MPP Names New Executive Director

Steve Hawkins: “I’m proud to join this incredible team of advocates at such a critical moment in the movement to end marijuana prohibition.”

Steve Hawkins is the Marijuana Policy Project’s new executive director. He replaces acting director Matthew Schweich, who took over for the organization’s co-founder and long time executive director Rob Kampia in December.

Hawkins previously held executive-level positions at the NAACP (executive vice president), Amnesty International USA (executive director) and the Coalition for Public Safety (president).

“The country is moving in the right direction on marijuana policy, but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” states MPP board chair Troy Dayton. “Steve is the perfect choice to oversee that work and lead MPP into the future.”

In a press release, Hawkins elaborated: “Throughout my career, I’ve witness the counterproductive efforts of the war on marijuana and its especially devastating impact on communities of color. I’m proud to join this incredible team of advocates at such a critical moment in the movement to end marijuana prohibition.”

MPP Names New Executive Director

Steve Hawkins: “I’m proud to join this incredible team of advocates at such a critical moment in the movement to end marijuana prohibition.”

Steve Hawkins is the Marijuana Policy Project’s new executive director. He replaces acting director Matthew Schweich, who took over for the organization’s co-founder and long time executive director Rob Kampia in December.

Hawkins previously held executive-level positions at the NAACP (executive vice president), Amnesty International USA (executive director) and the Coalition for Public Safety (president).

“The country is moving in the right direction on marijuana policy, but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” states MPP board chair Troy Dayton. “Steve is the perfect choice to oversee that work and lead MPP into the future.”

In a press release, Hawkins elaborated: “Throughout my career, I’ve witness the counterproductive efforts of the war on marijuana and its especially devastating impact on communities of color. I’m proud to join this incredible team of advocates at such a critical moment in the movement to end marijuana prohibition.”

Texas Medical Marijuana Ad Launched

The Foundation for an Informed Texas (FIT) extends educational program dedicated to rural Texans to cable television. This continues an already successful statewide tour and social media campaign that gives voice to rural Texans. The result of the successful efforts is an expanded rural education effort that combines multiple communications channels, including cable television ads. The first cable ad ran on August 13, 2018, airing on a range of networks including Fox News and MSNBC.

Please support helping FIT expand their program to educate even more Texans!

Texas NORML is extremely proud of our sister organization, Foundation for an Informed Texas!

“Around 62% of Americans can access medical cannabis, including people in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana,” says Jax Finkel, Executive Director of FIT. “However, medical cannabis is legal for less than 1% of Texans—that isn’t medical freedom or the Texas way.”

The issue of medical cannabis is an important one to many rural Texans whose livelihoods depend on physical labor. Pain and inflammation are symptoms that are effectively treated by medical cannabis. The current medical regiment for these conditions are opioids and over-the-counter medication—both of which present dangerous side effects.

“Texans, across party lines, are supportive of access to medical cannabis,” says Ms. Finkel, “The next steps is to ensure that Texans have access to accurate information about the laws and the benefits of medical cannabis.”

In 2017, the Texas legislature saw 78 legislative sponsors of HB 2107—the comprehensive, medical …

Nevada’s Opioid Task Force Continues to Explore Options

Due to growing concerns about the impact America’s opioid crisis is having on his state, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval along with Governors Steve Bullock of Montana, Charlie Backer of Massachusetts, and Kate Brown of Oregon, recently sent a letter to federal lawmakers requesting support for state and local-level initiatives:

“Every day governors face the devastating impact of this disease on our communities, health care system, schools and families,” the letter reads. “Governors need increased financial and technical support to address this crisis and we urge Congress to avoid burdensome requirements on state programs.”

Read more here:

In addition to his formal request for Congressional support, Governor Sandoval created the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to explore, among other things, education and guidelines for treatment options and data collection.

Click here to urge the Governor’s Opioid State Action Accountability Task Force to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Nevada’s opioid epidemic

When asked about the Governor’s actions, Executive Director of Nevada NORML Madisen Saglibene had this to say: “State data shows that per 100,000 patients, Nevada ranks 2nd highest for hydrocodone and oxycontin addiction in the nation. Furthermore, Las Vegas ranked 4th highest in the nation for methadone, and 7th for codeine. So while we appreciate the efforts of Governor Sandoval, we’re encouraging members the the Governor’s Task Force to consider the positive role access to marijuana can play in addressing this issue.”

Several observational

Legalization Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot in North Dakota

Legalize marijuanaToday, the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office confirmed that LegalizeND has submitted more than enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot.

