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NORML Blog

  • by Delaware NORML July 29, 2019

    Delaware NORML opens the third annual Weedstock Music Festival on Friday August 16th at Firebase Lloyd in Townsend. What started as a local fundraiser for marijuana legalization efforts has matured into an important cultural event.

    Over three days Weedstock features more than 20 hours of live music from bands across the region, overnight camping, delicious food trucks, inspiring activism speeches, friendly vendors and volunteers from passionate community organizations.

    Cynthia Ferguson, co-founder of the event, said “Enjoying cannabis isn’t a crime. We’re considering this a going-away party for Prohibition.”

    Delaware legislators are poised to fully legalize marijuana. After winning a majority vote in the House during the 2018 session, the bill (HB110) fell just 4 votes short of regulating cannabis sales. HB110 was reintroduced in 2019, making significant progress towards 2020 passage. Now, the DE advocacy community is strengthening resolve through direct engagement.

    On Friday 8/16 gates will open at noon and music will begin at 6:00PM. Saturday the gates open at 10:00AM with live music from Noon until Midnight. Campers will enjoy a delicious brunch on Sunday before heading home.

    Music producer for the event Mike Zatwarnytsky said, “The secret is out! Weedstock is one of the best festival line-ups of the year and showcases how our music community has some fun supporting reform.”

    Purchasing tickets BEFORE THE DAY OF WEEDSTOCK is highly recommended. There may be longer lines for those wishing to pay cash at the gates. Total attendance is limited, gates will be closed immediately when the venue reaches capacity. Ticket link: https://weedstock.brownpapertickets.com/

    Performances by:

    Montana Wildaxe – https://www.facebook.com/groups/montanawildaxe/

    Hoochi Coochi – https://www.facebook.com/HoochiCoochiMusic/

    Nate McCormick –  https://www.facebook.com/nathan.mccormick.7737

    Zito 420 Band – https://www.facebook.com/butch.zito

    Brain Medicine – https://www.facebook.com/brainmedicineband/

    Big Boy Brass – https://www.facebook.com/BigBoyBrassband/

    FLUENT – https://www.facebook.com/fluentdelaware/

    Grace Vonderkuhn – https://www.facebook.com/gracevonderkuhn/

    Bones Brigade – https://www.facebook.com/BonesBrigadeBand/

    Knotty G’s – https://www.facebook.com/theknottygs/

    Darnell Miller – https://www.facebook.com/darnell.miller.5

    Genesis Z – https://www.facebook.com/genesiszandtheblackmambas/

    Brixton Saint – https://www.facebook.com/brixton.saint

    Urban Shaman Attack – https://www.facebook.com/USAWILMO/

    ATTENTION : Event is open to those age 21 and older – ONLY –  valid ID is required for entry
    Tickets at the door:

    General admission: Friday $25 – – Saturday $40 – – Friday & Saturday $50
    Camping: additional $20  -includes both Friday, Saturday and a FREE Sunday brunch

    VIP (limited tickets): Friday & Saturday $125 – – with camping $150

    VIP access includes free t-shirt, swag bag, VIP area with catered food and libations

    Press/Media Contact: Laura 302-314-5420 or weedstock@denorml.org

    GPS Address  = 474 Fleming Landing Rd. Townsend, Delaware 19734

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed legislation into law amending marijuana possession penalties and establishing procedures for the automatic expungement of prior, low-level cannabis convictions.

    The new law takes effect August 28, 2019.

    Specifically, Assembly Bill 8420-A, reduces the penalty for minor marijuana possession violations (up to one ounce) to a $50 fine. It also amends penalties for offenses involving the possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to three months in jail) to a non-criminal violation punishable by a $200 fine – regardless of an offender’s prior criminal history.

    The new law also amends the classification of offenses involving the use or possession of marijuana in public from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, to a fine-only offense. In New York City alone, police typically make tens of thousands of marijuana arrests annually under the ‘public view’ exception. Over 87 percent of those charged with the crime are either Black or Latino.

    Finally, A. 8420-A establishes procedures to allow for the automatic expungement of criminal records specific to crimes involving the possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana. Several hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will be eligible for expungement under the plan.

    “Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Governor Cuomo said. “By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”

    Assembly Bill 8420-A was negotiated in the closing days of the 2019 legislative session after lawmakers failed to agree on provisions of a marijuana legalization measure.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director July 26, 2019

    The City of Jacksonville, Florida could join a growing list of cities around the country that have embraced a more pragmatic approach for dealing with marijuana-related offenses on the local level. Currently more than a dozen Florida municipalities have decriminalized the possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana including: Alachua County, Broward County, Cocoa Beach, Hallandale Beach, Key West, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Orlando, Osceola County, Palm Beach County, Port Richey, Tampa, Volusia County, and West Palm Beach County.

