Loading

prohibition

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate March 29, 2019

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

    The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has passed The SAFE Banking Act, HR 1595 out of committee this week. It now awaits consideration by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

    Guam became the first US territory to send a bill legalizing the adult-use of marijuana to the governor’s desk in 2019. The bill awaits action by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D).

    Governor Jim Justice (R) of West Virginia signed legislation into law that allows financial institutions to provide banking services related to the state’s medical marijuana program.

    Governor Gary Herbert (R) of Utah signed legislation into law that strengthens protections for medical cannabis patients and further improves upon the state’s new medical cannabis access program.

    Late last week, the North Dakota State Senate overwhelmingly passed a measure to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Earlier, a similar bill was overwhelmingly passed in the State House. Despite support in both chambers, the House and Senate need to come to a consensus on a single bill before it can be sent to the governor for his signature.

    New Jersey tabled a scheduled vote to pass adult-use marijuana legalization after falling just a few votes short of the threshold needed to pass. Legalization legislation now awaits another floor date while advocates in New Jersey gain the necessary support to pass it.

    In Texas, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence passed a marijuana decriminalization bill out of committee this week. The bill would make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine with no jail time and no marks would be added to a person’s criminal record.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    All Power to All the People,

    Tyler

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    End Prohibition: 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.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    California

    Senate Bill 34 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

    Update: SB 34 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development on 4/1/2019.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of compassionate care programs

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 223, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    The measure permits a parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis to their child patient on school grounds in a non-smoking and non-vaping form.

    Update: SB 223 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a “do pass” recommendation on 3/26.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Colorado

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: HB 19-1028 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services on 3/14, and then was approved by the Senate on 3/20. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

    CO resident? Click here to email your governor in support of medical expansion

    Connecticut

    Lawmakers in Connecticut have introduced a package of bills specific legalizing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana by adults and facilitating equity in the industry.

    Senate Bill 1085 permits those age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one and one-half ounces of marijuana. The measure would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to have their record expunged.

    Separately, House Bill 7371 would establish a regulatory framework for the licensed retail sale of adult-use marijuana.

    Update: There was a Public Hearing for SB 1085 on 3/22 after its passage out of the General Law Committee.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.

    Under state law, adults face civil penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses. Senate Bill 45 would make this policy consistent for juvenile offenders.

    Update: SB 45 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health & Social Services on 4/10/2019 at 2:30pm in the Senate Hearing Room.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions for juveniles

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 59, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants and nurse practitioners to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: SB 59 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health & Social Services on 4/10/2019 at 2:30pm in the Senate Hearing Room.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Georgia

    House Bill 324 seeks to establish a regulatory framework to permit the retail sale of medical CBD products to registered patients.

    Update: HB 324 was heard by the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee on 3/21.

    GA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical CBD expansion

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1383, that would decriminalize certain marijuana possession offenses.

    The bill would impose a civil penalty for the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, punishable by a $30 fine.

    Update: HB 1383 was heard and approved by the Committees on Judiciary and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on 3/19. The bill was amended to lower the fine from $200 to $30.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: HB 673 was heard and approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health on 3/21. The bill was amended to strip out provisions that would allow the sale of medical cannabis edible products and permit physician assistants to issue recommendations. But a provision to protect patients from employment discrimination was added.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senate Bill 1353 seeks to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 1352 was heard by the House Committee on Judiciary on 3/18.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Illinois

    House Bill 902 – The Cannabis Legalization Equity Act would regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of adult-use marijuana.

    The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 224 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 24 mature plants in their home.

    Update: HB 902 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    House Bill 2493 allows those convicted of possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis to petition the court to have their records automatically expunged.

    House Bill 2734 would call for a review of past convictions and would establish a process to automatically expunge the records of individuals who were convicted of certain marijuana possession offenses.

    House Bill 2621 would allow individuals to petition the court for expungement of marijuana possession convictions for activity that has since been decriminalized.

    House Bill 3392 would automatically limit access to criminal records of individuals who have completed all court orders and have gone ten years without any additional felony or misdemeanor convictions.

    Update: All four bills were heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    House Bill 2980 / Senate Bill2023 would amend the Illinois Banking Act and the Illinois Credit Union Act in a manner that facilitates banks and other financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed marijuana businesses.

