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NORML Chapter

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director January 8, 2019

    Since the passage of Proposition 1, officially known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, which legalized the sale, possession, consumption and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and up last November, members of Michigan NORML have encountered a new challenge: municipal opt-out. Similar to other states that have legalized adult-use marijuana like Colorado, California and Oregon, it’s up to municipal governments in Michigan to decide if legal marijuana businesses can operate within their communities.

    To date, more than 80 municipalities in Michigan have imposed moratoriums or outright bans on the sale of adult-use marijuana. In some cases, like with the city of Troy where residents opposed Proposition 1, it’s due to a lack of support for legal marijuana. In other cities, municipal governments are simply waiting until they have a better understanding of how the new law will be implemented by state lawmakers before exploring rules and regulations for local licensing.

    “I’m confident that many municipalities will opt-in after the State promulgates administrative rules and sample ordinance amendments are made available to municipal attorneys,” said Brad Forrester, Board Member of Michigan NORML. “Some of the municipal officials I’ve spoken with have expressed an interest, but they don’t really understand exactly how the process works and they said they’re awaiting guidance from State officials.”

    Considering many who supported Proposition 1 believed passage of the new law was going to eliminate underground marijuana sales by providing access to a legal and regulated alternative, the decision by municipal governments to opt-out of the sale of adult-use marijuana appears to undermine the intent of the initiative and expectations of voters. We’re at a tipping point in America with regard to public support for ending marijuana prohibition, but there’s still plenty of work to do, especially at the local level.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths and misinformation with NORML’s Fact Sheets! Follow Michigan NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

     

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 14, 2018

    An effort to undermine Michigan’s Proposition 1, a voter approved initiative that legalized adult-use marijuana failed to gain support in the Senate. In a last-ditch effort to deny Michigan residents the legal right to grow marijuana in their home, Senate Majority Leader Meekhof introduced SB 1243 that would have stripped the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of language that allows adults to grow 12 plants at home for personal use.

    Due to a limited timeframe and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unwilling to support the bill, Majority Leader Meekhof’s effort to undermine the will of voters failed miserably. With the Legislature scheduled to adjourn next week, marijuana consumers in Michigan have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season!

    “When Senator Meekhof introduced SB 1243, the advocate community in Michigan coalesced like mercury. Everyone was unified in opposition to overreaching bill so we were able to apply a lot of pressure in both chambers of the legislature,” said Brad Forrester, Board Member of Michigan NORML. “I would like to think that’s the reason the bill failed, but frankly, it failed because it was a bad bill and even Meekhof’s own colleagues couldn’t bring themselves to support it.”

    Read more here: https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2018/12/13/michigan-marijuana-bill/2300912002/

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Michigan NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website

  • by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director December 13, 2018

    We already have a lot of events on the calendar for 2019. Check out few highlights below!

    Tuesday, January 8, 2019 – Opening Day – Capitol Meet & Greet

    Join Texas NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy at the Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session! Opening day is one of ceremony and gratitude. It’s a great day to visit your legislator’s Capitol office and meet his/her staff. It’s not a day for lobbying, but certainly offers an opportunity to enrich your relationship with your legislators. Complimentary Breakfast Thanks to GRAV Labs!

    Follow event page for updates.

     


    Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Capitol Advocacy Workshop

    This training event is designed to help you become a more effective advocate for marijuana law reform in Texas and to prepare you to lobby effectively for our bills during the Legislative Session. This training event will offer you the tools you need to make effective arguments, dispel common myths, confidently communicate with your legislators, and positively affect policy during the upcoming legislative session. Please pre-register for this event so we can have adequate supplies for all attendees.

    Follow event page for updates.

     


    Thursday, February 7, 2019 – Texas Marijuana Policy Lobby Day

    Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State! We are excited to team up with our coalition members to host another huge Lobby Day. Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State. Since there will be hundreds of Texans participating, it is imperative that you pre-register for this event.

    Follow the event page for updates and more information on caravans from Houston and DFW.


    We also will be hosting our Monthly Meetings, several other special events at the Capitol (including Veteran, Patient and Senior Lobby Days), Direct Actions every other week during the session and multiple educational exhibits. Keep up to date by following our Event Page or adding our calendar to yours!

