Monthly Archives: December 2018

American Veterans Desperately Need Legal Access to Marijuana

Photo by USMC OIF veteran and activist Michael P. Whiter

The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, introduced by Democratic senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Brian Schatz (HI), and the Veterans Equal Access Act, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would allow Veteran Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans in the 32 states (and Washington, DC) where it’s legal.

Out of the more than 18 million veterans living in the U.S. today, more than nine million are annually served by VA hospitals. Unfortunately, thousands of those veterans go unseen and underserved every day.

I watched first-hand as my partner, a disabled veteran, waited for more than a year to be processed and seen by a mental health specialist and approved for physical therapy after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy. There were days when he was in so much pain from his service-related injury that he could barely walk and was constantly visiting the local VA hospital during that long year; since then, he’s been prescribed several different medications for his ailments. But what if the best medicine for those ailments is marijuana?

A recent American Legion poll found that nearly one in four U.S. veterans of the Armed Forces self-reported using marijuana to treat a mental or physical ailment, which is a much higher rate of use when compared to the general population. Despite medical marijuana becoming increasingly available in states across the …

New Zealand Passes Laws to Make Medical Marijuana Widely Available

Legislation comes ahead of a referendum on recreational marijuana use in next two years. New Zealand’s government has passed a law that will make medical marijuana widely available for thousands of patients over time, after years of campaigning by chronically ill New Zealanders who say the drug is the only thing that eases their pain. The legislation will also allow terminally ill patients to begin smoking illegal pot immediately without facing the possibility of prosecution.…


Low-Income Medical Marijuana Patient Evicted for Doctor Recommended Therapy


Up until a few years ago low-income housing that received federal subsidies were required to maintain a “drug-free” environment. This meant that if anyone living in subsidized housing was caught possessing and/or consuming marijuana onsite, everyone living in the property was at risk of being evicted.

Fortunately, in 2014 the Obama Administration amended this policy to no longer mandate evictions which provided some discretion to housing management. As a result, the decision is now left to property management so they can insist on a “drug-free” environment, but are not required by law to impose such restrictive policies.

Unfortunately, due to inconsistencies in the different policies adopted by property management companies and limited knowledge of the law, marijuana patients residing in subsidized housing are losing their homes. A situation that is becoming all too common. Most recently, John Flickner, a 78-year-old wheelchair bound medical marijuana patient, was evicted from his low-income senior housing facility in Niagara Falls for using medical marijuana that was recommended by his physician.

In response, Lynne Patton, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional official announced that she is working to resolve the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws as it applies to tenant rights in federally-subsidized housing.

“State & federal law needs to catch up with medicinal marijuana usage & require private landlords to legally permit the same. Period,” Patton wrote. “Regardless, my team is already working with Mr. Flickner

William Barr: Bush League Choice for Trump’s Next Attorney General

President Trump is reaching back to the first Bush administration for his replacement for Jeff Sessions as the nation’s top law enforcement official. William Barr did that job for 18 months from 1991-1992. His reputation is that of a hardcore drug warrior.

A conservative, white-collar lawyer who also worked in the Reagan administration, as Attorney General, Barr favored longer prison sentences for drug offenders, mass drug testing in the workplace, civil forfeiture, pursuing cannabis cultivators as if they were public enemy No. 1 and rigorous use of military in drug law enforcement.

Barr was the federal quarterback leading the efforts at the Department of Justice to block any and all efforts to legalize medical access to cannabis, from appealing NORML vs. DEA out of the administrative courts to quashing the Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program, which, in the early ’90s, had a dozen patients receiving medical cannabis from the government’s pot farm in Mississippi.

As Attorney General under H.W. Bush, Barr favored longer prison sentences for drug offenders, mass drug testing in the workplace, civil forfeiture and rigorous use of military in drug law enforcement.

“Oh, yes, using the military in drugs was always under discussion,” he said in an oral history interview at the University of Virginia in 2001. “I personally was of the view it was a national security problem. I personally likened it to terrorism… But, we never tightened the noose.”

