• by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML April 28, 2020

    Even in the midst of a global pandemic that’s resulted in devastating shockwaves felt across every economic sector, Nevada NORML has nevertheless continued to strongly advocate for cannabis reform in these uncertain and unknown times. And with the month of April having the worldwide cannabis day of celebration, we knew that a 4/20-centric event was exactly what our great cannabis community in Nevada and beyond deserves.

    While public in-person events are currently on hold, the dedicated members of Nevada NORML assembled something incredible and comprehensive, all over the course of less than three weeks. Since we unfortunately couldn’t have an in-person event given the current pandemic, yet still wanted to celebrate The Highest of Holidays with our cannabis-loving community, we had the honor of hosting our 420 Stay Home Stay High Extravaganza.

    Co-hosted with our good friends and passionate cannabis advocates at Culture and Cannabis at the always gracious Rigel Studios, we had the pleasure of featuring a vast array of talented and unique content. Consisting of over 50 segments in total, our community had the pleasure of tuning in to a true cannabis-centric variety show, one that would put Dean Martin and Carol Burnett’s long-running variety shows to shame. Embracing the pure creative power of the cannabis community throughout The Battle Born State, the five-hour extravaganza was certainly one to remember.

    Product reviews of local cannabis companies’ wares from weed influencers, delicious at-home cooking lessons and recipes with cannabis chefs, yoga and hiking videos from 420-friendly instructors and hikers, to short films from community members discussing local cannabis-related issues and topics.

    Thought-provoking interviews with notable people such as Jerome Baker Designs founder Jason Harris, State Assemblyman Steve Yeager, Las Vegas City Councilman Tick Segerblom, and those on the ground fighting the good fight to ensure that this essential plant can still be accessible to consumers during these unforeseen times. Messages from NORML founder Keith Stroup and our multi-segment “Virtual Doobie Sesh”, a compilation of our community members hitting the joint and virtually passing it to their friend on the left, is just some of the content available to viewers far and wide.

    Through it all, we at Nevada NORML couldn’t be any happier with all of our segment submissions and that everything miraculously came together in a matter of weeks. Even in the most self-isolating and socially distant of times, Nevada NORML is nonetheless proud to stand for cannabis consumers and their rights, but we couldn’t do it without the wonderfully creative community that we’re lucky to have. 

    Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Hydrated, Stay Woke and most importantly, Stay High.

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML March 12, 2020

    In the same vein as our historic start to 2020, the month of February proved to be an equally memorable and important month for the Las Vegas chapter of NORML. Throughout the city, we’ve been making sure that criminal justice advocacy stays at the forefront of the social cannabis community’s mind. From staying up to date on the happenings of the legal adult use industry to the patient and consumer rights that we stand for, we’re going into March with an even stronger, fired up passion and our forever memorable February is to blame. 

    Dana Gentry at February’s meeting

    At our monthly meeting hosted by our generous dispensary/cannabis mini-museum sponsor Acres, members and guests were able to hear from award-winning investigative journalist and longtime Las Vegan media personality Dana Gentry. Most recently, the reporter exposed the many misdeeds of the Department of Taxation throughout a series of articles with the Nevada Current, from blatant examples of nepotism and playing favorites with certain cannabis companies over others to full on corruption within the very regulatory body supposedly put in place to act as an authority figure over this newly legal industry. 

    Continuing from our inaugural meeting in January, the team at Las Vegas NORML has spread across cannabis-related events and locations across Sin City getting the information out about our Smoke The Vote campaign. With methods such as hosting popups at dispensaries and providing knowledge about all the upcoming state and federal elections with plans to helping people get registered to vote at the dispensaries themselves, Las Vegas NORML is ensuring that the democratic voices of cannabis patients, consumers and advocates are heard clear as day and that thorough cannabis reforms are enacted. 

    For the Presidential debate hosted in the heart of Sin City which certainly had a slight focus on issues directly facing Nevadans, Las Vegas NORML hosted a watch party complete with popcorn and snacks in The Cannabis Business Den. The Democratic candidates, many of them considered senior citizens, traded verbal blows and “threw shade” as the Gen Z’ers would say about a certain candidate’s previous errors or scandals like it was a high school trash talking contest. From Elizabeth Warren absolutely eviscerating Michael Bloomberg over non-disclosure agreements he signed in relation to sexual harassment incidents to of course, Joe Biden awkardly touching Pete Buttigieg, the debate was undoubtedly more theatrical than analytical, but everyone’s hilarious banter and reactions to the hijinks of an actual presidential debate made it a great time regardless. 

