Category Archives: Uncategorized

Maine: Regulators Moving Forward With Rules to Govern Retail Marijuana Sales

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After multiple delays, regulators are finally moving forward with draft regulations to implement the state’s 2016 voter-approved initiative legalizing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana.

Regulators are now deliberating over a 73-page draft of rules governing the adult use marijuana market. The rules will not be finalized until regulators receive input from the public and they are approved by a majority of lawmakers.

Under the proposed rules, commercial licenses will only be granted initially to state residents. Those with a felony drug conviction within the past ten years will be ineligible for a license.

The proposed regulations also impose limits with regard to THC content and the appearance of cannabis-infused edible products. Retailers will not be permitted to sell customers more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and/or five grams of concentrate in a single day. Retailers will need to first receive local approval prior to applying for a state operators license.

Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – have repeatedly taken steps to delay the law’s implementation.

Newly elected Gov. Janet Mills (D) is on record stating that lawmakers “must follow the will of the people [and] implement the [voter-initiated marijuana] law.”



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/23/maine-regulators-moving-forward-with-rules-to-govern-retail-marijuana-sales/…

Alabama: Jefferson County Police To Cite, Rather Than Prosecute, Minor Marijuana Violators

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Cannabis PenaltiesA spokesperson for the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff’s Office announced today that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders.

Under the new policy, police will issue a summons to those who possess personal amounts of marijuana or cannabis-related paraphernalia. Offenders will no longer be arrested or booked. Those cited and released will still have to either pay a fine or appear in court at a later date. Those with prior cannabis violations will still be eligible to receive a summons.

Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

Similar cite and release programs are in place in other cities and counties around the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida and in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

Additional information is available from NORML’s ‘Local Decriminalization’ report, online here.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/22/alabama-jefferson-county-police-to-cite-rather-than-prosecute-minor-marijuana-violators/…

Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/20/19

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NORML's Legislative US MapWelcome to the 4/20 edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Holidaze, and remember to consume responsibly!

At the state level, Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation into law to facilitate regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of oils and other products containing limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

Governor Laura Kelly (D) of Kansas signed industrial hemp production legislation into law.

A decriminalization bill was defeated in the Missouri House of Representatives this week.

At a more local level, The city commissioners of Daytona Beach voted to decriminalize up to 20 grams of marijuana possession.

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 federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the …

CBS Poll: Nationwide Support For Marijuana Legalization At All-Time High

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Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that the use of marijuana by adults “should be legal,” according to national polling data compiled by CBS News. That figure is six percentage points above last year’s total, and is the highest percentage of support ever recorded in a CBS poll.

Majorities of Democrats and Republicans back legalization, and most respondents agree that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol or other drugs. Fifty-five percent of Americans also acknowledged having personally consumed cannabis, the highest total reported in the poll’s history.

Most Americans (62 percent), including a majority of Republicans and Democrats, also say that they oppose the federal government taking action to disrupt the production and sale of marijuana in states where it is currently legal.

The CBS poll results are consistent with those of other recent major surveys, such as those by Gallup (66 percent), Pew (62 percent), and Quinnipiac University (60 percent) — all of which similarly show support for legalization at record or near-record highs.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/19/cbs-poll-nationwide-support-for-marijuana-legalization-at-all-time-high/…

Book Review: Jorma Kaukonen’s ‘Been So Life: My Life in Music’

Jefferson Airplane, circa 1968, from left: Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Spencer Dryden, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady

With Woodstock 50 four months away, 1969 festival alum and former Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen is in the news with a his autobiography, Been So Long: My Life in Music.

Hardcore Airplane and Hot Tuna fans already know the basic outline of Kaukonen’s life: An authenticity-obsessed student of traditional, finger-picking country blues in the folk revival of the early ’60s (Harlem legend Blind Gary Davis was his special inspiration), Kaukonen catapulted to stardom when he went electric as the lead guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, the flagship band of the psychedelic San Francisco sound.

Together with Airplane bassist and childhood friend Jack Casady, they formed Hot Tuna as a side group in 1969 that returned to Kaukonen’s country-blues roots before again going electric, this time as a heavy blues-rock power trio in the style of Cream. After Tuna split up in the late ’70s, he briefly experimented with the punk-blues band Vital Parts, but this didn’t go over well with his fans. In the ’80s, Kaukonen spiraled downhill; by the time he was called back for an Airplane reunion album in 1989 his career was at a nadir.