Weekly Legislative Roundup 12/7/18

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

At the state level, certain provisions of Michigan’s voter approved legalization measure specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis took effect on Thursday. Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana measure also took effect on Thursday.

Iowa’s first medical cannabis dispensary, MedPharm, opened on Saturday. And Alzheimer’s disease was added to Minnesota’s list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions by the state’s Department of Health.

Members of the New York state assembly held a public hearing on adult use marijuana legalization at Babylon Town Hall on Long Island.

At a more local level, Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, Colorado, announced via Twitter that his administration will begin to “vacate low-level marijuana convictions.” And two city councilmen in Cincinnati, Ohio are advocating for marijuana decriminalization in the city with legislation that would put the question on the ballot.

Following are the bills 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. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

Your Highness,

Priority Alerts


Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled …

World Health Organization Keeps Patients Waiting

Despite the anticipation of a major announcement  at the 61st Commission on Narcotic Drugs relating to the international scheduling of cannabis, no announcement came from the World Health Organization (WHO) today. Many expected the WHO to issue a recommendation on its findings of the first ever critical review of cannabis, however the WHO delayed its recommendation saying that it needed more time to review its findings.

Committee Narcotic Drugs Meeting


A NORML Statement on William Barr as Attorney General Nominee

Washington, DC: Today, President Trump announced his intention to nominate former Attorney General William Barr to be considered by the Senate to replace former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

“With every move by the Department of Justice facing intense public scrutiny, maintaining Jeff Sessions’ policy of reefer madness would be self-defeating,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “The movement to end the failed and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization is larger and stronger than ever, supported by a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisans.”

“In 2018, five states legalized either the medicinal or adult-use of marijuana, making the total number of states out of compliance with the Controlled Substances Act now 47. It would be utterly absurd for William Barr or any agent of the Department of Justice to take any action against these state-sanctioned and operational programs.”

“Over half of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee represent states that have or are in the process of enacting a legal marijuana marketplace. It is our intention that Mr. Barr be put on the record regarding his current position on cannabis given his record as a proponent of the failed War on Drugs.”

Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. …

Cronos Rallies, Aphria Gets Crushed as Pot Stock Volatility Continues

While cannabis may conjure up feelings of mellowness, investing in pot stocks is more of a roller coaster ride. And it’s not always fun.

Take your pick. Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis, Curaleaf, The Green Organic Dutchman, MedMen, Tilray and others have been extremely volatile this year.

Earlier this week, Cronos (NASDAQ: CRON) shares vaulted more than 30% in just a couple of days after it confirmed the existence of talks with tobacco giant Altria Group about a possible alliance. Altria, the world’s largest tobacco company and owner of the Marlboro brand, has been hunting for a deal for a while. This development sparked excitement because it marks the most concrete evidence yet that Altria plans to bring its considerable cash, distribution and agricultural resources into the cannabis sector.

For all the fuss around Cronos, it posted well under $5 million in revenue in the latest quarter. While it’s building facilities to meet Canada’s booming demand for cannabis, Cronos remains a micro-cap, a purely speculative play.

Quebec Moves to Raise Legal Age to Consume Cannabis to 21

The Quebec government tabled legislation Wednesday that would impose the strictest cannabis controls in the country, raising the legal age to 21. Bill 2 would also prohibit cannabis consumption in all public places, including parks and streets. “There’s 31 per cent of 18 to 24’s who are smoking it right now,” said André Fortin, an MNA with the Quebec Liberals. “We want to make sure that if they do make the unfortunate choice to smoke…


Michigan Marijuana Supporters to Celebrate Legalization at Midnight

At 12 am tonight, recreational marijuana officially becomes legal in Michigan, making it the 10th state to break from federal policy. Passed by voters on Nov. 6, Prop 1 allows for the possession of up to 10 ounces at home and cultivation of up to 10 plants. You can gift 2.5 ounces, but can’t sell it.

