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Miami Official Compares Legalizing Medical Marijuana To Pedophilia

Miami Official Compares Legalizing Medical Marijuana To Pedophilia

Miami’s deputy city attorney is getting a lot of buzz after compared allowing sales of medical marijuana in the city to legalizing pedophiliaThe bi…
Read more: Medical Marijuana, Miami, The Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Politics News

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West Virginia Medical Marijuana Laws

On April 19, 2017, Gov. Jim Justice signed West Virginia’s medical marijuana bill into law! SB 386 passed the Senate in a 28-6 vote on March 29, and it passed the House on April 4 in a … Read more ›
The post West Virginia Medical Marijuana Laws appeared first on MedicalMarijuanaBlog.com.

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Study: Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrest Rates Increasing

    Study: Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrest Rates Increasing

African Americans in Virginia are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at more than three times the rates of whites and this disparity is rising, according to an analysis of statewide arrest data by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Capital News Service.
Researchers reviewed 160,000 state and local arrest records from the years 2010 through 2016. They found that blacks were 2.9 times as likely as whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana in 2010, but 3.2 times as likely to be arrested by 2016.
In some counties and towns, such as in Hanover County and in Arlington, Virginia, the black arrest rate was six to eight times that of whites.
The findings are similar to those of a 2015 report, which determined that the number of African Americans arrested in Virginia for marijuana possession offenses increased 106 percent between the years 2003 and 2014. That study concluded that blacks account for nearly half of all marijuana possession arrests, but comprise only 20 percent of the state population.
A separate analysis of Maryland arrest data determined that African Americans accounted for 58 percent of all marijuana possession arrested despite comprising only 30 percent of the state’s population.
A 2016 analysis of California arrest figures concluded that police arrested blacks for marijuana offenses at three and half times the rate of whites. A prior statewide assessment reported that police in 25 of California’s major cities arrested blacks for marijuana possession violations at rates four to twelve times that of caucasians. Similar disparities have been repeatedly reported in other major cities, including New York and Chicago.
A 2013 American Civil Liberties Union study found that nationwide blacks are approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though both ethnicities consume the substance at approximately similar rates.

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The Conversation Global: NAFTA’s Biggest Loser: The U.S., After Canada And Mexico Get Rich Trading Marijuana

Luis Gómez Romero, University of WollongongThe president of the United States, Donald Trump, prides himself on his business acumen. But his protec…
Read more: Political Science, United States, Mexico, Canada, Drug War, Health Law, Medical Marijuana, Social Drugs, Pharmaceutical Industry, Cannabis, North American Free Trade Agreement, North America, Politics News

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Social Consumption of Marijuana off to a Slow Start in Colorado

    Social Consumption of Marijuana off to a Slow Start in Colorado

Currently marijuana is legal to purchase, possess and consume in the state of Colorado, but the question is: Where can it be legally consumed? Well, if you happen to be in the city of Denver (or most anywhere else in Colorado) the answer is very simple: marijuana can only be legally consumed in a private residence. But what if your landlord won’t allow it or you are one of the thousands of tourists who regularly visits our great city? It appears that we’ll have to continue to wait for state lawmakers to answer that question.
Denver Moves Forward with Social Consumption
Last November, Denver voters passed I-300; a social use initiative that approved the commingling of marijuana and alcohol in bars and restaurants across Denver. Obviously a much different approach when compared to Denver NORML’s Responsible Use Campaign and something the State of Colorado disagreed with. In response, the State of Colorado adopted language making it clear that liquor licenses would not be allowed to permit the consumption of marijuana on their premises. According to the Denver Post, this change went into effect on January 1st of this year and vastly changed the intent of I-300.
“We all want adult consumption everywhere, but this is reality,” said Judd Golden, Legal Counsel for Denver NORML. The news of removing language that allowed the commingling of alcohol and marijuana frustrated proponents of I-300 so a lawsuit was filed against the State of Colorado to push the issue.

