Monthly Archives: June 2018

Don’t Call it a Dispensary- Why Michigan Takes Marijuana Semantics Seriously

By Lauren Williams for Marijuana.com

“… It is critical that patients have clarity as to where they can obtain medicine,” said David Mangone, director of governmental affairs and counsel for the non-profit Americans for Safe Access. “It is too early to tell if this will adversely affect patient access. However, banning terms like prescription is good policy, because doctors can’t actually write prescriptions for medical cannabis under federal law, only provide recommendations.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/don_t_call_it_a_dispensary_why_michigan_takes_marijuana_semantics_seriously…

June Swoon: A Stoned Bride Is a Happy Bride

As American society evolves, can the concept of marriage evolve too? After my discussion with one punk-rock bride who opted to smoke pot at her recent wedding, it may be time to revisit our stereotypes.

Congratulations on your recent marriage. What was the planning process like?

It’s a rabbit hole. For instance, my mother-in-law was convinced that square tables would ruin the wedding. Apparently, round tables are more “intimate.” I knew everyone was going to get drunk and dance, and no one was going to care about the goddamn table shape. That’s when I realized planning a wedding isn’t about me or my partner’s love for each other, it’s about the fucking party.

Why didn’t you just elope then?

Trust me, that was our first thought. But family excitement won out and we decided to endure the craziness. So we went ahead knowing the wedding was for them, but the marriage is for us. We got really good at saying no to just about everything.

“I never thought of myself as a stereotypical anything, let alone bride.”

Where was the wedding?

It was outdoors, at a lakeside in the mountains in Pennsylvania, all DIY. It seemed fitting because we spent a ton of time up there working on an old cabin, a teardown we fixed room by room.

UN Drug Committee Declares Cannabis Is An Effective, ‘Relatively Safe Drug’

By Steve Elliott for Herb

“The current international policies on cannabis use are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the US and worldwide,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “These policies do not reflect the reality of over 30 countries globally that have passed medical cannabis laws.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/un_drug_committee_declares_cannabis_is_an_effective_relatively_safe_drug…

Former Missouri Supreme Court Cheif Justice Endorses Medical Marijuana Initiative

Former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice and former Dean of the St. Louis University Law School, Michael A. Wolff, will speak in support of the New Approach Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative at a marijuana law reform conference which will take place at the St. Charles Opera House, 311 N. Main Street, in St. Charles this Saturday, June 16. Judge Wolff is a professor emeritus of law at St. Louis University and a highly respected legal scholar.

Preceding his remarks at 4:00 p.m., there will be a full day of fascinating speakers. Mr. Paul Armentano, national Deputy Director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will speak at 3:00 p.m. Mr. Armentano is one of the nation’s most knowledgeable and articulate experts on the science of medical marijuana. He will speak about how the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 other states has dramatically reduced opioid overdose and provided relief from suffering to thousands of Americans.

At 2:00 p.m., the leader of the St. Louis NAACP, Mr. Adolphus Pruitt, will speak, followed by Mr. Tom Mundell at 2:20 p.m. Mr. Mundell is the former commander of the Missouri Association of Veterans’ Organizations (MAVO). He is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran.

At 2:40 p.m., Mr. Jeff Mizanskey will speak. Jeff was sentenced to serve life without possibility of parole for minor marijuana offenses. He has no other criminal convictions. After serving more than 21 years in prison, his …

Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/15/18

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

A lot has happened in Congress this week. US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) succeeded in inserting hemp legalization language into the wide-ranging Farm Bill – must-pass legislation that is approved by Congress every five years. The bill was then approved by the US Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

The US Senate Appropriations Committee, for the first time ever, included protections for state medical marijuana laws in base Justice Department funding legislation. On the other hand, the US House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment to protect banks that work with marijuana businesses from being punished by federal authorities.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced The “RESPECT Resolution: Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades” to elevate the importance of equity within the legal cannabis marketplace.

To all of our surprise, President Donald Trump expressed verbal support for recently introduced, bi-partisan legislation that seeks to codify legal protections for state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities. Similarly, members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently announced their support for marijuana law reforms to keep the federal government out of the business of prohibition and related law enforcement of marijuana.

