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Social Consumption

  • by NORML August 22, 2019

    VaporizerCalifornia health officials have identified a link between the use of unregulated vapor cartridges and patients seeking hospitalization for respiratory distress. In each of the cases, patients presented symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and possessed a history of consuming either THC or CBD extracts via the use of unlicensed vapor cartridges.

    The incidents highlight the potential risks associated with the use of certain unregulated cannabis products, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. He acknowledged that NORML has previously expressed concerns regarding the identification of adulterants and heavy metals in some unregulated cannabis extract products.

    “Unregulated illicit market cannabis products, like products in any unregulated marketplace, are of variable quality and may put some consumers at risk,” he said. “These incidents linked to the use of unregulated, illicit market vapor cartridges reinforce the need for greater market regulation, standardization, and oversight — principles which NORML has consistently called for in the cannabis space. Consumers must also be aware that not all products are created equal; quality control testing is critical and only exists in the legally regulated marketplace.”

    Lab testing of vapor cartridge products have flagged various products in the past for impurities, leading to their removal from the marketplace.

    A press release issued by the City of Hanford, Department of Public Health advises, “[I]f you are going to use cannabis or CBD oil or a combination of both, be cautious, and only purchase from a licensed retailer.”

    The US Centers for Disease Control has identified other possible cases in other states linked to the use of unregulated vapor cartridges or e-cigarette devices. But the agency advises: “Even though cases appear similar, it is not clear if these cases have a common cause or if they are different diseases with similar presentations. … Investigators have not identified any specific product or compound that is linked to all cases.”

    Continuing coverage of this story appears on Leafly.com.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. Follow NORML on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and become a member today!

     

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML May 20, 2019

    Even though cannabis has been recreationally legal in the Battle Born State for nearly two years and Sin City has become a greenish gold mine of legal cannabis, many problems and societal penalties still arise with the use of it; no social consumption lounges being among the most glaring. Yet unlike the consumption lounges, people’s lives are directly being negatively impacted by laws surrounding pre-employment drug testing and previous cannabis convictions in the Prohibition years.

    Assembly Bill 132, a bill still being discussed in the Nevada Legislature, could benefit medical patients across the state from employment discrimination simply because they test positive for cannabis. Whereas a marijuana-positive drug test from an applicant would likely mean more immediate professional rejection than showing up to an interview in a neon bro tank and American flag Chubbies, AB 132 would provide cannabis users with a rebuttal if a pre-employment drug test is failed.

    Quoted exactly, the bill authorizes “an employee to rebut the results of a screening test under certain circumstances; creating a presumption that the ability of an employee to perform his or her job and that the safety of other employees is not adversely affected if an employee has certain levels of certain prohibited substances in his or her blood.”              

    Without exception, The War on Drugs was a bigger critical failure than Fyre Festival could’ve ever dreamed about. Millions now carry harmful convictions for harmless offenses that still haunt their lives and deeply hinder their access to everything from housing, financial assistance and employment opportunities. Even if they aren’t drug-related, a misdemeanor conviction can still have drastic social consequences.

    Partially as a legislative apology for the frivolous and unnecessary wrongs of the War on Drugs and partially to boost possible employment opportunities to past “offenders”, Assembly Bill 192 would create a program for anyone with permanent criminal charges to apply for the records of those crimes to be sealed. While this bill certainly applies to the unfortunately large demographic of people who have low-level cannabis charges, AB 192 applies concurrently to other charges that once were illegal in Nevada but have been decriminalized through either prior or current legislation.

    Medical marijuanaAnother frank reality of medical cannabis in modern America, apart from the increase of Taco Bell consumption, is the mountains of research behind the number of conditions that the plant treats. PTSD, cachexia and muscle spasms are among the nearly never ending list of conditions that cannabis has been proven to treat in most cases. With Nevada Senate Bill 430, the list of qualifying conditions would be expanded dramatically with specific wordings in the bill to define which condition could legally be treated with medical cannabis. With the broadening power of SB 430, conditions from anxiety and AIDS to cancer and opioid dependency would be considered qualifying conditions by the Silver State, greatly expanding the spectrum of conditions eligible for medical cannabis from the currently extremely restrictive list.

    The aforementioned bills could be historic for the constantly debated subject of cannabis patient rights and would have an extremely positive impact for both medical and recreational cannabis users alike and would surely lead to further de-stigmatization and medical cannabis patient reform that is leaps and bounds ahead of states that subscribe to stricter cannabis-related policies.

    As there’s still a small window of time in the Nevada Legislature’s 2019 session, now is the appropriate time to contact your respective representative and let your voice be heard. Please visit NORML’s Action Center at https://norml.org/act for information on specific bills.

    Follow Josh Kasoff on Twitter and Instagram @CaptainKasoff.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 19, 2019

    Members of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission have decided to advance plans to regulate social marijuana use facilities.

    Regulators voted 3 to 2 in favor of the proposal, which seeks to establish a pilot program in up to a dozen self-selected cities throughout the state. However, implementing the plan will require additional legislative action from lawmakers.

    To date, only Alaska has enacted statewide regulations governing on-site marijuana consumption sites. Similar legislation to establish “marijuana hospitality spaces” is before the Governor of Colorado. Earlier this month, city officials in Las Vegas approved a municipal ordinance to license on-site consumption spaces.

