Articles Written by NORML

NORML PAC Endorses State Senator Connie Johnson for US Senate in Oklahoma

WASHINGTON, DC -- NORML PAC has announced its endorsement of Democratic State Senator Connie Johnson in her campaign to be the next United States Senator representing Oklahoma. “Sen. Johnson has been an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use during her tenure in the Oklahoma legislature,” stated NORML PAC Manager Erik Altieri. “Few state legislators have rivaled her passion and acumen on marijuana law reform and, if elected, Sen. Johnson would be an invaluable ally in the fight to legalize marijuana nationwide.” “We encourage Oklahomans to support her campaign and send Sen. Johnson to Washington, D.C. to work toward ending our country’s failed prohibition on marijuana.” “I’m incredibly thankful for NORML’s endorsement, ” said Sen. Johnson. “After years of stonewalling in the state legislature, I’m taking this fight to the people. It’s time for the people of Oklahoma to speak on this issue.” Sen. Johnson began circulating a petition in early July to put marijuana legalization and commercialization on the Oklahoma November ballot. “As taxpayers, we’re spending over $30 million each year policing, jailing, and incarcerating our citizens on marijuana-related offenses—often on simple possession. Yet, marijuana is almost universally available,” Sen. Johnson stated. “It’s time for a smarter approach, particularly in regards

House Approves Amendment to Allow Bankss to Work With Marijuana Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC -- This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 231 to 192 in favor of the Heck-Perlmutter-Lee-Rohrabacher Amendment, which will restrict Treasury Department and SEC funds from being spent to penalize financial institutions for providing services to marijuana related business that operate according to state law. This proposal amends H.R. 5016, a spending bill for fiscal year 2015 that funds the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Department, and Securities and Exchange Commission. The amendment reads:

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin or the District of Columbia, to prohibit, penalize, or otherwise discourage a financial institution from providing financial services to an entity solely because the entity is a manufacturer, producer, or person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling marijuana or marijuana products and engages in such activity pursuant to a law established by a State or a unit of local government.”
This vote comes on the heels
The Fear of Pleasure: Why CBD-Only Legislation is Not a Real Solution

Most of us were caught off-guard by the rush of states this year that approved the limited use of CBD-only marijuana extracts because these traditionally conservative states had heretofore rejected the medical use of marijuana. So it seems worth a moment to consider how this occurred, and what it means on a grander scale. But first, a little recent history. Throughout this year’s state legislative season, a total of 10 states enacted laws seeking to provide limited access to medical marijuana products that contain high levels of CBD and virtually no THD for qualified, typically pediatric patients suffering from severe and disabling seizures: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. On one level, this unexpected embrace of the medicinal qualities of marijuana by states that previously rejected the concept must be seen as a favorable development. These serendipitous adoptions reflect a degree of compassion not obvious in the previous legislative debates in those states. But it is far from certain that these laws will actually help the young patients they are intended to help. First, such products are primarily only available in a handful of states like California and Colorado

Washington State Parolees Now Allowed to Consume Marijuana

OLYMPIA, WA -- Parolees in Washington state may consume cannabis without facing legal repercussions, according to policy changes implemented by the Washington State Department of Corrections. Under the newly announced policy, the state's estimated 14,000 parolees will no longer be tested for the presence of THC or its byproducts. In 2012, voters decided in favor of a statewide initiative regulating the production, sale, and use of cannabis by adults. Commenting on the policy change, state Department of Corrections Assistant Secretary Annmarie Aylward told KING 5 News, "There's no way the department of corrections is endorsing the use of marijuana. We are simply aligning with state law." Aylward acknowledged that Washington judges still possess the legal authority to prohibit the use of marijuana on a case-by-case basis. In Colorado, where the adult consumption of marijuana is also allowed, cannabis use by parolees is not permitted.

Poll: Far More Americans Prefer Legalized Marijuana to Online Gambling

TRENTON, NJ -- A far greater percentage of Americans support legalizing marijuana than endorse the notion of allowing adults to legally engage in online gambling, according to national polling data compiled by Fairleigh Dickinson University. When asked to choose which of the two activities they "prefer to see legalized everywhere," 52 percent of respondents chose in favor of permitting adults to consume "small quantities of marijuana." Only 20 percent of respondents chose in favor of legalizing online gambling. Eighteen percent of respondents said that "neither" activity should be legalized, while four percent of respondents agreed that both activities ought to be permitted. Presently, three states - New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada - permit online gambling. Twenty-one states and Washington, DC presently allow for the medical use of marijuana while two states, Colorado and Washington, allow for the plant's licensed production and distribution to all adults. Americans age 18 to 29 (65 percent), Democrats (63 percent), and Independent voters (58 percent) were most likely to support legalizing marijuana, while those age 60 and older (36 percent) and Republicans (32 percent) were least supportive. The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.

