Monthly Archives: March 2018

Oklahoma: Lawmakers Move Forward To Preemptively Quash Medical Marijuana Vote

Legalization in DCSenate lawmakers this week passed legislation, Senate Bill 1120, that seeks to preemptively quash many of the provisions of State Question 788 — an expansive voter initiative that provides physicians the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to those patients for whom they believe it will therapeutically benefit. Oklahomans will be voting on the measure, which NORML has endorsed, during a special election on June 26.

But state politicians who oppose the plan do not want to wait until June for the results of a statewide vote. Instead, they are trying to kill the measure now.

The language of Senate Bill 1120 guts State Question 788. It limits the pool of eligible patients only to those diagnosed with four distinct ailments. It arbitrarily caps the total number of licensed cannabis producers at no more than five providers. It limits the quantity of medical cannabis patients may possess, and also places undue limits on the formulations of marijuana products. It bars patients from smoking herbal cannabis and arbitrarily caps the potency of marijuana-infused products to no more than 10mgs of THC. Finally, it removes the right of patients and their caregivers to cultivate their own medicine.

Although SB 1120 initially failed to gain the number of votes needed for Senate passage, lawmakers reconsidered the legislation on Thursday and passed it by a vote of 26 to 11. The bill now awaits action in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.


Patient-focused report graded medical marijuana programs. No states received an A.

By Bruce Kennedy for The Cannabist

Americans for Safe Access issues its annual state-by-state grades on medical cannabis laws and also calls on states to help combat the growing opioid crisis

None of the state medical marijuana laws adopted thus far in the U.S. can be considered ideal from a patient’s standpoint, and because of their patchwork nature, those laws do not function equitably and are often poorly designed, according to a new report by Americans for Safe Access.

The advocacy group’s new 2018 annual report, “Marijuana Access in the United States, A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” evaluates every state with any medical marijuana laws on a 500-point scale.

Of the 46 states and three U.S. territories with some form of a medical marijuana program — covering about 95 percent of the country’s population — none received an “A” rating.


Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/16/18

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

I first want to highlight some key developments happening at the state level.

During a budget address on Tuesday 3/13, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reiterated his commitment to legalize marijuana in the Garden State this year. A budget overview document indicated that his Administration plans to legalize adult-use marijuana by January 1, 2019. Also, efforts in Wyoming to set felony penalties for edible and drinkable cannabis products failed.

Several marijuana related legislation died this week after failing to be voted on before crossover deadlines, including legalization bills in Kentucky and Missouri. The Indiana state legislature failed to agree on amendments to a hemp pilot program bill before the end of the legislative session, which will go to an interim study commission this summer.

At the local level, advocates in Los Angeles, California are holding events to help people with prior marijuana convictions get their records expunged.

Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check 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 at the federal level.

Your highness,

Priority Alerts


End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the …

Study: Marijuana Decriminalization Leads To Decreased Arrests, No Increase In Youth Use

State laws reducing minor marijuana possession offenses from criminal to civil violations (aka decriminalization) are associated with dramatic reductions in drug-related arrests, and are not linked to any uptick in youth cannabis use, according to data published by researchers at Washington University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Investigators examined the associations between cannabis decriminalization and both arrests and youth cannabis use in five states that passed decriminalization measures between the years 2008 and 2014: Massachusetts (decriminalized in 2008), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2013), and Maryland (2014). Data on cannabis use were obtained from state Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) surveys; arrest data were obtained from federal crime statistics.

Authors reported: “Decriminalization of cannabis in five states between the years 2009 and 2014 was associated with large and immediate decreases in drug-related arrests for both youth and adults. … The sharp drop in arrest rates suggests that implementation of these policies likely changed police behavior as intended.”

They further reported: “Decriminalization was not associated with increased cannabis use either in aggregate or in any of the five states analyzed separately, nor did we see any delayed effects in a lag analysis, which allowed for the possibility of a two-year (one period) delay in policy impact. In fact, the lag analysis suggested a potential protective effect of decriminalization.” In two of the five states assessed, Rhode Island and Vermont, researchers determined that the prevalence of youth cannabis use …

A First Timer’s Account of Testifying at the Maryland State House

I’m Carly, and I’ve been a political associate with NORML in Washington, DC for about 7 months now. I recently testified (for my first time ever!) before the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee in favor of House Bill 1264 – a constitutional amendment that would put a question on this November’s ballot to let the voters decide on the issue of marijuana legalization and retail sales.