It’s hardly surprising that tales of drug use devour many pages. Cannabis was a “sacrament” for these early San Francisco musical pioneers, a rite of cultural bonding as well as enhancement to

Getting High on Oversupply: What to Do About Surpluses and Shortages

The rollout of marijuana legalization has not been smooth. On one side, there’s a push for revenue; on the other, there’s a desire for tough regulations and enforcement. While businesses get caught in the middle, consumers go along for the ride and patients run the risk of being mowed over.

Greed Rules: The Case of Oregon

Legislators often see legal marijuana as a cash cow. If money is the motivation, authorities will push to issue as many licenses to as many businesses as possible, which can lead to overproduction and oversupply. Take the legal marijuana state of Oregon, for instance.

People in Oregon grow a lot of weed. The Beaver State has been a net marijuana exporter for decades. The state’s medical-marijuana program was approved by voter initiative in 1998, yet it wasn’t until 2013 that the legislature passed a bill to license and regulate dispensaries. Voters approved a legalization measure in 2014, and adult-use sales started in 2015. Then, in 2016, the state legislature repealed a residency requirement for marijuana businesses and opened up Oregon’s marijuana industry to out-of-state investment.

“We’ve created an oversupply problem,” says Anthony Taylor, co-founder and legislative liaison for the patient advocacy organization Compassionate Oregon. “Before we legalized cannabis for the adult-use population, we were already producing about five times what the state consumes, and when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission came in and threw all that infrastructure away in favor of …

Illinois: Cook County State’s Attorney To Expunge Thousands Of Low-Level Cannabis Convictions

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home cultivationCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.

Foxx’s office is negotiating with the same non-profit group that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.

Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to bring criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses.

Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.

In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities – including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate past cannabis-specific convictions. .



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/18/illinois-cook-county-states-attorney-to-expunge-thousands-of-low-level-cannabis-convictions/…

Georgia: Governor Signs Law Licensing Low-THC Oil Production

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Marijuana CBD OilRepublican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation into law today to facilitate regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of oils and other products containing limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

House Bill 324 (aka Georgia’s Hope Act) establishes a regulatory commission to oversee the eventual “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC to qualified patients. The law allows for the licensing of up to six cultivation operations, and seeks collaboration with the University of Georgia in the manufacturing of THC-infused extracts and oils.

Under a 2015 state law, qualified patients are exempt from criminal prosecution for the possession of oil extracts containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than the amount of THC. However, the law failed to provide any mechanism for patients to obtain low-THC products from a state-regulated producer or provider.

Approximately 9,500 patients are currently registered with the state to possess medical cannabis products.

For additional information on pending state legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/17/georgia-governor-signs-law-licensing-low-thc-oil-production/…

Want a new sticker for your laptop?

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As we approach April 20, we’d like to take a minute to thank you for being an active supporter of NORML’s efforts to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

As we say, “when we’re talking, we’re winning.” So, as a token of our appreciation for your support, we want to send you our conversation-starting sticker!

When NORML was founded in 1970, only 12% of the country supported legalizing marijuana; 88% were opposed to our goals. After decades of hard work by thousands of committed advocates like you, we have gradually won the hearts and minds of a majority of the public. Today, over 60% of adults nationwide support ending marijuana prohibition and establishing a regulated market where consumers can obtain marijuana in a safe and secure setting.

NORML’s work is fueled by the power of grassroots supporters just like you – not big donors or the emerging cannabis industry. Because of that, we are the only organization that focuses on the issues facing consumers, ranging from criminalization, employment discrimination, child custody, expungement, and a litany of other issues that impact responsible marijuana consumers.

Make a contribution of $10 or more now to keep our momentum going and we’ll send you a sticker to show off your support!

We still have lots of work ahead of us, even in those states that have enacted some form of marijuana legalization. But, as we continue to educate our lawmakers and fellow

The Original Flier That Sparked the 420 Phenomenon

Former Freedom Leaf senior editor Chris Goldstein interviewed editor-in-chief Steve Bloom about the origins of how the number 420 became synonymous with cannabis in 2016. Bloom was the first journalist to write about 420 when he worked at High Times in the 1990s.

You claim to have discovered 420. How did that happen?

The last week of 1990 I went to several Grateful Dead shows at the Oakland Coliseum. I was walking in the parking lot and someone handed me a half-page flier. It had this message that people should smoke together at 4:20 and on 4/20. I brought it back to High Times in New York. We passed it around the office and everyone got a kick out of it. I was news editor at the time, so I transcribed the flyer and published it in the May 1991 issue. My little write up in High Times was the first time “420” got any national publicity.