    Update: HB 2980 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19. SB 2023 was approved by the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on 3/20.

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

    A majority of the members of Illinois’ House of Representatives have added their names as cosponsors to a resolution urging lawmakers hit the brakes on the marijuana legalization debate.

    The resolution states, “Lawmakers should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues but should consider the health and safety of Illinoisans as their first priority when considering the question of legalization.”

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in opposition to stalling the legalization debate

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 233 / HB 2173, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 2173 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture on 3/20.

    KS resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Maine

    Legislation is pending, LD 1374, to allow licensed dispensaries and caregivers to home deliver medical cannabis to select patients.

    ME resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis delivery services

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, HB 33 / SB 893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: SB 893 was approved by the Senate on 3/15, and recently had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 857 / House Bill 17, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.

    Update: SB 857 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/15, and recently had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis edible products

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 854, to mandate employers and/or their insurers to provide worker’s compensation for those who may require medical cannabis therapy as a result of an occupational injury.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of workers compensation for medical cannabis

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending, HF 766 / SF 1070, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would:

    • Authorize each dispensary to open four additional locations in specified areas throughout the state
    • Allow specific formulations of medical cannabis to be administered to qualified patients on school grounds

    Update: HF 766 was heard by the House Committee on Health and Human Services Finance Division on 3/28.

    MN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095, reduce marijuana offense penalties in Missouri. This measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana or marijuana concentrate from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. It also reduces the penalty for the delivery of up to 100 grams of marijuana or marijuana concentrate from a felony to a civil infraction.

    Update: HB 1095 is scheduled for a hearing in the Special Committee on Criminal Justice on 4/4/2019 at 8:00am in House Hearing Room 1.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization.

    Montana

    House Bill 498 would allow qualified patients to access medical cannabis while on either probation or parole.

    Update: HB 498 had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/27/2019.

    MT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion.

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 228, to expand Nevada’s medical cannabis access program.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allows wellness service providers such as massage therapists, reflexologists, and structural integration practitioners to recommend and administer cannabis and hemp infused products for therapeutic purposes;
    • Prohibits a practitioner from refusing to prescribe a controlled substance to a patient solely because the patient uses marijuana; and
    • Establishes a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the state’s medical marijuana access program.

    Update: SB 228 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on 4/1/2019.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    Update: The House Ways and Means Committee submitted a report with an “ought-to-pass with amendment” recommendation for HB 481 on 3/28.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 364, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings and to possess up to two ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: HB 364 had a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of home cultivation

    Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: HB 364 had a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 459, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 459 was approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives on 3/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, that would permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.

    Update: HB 399 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 4/2/2019 at 10:30am.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of record expungement.

    New Jersey

    Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act would regulate adult use marijuana sales and also provide for the expungement of certain past records.

    Update: S. 2703 was scheduled for a full floor vote on 3/25/2019, but the vote was cancelled after falling just a few votes shy of the threshold needed for passage. The bill now awaits another vote that has yet to be scheduled.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    1. 3205 / A. 4498, would make more crimes eligible for expungement — including offenses involving controlled dangerous substances — and cut the wait time down to five years. It also includes a “clean slate” process that will wipe away all offenses at once for anyone who has a clean record for 10 years after their last offense. Many more serious crimes would not be eligible.

    Update: S. 3205 was heard and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/18, and A. 4498 was heard and approved the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the full chambers on Monday 3/25.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 10 seek to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis.

    The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, amongst other changes.

    Update: A. 10 was heard and approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills awaiting scheduled floor votes.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New Mexico

    Senate Bill 406:

    • Allows medical practitioners to recommend medical cannabis for several new conditions, including PTSD, Parkinson’s, and severe chronic pain;
    • Prohibits employers from taking adverse action on an employee due to a positive drug test result or their status as a patient
    • Allows primary caregivers to obtain a license to grow medical cannabis;
    • Removes medical cannabis use as a violation of probation or parole;
    • Protects patients who require organ transplants

    Update: SB 406 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/16, and now heads to the governor’s desk.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New York

    Legislation is pending, S.4117, that would prohibit the eviction of tenants for using medical marijuana for a certified medical use.

    Update: S. 4117 had a hearing in the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee on 3/26.

    NY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 168, to expand the state’s medical CBD exemption law.

