Author: Ian

2017 NORML Conference and Lobby Day In Brief

by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director September 18, 2017 First off – a huge thank you to all of those activists and chapter leads from around the country who came to DC to participate in our National Conference and Lobby Day. By the numbers: –     140+ attendees–     21 speakers–     5 members of Congress–     150+ congressional meetings–     1 goal: End marijuana prohibition. More to come as we follow up with our attendees and continue to build on the momentum generated (and have our photographer send us the rest of the pictures!). Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno, and aide to Virginia State Senator Dave Marsden receive awards from the DMV NORML Coalition Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) addresses NORML citizens before they depart to their congressional meetings Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) met with NORML chapter leaders from around the country to discuss his legislation known as The Marijuana Justice Act Some of the feedback from the lobby day we received: Mikel Weisser, Executive Director of Arizona NORML in a meeting with Senator Flake’s staffer, reported “She [Katie] is familiar with Endocannabinoid Receptor System. It is one of her policy issue areas. She said she did not know if the Senator was aware of the E.R.S., so I wrote a short note on [the] materials and she said she...

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Canada’s NDP Want to End the Lifetime Travel Ban at US Border

One of the unfortunate byproducts of marijuana legalization in Canada is the extra scrutiny that has been happening at the United States border. US Customs and Border Protection have made it a practice to ask Canadians and other foreigners if they have smoked marijuana at any point in their lifetime. In some cases, if the answer is yes, then border guards have issued lifetime US travel bans to those individuals. This ongoing problem has Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) up in arms. “Frankly, I’m baffled that the Liberals have not had the foresight to anticipate this problem and begin...

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Rev. Al Sharpton Speaks at Cannabis World Congress Conference

Rev. Al Sharpton understands that fighting for marijuana legalization isn’t about “getting high” – it’s about economic freedom, diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity, and exercising your right to vote. On Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton provided an informative keynote address at the 4th Annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) held in Los Angeles. While the Rev. personally rejects the use of such earthly pleasures as cannabis, his message embraced the importance of marijuana decriminalization, addressing the existing civil rights issues within the fast-growing industry and motivating those passionate about legalization to participate in the 2018-midterm elections. Decriminalization: Sharpton...

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New Poll Shows Support for Recreational Marijuana in New Jersey

A new Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,121 registered New Jersey voters for their opinion on a wide range of topics that included everything from Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating (very low) to support for background checks on all gun purchases (very high). The poll also asked respondents a number of marijuana-related questions. On the topic of recreational marijuana, 59 percent of Garden State voters support legalizing the possession of cannabis for personal use. With the exception of Republicans at 53 percent and voters over the age of 65 at 50 percent, every other party, gender, education, age or racial...

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9 Million Grams of Pot Ordered for 1 Canadian Province

A multi-million dollar announcement came out of New Brunswick today with two licensed producers (LPs) supplying cannabis to the entire province once adult-use marijuana is legal. Organigram is based in Moncton, New Brunswick’s largest city, and they will be allocating approximately 25 percent of their production to support the adult-use market. The LP has committed to supplying the Atlantic province with 5 million grams of pot per year, at an estimated retail value of $40-$60 million annually. If that news isn’t big enough, New Brunswick has made a similar deal with the world’s largest marijuana producer, Canopy Growth Corporation....

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Utah: Sen. Hatch (R) Introduces Marijuana Research Bill

On Wednesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced new legislation that seeks to improve and streamline the process for conducting scientific research on marijuana. From the Senate floor, Hatch rolled out his new Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017, declaring that “It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana.” Loaded with double entendres, Hatch noted: “Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than...

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Arizona: State’s Highest Court Rejects Efforts to Thwart MMJ

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery received some bad news on Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court has sided with the voters and medical marijuana. According to Phoenix New Times, the Arizona Supreme Court denied Montgomery’s petition “to review a December state Court of Appeals ruling in White Mountain Health v. Maricopa County/Montgomery.” By declining Montgomery’s petition, the high court has acknowledged the lower Court of Appeals ruling, which found federal law does not circumvent Arizona’s 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana act. According to Tucson.com, “The lower court said the fact that marijuana remains a felony under federal law does not preempt...

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Uruguay Will Set Up Cash-Only Cannabis Dispensaries

On Wednesday, the Uruguayan government announced it will be opening dedicated adult-use marijuana dispensaries that will only be taking cash for purchases. In July, 16 pharmacies started selling legal cannabis in the South American nation. The initiative led to a banking nightmare when financial institutions in Uruguay threatened to cancel the accounts of businesses participating in the sale of cannabis. The banking scare came after letters from American financial firms arrived. These documents stated that US banks would stop doing business with Uruguay because Uruguayan institutions were helping in the sale of a controlled substance. Since that time, three...

