Monthly Archives: June 2018

Queer in Cannabis: Inclusion Is the Solution

As a queer woman from New York who’s been involved in the cannabis industry for more than three years, I’ve met dozens of LGBTQ people, ranging from millennials to baby-boomers and activists to executives. As a new industry, cannabis benefits from growing in a time where there’s more awareness of the value of diversity.

“The medical part of this industry has deep roots [in the AIDS crisis] that has been forgotten about over the decades,” says Josh Drayton, Communications and Outreach Director for the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). Drayton, who started his cannabis career in Humboldt County more than a decade ago as an out gay man, helped launch CCIA’s Diversity and Inclusion program, which focuses on mentorship for underrepresented communities. He’s also worked on the launch of Sprout, an LGBT-inclusive space for the Bay Area cannabis industry.

“I started to get concerned about the lack of LGBT representation when I went to some of the Cannabis Cups,” Drayton explains, “because of the extreme white male presence and advertising geared toward heterosexual men.”

While many legal-cannabis companies have begun to focus on advertising that appeals across genders, the key to change is diverse leadership and a willingness to call out bad behavior.

Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/29/18

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

The US Senate has been busy this week talking about marijuana policy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), just introduced legislation called the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

The full Senate voted to legalize hemp as part of the Farm Bill by a 86-11 vote. The Senate also earlier this week approved a funding bill that contains a provision allowing Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to military veterans.

At the state level, Oklahoma became the 31st state to legalize medical marijuana, after voters decided to enact State Question 788, that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patients who will benefit from it. But Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued a statement shortly after the result was called indicating that she plans to work with lawmakers to scale back the measure.

A majority of the Delaware House of Representatives voted to approve a marijuana legalization bill, but it did not get the 60% supermajority support needed to advance the bill to the Senate, killing it for the year.

Massachusetts regulators approved an equity plan to ensure participation in the marijuana industry by communities that have been …

Vermont: Law Legalizing Adult Marijuana Use Takes Effect Sunday, July 1

Vermont Legalizes MarijuanaAdults in Vermont will be able to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis legally under state law, beginning this Sunday, July 1.

Vermont joins Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in legalizing the adult possession and use of marijuana. It is the first state to enact legalization via an act of the legislature rather than by the passage of a voter initiative.

“The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Vermont lawmakers and Gov. Scott are to be recognized for responding to the will of the voters, rather than choosing to ignore them.”

He added: “Vermont is leading by example. Lawmakers in other states would be wise to follow.”

The new law, which Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed in January, legalizes activities by adults to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and with regard to the private cultivation of six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest. The measure also imposes new civil penalties for consuming cannabis while driving, and imposes additional penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle impaired with a minor in the vehicle. (Read …

Oklahoma Legalized Medical Marijuana, to the Likely Dismay of Scott Pruitt

By Thomas Mitchell for Westword

“Question 788 is a tremendous victory for patients and for access to medical cannabis. We hope we can replicate this success in Utah and Missouri this November when those states will vote on improving their medical cannabis programs,”- David Mangone

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

Senate Democratic Leader Introduces Far-Reaching Marijuana Descheduling Bill

Senator Chuck Schumer introduces the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine, and Tammy Duckworth, just introduced legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.  

Passage of descheduling legislation is necessary to resolve the existing and ever-growing state/federal divide over marijuana policy. Thirty-one states regulate medical marijuana use and nine states regulate the plant’s use, production, and sale for all adults.

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” and 73% support expunging the records of those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses. according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress.

Click here to send a message to your Senators and encourage their support for the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. 

Commenting on the bill’s introduction, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is comprehensive legislation that would end our nation’s failed 80-year prohibition of marijuana and allow states to implement reforms free from the threat of federal interference.”

“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expungement the criminal records of individuals for marijuana possession cannot be overstated. Millions of individuals have suffered from the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal prohibition, making it harder for them to find a job, obtain housing, and access higher education.”