When I first found out I was going to testify, I was excited. I knew this was a unique opportunity that not many people would do in their lives, and a chance to make my own voice heard before a committee of legislators in a state I felt a deep connection to – being a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, I spent some of the best years of my life living in College Park, MD.

What was I going to say? How was I going to say it? Were they going to take me seriously, being so young? Is 2 minutes enough to communicate the extremely important message I was trying to convey? There was only one thing I knew for sure – I was really nervous.

I arrived at the Maryland State House around noon that day, instantly greeted by my colleagues from Maryland NORML. Everyone brought positive vibes and good energy, which I needed. The hearing began at 1, and I thought it would only be a couple hours,

San Francisco Embraces Amsterdam-Style Marijuana Lounges

The smoke was thick and business brisk at the Barbary Coast Dispensary’s marijuana smoking lounge, a darkened room that resembles a steakhouse or upscale sports tavern with its red leather seats, deep booths with high dividers, and hardwood floors. “There’s nothing like this in Jersey,” said grinning Atlantic City resident Rick Thompson, getting high with his cousins in San Francisco. In fact, there’s nothing like the Barbary Coast lounge almost anywhere in the United States,…


CBD Helps Musician Recover from Brain Tumor

Adam Trachsel started having seizures when he was a teenager. “Maybe I was just self-medicating,” he recalls about his early marijuana use. “Even back then.”

Four years ago, Trachsel, the bassist/synthesizer player for Portland, Ore., indie-rock band Mimicking Birds, discovered he had a brain tumor that needed to be surgically removed.

Trachsel had lost his father to cancer years before. Remembering his father’s struggles with chemotherapy and radiation, he decided to have the operation at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, whose post-operative plan did not include chemo.

“When I woke up, I couldn’t speak, couldn’t do math and walked with a limp,” Trachsel relates. “I had to take speech therapy and learn to walk again, but I had no trouble playing music.”

Sweet Releaf: The Latest Cannabis App Is Changing How Patients Receive Their Plant Knowledge

By Kelly Johnson for Big Buds

It’s amazing what can happen in just two years. The recent partnership announced between the cannabis app Releaf and the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is proof that patience, and dedication to the consumer, is a virtue in the green space.

“Americans for Safe Access has been an important champion for cannabis patients since 2002. [Releaf is] very excited to work with such a well-respected organization, and we’re honored that they recognize our sincere passion for empowering patients,” says Franco Brockelman, CEO and founder of Releaf.

The joint venture between the Washington, D.C.-based app and the longtime cannabis patient nonprofit organization will improve how users and dispensaries share cannabis knowledge, as well as the quality of medical data for researchers across America.


Review: ‘Gold Dust Woman: A Biography of Stevie Nicks’

Gold Dust Woman (St. Martin’s Press), the unauthorized biography of Stevie Nicks by famed rock biographer Stephen Davis (Hammer of the Gods), brings to mind the quote, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels.”

Throughout the singer’s five decades in rock ’n’ roll, she managed to blossom professionally in spite of the frequent dismissive treatment she endured from record companies, music producers, and her fellow band members, including her tempestuous boyfriend, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham.

Born in Phoenix on May 28, 1948, Nicks spent much of her youth moving around the country. At an early age, she sang harmonies with her grandfather AJ Nicks a struggling country & western singer, and later learned to play guitar and write songs at Menlo-Atherton High School in California. That’s where she met Buckingham, who invited her to be in his band, Fritz.

They move to Los Angeles and formed the band Buckingham Nicks, which released one album before the duo joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975. “I started off the year as a waitress and ended with Lindsey Buckingham and I millionaires,” Nicks reflected.

Arcview Predicts $57 Billion World Cannabis Market by 2027

Arcview Group‘s new study, ambitiously titled “The Road Map to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market,” provides a sweeping overview of the recent progress and future prospects for legal or medical marijuana across the globe. But it also warns that, largely due to continued legal restrictions and bureaucratic overreach, the market is, in most areas, bottlenecked from achieving its potential.

“Adult-use legalization in California and Canada may have gotten all the ink in 2017, but from a worldwide perspective, the legalization of medical use by Germany in April may prove to be the bigger news,” Tom Adams, editor-in-chief of Arcview Market Research and managing director for BDS Analytics, writes in the introduction. “Germany’s initiative should inspire the rest of Europe, with its population of over a half billion. He also predicts that the expansion of medical cannabis markets can be expected to lead to broader public acceptance, “setting the stage for the eventual move to adult-use legalization” and that this model “will drive the world market, excluding the United States and Canada, to grow at 35% annually to $10.5 billion by 2027, as a key part of the $57 billion overall market.”