Kevin Mahmalji, outreach director for NORML shared his thoughts on combining the two substances. “As it currently stands, we can easily make the argument that marijuana is safer than alcohol, because the two are separated. If we allow the two to be mixed, any incident fueled by alcohol could potentially be blamed on marijuana. That’s why I believe responsible adults deserve their own space to consume marijuana similar to those who enjoy craft beer or cigars.”
In addition to the state’s decision to prevent the commingling of marijuana and alcohol, the City of Denver created the Social Consumption Advisory Committee that consisted of 22 influential decision makers – ranging from city officials to marijuana business owners – to go over the language line by line. The group met six times over several months and offered countless suggestions to improve the original language of I-300. Including a recommendation that would require patrons to sign a waiver before entering consumption areas. Essentially providing a layer of protections against unwanted exposure by non-consumers and those under 21 years of age. A recommendation that Denver NORML fully supports.
The 12 page document lists pages and pages of suggestions to make the law work effectively for the city of Denver. Last week the draft rules were finally posted.
Push for Social Consumption Statewide: SB-184
In addition to our work on the local level, members of Denver NORML spent a lot of time at the state Capitol educating lawmakers on social consumption and the need for a legislative solution. The result? SB-184, which would have empowered local governments to permit private marijuana clubs and better defined what “open and public” means to marijuana consumers. Once the bill was introduced, Denver NORML organized two citizen lobby days with more than 45 participants followed by months of face to face meetings with state lawmakers in support of a statewide solution.
Unfortunately during the final weeks of Colorado’s legislative session, many things with the bill began to change. Most notably, the bill’s sponsors tried to include language that would have criminalized marijuana consumption on the front porch of a private residence and aimed to exclude a newly established cannabis church from operating as a marijuana club. Thankfully the Senate and the House could not come to a consensus and the bill died in committee on the last day of the 2017 legislative session.
Until state lawmakers are willing to pass legislation that will provide a set of rules and protections for business owners and marijuana consumers to responsibly consume marijuana, Colorado municipalities will continue to struggle with this issue.
With the Denver’s Social Consumption Advisory Committee wrapping up its final meeting and Colorado’s legislative session coming to an end, there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the social consumption of marijuana in Colorado.
Denver NORML will apply the lessons learned this year and with their allies, continue to push for statewide reform in the next legislative session.
For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Denver NORML by visiting their website and on Facebook and Twitter!

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Weekly Legislative Update 5/13/17

    Weekly Legislative Update 5/13/17

Welcome to this week’s edition of the NORML legislative roundup!
So much to talk about this week, so let’s start with our favorite villain, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. This week, Sessions superseded the 2010 Holder Memo, regarding DOJ’s policy on charging and sentencing decisions – establishing what I like to now refer to as The Sessions Doctrine, in which he directed the the thousands of assistant U.S. attorneys to pursue “the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
NPR reports:

Holder had asked prosecutors to avoid slapping nonviolent drug offenders with crimes that carried mandatory minimum sentences, practices that, as NPR’s Tamara Keith explains, “give judges and prosecutors little discretion over the length of a prison term if a suspect is convicted.” Holder’s recommendation had been aimed partly at helping reduce burgeoning prison populations in the U.S.
Now, if prosecutors wish to pursue lesser charges for these low-level crimes, they will need to obtain approval for the exception from a U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general or another supervisor.

