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  • by NORML November 2, 2018

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

    In addition, if you live in any of these cities, be sure to vote YES on the following marijuana ballot initiatives.

    Dayton

    Shall the Dayton Revised Code of General Ordinances be amended to decriminalize specific misdemeanor marihuana and hashish offenses?

    Garrettsville

    “Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?”

    Windham

    “Shall the proposed ordinance to lower the penalties for misdemeanor marihuana offenses to the lowest penalties allowed by state law be adopted?”

    Fremont

    “Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?”

    Norwood

    “Shall the proposed ordinance adding Section 513.15 Marijuana Laws and Penalties to the City of Norwood Municipal Code, which would lower the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law, be adopted?”

    Oregon

    “Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?”

    Make sure you know where your polling location is, who the most cannabis friendly candidiates are, and be sure to get to the polls on November 6th to #SmokeTheVote!

  • 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 Vote marijuanamost pro-cannabis reform candidates are in your district, check out our Smoke the Vote scorecard and voter guide.

    In addition, if you live in any of these 16 counties and/or two cities, be sure to vote YES on the following marijuana ballot questions. In no way are these questions binding, but passing results often serve as an antecedent for legislative action by lawmakers.

    Brown County

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Clark County

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Dane County

    Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?

    Eau Claire County (Vote option A)

    Should cannabis:

    (a) Be legal for adult, 21 years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
    (b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?
    (c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

    Forest County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Kenosha County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    La Crosse County

    Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

    Langlade County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Lincoln County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Marathon County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Marquette County

    Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum Wisconsin to join the thirty-two (32) states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.

    Milwaukee County

    Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?

    Portage County

    Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?

    Racine County

    Question No. 1: “Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use? Question No. 2: Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older? Question No. 3: Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?”

    City of Racine

    Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin? Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?
    Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
    Should cannabis be decriminalize in the State of Wisconsin?

    Rock County

    Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?

    Sauk County

    Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?

    City of Waukesha

    Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?

    Just under half of Wisconsin’s population lives in the counties that will be voting on cannabis advisory questions. Make sure you know where your polling location is, and be sure to get to the polls on November 6th 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 Tom McCain, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML October 15, 2018

    One Year Anniversary

    October 2nd, 2018 marked the one year anniversary of the unanimous passage of Atlanta City Ordinance 17-O-1152, which reduced the penalty for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana within the city limits of Atlanta to $75.00 and no jail time.  While this ordinance isn’t a true “decrim” bill, because those arrested are still being fingerprinted, it was a great step toward sensible marijuana legislation here in Georgia.

    Curiosity

    I wanted to know just what effect 17-O-1152 had on “simple possession” arrests in Atlanta.  After all, the ordinance didn’t make it “legal”, it just reduced the penalties.  It didn’t really even “decrim”.  APD officers are still free to arrest offenders and take them to jail.  The question burned in my mind; “Did they, or did they use 17-O-1152 as a justification to act on a moral conviction?“.  I knew where to find at least a clue to the answer.

    ACDC — No, Not the Band

    I have to hand it to the folks in the Records Department of the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC).  I’ve asked them for data several times and they are always quick to respond.  It seems I even have a nickname with them.  More on that later …. maybe.

    So last week I asked them to provide me with the following data, which they promptly did.  I’ve added their response in blue:

    a) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2016, and Oct 2, 2017, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is an included charge:  2136

    b) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2016, and Oct 2, 2017, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is the ONLY charge:  952

    c) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2017, and Oct 2, 2018, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is an included charge:  683

    d) The number of bookings between Oct 3, 2017, and Oct 2, 2018, where possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is the ONLY charge:  252

    The Inference

    To sum it up, personal-use possession arrests fell from 3088 to 935 the first year after implementation of this ordinance.  When you do the math, that’s a 69.8% reduction.  So consider these factors:

    • 17-O-1152 was not directed to the Atlanta Police Department, rather to the Municipal Court.
    • APD officers can still arrest
    • Folks in the Metro live it like it’s legal anyway

    I searched through APD’s Standard Operating Procedures and didn’t find a mention of reducing the emphasis on simple possession arrests, so that doesn’t seem to be a factor.  Chief Shields may have issued an internal memo to that effect, but I’ve found no evidence of it, and I’m fairly certain that would have made its way into print somewhere.  She did say publicly during the hearings associated with 17-O-1152 that possession of small amounts was not high on the APD’s priority list, and that certainly has to be taken into consideration.

    So what can we deduce from this information?  I think it’s simply this; Nearly 70% of cops in Atlanta really don’t have a problem with NOT arresting marijuana users and now that they have an opportunity to exercise their moral discretion, they are doing so.  I think that’s significant.

    Too Optimistic?

    I’m optimistic by nature.  I’m always looking to what’s around the corner, to what the positive, rather than the negative outcome of a situation can be.  When this ordinance was passed many of you in the marijuana movement in Georgia cast aspersions on it.  You felt like it was a hollow gesture, with no substance, and that it wouldn’t make a difference.  Well, apparently you were wrong.  ‘Nuff said.

    So now I’m excited to see how this pans out in Savannah, South Fulton, Fulton County, Forest Park, and Kingsland as they reach the anniversary dates of their “decrim” ordinances.  We already know that Clarkston’s City Council and Mayor Ted Terry were the first to enact such an ordinance, and their program is working well.

    I’m also interested, as we all should be, in whether or not our State Legislators are listening …. or rather, who they are listening to.  This is The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association’s (GSA) position on marijuana  posted boldly on the front page of their website:

    “The position of the GSA concerning marijuana and medical cannabis is as follows:

    • OPPOSE the legalization of marijuana for all social, recreational or industrial purposes.
    • OPPOSE the cultivation of marijuana for all purposes.
    • SUPPORT the use of chemicals derived from cannabis for medical use for certain well defined serious health conditions.
    • OPPOSE the medical delivery or application of chemicals derived from cannabis plants through smoking.
    • OPPOSE legislative proposals where appropriate controls and security measures do not exist and where strict civil and criminal penalties are absent.

    The Executive Vice President of the GSA is a paid lobbyist.  Sheriffs and other law enforcement execs are always telling us, “We don’t make the laws, we just enforce them” and “If you don’t want us enforcing the law, get it changed.”  How are we supposed to do that when phrases like “Danger, danger” and “slippery slope” and “gateway drug” are constantly being whispered in our law-makers’ ears by a paid lobbyist?  Get out of our way and we WILL change the law.  We’re going to change it anyway.  It’s now a matter of when not if.  Your Rank and File support it.  I know.  I talk to them.

    I also find it telling that the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police doesn’t even mention it on their website.

    Tom McCain is the Executive Director of Peachtree NORML, fighting for the rights of Georgian cannabis consumers. You can visit their website at www.peachtreenorml.org, follow their work on Facebook and Twitter, and please make a contribution to support their work by clicking here. 

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