As substantial as that market would be, the report states, “The reality is that it falls far short of the market’s potential size for the same reason our North American spending forecasts are well short of total consumer spending on cannabis: Cautious regulators are likely …

Advocates Descend Upon Annual Meeting of the CND in Vienna

This week the United Nations (UN) Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has their annual meetings in Vienna. The CND is responsible for implementing international drug control treaties as well as the scheduling of drugs. The CND makes decisions about scheduling new substances as well as changing the scheduling. The CND base these decisions on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO makes their recommendations on the scheduling of drugs only after the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) prepares a critical review document.

Today’s agenda for the CND delegation includes the “Implementation of the international drug control treaties,” where they will discuss “changes in the scope of controlled substances” and “international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion.”


New Jersey Governor Doubles Down on Marijuana Legalization

Legalize marijuanaDuring a budget address on Tuesday, March 13th, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy doubled down on his commitment to legalize marijuana in the Garden State this year.

A budget overview document released in tandem with his address states that “this Administration plans to legalize adult-use marijuana by January 1, 2019. The State will also move forward with expanding access to medical marijuana to alleviate patient suffering. Governor Murphy is ready to end the cycle of non-violent, low-level drug offenses holding individuals back.”

Governor Murphy campaigned heavily on a pledge to legalize marijuana and today’s address makes clear he continues to push forward on his promise. Recently, some legalization opponents have begun to push for a watered down version of decriminalization as a way to derail the fight for full legalization and regulation. Governor Murphy was having none of it.

“Decriminalization alone will not put the corner dealer out of business, it will not help us protect our kids, and it will not end the racial disparities we see. If these are our goals – as they must be – then the only sensible option is the careful legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales to adults,” stated Murphy during his budget address.

In addition to advocating for full legalization, Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy has already began a process to expand the state’s struggling medical marijuana program. In January, he signed an executive order calling on regulators to review the state’s …

Success In Wyoming Adversity

Wyoming as a whole is staunchly conservative.  Sometimes one wonders why a legislator would even try to run with a “D” behind their name on the ballot.  That is not to say we have lacked excellent Democratic leaders, but the blood of the state runs very red.  This is a state dominated by energy production, a sense of uniquely independent national pride, and respect for nature and the dance with her that is the agricultural relationship.  The extreme end of this conservative bent is seated in law enforcement.  Too often Wyoming NORML hears from residents whose lives have been turned upside down by aggressive enforcement of laws designed to control a natural plant that the vast majority of people here support having access to.

Despite our doggedly conservative character, we are a caring, pragmatic, and individualistic cast.  At last polling, the University of Wyoming determined that over 80% of Wyomingites support medical cannabis, and over 70% support decriminalization.  The breakdown between the people and the policies seems to stem in part from these complementary but potentially deleterious qualities.  While the violent treatment of cannabis consumers by the hard-right in law enforcement is well known, the “live and let live” attitude of the populace combines with fear of such force and judgmental retribution by the ultra-conservatives to keep most people from speaking up or outwardly supporting reform efforts in spite of personal convictions.  Many are concerned that voicing their political opinions …

Cannabis Law Reform Developments Around the World

According to the Brightfield Group cannabis market-research firm, the U.S. accounts for about 90% of the world’s legal marijuana sales. By 2021, it projects, that figure will drop to 57% due to international legalization developments. Most of that drop will be thanks to Canada, where the federal government plans to implement adult-use marijuana laws this summer. But other countries have also been making progress on marijuana-law reform. Here’s a look at some of the latest global policy developments.



Adult-use legalization is on the table legalization is on the table during negotiations to form a coalition government in the country. The Christian Democrats, the Free Democrats and the Green Party have become known as the “Jamaica Coalition” since their black, yellow and green colors add up to the ones on a Jamaican flag. The latter two parties have historically supported marijuana legalization, but have been focusing on other “more important” issues during the negotiations. Meanwhile, patients are still struggling to access medical cannabis after the drug was legalized one year ago.



On Nov. 2, Governor General Sir Colville Young signed a bill into law that decriminalizes possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. The legislation was approved by Parliament in October. Consuming cannabis on private property is no longer a criminal offense, but possession still may be subject to civil penalties under certain circumstances, such as having it on school premises.