    Aariel Williams with a handful of panelists

    And as the pinnacle of February and the importance of remembering the history of a culture of America’s society that have contributed to the greater good of our country in an endless amount of ways. For our 3rd Annual Black History Month Summit and Celebration, Las Vegas NORML paired up with the Cannabis Law Society, an organization consisting of UNLV Boyd School of Law students advocating for cannabis and drug sentencing reform founded by our member Aariel Williams. 

    “I’m grateful that we were able to have these conversations,” explained Williams, “because that is how we work towards change. We had a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter from Golden Gate School of Law attend, and they said it was one of the best cannabis education events they’ve attended.” 

    Hosted in UNLV’s Richard Tam Alumni Center, the summit had a series of panel discussions with successful, well experienced and influential people of color who incorporate cannabis into their lives and professions in a variety of ways. The spectrum of speakers and their subjects of expertise varied greatly, from XXL Freshman-featured musician Dizzy Wright to G Five Cultivation CEO Larry Smith, Director of Black Caucus Nevada Yvette Williams and NORML Board of Directors Member Kyndra Miller Esq. 

    “We began this year with intense momentum and passion for education & reform within the Silver State.” said Executive Director Madisen Saglibene. “I am proud to say that with the Black History Month Summit completed, and Smoke the Vote well underway, it’s obvious we aren’t slowing down. I look forward to what’s in store as we head into this local elections cycle – defining vital seats who will either align with us, or vote against us.”

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML January 29, 2020

    Although we’re only one month into the Roaring 20’s, Nevada NORML has already hit the cannabis advocacy ground running at full sprint. Following a wild and groundbreakingly successful 2019 with several memorable events across both The Battle Born State and the nation as a whole, Nevada NORML wanted to ensure that their operations in 2020 surpassed even that of the previous year. After coming down from the high of coordinating all the panels for the CBD.io convention and hosting a festive Happy Holidays party at Nuwu’s historic cannabis consumption lounge, taking it to an even higher level in 2020 was absolutely vital.      

    Starting within the first few days of the year, Las Vegas NORML hosted their monthly meeting with a very special guest and a representative who’s become a huge legislative champion for cannabis, Assemblyman Steve Yeager. During the meeting, Yeager spoke about the new pieces of cannabis legislation signed by Governor Sisolak from the 2019 legislative session that Nevada NORML was instrumental in the passing of, such as Assembly Bill 132 and 192. As usual, Acres Underground was packed to capacity with passionate volunteers who span from across the cannabis community and those new faces eager to learn about cannabis advocacy.

    On January 22nd in the state-of-the-art Cannabis Business Den in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada NORML then hosted the first meeting of their extensive campaign for the countless elections occurring throughout all branches of government in November, lovingly called Smoke The Vote. During the meeting, Madisen, Executive Direcor, and Tina, Communications Director, spoke about how to register, the various strategies throughout Nevada that NORML and the many volunteers will be using for mass voter registration and awareness for further cannabis reform within the state and desperately needed reforms on the federal level.

    “Smoke the Vote has been a strong national campaign by NORML for years, and we here in Nevada are proud to do our part to contribute to it.” says Nevada NORML Director Madisen Saglibene. “By building bridges between consumers, industry, and government officials, we anticipate extremely high participation in the 2020 election cycle and beyond.”

    The innovative ways in which Nevada NORML will be finding consumers and turning them into new voters and volunteers will be vast far reaching across the state. 

    “Through partnerships with local dispensaries along with other supporters, we will be popping up at various locations to spread the word about the voter registration process. As we get closer to November, we will be providing voters with a scorecard based on candidates positions on cannabis reform. We look forward to working with candidates and consumers alike to work towards sensible solutions within marijuana policy.” describes Saglibene. 

    And just this past weekend, Las Vegas NORML ventured to visit friends up north, Reno NORML, and assist in their defining activities over the weekend. While there, Nevada NORML exhibited its true strength for providing the unique blend of cannabis culture and cannabis advocacy at Hookava hookah bar. And to their credit, Reno NORML hosted an inaugural fundraiser/party this past Saturday with a turnout and an exhilarating energy that could easily match any party at a hookah bar in Vegas. 

    “The amount of people that came together for our very first fundraiser to support responsible cannabis use was unbelievable.” described Reno NORML Treasurer, Heather Carona. “It was a great kickoff event for NORML officially coming to Northern Nevada and was an opportunity to share what we are about. So many vendors and people were willing to offer their time, and products for raffles or sponsorships. It was very inspiring.”

    To document, a couple of Reno NORML volunteers put together a video of the event, perfectly detailing the success of the fundraiser. 

    “NORML is tat he core of legal cannabis and we are at the forefront. Our first fundraiser’s success shows how hungry the community is for cannabis law reformation. History is being made.” said Reno NORML Communications Director, Conchita Maberry. 

    With events focusing on everything from the next steps in the Smoke The Vote campaign to Black History Month and the racial injustices that have come with cannabis prohibition, February is guaranteed to be one to remember and especially one to become involved in.

