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New Jersey cannabis consumers seek relief before 2020

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 15:06

Trenton, NJ – Garden State NORML and cannabis consumers across New Jersey are calling on legislators to find an immediate solution to stop arresting nearly 100 people every day for possessing small amounts of marijuana. 

“Taxpayers are spending millions to put handcuffs on marijuana consumers, the same people who are expected to come out to the polls and vote for a constitutional amendment,” said Garden State NORML Executive Director Charlana McKeithen. “With another delay for full legalization, we hope elected officials will explore every option to stop these needless arrests.”

In addition to supporting full legalization, Garden State NORML supports decriminalizing marijuana – utilizing civil fines – for all ages. The decrim process requires no arrest, no handcuffs, no custody, no court, no jail, no supervision, no treatment, and no permanent record. Fines are usually between $25-$100. Twenty-one states and over one hundred cities have enacted such provisions. 

For regional context, Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana in 2014, and 20 additional cities in Pennsylvania followed suit. New York took the first step towards decriminalization at the state level in 1977, and further expanded on their decriminalization policies this year.

“Unfortunately, lawmakers in Trenton have elected to kick the can further down the road and allow tens of thousands more New Jersey residents to be saddled with criminal records for marijuana offenses due to their lack of action,” said Erik Altieri, Executive Director of NORML and a New Jersey native, “While we are confident the voters in New Jersey will send them an unambiguous message in 2020 in favor of legalization, state legislators must decriminalize marijuana possession in the interim to prevent even more lives from being ruined due to draconic prohibition policies.” 

“New Jersey’s continued criminalization of cannabis is done at the expense of its most vulnerable population, namely its black and brown residents,” said Tyler McFadden, Northeast Political Associate at NORML. “Enough is enough. If New Jersey legislators are sincere about their work to make their state a better place for all its residents, they need to start by decriminalizing cannabis possession for all ages.”

Meanwhile, under the antiquated policy of absolute criminal prohibition, New Jersey is seeing a record number of citizens arrested for cannabis. According to recent data released by ACLU-NJ, marijuana possession arrests have risen 35% in just four years. Racial disparities in these arrests are striking in many urban communities. Some towns see black and brown residents enduring 11 times the arrest rate for marijuana than their white counterparts. 

Longtime NORML organizer and NJ resident Chris Goldstein noted that local governments are also important for progress. 

“New Jersey’s municipal police departments and prosecutors can stop this needless enforcement against marijuana consumers by passing local decriminalization ordinances at any time,” said Goldstein. “Towns and cities also have a key role in legalization by helping grow a new small business sector with cannabis.” 

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) is now promising to offer voters a chance to weigh in on the issue. A constitutional amendment is being considered for 2020. This will require two votes by both chambers of the NJ Legislature and voter approval in the general election. 

After three years of lively debate and several bills, a voter referendum will extend the process into 2021. 

”Marijuana consumers deserve justice right now. People are being arrested for low-level marijuana possession every twenty-two seconds in New Jersey, and that is completely unacceptable,” said McKeithen.

Garden State NORML will be working to form new coalitions to surge voter turnout in 2020. The proposed ballot question, ACR840/SCR183, will be debated in committee on December 12, 2019, at 10AM. The bill text can be found here


Garden State NORML is the NJ division of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a non-profit organization fighting to reform cannabis laws nationwide. Our efforts include education, community outreach, and working with lawmakers. Visit Garden State NORML’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date.

Clinical Trial: Transdermal Application of CBD Effective in Patients with Myofascial Pain

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 14:35

The transdermal application of plant-derived CBD reduces fascial pain in patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD aka TMJ), according to clinical data published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

Polish investigators conducted a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial assessing the efficacy of twice-daily transdermal CBD administration on 60 patients with TMD over a period of 14 days.

Compared to placebo, patients receiving CBD therapy experienced symptomatic improvements, including reduced myofascial pain severity and decreased masseter muscle (the muscle around the jaw) activity. Subjects receiving treatment reported no adverse effects.

