Read more from The Spokesman-Review!

    Follow Eastern Washington Women of NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    Paul Kirchberg, Executive Director, Connecticut NORML

    “We know it’s safer than alcohol,” he said “If we can honestly have an open conversation about cannabis, we can realize that right now there are 30,000 people in Connecticut who are living proof that it’s not something to fear. Adult consumption, however, requires a certain level of responsibility.”

    Read more from the Connecticut Post!

    Follow Connecticut NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

    For more than 45 years NORML chapters have been the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please email NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji at KevinM@NORML.org for help with starting your own!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

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