GOP Lawmaker: Trump Administration Pledges Non-Interference In Legal Marijuana States

Republican Congressman Corey Gardner (CO) says that he has received a verbal commitment from President Donald Trump specifying that the administration will not take action to disrupt marijuana markets in states that legally regulate the substance.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner told the Associated Press. “Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.”

He added: “Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all. Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”

In January, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidelines directing federal prosecutors not to take action against those who were compliant with state-sanctioned cannabis regulations. In response to that decision, Rep. Gardner had vowed to block all nominees for Justice Department jobs.

On Friday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said, Trump “does respect Colorado’s right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue.”

In response to the administration’s pledge, NORML Director Erik Altieri stated: “We applaud this commitment from President Trump, who promised during his campaign to take a federalist approach with regard to marijuana policy. With the President …

ASA Activist Newsletter – April 2018

In the April 2018 Issue:

  • Congress Acts to Protect Patients from AG Sessions
  • Advocates Descend on Annual UN Drug Meeting
  • Two Studies Show Safe Access Reduces Prescription Opioid Use
  • ASA’s National Unity Conference is just 6 Weeks Away
  • ASA to Host New Patient Education Course
  • ASA Workshop at New York Abilities Expo
  • Maryland Patients Benefit from Cannabis Care Certification
  • ASA Education and Training Has Global Reach
  • Activist Profile: Lisa Sublett, Kansas
  • ACTION ALERT: Urge your Senators to support CARERS!


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

The April 11 announcement from Acreage Holdings, a diversified multistate cannabis corporation headquartered in New York, that former House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, would join its board of advisors affirms reformers’ lament that the closer the U.S. gets to legalizing cannabis, the more persecutors-turned-profiteers like Boehner will seek to join the nascent and booming industry.

Despite being a well-known devoted consumer of tobacco and alcohol, Boehner in his 20-plus years in Congress voted against all proposed measures to reform any aspect of cannabis prohibition—from adult use to industrial hemp to medical access. Every single one.

As recently as 2015, Boehner opposed the effort to legalize recreational use in Ohio, his home state. In 2011, he said marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug, stating: “I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of a variety of drugs.”

Predictably, since Colorado and Washington legalized the commercial production, sale and taxation of cannabis products in 2012, individuals previously associated with maintaining cannabis prohibition and advocating for rigorous law enforcement have begun using their positions of power and influence to profit from the fruits of decades of advocacy work by nonprofit organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bi-Partisan Hemp Legalization Bill

United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden introduced legislation today to remove low THC hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and amend federal regulations to better facilitate industrial hemp production, research, and commerce.

The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 allows states, not the federal government, to regulate hemp production and allocates grant funding to federally subsidize industrial hemp cultivation. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established agricultural crop.

Senator McConnell previously shepherded federal reforms (Section 7606 of the Farm Bill) in 2014 permitting states to legally authorize hemp cultivation as part of academic research pilot programs. Over two-dozen states have established regulations permitting limited hemp cultivation under this provision. In 2017, state-licensed producers grew over 39,000 acres of hemp, up from roughly 16,000 acres in 2016.

Separate legislation, HR 3530, is currently pending in the US House of Representatives to exclude low-THC strains of cannabis grown for industrial purposes from the federal definition of marijuana. That measure has 43 co-sponsors.

To contact your members of Congress in support of this legislation, please click here!


Are You Doing 4/20 Right? Here’s a List of What’s Happening

Following tradition, marijuana consumers and advocates from around the globe are organizing rallies, marches and other acts of political expression or civil disobedience in advance of this year’s celebration of 4/20, an annual protest against the prohibition of marijuana. While these public events are often effective at generating some buzz and raising public awareness, they rarely influence or appeal directly to those elected officials who continue to oppose common sense marijuana law reform efforts.

To increase the political effectiveness of these events, NORML chapters are planning to combine these traditional events with a robust presence on social media that includes a call-to-action urging federal lawmakers to support HR 1227: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act. If passed by Congress, this legislation will eliminate federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, give states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference, and remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow for more marijuana research both recreationally and medicinally.

NORML Chapters will continue to use these public events to demonstrate that our culture is a growing part of the broader community, and to raise awareness and support for marijuana law reform efforts.