What did the flier say?

“Four-twenty started in San Rafael, CA in the late ’70s. It started as police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call they started using the expression ‘420’ when referring to the herb—‘Let’s go 420, dude!’

“There is something fantastic about getting ripped at 4:20, when you know your brothers and sisters all over the country and even the planet are lighting up and toking up right along with you.

Study: Marijuana Provided For FDA-Approved Clinical Research Genetically Similar to Hemp

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Marijuana FieldMarijuana grown by the University of Mississippi for clinical research purposes is genetically divergent from strains of cannabis commercially available in retail markets, according to an analysis prepared by researchers at the University of Northern Colorado. Since 1968, the University of Mississippi farm, which is governed by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, has held the only available federal license to legally cultivate cannabis for FDA-approved research.

Authors reported that samples available via the U-Miss program shared genetics typically associated with industrial hemp, not commercially available cannabis. They concluded: “NIDA research grade marijuana was found to genetically group with hemp samples along with a small subset of commercial drug-type cannabis. A majority of commercially available drug-type cannabis was genetically very distinct from NIDA samples. These results suggest that subjects consuming NIDA research grade marijuana may experience different effects than average consumers.”

A separate study published in 2017 reported that U-Miss samples contain far lower levels of both THC and CBD than do commercially available cannabis. Clinicians wishing to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials on cannabis have long complained that federally-provided samples are of inferior quality.

According to the program’s current marijuana menu, no available samples contain more than seven percent THC and all samples contain less than one percent CBD.

In 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration publicly announced that it would, for the first time, begin accepting applications from private entities wishing to grow research-grade cannabis. However, since …

Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/12/19

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

At the state level, a bill to allow licensed social consumption spaces in Oregon was defeated for this year.

A bill to allow patients to use medical cannabis while on probation or parole died in Montana’s state Senate.

At a more local level, the city council of New York City approved a pair of municipal bills this week limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for past cannabis use.

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 federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by …

Report: Adult Use Legalization Associated With Increased Home Values

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Marijuana and MoneyThe passage of statewide adult use marijuana laws is associated with an immediate uptick in housing prices, according to an assessment published by the online service Clever Real Estate.

The study determined: “States that legalize recreational cannabis see an immediate bump in home values following legalization, even without retail dispensaries opening up. From 2017 to 2019, cities where recreational marijuana is legal saw home values increase $6,337 more than cities where marijuana is illegal” after controlling for potential confounders.

Cities that regulated retail marijuana facilities experienced an even greater increase in overall home prices.

By contrast, the study did not identify a similar significant increase in home prices in cities where only medical cannabis was legally regulated.

Regarding crime rates following the passage of legalization, the study failed to identify any overall trends in legal states that significantly differed from the national average. “The crime rate increases in Washington and Colorado are consistent with nationwide violent crime trends since 2014. … Using Colorado and Washington as case studies, it’s clear that the market benefits from marijuana legalization outweigh the potential costs in terms of home values,” the study’s author concluded.

The report’s findings are consistent with those of prior studies, such as those here and here.

Full text of the study, “How Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Impacts Home Values,” appears online here.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/12/study-adult-use-legalization-associated-with-increased-home-values/…

Recap: Medical Cannabis Hearing Held at the Texas State Capitol

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Many Texans spent a long day at the Capitol to offer thoughtful and powerful testimony on the seven bill addressing medical cannabis, including our priority legislation HB 1365 authored by Rep Eddie Lucio III. The Subcommittee heard from pain specialists, Rice’s Baker Institute, Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, and more – all in support of medical freedom for Texas patients. Patients and caregivers passionately shared their personal experiences.

Ask your Representative to coauthor HB 1365 today!

Texas NORML Executive Director, Jax Finkel, submitted the testimony of over a hundred of our fellow Texans to the members of the Subcommittee. It was our honor to bring the voices of those that could not attend into the hearing room.

Make a donation to support our work at the legislature!

Right now, we have strong bipartisan support for reform in the Texas Legislature and a record setting number of bills have been introduced for consideration. There’s a very small window to make this happen before the session ends in May. It will take all of us doing this important work to get across the finish line!

