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Legalization

  • by NORML Canada October 15, 2019

    Legal Marijuana Sales Being in Canada

    NORML Canada launches official Post-Legalization platform to focus advocacy efforts on reforming Canada’s legal Cannabis system.

    In light of the first year of legalization, NORML Canada has monitored the Canadian cannabis landscape closely, to determine the next steps for crafting achievable and functional reform of cannabis regulations.

    The five key “pillars” established by NORML Canada are designed to help focus organizational resources to support our ongoing government and public outreach.

    1) Increased Access 
    Our goal is to ensure consumers have ease of access to legal cannabis products, access to medical dispensaries, access to world-class product options, as well as access to affordable legal options.

    2) Transitioning “Unregulated Market” into the legal framework
    Creating avenues for the current unlicensed market to be welcomed as part of the legal cannabis industry in order to achieve the government’s stated goal of disincentivizing the illicit market.

    3) Social discrimination protections
    Putting in place protective regulations that remove stigma barriers and consequences for consumers in the workplace, housing, and family.

    4) US relations – border & banking
    Ensuring international respect for Canada’s sovereign laws. Removal of any unnecessary international banking/travel barriers for legal business and cannabis entrepreneurs.

    5) Expungement, apologies, reparations & beyond
    Government must acknowledge the fact that cannabis laws were historically unjust and discriminatory in the first place.

    NORML Canada invites the public and press to join us at the historic Hotbox Lounge on Oct 17th, from 4-7pm to launch the new official platform, and to discuss the year-to-date. 

    NORML Canada proudly welcomes our sister chapter to the South – NORML Michigan, to share insights on Michigan’s newly passed legal recreational cannabis bill. Our combined goals are to understand how we can learn from and collaborate with one another.

    For additional information please contact Info@norml.ca

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

    Legalize MarijuanaRegulators at the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy affirmed this week that they expect adult-use marijuana sales to begin in the spring of 2020.

    A spokesperson for the agency said that regulators anticipate accepting applications from prospective cannabis retailers by the end of 2019 and that licensed stores should be operational by March 2020. That estimate is consistent with the timeline regulators provided this past June when lawmakers finalized regulations governing state-licensed marijuana sales.

    Former Maine state lawmaker and current NORML Board Member Diane Russell said: “While Maine’s previous Governor worked hard to obstruct the will of the voters, it is refreshing to see the incoming administration take steps to turn things around so quickly. After having pushed for legalization while in the state house, I’m excited to see that politicians and regulators are now finally on the same page with respect to fully implementing adult-use cannabis regulations and sales, and that we are on track to open this new economic sector next spring.”

    Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016 by passing a statewide initiative, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – repeatedly took steps to delay the law’s implementation.

    As per state rules, retailers will not be permitted to sell customers more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and/or five grams of concentrate in a single day. Retailers will need to first receive local approval prior to applying for a state operator’s license.

  • by NORML October 9, 2019

    marijuana plantThe enactment of adult-use marijuana legalization laws is not associated with any significant increase in cannabis-related activity in neighboring states and counties, according to a federally funded report published by the nonprofit Justice Research and Statistics Association and first reported by MarijuanaMoment.net.

    The study, entitled “Measuring the Criminal Justice System Impacts of Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization Using State Data,” assessed the impact of adult-use regulation schemes on criminal justice resources in both legalization states and neighboring non-legalization states.

    Authors wrote: “The goal of this project was to analyze quantitative and qualitative data in eleven targeted states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) to address three research questions: One: What are the impacts of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on criminal justice resources in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon?; Two: What are the impacts on criminal justice resources in states that border the states (Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, and Kansas) that have legalized marijuana?; and Three: What are the impacts of marijuana legalization and decriminalization on drug trafficking through northern and southwest border states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington)?”

    They determined: “Analyses of the available data suggests that: One: Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana resulted in fewer marijuana related arrests and court cases; Two: Legalizing marijuana did not have a noticeable impact on indicators in states that bordered those that legalized; and Three: There were no noticeable indications of an increase in arrests related to transportation or trafficking offenses in states along the northern or southern borders.”

    Commenting on the report’s findings, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “This federally funded report is further evidence that legalizing and regulating marijuana works largely as intended. It reduces arrests, and it does not lead to increased youth use or a rise in serious crime, and with these latest findings it is clear that these policies are not adversely impacting bordering states. It is time to let science and facts dictate public policy and end prohibition nationwide.”

    A disclaimer accompanying the report acknowledges: “While the report was carried out … using funding from the National Institute of Justice, … this resource has not been published by the US Department of Justice. This resource is being made publicly available through the Office of Justice Programs’ National Criminal Justice Reference Service. … Any analysis, conclusions, or opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or policies of the Bureau of Justice Statistics or the US Department of Justice.”

    NORML’s Altieri said it was “unsurprising” that federal agencies would leave the report unpublished, stating that officials have seldom promoted findings that undermine federal anti-marijuana policy.

    The full text of the report is available online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 8, 2019

    The enactment of statewide legislation permitting adult cannabis possession and sales is not associated with any significant or long-term uptick in criminal activity, according to data published in the journal Justice Quarterly.

    Investigators affiliated with the Department of Justice and Criminology at Washington State University assessed trends in monthly average crime rates in Colorado and Washington following legalization compared to various control states. Researchers specifically examined trends in violent crime, property crime, aggravated assault, auto theft, burglary, larceny, and robbery rates.

    They reported, “[M]arijuana legalization and sales have had minimal to no effect on major crimes in Colorado or Washington. We observed no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates in these states.”

    Consistent with the results of prior studies, the authors concluded, “[T]he results related to serious crime are quite clear: the legalization of marijuana has not resulted in a significant upward trend in crime rates. … Our results from Colorado and Washington suggest that legalization has not had major detrimental effects on public safety.”

    Full text of the study, “The cannabis effect on crime: Time-series analysis of crime in Colorado and Washington State,” appears online here. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, ‘Marijuana Regulation and Crime Rates.’

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 30, 2019

    Those with low-level marijuana convictions are being encouraged to seek pardons from state officials.

    The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons has created an expedited process to review and grant pardon applications for those with marijuana-related records. There is no fee associated with filing an application.

    Those who receive pardons are then encouraged to apply with county officials to have their criminal records expunged from the public domain.

    “[O]ne thing we can do right now is alleviate the burden of small-amount, nonviolent convictions that scar the lives of otherwise productive citizens,” Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman said. “These people have done no harm to anyone else. They shouldn’t continue to suffer with employment and housing issues because they were convicted of doing something that most Pennsylvanians don’t even think should be illegal.”

    Last week, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro both publicly endorsed plans to legalize the adult use of cannabis in the state and to expunge criminal records. Wolf’s announcement marks a change in his prior position, and came shortly after the conclusion of a county-by-county listening tour during which members of the public were asked to share their views on the subject of marijuana policy.

    “We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” Gov. Wolf said in a prepared statement. Based upon public feedback, officials estimated that between 65 and 70 percent of Pennsylvanians endorse legalizing marijuana.

    Attorney General Shapiro added, “Continuing to criminalize adult personal marijuana use is a waste of limited law enforcement resources, it disproportionately impacts our minority communities and it does not make us safer.”

    In response to the announcement, Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives issued a statement expressing “disappointment” and “frustration:” with the Governor. “We do not believe [that] easing regulations on illegal drugs is the right move,” they said.

    Under state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a criminal record.

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