“This bill is a welcomed shift of policy from

FDA Approves First Medicine Derived from Cannabis

Washington, DC — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug that contains an active ingredient derived from the cannabis plant. The drug, Epidiolex, an oral solution containing cannabidiol (CBD), will be the first and only FDA-approved CBD drug on the market. The FDA has approved Epidiolex for use only in the treatment of two rare seizure disorders (Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome), and is the first FDA-approved treatment for patients suffering from Dravet syndrome. While there have been other medications that mimic the natural cannabinoids found in cannabis that have received FDA approval, Epidiolex is the first non-synthetic medication to be derived directly from the cannabis plant. The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex shows that it is possible to make medications from complex plant extracts.

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

NORML PAC Endorsed Jared Polis Scores Resounding Victory in Colorado

Representative Jared Polis, who was endorsed by NORML PAC, scored a resounding victory in Colorado’s Democratic primary for governor.

The results from the Democratic gubernatorial primary are not just a victory for Jared Polis and supporters of sensible marijuana policy, they are a victory for anyone who believes that our prohibition on marijuana was a failure and that states should be free to set their own policies when it comes to cannabis, free from federal incursion. Jared Polis has been the preeminent champion for ending our nation’s failed federal prohibition on marijuana while in Congress and an unrelenting force in standing up for Colorado’s legalization and medical marijuana laws. Just as he has always stood and fought by our side against federal prohibition, we will continue to fight for Jared Polis until he takes his rightful place in the governor’s mansion.

Upon receiving our endorsement, Polis stated, “I’ve been proud to lead the fight for cannabis reform in Congress, and NORML has been an incredibly valuable partner in that effort, Here in Colorado, we’ve proven that legal cannabis creates jobs; funds schools, not cartels; and boosts our economy, not our prison population, and I look forward to growing this industry. It’s an honor to have NORML’s endorsement, and I will proudly stand with them against Jeff Sessions or anyone else who tries to come after legal cannabis in Colorado.”

To learn more about Jared’s campaign and find out how you …

Oklahoma: Voters Decide In Favor Of Statewide Medical Cannabis Access Law

Sooner state is the 31st state to legalize and regulate medical cannabis access

A majority of Oklahomans today voted to enact State Question 788 a statewide voter-initiated measure that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to those patients who will benefit from it. Oklahoma is now the 31st state to legalize and regulate the use of medical cannabis under state law.

“Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.”

He continued, “The ongoing expansion of compassionate medical marijuana in states like Oklahoma places additional pressure upon Congress to take action to end this existing state/federal conflict. It is time for members to move forward with legislation like The States Act or The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would allow states the flexibility and autonomy to regulate cannabis as best they see fit — free from the looming threat of undue federal intervention.”

State Question 788 permits licensed medical marijuana patients to cultivate up to six mature plants and to possess personal use quantities of marijuana flowers, edibles, or infused concentrates. It also establishes a regulatory framework for the retail production and dispensing of medical cannabis at licensed facilities. The full text of SQ 788 is available online here.

XX percent of Oklahoma voters

Oklahoma: Voters Decide In Favor Of Statewide Medical Cannabis Access Law

Sooner state is the 31st state to legalize and regulate medical cannabis access

A majority of Oklahomans today voted to enact State Question 788 a statewide voter-initiated measure that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to those patients who will benefit from it. Oklahoma is now the 31st state to legalize and regulate the use of medical cannabis under state law.

“Public support for medical marijuana access is non-partisan,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Even in a predominantly ‘red’ state like Oklahoma, it is the will of the voters to enact common sense, yet significant marijuana law reforms.”

He continued, “The ongoing expansion of compassionate medical marijuana in states like Oklahoma places additional pressure upon Congress to take action to end this existing state/federal conflict. It is time for members to move forward with legislation like The States Act or The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would allow states the flexibility and autonomy to regulate cannabis as best they see fit — free from the looming threat of undue federal intervention.”

