Monthly Archives: December 2018

Iowa Senator Quashes Floor Debate On Marijuana STATES Act

Washington, DC: Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) yesterday blocked lawmakers from considering an amendment on the floor of the US Senate that sought to permanently remove the threat of federal intervention in states that regulate marijuana sales.

The amendment, offered by Colorado Republican Cory Gardner, was largely identical to Senate Bill 3032: The STATES Act, which creates an exemption under federal law for those jurisdictions that legally regulate marijuana production and retail sales. Senator Gardner has stated that he has the votes to pass the measure on the floor, and that the President would sign the bill into law. To date, however, the measure has yet to receive either a debate or a vote by members of the Senate.

Senator Grassley, who has previously bottled S. 3032 in committee, quashed Sen. Gardner’s effort to attach the language to broader sentencing reform bill, The First Step Act. Senator Grassley called the amendment a “backdoor to legalization,” and said that its intent was “inappropriate to consider in the context of a criminal justice reform bill.”

Senate members eventually passed The First Step Act, which will now be debated by members of the US House of Representatives.

As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley has refused to permit votes on any Senate bills pertaining to marijuana law reform. However, in November, he announced that he would be stepping down as Committee Chair.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director,

Marijuana Tax Dollars Support Anti-Bullying Program in Colorado

As marijuana sales in Colorado exceed $1 billion, residents are seeing marijuana tax revenues being put to work in their communities. From funding local projects to restore historic sites and construct a new irrigation system in Denver, to providing college scholarships to more than 500 students in Pueblo, and statewide grants for early literacy programs, Coloradans from every corner of the state are benefiting from the legalization of marijuana.

But there’s more. Similar to other areas of Colorado’s public education system that have benefited from marijuana tax revenues, the state’s School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program (BPEG), which has earned local and national recognition for its effectiveness, is being funded by the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund.

“I think we provide an environment where you can concentrate on studying rather than just on conflicts,” Jessica Hale, Dean of Discipline at Skinner Middle School stated in a recent interview with the Denver Post.

Read more here:

While some remain skeptical of marijuana legalization, it’s hard to ignore the positive impacts it’s having on communities across Colorado.

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Colorado NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website


Give the Gift of Freedom this Holiday Season

Give the Gift of Freedom


This holiday season, give the gift that helps end marijuana prohibition when you make a donation to NORML. Your generosity will help bring freedom to the millions of Americans living in states where NORML is still working to legalize marijuana.

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Everyone at NORML thanks you for your support in 2018 and looks forward to continuing the fight to end prohibition in 2019. As the year draws to a close, let’s celebrate our victories and prepare for the work ahead. Your generosity ensures NORML has the resources to keep working to reform marijuana laws. Can we count on you?

Yours in reform,
The NORML Team


Boston’s 4Front Ventures Looking Forward to Cannex Merger

4Front Ventures president Kris Krane is also on the NCIA’s board of directors

In a high-profile deal expected to close by February, Boston-based 4Front Ventures will merge with Vancouver-based Cannnex Capital Holdings Inc., which operates under the name Northwest Cannabis Solutions, for $450 million in stock.

Cannex (OTC: CNXXF) agreed to issue stock in a way that gives majority control of the combined company to 4Front, which will become a public company once the stock sells on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE). The transaction entails 4Front being granted shares of Cannex that will be issued next year at a rate of 1.75 of 4Front shares for every one share of Cannex. Based on the value of comparable stocks already traded on the CSE, the shares should sell as long as they’re offered at an attractive price.

Cannex shareholders are expected to vote by the end of February on the proposal to issue more stock, marking the close of the transaction.

“The synergies are perfect,” 4Front president and co-founder Kris Krane tells Freedom Leaf. “Cannex will take over cultivation and production—that’s their competency. That’s the hardest part. Our expertise is in retail sales and capital markets. The pieces fit perfectly.”

NIH: Teen Marijuana Rates Not Increasing Despite Legalization

Rockville, MD: Self-reported marijuana use by adolescents has failed to increase in recent years despite the majority of states legalizing it for either medical or adult use, according to the latest data compiled by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which is commissioned by the US National Institutes on Drug Abuse. NIDA is a part of the US National Institutes of Health.

Summarizing the findings in a press release, the agency acknowledged: “Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more. Fortunately, even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use.”

Marijuana use prevalence by young people did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018, the survey data reported. Between the years 2012 and 2018, both rates of lifetime marijuana use and rates of annual marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12thgraders have declined. Ten states have enacted laws regulating adult marijuana use during this same period of time, and several others have legalized medical cannabis access.