The initiative that will be before voters this fall aims to legalize the use, sale, possession, and distribution of marijuana for anyone 21 years or older.  It would also allow for records to be expunged for individuals who have previously been charged with crimes for activities that would become legal under the initiative.

Commenting on the initiatives approval, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri stated:

“We applaud the hard work and dedication from the campaign and countless volunteers on the ground in North Dakota who went door to door and out into their communities to gather the signatures required to put this on the ballot in November. Marijuana legalization is no longer a regional or partisan issue, with well over 60% of all Americans support ending our nation’s failed prohibition and I expect North Dakota voters to send shockwaves across the country this fall when they join the growing contingent of states who have chosen the sensible path of legalization and regulation over prohibition and incarceration.”

More information, including how to volunteer or donate to the initiative campaign, can be found on LegalizeND’s website HERE.

North Dakota now joins Michigan on the list of states voting to legalize adult use this fall, with Missouri and Utah voting on medical marijuana access.


Study: Medical Cannabis Access Laws Associated With Fewer Workplace Fatalities

Medical cannabis access programs are associated with year-over-year declines in fatal workplace accidents, according to data published online ahead of print in The International Journal of Drug Policy.

Investigators with Montana State University, Colorado State University, and American University in Washington, DC assessed the relationship between the enactment of medical cannabis laws and workplace accidents between the years 1992 to 2015.

Researchers reported: “Legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a 19.5 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. … The association between legalizing medical marijuana and workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44 grew stronger over time. Five years after coming into effect, MMLs [medical marijuana laws] were associated with a 33.7 percent reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities. Medical marijuana laws that listed pain as a qualifying condition or allowed collective cultivation were associated with larger reductions in fatalities among workers aged 25-44 than those that did not.”

Authors described the association as “robust,” suggesting that “it cannot be explained by slowly evolving, but difficult-to-measure factors at the state level such as attitudes or health behaviors.”

They concluded: “The current study is the first to explore the effects of medical marijuana laws on workplace fatalities. Our results suggest that legalizing medical marijuana leads to a reduction in workplace fatalities among workers aged 25–44. This reduction may be the result of workers substituting marijuana in place of alcohol and other substances that …

ASA Activist Newsletter – August 2018

In the August 2018 issue

  • ASA Brings Model Cannabis Legislation to Lawmakers
  • Disabilities Focus of Presentation, Outreach in Chicago
  • ASA Science and Standards Work Has International Reach
  • Upcoming ASA Events
  • PFC Certifying Analytic Labs and other Cannabis Businesses
  • Missouri Voters to Choose Between 3 Medical Cannabis Initiatives
  • ASA Activist Profile, Nic Easley, Denver, Colorado
  • ACTION ALERT: Register to Vote and Vote MMJ


NORML PAC Endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for Reelection

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Political Action Committee (NORML PAC) has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for reelection in Vermont.

“Bernie has become one of the most outspoken and visible advocates for ending marijuana prohibition,” stated NORML PAC Executive Director Erik Altieri, “He has called for sensible drug policy throughout his career, made descheduling marijuana a key component of his platform when running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, and has co-sponsored key pieces of federal legislation such as the Marijuana Justice Act. Senator Sanders doesn’t restrict his fight for reform to backroom meetings and floor speeches in Congress, he takes our message with him as he holds massive rallies and town halls across not just the state of Vermont, but throughout the country. His fire and passion have helped elevate our issue in the national dialogue and we are honored to support his reelection campaign. He is a true leader in the marijuana legalization revolution.”

Click here to Tweet our endorsement. 

Commenting on marijuana prohibition earlier this year, Senator Sanders said:

“Millions of Americans have had their lives impacted by the federal prohibition on marijuana – arrests, convictions and even jail time. Even when people don’t go to jail, the criminal record they receive makes it harder for them to find a job, get housing or go to college. Is this a widespread problem? It sure is. In 2016 alone, over

Two Recalls Hit California Cannabis Market

Just weeks ago, the first voluntary cannabis product recall occurred under California’s new regulations. According to an article on by John Schroyer, the recall for their vaporizer cartridges affects almost 100 dispensaries in California.

Bloom Brands, the company issuing the voluntary recall, mentioned in a press release that batches sold between July 1-19, 2018 were contaminated with the pesticide Myclobutanil and therefore does not meet the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) standards. Below is an excerpt from the press release:

We are working closely with the BCC to remedy this issue and expect clean, compliant products to be back on shelves in three weeks…. At Bloom, we are continuing to work with the BCC and other partners to ensure that the space is properly regulated and safe for all customers. Transparency and safety remain our top concerns and we will provide updates as additional information becomes available. We apologize for any concern or inconvenience this serious misstep has caused. We thank you for your continued trust and confidence in our products.

