Monthly Archives: February 2019

Marijuana reform is budding in New Hampshire!

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Here in New Hampshire, there has been a great deal of progress in the last few years. Several bills have been introduced in the state legislature, ranging from legal hemp production to adult-use marijuana legalization, and the fight for freedom has never been more widely supported than now. New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization; in a recent poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire, 68% of New Hampshirites support full marijuana legalization, and the New Hampshire General Court is finally listening to the will of the people and is pushing for meaningful marijuana reform.

There have been so far been eight major reform bills introduced in the New Hampshire General Court during the current legislative session.

 

— Bipartisan bill HB 481 would legalize the personal adult-use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana. It passed the House on 2/27/2019 by a vote of 209-147. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

For more information on this bill and to send a message to your State Senator in support of this legislation, click here.

 

— Bipartisan bill HB 399 would allow those convicted of past marijuana offenses to file a petition with the court to expunge any criminal records of the possession of three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana or less. This bill passed the House on 1/31 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

For more information on this bill and to send

Pharm to Table? Martha Stewart to Become Cannabis Adviser

Stewart co-hosts a show with rapper Snoop Dogg, who made headlines last year for smoking pot in front of the White House. Marijuana producer Canopy Growth has roped in lifestyle guru Martha Stewart as an adviser to help develop and launch a line of pot-based products for both humans and animals, it said on Thursday. Stewart, a 90s icon who became a household name through her cooking and lifestyle shows, co-hosts a show with rapper…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2019/02/28/pharm-to-table-martha-stewart-to-become-cannabis-adviser/…

Rep. Lee: I Just Introduced The Marijuana Justice Act

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee represents California’s 13th district

First off, I want to thank you for being an active member of the cannabis reform movement and I am proud to tell you that we have never been closer to ending the counterproductive and cruel policy of marijuana criminalization than we are right now.

Today, I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 and I have every intention of moving the bill forward, but I need your help.

Will you tell your member of Congress to join me as a cosponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act?

The prohibition of marijuana has had a devastating effect on communities of color. Although whites and blacks have been found to use marijuana at similar rates, a 2013 report by the ACLU found that a “black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white person.” As a result, low-income communities and communities of color have been subject to mass-criminalization and mass incarceration.

We can stop this. The Marijuana Justice Act would deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and seek to correct these racial disparities in arrests and sentencing. Further, it mandates that all records of federal possession convictions are expunged and resources be made available to local units of government to assist in the expungement of prior state and local convictions.

If this is important to you, then contact your member of Congress and tell them to cosponsor

Recap: Texas Veteran Lobby Day

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On Monday, Texans Veterans met at the Capitol to meet with their legislators and advocate for a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Texas. We started off with a training where we covered the legislative process, current medical marijuana bills and messaging. Watch the training from Texas Veteran Lobby Day. Representative Gina Hinojosa addressed the attendees about our need to improve Texas’ medical program and her bill which would allow for an affirmative defense for patients that are not enrolled in the program. Then veterans broke out to visit their legislators offices to meet with legislators and legislative aides.

Afterwards, we met up at the Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana Educational exhibit. Some veterans dropped off their pill bottles with a message in the casket that was displayed. There were also educational graphics displayed and resource handouts for people to take. The display was powerful and started many conversations about patient’s needs to have an option to prescription drugs. Take a virtual tour of the Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana Educational Exhibit.Watch the video that played in the exhibit.

View photos from the entire day.

News Coverage:

KVUE – Veterans Pushing for Medical Marijuana

KWTX – Veterans Call on Legislators for Medical Marijuana

Spectrum News – Texas Veterans Seek Access to Medical Marijuana



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/02/28/recap-texas-veteran-lobby-day/…

The Marijuana Justice Act Introduced In Both Chambers Of Congress

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Today, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) along with Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), introduced The Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and incentivize states to end the racially disparate criminalization of marijuana consumers.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“The Marijuana Justice Act is the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation ever introduced to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and to address the egregious harms that this policy has wrought on already marginalized communities.”

“This robust legislation not only removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but it also provides a path forward for the individuals and communities that have been most disproportionately impacted by our nation’s failed war on marijuana consumers,”

“The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color,”

“Communities of color have disproportionately suffered for decades because of our racist enforcement of marijuana laws and that must be addressed in the age of legalization through policies such as the Marijuana Justice Act,”

“It is time for federal lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and for lawmakers to amend federal law in a manner that comports with available science, public opinion, and the rapidly changing cultural status of cannabis.”

Indiana Gov. Holcomb Ran Frat, Smoked Pot in College

The governor of one of the most conservative states, Indiana’s Eric Holcomb, admitted that he smoked marijuana in college during a February 27 press conference in Indianapolis.

“Have you ever used marijuana?” he was asked.

“Yes,” the Republican governor tersely replied.

