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Policy

  • 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 24, 2018

    medical cannabis oilOne of NORML’s primary missions is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults. One of the ways we successfully achieve this goal is by authoring and routinely placing op-eds in high-profile, mainstream newspapers and media outlets.

    Below are links to several of NORML’s most recent commentaries:

    “More Americans than ever want marijuana legalized. Lawmakers should listen”
    Otherwords.org

    “Support for marijuana legalization growing like a weed”
    TheHill.com

    “End the arrests. Vote yes on Measure 3”
    The Dickinson Press (North Dakota)

    “This November, not all medical marijuana efforts are created equal”
    The Springfield News-Leader (Missouri)

    “Marijuana dependence: falling sharply”
    The New York Times

    “Marijuana and the mid-terms”
    TheHill.com

    “Republican leadership is denying medical marijuana for veterans”
    The Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida)

    As we rapidly approach the midterm elections, we believe that it is more important than ever that our educational and media outreach efforts reach as many people as possible. Please show your support of NORML’s work by sharing and commenting on these commentaries, and most importantly, by making a contribution here.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate October 19, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!We the People

    Some news from across the border to start off, this week Canada became the second country to regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis for adults. The new law also includes pardons of all criminal possession convictions less than 30 grams.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking public comments on whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a a schedule I controlled substance. People will have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA. They’ve already gotten at least 2,000 submissions. Click here to submit your own comments quickly and easily now.

    In Congress this week, the Senate bill, the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act),got one new cosponsor, for a new total of six.

    The House bill, Veterans Equal Access Act, got one new cosponsor, for a new total of 29.

    At the state level, Assembly committees in New York held a joint hearing in Manhattan on marijuana legalization measures.

    Democratic lawmakers in Utah will hold a town hall meeting on medical marijuana next Wednesday 10/24. They’ll discuss the Utah Medical Cannabis Act and Proposition 2.

    Rhode Island regulators added autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation into law banning marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

    At a more local level, the mayor of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is aiding in the effort to collect signatures for a possible 2020 medical marijuana ballot measure.

    Seattle, Washington’s draft agenda for 2019 shows the city supports legislation in the state to allow marijuana delivery services, cannabis vaping lounges, and the expungement of misdemeanor convictions.

    Following are the bills  that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

    New Jersey

    A4510 seeks to create a state bank to provide financial services to licensed marijuana business operating in accordance with state law.

    The measure would permit the bank to make loans to, and accept deposits from, any marijuana-related business. Currently, many financial institutions are discouraged from interacting with the cannabis industry because of the plant’s illegal federal status.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded banking access

    That’s all for this week!

  • by NORML October 17, 2018

    Today, Canada becomes the second nation to explicitly legalize the social use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis. The new law marks the culmination of an effort led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who promised in 2015, shortly after taking office, to legalize and regulate the marijuana market.

    Further, the new law will include expungements of all possession criminal charges of less than 30 grams.

    Trudeau was not always in favor of legalization. In fact, for many years he opposed it. That was until he met face-to-face with NORML Canada advocates Kelly Coulter and Andrea Matrosovs in 2012. They presented Trudeau with pro-legalization arguments that he’s still using today as prime minister.

    According to the Toronto Star:

    Coulter told Trudeau flatly that decriminalization would not keep gangs and organized crime out of the marijuana business. “Al Capone would have loved it if alcohol had only been decriminalized,” she said — a line she often used when talking to politicians.

    “I saw the light go on in his eyes,” Coulter said. “He was seeing this as a politician, realizing ‘I can sell this,’ ” she recalled.

    Speaking with the Huffington Post in 2013, Trudeau acknowledged that he reversed his position after speaking with NORML members admitting their “line of argument did a long way towards convincing me.” Their conversation persuaded Trudeau that legalizing marijuana use for adults would be the best way for the government to regulate sales, provide consumer safety, and keep it out of the hands of kids.

    The Act, Bill C-45, permits those age 18 and older to legally possess (up to 30 grams) and grow cannabis (up to four plants of any size per household). Individual provinces possess the authority to enact additional regulations with respect to distribution, such as raising the legal age limit to purchase cannabis or by restricting home grow operations.

    The Act also federally licenses commercial producers of cannabis and certain cannabis-infused products, while permitting provinces to regulate retail sales in public (government operated) and private stores, subject to local rules. Online cannabis sales will also be permitted in certain provinces.

    While fewer than 200 total retailers are anticipated to be operational on day one of the new law, additional facilities are anticipated to be operational in the near future. Cannabis-infused edible products are anticipated to be regulated and available at retail stores early next summer. The new social use regulations do not amend Canada’s existing medical marijuana access laws, which have been in place since 2001.

    In anticipation of the law change, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a memorandum in September affirming that those Canadians either involved or invested in the legal cannabis industry may be barred admission into the United States. The agency later updated their policy directive on October 9, 2018, acknowledging: “A Canadian citizen working in … the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the US for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the United States. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the US for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

    But what about America? We still have a long way to go to achieve the kind of freedom Canadians are celebrating today.

    NORML is hard at work making sure Americans have the information they need when they head to the polls on November 6 to elect the most pro-reform candidates in history with our Smoke the Vote voter guide to legalizing marijuana. We’re arming advocates around the country with the persuasive arguments and undisputed facts necessary to have conversations like the one that changed Trudeau’s mind. We aren’t stopping until responsible marijuana consumers are no longer subject to arrest anywhere in America. We need your help to make this goal a reality.

    Make a pledge today of $25, $50 or $100 to make sure NORML has the resources to legalize marijuana in the US!

    Together, we can legalize marijuana in America, end the arrest of responsible consumers, and make sure there is access to safe, quality products at affordable prices. Together, we’ll keep fighting for our freedom.

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