Then, just days later, Lowell Herb Co. issued a voluntary recall on their pre-rolls. First reported by, it appears the products initially passed multiple lab tests and was cleared for retail sales. Weeks after the batch passed tests, a laboratory reversed its decision, saying the products failed to pass the state’s testing standards. The contaminant in question was not mentioned.

The CCIA post calling out the BCC
The CCIA post calling

New Federal Employment Protections Bill Introduced For Marijuana Consumers

Today, Congressman Charlie Crist held a press conference to announce the introduction of the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, HR 6589.

The bipartisan bill would explicitly bar federal agencies from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a cannabis consumer, or due to testing positive for marijuana use on a workplace drug test.

“Medical marijuana is an issue of compassion, and in the veterans’ community, access is even more important as more and more veterans are turning to cannabis to address chronic pain and PTSD. At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of veterans; however, private cannabis use even in states that have legalized medical marijuana is prohibited in these positions,” said Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL). “Our bipartisan bill would protect federal employment for those in compliance with their state’s cannabis laws. Because our veterans shouldn’t have to choose between treatment options or job opportunities.”

“The time for the federal government to end the practice of arbitrarily discriminating against current and potential workers for marijuana consumption is now,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “With 47 states having reformed their cannabis laws to be in direct conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act, individuals acting in compliance with state law should not be denied the opportunity to serve their country as public servants.”

Enacted in 1986, the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program made it a condition for employment that

Quality Plans for Lab Services: Managing Risks as a Grower, Processor or Dispensary, Part 4

In the last three articles, I discussed the laboratory’s responses or defenses used to reply to your questions about laboratory results that place stress on the success of your business. The Quality Control (QC) results can cause this stress if they are not run correctly to answer the following questions:

  1. Are the laboratory results really true?
  2. Can the laboratory accurately analyze sample products like my sample?
  3. Can the laboratory reproduce the sample results for my type of sample?

Now let’s discuss the most important QC test that will protect your crop and business. That QC sample is the Matrix Sample. In the last article in this series, you were introduced to many QC samples. The Matrix Sample and Duplicate were some of them. Take a look back at Part 3 to familiarize yourself with the definitions.

The key factors of these QC sample types are:

  1. Your sample is used to determine if the analysis used by the laboratory can extract the analyte that is being reported back to you. This is performed by the following steps:
    1. Your sample is analyzed by the laboratory as received.
    2. Then a sub-sample of your sample is spiked with a known concentration of the analyte you are looking for (e.g. pesticides, bacteria, organic chemicals, etc.).
    3. The difference between the sample with and without a spike indicates whether the laboratory can even find the analyte of concern and whether the percent recovery is acceptable.

Connecting with Lawmakers at NCSL

From July 29 through August 2, Americans for Safe Access attended the annual National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in Los Angeles, California. We joined over 5,000 conference attendees (about 1,200 of which were state lawmakers or state legislative staff) to promote the goals of our End Pain, Not Lives Campaign.


Colorado Lawmakers Explore Solutions for Opioid Epidemic

With six meetings scheduled before next year’s legislative session, members of Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee are working diligently to address an issue many local and state governments are currently struggling with across America. As the total number of opioid-related deaths continues to grow beyond the more than 40,000 deaths that were reported in 2016, lawmakers are willing to consider all options.

Click here to urge Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee to acknowledge the role that marijuana can play in combating Colorado’s opioid epidemic

The committee was established earlier this year with the passage of House Bill 18-1003 to explore what other states are doing to address substance use disorders, explore harm reduction, treatment, and recovery option, and of course identify possible legislative solutions.

“Among other initiatives, the committee will study data and statistics on the scope of the substance use disorder problem in the state, study current prevention, intervention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery resources available to citizens, as well as public and private insurance coverage and other sources of support for treatment and recovery resources and examine measures other states and countries use to address substance use disorders.”