At the state level, South Carolina voters approved a medical marijuana advisory question on the Democratic primary ballot by a margin of 81% – 19%. And The Maine Supreme Court ruled that employers don’t need to pay for medical cannabis under the state workers’ compensation …

The RESPECT Resolution Seeks Restorative Justice

Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced The “RESPECT Resolution: Realizing Equitable & Sustainable Participation in Emerging Cannabis Trades” to elevate the importance of equity within the legal cannabis marketplace. The RESPECT Resolution seeks both economic and reparative justice, ensuring that disenfranchised communities will be able to benefit equally in the emerging legal and regulated industry.

“There’s no question that there is growing momentum – both within Congress and nationwide – for cannabis legalization. However, as we move into this new era, we must learn from the failed War on Drugs and ensure that entrepreneurs of color are included in this expanding industry. Due to unequal criminalization rates and disparities in access to capital, people of color are being locked out of the new and thriving legal cannabis trade,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “We need to address the systemic exclusion and discrimination at play. Otherwise, we will be prolonging and encouraging the injustices of the past – where brown men spend their lives in prison for cannabis, while white communities get rich off the industry. I encourage my colleagues to support the RESPECT Resolution, the first bill in Congress focused on building equity in the cannabis industry.”

As more and more states dial back the war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were impacted by this oppressive criminalization are able to see previous harms remedied and be provided the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with …

House Appropriations Committee Blocks Cannabis Banking Amendment

The House Appropriations Committee took up and defeated language known as the Safe Banking Amendment offered by Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH) on Wednesday, June 13th.

If adopted, regulators would not be authorized to use federal funds to threaten sanctions against banks working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.

The defeat of the Safe Banking Amendment was not a vote about marijuana, but rather it was about normalizing a nascent industry that serves hundreds-of-thousands of customers in the majority of US states where cannabis is currently regulated. Once these companies have an easier time conducting their day-to-day operations, then they should be willing to offer more consumer-friendly prices instead of inflating them at the point of sale to cover backend costs associated with operating as an all-cash business.

Currently, hundreds of state-legal, licensed, and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. Congress must move to change federal policy so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities.

As an appropriations amendment, this funding restriction would have only been in place for one year.

There is pending bicameral legislation introduced by Representative Perlmutter (D-CO) and Senator Jeff …

Freedom Leaf’s State-by-State Guide to U.S. Cannabis Legalization

Since 2012, nine states and the District of Columbia have reformed their cannabis laws to allow adults to possess a personal amount of marijuana. In most of those places, adults can also cultivate a personal crop and purchase pot products in a manner similar to alcohol. Voter initiatives in eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Oregon and Washington) brought about these long-sought nation-changing political reforms, and Vermont’s legislature legalized cannabis possession earlier this year. In November, voters can make Michigan the 10th state with legal marijuana. Here’s an overview of what’s happening in the states that now allow recreational use by adults.

Alaska

High prices (as much as $500 an ounce for flower) and a low tax rate have prevented consumers and the state from fully benefitting from commercial sales.

  • Ballot initiative: 2014
  • Possession maximum: one ounce in public and up to four ounces in a residence
  • Home-growing: six plants, three of which can be flowering (up to 25 in a residence)
  • Purchase maximum: one ounce
  • Taxes: $50 wholesale per oz. on flower and $15 per oz. on leaf and clones
  • Public use: not allowed
  • Home delivery: not allowed

California

By allowing public use and home delivery (and already possessing a massive variety and inventory of high-quality cannabis products), California is currently the most cannabis consumer-friendly state in the country and perhaps the world. Commercial sales began in January.

  • Ballot initiative: 2016
  • Possession maximum: up to one

Congressional Black Caucus Announces Support for Marijuana Law Reforms

Last Friday, the Congressional Black Caucus announced its position on various marijuana law reforms.

“Some of the same folks who told African Americans ‘three strikes and you’re out’ when it came to marijuana use and distribution, are now in support of decriminalizing the drug and making a profit off of it,” CBC Chairman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02) said. “The Congressional Black Caucus supports decriminalizing marijuana and investing in communities that were destroyed by the War on Drugs – which, in addition to be a failed war, was a war on black and brown communities. We also support expunging the records of those previously convicted of misdemeanors for marijuana-related offenses.”

The position was supported by an overwhelming majority of the 48-member caucus.