  • by Chris Jonsson, NORML South Africa December 19, 2019

    NORML South Africa was established in 2008 and has been active in the growing cannabis culture scene. Over the past year, NORML has hosted activism events in conjunction with other cannabis organisations and still supports the Dagga Party of South Africa, a registered pro-cannabis political party.  

    Cannabis Law

    On the 18th of September 2018, Judge Dennis Davis passed a landmark ruling in the Cape Town High Court that cannabis essentially be decriminalized for private adult use. Although there are no defined limitations to this progressive ruling, a lot of arrests have still been taking place. Fields of Green For All in South Africa is an activist group that has been fighting the laws for several years and they support people through their organisation that have been either charged or arrested for possession of cannabis. They are still dealing with daily calls and emails from victims who have been arrested. 

    Cannabis 2019

    Over the past year, South Africa’s cannabis culture has come out of the woodwork and established itself as an industry on its own. Start-up seedbanks, locally manufactured extraction companies, both CBD and THC oil companies, headshops, coffeeshops and even a cannabis dispensary retail store are now doing business in all major cities across the country. Just last month, Canna Tech and the Cannabis Expo were hugely successful events in both Cape Town and Johannesburg alike. Many local and international companies displayed their cannabis products and services to thousands of attendees. 

    Canna Tech 2019


    Cannabis Tourism

    South Africa even had the pleasure of welcoming international cannabis activists like Marc Emery, Joseph Pietri and the DabStars crew, just to name a few. From all their feedback, they were not only treated like royalty, but also overwhelmed with the hospitality, friendly people, and of course, the great ganja South Africa is known for.

    Cannabis Cups

    Many local cannabis cups have taken place during the course of the past year, some only flowers and some concentrate cups. All of these cups had top-quality entries from local cultivators and processors. Cannabis even won two first prizes at the 113th Agricultural Show show held in Bathurst, rural Eastern Cape. The live plants were entered into the culinary herb and exotic fruits categories. They were on display over the 3 days the show took place, whereby thousands of farmers and spectators took notice of the prize winning plants. 

    Cannabis First Prize at the 2019 Agricultural Show


    Cannabis Beer

    Its been one hell of a high year in South Africa! South Africans can even cheers with an award-winning locally brewed cannabis beer. On the 15th of August 2019, Poison City Brewing was honored with the award when put up against 189 other local brewed beers.

    “This is absolutely fantastic! We set out to make a great tasting, refreshing, highly drinkable beer that is true to us, true to our hometown of Durban and true to the art of beermaking – we always knew that our cannabis beer could compete with the best beers out there”, said Andre Schubert, co-founder of Poison City Brewing, along with fellow rebel brewer, Graeme Bird.

    The Cannabis Expo

    The Cannabis Expo was hosted last month in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. Over the course of 2 days, thousands of people attended the largest cannabis event throughout Africa. Hundreds of cannabis companies displaying their products, ranging from international and local seedbanks, NGO’s, headshops, CBD retailers through to cannabis magazine publications and cannabis podcast crews.

    Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN9gmtb_GhU&t=94s

    Cannabis in South Africa 2020

    The scene is heating up in South Africa and one can positively expect good things to come in 2020 for the cannabis industry. While we all wind down for the end of the year and festive celebrations, NORML South Africa would like to wish the cannabis community worldwide safe and happy celebrations. See you in the new year with some more great things to come.

    Highest Regards,

    Chris Jonsson
    NORML South Africa


  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 11, 2019

    Licensed cannabis retailers in Colorado and Washington are highly compliant with state laws refusing the sale of products to minors, according to data published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

    A team of investigators assessed whether licensed retail cannabis facilities would sell to pseudo-underage buyers who failed to show proof of age.

    Researchers reported, “Compliance with laws restricting stores to selling recreational marijuana to individuals 21 or older presenting a valid ID was high. … Refusal rates exceeded those for alcohol.”

    They concluded: “The high compliance in this study suggests that recreational marijuana stores may not be selling directly to underage youth on premises very often. … There are several explanations for this high compliance. Regulators in both states worked with the industry, performed compliance checks, and penalized stores that failed. Store management may have closely monitored store personnel and checked that they complied with age and ID regulations because licenses are valuable and revenues are sizable. The recreational marijuana industry also may want to avoid any appearance that they are selling to minors to avoid increased federal scrutiny and controls.”

    The findings are similar to those of prior compliance check studies performed in California, Colorado, and New Mexico, which also determined, “Compliance with laws restricting marijuana sales to individuals age 21 years or older with a valid ID was extremely high.”

    The abstract of the study, “Compliance with personal ID regulations by recreational marijuana stores in two U.S. states,” is online here.

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