Now that the Medical Marijuana Subcommittee has heard HB 1365, what happens next?In the Texas Legislature, committees tend to leave bills pending after the hearing. They will typically vote on bills in batches. This means that it can take about 2 weeks for a bill to be voted on, though this …

The Status of CBD

With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the framework was put in place for states to pass laws legalizing the production and distribution of industrial hemp. But what does that mean for CBD and products containing CBD? A search for “CBD” on the website of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) brings up a list of warning letters that have been issued to companies. In 2015, the FDA issued 18 warning letters and conducted a study on label claims for CBD content. This study showed that only one product came close to the labeled CBD content, while a number contained no cannabinoids, and many contained THC despite not advising so on the label.

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

New Mexico is now the 8th Medical Cannabis State to allow Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools

By Jason Barker for Cannabis News Journal

On Thursday, April 4th 2019, Governor Lujan Grisham made history for the state of New Mexico by signing into law Senate Bill 204, Medical Cannabis in Schools.

Currently there are now eight states and one capital city with comprehensive medical cannabis programs allowing medical cannabis in schools: Oklahoma City and these states; NEW MEXICO, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois. All have successfully set forth rules and regulations for allowing safe access to medical cannabis while attending public schools.

No school or school district in the US has ever lost any federal funding for allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school, nor has there been any problems.

California, New York, Virginia and Washington all have active 2019 Legislation for Allowing Safe Access to Medical Cannabis in School that is expected to pass into law.

June 14th 2019 is the effective date of this new law now allowing safe access to medical cannabis at schools for New Mexico.

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/new_mexico_is_now_the_8th_medical_cannabis_state_to_allow_safe_access_to_medical_cannabis_at_schools…

New York State of Cannabis: Dueling Legalization Measures on the Table

This headline in the April 7 New York Post – “New Yorkers Are Flocking to Massachusetts for Their Legal Weed Fix” – should have raised eyebrows in Albany,

The New York State legislature is considering marijuana legalization. It has until June to reach an agreement on how taxing and regulating the popular plant will look. If there’s no agreement, then New Yorkers will continue flocking to Massachusetts, which started selling legal cannabis in stores last fall. Massachusetts borders New York State; it’s just a two-hour drive from New York City to the Bay State’s southwest border.

Legalization advocates were disappointed when an effort to fast-track cannabis regulation in the state budget by the end of March fizzled. Now, it’s a matter of finding a suitable compromise between the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which is sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger in the Senate and by Crystal Peoples-Stokes in the Assembly, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA).

Equity Issue of Primary Concern to Advocates and Legislators

DPA’s Melissa Moore

The issue that is being most hotly debated is equity for New Yorker who’ve suffered the most due to policies like marijuana prohibition and the overall War on Drugs, which have led to mass incarceration in communities of color.

New York City: Lawmakers Advance Bills Limiting Drug Testing for Cannabis as a Condition of Employment, Probation

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Members of the New York City Council approved a pair of municipal bills this week limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for the past use of cannabis.

Council members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a municipal proposal (No.1445) barring employers from drug testing certain job applicants for the presence of marijuana.

The proposal states, “[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment.” Council members passed the bill by a vote of 40 to 4.

Under the plan, employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions – such as police officers or commercial drivers – or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines, would be exempt from the municipal law.

The measure now awaits final approval from City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The new rules would take effect one-year after being signed into law.

Studies have identified the presence of the inert carboxy-THC metabolite in the urine of former marijuana consumers for periods of several months following their last exposure.

Council members also advanced separate legislation (No. 1427) to the Mayor’s office limiting situations in which persons on probation may be drug tested. Once signed, the new rules will take immediate effect.

A resolution (Res. 641) calling on the New …

States Enact Legislation Facilitating Expungement For Low-Level Crimes

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Governors in two western states have signed legislation into law to facilitate the process of permitting those past criminal convictions to have their records expunged.

In Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill 431: The Clean Slate Act into law. The measure creates a process for the automatic expungement and deletion of certain criminal convictions, including misdemeanor convictions for the possession of a controlled substance.

To be eligible for automatic expungement, one must have completed their sentence and possess no subsequent convictions for a period of five years. According to reporting by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah will become only the second state in the nation to enact such a broad automatic expungement policy.

The new law takes effect on May 1, 2020.

In New Mexico, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law House Bill 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act. The Act permits those convicted of certain violations, misdemeanors, or felonies – following the completion of their sentence and payment of applicable fines – to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction. Those seeking to vacate misdemeanor convictions must wait two years following the completion of their sentence, and have no subsequent convictions, prior to seeking expungement. Those with felony convictions must wait six-years prior to petitioning the court.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

For information about additional pending