State Question 788 permits licensed medical marijuana patients to cultivate up to six mature plants and to possess personal use quantities of marijuana flowers, edibles, or infused concentrates. It also establishes a regulatory framework for the retail production and dispensing of medical cannabis at licensed facilities. The full text of SQ 788 is available online here.

XX percent of Oklahoma voters

Problems Plague MJ Freeway’s Leaf Data Systems in Washington State

On June 14, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) issued a news update to the state’s marijuana industry, alerting them that LCB had received a notice the week before “that there had been unauthorized efforts to tamper with data derived from commercial software that integrates with the state traceability system.”

This is just the latest in a series of troubles for MJ Freeway.

Washington switched over to the their Leaf Data Systems‘ traceability and compliance monitoring software (i.e., seed-to-sale tracking) on February 1. It was breached two days later. Data were stolen and systems were corrupted, disrupting business operations across the state.

Plants with seed-to-sale tracking

LCB took several days to notify businesses of the reason for that disruption, which is standard procedure for the state, probably added to the growing sense of mistrust among businesses toward the state and the Leaf system. LCB’s Marijuana Traceability Project (MTP) noted in a recent quality assurance review that “the security incident right after going live along with the disrupted system workflows and the backlog of responses to phone calls, tickets and bug fixes severely deteriorated the trust that licensees and software integrators had in Leaf Data System, the vendor, and in WSLCB staff.”

FDA Approves Marketing Of Plant-Derived Marijuana Medicine

Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration today granted market approval for Epidiolex, a prescription medicine containing a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), for the explicit treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

The FDA’s decisions was not unexpected, as the proprietary extract formulation — developed by the British biotechnology firm GW Pharmaceuticals — had previously demonstrated safety and clinical efficacy at reducing seizure frequency in several placebo-controlled trials. Epidiolex had previously received Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Status from the FDA. It is the fourth marijuana-based medicine to receive US FDA approval — joining dronabinol (aka Marinol), nabilone (aka Cesamet), and liquid synthetic THC (aka Syndros). However, Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved medicine containing plant-derived, non-synthetic cannabinoids.

Commenting on the agency’s decision, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The FDA’s approval of this plant-derived medicine provides an additional option to patients seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. However, it remains to be seen whether physicians will be comfortable prescribing this new agent to those patients who may benefit from it, and whether it will be priced in a range that patients may afford.” According to the New York Times, analysts expect Epidiolex to cost $2,500 to $5,000 a month.

He added: “We anticipated that Epidiolex will be the first of many potential FDA-approved medicines based on the cannabis plant. Nonetheless, these alternatives should not be regulated as …

Can Landlords Ban You From Smoking Marijuana? It Depends on the Province

Recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17, but renters in some provinces might not have the right to smoke or cultivate it in their homes. Quebec’s new cannabis act, considered among the strictest in the country, gives landlords the right to change signed leases specifically to ban tenants from smoking marijuana. The Quebec law states that “a lessor may modify the conditions of a lease … and in the absence of a…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/06/25/can-landlords-ban-you-from-smoking-marijuana-it-depends-on-the-province…

Cannabis and the Border: What Pot-Smoking Canadians Need to Know

‘I see a wall on the northern border for Canadians because of marijuana,’ immigration lawyer says. Each day, 400,000 Canadians cross the Canada-U.S. border. Beginning Oct. 17, 2018, more and more of those travellers could be forced to answer an uncomfortable question posed by wary American customs officers: Have you ever smoked pot? Those who tell the truth risk being banned from the United States for life and might have to apply for special waivers…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/06/24/cannabis-and-the-border-what-pot-smoking-canadians-need-to-know…

Full Vending Machines. Pot on the Pillow. What Some California Hotels Are Doing to Attract Marijuana Smokers

A few months after California legalized recreational use of marijuana, the Desert Hot Springs Inn in the Coachella Valley began advertising itself as cannabis friendly — a place where guests can smoke by the pool or heat up a vaporizer in the rooms. What surprised innkeeper John Thatcher was not only that business improved by as much as 50% but that most of his pot-smoking guests were upper-income baby boomers. “It was not your basement…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/06/22/full-vending-machines-pot-on-the-pillow-what-some-california-hotels-are-doing-to-attract-marijuana-smokers…

Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/22/18

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

At the federal level, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill to protect state-lawful marijuana users from housing discrimination. And the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted to block an amendment that would have protected banks that work with marijuana businesses from being punished by federal regulators.

