NORML

Arizona: Appelate Court Strikes Medical Marijuana Campus Ban

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 law amending the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) to prohibit the use of medical marijuana on college campuses is unconstitutional. NORML Legal Committee member Tom Dean represented the patient-defendant in the case pro bono.

"By enacting A.R.S. § 15-108(A), the Legislature modified the AMMA to re-criminalize cardholders' marijuana possession on college and university campuses," the Court opined. "The statute does not further the purposes of the AMMA; to the contrary, it eliminates some of its protections."

The Court argued that campuses and universities possess the authority to enact their own individual policies restricting medical marijuana use, but that lawmakers cannot do so.

The decision overturned a medical-marijuana cardholder's 2015 felony conviction for the possession of a small quantity of marijuana while attending Arizona State University.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office has not yet publicly stated whether they intend to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Illinois: Lawmakers Push To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Illinois lawmakers say that legal recreational marijuana will be part of the state's future; it's a question of when, not if. That is the message sent this morning from lawmakers backing legislation to fully legalize and regulate cannabis, and the coalition of groups lining up to support the bills.

State Representative Kelly Cassidy and state Senator Heather Steans, both Democrats from Chicago, were joined by members of the Coalition for a Safer Illinois this morning at the Thompson Center in the Loop. They gave reporters details on the General Assembly’s first hearing on Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353.

They say prohibition of marijuana has not worked and it's time to get gangs and drug cartels out of the market which creates violent crime.

Cassidy cited surveys that show that 66 percent of the Illinois population support cannabis legalization.

The lawmakers believe that adults should be allowed to possess, grow and purchase up to 28 grams of marijuana, and that legalization would create millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The lawmakers were joined by representatives of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, the Marijuana Policy Project and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The ACLU, NORML and other legal, medical and community groups also make up part of the coalition

Oregon: State May Declare Emergency Over Sessions Cannabis Comments

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon is considering declaring an emergency due to the threat of federal law enforcement of marijuana laws in states that have made the substance legal.

Senate Bill 863 passed last week; it would prohibit marijuana retailers from recording, retaining and transferring types of information that are contained on passport, driver license, military identification card or other ID that bears a picture of a person.

Dispensaries typically collect this type of information across the nation, but SB 863 requires marijuana retailers to destroy the type of information covered within 30 days of Governor Kate Brown signing off on the bill.

Section 4 of the bill states that on passage of the bill Oregon would declare an emergency in the face of threats of federal enforcement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, said the intentions of the current administration are unclear, bit it's good to be prepared.

Virginia: General Assembly Passes Two Marijuana-related Bills

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In this year's session of Virginia's General Assembly, 17 marijuana-related bills were proposed. The House and Senate voted to pass two of those proposed bills.

One of the bills focuses on driver's license reform. Under Virginia law, a driver's license is suspended for six months for any drug possession charge, regardless of whether a motor vehicle was involved or not.

This new reform will allow a judge to determine the outcome for first offenders, with alternatives including community service.

"What this really helps do is open up the conversation and help lawmakers realize that this truly is a bipartisan effort and the demand for this type of reform is abundant, not only within their communities but within the legislature itself," Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director of Virginia Norml, said.

The other bill passed allows pharmacies to manufacture and produce cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil to treat epilepsy.

A bill that would have allowed marijuana to be grown in the state for medicinal uses was proposed, but was not passed.

Missouri: Kansas City Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Draws Enough Signatures

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Kansas City Star reports that enough signatures were gathered in a petition initiative to allow voters to decide on decriminalizing marijuana possession during the city’s next election cycle in April.

The proposal intends to change current the law to treat 35 grams or less of marijuana as a city ordinance violation with a fine of $25. NORML KC spokeswoman Jamie Kacz said that this would be similar to decriminalization laws passed in St. Louis and Columbia.

The initiative, which was supported by the Kansas City chapter of NORML, gathered over 2,000 signatures of registered voters. The City Council must review and approve the measure before it goes up for a vote. All reviews must be made before January 19, leaving the City Council with less than their allowed 60 days for approval. This means it’s possible they won’t get through their review before the deadline.

Kacz said last week her group wants to work together with the Kansas City Law Department to craft a measure that can pass legal muster and be placed on a city ballot.

U.S.: State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Political leaders in several states are acting to challenge election results regarding regulation of marijuana.

"Voters spoke clearly on election day. They believe that cannabis should be legal and that its sale ought to be regulated accordingly," said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. "Politicians should respect these outcomes, not undermine them."