Illinois House Approves Bill to Allow Universities to Research Hemp

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- House lawmakers have voted 70-28 in favor of House Bill 5085, legislation that would allow state universities to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes. The House approved the measure earlier this month, and the bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee.  You can read the full text of the measure here. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to commercially cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The CRS further states, “[T]he US market for hemp-based products has a highly dedicated and growing demand base.” The American Farm Bureau endorsed ending the federal prohibition on industrial hemp at its annual meeting in January. Congress recently approved an amendment in the Farm Act allowing for states that have reclassified hemp as an agricultural product to engage in pilot projects involving the plant’s cultivation free from federal

Poll: Marijuana is Less Harmful to Health than Tobacco, Alcohol, or Sugar

NEW YORK, NY -- Americans believe that consuming cannabis poses less harm to health than does the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or sugar, according to the findings of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week. Respondents were asked which of the four substances they believed to be “most harmful to a person’s overall health.” Most respondents said tobacco (49 percent), followed by alcohol (24 percent) and sugar (15 percent). Only eight percent of those surveyed said that they believed that marijuana was most harmful to health. The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.10 percent. “These results once again reaffirm that an overwhelming majority of the American public understands that any potential risks associated with the use or abuse of cannabis are relatively minor to those associated with many other legal and regulated substances," says Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Criminalizing cannabis and those who consume it responsibly is a disproportionate public policy response to what is, at worst, a public health issue but not a criminal justice concern.” Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a schedule I controlled substance, meaning that its alleged harms are equal to those of heroin.

Think Tank Issues Guidebook: "How To Regulate Cannabis"

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM -- "Cannabis policy should be built on evidence of what will minimize the potential harms and maximize the potential benefits associated with the use of the drug," according to a new book, "How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide," published by the British think-tank Transform. How-to-Regulate-CannabisThe 248-page book offers market alternatives to cannabis prohibition with the aim of "improving public health," "reducing drug-related crime," "protecting human rights," and "providing good value for money." The book addresses such issues as cannabis taxation, packaging, retail operations, price controls, and other aspects of regulatory policy. "This book guides policy makers and reform advocates through the key practical challenges in developing and implementing effective systems of legal regulation," the authors state. "This book arrives in a world where multiple jurisdictions are already debating, developing or actually implementing models of legal cannabis regulation." An executive summary of the guidebook is available online here. Transform is a charitable think tank that campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs both in the UK and internationally.

Three Michigan Cities Approve Marijuana Legalization By Large Margins

LANSING, MI -- Three localities in Michigan -- Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing -- all voted in support of marijuana legalization today by huge margins. All three cities had similar proposals to remove criminal and civil penalties for personal possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Ferndale won by the largest margin with 72% of voters approving the measure. Jackson approved their ordinance with 61% support and only 39% opposed and Lansing passed theirs with 63% support. “These votes in Michigan, along with the resounding vote in Portland, Maine illustrate that not only are the American people considering moving towards legalization of marijuana, they overwhelmingly are demanding it,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri. “Politicians must open their eyes to the political reality that legalization has arrived and is supported by a massive majority of voters. If they continue to drag their feet on the issue, we will take it to the people wherever possible, and we will win.”

Michigan: Lansing Voters to Decide Tuesday on Marijuana Legalization

LANSING, MI -- Lansing voters will decide Tuesday on a municipal initiative to amend the city charter to repeal criminal and civil penalties involving the adult possession of cannabis by adults on private property. Initiative proponents, Coalition for a Safer Lansing, collected some 7,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the 2013 November ballot. The proposed measure reads, "Shall the Charter of the City of Lansing, Michigan be amended such that nothing in the Code of Ordinances shall apply to the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, on private property, by a person who has attained the age of 21 years?" Lansing Mayor Virg Bernaro, a Democrat, has publicly stated that he is voting in favor of the measure. Under present state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis for non-medical purposes is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Last year, voters in four Michigan cities - Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti - all voted overwhelmingly in favor of municipal measures to depenalize marijuana offenses. Voters in Portland, Maine will decide on a similar citywide ballot measure next week. For more information, please visit: 

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