A couple examples of which are:Members of Chicago NORML have a lot to celebrate after voters in Cook County, Illinois voted to approve, “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 …

Is There a Looming Supply Bottleneck in California?

California’s regulated adult use cannabis market has been up and running for around four months now and rumors of a potential supply bottleneck on the horizon are beginning to circulate. There are a number of factors that could have an impact on the cannabis supply in the market, most of which stem from changes in the distribution channels now that the state is implementing new regulations.

Those include a slow rollout in licensing cannabis businesses, new testing requirements, the supply carryover period prior to January 1stas well as new labeling and packaging regulations. In this piece, we are going to examine some of those rumors, see if there might be some truth to them and provide some guidance for what businesses can do to prepare for this.

A Slow Start to Licensing

This one is perhaps the most obvious factor to impact the supply chain in California. Much of the delays in licensing cannabis businesses came from the issue of local control, where businesses needed to get approval from their municipality before getting a state license. In the first month of the new market, it took Los Angeles weeks longer than other counties to begin licensing dispensaries. Whereas San Diego retailers saw a massive influx of customers right away, forcing them to buy up product to meet the high demand. Smaller producers also had trouble getting licenses as quickly as some of the larger ones.

Basically it all …

Seven Steps to Having a Successful Outdoor Cannabis Garden

It’s that time of the year when cultivators start preparing plants for the outdoor season. Here’s what you need to do to get your cannabis garden growing.

1. Choose Your Strains Wisely

Certain strains thrive in certain climates. Sativas like Blue Dream are generally more resistant to high temperatures and humidity levels. They can take up to 14 weeks to flower in the hot climates of the Southwest or Southeast. Indicas like OG Kush, which flower in seven to 10 weeks, are more acclimated to areas like the Midwest or Northeast. They prefer dryer climates. If it rains all summer, you may want to choose a hybrid strain. It’s important to think about your local climate when deciding which strains to grow and when to bring plants outdoors.

Seeds will “pop” with 7-10 days.

2. Don’t Hate, Germinate

Start germinating seeds in early spring—April or May, depending on your climate. You can acquire them from a seed bank. To begin, take a small paper towel and dampen it. Squeeze out any excess water and lay the towel down on a flat surface. Put the seeds in the center of the towel, fold it two or three times, being careful not to lose any seeds, and then place it into a baggie or container. Leave it in a dark, warm place out of direct sunlight. Check your seedlings daily to make sure they don’t dry out. Once little …

NORML Responds as Ex-House Speaker Signs On With Marijuana Industry Leader

It has been announced that former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, along with former Republican Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, have joined the Board of Advisors for Acreage Holdings, a multi-state corporation operating in the medical and recreational marijuana space. The company holds licenses for dozens of cannabis businesses in the United States.

Boehner, in comments to the press, made it clear that he has reversed his long held opposition to marijuana legalization. In an interview with Bloomberg news wire, he stated: “Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically. I find myself in that same position.”

In response to this announcement, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri issued the following statement:

“John Boehner’s evolution on marijuana legalization mirrors that of both the American public in general and Republicans specifically. Recent polling finds that over 60 percent of Americans support adult use marijuana legalization and, for the first time, this percentage includes a majority of self-identified Republicans. Allowing states the flexibility and autonomy to set their own marijuana regulatory policies is consistent with conservatives’ long-held respect for the Tenth Amendment, as well as with the party’s recent embracing of populism.”

Altieri continued, “Regardless of motive, former Speaker Boehner is still held in high regard by a large percentage of the GOP membership and voter base. We look forward to his voice joining the growing chorus calling for an end to cannabis criminalization. Anything …

The FDA Wants To Hear From You About Marijuana Scheduling

…At least that’s how the public comment process works. 

This year, the United Nations World Health Organization is due to review the current international classification of marijuana, THC, cannabidiol, and other related compounds and preparations this year. In the lead-up, the WHO is asking member nations submit feedback, of which no nation is more influential than the United States.

Between now and April 23rd, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment from “interested persons” (I.E. you) regarding the international Schedule 1 Status of marijuana under international agreements.

We have made it incredibly easy for you to make your voice heard and need you to join your voice with thousands of other NORML members in making it clear: Cannabis does not fit in a controlled substances agreement, let alone Schedule 1.