“Even though it’s illegal?”

“Yes.”

“When did you use it?”

“College.”

Holcomb was born in 1968 and attended Hanover College in Hanover, IN from 1987-1990 where he was chapter president of Phi Gamma Delta.

He went on to say this about legalizing marijuana in the Hoosier State:

“I’d like to be in line with federal. And if federal law changed… it should

Fed Chair To Senate: “I think it would be great to have clarity,” On Cannabis

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As the tentacles of the federal policy of cannabis prohibition run deep into nearly every sector of American public policy, a new voice emerged to call for clarity regarding state-legal cannabis marketplaces: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Currently, almost none of the state-legal licensed businesses operating in the cannabis space can legally obtain a bank account, process a credit card, or take a standard business deduction on their federal taxes. This is because federal law continues to inappropriately define all marijuana-related endeavors as criminal enterprises, including those commercial activities that are licensed and legally regulated under state laws.

“My home state of New Jersey is moving towards legalization of recreational marijuana, and I have concerns that these new businesses as well as the existing medical marijuana businesses in the state will continue to find themselves shut out of the banking system,” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in question by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) at the semiannual monetary policy hearing. “And when these businesses are forced to operate exclusively in cash, they create serious public safety concerns.”

To which, Federal Reserve Chairman Powell replied, “I think it would be great to have clarity. It puts financial institutions in a very difficult place and puts the supervisors in a difficult place, too. It would be nice to have clarity on that supervisory relationship.”

Clarity can mean a lot of things, but what should be the cornerstone of any major marijuana reform is a removal of …

NORML Chapters Are Leading The Way All Around The Country

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2019 is shaping up to be the most significant year in the marijuana reform movement to date and it’s a testament to one thing: That people just like you are getting involved and changing laws.

Only two months into the 2019 legislative session, with 45 NORML Lobby Days on the books, legalization proposals are swiftly moving forward in states across the country. Irrespective of geographic location or political ideology, lawmakers everywhere are beginning to realize that now is the time to take action on marijuana law reform.

This is not by accident. The power that we have built over the last 49 years is cresting and the end of prohibition is finally in sight.

Every day, NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state, and federal level, Below are just a few highlights of the incredible work being done by NORML leaders throughout America.


Colorado

Colorado NORML and Denver NORML headed to their state capitol to advocate for a range of consumer issues that are facing residents, from employment discrimination to evidence-based impairment detection.

We already have the language written out, so with the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, we’re confident we can get it passed,” Director of Colorado NORML Ashley Weber told Denver Westword.


Connecticut

Connecticut just elected their first Governor who is supportive of reform and NORML leaders didn’t waste any …

NORML Chapter Newsletter, February 2019

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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 media accomplishments.

NORML Leaders in the Media

Alan Robinson, Communications Director, Madison NORML

“It does have incredible medical properties we haven’t been able to study because the federal government won’t allocate more funding for research.”

Read more from The Eagle!

Follow Madison NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Ashley Weber, Executive Director, Colorado NORML

“Oral fluids and metabolites are not accurate. We can’t move forward with science that is not accurate and force people to have to pay for attorneys.”

Read more from the Westword!

Follow Colorado NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Dale Gieringer, Executive Director, California NORML

“Ultimately, the only thing that will stop large-scale profiteers and the environmental and public safety harms they cause is marijuana legalization at the federal level.”

Read more from City Watch LA!

 

“Although an overdose of pot edibles can indeed cause unconsciousness, cannabis has never been known to cause a fatal overdose — unlike tobacco, alcohol, and many other common household products that are not sold in childproof packages.”

Read more from The Sacramento Bee!

 

“Frankly we’ve seen very little at all about illegal activity in the way of growing in the wilderness

Rhode Island: Gov. Raimondo’s Proposed Marijuana Legalization Budget Plan

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On January 17, 2019, Gov. Gina Raimondo unveiled a budget proposal for 2020 that would legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island “with reluctance,” as she told The Providence Journal. “We’re not an island, in fact. Like it or not, we’re going to be incurring public safety and public health expenses because it’s legal in Massachusetts… And I think it is time for us to put together our own regulatory and taxing framework,” she said.

It’s a defensive move: If surrounding states — not even far enough away for a Rhode Island driver to pack a lunch — rake in Rhode Island money, the governor foresees welcoming home trouble with nothing to show for it. So the Adult Use of Marijuana Act aims to increase sales, licensing and tax revenues without actually accepting this plant that’s been used to foster pleasure, inspiration and insight for thousands of years.