Authors concluded, “Further research is needed in this field, but CBD, as an alternative to THC, should be taken into consideration in the therapy of masticatory muscles in patients with TMD.”

Full text of the study, “Myorelaxant effect of transdermal cannabidiol application in patients with TMD: A randomized, double-blind trial,” appears online here.

Giving Tuesday is Here!

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 17:56

Giving Tuesday is the largest global giving day all year and NORML is excited to be a part of this worldwide event! We’ve set a goal to raise $10,000. It’ll take everyone to get it done, but the impact your donations will have is going to be incredible.

Year-end giving helps NORML prepare for the coming year, and there’s so much in store for 2020. NORML will celebrate 50 years of reforming marijuana laws. There will be multiple states with ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana. Legislatures across the country will debate and enact marijuana laws. Congress will hold more hearings on marijuana legislation. Presidential candidates will be talking about marijuana more than ever leading up to the November election. We’ve never been busier, and we need your help to make sure NORML has the necessary resources to keep fighting for your personal freedom.

NORML isn’t funded by big business or corporate cannabis. NORML is powered by its members and supporters who give generously and volunteer their time to end America’s failed war on marijuana.

I can give $10 to help legalize marijuana I can give $25 to fight bad marijuana laws I can give $100 to support NORML’s mission

It can feel right now like people have very little in common and it’s hard to connect, but generosity is a universally held value that brings us together. Being generous can make us happier, it can make a difference in the world, and it inspires generosity in others. It lets us come closer together and build stronger communities. It’s vital to strengthening the overall marijuana legalization movement, which NORML is a part of. Now, more than ever, we need to lift up and celebrate those values that bring us together, because together is how we will legalize America.


Study: Adult-Use Cannabis Access Associated with Decreased Sales of OTC Sleep Aids

Tue, 12/03/2019 - 17:27

Adult-use retail cannabis access is associated with a decline in the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aid medications, according to data published in the journal Complimentary Therapies in Medicine.

Investigators from the University of New Mexico and California Polytechnic State University assessed trends in the demand for OTC sleep aids in the years prior to and immediately after the enactment of adult-use marijuana regulation.

Researchers reported: “For the first time, we show a statistically significant negative association between recreational access to cannabis and OTC sleep aid sales, suggesting that at least some recreational purchasers are using cannabis for therapeutic rather than recreational purposes. … [O]ur results indicate that enough individuals are switching from OTC sleep aids to recreational cannabis that we can identify a statistically significant reduction in the market share growth of OTC sleep aids in conjunction with access to recreational cannabis using.”

Authors reported that the negative associations were driven by reduced sales of diphenhydramine (e.g., Benadryl)- and doxylamine-based sleep aids (e.g., Unisom) rather than herbal supplements like melatonin. Separate studies have similarly identified an association between cannabis access and the reduced use of various types of prescription medications, such as opioids and benzodiazepines.

Authors concluded: “Our results show that the market share growth for sleep aids shrank with the entry of recreational cannabis dispensaries … and the strength of the association increased with each subsequent dispensary. … Our results are consistent with evidence that legal access to medical cannabis is associated with reductions in Scheduled II-V prescription medications, many of which may be used in part as sleep aids.”

An abstract of the study, “Using recreational cannabis to treat insomnia: Evidence from over-the-counter sleep aid sales in Colorado,” appears online here.

Adult-Use Marijuana Sales Begin in Michigan

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 16:17

Licensed storefronts are now eligible to engage in retail cannabis sales to adults. The first adult-use sales began on Sunday, December 1.

Michigan voters last year approved a statewide initiative authorizing state officials to regulate the plant’s production, use, and sale.

In October, state regulators began accepting applications from medical cannabis dispensaries wishing to also engage in adult-use marijuana sales. As of this week, six storefronts — including four retailers in Ann Arbor — are licensed to sell cannabis to adults. Several other businesses have applications pending. Nonetheless, a statewide rollout of marijuana-related business is anticipated to be slow because many communities have passed local ordinances prohibiting adult-use establishments.