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Ottawa Lawyer Says Bill C-45 is Constitutionally Flawed

An Ottawa defense attorney who testified at the Standing Committee on Health hearings this week has pointed out to MP’s some significant flaws in the legislation designed to legalize marijuana in Canada. Michael Spratt from Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP called out the government by saying their unwillingness to fully decriminalize pot will continue to exacerbate court costs and disproportionately harm youth and minorities. He took the time to speak with Marijuana.com about his position. (Marijuana.com) When you spoke in front of the Committee, what did you iterate to them? There were four messages that I wanted to get...

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State of Washington to Hold Public Hearing on Fate of Home Grows

Many green-thumbed adults in the state of Washington have been dreaming of recreational cannabis gardens since voting to pass Initiative 502 in 2012, and those dreams may be drawing closer to reality. A public hearing in Olympia on Oct. 4 could plant the seed for home cultivation in the state, as the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will collect input from Washington residents. A recently passed bill gave the order for the WSLCB to “conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users.” The bill requires the...

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Jack Herer Marijuana Strain Review

Strain Overview The Scoop: Jack Herer is a lofty and inspired hybrid that was first cultivated by one of the resourceful breeders at Sensi Seeds. Perpetuating the notoriety of its deceased hemp-activist namesake, Jack is thought to be a cross between Shiva Skunk, Northern Lights #5, and an enigmatic Haze hybrid. Debatably considered one of the most victorious varieties competing in modern cannabis festivals, Jack Herer has taken home multiple HTCC trophies over its celebrated 23-year lifespan. The Result: A cerebral pacifier, Jack’s highly-valued CBD content soothes the high-strung mind and harmonizes our hyperactive essence. While Jack, a.k.a. The...

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Michigan Dispensaries Face Tough Decision Over New Regulations: Close or No License

Michigan marijuana businesses hoping to stay operational in the “gray area” before the state begins issuing licenses received some bad news on Tuesday. Michigan lawmakers unveiled the new regulatory framework they hope will be the most effective method of oversight and tax revenue generation but warned current cannabis shops that staying open before the application process begins on Dec. 15 could put their chances of obtaining one of the highly-coveted licenses at risk. The state isn’t requiring the shops to close, but Andrew Brisbo, Director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Bureau, warned shops that stay open through Dec. 15...

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Virginia Republican Pushes for Decriminalization and Individual Rights

Tom Garrett, a freshman Republican Representative from Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, believes marijuana use should be a matter of personal choice. On Tuesday, Garrett expressed that welcome opinion on the president’s favorite social media platform. Individuals should be able to make decisions for themselves on #Marijuana. Watch vid below. Thanks @CatoInstitute ! https://t.co/TI7GBNodbl — Tom Garrett (@RepTomGarrett) September 12, 2017 Garrett’s word is his bond “Justice that isn’t blind isn’t justice,” explained Rep. Garrett. The Virginia Republican then stated that when he heads over to NORML, “I’ll blow their minds when I tell them I’m not pro-marijuana, I’m pro-justice; I’m...

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Police in Canada Aren’t Prepared for July Legalization

Tuesday, Sep. 12 marked the second day of hearings for the House of Commons Health Committee on Bill C-45, the legislation which will eventually legalize adult-use cannabis in Canada. During the proceedings, testimony from Canada’s police voiced significant concerns from the law enforcement community. Senior police officials testified that the cops will not be ready for the July 2018 legalization deadline and have requested more time. “If legislation is ready to go July 2018, policing will not be ready to go August 1st. It’s impossible,” said Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Rick Barnum. “This is a great...

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Blumenauer and Rohrabacher: “We Need Permanent Protections!”

U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, issued a press release on Tuesday clarifying the importance of extending the existing safeguards that currently protect medical marijuana states and their patients into FY 2018. Last Wednesday, Congress voted to protect medical marijuana through Dec. 8, 2017 – effectively blocking the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and businesses that lawfully operate in states where the medicinal herb is legal. Though Rep. Blumenauer and Rohrabacher welcomed the passage of the debt limit deal, which included their provision, they were disappointed the bill...

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Life Inside a Zambian Prison for David Wightman

David Wightman is a cannabis activist who was born in Zambia and raised in Canada. In May of this year, Marijuana.com published a feature on David highlighting his attempt to bring cannabis reform to Zambia through his journalism and various other efforts. By July, Zambian authorities raided David’s home and arrested his brother when David was not found on the premises. David later turned himself in and secured his brother’s release from jail. Legendary cannabis activist Marc Emery then learned of the case through our coverage and has helped David financially with his defense. David has now been in custody for...

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