This is yet another clear example of the Trump administrations escalation the failed War on Drugs.
On a much brighter note, things moved quite a bit at the state level in 3 key battles.
Delaware: Members of the House Revenue and Finance Committee voted 7 to 2 on May 10 to move HB 110 to the House floor. Because the measure seeks to amend criminal penalties, it requires a two-thirds majority from House members to move to the Senate for further consideration. The vote marks the first time the “1st State” that lawmakers have ever approved legislation seeking to legalize and regulate the adult use marijuana market.
New Hampshire: Members of the Senate on May 11 voted 17 to 6 in favor of HB 640, to decriminalize marijuana in “The Granite State.” Because the Senate amended the bill’s language, it must return to the House for a concurrence vote, where it is expected to easily pass. Once reconciled, the bill goes to Governor Sununu, who has time and again affirmed his support for decriminalization.
Vermont: S. 22, to eliminate civil and criminal penalties specific to the possession and cultivation of personal use quantities of marijuana by adults has been passed by the Vermont legislature.
If not vetoed by the Governor, the measure would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the cultivation of two mature marijuana and four immature plants in a private residence.
Vermont would become the first state to completely depenalize the simple possession and cultivation of marijuana by the legislative process, thus breaking a stigma for legislators throughout the country.
Unfortunately, in Texas, while we saw historic process to both establish a medical marijuana program and decriminalize the plant in the state, our efforts came up short this year as the deadline for floor votes came and past on Thursday.
Texas NORML organized in a heroic fashion and I must give a special shoutout to their Executive Director Jax Finkel for all of her hard work and diligence. Never has the Lone Star state been so close on moving sane marijuana reform policy forward and we will now must build upon the tremendous momentum generated this year to achieve victories in the next legislative session. You can support Texas NORML’s work by clicking here.
Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act 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 the federal level.
Thanks for all you do and keep fighting,Justin
Priority Alerts
FederalJoin The Caucus: With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) earlier this year formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
Click here to email your Member of Congress to urge them to join the newly created Congressional Cannabis Caucus
DelawareHouse floor vote pending for marijuana legalization legislation, HB 110. The measure establishes a regulated commercial market for cannabis cultivation and retail sales, but does not permit unlicensed, home cultivation.
DE resident? Click here to send a message to your elected officials to support legalization!
New HampshireDecriminalization legislation is on its way to the Governor.
NH resident? Send him a note thanking him for his support.
VermontLegislation to eliminate adult use marijuana penalties and study legalization sent to Governor.
VT resident? Send a message to Gov. Scott now and call his office at (802) 828-3333
Other Actions to Take
AlaskaState officials in Alaska are considering legislation, HJR 21, to urge the federal government to restrain from interfering in state marijuana laws.
HJR 21 urges the current Administration to respect previous federal arrangements in regard to state laws and to continue a policy of allowing legalized states autonomy.
The bill points to several reasons that Alaska would be harmed by a federal crackdown, ranging from economic ramifications to the confusion of law enforcement officers; federal enforcement would ultimately have negative results.
AK resident? Click here to urge your lawmakers to stand up for Alaskans.
CaliforniaLegislation is pending, Assembly Bill 1578, to try and limit potential federal interference in the state’s marijuana regulatory laws.
The bill states, “This bill would prohibit a state or local agency, as defined, from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”
The majority of Californians desire a legally regulated marijuana market. Passage of this act will limit state or local agencies from working with the federal government to undermine these regulations.
Update: Read third time and amended on May 8. Ordered to third reading.
CA resident? Click here to urge your lawmakers to protect legal marijuana in your state.
HawaiiLegislation to expand Hawaii’s medical cannabis program has passed both legislative chambers.
The bill expands the number of qualifying conditions eligible to receive cannabis therapy to include: lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and autism. It also permits patients’ caregivers to engage in medical cannabis cultivation, among other changes.
HI resident? Click here to send a message to the Governor urging them to sign the legislation.
New JerseyNew Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently made public statements calling the notion of regulating adult marijuana use “beyond stupidity.”
Yet, according to a 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll, nearly six in ten New Jersey adults support “legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and over.” Similar percentages of voters through the country also endorse legalization.
NJ resident? Click here to help us educate the Governor and his staff to the facts on marijuana.