On January 1, Illinois will become the eleventh state to permit adult marijuana use.

Marijuana Consumers Have a Lot to Be Thankful For

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 19:20

At NORML, as we gather around the table today, we’re thankful not only for the dozens of legislative victories and the historic votes in Congress in 2019, we’re thankful for you, our supporters, members, and donors, who’ve made this progress possible. It’s because of your passion, commitment, and generosity that NORML has been able to sustain the fight to end marijuana prohibition for nearly fifty years… and together, we’ll keep winning.

So today, we’ll lift our glasses to you. And, however you’re enjoying today, relaxing or cooking, watching football or parades, we hope you’ll take a moment to share with those you love the incredible momentum we’re building together. Encourage those around your table to join you on the right side of history, to take action, and to support NORML in their holiday giving.

The team at NORML

P.S. You can support NORML this weekend when you hit those holiday sales! Be sure to select NORML Foundation as your Amazon Smile charity and you’ll be giving every time you shop.

Another Study Links Vitamin E Additive to Lung Illness

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 20:30

Data published today in the weekly publication of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further evidence that the presence of vitamin E acetate (oil) in illicit market, e-liquid vape products is likely associated with EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury).

Minnesota investigators identified the presence of the oil additive in 24 of the products used by 11 patients with the lung disease. Virtually all of the patients interviewed in the study acknowledged obtaining THC vape products on the underground market.

A previous analysis in 2018 of illicit vape products seized by police in Minnesota failed to identify the presence of vitamin E. “Whereas vitamin E acetate was not detected in the limited number of tested products seized in 2018, it was detected in products seized in 2019, suggesting that vitamin E acetate might have been introduced recently as a diluent or filler,” investigators reported.

They concluded, “According to these and other published data, using THC-containing products with vitamin E acetate appears to be associated with EVALI; however, it is possible that more than one compound or ingredient could be a cause of lung injury, and evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other toxicants.”

Weeks earlier, CDC representatives for the first time identified vitamin E acetate as a “very strong culprit of concern” in EVALI.

The online publication has issued several extensive reports regarding the recent rise in popularity of vitamin E among illicit market vendors of e-liquid products. Their reporting indicates that beginning in late 2018, some vendors began to use the oil as an additive in an effort to thicken the consistency of their e-liquids and to mask dilution.

Full text of the study, “Characteristics of e-cigarette, or vaping, products used by patients with associated lung injury and products seized by law enforcement – Minnesota, 2018 and 2019,” appears online in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report here.

Study Finds “Little Support” for Cannabis Impacting Cognitive Abilities

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 20:56

The occasional use of cannabis during late adolescence is not independently associated with adverse effects on cognitive abilities in young adulthood, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

A team of investigators affiliated with the University of Colorado at Boulder assessed the impact of cannabis use on cognition, executive function, and working memory in 856 individual twins. Cannabis consumers were compared to their non-using twins in late adolescence and then again in their early twenties. Most of the cannabis consuming participants in the study reported occasional use of the substance, but not daily use.

Authors found “little support for a causal effect of cannabis use on cognition. This conclusion is consistent with those from previous twin studies, which suggest that cannabis use does not cause a decline in cognitive ability among a normative cannabis using sample.”

They concluded, “Results suggest that cannabis use may not cause decline in cognitive ability among a normative sample of cannabis users.”

The findings are consistent with several prior studies which also failed to show significant changes in either cognitive performance, brain morphology, or intelligence quotient due to cannabis exposure. Specifically, a 2018 literature review published in JAMA Psychiatry concluded: “Associations between cannabis use and cognitive functioning in cross-sectional studies of adolescents and young adults are small and may be of questionable clinical importance for most individuals. Furthermore, abstinence of longer than 72 hours diminishes cognitive deficits associated with cannabis use.”

An abstract of the study, “Investigating the causal effect of cannabis use on cognitive function with a quasi-experimental co-twin design,” appears online here. Additional citations are highlighted in the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Exposure and Cognitive Performance.”