Monthly Archives: March 2019

New Jersey: Adult-use legalization is closer than ever

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After months of negotiation, Governor Murphy and NJ state legislators have reached a deal on what will be included in upcoming legislation to legalize the adult-use and retail sale of marijuana in the state of New Jersey. Some highlights include expedited expungement for past misdemeanor marijuana convictions, a three-percent tax to be collected by or paid to municipalities wherever retail stores exist, and provisions to incentivize socio-economic, racial, and gender equity in the state’s cannabis industry.

Though this is a monumental step towards expanding personal freedoms for New Jerseyans, the fight is not over. The bill, yet to be released, still needs to garner enough support in the New Jersey state legislature in order to get to Governor Murphy’s desk. We need urgent action from New Jersey residents to make adult-use cannabis legalization a reality in the Garden State.

Click here to send an urgent letter to your state legislators in support of adult-use cannabis legalization in New Jersey.

New Jersey ranks second in the nation in per capita annual marijuana arrests. This policy disproportionately impacts young people of color — who are arrested in New Jersey for violating marijuana possession laws at approximately three times the rate of whites — financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, and engenders disrespect for the law.

It’s time for New Jersey to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of its residents by joining the 10 states (and Washington DC) that have passed

New Model Ordinance’s Envisioned To Promote Small Businesses and Inclusivity

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This week, the Minority Cannabis Business Association unveiled their Municipal Ordinance model on how localities can administer new business licenses in a fashion that promote minority entrepreneurs and ensure that the emerging industry will not be dominated by a flood on new investors who have not been harmed by the consequences of prohibition.

As states continue dialing back their war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were most negatively impacted by our oppressive prohibition are able to see previous harms remedied as best as possible and be given the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with legalization and regulation. With states beginning to define this new industry, the newly created licensing bodies should prioritize ease of access to the market for consumers and those who were previously targeted by anti-marijuana laws, in addition to supporting small businesses and diversity over corporate greed.

“The Model Ordinance is a statement from the communities we represent to the local lawmakers, regulators, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders who are building our nation’s cannabis industry one town at time–social equity is not only possible, it should be the industry standard moving forward. Our work gives those actors the tools they need to make equity a present reality in our industry rather than a lost opportunity,” said Khurshid Khoja, Co-chair of the MCBA Policy Committee.

Communities of color have disproportionately suffered for decades because of our racist enforcement of marijuana laws and that must be …

NORML Celebrates 49 Years of Fighting for Freedom

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Happy birthday, NORML!49 years ago, Keith Stroup founded NORML to end marijuana prohibition. Now, 10 states and DC have legalized the adult-use of marijuana, and more than two-thirds of the country has legalized medical cannabis. We’ve moved mountains, thanks to good people like you.

support norml

Our birthday wish this year is simple: let’s legalize America. Today, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating the progress we’ve made and stand strong with us in the fight for freedom.

Happy birthday, NORML!

 



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/03/11/norml-celebrates-49-years-of-fighting-for-freedom/…

Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/8/19

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

This week, a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 co-sponsors has reintroduced legislation in Congress, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 1595, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

Activists in Nebraska, along with two pro-legalization Senators, qualified a 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative petition to begin collecting signatures from registered voters in the state.

North Dakota’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors last week in Fargo; and registered out-of-state medical cannabis patients will now be able to access their medicine while visiting Hawaii.

Governor Mark Gordon (R) of Wyoming signed industrial hemp production legislation into law.

A marijuana legalization proposal in Hawaii was defeated after it failed to pass through two committees before a key deadline last week.

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

End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the …

Marijuana Legalization Measures Gaining Momentum In Several States

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Lawmakers in several states have recently moved forward legislative proposals to either legalize or decriminalize marijuana-related activities. Here is a look at where some of these efforts currently stand.

LEGALIZATION

New Hampshire: By a margin of 209 to 147, House members voted late last week in favor of House Bill 481, which legalizes the possession and cultivate of personal use quantities of cannabis by adults, and establishes a licensed system of commercial production and retail sales. The measure awaits action in the Senate and faces opposition from Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who has pledged to veto any legalization bill, “regardless of what the language looks like.”

New Mexico: Members of the House voted 36 to 34 in favor of HB 356, which establishes a system of licenses, state-run marijuana retailers. Members of the Senate have until March 16 to act on the bill.