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Chris Christie Has Zero Credibility on Drug Policy

    Chris Christie Has Zero Credibility on Drug Policy

From Forbes:
According to Erik Altieri, Executive Director of the decades-old drug reform nonprofit NORML, Christie has spent much of time as governor (and, as it happens, much of the opioid epidemic) fighting the rising tide of calls for cannabis reform in his state. Last week, as part of opioid-themed comments, Christie even called the ever more crucial and commonplace drive to bring regulated adult and medical cannabis use to New Jersey “total stupidity” and “baloney,” and described any tax revenues from the industry as “blood money.”
“We are in the midst of the public health crisis on opiates,” Christie said. “But people are saying pot’s OK. This is nothing more than crazy liberals who want to say everything’s OK.”
In response, NORML released an open letter to the governor days later, explaining in simple terms how scientific and social research have repeatedly shown that cannabis offers rather the opposite of “baloney” in the face of opioid addiction. Citing years of evidence-based conclusions, the letter pointed out, “It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco.” It continued:
“In truth, America’s real-world experiment with regulating marijuana has been a success. Thirty states, including New Jersey, now regulate the plant’s therapeutic use and eight states authorize its use and sale to all adults. These policy changes are not associated with increased marijuana use or access by adolescents or with adverse effects on traffic safety or in the workplace. Marijuana regulations are also associated with less opioid abuse and mortality . In jurisdictions where this retail market is taxed, revenue from marijuana sales has greatly exceeded initial expectations.”
Altieri explained by phone that the new tactic is one of many advocates have tried over the years in order to convince Christie and lawmakers like him to accept the science on cannabis, and to invest in further study rather than stalwart opposition. Rather than acknowledge evidence that cannabis is a cheap, relatively quite safe method of treating pain and other conditions, and even effective for helping addicts quit much harder drugs, however, Christie has stayed his anti-pot course throughout, according to Altieri.
“Governor Christie has 0% credibility on drug policy, or any other policy, for that matter,” Altieri said. “When it comes to cannabis’ relationship to opioids from real-world experience, not bluster and rhetoric, states that have medicinal and recreational cannabis laws on the books see lower rates of overdose, lower rates of use, and lower rates of opioids being prescribed to patients.”
“This cannot be disputed,” Altieri added. “This is happening on the ground in many states, and he should know this better than others, having seen data on his own state, despite his protestations and attempt to block it.”
But at this point, Altieri said, whether such outreach finally touches Christie’s heart and brain, unlikely as it may be, is no longer of import to the state of New Jersey.
“In consistent polling, 60% of New Jersey residents support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis, in line with the national average, and that’s three times the number of residents that support Governor Christie in his current position,” he said. “He further weakens his position by displaying his ignorance to basic and readily available science. We know that marijuana has a very low harm profile, that you can’t overdose on it, and that the side effects tend to be minor and temporary. Unlike opioids.”
Altieri continued, “It’s important to point out that Christie will be gone by the end of this year, and that so far, every single Democratic candidate for governor and a number of Republican candidates have come out in support of legalization. So it’s really a question of not if but when in New Jersey. And there’s nothing Chris Christie can do about it.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
LIVE IN NEW JESREY? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE AND CORRECT THE RECORD.

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Atlanta City Council Considers Decriminalization of Marijuana

    Atlanta City Council Considers Decriminalization of Marijuana

On Monday, May 15, 2017, the City Council of Atlanta, Georgia will vote on an ordinance that would decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana within Atlanta’s City Limits. Under Georgia law, the possession of one ounce or less is an arrestable offense that could result in up to a $1000 fine and 12 months in jail. This ordinance would allow for the issuance of a citation which carries a $75.00 fine. The ordinance would only apply to the Atlanta Police Department. Other agencies operating within the City, such as the State Patrol and Fulton County Sheriff, would still be able to arrest for the offense.
While it may not seem like much protection, the passage of this ordinance would be a giant step in Georgia. The small town of Clarkston passed a similar ordinance in July 2016. While that stirred up some news, the Capital of Georgia passing it would have a major ripple effect. One mayoral candidate, Vincent Fort, who is a current member of Georgia’s Senate, has made decriminalization the major plank in his campaign platform. It is a hot topic in Georgia.
Peachtree NORML, in association with Georgia C.A.R.E. Project, has begun a City-by- City campaign which is beginning to have some success. By providing fact-based data to municipal governments wishing to consider such measures, we hope to begin reducing the harm caused by an arrest for small amounts of marijuana in Georgia.
If approved by Council, Atlanta will join a growing list of cities around the country that have adopted a more pragmatic approach for dealing with marijuana-related offenses on the local level. Kansas City, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, Tampa, Orlando, Milwaukee, Monona, Toledo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and several others have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Sharon Ravert, the Founder of Peachtree NORML is fond of saying, “When we are talking, we are winning.” Hopefully the City of Atlanta will prove her right next Monday.
Contact your council representatives today and urge them to vote “Yes” on a fiscally sensible proposal that will enable police, prosecutors, and the courts to reallocate their existing resources toward activities that will better serve the public.
Click the link below to get started!
TAKE ACTION: http://act.norml.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20611
For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Peachtree NORML by visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter! To make a donation to Peachtree NORML, please click here.