Click here to submit a comment. 

Right now, we are collecting comments and will be delivering them by hand to the FDA offices on April 23rd.

In the action alert, you will find a pre-drafted comment that we encourage you to amend and include any other important aspects you deem worthy. You can draw additional information from our Factsheets and About Marijuana pages to expand your position for these public comments.

Don’t forget, democracy is not a spectator sport. Go on record with the FDA and fill out a comment to recommend the international descheduling of marijuana NOW.


Building A Better Medical Program In Pennsylvania, One Flower At A Time

As a longtime Pennsylvanian, I have gotten used to the slow drudge of progress and the archaic mindset of our policymakers in this state. With that said, we did manage to pass a Medical Marijuana Law two years ago this month, though the law became a skeleton of its robust beginnings. Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act was enacted earlier this year, as the first facilities began growing, processing, and dispensing cannabis-derived products (oils, tinctures, topical, vapes, and pills). The program has seen many pitfalls in its infancy, including supply shortages, a lack of qualified doctors, and many other shortcomings yet to be addressed. But public response has been phenomenal, with nearly 30 thousand patients have registered in the program’s first few months.

Recently the Department of Health (parent to our state’s Medical Marijuana Office), announced the second round of applications for permits for growers/processors and dispensaries. Our state also made a bold move and announced that it would be one of the first states to offer permits for clinical research of medical marijuana. As a crescendo to all of that, yesterday the PA-DOH MMJ Advisory Board convened two years after the program’s inception (as was written into the law) to make recommendations to the Department of Health, its committees, and the Governor. The formation of this committee was included in the law, to act as an independent voice to meet and make recommendations periodically, composed of doctors, law enforcement, government officials, …

Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon: The Baking of a Cannabis Advocate

One of Canada’s most iconic names in pot activism dishes on her early days in the nation’s spotlight and the ingredients to success in culinary infusion. Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon says it never occurred to her that, at 20 years old, a batch of pot cookies would be the first step to becoming a national canna-celeb. “I started smoking because it was a fabulously good time,” she says to the Straight in a phone interview,…


Calgary Recreational Pot Bylaw Bans Public Consumption of Non-Medical Weed

Calgary city council has approved recreational marijuana rules that ban the consumption of any form of non-medical pot in public. The bylaw will apply to smoking, vaping and edibles once the federal legalization of recreational weed comes into effect later this year, likely sometime this summer. Medical cannabis will still be allowed to be consumed in public, but under the same restrictions that apply to smoking tobacco. – Read the entire article at CTVNews.


‘Grandfather of Pot’ Tommy Chong Reflects on a Lifetime of Fighting to Get Weed Legalized

Tommy Chong, best known as one half of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, celebrated his 80th birthday this year and admits to W5 to smoking weed regularly. For most of his adult life, cannabis has been illegal, yet Chong has continued to smoke it openly and publicly. The actor who is known for playing an endearing, hippie stoner is an opinionated activist for cannabis reform. In Chongs’s mind, weed has never been illegal, “so…


Arcview Predicts $7.7 Billion California Cannabis Market by 2021

A new report from the Arcview Group and BDS Analytics—“California: The Golden Opportunity?”—predicts that the state’s marijuana industry will generate more than $7.7 billion in legal sales by 2021. While some of their underlying data are a little questionable, there’s no doubt that legal marijuana will be a multibillion industry in California.

According to the report, California produced 13.5 million pounds of cannabis in 2016, of which state residents consumed only 2.5 million pounds. Arcview and BDS get that figure from a California Department of Finance report on the medical-marijuana market, “Economic Impact Analysis of Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program Regulations,” from January 2017. By using three sources of information—registered farms, eradications, and mapped but unregistered farms—the department estimated that “total statewide production equals 13.5 million pounds.”

“Assuming casual users purchase one-eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) per month and regular users purchase three-quarters of an ounce (21 grams) per month, total annual cannabis consumption in California is between 2.2 and 2.6 million pounds,” the state report said. “This analysis assumes that the quantity consumed equals 2.5 million pounds annually in California.”

The potential legal marijuana market in California is probably much larger than what Arcview and BDS project, which is great news for marijuana businesses.