    Jacksonville Residents Click Here to Send a Message to your Council Representatives 

    Citing concerns about the collateral consequences of a marijuana charge and the disproportionate impact marijuana prohibition continues to have on communities of color, Council Member Garrett Dennis recently introduced the, “Jacksonville Civil Citation for Small Quantity Marijuana Possession Ordinance.” If approved, the ordinance would impose a $100 fine for possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana instead of jail time. 

    “During my reelection campaign, I spoke to many citizens whose lives were thrown into a downward spiral due to possessing minimal amounts of marijuana. Families were in debt because of legal issues, loss of employment or the inability to secure gainful employment; based on these misdemeanor arrests,” said Council Member Dennis. 

    Read more from First Coast News

    To support this effort, Council Member Dennis has announced a series of community meetings. Each meeting is free to attend and open to the public. 

    Date:  Saturday, July 27, 2019                                         

    Time: 10:30 a.m.

    Location: South Mandarin Library, 12125 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32223

    Date: Monday, July 29, 2019

    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Location: Bennie Furlong Senior Center, 281 19th Ave S, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

    Date: Tuesday, July 30, 2019    

    Time: 6:00 p.m.

    Location: Legends Center, 5130 Soutel Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32208

    Date: Monday, August 5, 2019  

    Time: 6:30 p.m.

    Location: Webb Wesconnett Library, 6887 103rd Street, Jacksonville, FL 32210

    Click Here to Review NORML’s Decriminalization Report

           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 Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Marijuana FieldFederal officials have approved plans for the University of Mississippi to grow 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) of cannabis to provide to investigators for clinical trial research. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to legally cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research in the United States.

    According to reporting by the Associated Press, marijuana crops will include plants of varying THC and CBD potencies, including strains high in cannabidiol. As per the program’s current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD.

    Clinicians wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally-provided samples are of inferior quality. A research analysis published earlier this year reported that strains currently available from NIDA shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis.

    The crop will be the largest grown by the University of Mississippi in several years.

  • by NORML July 23, 2019

    Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY) introduced The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. The Senate companion bill is carried by Senator Kamala Harris (CA). 

    “After nearly a century of prohibition, it is clear this policy has been an absolute failure and a national disgrace. All we have to show for the war we have waged on marijuana is the egregious harms it has wrought upon tens-of-millions of our fellow citizens. By passing the MORE Act, Congress can begin to remedy the pain caused by the criminalization of marijuana. This bill provides a real federal solution by fully descheduling of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and providing relief to those suffering under the collateral consequences of having a marijuana charge on their record by facilitating the process of expungements. The American public is overwhelmingly ready to legalize marijuana, their elected officials in Washington need to finally start representing the will of the people and advance this sensible legislation,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. 

    The MORE Act is the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill ever introduced in the US Congress and is backed by a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups. 

    Send a message to your lawmakers in support of the bill now! 

    “Never in American history has the Chairman of the Judiciary introduced a bill to end federal marijuana criminalization. At a time when the state you live in can determine whether cannabis can ruin your life or make you a millionaire, now more than ever we must end the national prohibition of marijuana. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act embodies the need to legalize cannabis and restore the rights of those who have suffered under the cruel and failed policy of criminalization,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. 

    If enacted, the bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and enabling states to set their own policies. Descheduling will also allow the existing state-legal marijuana industry to no longer be barred from accessing financial services or standard tax treatment as every other legal business. Similarly, veterans will have better access to medical marijuana with VA doctors no longer risking federal prosecution for filling out state-legal medical recommendations.

    Given the restrictions the marijuana industry has had to abide by under section 280E of the IRS code, existing enterprises would have a significantly lower overall tax burden than under the current policy of prohibition. 

    The bill would tax marijuana products at a modest 5% to establish a Trust Fund to assist state and local governments in expunging criminal records and setting up regulatory structures for marijuana’s lawful production and distribution.

     The Trust Fund would have three functions:

    1. A fund administrated by a newly created Office of Cannabis Justice to issue grants to communities negatively impacted by the war on drugs for the development of expungement processes, employment programs, reentry guidance, youth resources and more. The Office of Cannabis would be one of the Justice Programs in the Department of Justice. This provision is modeled on the Marijuana Justice Act, by Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (CA).
    2. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to encourage socially and economically disadvantaged people to enter the cannabis industry, similar to legislation introduced by Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (NY).
    3. A fund administered by the Small Business Administration to create equitable licensing programs in states and local governments that benefit communities most impacted by the prohibition.

    Currently, individuals with a marijuana conviction are saddled with collateral consequences, including a prohibition from obtaining federal benefits, student loans, or security clearances for government jobs due to marijuana’s criminalized status. To correct the historical injustices relating to prohibition, the MORE Act offers the opportunity to petition for resentencing and expungement. This will eliminate this discrimination and create new opportunities for individuals desperate to advance their careers, education, and quality of life. Immigrants will also benefit from the MORE Act because they will no longer be subject to deportation or citizenship denial solely based on a marijuana infraction. 

    Send a message in support of The MORE Act in less than 30 seconds now!

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