Newly introduced legislation by Senators Warren (D-MA) and Gardner (R-CO), the STATES Act, is expected to face some tough hurdles in Congress, as Republican chairs of key committees in the House and Senate have no plans to schedule the bill for a hearing. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, currently has no intentions of considering the bill in committee, and neither does Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

At the state level, the Republican Party of Texas approved new platform planks endorsing marijuana decriminalization, expanded medical cannabis access, industrial hemp and federal rescheduling. And New Jersey regulators reduced patient fees, added new qualifying conditions, removed strain limits and made other expansions to the state’s medical cannabis program.

Next Tuesday, June 26, voters in Oklahoma will have the opportunity to decide in favor of providing much-needed medical marijuana access to patients with State Question 788, which will appear on the June 26 ballot. Under this plan, physicians — not lawmakers — will have the final say on making health care decisions …

Oklahomans to Vote Tuesday on Legalizing Medical Marijuana

The state with the country’s harshest marijuana laws can become the 30th to legalize medical cannabis on June 26 when Oklahoma voters go to the polls to decide on State Question 788.

The measure would allow licensed patients and/or caregivers (18 years old or older) to grow up to 12 plants and create a commercial market with dispensaries, cultivators, processors and testing labs. To apply for the latter licenses, you’ll have to be 25 years old. Read the text of SQ 788 here.

Currently in Oklahoma, possession of any amount of flower, hash, concentrates or paraphernalia are misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Sale or distribution are felonies, punishable by a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $500,000 fine for flower and $50,000 for concentrates. See NORML’s guide to Oklahoma Laws & Penalties here.

YES ON 788’s WILLIAM JONES: “State Question 788 was designed to make Oklahoma the most patient-oriented and business friendly state for the medical marijuana industry.”

Predictably, Republican Oklahoma Senator James Lankford opposes the measure: “If you read it, it’s a recreational marijuana bill. It’s very clear the way it’s written, to allow people to have access to it, in quantities they can grow, they can store, they can have, and it’s very open on how you get a prescription and what it can be for. So, it’s most definitely an opening toward recreational marijuana. …

Kentucky NORML: Cannabis Access Associated with Reduced Rates of Opioid Use and Abuse

KY NORML is passionate about education. And with the opioid epidemic consuming our state, we feel that it is our duty to share valuable information regarding the relationship between cannabis and opioids. Cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, traffic fatalities, drug treatment admissions, and overdose deaths. We strongly believe, based on research, first-hand accounts, and testimonials that cannabis is truly the answer to combating this crisis that is killing thousands of Kentuckians each year.

According to a study by the Journal of Headache and Pain, “the most common prescription medications replaced by medicinal cannabis in this study were opiates/opioids in a large percentage within every pain group, up to 72.8% of patients in the chronic pain as primary illness group. … This is notable given the well-described “opioid-sparing effect” of cannabinoids and growing abundance of literature suggesting that cannabis may help in weaning from these medications and perhaps providing a means of combating the opioid epidemic.”

Investigators assessed opioid use patterns in patients registered with Health Canada to access medical cannabis products. Among those patients who acknowledged using opioids upon enrollment in the trial, 51 percent reported ceasing their opiate use within six-months. “The high rate of cannabis use for the treatment of chronic pain — and subsequent substitution for opioids — suggests that cannabis may play a harm-reduction role in the ongoing opioid dependence and overdose crisis. While the cannabis …