Ethan Nadelmann

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U.S.: New Poll Shows More Than Half Of American Adults Have Tried Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new Marist poll that was conducted in partnership with Yahoo shows that more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives.

The poll found that 52 percent of U.S. adults have tried marijuana at least once and 56 percent of Americans find the drug "socially acceptable."

While eight out of 10 Americans strongly support legalizing medical marijuana, the poll shows that forty-nine percent of American adults support legalization for recreational adult use while forty-seven percent oppose it.

"As marijuana has been accepted medically, it's less about the marijuana high," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance. He pointed out that people may now increasingly see elderly family members use the drug to help cope with a variety of ailments.

The poll shows that fifty-one percent of Americans think consumption of marijuana is a health risk. However, far more Americans say drinking alcohol regularly (72 percent) is a threat to health over regular marijuana use (20 percent.)

More Americans also think that regular tobacco use (76 percent) is far more risky than regular marijuana use (18 percent.)

The poll was done by surveying 1,122 adults between March 1 through March 7 of this year. The Marist Poll was sponsored and funded in partnership with Yahoo.

Italy: Parliament To Consider Marijuana Legalization Next Week

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Italy's Chamber of Deputies plans to debate a legislative proposal on Monday, July 25 to legally regulate marijuana.

“Italy has rarely if ever provided leadership in Europe on drug policy reform,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the US-based Drug Policy Alliance, “which is why this bill, if it becomes law, will be of great significance not just within Italy but regionally and even globally. With five more U.S. states preparing to vote on marijuana legalization on November 8, and Canada poised to legalize marijuana next year, Italy could well provide the catalyst that Europe needs to move forward in ending marijuana prohibition.”

The bill would legalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana for recreational use at home, and up to 5 grams outside of the home. It would also allow individuals to grow up to five plants for personal use, and would authorize marijuana clubs for up to 50 members. The bill would prohibit import and export of marijuana, public use of marijuana, and driving under the influence of pot.

U.S.: Senate Committee Allows Banks To Provide Services To Legal Marijuana Stores

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Fourth Straight Senate Victory for Marijuana Reform

Senate Bill Would Also Allow D.C. to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 16 to 14 to allow banks to provide services to marijuana businesses. Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).

Consequently, many marijuana businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.

“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the illicit market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”

U.S.: Senate To Hold Homeland Security Hearing On Alternatives To Drug War

TheWarOnDrugsIsAWarOnUs

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold an unprecedented roundtable hearing on Wednesday morning, June 15, 2016, entitled "America's Insatiable Demand for Drugs: Examining Alternative Approaches." The hearing comes at a time where the country is struggling to tackle the opioid epidemic, and policy makers are in search of innovative solutions that avoid the mistakes of the War On Drugs.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), will lay out his vision for ending the war on drugs and forging ahead with new policies based on science, health and human rights. In his written testimony, Nadelmann affirms that "A new approach is needed, one that reduces both the harm caused by drugs and the harm caused by current drug control policies."

“I’ve waited a very long time to be invited by Congress to testify on these issues,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I think it’s a positive sign that political leaders, not just in the states but even on Capitol Hill, now recognize both the failure of the drug war and the need to think outside the box in addressing our country’s drug problems.”

Mexico: President Proposes Raising Limit On Marijuana For Personal Use

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Thursday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he will ask Congress to raise the limit on decriminalized marijuana for personal use to 28 grams, or about one ounce.

Previously, only possession of five grams, or less than a fifth of an ounce, were exempted from prosecution.

"This means that consumption would no longer be criminalized," Pena Nieto said. Possession of larger amounts would be punishable under drug trafficking laws.

"We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years," Pena Nieto said. "Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking."

"Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies," he said. "A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities."

Pena Nieto's proposal would allow the use and importation of cannabis-based medications. It would also free people who are on trial or serving time for up to an ounce of marijuana.

The move places Mexico in the middle range of marijuana regulation policies in Latin America.

Global: UN Orders Security To Confiscate Open Letter Calling For End To Drug War

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Letter Signed by Over 1,000 Leaders and Celebrities, Distributed by Performers Dressed in Prohibition Era Costumes, Seized from Attendees Entering the UN

Hillary Clinton Latest to Sign Letter, Joining Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, More Than a Dozen Former Heads of State, and Hundreds of Other Legislators, Cabinet Ministers, Former UN Officials, and Celebrities

On the opening day of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) gathered more than 60 performers dressed in costumes from the era of U.S. alcohol prohibition to greet attendees at the entrance to the United Nations and hand them copies of the “Post-Prohibition Times,” a newspaper printout of a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

UN Security was apparently ordered to confiscate the letter, and attendees were ordered to hand over their copies upon entering the building. According to a number of participants in the UN Special Session, they were told that the document was not allowed in the building.

