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It Was A Big Week For Marijuana In America

Valentines Day week 2018 saw a tremendous amount of activity when it came to addressing our nations failed policy of marijuana prohibition. From new federal legislation being introduced to two federal lawsuits having hearings, plus a number of members of Congress, old allies and new stepping up to demand the Trump Administration continue to allow the states that have reformed their laws be respected by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

New Legislation: Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

Upon the introduction, Rep. Correa said, “To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis. Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the “Cole Memo” created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws.

In my state of California, voters want legal cannabis. It boosts our economy and is a strong medical tool. By 2020, revenues from cannabis sales taxes could reach $1 billion annually for California. This bill will protect California and other states from federal overreach and ensure the will of the American voter is respected.”

Essentially, the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000 workers, and the millions of

Philadelphia: District Attorney To Cease Prosecuting Marijuana Possession Offenses

Philadelphia officials announced today that they will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses.

In October 2014, Philadelphia enacted a municipal ordinance reclassifying cases involving the possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis to a non-summary civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine – no arrest and no criminal record. Since that time, annual arrests for marijuana possession violations have fallen by an estimated 85 percent. However, despite this decrease, police have continued to make several hundreds of marijuana possession arrests yearly. These arrest primarily target young people pf color.

Newly elected District Attorney Larry Krasner declared today that the city will no longer prosecute those additional cases. “What we’re talking about is the 10 percent or so that are being charged as they used to be, as misdemeanors in court,” he said. “We are going to … drop any cases that are simply marijuana possession.”

Krasner said that refusing to pursue these cases is “the right thing to do.”

Last week, Seattle city officials announced their intentions to vacate the criminal convictions of minor marijuana possession offenders. The week prior, city officials in San Francisco announced plans to automatically expunge thousands of past marijuana possession convictions.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/02/16/philadelphia-district-attorney-to-cease-prosecuting-marijuana-possession-offenses/…

Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/16/18

Welcome to this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

First, I’d like to highlight a key development at the federal level pertaining to established marijuana businesses and consumers.

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act which would basically codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo. Essentially, the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000 workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty and that is what states would have with Rep. Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from militant marijuana prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Click here to send a message to your Representative in support of the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act. 

Also, earlier this week, bestselling guidebook author and travel host Rick Steves held two briefings on Capitol Hill to address marijuana prohibition to a gathering of members of Congress and their staff. Steves serves as a member of the board of NORML and has advocated extensively in support of the successful legalization efforts in Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and his home state of Washington.

At the state level, the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee voted unanimously to pass HB 1251, to expand the state’s medical CBD law, amended to include a new emergency enactment …

I Proudly Smoke Weed as a Mom, and Guess What? I’m Still a Really Good Mom

When I was pregnant with my daughter almost three years ago, many people assumed I would stop living my cannabis lifestyle because I was about to become a mom. While I would confidently tell them that my love for weed wouldn’t change after the baby was born, my reply was always met with looks of disapproval, shock, or pity. It was completely unfathomable to people that I intended to return to smoking weed after I…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/02/16/proudly-smoke-weed-mom-guess-im-still-really-good-mom…

Judge Offers Hope in New York Marijuana Scheduling Hearing

Supporters of a lawsuit to strike down federal marijuana prohibition were heartened Feb. 14 when the judge hearing the case said it was clear that cannabis had accepted medical use.

“Your clients are living proof of the medical appropriateness of marijuana,” U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein told Michael Hiller, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, during a hearing in Manhattan on the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case. “How could anyone say that your clients’ pain and suffering has not been alleviated by marijuana? You can’t.”

The suit, filed last July, seeks an injunction to prevent the federal government from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 “as it pertains to cannabis.” It argues that the law’s placing marijuana in Schedule I as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use” has no rational basis; that it violates users’ rights to due process and equal protection because it was enacted based on “illegal racial and ethnic animus”; and that it violates patients’ rights to free speech and travel because medicine they need is wrongly prohibited.