Read more here: https://cbc.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=903

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/06/13/congressional-black-caucus-announces-support-for-marijuana-law-reforms/…

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

This article is the first in a series that will look into the risks any user of laboratory services (growers, processors or dispensary owners) will face from the quality systems in place in the laboratory. I will discuss specific risk areas in clear and understandable language so as to not obscure the substance of the article series with abbreviations and nomenclature that is not familiar with the reader. Subjects of the articles that follow will focus on the specific laboratory certification or accreditation requirements and how the user may find out if their risks are addressed. As these articles are meant to be interactive with the reader, users are encouraged to send questions or suggested topics to the author.

This article will be an introduction to the typical laboratory process that generates the “paperwork wall” and how it might impact the user.My experience with laboratory certification or accreditation (difference between the two discussed later in this article) comes from over 30+ years in the environmental chemistry field. My experiences include working under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, FIFRA (pesticides) and ISO 17025 laboratory analyses and laboratory management. I have also received training to perform ISO 17025 and EPA Drinking Water audits. During this time I have been audited as a laboratory analyst/laboratory manager and have performed audits.

As such, I can open up the laboratory structure beyond the sterile “paperwork wall” that has been …

Oklahomans To Decide In Two Weeks On Providing Medical Marijuana Access

Oklahoma voters will decide on Tuesday, June 26, on State Question 788 — a statewide voter-initiated measure that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to patients.

Under the proposed plan, licensed medical marijuana patients may cultivate up to six mature plants, and may possess personal use quantities of marijuana flower, edibles, or infused concentrates.

According to polling data released in May, Oklahoma voters support the passage of State Question 788 by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. Public support for the measure has largely held steady, even in the face of growing, organized opposition from members of law enforcement and certain business leaders. State lawmakers also attempted to preempt the initiative by passing legislation to significantly limit its scope and purpose, but that effort was eventually tabled in April.

Under state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal offense — punishable by up to a year in prison. Engaging in cannabis sales is punishable by up to life in prison. According to a study released earlier this week, Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is 1,079 per 100,000 people — the highest rate in the United States.

If Oklahoma voters pass SQ 788 in two weeks, it will become the 31st state to legalize the possession and use of cannabis by authorized patients.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/06/12/oklahomans-to-decide-in-two-weeks-on-providing-medical-marijuana-access/…

Jeff Sessions Is Really Going to Hate the World Health Organization’s First-Ever Marijuana Review

By Jackie Flynn Mogensen for Mother Jones

The World Health Organization met in Geneva, Switzerland, this week to review a first-of-its-kind report on the health and safety of cannabis, and President Donald Trump’s Justice Department will almost certainly not be thrilled with the report’s finding that marijuana is a “relatively safe drug.” 

The report, compiled by a team of international cannabis experts and presented to the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, is the first of many steps by the WHO to ultimately deliver a recommendation to the UN secretary-general on the “need for and level of international control” of cannabis, which could have a major impact on marijuana legislation internationally.  Cannabis is currently classified under the same category as heroin and cocaine.

“If the scheduling of cannabis changes at an international level, there’s nothing that will happen immediately,” says Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a cannabis advocacy group. Sherer also testified at the committee meeting this week. She told Mother Jones, however, that a scheduling change would indicate “a global openness to utilizing cannabis therapeutics in natural health strategies.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/jeff_sessions_is_really_going_to_hate_the_world_health_organization_s_first_ever_marijuana_review…

With Trump’s Support, STATES Act Could End Nationwide Cannabis Prohibition

By Jackie Flynn Mogensen for Mother Jones

The World Health Organization met in Geneva, Switzerland, this week to review a first-of-its-kind report on the health and safety of cannabis, and President Donald Trump’s Justice Department will almost certainly not be thrilled with the report’s finding that marijuana is a “relatively safe drug.” 

The report, compiled by a team of international cannabis experts and presented to the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, is the first of many steps by the WHO to ultimately deliver a recommendation to the UN secretary-general on the “need for and level of international control” of cannabis, which could have a major impact on marijuana legislation internationally.  Cannabis is currently classified under the same category as heroin and cocaine.

“If the scheduling of cannabis changes at an international level, there’s nothing that will happen immediately,” says Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a cannabis advocacy group. Sherer also testified at the committee meeting this week. She told Mother Jones, however, that a scheduling change would indicate “a global openness to utilizing cannabis therapeutics in natural health strategies.”