Vermont: Members of the Senate last week passed SB 54 by a vote of 23 to 5. The measure expands existing law to permit the state-licensed production and sale of cannabis to those age 21 or older. The measure now awaits action from members of the House.

DECRIMINALIZATION:

Hawaii: House members approved HB 1383, which removes criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses (up to three grams) and expunges past criminal convictions. The measure now heads to the Senate.

New Mexico: Members of the Senate on Tuesday voted 30 to 8 in favor …

The SAFE Banking Act Reintroduced

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A bipartisan coalition of more than 100 co-sponsors has reintroduced legislation in Congress, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 1595, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

If enacted, banks would no longer face the threat of federal sanction for working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.

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

The effort is championed by Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Denny Heck (D-WA).

“The majority of American voters have spoken and it’s happening whether we act or not,” said Perlmutter at the time of introduction. “The SAFE Banking Act is focused solely on taking cash off the streets and making our communities safer. Only Congress can provide the certainty financial institutions need to start banking legitimate marijuana businesses – just like any other legal business – and

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: I just introduced legislation to end the federal marijuana prohibition

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Tulsi Gabbard is a Member of Congress representing Hawaii’s 2nd district

Our archaic and outdated marijuana laws are turning everyday Americans into criminals. Every day, the economic and social impacts of marijuana prohibition are having devastating effects on communities across the country.

That is why in 2017 I introduced the first-ever bipartisan bill that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. Unfortunately, Congressional leadership at the time blocked us from getting a hearing on this important legislation, despite having nearly 10% of the Members of the House as cosponsors and growing support from the public.

But times have changed.

I am writing to you today, as a supporter of NORML, to let you know that I just reintroduced The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act and ask you to urge your Member of Congress to join me and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) as a cosponsor of the bill.

SEND A MESSAGE NOW

Criminal Justice Reforms
Millions of people have been arrested for the possession or use of marijuana. Many can’t afford bail — further punishing those who are poor — and become mired in our hopelessly back-logged court system that punishes non-violent offenders with felonies and years behind bars. Others have faced the lost opportunities and life-long stigma that follows them with a criminal record.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017 alone — …

It is Time to Acknowledge Reality and End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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Today, we stood with Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Don Young as they introduced the End Federal Prohibition Act and Marijuana Data Collection Act. While these two bills are overtly about addressing the failures of marijuana prohibition, what they are truly about is accepting reality.

This legislation is about accepting political reality. Currently, ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized the adult use of marijuana and thirty-three states and DC have medical marijuana programs. When you additionally factor in decriminalization and marijuana-specific CBD laws, there is, in fact, only 4 states in this entire country that are actually in compliance with federal law and the controlled substances act. This tension between state and federal laws is and remains untenable. If states truly are the laboratories of democracy, we need to fully deschedule marijuana from the CSA and allow them to move forward with reforms to their marijuana laws, unimpeded by federal law. This is not just good policy, but good politics. The American people are sick and tired of our failed prohibition. 68% of all Americans support legalizing marijuana and well over 70% believe this is an issue that should be governed by the state, not the federal government.

This legislation is about accepting scientific reality. While there is still more we can learn, there are over 29,000 peer-reviewed studies on cannabis in existence – we know enough to say that it does have medical applications and that is

Former Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper Vies for Presidential Nomination. But Was He Good on Pot?

Two governors from legal marijuana states are seeking to become the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2020. We wrote about Washington’s current Governor Jay Inslee earlier this week. Here’s our take on Colorado’s former two-term Governor John Hickenlooper, who announced his candidacy on March 4.

Like Inslee, Hickenlooper opposed his state’s recreational marijuana ballot initiative in 2012 when Colorado’s Amendment 64 passed with 55% of the vote.

By 2014, when the law was implemented and adult-use stores began to open, the Governor stated: “I hate Colorado having to be the experiment. We are going to regulate the daylights out of it.”

He added: “This is going to be one of the great social experiments of the 21st century. But going out and getting tax revenue is absolutely the wrong reason to even think about legalizing recreational marijuana. We’re going to not use this as a source of revenue to help education or expanding health care. We’re going to use it in health care where it will relate to marijuana activity… I don’t think governors should be the position of promoting things that are inherently not good for people.”

Bipartisan Legislation To End Marijuana Prohibition Filed

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Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Don Young (AK-AL) introduced two landmark bipartisan marijuana bills.