    The measure expands the pool of individuals eligible for a medical CBD exemption to include those diagnosed with autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and Mitochondrial disease.

    Update: S. 168 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/20.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded medical CBD exemptions

    North Dakota

    House Bill 1417 allows physicians to explicitly authorize patients diagnosed with cancer to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.

    Separately, House Bill 1519 would permit providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with 13 additional conditions, including anorexia nervosa, anxiety, opioid use disorder or withdrawal, and autism.

    A third measure, House Bill 1283, would allow physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

    And a separate measure, House Bill 1364, would permit edible medical cannabis products, as long as they do not appeal to minors.

    Update: HB 1417, 1519, and 1283 were all approved by the Senate Human Services Committee. HB 1364 was reported out of committee without a recommendation.

    ND resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 868 / House Bill 2628, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 868 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on 4/1/2019 at 3:00pm and HB 2628 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Wildlife on 4/1/2019 at 10:00am.  

    OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 3169, which seeks to allow licensed cannabis businesses to safely conduct transactions with financial institutions.

    If passed, this legislation would allow banking institutions and credit unions to organize as limited charter cannabis financial institutions.

    Update: HB 3169 had a publice hearing in the House Economic Development Committee on 3/25.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.

    The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

    Update: SB 420 is scheduled for a work session in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 4/8/2019 at 8:00am.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement.

    Rhode Island

    1. 5290 would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: H. 5290 had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/26/2019.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis patients.

    1. 5828 would establish a system for the regulation and taxation for the adult-use and cultivation of marijuana in the state of Rhode Island. The bill would allow for the personal possession of up to one ounce of cannabis outside the home and up to five ounces of cannabis in a person’s primary residence. It also allows for the cultivation of up to two cannabis plants in a person’s home, with one or fewer being mature.

    Update: H. 5290 had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/26/2019.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis patients.

    South Carolina

    1. 3660 / S. 366: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, would regulate medical cannabis distribution and access, but it prohibits the inhalation or smoking of herbal medical cannabis.

    Update: S. 366 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs on 4/4/2019 at 10:00am in the Gressette Room 308.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Legislation is pending, H 3449, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: H 3449 was heard in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on 3/21.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Update: HB 235 has a hearing scheduled in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 4/3/2019.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SB 260/HB 234, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally possess their medicine while visiting Tennessee.

    Under this measure, patients who are registered to use medical cannabis in those 33 jurisdictions that permit its therapeutic use may legally possess up to a half-ounce of cannabis while visiting Tennessee.

    Update: HB 234 has a hearing scheduled in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 4/3/2019.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of out-of-state protections

    Legislation is pending, SB 357 / HB 844, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 844 was heard by the House Rules Committee on 3/21.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Vermont

    1. 54 would establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committee on Government Operations on 3/27.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 58 was approved by the Senate Committees on Finance, Agriculture, and Appropriations on 3/22.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, SB 5605 / HB 1500, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated.

    Update: SB 5605 recently had a hearing in the House Committee on Public Safety on 3/25, and is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Public Safety on 4/2/2019 at 3:30pm.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of vacating past records

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095 / Senate Bill 5442, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    Update: HB 1095 had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on 3/27.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 5276 is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

     

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate March 18, 2019

    A.1617, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), has been re-introduced this legislative session. The bill would legalize the adult possession, use, and regulated sale of marijuana.

    Over the past twenty years, many New Yorkers have been negatively affected by the harms of prohibition in New York. With people of color accounting for nearly 85% of those arrested annually, the MRTA directs the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana to these communities. Because structural racism is ingrained in marijuana prohibition, it’s important that the MRTA both ends marijuana prohibition and promotes racial justice.

    Significant steps are taken in the amended MRTA to ensure racial justice and a small business-friendly industry, including:

    • Creating a micro-licensing structure, similar to New York’s rapidly growing craft wine and beer industry, which allows small-scale production and sale plus delivery to reduce barriers to entry for people with less access to capital and traditional avenues of financing.
    • Establishing the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, which will invest in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war through job training, economic empowerment, and youth development programming.
    • Ensuring diversity in New York’s marijuana industry by removing barriers to access like capital requirements and building inclusivity by allowing licensing to people with prior drug convictions. Only people with business-related convictions (such as fraud or tax evasion) will be explicitly barred from receiving licenses.