Some of the bill’s proposed rules may send some Rhode Islanders to Attleboro and Fall River anyway, for higher potency products. Other parts of the proposal will no longer permit growing marijuana plants by and for medical marijuana patients who can’t or won’t demonstrate hardship, instead driving them toward retail sales at compassion centers. NORML RI thinks sick people, some often unable to work consistently, are hardly an appropriate market to tap for state revenue.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (established in 1970) welcomes and celebrates that by 2020 …

NORML Members Call On NFL’s Goodell To Allow Players Access To Medicine

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While most of the recent media conversation around cannabis and the Super Bowl surrounded the ability for a medical marijuana company’s attempt to air an advertisement, one of the issues raised by various NORML members over the last few weeks has been more focused on the actual well-being of the players themselves.

In his state-of-the-NFL address the Friday prior to Superbowl LIII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remained vague about the NFL’s future policies regarding medical marijuana and drug testing.

When asked about the likelihood of the league changing its policies on the use of medical marijuana, Goodell answered, “We rely on our medical advisors to give us advice. They look at this constantly, they look at the data, they look at the science and they make those recommendations to us on that basis.”

In 2017, Goodell said that he believed marijuana to be both addictive and unhealthy.

The NFL classifies cannabis as a banned substance and imposes extremely harsh fines and suspensions on players who test positive for cannabis.

Prohibited from using cannabis, players are looking to alcohol and opioids for relief. Drug and Alcohol Dependence found in 2011 that over half of surveyed NFL players used opioids during their careers, and a staggering 70% of those users abused the drugs. NFL players are three times more likely to use opioids than the rest of the population.

Tell Roger Goodell and the NFL that marijuana should be allowed as part of players’

Rick Steves: I support home cultivation rights for all marijuana consumers

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Rick Steves - NORML Board MemberIn 2012, I was proud to help fund and promote the passage of I-502 which legalized, taxed, and regulated marijuana in my home state of Washington. Now, seven years later, I’m delighted to see more and more politicians, not just on the West coast, stepping up to address marijuana policy reform and fighting to uphold the civil liberty of adults who enjoy smoking pot responsibly.

It’s time our state lawmakers comport Washington law with those of other states that regulate the adult use of marijuana — all of which allow adults to grow limited quantities of cannabis in private. Legislation is currently stalled in the House and Senate to allow adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their homes. I support the passage of this language and the liberty for all adults to have this option.

Granting the right to home cultivation gives more power to the consumer and ensures the safe, convenient, and affordable access to marijuana for all. But, even more simply, it just makes sense.

Join me today in supporting the freedom for every cannabis consumer to have the right to cultivate marijuana in the home.

Send a message to your lawmakers now, and demand they support home cultivation rights.

Thank you for joining me in this exercise in democracy,

Rick Steves



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/02/25/rick-steves-i-support-home-cultivation-rights-for-all-marijuana-consumers/…

Legalization Proposals Progress Around the Country

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Just about two months into the 2019 legislative session, legalization proposals are swiftly moving forward in states across the country. Irrespective of geographic location or political ideology, lawmakers everywhere are beginning to realize that now is the time to take action on marijuana reform. Here is the latest on key states from coast to coast:

Hawaii

Senate Bill 686 seeks to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults. The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants in their own home.

On January 31, the Senate Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing on SB 686 where they heard testimony for and against the bill. Then on February 7, the Committee unanimously approved the bill with amendments. This marked the first time a legislative committee in Hawaii moved a legalization proposal forward. The bill must still be approved by two more Senate committees before reaching the Senate floor for consideration by the full chamber.

While Hawaii’s legislature is controlled by Democrats, Governor David Ige has expressed skepticism toward full legalization in the state.

Click here to email your lawmakers in support of Senate Bill 686

New Hampshire

House Bill 481 seeks to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults. The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana …

How Quickly Does Cannabis Enter Your System, and How Long Does It Stay There?

It is more than four months since Canada legalized recreational cannabis but entrepreneurs acting within the law in that sector continue to face hurdles and discrimination when looking for a financial institution. “It’s very frustrating,” said aspiring cannabis-sector entrepreneur and Phytron Technologies Inc. CEO Bob Potter. “How can companies attract outside money if they can’t deposit it in a secure financial institution? Do they keep the cash in a shoebox under the bed?” The answer…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2019/02/25/how-quickly-does-cannabis-enter-your-system-and-how-long-does-it-stay-there/…

Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/22

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

At the state level, the North Dakota House of Representatives defeated a decriminalization bill on the House floor by a narrow 43-47 vote. On the same day, LegalizeND announced that they will try again with a 2020 legalization ballot initiative.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation into law this week permitting the production of industrial hemp in accordance with the new federal regulations.

Delaware prosecutors will no longer be encouraged to pursue criminal charges against those who possess marijuana for personal use, according to guidelines issued by the state’s new Attorney General.

Regulators in Iowa added two new medical cannabis qualifying conditions to the current list, ulcerative colitis (effective immediately), and severe pediatric autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors (effective 4/2/19).

New Jersey lawmakers have come to an agreement with Governor Murphy regarding retail marijuana tax rates, settling on charging sales tax by weight as opposed to a specific percentage.

Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

Your Highness,
Carly

Actions to Take

Federal

Regulate Nationally

Studies: Cannabis Exposure Not Associated With Significant Changes In Brain Morphology

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Cannabis exposure is not associated with significant changes in brain morphology in either older or younger subjects, according to a pair of newly published studies.

In the first study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine compared brain scans of occasional (one to two times per week) and frequent (more than three times per week) marijuana consumers versus nonusers. Subjects were between 14 and 22 years of age.

Investigators reported: “There were no significant differences by cannabis group in global or regional brain volumes, cortical thickness, or gray matter density, and no significant group by age interactions were found. Follow-up analyses indicated that values of structural neuroimaging measures by cannabis group were similar across regions, and any differences among groups were likely of a small magnitude.”

They concluded, “In sum, structural brain metrics were largely similar among adolescent and young adult cannabis users and non-users.”

The findings appear in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

In the second study, researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder compared magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in 28 cannabis users over the age of 60 versus matched controls. Cannabis consumers, on average, had used marijuana weekly for 24 years.

Authors reported that long-term cannabis exposure “does not have a widespread impact on overall cortical volumes while controlling for age, despite over two decades of regular cannabis use on average. This is in contrast to the large, widespread effects of alcohol …

Delaware: Attorney General Calls For Expanding Use Of Civil Penalties For Marijuana Violations

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Delaware prosecutors will no longer be encouraged to pursue criminal charges against those who possess marijuana for personal use, according to guidelines issued by the state’s new Attorney General, Kathleen Jennings.

In a memorandum issued this week, Jennings callas for sweeping changes to help prioritize resources toward the prosecution of violent criminal offenders and away from non-violent defendants. These changes include encouraging prosecutors and “police agencies to expand the use of civil citations [for] marijuana possession in lieu of criminal arrest.”

News radio station WHHY reports that the decriminalization policy will apply to possession cases involving up to 175 grams of cannabis.

Under state law, the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis is a civil violation. By contrast, offenses involving the possession of marijuana in greater amounts (between one ounce and six ounces) are classified as criminal misdemeanors – punishable by up to three months in jail and a criminal record.

The Attorney General’s actions to cease criminally prosecuting minor marijuana possession offenses are similar to those recently taken by municipal law enforcement officials in other states, including Baltimore, St. Louis, and Philadelphia.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/02/22/delaware-attorney-general-calls-for-expanding-use-of-civil-penalties-for-marijuana-violations/…

Marijuana Activists Will Meet in Raleigh to Lobby State Lawmakers

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Marijuana bills have a history in North Carolina of getting sent to committee’s where they die. While public support for marijuana reform has never been better, the Senators and Representatives in Raleigh aren’t so quick to jump on board. Our organizations focus is to raise awareness of bills and mobilize marijuana supporters to act. Since Senate Bill 58 was introduced, we have sent over 3,000 letters to the committee on “Rules and Operations of the Senate” (where S58 currently sits) from hundreds of citizens across the state in support of this bill. We have also been making daily phone calls and emails to Senator Rabon (Chairman) and Senator Brown’s (Vice-Chairman) offices.

Catawba NORML Lobby Day Registration

For the more “hands on” activist, we suggest registering for our Lobby Day. This puts you, as an activist, in the offices of our legislators to help us get this bill out of this committee and on to the next phase of its life. Even if you have no experience, but you love marijuana reform, register. We will provide you with all the training and resources necessary to be effective. There is a lobby day training session at Catawba NORML’s next public meeting on Wednesday, March 13th as well as video guidance to be sent to all attendees. The bottom line, we need activists asking these Senators every single day about this bill.

“We’re giving the citizens of North Carolina an opportunity to meet …

New Jersey Politicians Agree on $42 Per Ounce Marijuana Tax

Dasheeda Dawson (CEO of MJM Strategy), Jeff Brown (Assistant Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Health, Oversight of Medical Marijuana Program) and Ellie Siegel (CEO of Longview Strategic) speaking at Accelerate Cannabis at NJPAC in Newark, New Jersey on February 19.

New Jersey cannabis supporters received good news this week: adult-use legalization passed another hurdle.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari, author of Senate Bill 2703, said on Feb. 15 that legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy agreed to impose a $42 per ounce tax rate on recreational marijuana. Senate President Steve Sweeney had wanted a 12% levy while Murphy supported a 25% rate.

“We’re closer than we’ve ever been before,” Scutari stated. “However, if I thought we were all done, I’d be the first person calling a press conference.

This was a major topic of discussion at Accelerate Cannabis four days later on February 19 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark. About 150 business people, officials, activists, lawyers and service providers gathered to share ideas about legalized pot in the Garden State. Speakers on a series of panels discussed a wide range of topics from dealing with municipalities to developing new products.