Massachusetts voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Lawmakers are trying to move the date on which adults can begin growing marijuana from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified later time. They also want to delay retail sales of pot until late 2018.

Although Maine voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law's implementation. Gov. LePage said that he "will be talking to Donald Trump" about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and said that he "will not put this (law) into play" unless the federal government signs off on it.

U.S.: Record Number Of States Voting On Marijuana Reform Next Month

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A record number of states will be giving voters the chance next month to approve marijuana legalization and regulation.

Five states will have ballot measures to allow recreational adult cannabis use, and at least two others are considering approval for medical marijuana in various forms.

“One in five states will be able to go to the polls and vote for some level of legalization,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the nation’s oldest organization advocating for cannabis reform. “It’s important to emphasize that there are an unprecedented number of state initiatives. It’s a significant evolution and maturation of our issue and the way advocates campaign for marijuana reform.”

Armentano says that it is also another indication of the current disconnect between the views of constituents and their elected officials. “It’s not the way the democratic process is supposed to work. When there’s a change in opinion, they [ legislators] should be reflecting on and making that change,” he says. “But they aren’t, and people are taking it into their own hands.”

The five states with votes to approve adult recreational marijuana use are Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

Oregon: Teen Facing Federal Drug Charges Over One Gram Of Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A teenager in Oregon is facing federal drug charges and up to a year in prison for possession of one gram of marijuana, his lawyer said. Federal authorities have not prosecuted a marijuana case in Oregon since 2011.

Devontre Thomas, 19, is a recent graduate of Chemawa Indian School in Salem with plans to attend college this fall. But first he'll have to appear at the federal courthouse in Portland to fight the charge, the result of an incident in March 2015.

Recreational marijuana use by adults was legalized in 2014 in Oregon, but the substance remains illegal under federal law, where it is classified as a Schedule I drug. Heroin and LSD are considered Schedule I, drugs with no medical value but with an extreme potential for abuse. The Justice Department has officially backed off from interfering with state-level marijuana laws, since the issuance of a memo 1n 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole. But the memo states that U.S. attorneys should continue to prosecute cases involving "the distribution of marijuana to minors."

Many are saying that it's a case of the federal government going too far, considering the small amount of pot Thomas was found with, enough for a couple of joints.

Pennsylvania: Marijuana Activists March To Democratic Convention With 51-Foot Joints

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two 51-foot inflatable joints were marched up Broad Street in Philadelphia yesterday to celebrate the Democratic National Committee's progressive platform on marijuana.

About two dozen members of the Philadelphia branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) carried the blow-up joints about 3.5 miles from Philadelphia City Hall to the Wells Fargo enter, where the convention is taking place.

Marijuana is a central issue at the convention this year, and pro-legalization groups are pleased with the progress being made. Activists have been joined by some members of Congress, fighting for marijuana reform, hoping that federal laws will soon mirror those of states that have legalized marijuana.

One joint read "Legalize" and "Hillary, Deschedule Cannabis Now".

The other read "End the Racist Drug War" and Berned by the DNC", referring to the leaked e-mails that showed high-ranking party members had favored Hillary Clinton. Sanders became an advocate for marijuana reform during his campaign, and had a lot to do with why the issue made it part of the DNC platform at all. He refrained from endorsing Clinton until certain issues from his campaign, including marijuana reform and free college tuition, were added to the party's platform draft.

New York: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo Boasts Strong Attendance

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Trade Show for All Things Cannabis Featured a Presidential Candidate, Pro Athletes, Advocates and Non-Stop Education, Deal-Making & Networking

For three days, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) at the Javits Center in New York, was a hotbed of business activity when nearly 4,000 attendees (almost double attendance from last year) came to learn, network and build relationships in the country’s fastest growing industry.

CWCBExpo NY, took place June 15-17 at the Javits Center in New York and garnered major media and audience attention, and included a special appearance by Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate.

This year’s CWCBExpo NY increased its attendance with attendees coming from the tri-state area as well as Canada, New England, and the Rust Belt states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“The explosive growth of our audience is testament to the fact that the East Coast is fast becoming a major area of interest and business for the cannabis industry,” said Christine Ianuzzi, show director, CWCBExpo NY. “People came to CWCBExpo NY to learn, network, and discover new business opportunities in the emerging legalized cannabis industry.”

