Loading

NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 5, 2019

    Marijuana LawsDemocratic Gov. John Carney has signed legislation amending criminal penalties for juveniles who violate the state’s marijuana possession laws.

    Senate Bill 45 eliminates criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession offenses (up to one ounce) for those under the age of 21. Instead, juvenile offenders will face a fine-only civil penalty. Those with past criminal convictions for juvenile offenses will be eligible for the mandatory expungement of their records.

    The new law took effect upon signing.

    Lawmakers in 2015 enacted separate legislation decriminalizing marijuana possession penalties for those over 21 years of age. However, that law left in place criminal sanctions for juvenile offenders.

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director

    Every August, members of Congress head home from the swampland of Washington, DC back to their home districts. That can only mean one thing – town hall season is upon us.

    This provides a unique opportunity for constituents to engage face-to-face with their members of Congress and hold them accountable for their actions in Washington. We are so close to ending prohibition and it is imperative that we keep pushing forward toward a sensible marijuana policy. This means showing up and making our voices heard at every opportunity. 

    Can you commit to attending a town hall in your area this month?

    Yes, I will attend the town hall in my area.

    No, I cannot attend the town hall in my area but will contact them now via email.

    Change can only happen when concerned constituents participate in the political process and fight for what’s right. Our movement wouldn’t have made it this far without you, and NORML will keep fighting alongside you every day to end marijuana prohibition.

    Check out our town hall guide that addresses everything you need to know about getting engaged. 

    Thanks for you do!

    P.S. Have you considered coming to Washington, DC to attend the NORML Conference and Lobby Day in September? I sure hope you do! Click here to find out more.

  • by Tanya Thompson, NORML Junior Associate

    Working at NORML is kind of like going on a Tinder date; you have no idea what you’re getting into until it’s much too late. When I landed my job with NORML, I had pretty “high” expectations and, luckily, I was not let down (unlike ALL of my online dating experiences). I guess you could say that NORML was a love match for me… Here’s why– 

    My first big project involved lobbying for the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton amendment to the House CJS Appropriations Bill. Essentially, the amendment defunds the ability of the Department of Justice to enforce the federal prohibition of marijuana in states where it has been legalized, be it for medical or adult-use. While it doesn’t resolve the federally illegal problem, it does give confidence to those in state-legal marijuana businesses that the Department of Justice won’t seize product, seize money, or make arrests. Currently, state-legal adult-use marijuana businesses are at constant risk of federal prosecution. This looming fear functioned to have a negative effect on marijuana business growth and the appetite for state legislatures to enact reforms. 

    The amendment was suddenly announced to be up for a vote only a few days in advance. Evidently, this is a normal practice on Capitol Hill. We had to work fast to ensure the amendment had broad support in the House. First, the Cannabis Caucus met, which is a group of Congressional members who support marijuana reform. The group planned “whip campaigns” to ensure that all members of Congress are notified of the upcoming vote and keeps a record of how members will vote. Second, NORML contacted hundreds of thousands of its members with an action alert to urge their member of Congress to vote “yes.” Next, NORML teamed with other marijuana advocacy groups to assemble 500 packets that we hand-delivered to every member of the House. Finally, we hit Capitol Hill and the real magic happened.

    The short window of time before votes leaves legislators with very little time to conduct their own research and determine their position. That’s where the staffers (the aides to members of Congress) come in, as they review the proposed amendment then give the member of Congress a briefing and issue a recommendation on how to vote. It is so important to present the amendment to the staffer in a manner that will appeal to their boss so that they have the right talking points (and are motivated, of course) to convince the member of Congress that voting “yes” is the best option. 

    Our spell must have worked because on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the House voted to approve the amendment. Making this not only my first lobbying experience but my first success at doing so! The victory announcement is a moment in my life that I will never forget. The level of pride and excitement I felt is unmatchable. I still can’t believe that I was a part of this historic change. It fuels me to devote myself to moving the legalization ball further across the court and taught me not to be afraid of the unknown- even if the last few Bumble matches were a flop. While I’ve given up online dating, I am now in a committed relationship with marijuana reform.

    With your continued support of NORML, nationwide legalization CAN and WILL happen. Please keep contacting your member of Congress urging them to support marijuana reform because, without your help, none of these marijuana victories would be possible.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 2, 2019

    Marijuana Indoor GrowingA federal court has ordered the Drug Enforcement Administration to respond to a lawsuit charging the agency with failing to move forward with a 2016 policy to expand the total number of federally licensed marijuana cultivators.

    In August 2016, Drug Enforcement Administration officials adopted a policy “to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to grow marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States.” To date, however, the agency has neither affirmed or denied any of the 26 applicants that have sought the DEA’s permission for a federal cultivation license.

    (Read NORML’s new op-ed, “Three years ago the DEA said they would remove roadblocks to cannabis research — they still haven’t, here.)

    In June, one of those applicants – the Scottsdale Research Institute – filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia for a writ of mandamus to order the DEA to comply with its 2016 policy, arguing that the agency has engaged in unreasonable delays. On July 29, the Appellate Court ordered the DEA to provide a written response to the filing within 30 days.

    “While most states recognize that cannabis has medical value, the DEA says otherwise, pointing to the absence of clinical research. But at the same time, government regulations and bureaucracy prevent researchers like SRI from ever doing the clinical research the DEA has overtly demanded,” SRI Principal Investigator Dr. Sue Sisley said. “[This filing is] asking the court for an order compelling the DEA to process our application. We hope that this … encourages the DEA not only to process our application, but to process the applications of others, so that we can all continue to do important research into the safety and efficacy of cannabis for treatment resistant illnesses.”

    Since 1968, the agency has only licensed the University of Mississippi to engage in the growing of cannabis for FDA-approved clinical research. Scientists familiar with the product have consistently said that it is of inferior quality and fails to accurately reflect the types of marijuana varieties commercially available in legal states.

    Additional information regarding the SRI petition is available online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Marijuana CBD OilQualified patients are anticipated to finally begin accessing medical cannabis products next week, according to a statement issued by regulators at the state’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).

    Lawmakers initially approved the establishment of the state’s medical cannabis access program in 2015, but its rollout has faced numerous delays. Under the law, licensed cannabis products may only be grown and manufactured by operations affiliated with two of the state’s universities, LSU and Southern University. Nine pharmacies throughout the state are designated to provide cannabis products.

    The first products to be available to patients are cannabis-infused tinctures. Those products are expected to be available in select pharmacies on Tuesday. “We are very excited to announce today that LSU’s … final medical marijuana product has passed all testing for immediate release to the medical marijuana pharmacies,” LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain said. “We wish to thank all persons involved who have worked tirelessly from inception though production and testing to make this a reality.”

    Although the law initially limited cannabis preparations to non-herbal formulations only, legislation enacted this year also now permits patients to obtain marijuana “in a form to be administered by metered-dose inhaler.”

    Patients may be eligible for medical cannabis products if they are diagnosed with cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, pots traumatic stress, or other qualifying ailments.

Page 3 of 59912345...102030...Last »