    Our communities can’t wait. The decades of marijuana prohibition had created a stain on the fabric of our society, and urgent action is needed to begin to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs. Adult-use cannabis legalization must be passed in the state budget, and support for the MRTA goes a long way towards making that a reality. Freedom simply cannot wait any longer.

    Click here to send a message to your New York State Assemblymember in urgent support of this effort.

     

    We also encourage you to plug in with Empire State NORML. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their webpage HERE.

    ______________________________________

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director March 7, 2019

    Today, we stood with Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Don Young as they introduced the Ending Federal Prohibition Act and Marijuana Data Collection Act. While these two bills are overtly about addressing the failures of marijuana prohibition, what they are truly about is accepting reality.

    This legislation is about accepting political reality. Currently, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized the adult use of marijuana and thirty-three states and DC have medical marijuana programs. When you additionally factor in decriminalization and marijuana-specific CBD laws, there is, in fact, only 4 states in this entire country that are actually in compliance with federal law and the controlled substances act. This tension between state and federal laws is and remains untenable. If states truly are the laboratories of democracy, we need to fully deschedule marijuana from the CSA and allow them to move forward with reforms to their marijuana laws, unimpeded by federal law. This is not just good policy, but good politics. The American people are sick and tired of our failed prohibition. 68% of all Americans support legalizing marijuana and well over 70% believe this is an issue that should be governed by the state, not the federal government.

    This legislation is about accepting scientific reality. While there is still more we can learn, there are over 29,000 peer-reviewed studies on cannabis in existence – we know enough to say that it does have medical applications and that it is objectively less harmful of a substance than currently legal alcohol and tobacco. As long as marijuana remains a Schedule I substance, federal policy remains ignorant of this fact. Descheduling marijuana through the Ending Federal Prohibition Act would ease hurdles to research and the Marijuana Data Collection Act would allow us to learn from the real world experience of states who have already moved forward with adult use or medical marijuana.

    This legislation is about accepting economic reality. The legal marijuana industry in this country already employs over 200,000 Americans in full-time jobs, nearly 300,000 when you include ancillary industries. That is six times the number of jobs currently in the coal industry and over twice the number of Americans working in the textile industry. It is also generating billions of dollars a year in revenue across this country. Despite this economic boon, marijuana businesses are still unable to utilize financial services and face issues regarding taxation that no other legal business faces. This legislation would be a huge step forward in treating the legal cannabis industry like any other legal industry in this country and allow us to truly embrace its job creation and revenue potential.

    Perhaps most importantly, this legislation is about accepting moral reality. Despite our progress, marijuana prohibition still results in over 600,000 Americans being arrested every year on simple marijuana possession alone. Worse still, these policies are applied in racially disparate ways, overwhelmingly those arrested are people of color or members of other marginalized communities. Whether an arrest leads to incarceration or not, having a charge for marijuana possession on your record has life-altering collateral consequences. Americans with a criminal marijuana record lose access to federal financial aid for higher education, have a hard time finding gainful employment, can risk losing public housing, face issues with child protective services, and see their future permanently altered or dreams deferred for nothing more than possession of a joint. Descheduling marijuana would open the door to finally ending marijuana prohibition nationwide and bring to a halt these draconic policies that have ruined so many American lives.

    The overwhelming majority of the American public has accepted these realities and it is time for their elected officials to do the same. It is time to pass the End Federal Prohibition Act, close this dark chapter in our nation’s history, and move on from the failed policies of prohibition and towards the sensible policies of legalization and regulation.

    CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THE ENDING FEDERAL PROHIBITION ACT!

  • by NORML April 20, 2017

    Happy 420 to all!

    420 Marijuana Day of ActionNever in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation. The historic votes on Election Day 2016 — when a majority of voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada decided at the ballot box to regulate the adult use of marijuana, and several other states passed medical marijuana legalization laws — underscore this political reality., as do just-released polling data from CBS finding that a record high 61 percent of Americans say marijuana use should be legal.

    It is time for the Congress, and your elected officials, to respect the will of the majority of American citizens.

    Email your members of Congress and demand an end to federal prohibition.