California Democratic Party Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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November ballot measure becomes the first marijuana legalization initiative in state history to receive the official endorsement of a major political party

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which will appear on the November 2016 statewide ballot in California, on Monday announced that it has received the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party (CDP).

The largest statewide Democratic Party organization in the nation, the CDP joins the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation, and the San Francisco Democratic Party in endorsing AUMA.

While the CDP has long had as part of its official platform putting an end to the failed and costly policy of marijuana prohibition in California, this is the first time in state history that a major political party has officially endorsed a specific cannabis legalization ballot measure.

“This landmark action by the California Democratic Party underscores the responsible and consensus approach of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and strengthens what is already the largest, most enthusiastic and most diverse coalition ever assembled in support of a marijuana legalization effort,” said Brian Brokaw, AUMA campaign manager.

California: Congressman Comes Out Of The Cannabis Closet

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Republican representative from California just became the first sitting member of Congress in recent history to admit that he used marijuana while in office.

“I went to one of these hempfests or something like that they had in San Bernardino,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who then recounted meeting a vendor who gave him a medical cannabis preparation to treat arthritis.

“This guy was showing me the medical things and all that, and he says, ‘you should try this.’ And it’s a candle and you light the candle and the wax is in there and it melts down and then you rub it on whatever you’ve got problems with,” the lawmaker said.

“I tried it about two weeks ago, and it’s the first time in a year and a half that I had a decent night’s sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone.”

Rohrabacher is one of the chief sponsor of a measure that prevents the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with state marijuana laws. The amendment is voted on by Congress annually and has been enacted into law for the past two fiscal years.

Rohrabacher made the admission, first reported by Russ Belville at Cannabis Radio, at an event being held by the National Organization for the reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

U.S.: Federal Data Shows Marijuana Trafficking Falls Following State Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prosecutions dropped significantly after the passage of statewide laws legalizing and regulating the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

According to the new report, the number of cannabis trafficking offenders prosecuted federally fell dramatically after 2012, declining from more than 6,000 a year to fewer than 4,000 in 2015, reports Tom Angell at Marijuana.com.

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report.

The period of decline matches the passage and enactment of marijuana legalization measures in states including Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Those convicted of marijuana trafficking serve an average of 29 months in prison, according to federal data.

A copy of the USSC report is available here for downloading:
https://lists.norml.org/list/mail.cgi/r/chapters/697347662961/dale/canor...

California: LA County Democrats Endorse AUMA Marijuana Legalization

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Largest Democratic County Committee in California says ballot measure will “protect children” and “provide critical funding for public health”

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Wednesday announced the official endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), the largest Democratic county committee in California and the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation.

The LACDP represents more than 2.4 million registered Democrats and a population larger than 42 other states in the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“Los Angeles County Democrats support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act because it will end the failed policies of prohibition which have disproportionately harmed communities of color, it will protect California’s children and it will provide critical funding for public health and public safety programs,” said Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair and California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric C. Bauman.

Supporters of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act say the measure includes strong safeguards for children, businesses and local governments, strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

New York: NORML Founder Keith Stroup To Keynote At Cannabis World Congress

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Industry Pioneer & Anti-Prohibition Activist Joins Strong Speaker & Educational Lineup at Cannabis Business Trade Show & Conference

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

“Why We’re Finally Winning After All These Years” will be the keynote address given by Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo), June 15-17, at the Javits Center in New York. Stroup joins Leonard Marshall, Super Bowl Champion and concussion prevention advocate, as a headlining Keynote Speaker.

Stroup’s address will take place on Thursday, June 16, at 1:50 p.m. CWCBExpo is a business event for the for the legalized cannabis marketplace.

Stroup is a Washington, DC-based public-interest attorney who founded NORML in 1970, served as its executive director for 20 years and currently serves as NORML’s legal counsel and a member of the board of directors. Fortune magazine recently named Stroup one of the most powerful people in America’s marijuana industry.

“With more and more states legalizing the responsible use of marijuana, including two East Coast states expected to adopt full legalization this November, I am excited to speak to the CWCBExpo NY audience about the history of our anti-prohibition efforts and the current groundswell of support for ending prohibition and removing the stigma of marijuana as a Schedule I drug,” Stroup said.

California: Measure To Legalize Recreational Marijuana On Fall Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A measure to legalize recreational marijuana use in California appears destined to be on the ballot this fall.

A coalition of marijuana advocates announced Tuesday that it has collected over 600,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify the initiative.