Plans for a  commercial industry will get rolling next year, with stores likely opening in 2020. It’s possible that medical dispensaries will be converted for rec purposes earlier than expected.

Prosecutors in several counties—Macomb and Oakland—are already dismissing low-level marijuana arrest charges.

The bad news is that some members of the Michigan legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlen Meekof, want to remove Prop 1’s homegrow provision.

Freedom Leaf FAQ: 16 Questions About Hemp and CBD

Here are 16 frequently asked questions about marijuana’s most famous non-intoxicating cannabinoid and industrial cousin.

1. What’s the difference between hemp and CBD?

Cannabis sativa L, a.k.a. “industrial hemp,” is an incredibly versatile and durable plant, making it ideal for the manufacture of rope, canvas, paper, textiles, fuel and plastic. Hemp seeds are frequently used for food and beauty products. Hemp grows tall and thin, like bamboo, and is non-intoxicating, unlike marijuana.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is extracted from hemp or cannabis to make oil. In the past few years, as the legality of marijuana has evolved, CBD sales skyrocketed by nearly 40%, according to New Frontier Data. This growth is unlikely to slow as word about CBD’s potential healing and medicinal benefits continues to spread.

2. What’s the difference between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD?

Hemp-derived CBD, extracted only from the stalks and stems, contains less than 0.3 percent THC and must be imported into the U.S. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp as part of university research pilot programs. However, most hemp-derived CBD comes from outside the U.S.

Cannabis-derived CBD is not limited to extraction from the stalks and stems. Other parts of the plant, especially the flowers, can be used to make CBD oil. Cannabis-derived CBD is grown in legal states.

Michigan: Marijuana Possession Becomes Legal This Thursday

Key provisions of the state’s voter-initiated marijuana measure, Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, will take effect this Thursday, December 6. Michigan is the tenth US state to legalize and regulate the use and sale of marijuana by adults, and it is the ninth to do so via voter initiative.

“The legalization of the adult use of marijuana in Michigan represents a victory for common sense public policy, while delivering yet another body blow to our decades long failed prohibition on marijuana,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Instead of continuing to arrest over 22,000 citizens a year for marijuana related charges, Michigan will now be able to reallocate precious law enforcement resources to combat violent crime while respecting civil liberties and advancing racial justice. This is a great day for the state of Michigan and, as the first midwest state to legalize marijuana for adult use, a huge step forward in the nationwide fight to end the failed policy of prohibition and incarceration and to replace it with a sensible system of legalization and regulation.”

Provisions specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis will take effect at 12am. Those over the age of 21 may legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates in a private residence. Adults may also legally cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants in private, and possess the harvest (up to ten

U.S. Chemist Roger Adams Isolated CBD 75 Years Ago

Roger Adams illustration by Ross Marinaro

The name most associated with cannabis science is generally Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam, who’s credited with first isolating and identifying THC. But given the current CBD craze, there’s another figure who should receive his due: American chemist Roger Adams, who first isolated cannabidiol. And, by some accounts, he even has a claim to being the person who initially identified its psychoactive cousin, THC.

In addition, Adams grappled with the role of science—and its misuses—in war and totalitarianism during the great world political upheavals in the early 20th century.

A true Boston blue-blood and direct descendant of President John Adams, the precocious scion entered Harvard in 1905 at age 16. In 1913, he travelled on a fellowship to Germany, the world leader in chemistry at that time, and studied at Berlin’s prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. He returned to the U.S. to take a post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just as World War I was breaking out. For the first but not the last time, events on the global stage had an impact on his life, career and research.

