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GOVERNMENT

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 2, 2018

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

    A bit of news from across the border to start; Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s prohibition of marijuana by issuing two separate rulings, setting binding precedent that the country’s ban on consuming marijuana is unconstitutional. The nation’s Congress has 90 days to repeal cannabis bans now considered unconstitutional.

    Let’s talk about Election Day, which is this Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Don’t forget to vote if you haven’t already! No matter where you live, or what political party you identify with, your vote counts. It matters. It can make a difference. It’s your civic duty to exercise your right to vote. Make sure you know where your voting location is. And, make sure you know who and what is on your ballot, so you can make an informed decision. Also check out NORML’s voter guide and scorecard to see who the most cannabis friendly candidates are this election, and get ready to #SmokeTheVote!

    In Congress this week, The Marijuana Data Collection Act got two new cosponsors, for a new total of 33.

    At the state level, Utah lawmakers and advocates are working to revise provisions of medical marijuana compromise legislation. The House speaker also held a public forum on this issue.

    New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study committee finalized a report examining policy considerations for the potential end of prohibition.

    New Mexico lawmakers held a hearing on permitting medical cannabis on school grounds. Also, a New Mexico judge ruled that the state’s 450-plant limit on medical cannabis dispensaries has no factual basis.

    Maine regulators making guesses that the first recreational marijuana stores will begin sales next year.

    Oregon regulators will hold a public hearing on marijuana rule changes on November 16.

    Regulators in Colorado are hosting a working group meeting on Monday. Regulators in the state are also taking public comments on changes to medical cannabis rules. You can submit your own comments here.

    Regulators in Ohio started accepting petitions to add new medical cannabis qualifying conditions. You can submit your own petition here.

    Governor Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania signed a bill into law to end the practice of revoking driver’s licenses from people convicted of drug offenses and other crimes that have nothing to do with operating a motor vehicle.

    At a more local level, the mayor of San Francisco, California stated that the city is expanding their cannabis equity program. And Manhattan’s district attorney said marijuana prosecutions are down 94% in just the first quarter of a newly implemented policy.

    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.

    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

    New York

    A11390 seeks to require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs.

    The measure amends state law so that publicly funded health programs, including the largely-publicly funded Essential Plan, would treat medical cannabis like any other legal prescription drug “for the purposes of coverage under medical assistance.”

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana coverage

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 1, 2018

    On October 31, NORML hand delivered over 10,000 comments written by YOU, recommending that the World Health Organization (WHO) re-think their current prohibition of marijuana.

    Along with two of our fantastic interns, I drove to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) building in Rockville, Maryland. Earlier this month, The FDA put out a request for public comments on the international scheduling of cannabis. They’re going to use the comments as a response to the WHO as they review the abuse potential, medical efficacy, and other aspects of 16 controlled substances, one of them being marijuana.

    Currently, under international treaties, cannabis is scheduled in the most restrictive category. And as we all know, it does not belong there due to it’s widespread therapeutic and medical uses and very low potential for abuse.

    In NORML’s latest comments to the FDA, it opined that “cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis’ use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use.”

    Comments from NORML members totaled 10,117, making up just under 50% of the total comments submitted to the FDA nationwide.

  • by NORML October 26, 2018

    With the marijuana midterms right around the corner, it’s imperative that you know who and what is going to be on your ballot leading up to Election Day on November 6th. To see who the Votemarijuanamost pro-cannabis reform candidates are in your district, check out our Smoke the Vote scorecard and voter guide.

    One of the biggest hurdles to expanding the legal market in California has been local municipalities banning marijuana businesses in their jurisdiction. This election, at least 82 marijuana related measures will appear on ballots before voters across the state, spanning 10 counties and 58 municipalities.

    A majority of the local initiatives are asking about business taxes, which is often the first step needed to actually open up a cannabis business.

    You can check out the full list of local ballot initiatives here. If you live in any of those cities or counties, be sure to get out to the polls and vote on the marijuana ballot questions! Make sure you know where your polling location is before the election on November 6th and get ready to #SmokeTheVote!

     

  • by NORML October 22, 2018

    Sixty-six percent of US adults believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to national survey data compiled by the Gallup. The percentage is the highest ever reported by Gallup, which has been tracking Americans’ views on the subject of marijuana legalization since 1969.

    Support was strongest among Millennials (78 percent), Democrats (75 percent), and Independents (71 percent). Support for legalization was prevalent among the majority of Republicans (53 percent) and those 55 or older (59 percent), groups who have historically opposed reform.

    Commenting on the poll’s findings, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

    “It is time for lawmakers of both parties to en masse acknowledge the data-driven and political realities of legalization. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and implement common-sense, evidence-based regulations governing cannabis’ personal use and licensed production by responsible adults. An outright majority of every demographic, including age, political party, and region of the country support the outright legalization of marijuana”

    “Our time has come,” he added.

    The Gallup data is consistent with those of other national polls, including those conducted by Pew (62 percent) and Quinnipiac University (63 percent).

    Thirty-one 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 63 million Americans now reside in the nine states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional 15 states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.

    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 Political Associate October 19, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!We the People

    Some news from across the border to start off, this week Canada became the second country to regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis for adults. The new law also includes pardons of all criminal possession convictions less than 30 grams.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking public comments on whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a a schedule I controlled substance. People will have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA. They’ve already gotten at least 2,000 submissions. Click here to submit your own comments quickly and easily now.

    In Congress this week, the Senate bill, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act),got one new cosponsor, for a new total of six.

    The House bill, Veterans Equal Access Act, got one new cosponsor, for a new total of 29.

    At the state level, Assembly committees in New York held a joint hearing in Manhattan on marijuana legalization measures.

    Democratic lawmakers in Utah will hold a town hall meeting on medical marijuana next Wednesday 10/24. They’ll discuss the Utah Medical Cannabis Act and Proposition 2.

    Rhode Island regulators added autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation into law banning marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

    At a more local level, the mayor of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is aiding in the effort to collect signatures for a possible 2020 medical marijuana ballot measure.

    Seattle, Washington’s draft agenda for 2019 shows the city supports legislation in the state to allow marijuana delivery services, cannabis vaping lounges, and the expungement of misdemeanor convictions.

    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.

    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

    New Jersey

    A4510 seeks to create a state bank to provide financial services to licensed marijuana business operating in accordance with state law.

    The measure would permit the bank to make loans to, and accept deposits from, any marijuana-related business. Currently, many financial institutions are discouraged from interacting with the cannabis industry because of the plant’s illegal federal status.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded banking access

    That’s all for this week!

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