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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 20, 2019

    A coalition of activist groups, including Arizona NORML, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the state chapter of the ACLU, have filed language with the Secretary of State seeking to legalize the adult use and dispensing of cannabis.

    The Smart and Safe Arizona Act, which was drafted with input from Arizona NORML State Director Michael Weisser, permits those age 21 and over to legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use amounts of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products. The proposed measure also allows those with marijuana convictions to petition the court for an expungement of their records, among other legal and regulatory changes.

    “Since the failure of 2016 another 30,000 Arizonans have been arrested for cannabis possession,” Weisser acknowledged. “I committed myself and Arizona NORML to making ourselves as central as possible to any 2020 campaign to make sure our values were protected.”

    A 2016 statewide initiative effort in Arizona failed by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent.

    Advocates must collect 237,645 valid signatures from voters by July 2, 2020 in order to place the Smart and Safe Arizona Act on the November 2020 ballot.

  • by Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of NORML KC July 16, 2019

    Things are heating up in Kansas City!

    We are happy with the outcome of Kansas City’s Council vote to reduce the buffer zone from daycares, churches and schools to 300ft. We appreciate the Councilmembers hearing our testimony and taking our concerns into consideration. We look forward to working with them again in the future. Thank you to newly elected Mayor Quinton Lucas for working with us on this. THANK YOU to everyone who called, emailed, tweeted, texted, and who showed up to give public testimony over the last few weeks. It’s incredible what a small group of supporters can accomplish when we come together!

    From the The Kansas City Star: “The ordinance passed Thursday places medical marijuana facilities a minimum of 300 feet away from schools, churches and day care facilities. Cultivators, manufacturers and testers face the same distance requirement for day care facilities and churches, but they must be at least 750 feet from schools.”

    Patient Seminars II – Home Cultivation and Compliance 

    Are you planning to cultivate your own medical cannabis or interested in being a caregiver? Please make plans to join us for our Patient Seminar II: Home Cultivation and Compliance. We will be breaking all of this information down into easy-to-understand steps. Join us at the 18th Street Union on July 20, from 2pm-4pm. This location is accessible and the general public is welcome to attend. We will also be discussing chapter updates, continued efforts and upcoming events.

    Our Special Guest Speakers Will Be:

    Kevin Mahmalji is the national outreach director for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

    As a registered medical marijuana patient in the state of Colorado, Kevin has been growing marijuana for almost a decade. Most of his work has been from seed, both regular and feminized, but has also grown from clone. Much of his growing experience has been indoor, but recently expanded to try his luck with Colorado’s unpredictable outdoor growing season.

    As a self-taught grower, Kevin has real world experience with each stage of the marijuana plant’s life cycle. From germination and seedlings, to vegetative and flowering, he has the proven knowledge to sustain a perpetual harvest and maximize yields. In 2015 Kevin used his knowledge of cultivating marijuana to organize Colorado’s first home grow safety symposium, which brought together top breeders, respected growers and processors and other thought leaders to explore the world of personal cultivation.

    Paul Anderson is a licensed lawyer and experienced litigator in the state of Missouri. He helped pioneer one of the most prominent battles in sports – the NFL and NCAA Concussion Litigation.

    Medical marijuana is of special interest to Paul since he knows firsthand the devastating effects traumatic brain injuries have had on his clients and the public. The promising medical literature points to cannabis as being a tool to combat and treat brain injuries. With the passage of Amendment 2, Paul intends to be at the forefront of accelerating access to qualifying patients.

    Be sure to Save the Date for our Summer Seminars III (Cannabis and Mental Health) on August 17 

    We are looking for volunteers to help at The Whole Person’s Main Street Music Festival, on July 27. We have shifts available throughout the day to help at our booth.  For more information, please email us at newnormlkc@gmail.com

    Are you a business owner who would like to sponsor one of our upcoming meeting or events? Contact us at newnormlkc@gmail.com. Please consider making a donation to help us further marijuana law reform and continued community and patient education.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets! For more information follow NORML KC on Facebook, and visit our website!

     

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator June 12, 2019

    NORML in New JerseyNORML New Jersey stormed the halls of the state legislature during Monday’s press conference, rally, and lobby day to help break the legalization deadlock and demand that state lawmakers take action in support of adult use cannabis legalization in the Garden State.

    The crowd of activists and press heard from NORML’s state policy team, the ACLU-NJ, medical cannabis patients, and others who have been adversely impacted by New Jersey’s unjust cannabis policies on issues such as regulating sales, expunging past records, home cultivation rights, and more.

    Efforts to legalize cannabis in New Jersey have stalled in recent months as Senate and Assembly leadership negotiated details of the proposed legislation with Governor Murphy, who campaigned on the issue and pledged to enact legalization within his first 100 days in office. No action has been taken on the bill since a joint committee vote in November 2018.

    Members of the Senate and Assembly were scheduled to vote on the measure in March, but the vote was ultimately delayed due to a lack of the required number of votes to approve the measure in the Senate.

    On the same day, the Senate and Assembly approved legislation to expunge past records for certain cannabis possession offenses, which now heads to Governor Murphy’s desk.