Global: More Than 1,000 Leaders Issue Worldwide Call For End To Disastrous Drug War

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“Humankind cannot afford a 21st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s,” Letter Says

On the eve of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, world leaders and activists have signed a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

The unprecedented list of signatories includes a range of people from Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders to businessmen Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, Barry Diller, actors Michael Douglas and Woody Harrelson, Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, singers John Legend and Mary J. Blige, activists Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gloria Steinem and Michelle Alexander, as well as distinguished legislators, cabinet ministers, and former UN officials.

“The drug control regime that emerged during the last century,” the letter says, “has proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights. Focused overwhelmingly on criminalization and punishment, it created a vast illicit market that has enriched criminal organizations, corrupted governments, triggered explosive violence, distorted economic markets and undermined basic moral values.

Florida: House Passes Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Unanimously

AssetForfeiture[FreedomWorks]

Unanimous Vote in House Follows Last Week’s Unanimous Support in the Senate

Coalition of Reform Advocates and Law Enforcement Urge Gov. Scott to Sign Into Law

The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed SB 1044, reforming Florida’s “Contraband Forfeiture Act,” sending the legislation to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for a signature. Last week the Senate passed the legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, in a unanimous 38–0 vote.

The bipartisan unanimity of passage in both chambers was driven by a diverse and disparate coalition of law enforcement and reform advocates, including the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which retained attorney Ron Book to lobby on their behalf for the legislation, the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Association of Police Chiefs, Americans for Forfeiture Reform, the Florida ACLU, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Institute for Justice, the James Madison Institute and the Grover Norquist-led, Americans for Tax Reform.

“This bill sends a powerful message to Floridians: the government cannot seize your property without making an arrest," said Sen. Jeff Brandes, the author and prime Senate sponsor of the legislation. "These sweeping reforms to civil forfeiture institute major consumer protections and prevent abuses against the property rights of Floridians. I hope the Governor will join both houses of the Florida legislature and support these critical reforms by signing this bill into law.”

New Hampshire: Primary Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

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Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents Oppose Arresting People for Simple Possession of Any Drug, Want Health Insurers to Provide Treatment and Support Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

With the nation’s attention shifting from Iowa to New Hampshire, a recent poll shows a substantial majority of presidential primary voters in the Granite State support decriminalizing drug possession outright.

Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68 percent of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

These findings come in the midst of escalating overdose deaths across the country and unprecedented focus by presidential candidates on alternatives to harsh, ineffective drug policies. Eighty percent of New Hampshire primary voters consider addressing prescription drug and other drug abuse and the recent surge in overdose deaths an important or urgent issue. Sixty-nine percent, including 56 percent of Republicans, say drug abuse should be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.

New Hampshire: Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

NoMoreDrugWar[DrugPolicyAlliance]

A substantial majority of New Hampshire presidential primary voters support decriminalizing drug possession, according to a new poll released by the Drug Policy Alliance. Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68 percent of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

These findings come in the midst of escalating overdose deaths across the country and unprecedented focus by presidential candidates on alternatives to harsh, ineffective drug policies. Eighty percent of New Hampshire primary voters consider addressing prescription drug and other drug abuse and the recent surge in overdose deaths an important or urgent issue. Sixty-nine percent, including 56 percent of Republicans, say drug abuse should be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.

“Now is the time for policymakers to show leadership by laying out clear plans to move our country from a failed criminal justice approach to drugs to a health-based approach,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Their goal should be reducing the role that criminalization and the criminal justice system play in dealing with drugs and drug use as much as possible.”

Vermont: Governor Calls For Marijuana Legalization In State of the State Address

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Gov. Peter Shumlin Declares Drug War a Failure and Calls for Expanded Overdose Prevention and Treatment Access

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Thursday, in his final State of the State address, called on lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing and regulating marijuana.

The Governor also declared the Drug War a failure and expressed desire to continue emphasizing a health-based approach to drug policy by expanding treatment and overdose prevention programs, as well as by removing the stigma associated with drug use and addiction.

"The outdated war on drugs has also failed," said Shumlin, "and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws."

“Pete Shumlin is providing just the sort of leadership we need to see from other governors around the country,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Indeed, it’s a bit surprising, with a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization, that he’s the only sitting governor to actively call for it. I’m hopeful this is the start of a new trend.”