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

  • by Justin See, Board Member, Indiana NORML November 15, 2018

    On Tuesday, November 6th, Indiana voters took their final opportunity to vote in the 2018 midterm election. While Indiana did not have the opportunity to vote directly on cannabis propositions as in other states, there were numerous candidates on the ballot supportive of reforming our cannabis laws. Many of them did not win their races, but this election was not without wins for cannabis reform in Indiana. Here are some highlights and some races we’re still watching:

    JD Ford: State Senate District 29

    During the 2018 session, state senator Mike Delph (R) voted against legalizing CBD products in Indiana, an issue widely supported by Hoosiers. JD Ford (D), on the other hand, actively campaigned on the issue of cannabis. “I believe that it is time to work with law enforcement agencies, healthcare groups, and other stakeholders to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis,” Ford told us in response to one of our candidate survey questions. Delph responded to the same question about decriminalization by stating that, “This is not our most pressing area of criminal law. From a practical standpoint, we really need the federal government to address its position before we can meaningfully do so at the state level.”

    JD Ford won his race and will be a new voice for reforming our cannabis laws in the Indiana Senate, where the sentiment on cannabis legislation is thought to be more even more hostile than in the House.

    Chris Campbell: Indiana House District 26

    Chris Campbell (D) ran against incumbent state representative Sally Siegriest (R), and won with 57% of the vote. In response to our candidate survey, Campbell said she was supportive of implementing a medical cannabis program in Indiana, decriminalizing cannabis, and allowing retail sales of cannabis for personal use.

    Chris Chyung: Indiana House District 15

    In house district 15, Chris Chyung (D) won his race against incumbent Harold Slager (R). “The federal government also needs to set clear guidelines on the legality of cannabis,” Chyung said in response to a question posed by NWI Times about issues that required action from the federal government, “Colorado has benefited to the tune of over half a billion dollars in revenue alone, and more in jobs growth and economic development. I will never allow Indiana to leave that kind of potential money on the table.”

    Other races with supportive candidates remain to be called. Due to widespread issues at polling locations, results for Indiana’s 4th house district might not be available until November 16th, although candidate Frank Szczepanski (D) supports implementing a medical program, decriminalization, and the legalization of retail sales for personal use.

    Read more here: https://www.inorml.org/election-highlights/

    For more information about marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana, follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

  • by Pedro Padilla, Executive Director, NORML at the U of U October 29, 2018

    Members of the newly established NORML at the University of Utah hosted a panel discussion on the current state of marijuana law reform efforts in Utah, which included Proposition 2, as well as the negative impacts marijuana prohibition has had on Utahns. Panelists included Salt Lake County District Attorney, Sim Gill, as well as Alex Iorg who is the campaign manager for Utah Patients Coalition, the group sponsoring Proposition 2, and Tom Pasket, policy director for TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), a well known medical cannabis advocacy group in Utah.

    Panelists discussed the potential fate of Proposition 2 and highlighted the compromise that was recently reached between proponents of Proposition 2, opposition groups, and the state legislature. Unfortunately the new compromise has many proponents on edge as some feel their vote will no longer matter if state lawmakers can simply adopt a more restrictive program using the legislative process. Throughout the discussion, Mr. Gill, who believes Proposition 2 is “an indictment of the failure of the Legislature to listen to its citizens,” stressed his support and even urged those in attendance to support the ballot proposal on November 6th. Others in attendance shared this sentiment and encouraged voters to hold Utah state lawmakers accountable by voting YES on Proposition 2.Panelists also explored some of the legal implications of the ongoing conflict between state-sanctioned marijuana programs and federal law. Some leading public officials in Utah have warned that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and that it is the job of law enforcement to make that clear. However, several panelists thoroughly unpacked the CJS amendment highlighting how federal law has actually been amended every year since 2014 to prevent the Department of Justice from going after state-sanctioned marijuana programs. When asked about the 6,000 marijuana arrests in Utah and how possession cases are handled, our panelists agreed that the criminal penalties for marijuana in Utah are too punitive and would like to see reform in that area as well.

    Our goal by hosting this panel discussion was to bring education to Utahns about the current state of marijuana reform efforts in Utah, as well as other avenues of reform such as decriminalization. In the future, we hope to host similar events in order to deconstruct the reefer madness rhetoric and advocate for the liberalization of marijuana laws in our state.

    To learn more about marijuana law reform efforts in Utah, follow NORML at the University of Utah on Facebook and visit our website today!

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