Last June, President …

Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/9/19

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

First, I want to bring your attention to the dedicated activists lobbying in conjunction with Delaware NORML! Activists in Delaware lobbied state lawmakers in the capital on Thursday 3/8 in favor of a bill that would legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of adult use marijuana.

Also at the state level, voter support is growing for a proposed adult use ballot initiative in Michigan, as a recent poll found that 61 percent of voters say they would vote yes on the measure “if the election were held today.” Marijuana law reform advocates are continuing to gather signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouri and Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State’s office.

Additionally, New Jersey legislators heard testimony on legalization on Monday. And, Massachusetts marijuana regulators took another step towards the opening of retail cannabis shops, as they approved draft marijuana rules governing the industry and will begin accepting applications for retail outlets on April 1. It is still their intent to open adult use dispensary doors this summer.

Several marijuana related legislation died this week after failing to be voted on before crossover deadlines, including legalization and decriminalization bills in Hawaii. Florida and Washington state legislatures adjourned for this year, effectively killing FL decriminalization and patient protection efforts, and a WA …

A Marijuana Dinner Party Grows Underground

There are many reasons for eating marijuana instead of smoking it—edibles give you a different sort of high, they say, and certainly delay the drug’s psychoactive effects, and pose no harm to your lungs—but flavor has not traditionally been one of them. The edibles of yore were concocted more for their potency than for their taste. Now, as weed becomes decriminalized and even legal in a handful of states, there’s a burgeoning interest in something…


Ottawa Health Unit’s Pot Proposals Under Fire

‘You’re going to see people breaking the law,’ Colorado consultant says A recommendation from Ottawa Public Health to ban all smoking and vaping of cannabis in Ontario’s apartments, condos and even cannabis lounges would drive people to break the law, according to a consultant who shaped marijuana policy in Denver, Colo. “You’re leaving a lot of people in a place where they can legally grow this product, can legally carry this product, can legally purchase…


Legal Advice for Life During the Rule of Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

On Jan. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a new memo on marijuana-law enforcement that has left many people in legal states confused or worried. The memo rescinded the 2013 Cole Memo, which instructed federal prosecutors to consider their limited resources when contemplating going after sales or cultivation that were legal under state law. Instead, Sessions promised “a return to the rule of law” and “directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities.”

In practice, this means that each U.S. Attorney in charge of one of the nation’s 94 judicial districts can set their own policies on marijuana prosecution, ranging from hands-off to aggressive—opening the way to a crackdown on recreational cannabis in the nine jurisdictions where it has been legalized, eight states and Washington, D.C.

Sessions dropped this threat just as California and its many cities were getting their new cannabis-regulation systems going. For the first time in the state’s history, cannabis will be grown, distributed and sold in a highly regulated environment, generating a substantial amount of jobs and tax revenues. All of its biggest cities have already created elaborate licensing systems for medical and non-medical commercial cannabis activity.

Many California politicians criticized Sessions’ move. “We hope the federal government will align itself with the will of, not just Californians, but Americans and not go to a tired playbook …

Turning the Oregon Outdoor Market into a Research Opportunity

Much has been made about the plummeting market value of cannabis grown outdoors in Oregon. This certainly isn’t a reflection of the product quality within the marketplace, but more closely attributable to the oversaturation of producers in this space. This phenomenon has similarities to that of ‘Tulip Mania’ within the Dutch Golden Age, whereby tulip bulbs were highly coveted assets one day, and almost worthless the next. During times like these, it is very easy for industry professionals to become disheartened; however, from a scientific perspective, this current era in Oregon represents a tremendous opportunity for discovery and fundamental research.

Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand
Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand, chief technical officer at Inform Environmental.

As we have mentioned in previous presentations and commentaries, our research group is interested in exploring the breadth of chemical constituents expressed in cannabis to discover novel molecules, to ultimately develop targeted therapies for a wide range of illnesses. Intrinsically, this research has significant societal implications, in addition to the potential financial benefits that can result from scientific discovery and the development of intellectual property. While conducting our experiments out of Arlington, Texas, where the study of cannabis is highly restricted, we have resorted to the closet genetic relative of cannabis, hops (Humulus lupulus), as a surrogate model of many of our experiments (Leghissa et al., 2018a). In doing so, we have developed a number of unique methods for the characterization of various cannabinoids and their metabolites (Leghissa …