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Cannabis Caucus

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director March 14, 2019

    In the House, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), a founder and co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has reintroduced H.R. 1647, the Veterans Equal Access Act, which expands medical cannabis access to eligible military veterans.

    Presently, V.A. doctors are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. Passage of this bill would lift this prohibition.

    At the time of introduction, Rep. Blumenauer said, “For too long, our veterans have been denied access to highly effective medical marijuana treatment for conditions like chronic pain and PTSD. Medical marijuana has shown proven benefits for treating these conditions denying our veterans access to them is shameful. This simple bill would align veterans VA treatment with their very popular state laws, usually approved by the voters. This legislation would guarantee our veterans fair and equal treatment, along with the ability to consult with their own physician on all treatment options. It’s past time we provide them with the care they need and deserve.”

    Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of the Veterans Equal Access Act

    In the 114th Congress, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.

    Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction CAPS (Clinician Administered Post-traumatic Scale) symptom scores following cannabis therapy.

    A recently released poll conducted by The American Legion showed that nearly 1 in 4 veterans self-reported using marijuana to alleviate a medical or physical condition.

    Our veterans deserve the option to legally access a botanical product that is objectively safer than the litany of pharmaceutical drugs it could replace.

    Send a message now to your lawmakers

  • by Representative Barbara Lee February 28, 2019
    Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents California’s 13th district

    First off, I want to thank you for being an active member of the cannabis reform movement and I am proud to tell you that we have never been closer to ending the counterproductive and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization than we are right now.

    Today, I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 and I have every intention of moving the bill forward, but I need your help.

    Will you tell your member of Congress to join me as a cosponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act?

    The prohibition of marijuana has had a devastating effect on communities of color. Although whites and blacks have been found to use marijuana at similar rates, a 2013 report by the ACLU found that a “black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.” As a result, low-income communities and communities of color have been subject to mass-criminalization and mass incarceration.

    We can stop this. The Marijuana Justice Act would deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and seek to correct these racial disparities in arrests and sentencing. Further, it mandates that all records of federal possession convictions are expunged and resources be made available to local units of government to assist in the expungement of prior state and local convictions.

    If this is important to you, then contact your member of Congress and tell them to cosponsor The Marijuana Justice Act now.

    In addition to incentivizing states to legalize marijuana, the Marijuana Justice Act seeks to repair some of the damage marijuana prohibition has done to this country’s most vulnerable communities. For those communities that have been economically and socially disenfranchised by overcriminalization and cyclical incarceration, this legislation provides funding to programs focused on youth development, citizen re-entry, job training, health education, and funding for community resources such as public libraries and community centers.

    Members of Congress must not turn their backs on the millions of Americans nationwide who rely on access to marijuana for their health, wellness, and liberty. According to recently released nationwide survey data, a supermajority of Americans strongly support patients’ access to medical marijuana and oppose federal interference in these matters. A recent poll shows that 93 percent of Americans support the medical use of marijuana, and a poll conducted by the Center for American Progress found American voter support of legalized marijuana is at an all-time high, with 68% of respondents indicating their support. Perhaps most importantly, the poll shows a majority of voters in both major political parties and independents now believe that marijuana should be legal, with the most dramatic jump in support observed in Republican respondents.

    Send a message to your Representative in support of the Marijuana Justice Act now!

    In the last session of Congress, 10% of the membership of the House of Representatives were co-sponsors of this bill, a historic level of support. By adding your voice to the growing chorus of calls for reform from around the country, we can finally end marijuana prohibition once and for all in a way that provides justice to those who were most harmed.

    Thank You,
    Barbara Lee

    Representative Barbara Lee

  • by NORML February 8, 2019

    Take Action for Marijuana Law ReformSenator Ron Wyden has introduced legislation in the Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

    Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of Senate Bill 420 now!

    “Senate Bill 420 is another sign that the growing public support for ending our failed war on cannabis consumers nationwide is continuing to translate into political support amongst federal officials,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “If we are truly going to move our nation towards sensible marijuana policies, the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act is paramount. Annually, 650,000 Americans are arrested for nothing more than the possession of small amounts of marijuana and now is the time for Congress to once and for all end put an end to the national embarrassment that is cannabis prohibition. With marijuana legalization being supported by a supermajority of Americans while Congress’ approval rating hovers around 20 percent, ending our country’s disastrous prohibition against marijuana would not just be good policy, but good politics.”

    Upon introduction, Senator Wyden said, “The federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been missed. It’s time Congress make the changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.”

    Representative Earl Blumenauer, who will carry the House companion legislation, said, “Oregon has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies and the federal government must catch up,” said Blumenauer. “The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis Congress in American history and significant pieces of legislation are being introduced. The House is doing its work and with the help of Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through.”

    Legislative text for the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act can be found here.

    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 safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. Instead, 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, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director January 14, 2019

    Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced HR 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

    The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act essentially would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000+ workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty, and that is what states and businesses would have with Congressman Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from potential rouge US Attorneys under a Department of Justice likely to be led by known drug warrior William Barr.

    Click here to send a message to your Representative and tell them to add their name in support!

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

    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, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.

    It is critical that federal officials protect our progress. Send a message in support of HR 493 now!

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director January 10, 2019

    This week, Congressman Earl Blumenauer reserved HR 420 for his legislation, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

    A decades-long champion of cannabis reform, this marks the first time that Blumenauer has staked out the specific bill number 420. His focus however, is ever on the goal of reform, telling Forbes, “While the bill number may be a bit tongue in cheek, the issue is very serious. Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives.”

    The legislation would deschedule cannabis, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit. Further, marijuana would be removed from the enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales, to a newly renamed Alcohol, Marijuana, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to ensure compliance with state laws and prevent illegal trafficking of the substance.

    In the 115th Congress, the bill had 26 cosponsors – compared to 19 cosponsors in the 114th.

    Will you tell your Representative to cosponsor the bill? Click here to send a message in less than 20 seconds.

    Then spread the word! Click here to share our action alert on Facebook and click here to share it on Twitter

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