The five plaintiffs are Marvin Washington, a former defensive lineman who now works for a medical-marijuana company; Alexis Bortell, a 13-year-old girl whose family moved from Texas to Colorado so she could get marijuana to treat her multiple daily seizures; Jose Belen, an Iraq-war veteran who uses it to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder; Jagger Cotte, a seven-year-old boy who uses it for …

New Federal Legislation To Protect Legal Marijuana States And Businesses

Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act which would essentially codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.

Upon the introduction, Rep. Correa said, “To date, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis, and twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, representing more than half of the American population, have enacted legislation to permit the use of cannabis. Attorney General Sessions’ decision to rescind the “Cole Memo” created great uncertainty for these states and legal cannabis businesses, and put citizens in jeopardy for following their state laws.

In my state of California, voters want legal cannabis. It boosts our economy and is a strong medical tool. By 2020, revenues from cannabis sales taxes could reach $1 billion annually for California. This bill will protect California and other states from federal overreach and ensure the will of the American voter is respected.”

Essentially, the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000 workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty and that is what states would have with Reps. Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from militant marijuana prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Click here to send a message to your Representative in support of the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act. 

Source: …

Update: Federal Judge Reserves Decision After Hearing Arguments In Washington, et.al v. Sessions

Today, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York heard oral arguments on the motion to dismiss Washington, et.al v. Sessions, et.al, a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Schedule I classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. The federal government argued to have the case dismissed. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York reserved the decision.

The lead attorney for the case, Michael Hiller released the following statement:

First, we would like to thank Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein for taking the time to hear the important oral argument made today. We appreciate the time he took to hear from the plaintiffs we represent —  all whom have heartbreaking stories about how their everyday lives continue to be negatively impacted by the prohibition of cannabis.  

 

Protecting our American values, way of life and civil and constitutional rights are who we are as Americans. To many, it is obvious, we are living in an era where we must remain vigilant and ask hard questions. If we look back at our collective history, this is not the first time we have seen some in the US government shamefully argue out-dated ideologies under a legal mask that is inevitably on the wrong side of history. We saw this with slavery, segregation, women’s right to vote, the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act,

Travel Writer and Television Host Rick Steves Briefed Congress On Marijuana Policy

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, bestselling guidebook author and travel host Rick Steves held two briefings to address marijuana prohibition to a gathering of members of Congress and their staff. Inspired by Europe’s pragmatic approach to drug policy, with success measured by harm reduction rather than incarceration, Steves said that he is motivated to speak in favor of legalization because of its impact on civil liberties.

“ There are so many reasons to end the prohibition on marijuana. Whether you’re concerned about the well-being of children, fairness for minority communities, redirecting money away from criminals and into state’s coffers, stemming the horrific bloodshed in Mexico, or civil liberties; it is clearly time for a new approach,” said Rick Steves.

The discussion on marijuana policy covered the current issues stemming from the current tension between federal prohibition and the ever-evolving patchwork of marijuana law reforms at the state level.

“It’s not 2010, we have years of data that is showing from my home state of Washington that regulation works,” said Steves.

Steves briefing in the Senate

One of the nation’s leading voices to end the prohibition of marijuana, Rick Steves serves as a member of the board of NORML and has advocated extensively in support of the successful legalization efforts in Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and his home state of Washington.

The events were organized by NORML in cooperation with the recently formed bipartisan Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The Cannabis Caucus bills itself as …

Israel’s Cannabis Export Plans Evaporate in Fire and Fury

Trump Administration-Israeli relations had the distinct whiff of cannabis to them in the first week of February. In a development potentially just as impactful as transplanting Israel’s capital to Jerusalem, it has now emerged that Israel’s president, Benjamin Netanyahu, has effectively scotched, at least temporarily, the country’s budding medical cannabis international export plans on the eve of finally launching them.

Why? To appease the U.S. president.

What this latest act of international “diplomacy” will eventually impact in the long run is anyone’s guess. There will, however, be winners and losers out of this situation, both now and in the long term.