    At NORML, we started working to legalize marijuana in 1970, when only 12 percent of the public supported marijuana legalization. For several decades, as we gradually built support for our position, our political progress was modest at best. We decriminalized minor marijuana offenses in 11 states in the mid-1970s, following the release of the report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse. But then the mood of the country turned more conservative (think Nancy Reagan, “Just Say NO,’ and the emergence of the parents’ movement) and we made little further statewide progress over the next 18 years. The tide turned in 1996 when California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Today, a total of 30 states now recognize medical marijuana by statute and eight states have legalized its adult use.

    We’ve achieved these successes solely for one reason: the hard work and struggle of you and so many others

    We need to continue the fight until no American is subject to arrest for responsibly consuming marijuana, so tell your member of Congress to end prohibition now.

    Happy Holidays to you and your friends and family,

    The NORML Team

    P.S. Our work is supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and at the federal level. Can you kick in $4.20, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going?

    P.P.S. Have you picked up your NORML gear? Check out our store today

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director July 12, 2016

    Thanks and Blessings

    Post heavy consideration and consultation with family and friends — and after a serious life changing event recently — I’ve decided to resign as NORML’s executive director after some 25 years with the organization.

    In Malcolm Gladwell’s best selling 2008 book Outliers, he puts forward the premise that when humans focus intensely on a vocation or particular skill set, after approximately ten thousand hours of dedicated work and apprenticeship, most humans will come to ‘master’ whatever the given subject matter.

    Having poured nearly seventy thousand hours working uber full time on cannabis law reform since early 1991, I’m seeking to apply this deep knowledge base and network of contacts in numerously different ways as America (and other countries too), finally, transitions from cannabis prohibition to cannabis commerce.

    Coming To NORML

    When I was a far younger person I wrestled with a fundamental question: ‘What to do post college‘? Did I want to work for a business? For government? In politics? Academia? Possibly for my family’s small businesses on Cape Cod, where I grew up?

    After volunteering for NORML as little more than a concerned cannabis consumer who wanted prohibition to end post haste, I quickly learned that working at a non-profit advocacy group for the public interest focusing on cannabis law reform could be immensely rewarding regarding both the organization’s ability to provide aid and assistance to the victims of pot prohibition enforcement while at the same time effectively advocating at all levels of governments (and litigating in the nation’s courts) to end the long-failed prohibition on cannabis.

    As NORML’s former executive director and board chair Richard Cowan once noted: “Working at NORML is both intellectual heaven and an emotional Hell.”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    A Long-Failed Prohibition…

    The depth and cost to my fellow citizens of the carnage wrought from what has been nearly an eighty year failed federal prohibition on cannabis has at times stretched my capacity as a human to relate to the financial costs, physical and emotional pain, suffering, separation, isolation and ostracization that the over 25 million cannabis law offenders have endured (arrests, incarcerations, civil forfeiture, child custody, drug testing, drug tax stamps, etc.).

    On any given day after working at NORML any employee over it’s long history can be forgiven for feeling as though they’ve incurred a form of PTSD.

    …Is Giving Way To Cannabis’ Legalization

    However, because of immense devotion, sacrifice, energy and donated resources by like-minded citizens, literally a cast of thousands have worked cooperatively over decades to make incredible strides to, pun intended, normalize the responsible use of cannabis by adults, and advance voter initiatives and legislation that has brought us to this juncture in the nearly fifty year effort by citizen-activists to end cannabis prohibition.

    To wit:

    • When NORML was found in 1970, national polling pegged public support for legal cannabis at twelve percent (when I arrived at NORML in 1991, a little more than twenty percent favored legalization). Today, according to Gallup, fifty-eight percent of the public support legalization. A 2014 Brookings Institute paper indicates that, like gay marriage in America, cannabis legalization is all but a political given.
    • Today, the voters in four states have broken through the government’s Reefer Madness to create the ‘beginning of the end’ for national pot prohibition, with hundreds of millions in local and state taxes coming into government coffers assures that other states are going to soon follow. (Fifteen states have decriminalized possession for a small amount; by some people’s measure over three-fourths of states have medicalized access to cannabis products).
    • Even at this early stage of cannabis commerce there are over four thousand tax-paying, licensed cannabis-related businesses, who, now joined with longstanding cannabis law reform organizations, will work vigorously to try to bring a fast conclusion to national cannabis prohibition.

    The importance of the existence of non-profit groups like NORML, Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project to end cannabis prohibition in our lifetime can’t be overstated (or under appreciated by an emerging and nascent cannabis industry).