  • by NORML May 31, 2019

    With Governor Pritzker’s Signature, Illinois will become the first state in history to legislatively legalize and regulate cannabis sales

    Springfield, IL: Just prior to the closing of the 2019 legislative session, both chambers of the Illinois statehouse passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) to legalize cannabis and regulate it’s production, manufacture, and distribution.

    “Cannabis criminalization in Illinois is coming to an end. While this bill isn’t perfect, it does provide a pathway for adults to legally obtain and consume cannabis. It also expands access and rights for qualified medical patients. Importantly, the bill provides much-needed relief to those most harmed by the legacy of prohibition and emphasizes giving those who have been most harmed by cannabis criminalization preference in establishing a foothold in this new industry,” said Illinois NORML Executive Director Dan Linn. “We are confident that this is the best bill we could get through the legislature at this time, but are adamant that Illinois must enact additional protections in the future, in particular, the right of adults to home grow personal use amounts of cannabis.”

    “Today’s outcome is the result of years of volunteers educating the public and lobbying lawmakers in Illinois. This process has not been easy but it does reflect what dedicated citizens can accomplish if they engage in the political process,” concluded Linn.

    “We’re going to be able to look back five years from now and see that the quality of life in disadvantaged communities has been made better because of this legislation,” said Chicago NORML Executive Director Edie Moore.

    NORML is committed to the mission of ending cannabis prohibition, and after decades of hard work by dedicated volunteers and activists from coast-to-coast that mission is in reach following the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) by the Illinois Statehouse.

    It is expected that Governor Pritzker will sign the legislation.

    This bill accomplishes many of NORML’s key goals. Most importantly, it removes cannabis from the hands of unregulated illicit marketers and ushers in a system where the product is tested, taxed, and otherwise regulated. It also takes important steps toward the goal of dealing with the disproportionate impact of the “War on Drugs” by giving those individuals and communities that have been impacted a fair chance to participate in this new industry. NORML is committed to social justice and equity and supportive of the fact that the bill intends to prioritize those issues. The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker have heard the voices of the vast majority of citizens across the state that support these important changes.

    “With this action, Illinois will become the first state to legalize and regulate a commercial cannabis market for responsible adult consumers,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Today is a historic day.”

  • by NORML May 29, 2019

    Illinois poised to become the first state to legislatively legalize and regulate cannabis

    Legalize MarijuanaSpringfield, IL: For more than 40 years, NORML has been committed to the mission of ending cannabis prohibition, and after decades of hard work by dedicated volunteers and activists from coast-to-coast that mission is one step closer to fruition following the passage of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HB1438-SFA2) by the Illinois Senate.

    This bill accomplishes many of NORML’s key goals. Most importantly, it removes cannabis from the hands of unregulated illicit marketers and ushers in a system where the product is tested, taxed, and otherwise regulated. It also takes important steps toward the goal of dealing with the disproportionate impact of the “War on Drugs” by giving those individuals and communities that have been impacted a fair chance to participate in this new industry. NORML is committed to social justice and equity and we are proud that the bill intends to prioritize those issues. The Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker have heard the voices of the vast majority of citizens across the state that support this important change and we applaud them for their efforts.

    “This is just one step of many in ending cannabis prohibition. Even after this bill passes there will still be work to do to give adults in Illinois access to cannabis without having to purchase it from a limited amount of stores and cultivators,” said Dan Linn, Executive Director of Illinois NORML.

    Follow Illinois NORML on Facebook and Twitter and support their work at their website.

    This bill has been a part of a long legislative process over several years, and we applaud the sponsors especially Senator Heather Steans and Representative Kelly Cassidy for all their hard work to get this legislative goal accomplished. Any bill dealing with an issue of this size and complexity necessarily requires listening to stakeholders and compromise. Despite all of the positive changes the bill makes, it is still concerning the degree to which the negotiations on this bill represent “politics as usual” in Illinois. This includes concessions restricting home cultivation to patients made to stakeholders who have consistently and without remorse misrepresented facts and promoted outright propaganda, even in the face of growing public antipathy to their position. It also includes business-licensing restrictions that virtually guarantee that consumers will experience product shortages, high prices, and plenty of incentive to stay in the illicit market even after legal sales begin. And in spite of the stated concerns of the sponsors that the current Illinois business landscape lacks diversity, those licensing provisions will assuredly lead to an adult-use ownership structure that is just as lacking in diversity.

    “The barriers to entry into this marketplace will only continue to expand the problems of the wealthy being able to profit from this new opportunity while others with fewer resources are unable to move from the illegal to the legal marketplace in terms of growing and selling this product,” Linn emphasized.

    NORML has spent over 40 years with the facts on its side, independent of any false claims made by Courts, Legislatures, and Executive branch officials on the Federal, State, and Local level across the USA, and the passage of today’s bill only reaffirms that. We stand ready to work with the Governor’s office and the Legislature to deal with the problems stated above as they become apparent, just as we have with every piece of cannabis and hemp legislation in Illinois going back more than a decade. We are proud that Illinois has taken this step forward and we plan to continue taking more steps forward as we bring the cannabis plant back to its rightful legal place in our society.

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