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Policy

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 19, 2020

    Legalize MarijuanaThe enactment of adult-use cannabis legalization laws in Colorado and Washington is associated with increased tourism in both states, according to data published in the Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy.

    A team of researchers affiliated with Berry College in Georgia compared rates of hotel occupancy in Colorado and Washington post-legalization as compared to trends in other non-legal states.

    Authors reported a “large increase in hotel rooms rented in Colorado” immediately following legalization. Washington state also experienced an uptick, but it was not as significant. Both states experienced their highest jumps in tourism following the advent of retail cannabis sales.

    “[L]egalization in Colorado is associated with an increase of nearly 51,000 hotel rooms rented per month [and] once commercial sale is permitted, there is an increase of almost 120,000 room rentals per month,” authors determined. In Washington, increases were approximately half that total.

    Authors concluded: “Marijuana legalization led to a larger increase in tourism in Colorado than Washington. One possible explanation is that Colorado is an easier travel destination than Washington. … Another possible explanation is that Colorado may have achieved a first mover advantage over Washington since it legalized commercial sale six months earlier than Washington. A third possible explanation is that Washington is adjacent to British Columbia which has a strong reputation for growing marijuana and a laid-back attitude toward marijuana consumption (though use remains illegal). While marijuana legalization increased tourism, especially in Colorado, the benefit may wane as additional states including California, Michigan, and Illinois, legalize the possession and sale of marijuana.”

    Survey data commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office has previously reported that nearly half of all tourists who visit the state are motivated do so because of Colorado’s liberal marijuana policies.

    The full text of the study, “The effect of marijuana on hotel occupancy in Colorado and Washington,” is online here. Additional information appears in the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, and Economy.”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2020

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is seeking public comments on how Americans with chronic pain are successfully treating their symptoms.

    The call for comments, posted on April 17 at regulations.gov here, states: “Interested persons or organizations are invited to participate by submitting written views, recommendations, and data related to perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management. CDC invites comments specifically on topics focused on using or prescribing opioid pain medications, non-opioid medications, or non-pharmacological treatments.”

    The CDC’s interest in alternative methods of chronic pain management may be of particular significance to many medical cannabis patients.

    According to state-registry records, “Chronic pain is currently and historically the most common qualifying condition reported by medical cannabis patients (67.5 percent in 2016).” This finding is hardly a surprise, as cannabis is well-established to mitigate pain in clinical models, particularly in patients with neuropathy. Additional clinical trial data indicates that cannabinoids possess synergistic activity with opioids, which “may allow for opioid treatment at lower doses with fewer [patient] side effects.” Among pain patients enrolled in medical cannabis access programs, most subjects report eventually decreasing or even eliminating their use of opiates.

    States the CDC, “Public comment will help CDC’s understanding of stakeholders’ values and preferences regarding pain management and will complement CDC’s ongoing work assessing the need for updating or expanding the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.”

    That said, it cautions that any public comments received “are part of the public record and are subject to public disclosure. Comments will be posted on https://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, do not include any information in your comment or supporting materials that you consider confidential, proprietary, or inappropriate for public disclosure. If you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be on public display.”

    The agency is accepting public comments through June 16, 2020.

  • by NORML April 22, 2020

    Ten members of the Senate, led by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and 34 members of the House, led by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tom McClintock (R-CA), have recently issued letters requesting Small Business Administration funding programs be expanded so that they may be accessed by state-licensed cannabis businesses. 

    “With the majority of regulated states designating medical cannabis facilities as ‘essential’ to the health and welfare of the community during this time of crisis, it is critical that Congress authorizes the Small Business Association to similarly recognize their importance and to allow the agency to provide these small businesses with economic assistance to ensure public health, patient access, and continuity of care,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Many of these establishments are small-to-medium size operators, with their employees keeping their doors open without access to the support systems in place for other businesses, thus depriving them of potentially lifesaving protections.”

    Members of the Senate wrote:

    “Given the nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that every American small business has the capacity to protect the health and economic wellbeing of their community and workforce. Therefore, we ask Senate Leadership to include in any future relief package provisions to allow state-legal cannabis small businesses and the small businesses who work with this industry to access the critical SBA support they need during these challenging and unprecedented times.”

    You can find the full Senate letter here

    Members of the House wrote:

    “The COVID-19 outbreak is no time to permit federal policy to stand in the way of the reality that millions of Americans in states across the country face daily—that state-legal cannabis businesses are sources of economic growth and financial stability for thousands of workers and families, and need our support. Given the nature of the epidemic, we must ensure that everyone has the capacity to carry out the recommended public health and worker-focused measures. Without doing that, we risk undercutting the public health efforts nationwide.”

    You can find the full House letter here

    The state-licensed cannabis industry employs more than 240,000 American workers, over four times the number of American workers as does the coal industry. The majority of these businesses are small-to-medium in size.