Calgary Recreational Pot Bylaw Bans Public Consumption of Non-medical Weed

Calgary city council has approved recreational marijuana rules that ban the consumption of any form of non-medical pot in public. The bylaw will apply to smoking, vaping and edibles once the federal legalization of recreational weed comes into effect later this year, likely sometime this summer. Medical cannabis will still be allowed to be consumed in public, but under the same restrictions that apply to smoking tobacco. – Read the entire article at CTV News.


Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/6/18

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

I first want to bring your attention to some key developments happening at the state level. Proponents of a 2018 medical cannabis ballot measure in Utah achieved a signature milestone last week, a representative from the Lt. Governor’s Office said that officials have already validated 117,000 signatures from registered voters — more than than the 113,000 necessary to qualify for the state ballot.

Also at the state level, The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced plans to solicit public comment on how marijuana is classified under state law and whether any change in its classification status is warranted. The Division will solicit comments during a series of public events, known as “informal conferences,” in Newark and Trenton later this month. The Division also will accept written submissions.

At a more local level, the Albuquerque, New Mexico City Council approved a proposal to decriminalize marijuana, Portland, Oregon is using $300,000 in marijuana tax revenue to fund a public education program about safe driving, and voters in Naturita and Berthoud, Colorado approved ballot measures allowing marijuana businesses to operate.

Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at …

N.s. Landlords Get Greenlight to Ban Smoking, Growing Pot

Nova Scotia landlords will have the power to ban smoking and growing marijuana in their rental units once pot becomes legal. Under the new rules outlined by the province on Tuesday, landlords must provide four months’ notice of a ban to the tenant, before April 30, 2019. When the landlord provides notice, the tenant has one month to give the landlord three months’ notice to terminate the lease. Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act does not…


NORML Chapters Continue State-Level Push for Marijuana Law Reforms

Since the beginning of the year, NORML Chapters throughout the country have been busy organizing lobby days for the 2018 legislative session. With the hope of reforming various aspects of their state’s marijuana policies, NORML affiliated activists have been meeting with state representatives to educate lawmakers and their staff about the advantages of ending marijuana prohibition and encourage support for over 100 pieces of legislation nationwide.

Legalize marijuana

In addition to organizing more lobby days than was previously done in 2017, many NORML chapters including Delaware NORML, Denver NORML, Illinois NORML, and Lehigh Valley NORML have scheduled multiple lobby days for their 2018 legislative sessions. To date, NORML chapters have organized and/or participated in nearly 30 lobby days in 16 states. From fighting for employee protections in Colorado, Oregon and California, to pushing to expand access for patients in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and working to pass legislation to tax and regulate adult-use marijuana in Delaware, NORML chapters have been working overtime this legislative session.


Members of Virginia NORML, led by Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, have been focused on securing access and protection from prosecution for all patients since 2016. This session, their hard work finally paid off with unanimous passage of HB 1251 and SB 726 to expand the state’s limited medical CBD law to allow doctors to decide when to issue a recommendation.

“Virginia will be the first state to expand a hyper-restrictive single qualifying disorder program …

New Orleans: Marijuana Possession Arrests Plunge Following Enactment Of Decriminalization Ordinance

Minor marijuana possession arrests have plunged in the city of New Orleans following the adoption of a municipal ordinance one year ago that called for fining rather than arresting low-level offenders.

According to data made available last week, just one percent of encounters between police and someone accused of possessing marijuana resulted in an arrest between June 2016 and May 2017. In prior years, over 70 percent of such encounters resulted in an arrest. In those cases, some 75 percent of those arrested were African Americans.

Under Louisiana state law, minor marijuana possession offenses are punishable by a term of incarceration of up to eight years, depending on whether the person convicted is a repeat offender.

In March of last year, members of the New Orleans city council voted 7 to 0 in favor of legislation permitting police to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders (defined as those who possess 14 grams or less), including repeat offenders. First-time violators are subject to a $40 fine while subsequent offenders may face fines of up to $100. In recent years, nearly 60 municipalities in states where cannabis remains criminalized have enacted local ordinances either partially or fully decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

According to a study published last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the enactment of recent statewide decriminalization laws has similarly resulted in a dramatic decrease in marijuana arrests while having no adverse impact on youth …