Who Wins

On the surface (and to gentiles) it might be hard to understand why Israel effectively shot itself in the foot from a global perspective. But cannabis falls into complicated geopolitical and religious crevices at home too. Bibi, as Netanyahu is referred to by an international Jewish audience, has just scored political points over the Jerusalem showdown. Why rock the boat over a plant that has so recently gained legitimacy just in Israel? Remember the country only partially decriminalized recreational use in 2017. However, Israel has explored legal medical cannabis for quite some time, and Tikun Olam, the country’s flagship producer, has been growing cannabis since 2007.

Tel Aviv, Israel, where Tikun Olam has a dispensary

The quote from Netanyahu that has been widely circulated in the press says a great deal. “I spoke with …

Travel Guru Rick Steves Talks Up Legal Pot on Capitol Hill

When Rick Steves isn’t touring Europe or writing and producing travel guides, he’s trying to legalize marijuana. The PBS host and NORML board member visited Washington to speak with members of Congress on Feb. 13.

After a press conference attended by NORML’s Keith Stroup and the Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, Steves went to briefings with House and Senate reps. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan organization founded in 2017 by Reps Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), organized the House briefing.

His next stops were Maryland and Delaware, where he called on the state legislatures to regulate cannabis.

“I’m not for pot,” he told Freedom Leaf. “I’m for common sense. I’m anti-legislating morality and anti-incarceration.”

Review: Shira Adler’s ‘The ABC’s of CBD’

CBD is the unsung hero of the cannabis plant, while the psychoactive THC takes the spotlight. Shira Adler dispels myths about cannabidiol and highlights its many benefits in The ABC’s of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (And Regular Folks Too).

Author Shira Adler

Best-known for treating inflammation, CBD’s properties range from antibacterial to anti-nausea and anti-convulsive. Adler traces CBD to 8,000 BCE, when hemp was cultivated in East Asia, and then to the American Revolution, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were the country’s most famous hemp farmers.

Adler uses “cannabis” to denote the marijuana cultivar of the cannabis plant and distinguish it from hemp, and is quick to explain that “CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Hemp doesn’t flower and cannabis does.” She further delineates that “far less THC exists in the hemp plant” and, in a comical discussion about CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, compares the body’s endocannabinoid system to the Oompa-Loompas and a set of bowling pins.

RELATED: FDA Warns Four CBD Companies About Making Medical Claims

Sister Summit: Women Grow Meets Up in Denver

On February 1-2, more than 500 people gathered at the Westin Hotel in Denver for the fourth annual Women Grow Leadership Summit. The theme, “Change-Transition-Evolution,” addressed shifts in the cannabis industry.

Speakers included 12-year-old patient Alexis Bortell, who’s among the plaintiffs in a suit to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; medical-marijuana pioneer Alice O’Leary; Michelle Dumay, a courageous mother who gave an emotional talk about being an African-American Muslim woman that treats her daughter’s seizures with cannabis; and Annie Nelson, wife of Willie Nelson and proprietor of Annie’s Edibles.

RELATED: Woman Grow and the New Rules of Diversity

TED-style “Lightning Talks” drew the likes of Hope Wiseman, the youngest African-American dispensary owner (Mary and Main in Capitol Heights, Md.) in the country; Caela Bintner, who discussed the #TimesUp movement and sexual harassment in the workplace; Dasheeda Dawson, who segued from her show-stopping hip-hop dance (a Summit first) to a discourse on facing adversity; Lynnette Shaw, one of California’s first dispensary owners; and Cannabis Cultural Association’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero and Joe Bondy.

Federal Judge To Hear Arguments Wednesday In Legal Fight Challenging The Constitutionality Of Marijuana’s Illicit Status

Marijuana and the LawA judge for the Federal District Court in Manhattan will hear arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of federal cannabis prohibition. Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case include NORML Legal Committee member Joseph Bondy and Empire State NORML Director David Holland.

The 98-page complaint contends that the federal government “does not believe, and upon information and belief never has believed” that cannabis meets the requirements for a Schedule I designation under the Controlled Substances Act. It further argues that current administrative mechanisms in place to allow for the reconsideration of cannabis Schedule I classification are “illusory.”

A judge for the Federal District Court in Sacramento heard similar arguments in a 2014 legal challenge, also spearheaded by members of the NORML Legal Committee, but ultimately rejected them – opining: “At some point in time, a court may decide this status to be unconstitutional. But this is not the court and not the time.”