    In the majority of jurisdictions that regulate cannabis marketplaces, lawmakers in recent weeks have designated these operations to be ‘essential’ to the health and well-being of the patient community. In others, regulators have either relaxed protocols or moved forward with new, emergency rules to facilitate expanded access – such as permitting patients to seek telemedicine appointments and allowing dispensaries to permit curbside pick-up and home delivery.

    A representative from the Small Business Administration previously acknowledged, “With the exception of businesses that produce or sell hemp and hemp-derived products (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334), marijuana-related businesses are not eligible for SBA-funded services.”

    NORML has consistently been working with its Congressional allies to move forward several pieces of legislation, such as HR 3540: The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act, and HR 3884/S 2227: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act – which “prohibit the Small Business Administration from declining to provide certain small business loans to an eligible entity solely because it is a cannabis-related legitimate business or service provider.”

    You can send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort by clicking here. 

  • by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director April 9, 2020

    Here at NORML, we take our work seriously. With so many unsubstantiated claims being made regarding cannabis and staying safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve compiled a list of resources for consumers and ways your activism can thrive during social distancing.

    Responsible Consumer Safety Tips

    Download tips

    NORML’s Responsible Consumer Safety Tips

    As a member of our NORML family, we earnestly care about your well-being. We all know a large part of what binds cannabis consumers together is community and sharing. However, while we are living through the current pandemic consumers should be more mindful of day-to-day consumption practices. Read and download NORML’s consumer safety tips.

    A NORML Reminder: Beware of COVID-19 Cure All Claims

    NORML wishes to reiterate its message that the public beware of online misinformation surrounding the use of either cannabis or CBD as a potential remedy for COVID-19. Read more.

    Download memo

    Download memo

    NORML Cannabis Policy Guidance Memo for Protecting Public Health During COVID-19 Crisis

    NORML and its national network of advocacy chapters released a memo to state lawmakers, regulators, prosecutors, and other interested parties providing guidance on how they can take emergency actions to better promote public health and welfare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more and download the memo to send it to policymakers in your community and state.

    States Taking Action to Ensure Uninterrupted Retail Access to Medical Cannabis During COVID-19 Outbreak

    Numerous states have taken steps to ensure that state-licensed cannabis facilities are explicitly permitted to maintain operations during the crisis. NORML is  tracking which states have deemed retail cannabis as essential services and which states have made allowances for curbside pickup, delivery, and telemedicine. View the up-to-date list.

    Urge Congress to Provide Small Business Relief to State-Licensed Cannabis Companies

    Representatives with the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recently reaffirmed that state-licensed cannabis businesses are ineligible for financial aid opportunities because marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Contact your federal lawmakers in support of this needed change to protect small businesses.

    NORML’s Voting Guide to Legalize Marijuana in Your State

    Despite the ongoing crisis, the November elections will still hold major implications for the future of legalization and other reform measures. Now, you can help NORML build the most comprehensive voter guide for cannabis ever created. Smoke the Vote already provides you with the voting records of all federal candidates, and we’re working on the state level candidates. View the guide and submit information for candidates in your state.

    We know these are tough times for many individuals and families. Working together and with the support of our communities, we will be able to get through this. If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a generous contribution to ensure that NORML can continue fighting for not just your rights, but the freedom and liberty of all responsible consumers. 

    Donate Now

     

  • by Delaware NORML April 3, 2020

    Medical marijuana

    In case anyone has been living under a particularly heavy and sound-proof rock, medical cannabis is essential. While we commend our state officials for declaring that centers will remain open during the state of emergency, we need to ensure our patients have uninterrupted access to their life saving medicine. This is especially important during these uncertain times. Delaware NORML sparked up the community for a call to action, urging Governor Carney to offer delivery options to adequately serve medical cannabis patients in this time of crisis.

    We are thrilled to pass on this joint effort. Delaware officials, lawmakers and compassion center owners are working together to quickly roll out delivery options for cannabis patients.  We offer our highest appreciation to everyone who helped make this happen!

    With the recommended guidelines, many patients have been left without an option to obtain their medicine. Some patients may not drive and many do not have an authorized caregiver. Ordering online with pick up options isn’t enough when a vast majority of patients are now homebound with little resources to facilitate those services. Medical patients are the most at risk and we should be doing everything we can to ensure their safety. Hopefully these new updates to our medical cannabis program will be implemented quickly.

    Columbia Care will be the first center to offer this option, hopefully in the coming weeks. They are working quickly but must ensure they can safely implement delivery services. Please note this is a brand new service, being launched for this first time during an active crisis. Columbia Care will unfortunately be unable to service all patients, especially at first. Once the other two centers are also set up for delivery services, the process will improve.

    Please have patience with the centers’ staff during this process. We are all trying to do the best we can with what we have.  Please be mindful that for many patients this will literally be their only option. If you can facilitate the online ordering with pick up option safely, please continue to do so and save this service for those who need it most.

    Please visit the centers’ websites for updates and more information to be posted soon.

    DE Medical Cannabis Centers:

    Help us continue to cultivate our cannabis community and join us on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (@denorml) to find out how you can help us spark up reform.

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