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Michigan NORML Joins Fight to Legalize Marijuana in 2018

    Michigan NORML Joins Fight to Legalize Marijuana in 2018

Marijuana activists across Michigan are gearing up for a renewed effort to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and up. Last week the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol took the first steps to qualify their new proposal for the 2018 ballot by formally submitting language to the State of Michigan for review.
If passed by voters, adults 21 and up will be able to legally possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residence. For retail sales, a 10 percent tax will be applied. Tax revenues are expected to be used for schools, roads, enforcement costs and a unique study that will examine the use of medical marijuana to prevent veteran suicides.
If you’ve been following legalization efforts in Michigan, you’re probably aware that advocates pushed for a similar initiative in 2016. However after collecting more than 350,000 signatures – more than enough to qualify for the ballot – Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation that disqualified the measure from the ballot, a decision the state appellate courts let stand<http://norml.org/election-2016>.
This changed everything. Organizers of the effort quickly went from having more than enough signatures to needing over 100,000 to make the ballot. However, refusing to accept defeat, many involved in the campaign quickly regrouped and shifted their focus to the 2018 ballot.

With the backing of Michigan NORML, the Marijuana Policy Project, MI legalize, Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition and several others, campaign organizers and volunteers are confident they now have the resources and support needed to be successful.
“Michigan NORML is pleased to have been included in negotiations over the language filed in Michigan by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The initiative includes best practices from around the country,” said Matthew Able, executive director of Michigan NORML. “We expect to collect the necessary 253,000 signatures over the next six months, and look forward to approval by the Board of Canvassers so that we may begin the petitioning process.”
If approved, Michigan will become the ninth state to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and up following Colorado, Alaska, California, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and Washington.
TAKE ACTION: Contact federal lawmakers to demand an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana by supporting HR 1227: http://act.norml.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20108
For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in the Wolverine State, follow Michigan NORML by visiting their website and Facebook page! To make a donation or to join Michigan NORML, please click here!

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New Hampshire: Decriminalization Passes Senate, Soon Heads To Governor To Sign

    New Hampshire: Decriminalization Passes Senate, Soon Heads To Governor To Sign

New Hampshire is the only New England state that has not either decriminalized or legalized adult marijuana use but that is soon to change.
Today, the state Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 640, which eliminates the threat of jail time for a possession conviction of less than 3/4 of an ounce and reduces the fine from $350 to $100.
HB 640 is a long overdue, fiscally sensible proposals that is supported by the voters, and that will enable police, prosecutors, and the courts to reallocate their existing resources toward activities that will better serve the public.
Governor Chris Sununu (R) has indicated that he will sign the bill.
Sixty-eight percent of New Hampshire adults support “legalizing [the] possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use,” and seventy-four percent of respondents endorse marijuana being sold at state-licensed outlets and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.
After years of stonewalling by former leadership, we commend lawmakers for finally correcting this injustice. Once law, Granite state residents will be one step closer to being able to truly ‘Live Free’ and not just ‘live free, but potentially be incarcerated.

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