    NORML Puts The ‘Grass’ In Grassroots

    As unabashed and full throated supporters for cannabis law, NORML has built up a large social network online that reaches millions of concerned citizens weekly, making the days in NORML’s office pre-Internet in the early 1990s a very distant memory. We are blessed with consumer activists, coupled with a large (and politically active) network of state and local chapters, and, a NORML Legal Committee fueled by over six hundred lawyers — all of which helps to maintain NORML’s clear dominance in the United States organizing and informing millions weekly in the cannabis community.

    Times are changing at NORML and in the broader marijuana law movement…where there are now equal calls and emails from aspiring ganjapreneurs than there are from victims of prohibition enforcement seeking help.

    Fruits Of One’s Labor

    Ever mindful that two generations of NORML’s supporters, board members and staff were not fortunate enough to witness the social changes they agitated for, or, don’t reside in a state where bona fide cannabis law reforms have occurred, I feel tremendous gratitude that I’ve lived long enough to see cannabis go from verboten to tax-n-regulated commerce.

    As a resident of the District of Columbia I too now get to enjoy the fruits of reformers’ labor by growing my own ‘NORML director quality’ cannabis and readily sharing it with friends and family (at this year’s NORML Lobby Day Conference in May I gave away nearly half a pound of fine cannabis to the adult attendees who had to do little more than hold their hands out; a middle aged woman from Florida attending a cannabis-related conference for the first time, cried when I asked her to hold two hands out, and placed what used to be worth hundreds of dollars of ganja in her hands. She rightly declared that the amount of cannabis I conveyed upon her would surely get her busted back in Florida. I immediately agreed and welcomed her to a post prohibition world of our making. In effect, welcome to freedom).

    While the financial compensation working full time at a non-profit organization can leave one wonting, the immensely awarding scope of the work and positive impacts on people’s individual lives and the advancing of societal-changing public reforms and public policies has, for me, always been the driving impetus to pour, literally, half my life into working for cannabis law reforms at NORML and NORML Foundation.

    Life Changes: Blessings

    In late March, after years of fits-n-starts, tribulations, rivers of tears and unspeakable amounts of money, my wife and I are finally blessed with the birth of a beautiful and healthy daughter.

    As a new father-at-fifty the frenetic workload and travel schedule that I’ve maintained for so long at NORML/NORML Foundation — compounded by low pay and no genuine prospects to increase one’s compensation after twenty five years at the non-profit organization — to be the father that I’ve always aspired to become does not at all comport with continued full time employment at NORML/NORML Foundation.

    However, I love NORML as much going out the door as much as I did walking in, so I intend to serve out the two remaining years of my board seat, working in concert for weeks with the Interim Director Randy Quast (Randy is among a handful of current NORML board members that I recruited in 2013; he has selflessly donated over half a million dollars in support of Minnesota, Portland and national NORML) and whomever the board chooses as my successor to continue NORML’s important and relevant public advocacy work on behalf of cannabis consumers.

    As alluded to earlier, the country is in a transitional period between pot prohibition and a legal cannabis industry that will soon reach $20 billion in annual sales — NORML and it’s chapters, along with working hard to end cannabis prohibition in the remaining forty six states while concurrently helping the victims of prohibition enforcement — must also too pivot while working where mutually possible with the nascent cannabis industry, advancing consumer access to sensibly-regulated and taxed cannabis-related products.

    Gratitude And Thanks

    There are simply too many thousands of people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with and meeting over these twenty-five years at NORML to properly thank here, but I surely want to acknowledge Paul Armentano, Richard Cowan, Rick Cusick, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Justin Hartfield, Eleanora (and her late husband Michael) Kennedy, Ethan Nadelmann, Rick Steves and Keith Stroup for abundantly providing me professional support and guidance for so many years.

    Lastly, I would have likely been headhunted away from NORML over a dozen years ago if were not for the love and support of my wife Sara, who, always allowed me to continue public advocacy work in favor of cannabis law reforms despite it’s impact on our families’ lives.

    Please continue to provide support and fidelity to Randy and NORML’s staff in this transition period, and, importantly going forward, for NORML’s incoming executive director, whomever the courageous individual chosen by NORML’s board of directors.

    Cannabem liberemus!

Page 1 of 2812345...1020...Last »