“This latest data demonstrates that legalization and regulation is working as intended. By taking marijuana off of the street corner …

NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo: ‘Let’s Legalize the Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana’

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come a long way, baby. In 2017,  he said, “I support medical marijuana. I don’t support recreational marijuana,” adding that cannabis “leads to other drugs and there’s a lot of truth to proof that that’s true.”

Today, in a speech in at the New York Bar in Manhattan outlining his 2019 agenda for the state, Cuomo declared: “Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all.

What accounts for the governor’s stunning change of heart and opinion? Let’s count the ways:

• With Michigan voting to legalize marijuana in November, now 10 states have followed the leads of Colorado and Washington when they changed their pot policy in 2012.

New York: This is not a Green Rush, This is a Justice Rush

Roc NORML was in the news earlier this week talking about what consumers and activists want to see included in the legislation currently being drafted to frame New York’s adult-use cannabis market. The legislation is being drafted by a work group, put together by Governor Cuomo, and we’re anticipating a first draft of the legislation will be introduced during the state of the state in January with the executive budget.

So, what does this mean exactly? This means we are also anticipating the legislation will be on the trajectory to pass with the 2019 Budget Bill in April, with Article VII from the NYS constitution. It is not a matter of if, or even when, but a matter of what this legislation is going to look like and who it is going to benefit most.

The article says: “The lawmakers working on writing the legislation that will be used as a framework for the program tell News10NBC they’d like to just “copy and paste” what the state of Nevada has done.

“Nevada has definitely benefited from the implementation in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California,” says Senator Diane Savino.  

Here’s what copying Nevada’s laws would mean for New York:

  • Legal recreational use for anyone over the age of 21.
  • Sales of one ounce per day.
  • No public consumption or usage while driving or in a vehicle.
  • Employers can still drug test and landlords can still prohibit usage while inside their

Nebraska Voters Could Decide on Medical Marijuana in 2020

Voters in Nebraska may have an opportunity to legalize access to medical marijuana for qualified patients in 2020. With the formation of Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, led by Nebraska State Senators, Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, many are seeing real prospects in passing a ballot initiative that would establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the Cornhusker State.

With both lawmakers consistently supporting, and in some cases, leading efforts to provide patients access to medical marijuana via the legislative process to no avail, Senators Wishart and Morfeld believe it’s time for Nebraska voters to weigh in.

“Today is the first step towards establishing a compassionate medical marijuana law for sick and suffering Nebraskans,” said Senator Wishart, in an interview with KETV 7 News.

Read more here:

Senator Wishart is also expected to introduce a medical marijuana bill during next year’s legislative session that not only will allow for a robust debate among her colleagues, it will also provide one last opportunity for state lawmakers to take action before the issue is put before voters in 2020.


Boulder County and City of Denver to Allow Expungement of Low-level Marijuana Convictions

Following the lead of other major cities and counties in states that have legalized adult-use marijuana such as San Francisco and San Diego in California and Seattle and Pierce County in Washington, local officials in Colorado are taking action to undo the injustices of marijuana prohibition.

Six years after voters in Colorado legalized adult-use marijuana, Boulder County, which encompasses the city of Boulder, and the City of Denver, have announced plans to expunge past convictions of low-level marijuana crimes from criminal records. Regardless of adult-use marijuana being legal to possess and consume in 10 states, a lingering marijuana-related conviction can prevent otherwise honest and hardworking adults from job opportunities, housing and financial resources.

Boulder County Assistant District Attorney Ken Kupfner shared his thoughts in a recent interview with Colorado Public Radio:

“We want to help people whose convictions are having the greatest impact first,” Kupfner said. “It could span everything from jobs to potential housing to educational opportunities. Anytime someone has a conviction, even for marijuana, it still shows up as a conviction.”

Read more here:

Following the announcement from the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled a new citywide effort to expunge low-level marijuana convictions that occurred in Denver before voters legalized adult-use marijuana in 2012. According to the Mayor’s office, more than 10,000 convictions for low-level marijuana crimes will be eligible for expungement.

Read more here:

Colorado state law currently only allows …

Medical Marijuana is Florida Law

home cultivationWriting from Key West last week, where I addressed the 35thannual legal conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, I was fishing not only for Blue Marlin, but justice.

Two years ago, Florida citizens voted for and passed a constitutional amendment allowing our residents to use marijuana medicinally.

The law passed overwhelmingly, with nearly 72 percent of the vote. No recount was required.  In this hotly contested and partisan state, no candidate running for statewide office won with that much of a majority. Candidate “Cannabis” garnered more votes than every Tom, Dick, and Sally running for office.