Plaintiffs in the current lawsuit include a former NFL football player, a disabled military veterans, two children with severe movement disorders, and the non-profit group, the Cannabis Cultural Association. Plaintiffs argue that federal prohibition violates their civil and constitutional liberties, including their right to freely travel within the United States. They also argue that the federal prohibition of cannabis is “grounded in discrimination and [is] applied in a discriminatory manner.”

Lawyers for the Justice Department are arguing for a dismissal of the suit, …

Raids on CBD Businesses in Tennessee Leave Patients without Access; Underline Need for Change in Federal Marijuana Laws

Similar Raids Across the Country Indicate Increasing Confusion Over Legality

Rutherford County, Tennessee — Yesterday, DEA agents, detectives from the local sheriff’s office, and Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and LaVergne police raided 23 Rutherford County businesses accused of selling candy products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound derived from the cannabis (and hemp) plant. Law enforcement claims that the products were of particular concern because they were seemingly being marketed towards minors.

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

Bills Expanding Cannabis Oil Access Advance

In Virginia, cannabis oils – often referred to as medical marijuana – are only legal for those with epilepsy.

Even that legislation is relatively new – just a few years old. Advocates like Beth Collins with Americans for Safe Access and her 18-year-old daughter Jennifer are a major reason why the oils are even legal at all.

“I’m incredibly proud of the advocacy efforts of my daughter. Couldn’t be prouder.”

Jennifer has epilepsy. She and her mom moved to Colorado so she could experiment with alternative treatments for her illness.

She tried CBD oil, but that didn’t work, but then she tried THC-A oil, and it did.

“It’s great, you know. I’ve got my life back.”

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

Week of February 12, 2018

This Week’s Volunteer NeedsVirtual_Volunteer_Meeting.png

Please comment below if you are interested in helping, or if you have completed any of the following:

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/021218…

Head of German Police Union Calls for Official Decriminalization of Cannabis

Facing the same conundrum as police everywhere after the start of a medical market only this time with federal authorization, the head of the German police union has called for recreational use of cannabis to also be decriminalized.

On the first Monday of February, the head of the BDK – the Association of German Criminal Officers told The Bild (sort of like the New York Post but a national “tabloid” here) that his group, the largest organized union of German police officers, favoured a change in German cannabis laws. Andre Schulz argued that the current laws stigmatized those charged with minor amounts and created opportunities for “criminal careers to start.”

“The prohibition of cannabis has historically been seen as arbitrary and has not yet been implemented in an intelligent and effective manner,” says Schulz. “My prediction is that cannabis will not be banned for long in Germany.”

Why this sudden pronouncement? It is actually not all that sudden and has been long in the offing. One of the largest contingents at both the ICBC and the IACM last year (the biggest cannabis-focussed business and medical conferences in Germany) were police officers from California and Deutschland. And all were singing the same tune.

André Schulz
André Schulz, chairman of the BDK

However beyond a realistic assessment of changing political reality, there are actually several other concrete reasons for not only the statement but the timing of it. In a country where patients …

Alberta Real Estate Investor Stoked on Idea of Weed-friendly Buildings

‘The landlord would be getting a lot of really great tenants who just happen to want to smoke marijuana’. shares A Calgary-based landlord says he’s looking to invest in rental properties where his tenants would be allowed to smoke marijuana after it becomes legal. William Blake has been involved with residential rentals for the past 20 years, and owns properties in Calgary and Grande Prairie. His buildings are all non-smoking; in the past, some tenants’…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/02/11/alberta-real-estate-investor-stoked-idea-weed-friendly-buildings…

Employers Blocked from Discriminating Against Staff Using Marijuana in Maine

The state voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2016. Workers in Maine no longer have to worry about getting in trouble at work for smoking marijuana in their off time. Employers in the state will no longer be able to discriminate against employees for using marijuana or marijuana by-products outside after new laws went into effect, and the state’s Labour Department has removed the drug from its list of substances that employers can test…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/02/10/employers-blocked-discriminating-staff-using-marijuana-maine…