Supporters of the measure, including Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, plan to kick off a campaign for voter approval of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act today, Wednesday, in San Francisco.

The measure would allow adults ages 21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants.

"This November, California voters will finally have the opportunity to pass smart marijuana policy that is built on the best practices of other states, includes the strictest child protections in the nation and pays for itself while raising billions for the state,” Newsom said in a statement.

The coalition includes some law enforcement and civil rights leaders. It needed to collect 365,880 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative, which would also impose a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.

Colorado: Advocates Collecting Signatures For Ballot Initiative To Allow Pot Clubs In Denver

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana advocates in Denver have begun collecting signatures to place an initiative on November's ballot to allow cannabis consumption at private social clubs and private events with a permit.

The Denver chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws filed the proposed ballot measure with the Denver Elections Division last week.

To place it on the ballot, the Responsible Use Denver committee organized by NORML must submit at least 4,726 verified voter signatures by mid-August.

"Denver voters want this, and we are going to make it happen," Jordan Person, the NORML chapter's executive director, said in a news release. "Denver residents and visitors deserve the right to enjoy legal marijuana with like-minded adults in social settings."

Denver NORML's initiative would restrict entry to licensed clubs and permitted events to people 21 or older. Cannabis clubs could not double as bars or restaurants, and existing bars and restaurants could not play host to permitted events allowing marijuana use.

City officials have not been receptive to the idea of sanctioning social consumption of marijuana, but have been in talks with activists and business groups since last summer. Those talks have not resulted in a public proposal.

Hawaii: Actor Woody Harrelson's Application To Open Pot Business Denied

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oscar-nominated actor Woody Harrelson's application to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii was denied on Friday when the state approved eight of more than 60 applicants.

Harrelson had applied for a license on behalf of his company Simple Organic Living LLC.

Harrelson is probably best known for his role as bartender Woody Boyd in the TV sitcom Cheers, but he is also known for some of his notable film characters in movies such as White Men Can't Jump and Kingpin.

The actor has been a vocal marijuana advocate for more than a decade, and is on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

On Friday the Hawaii Department of Health released a list of approved applicants with three in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, two on the Big Island, two on Maui and one on Kauai.

Harrelson's business was not on the approved list. A statement from the department did not specifically say why the actor's application was denied.

U.S.: Politicians Graded On Marijuana Legalization

NORML released a scorecard on 4/20 grading US politicians on their stance on marijuana legalizatiion.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Wednesday, the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released a scorecard ranking members of Congress based on their comments and voting records on marijuana issues.

Released on 4/20, the annual pot smokers informal holiday, the report gives members of Congress a letter grade from A to F depending on their stances on marijuana reform in 2015.

Sen. Bernie Sanders received an A, for example, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was awarded a B.

“With 61 percent of American adults now advocating that ‘the use of marijuana should be made legal,’ and 67 percent of voters believing states, not the federal government, ought to be the ultimate arbiters of marijuana regulatory policy, it’s no longer acceptable for the federal government to continue to be an impediment to progress,” NORML said in its newsletter.

“While states continue moving forward and pioneering reforms, the federal government still largely remains an obstruction to progress. The ongoing conflict between state and federal cannabis policy remains an unnecessary impediment to those jurisdictions wishing to fully explore the wide range of regulatory options before them. Ultimately, this is a conflict that can only be resolved by Congress, who possesses the authority to amend federal law,” said the report’s executive summary.

Missouri: Brother, Sister Get 15 Years Each For Growing 20 Marijuana Plants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A brother and sister who were caught with 12 marijuana plants and eight seedlings inside their home have been sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison.

Natlie DePriest and David DePriest each received 15 years, the harshest possible sentence which can be given for cannabis cultivation in Missouri, reports Daniel Miller at the Daily Mail. The maximum punishment for manslaughter in Missouri is also 15 years.

A maintenance man entered the DePriests' home in the city of Farmington, Missouri, in 2001, in order to "fit a fire extinguisher" while they were out, and photographed what he thought was a "pipe bomb" on the counter.

He informed the police, showing them the pictures, and they conducted a search, considering the photos probable cause. They found the marijuana plants inside a bedroom closet, along with three pounds of dried cannabis, a rifle which was a quarter-inch shorter then the legal limit, two legal pistols and two bulletproof vests.

They also found ledgers they claimed contain sales record totaling up to $8,000 a month. The "pipe bomb," basis of the entire search, turned out to be no such thing, and harmless.

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