Two years later though, there are few, if any, dispensaries on your corner. Two years later, the city commissions are still passing moratoriums on them. They are negligently joined at the hip by irresponsible legislators failing to fulfill their legal duties. The will of the electorate is inexcusably and unjustifiably being denied.

Governor-elect Rick DeSantis has honorably stated that the legislature has a duty and obligation to implement a regulatory scheme, which carries out the will of the people.

While DeSantis also said he does not support legalization, he has committed himself publicly to seeing Florida citizens be allowed access to medical marijuana.

The incoming governor can take the first step by directing his new Attorney General to stop fighting a legal battle in the courts designed to prevent actual cannabis, the flowered plant, to be sold …

Weekly Legislative Roundup 12/14/18

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

There’s been some key developments in Congress this week, including the passage of The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’) by both the U.S. House and Senate. The hemp-specific provisions of the Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This would pave the way for states to commercially regulate hemp and hemp-derived products as they see fit. The President is anticipated to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

Additionally, newly introduced legislation, the Maintaining Appropriate Protections For Legal Entry (MAPLE) Act, would ease the tension for Canadians involved in the newly legal marijuana industry trying to enter the United States. The measure would provide protections for individuals whose actions are “lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred” or that was “subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction,” in regard to the emerging legal status of marijuana in the United States and internationally. You can send a message to your Representative in support of The Maple Act by clicking here.

At the state level, it’s official that legalization legislation in New Jersey will not be passed before the end of this year. Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker …

Michigan Bill to Ban Growing Marijuana at Home Failed in the Senate

An effort to undermine Michigan’s Proposition 1, a voter approved initiative that legalized adult-use marijuana failed to gain support in the Senate. In a last-ditch effort to deny Michigan residents the legal right to grow marijuana in their home, Senate Majority Leader Meekhof introduced SB 1243 that would have stripped the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act of language that allows adults to grow 12 plants at home for personal use.

Due to a limited timeframe and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unwilling to support the bill, Majority Leader Meekhof’s effort to undermine the will of voters failed miserably. With the Legislature scheduled to adjourn next week, marijuana consumers in Michigan have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season!

“When Senator Meekhof introduced SB 1243, the advocate community in Michigan coalesced like mercury. Everyone was unified in opposition to overreaching bill so we were able to apply a lot of pressure in both chambers of the legislature,” said Brad Forrester, Board Member of Michigan NORML. “I would like to think that’s the reason the bill failed, but frankly, it failed because it was a bad bill and even Meekhof’s own colleagues couldn’t bring themselves to support it.”

Read more here:

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Michigan NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website


The CBD Revolution Is Being Led by Women

Each issue of Freedom Leaf includes an article provided by Women Grow. This article appears in Issue 34.

For several years, I’ve assisted thousands of patients with an alternative form of medicine: cannabis. Through direct feedback and observational studies, patients have indicated that CBD, in particular, provides a significant benefit to mediate certain healthcare needs.

As a scientist who earned her PhD in cellular biology with extensive studies in cancer research, including breast and colon cancer, and evolved into developing a model to understand the mechanism of how prostate cancer metastasizes to bone, I’ve studied and consulted with many patients. When I opened my dispensary, National Holistic Healing Center, in 2015 in Washington, DC, I’d already had 15-plus years researching the impact medical marijuana and hemp has on patients.

During my time at Howard University as Director of STEM Education in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences, where I was awarded over $10 million in federally funded grants, I had the opportunity to train MDs, PhDs and advanced undergraduates in biomedical research for infectious diseases in several global communities to address healthcare disparities. This was where my education, experience and skillset contributed greatly in my understanding of medical marijuana and hemp. I was familiar with the benefits cannabidiol (CBD) provided patients. This natural cannabinoid found in both the cannabis and hemp plants has aided people for some time. However, it’s only now that CBD is …

Demand Protection For Consumers At The Canadian Border

Legal Marijuana Sales Being in Canada

Legal Marijuana Sales Being in Canada

Following Canada’s decision to become the first country in North America to legalize the use and retail sale of cannabis, the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Agency published a memorandum affirming that those Canadians either involved or invested in the legal cannabis industry may be barred admission into the United States. The agency modified their policy directive on October 9, 2018, acknowledging: “A Canadian citizen working in … the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the US for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the United States. However, if a traveler is found to be coming to the US for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

In response to this hard-line position, Representative Earl Blumenauer, the founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has introduced the Maintaining Appropriate Protections For Legal Entry Act (HR 7275), or The MAPLE Act for short.