In 1917, Adams took a position with the National Research Council in Washington, DC and its associated Chemical Warfare Service. Germany was then notoriously using poison gas in the trench warfare of Europe. Adams studied this with an eye toward developing prophylactics to gas attacks—and potentially deterrents in the capacity to retaliate in …

19 Stylish, Cannabis-Adjacent Gifts for Those Who Like to Smoke Weed

Your friend, significant other, sibling, parent — anyone! We know it’s hard to find the right gifts for your loved ones, so we’ve compiled a ton of fashion and beauty-focused gift guides tailored to a range of interests and budgets. Check out our latest below and find more right here. As marijuana continues to earn legalization for recreational use around the world, the act of smoking pot is rapidly transforming within the luxury market across…


George H. W. Bush: The Last American Drug Warrior President

Infamously, President Bush convened a live TV press conference in September 1989 where he held up for the cameras a small bag of crack cocaine.

By every measure, America’s 41st president George Herbert Walker Bush, who passed away Nov. 30, was a fine man, father, patriot, civil servant and elected policy maker. He was decent and moderate, certainly by today’s standards.

However, likely due more to his age than social disposition, President Bush was the last great standard bearer of American presidents who publicly proclaimed the absurd idea that a “War on Drugs will be won.” After Bush Sr., such fanciful notions were never heard again from Baby Boomer presidents Bill Clinton, G. W. Bush, Barack Obama or Donald Trump, and are no longer part of the American political lexicon.

As a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency and Ronald Reagan’s Vice President (from 1981-1988), President Bush was a committed drug warrior in the worst way, overseeing during his tenure as president the implementation of Reagan’s Just Say No drug war by dutifully rolling out mass drug testing, controversial civil forfeiture enforcement, enhanced policing and the ensuing swelling of prosecutions and incarcerations.

The Bush administration was responsible for the creation of the bloated and ineffective Office of National Drug Control Policy (a.k.a. the Drug Czar’s office), appointing as its first two directors the bombastic William Bennett (a.k.a. the Drug Bizarre) and former Florida Republican Gov. Richard Martinez. The …

Utah: Lawmakers Seek to Replace Voter-Initiated Medical Marijuana Law

Marijuana medicineUtah lawmakers convened a special legislative session today to debate proposed replacement legislation to the state’s newly approved voter-initiated medical cannabis access law.

A majority of voters in November decided ‘yes’ on Proposition 2: The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. Legislators are now seeking to significantly curtail the law by replacing it with separate so-called ‘compromise’ legislation. Lawmakers announced in October their intent to amend the legislation, prior to its passage, after meetings with the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — who opposed the bill — and other groups, including some backers of the original bill.

The newly proposed legislation eliminates patients’ option to home cultivate medical marijuana, limits the pool of health professionals who can make medical cannabis recommendations, and imposes new restrictions on the number of medical cannabis providers and how they may operate, among other changes.

“Lawmakers should respect the will of state voters who decisively approved Proposition 2 as originally written,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Utahns want a patient-centric, functioning medical marijuana program. To ensure this law will benefit those it is meant to serve, the state legislature should not add unnecessary restrictions. Patients deserve the right to cultivate their own medicine, doctors should be empowered to decide what is best for their patients, and there should be no undue hurdles to licensing dispensaries to provide cannabis related products in a retail environment.”

A separate legislative proposal backed by the Utah House …

NORML Chapter Newsletter

Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

Members of  NORML Chapters in Missouri Host Community Discussion About Amendment 2

“MU NORML, the Mizzou chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, hosted a cannabis conference Saturday with Missouri NORML and Show-Me Cannabis.”

Read more from ABC 17!

Follow University of Missouri NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

NORML Leaders in the Media

Abner Brown, Executive Director, North Carolina NORML

“We’re going to set ourselves up for the best chance possible,” Brown said. “We’ve sent letters out and have contacted all of our elected officials in North Carolina, and those that were running, to get their responses about how they felt about cannabis reform.”

Read more from WSPA 7 News!

Follow North Carolina NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

Robinson could not be happier about Walker’s election defeat, since he historically has not supported legalizing marijuana and in May referred to it as a “gateway drug” during an interview on WISN-TV.

Read more from The Badger Herald!

Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Ali Nagib, Deputy Director, Illinois NORML

Nagib said regulations might include limits on the potency of