Introduced was The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list and allow states the freedom to regulate marijuana as they choose, without federal interference.

In the previous Congress, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act became the first bill in American history to end the federal policy of criminalization that earned bipartisan support.

“The Ending Federal Prohibition Act is about acknowledging political, scientific, and economic reality. Marijuana legalization is here to stay and it is time that federal policy reflect that.” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. “This legislation is effective in its simplicity, it will deschedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and end federal prohibition once and for all, full stop.”

You can send a message to your Representative in support of the bill in less than 30 seconds here. 

Also introduced was The Marijuana Data Collection Act of 2019, which would study the effects of state legalized medicinal and non-medicinal marijuana programs from a variety of perspectives, including state revenues, public health, substance abuse and opioids, criminal justice, and employment.

Both Representative Gabbard and Young spoke outside the Capitol on Thursday, March 7th to introduce the bills and highlight their urgency.

The members were joined by NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri as well as representatives from the Minority Cannabis Business Association, The Veterans Cannabis Coalition, and individuals …

Women Grow Announces First East Coast Summit in June

Women Grow NYC holds monthly networking events at Galvanize.

As the cannabis and hemp industries continue to build throughout the U.S., no area has experienced as rapid a growth as the East Coast. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont (plus Washington, DC) have all established medical-cannabis programs, several states (Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont) have passed adult-use laws and several more are on their way or still weighing the option. Hemp is also poised to be a major force in the region.

Reparative justice, equity programs, diversity and inclusion, environmental and public-safety concerns and evolving regulations are all part of the ongoing conversation shaping East Coast cannabis.

Here’s how Women Grow plans to impact East Coast female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Summit Moves to DC

Women Grow will bring its annual Leadership Summit to Washington, DC in on June 7-8 at the Washington Court Hotel. It will be the first woman-focused cannabis conference on the East Coast. This is a unique opportunity for us to carry our message to the nation’s capital while introducing the Women Grow brand to a new audience. Women Grow’s new leadership team also hails from the area, exemplifying the many opportunities now available to those outside of traditional cannabis strongholds.

Growing East Coast Markets

As the popularity of adult-use cannabis legislation intensifies nationwide, East Coast governors have responded to this trend by accelerating legalization efforts. …

Gov. Jay Inslee Hypes Washington Cannabis, But Opposed Legalization

 

On March 1, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced he’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Like many in the crowded Democrat field of candidates, he appears to have been advised that campaigns in this cycle need to support marijuana legalization. There are reasons to doubt his sincerity.

Inslee was elected governor in 2012. Washington voters also approved I-502 that year legalizing marijuana in the Evergreen State. Inslee opposed I-502, which may have cost him votes. Luckily for him, his opponent also was against the measure.

Inslee’s position on marijuana has evolved since taking office and he’s now trying hard to be …

Report: Legal Marijuana Industry Employs Over 200,000 Full-Time Workers

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The state-licensed cannabis industry gained over 64,000 new employees in 2018, and now employs over 200,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by Whitney Economics and the online content provider Leafly.com.

Commenting on the new findings, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said, “The federal government needs to deschedule marijuana to allow states to better and more fully benefit from the economic growth engine that is the legal marijuana industry. Further, state regulators need to ensure as this sector expands its economic benefits are shared by all, including and most especially by those who suffered most under the failed policy of criminal prohibition.”

The report, entitled Cannabis Jobs Count, identifies some 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis sector. This total increased to 296,000 jobs when ancillary employers are included.

By comparison, 112,000 Americans are estimated to currently work in the textile industry, while only about 52,000 people are employed by the coal mining industry.

“[T]he legal cannabis industry remains a substantial and unrecognized engine of grassroots job creation,” authors concluded. “In fact, cannabis job growth is proceeding at double digit rates in many states despite being overtaxed locally and heavily penalized at the federal level.”

California (67,000 jobs) led the country in cannabis-related employment, followed by Washington (47,000 jobs), and Colorado (44,000 jobs).

The full report is available online here. Additional economic data is available via the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy,”

Texas NORML: Patient Lobby Day Recap

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In the Texas State Capitol Building, dozens of patients joined us to ask their legislators to coauthor legislation that makes the Texas Compassionate Use Program more inclusive and effective. HB 1365 (authored by Rep Lucio, III) and SB90 (authored by Sen Menendez) would allow patients with debilitating conditions access to medical cannabis to therapeutically treat the symptoms of their condition.