Gov. Shumlin stressed that a marijuana legalization measure should contain the following:

• A legal market to keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids;
• Tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of illegal drug dealers;
• Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs;
• Strengthened law enforcement capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers

Ohio: Flawed Marijuana Legalization Bill Rejected By Voters

OhioLegalizationVote2015[WKBN]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio voters have rejected a controversial marijuana legalization initiative that would have set aside all of the state's cultivation licenses for the drafters themselves. Issue 3 would have restricted commercial marijuana production to the 10 properties owned by the principal investors in the initiative.

Issue 3 trailed 35-65 percent with 43 percent of precincts reporting and The Columbus Dispatch called the election.

The initiative was a first in many respects: the first marijuana reform campaign funded almost entirely by "investors" who would benefit financially from the initiative, the first initiative to restrict commercial production to a limited number of sites owned by the major investors in the ballot initiative, and the first to appear simultaneously on the ballot with another initiative -- Issue 2 -- that seeks to nullify the legalization initiative. If it had won, it also would have made Ohio the first state to legalize marijuana without first legalizing it only for medical purposes.

“The defeat of the Ohio measure in no way slows down the revolution taking place across the country to end the failed prohibition of marijuana," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). "Many legalization supporters were skeptical the measure under consideration was the right approach in Ohio. I look forward to seeing more states join Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana the right way.

Canada: New Prime Minister Plans To Legalize Marijuana

JustinTrudeauMarijuana[LiberalParty]

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party Supports Drug Policy Reform, including Marijuana Legalization and Cutting Edge Harm Reduction Policies

Trudeau Represents 180 Degree Turn From Prime Minister Harper’s Punitive Approach

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canada on Monday voted in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in a general election, which will have outstanding implications for drug policy reform in the country. The Liberal Party plans to legalize cannabis.

The election puts an end to Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 9-year rule, which was marked by a repressive approach to drugs, including a commitment to rolling out mandatory minimum sentences, pushback to effective supervised injection sites that reduce the harms of drug use, and strong opposition to marijuana reform. In contrast, the Liberal Party has promised to legalize and regulate marijuana and Trudeau has expressed support for harm reduction and the expansion of supervised injection sites across the country.

Global: Leaked UN Paper Calls For Decriminalizing Drug Use and Possession

RichardBransonDrugPolicy[Virgin.com]

Drug Decriminalization Rapidly Emerging as Consensus Goal of Drug Policy, Public Safety and Health Stakeholders as 2016 UN Special Session on Drugs Approaches

Momentum Accelerating in the U.S. and Abroad Toward Drug Policy Reforms: Marijuana Legalization, Drug Decriminalization, and Ending Mass Incarceration

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) appeared set to call on governments to end the criminalization of drug use and possession, according to DPA Honorary Board Member Richard Branson – but in a dramatic turn of events withdrew a briefing paper under pressure from at least one country, reports Mark Easton at the BBC.

“On the one hand it’s promising that such a powerful statement strongly affirming the need to decriminalize drug use and possession made it this far in the UN process – that in itself represents a dramatic evolution from previous decades when any talk of decriminalization was studiously suppressed,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It reflects both growing support for decriminalization in Europe and Latin America as well as the insistence of UN health, development and human rights agencies that drug control policies adhere to international conventions in those areas as well.”

California: Nadelmann To Keynote At Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo In L.A.

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Developing a responsible, safe and ethical marijuana industry will be the theme of Ethan Nadelmann's keynote speech at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo taking place September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.

Described by Rolling Stone magazine as "the real drug czar," Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and is known for his persuasiveness and passion for promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. His keynote presentation will take place at 2 pm PST on Thursday, September 17.

"California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, almost 20 years ago, and its marijuana industry is certainly the biggest, most diverse and dynamic in the country," says Ethan Nadelmann. "The state is now poised to become a true global leader in responsible cannabis regulation, provided a smart and winnable ballot initiative prevails on Election Day 2016."

Nadelmann and his colleagues have played pivotal roles in many of the major drug policy reform ballot initiative campaigns in the United States on issues ranging from medical marijuana and marijuana legalization to prison reform, drug treatment and reform of asset forfeiture laws. They also have reformed state and federal laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, access to drug treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy.

California: Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo Coming To L.A.

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Registration is now open for the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) taking place September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.

CWCBExpo in LA is sponsored by the International Cannabis Association (ICA) and will be providing information, resources and tools for producers, processors, dispensary owners, healthcare professionals, investors, and lawyers, as well as cannabis entrepreneurs.