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director March 19, 2019

    Chief Petitioners Madeline Martinez, Leia Flynn, and Angela Bacca filed a ballot measure to be known as “The Legalization Justice Act of 2020” at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, March 18. All three women are longtime West Coast cannabis advocates.

    Madeline MartinezMadeline Martinez is the executive director of Oregon NORML and the only Latina member of the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She generated international headlines when she opened the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2009, the nation’s first public-facing cannabis consumption lounge.

    “This is about equal rights because whenever you pick a certain group and treat them differently that is discrimination. Patients, renters, the poor, people of color and women are still marginalized for their cannabis use, despite legalization,” said Martinez.

    Leia Flynn is a legal assistant at a firm that works with cannabis businesses and the owner of Flight Lounge, a members-only private cafe allowed under the City of Portland’s social consumption guidelines. A former medical cannabis caregiver and member of Oregon Green Free, she has put her voice out into the public in order to create safe spaces for cannabis consumers.

    “We are in a situation where we have legalized it and anyone over the age of 21 can purchase it, but you cannot smoke it anywhere unless you own your home,” Flynn says. “That is discrimination.”

    Angela Bacca is a Portland-based writer and editor who has been covering the national cannabis industry for over 10 years. Having witnessed the early days of medical cannabis caregiving in California as a patient living with Crohn’s Disease, Bacca feels it is imperative to protect patients’ rights to botanical medicine.

    “I would sum up our policy as ‘do the right thing’. Let’s create legal cannabis policy that acknowledges both science and reality,” Bacca says.

    Background

    The Oregon Justice League does not believe the State of Oregon has implemented Measure 91 in the spirit under which the law was passed. The OJL seeks to right these wrongs as well as provide a model for other states to implement a more just version of cannabis legalization.

    Legalization was sold to Oregon citizens as a way to grow, develop and sustain our small business economies, end the discrimination of citizens based on their interactions with the cannabis plant and uphold, protect and ensure the right of medical cannabis patients to safe botanical access.

    Therefore, the Legalization Justice Act of 2020 would make the following changes to Oregon law.

    Summary of language:

    Tax Revenues: Redistribute recreational cannabis taxes in a way that promotes the social justice goals of cannabis legalization. Once passed, the LJA would designate 25 percent of tax revenues to funding community development and micro-lending initiatives that promote small businesses in minority and underserved communities disproportionately affected by the failed War on Drugs. An additional 25 percent would be designated to subsidize medical cannabis purchases for low-income patients with qualifying conditions under the OMMP who have lost their access to direct caregiving from growers. The remaining 50 percent can continue to be used at the state’s discretion.

    Changes to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program: Recognizing that cannabis as a botanical substance is recommended, not prescribed, a patient’s right to choose botanical cannabis in their medical care in consultation with a doctor must not be impeded. Patients with incurable or chronic illnesses must be allowed by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to be issued a lifetime card if a qualifying physician recommends their cannabis use. Patients awaiting an organ donation cannot be removed from a transplant waiting list for using cannabis. The JA expands qualifying physicians under the OMMP to naturopaths, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners.

    Producers of recreational or medical cannabis may enter into caregiving relationships with qualifying patients and provide medicine directly. The value of the product can be deducted from state cannabis excise taxes if the patient qualifies for low-income subsidization.

    Social Consumption Spaces: Legalize and regulate cannabis social consumption cafes in a fashion that removes the discriminatory provision under the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act so that cannabis users can inhale inside. This section does the following (1) The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act must be amended to allow smoking and vaporization of cannabis indoors. (2) Directs the OLCC to regulate and oversee the licensing and regulation of cannabis lounges. (3) Allows existing cannabis dispensaries to add a social consumption space. (4) Allows for OLCC licensed farms to host tours and tastings, as regulated by the OLCC. (5) Directs the OLCC to license and regulate cannabis social consumption spaces at public events. Allows delivery of cannabis to temporary residents and residents of municipalities that have banned cannabis dispensing storefronts.

    Employment Protection: Create employment protections under the law to protect off-the-job cannabis use and prevent conceptually flawed drug testing from being used to discriminate against cannabis consumers.

    Protect Oregon’s Craft Cannabis Community: Direct the state to directly advocate to the federal government for its craft cannabis community, specifically export of product out of Oregon’s borders.

    For more information, follow Oregon NORML on Twitter.

  • by NORML March 13, 2019

    Lawmakers and regulators have signed off on new regulations explicitly permitting adults to consume cannabis at specially licensed retailers.

    Under the new rules, which take effect April 11, licensed cannabis retailers may apply with state regulators for an additional “on-site consumption endorsement.” Local governments may challenge the applications in certain instances, or initiate a municipal vote to limit on site activities.

    It is anticipated that the initial on-site consumption areas may be approved by this summer.

    While some local municipalities — such as Denver, Colorado and West Hollywood, California — already regulate on-site consumption sites, Alaska is the first adult use jurisdiction to establish such regulations statewide.

    “When these rules go into effect, Alaska will be the first state to finalize and approve statewide rules for on-site consumption. We expect more to follow suit in the not too distant future,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Allowing social consumption is sensible from a business perspective, particularly for states with large amounts of tourists who otherwise have no place to legally consume, but it also has an important social justice component.”

    “By preventing retail outlets and other venues from being licensed and regulated for social consumption, many patients will have to chose between effective cannabis treatment for their ailments or being thrown out of public housing,” Altieri continued, “This causes the civil liberties that come with marijuana legalization to still being kept at arms length from low-income individuals and members of other marginalized communities.”

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