Ask your legislators to coauthor HB 1365 and SB 90 now!

Patients met up to learn from our briefing about how the legislative process works, a review of our priority legislation, and an overview of messaging and crafting testimony. Patients then broke out into groups by district and went to visit their legislative offices. Many patients also stayed to register their support of HB 63, which would reduce possession of one ounce to a small, civil fine.

Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

We will be posting live updates from the HB 63: Civil Penalty hearing today. Stay tuned to watch the hearing. We will also keep you posted on the progress of these medical bills.

View pictures from the event!

Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Help dispel the myths with NORML’s Fact Sheets!For more information follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website!

 



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/03/04/texas-norml-patient-lobby-day-recap/…

Vermont: Senate Passes Legislation Permitting Marijuana Sales

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Members of the state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation on Thursday establishing a system of retail marijuana sales to adults.

Members passed Senate Bill 54 by a vote of 23 to 5. The measure expands existing law to permit the state-licensed production and sale of cannabis to those age 21 or older. Under the plan, the state would begin issuing growers’ licenses by December 2020. In February, NORML’s Deputy Director testified in favor of the legislation before members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Lawmakers last year enacted legislation permitting adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis. That legislation does not permit commercial production or sales.

The measure now awaits action from members of the House, which historically has been more hostile to proposals seeking to regulate the marijuana market. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has also expressed his intent to veto the legislation if it fails to adequately fund efforts directed toward youth prevention and traffic safety.

To track this legislation, or to learn about other pending law reforms in all 50 states, please visit NORML’s Action Center here.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/03/04/vermont-senate-passes-legislation-permitting-marijuana-sales/…

The Cannabis Industry’s 20 Hottest Pot Stocks of 2019

With mergers and acquisitions moving at a fast pace, it’s hard to know which cannabis companies are the best values. Last year, we provided a list of the Top 12 Canadian Pot Stocks. Here’s an expanded 2019 list that includes U.S. companies investors are high on.

Acreage Holdings

OTC: ACRGF

Based: New York, NY

Cap: $1.65 billion

Stock price: $19.10

About: Holds dispensary and cultivation licenses in 10 states; former Speaker of the House John Boehner And Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney are on their board.

Related Article: They Say It’s an Evolution: On John Boehner’s Cannabis Switcheroo

 

Aphria Inc.

NYSE: APHA

Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/1/18

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

In Congress this week 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.

At the state level, North Dakota state Rep. Roers Jones, who sponsored the recently defeated decriminalization bill, is trying to get her language inserted as a part of separate legislation.

As New Jersey lawmakers and Governor Phil Murphy continue to work out details of a marijuana legalization bill, two anti-legalization lawmakers in the state introduced a proposal that would let the voters decide on the issue with a 2020 ballot question.

Activists in Missouri gathered at the state capital alongside Missouri NORML chapters earlier this week for their second lobby day of the session!

At a more local level, San Francisco County became the nation’s first county to complete an automatic expungement process, as the District Attorney expunged the conviction records of over 9,600 individuals in total for offenses that are no longer a crime in California.

Denver, Colorado’s marijuana social use law is here to stay, as the city council voted this week to remove the “sunset” provision which made it a temporary four year program.

Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending …

Justice Department Urged To Take “Immediate Action” On Marijuana Grow Applications

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The American Psychological Association (APA) is urging US Attorney General William Barr to review more than two-dozen pending applications for federal marijuana grow licenses. In a letter dated Wednesday, February 27, the association urged the Justice Department to “act immediately” on 26 applications pending before federal officials – applications which were initially submitted to the agency over two years ago.

Currently, the sole federally licensed producer of cannabis for clinical research is the University of Mississippi. The University has held the exclusive license for more than four decades.

In August 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced in the US Federal Register that the agency was “adopting a new policy that is designed to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act to grow (manufacture) marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States.” The agency said that the policy change was necessary because the existing system provided “no clear legal pathway for commercial enterprises to produce marijuana for product development.”

Last year, however, former DEA director Robert Patterson testified to Congress that the agency believed that approving additional applicants would likely violate international anti-drug treaties. Patterson said that DEA could not move forward granting any new applications until the Justice Department clarified the issue.

In its letter to the newly appointed Attorney General, APA CEO Arthur C. Evans urged the Department “to take immediate action on the existing pool of cannabis grower applications so that …