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/with_trump_s_support_states_act_could_end_nationwide_cannabis_prohibition…

New Legislation: STATES Act to Respect State Cannabis Laws

The STATES Act allows each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, as well as several tribal governments, to determine their own policy when it comes to cannabis laws without interference from the Department of Justice or other federal agencies. This bill does not legalize cannabis at the federal level but rather allows states the power to set policies approving or prohibiting cannabis. The STATES Act also resolves many of the issues of taxes and banking that have hindered the medical cannabis industry.

Contact your representatives and senators right now and tell them to cosponsor the STATES Act so we can finally end the federal state conflict!

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/statesact_action…

President Trump Expresses Support For Bipartisan Marijuana Fix

President Donald Trump on Friday expressed verbal support for recently introduced, bi-partisan legislation that seeks to codify legal protections for state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.

In response to a question from reporters, the President acknowledged that he “probably will end up supporting” The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Corey Gardner (R-CO). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also reportedly promised to permit a vote on the legislation.

The bill mandates that the federal Controlled Substances Act “shall not apply to any person acting in compliance” the marijuana legalization laws of their state. It also amends federal law to explicitly remove industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. A bipartisan House companion bill, sponsored by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), is pending in the House of Representatives.

Also today, Governors from 12 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging passage of the STATES Act.

In April, Sen. Gardner acknowledged that he had spoken with the President regard the intent of his bill and that Trump “assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/06/08/president-trump-expresses-support-for-bipartisan-marijuana-fix/…

Senate Majority Leader Announces Progress On Hemp Reform Legislation

United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today announced that he has secured provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill to further expand and facilitate state-regulated hemp production.

In a press release, McConnell acknowledged that provisions in S. 2667: The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 have now been incorporated into the Senate’s version of The Farm Bill (aka The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) — must-pass legislation that is approved by Congress every five years. Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee will consider the legislation on Wednesday, June 13.

Senate Bill 2667 expands upon provisions (Section 7606) in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill that permit states to establish hemp research and cultivation programs absent federal approval. A majority of states have now enacted legislation to permit such programs.

In 2017, state-licensed producers grew over 39,000 acres of hemp, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“Securing the Hemp Farming Act as part of the 2018 Farm Bill has been a top priority of mine,” said Senator McConnell. “I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues on this and many other issues important to Kentucky agriculture as we move towards consideration of the Farm Bill.

He added: “As a result of the hemp pilot program, which I secured in the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky’s farmers, processors, and manufacturers have begun to show the potential for this versatile crop. …

Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/8/18

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

There were some key developments this week at the federal level, including a new bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales. A bipartisan House companion bill was introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly pledged to permit a vote on the bill, while President Trump has publicly expressed his support for it.

Also in Congress, the US House Rules Committee, led by prohibitionist Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), blocked multiple amendments related to marijuana from receiving consideration by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer either legal protections or expanded access to veterans who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Additionally, The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to allow military veterans to get medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs doctors and to protect them from being denied VA services because of their participation in state medical marijuana programs.

At the state level, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed legislation to allow marijuana “tasting rooms,” but signed a bill into law to allow school personnel to administer medical cannabis to patients at schools. Louisiana Governor John …

Canadian Senate Signs Off On Historic Cannabis Regulation Measure

Members of the Canadian Senate yesterday voted 56-30 in favor of Bill C-45 sweeping legislation amending the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act so that those over the age of 18 may legally possess, purchase, and grow personal use quantities of cannabis. Members of the Canadian House of Commons had overwhelmingly voted in November in favor of the measure, which also establishes licensing for the retail production and sale of marijuana.

Once House members sign off on Senate changes to the bill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who campaigned on a pledge to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana sales, is expected to move promptly to enact the historic legislation. Legal cannabis retailers, acting in compliance with the forthcoming law, are anticipated to be operational by late summer/early fall.

“We applaud Canada for showing federal legislators in the United States what can be accomplished with true leadership and dedication to sound public policy. Our elected officials should follow in their footsteps and finally put an end to our own disastrous and discriminatory prohibition on cannabis,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri.

Under the forthcoming law, those age 18 and older will be legally permitted to possess and purchase personal use amounts of marijuana. Households will also be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants for personal use, though provinces are empowered to establish alternative limits.. Those who possess greater amounts will face civil sanctions. Commercial marijuana production will be licensed by …