This legislation provides protections for individuals whose actions are “lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred” or that was “subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction,” in regard to the emerging legal status of marijuana in the United States and internationally.

You can send a message to your Representative in support of The Maple Act by clicking here. 

There have already been examples of the …

Congress Lifts Longstanding Ban on Hemp Production

Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’), which for the first time includes provisions lifting the United States’ centuries-long prohibition on domestic, commercial hemp production. The President is anticipated to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

“The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.”

He added, “As statewide and public support in favor of broader marijuana reforms continues to grow, it is apparent that this federal change won’t be the last when it comes to the cannabis plant.”

The hemp-specific provisions of the Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including …. extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis.

The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess “primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp” to

10 Questions with Project CBD’s Martin A. Lee

Cofounder and director of Project CBD, an educational nonprofit that reports on cannabis science and therapeutics, Martin A. Lee is also the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational and Scientific (2012) and Acid Dreams: A Social History of LSD—the CIA, the Sixties and Beyond (1985).

How did you get interested in CBD?

I heard about it as a journalist attending and covering science conferences. I started writing about cannabis—the medical marijuana phenomenon—when I moved to California. I was drawn into it mainly from a civil rights/social justice perspective. Why are people still being busted if this is legal and for medical use?

It was a whole universe that opened up, which I had no idea about at all. So I started to focus on cannabis science and therapeutics, rather than just the raids by the police and that kind of thing, which was what initially drew me into writing about cannabis. It kind of changed course.

But what specifically sparked your interest in cannabidiol?

I would hear about CBD from scientists at these conferences. Steep Hill, the first lab that emerged to service the medical marijuana community, was able to identify both THC and CBD levels in the various cultivars. When these different CBD-rich strains popped up, that was it! What will this do? How will this affect people? Fred Gardner and I knew this was going to have a potentially major impact for …

Texas NORML Announces Dates for Capitol Meet and Greet, Advocacy Training and 2019 Lobby Day!

We already have a lot of events on the calendar for 2019. Check out few highlights below! 

Tuesday January 8th, 2019 – Opening Day – Capitol Meet & Greet

Join Texas NORML and Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy at the Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session! Opening day is one of ceremony and gratitude. It’s a great day to visit your legislator’s Capitol office and meet his/her staff. It’s not a day for lobbying, but certainly offers an opportunity to enrich your relationship with your legislators. Complimentary Breakfast Thanks to GRAV Labs!

Follow event page for updates.


Saturday, January 12th, 2019 – Capitol Advocacy Workshop

This training event is designed to help you become a more effective advocate for marijuana law reform in Texas and to prepare you to lobby effectively for our bills during the Legislative Session. This training event will offer you the tools you need to make effective arguments, dispel common myths, confidently communicate with your legislators, and positively affect policy during the upcoming legislative session. Please pre-register for this event so we can have adequate supplies for all attendees.

Follow event page for updates.


Thursday, February 7th, 2019 – Texas Marijuana Policy Lobby Day

Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State! We are excited to team up with our coalition members to host …

Take This Short Survey to Help Shape Marijuana Policy in New York

How much cannabis do you consume? How much do you pay for your cannabis? How much extra would you pay for cannabis delivery? How often do you share your cannabis with friends?

New York State plans to legalize cannabis for adult-use with the 2019 Budget in April. The time is NOW to make your voice heard loud and clear!

The New York State Department of Health, in partnership with NYU and RAND, want to know your (anonymous) answers to these questions, and more! Please take this short survey to offer your first hand experience as a cannabis consumer, advocate, or supporter in New York. Answers will be used to help shape the legislation currently being drafted that is going to determine what the the adult-use cannabis market will look like.

Survey responses are requested ASAP, but will be accepted until January 15th. Please send this survey to your friends and family, pull out your phone during holiday parties and ask people to fill it out, and talk to your co-workers (if they’re cool) and ask them the fill out the survey. We need to get at least 1,000 cannabis consumers, advocates, and supporters to fill out the survey. Will you help us reach this goal?

Click here to submit your response now.


A Cannabis Christmas

There is bound to be a little extra green under the tree this the first Christmas marijuana is legal in Canada. With retailers rolling out all kinds of wares, gift getting for the leaf-lover couldn’t be easier. From ornaments to socks, here are a few suggestions to get your shopping started. O Christmas tree As marijuana enters the realm of polite society, it’s now acceptable to show your love of the leaf on a tree.…