Read more from The Pueblo Chieftain

Several observational studies – such as those here, here, and here – find that medical marijuana regulation is correlated with reductions in opioid-related use, drug spending, abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. Separate data evaluating prescription

|Why I Traded in My Wine for Weed

I stopped smoking marijuana years ago. But with pot being pitched as the answer to everything from stress to sleeplessness, I decided to find out if cannabis is the fastest route to wellness. Introducing the new world of weed. I’ve never really liked smoking pot. More to the point, I’ve never really liked the way pot makes me feel: foggy and sleepy and clumsy. Once, while stoned, I attempted to make a peppermint tea and…


Cannabis Getaways Offer Experience, Chance to Explore Bud Culture

Sari Starr recalls having to sneak around in order to smoke weed with her friends when she was growing up in Toronto in the mid-to-late ’90s. Her parents were vehemently against drug use, and one of her biggest adolescent memories was the fear she felt when a police officer caught her smoking pot in a park. Now living in cannabis-friendly California, Starr has become an ardent advocate of marijuana use, and believes the potent plant…


Proposed US Tariffs Threaten Vaporizer Industry

The Blinc Group’s Arnaud d Dumas Rauly: “The cannabis industry will suffer from these tariffs.”

The US vaporizer industry is in a panic over proposed 25% tariffs on Chinese products. This would affect pen devices, hardware and batteries. China dominates the worldwide vaporizer hardware market.

“The rationale behind this administration’s trade war against China is twofold: stealing American jobs and stealing American IP and know-how,” Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, co-founder and co-CEO of the New York-based vape company, The Blinc Group, tells Freedom Leaf. “However, as it pertains to vaping products, none of these jobs and know-how are in the US to begin with. The cannabis industry will suffer from these tariffs.

“The supply of raw material isn’t big enough in the US to support a switch to US manufacturing,” he continues. “The skillsets aren’t in the US either. Bottom line, these tariffs will not bring jobs to America. In addition, given the small margins (10-15%) on the hardware, the cost of these tariffs will be passed on to consumers, which will limit patient/consumer access to cannabis products, especially in states like Florida and New York, whose medical programs relay on vaping products. Finally, the regulatory uncertainty is already stifling the cannabis industry, so this trade war will be adding ‘federal action’ onto already struggling businesses. It just doesn’t make sense, not to mention the loss of taxes on a state level that will result from

Pot Crusader Jodie Emery Sells Coffee Now, but Maybe Cannabis Later?

Owner will open a smoking lounge if privatization legislation passed. Jodie Emery has a new drug of choice: coffee. The longtime pot advocate recently opened a café in Kensington Market, Jodie’s Joint. The establishment serves locally-roasted coffee and baked goods — many of them enhanced by hemp, a variation of the cannabis plant commonly used in foods and manufacturing. “We’re only moving pounds of (coffee) beans, as I say now,” said Emery about her new…


Rohrabacher Received Campaign Donations from Manafort, Had Meetings with Assange and Butina

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) may be a friend to marijuana legalization, but that’s where his liberal leanings stop. The Congressman is a major backer of Donald Trump and has been implicated in Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Though his name has not been mentioned so far in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the election, it’s now known that Rohrabacher attended a 2013 meeting with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who’s been indicted by the special counsel.

Rohrabacher, Manafort and former Rep. Vin Weber, a Minnesota Republican who’s now a lobbyist with Mercury, were at the meeting on Mar. 19, 2013, which was disclosed in retroactive filings with the Justice Department last year that detailed Manafort and Rick Gates’ work for the European Center for a Modern Ukraine. Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort associate, pled guilty on Feb. 23 to felony charges of conspiracy and making false statements in a plea bargain with Mueller.

Gates lied about the 2013 meeting and his Ukraine-related work with Manafort. He’s charged with “admitting to take part in a conspiracy to hide tens of millions of dollars that he and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort obtained from their consulting work related to Ukraine.” Gates later helped Manafort prepare “a report that memorialized for Ukrainian leadership the pertinent Ukraine discussions that Manafort represented had taken place at the meeting.”

Weekly Legislative Roundup 8/3/18

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

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) filed a new bill in the US House of Representatives this week to shield federal employees from being fired for marijuana use that is legal in the state in which they live.

The Oklahoma Board of Health reversed course this week and revoked their previous set of proposed rules that went against the intent of SQ 788, which voters approved in the June special election. This reversal comes shortly after the state’s Attorney General warned health officials that they “acted in excess of their statutory authority” when they amended State Question 788. These new rules now go to Governor Fallin’s desk, she has 45 days to approve or reject them. As a reminder, the proposed rules remove the ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, eliminate the requirement that dispensaries hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer mandate that women of childbearing age undergo a pregnancy test prior to receiving a medical cannabis recommendation.

Missouri’s secretary of state certified that three separate medical cannabis initiatives have enough signatures to appear on the November ballot. The Missouri Constitution specifies that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one which receives the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three of these measures will have the support of a majority of the voters. Two are constitutional amendments and …