Following a June educational and trade show forum in New York that had more than 2,000 attendees, CWCBExpo in LA will offer a comprehensive conference program with the medical, legal, financial and product development fields represented. The educational program will provide insight on what is needed to succeed in this rapidly changing and growing industry, including workshops on September 16 that cover:

• Cannabis Careers and a Job Fair
• Certification in Opening a Cannabis Business
• Investor BootCamp and CannaPitch
• Pre-Certification for Doctors and Nurse Practitioners

In addition, conference sessions on September 17-18 will include sessions for entrepreneurs, growing and sustaining a cannabis business, insight into what’s ahead and what’s next for the industry, and direct access to thought leaders and innovators.

Following his rousing address at CWCBExpo in New York, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will present at the LA event and bring his dynamic expertise and knowledge on legalization of cannabis and drug policy reform to the West Coast.

New York: Cannabis World Congress Attracts 2,500 To Big Apple

CWCBExpoNY2015

The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) attracted more than 2,500 business professionals and garnered major media attention at its recently concluded 2nd Annual event June 17-19 at the Javits Center in New York.

The event for the legalized and medical marijuana industry, sponsored by the International Cannabis Association, was three days of nonstop business building, education, networking and serious media coverage that included CBS, CNBC, Forbes, NBC, The New York Times, Getty Images, TheStreet.com, WNYC, The Sydney Morning Herald, and 200 media members in attendance.

U.S.: President Obama Nominates Chuck Rosenberg To Head Beleaguered DEA

ChuckRosenbergDEA

DEA Increasingly Scrutinized as States Legalize Marijuana and Public Opinion Turns Against Failed Drug War

A senior F.B.I. official and former U.S. Attorney, Chuck Rosenberg, has been selected by President Obama as interim director of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Rosenberg has served as the chief of staff to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, for the past 18 months.

Outgoing DEA head Michele Leonhart announced her retirement last month in the wake of numerous scandals. She came under intense criticism for opposing the Obama Administration’s efforts to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and for opposing the administration’s hands-off approach in the four states that have approved legal regulation of marijuana.

The DEA has existed for more than 40 years but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities, the surveillance state, and other Drug War problems. Congress has rarely scrutinized the agency, its actions or its budget, instead showing remarkable deference to the DEA’s administrators.

U.S.: Drug Policy Alliance Mocks Scandal-Ridden DEA With "Help Wanted" Ad

DrugPolicyAllianceDEAHelpWantedAd

Ad is Part of Campaign to Influence Obama’s Next DEA Pick, End Agency’s Opposition to Marijuana Law Reform, and Ultimately Reform or Abolish the Agency

As States Legalize Marijuana and Tide Turns Against the Failed Drug War, DEA Increasingly Scrutinized

The Drug Policy Alliance has placed a mock “Help Wanted” ad in Roll Call seeking a new head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to “prolong the failed war on drugs.” Primary areas of job responsibility include “Mass Incarceration,” “Police State Tactics,” “Obstruction of Science,” “Subverting Democracy” and “Undermining Human Rights.”

The ad comes in the wake of numerous DEA scandals and DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart’s recent announcement she will resign sometime in May.

“Drug prohibition, like alcohol Prohibition, breeds crime, corruption, and violence – and creates a situation where law enforcement officers must risk their lives in a fight that can’t be won,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It’s time to reform not just the DEA but broader U.S. and global drug policy.

"The optimal drug policy would reduce the role of criminalization and the criminal justice system in drug control to the greatest extent possible, while protecting public safety and health,” Nadelmann said.

Colombia: President Calls For Suspension of Aerial Spraying of Illicit Crops

HerbicideAerialSpraying[SouthFloridaTimes]

Call Comes After World Health Organization Research Arm Exposes Health Risks of Herbicide Used in Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday called for the suspension of Colombia’s aerial spraying program to eradicate illicit crop cultivation. This came after the recent release of a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization, which found that the main chemical used in the aerial spraying program, glyphosate, is likely carcinogenic to humans.

“Few presidents have been as bold as President Santos in calling for global alternatives to the failed drug war,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “His suspension of the spraying program suggests that he recognizes the need to promote reforms not just on the global stage but at home as well.”

After the report was released, Colombian Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria made a strong recommendation to cease aerial spraying, stating that the report’s findings on glyphosate represent an “inescapable warning of possible adverse health effects.” However, Colombia's Defense Minister responded by saying that the country would continue to use glyphosate until President Santos orders otherwise, exposing a rift between the response and perspective of the two agencies – Health and Defense – on drug control.

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