Senate Caucus to Hold Hearing This Wednesday on Marijuana and Public Health

Generic 23 October 2019 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday, October 23rd, members of the Senate Senate International Narcotics Control Caucus (aka the Drug Caucus) will hold a hearing entitled “Marijuana and America’s Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers.”

The caucus is co-chaired by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), both of whom historically have espoused prohibitionist beliefs regarding cannabis. Witnesses at the hearing include US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who has recently issued various sensational statements about marijuana, Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as well as a number of academics and clinicians.

Speaking today, Caucus Chair Cornyn opined, “We’re hearing a lot of the same happy talk with regard to marijuana and none of the facts that we need to understand about the public health impact of marijuana use.”

The positions of Senators Coryn and Feinstein are likely to receive pushback from Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), the newest member to join the Drug Caucus and a supporter of ending federal prohibition. As a representative of a legal state, Senator Rosen has routinely spoken out about the need to reduce the federal barriers that hamper the state-licensed cannabis industry.

“While many of the members of the Drug Caucus are traditional prohibitionists, expanding the dialogue in the Senate is crucial to our ability to move legislation through the chamber,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is our hope that lawmakers serve as representatives of their constituents, a majority of whom oppose federal criminalization and support a regulated consumer marketplace.”

A live stream broadcasting the hearing is available on the Drug Caucus’s youtube channel or below:

 

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Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana for Personal Use

Generic 23 October 2019 | 0 Comments

Marijuana PollAn estimated two out of three Americans believe that cannabis should be legal for recreational purposes, according to nationwide polling data compiled by PPRI (the Public Religion Research Institute) — a non-partisan research and public policy institute.

Support for legalization was strongest among self-identified Democrats (79 percent) and Independents (71 percent). By contrast, fewer than one in two Republicans (46 percent) expressed support for legalizing cannabis.

Since 2016, when PRRI last surveyed the legalization question, support among both Democrats and Independents has risen while favorability among Republicans has remained unchanged.

The nationwide poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The survey’s findings are consistent with those of prior national polls — such as those recently conducted by Gallup, Marist, and Pew — all of which report that more than six in ten Americans endorse legalization..

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Court Dismisses Case Demanding DEA to Move Expeditiously to License Cannabis Cultivators

Generic 22 October 2019 | 0 Comments

A federal court on Friday denied a petition for a writ of mandamus that sought to order the US Drug Enforcement Administration to begin licensing private entities that wish to cultivate cannabis.

Justices for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied the petition following a filing by DEA in the Federal Register stating that the agency “intends to promulgate regulations” to review several dozen federal cultivation applications. However, most of those applications have been before DEA for several years, and the agency still has yet to provide any explicit timeline regarding when, if ever it intends to act on them.

The agency in 2016 first announced its intent to license private entities to grow cannabis for FDA-approved clinical trials. That marked a reversal in agency policy, as in 2011 it rejecting a ruling from its own Administrative Law Judge finding that it would be ‘in the public interest’ to grant the University of Massachusetts a license to grow marijuana for federally regulated research. Since 1968, the agency has only licensed the University of Mississippi to engage in the growing of cannabis for FDA-approved clinical research.

In June of this year, one applicant – the Scottsdale Research Institute – filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals to order the DEA to comply with its 2016 policy. The Court dismissed the case on Friday, opining, “In light of respondent’s October 11, 2019 publication in the Federal Register of a corrected notice of petitioner’s application to manufacture controlled substances in bulk, petitioner’s request for a writ of mandamus directing respondent to issue a notice of application is now moot.” The Court further opined that petitioners had failed to establish that the DEA possessed a history of engaging in “chronic delays” with regard to taking steps to expand scientists’ access to medical cannabis.

The Court’s order permits petitioners to return to the Court of Appeals “in the event” that DEA engages in “significant delays” in the future.

An interview with one of the researchers involved in this case, Dr. Sue Sisley, is available here.

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New Mexico: Governor’s Task Force Issues Adult-Use Marijuana Recommendations

Generic 17 October 2019 | 0 Comments

A 23-member task force has issued explicit policy recommendations to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham regarding the legalization and regulation of cannabis.

The report proposes a regulatory framework governing the retail production, sale, and taxation of cannabis. Recommendations by the task-force include: Prohibiting local municipalities from completely restricting cannabis sales; Limiting overall taxes on retail cannabis sales to no more than 20 percent; Automatically expunging criminal records; Allocating tax revenues to various programs and state agencies, including the state’s medical cannabis program; and Allowing those with past convictions to participate in the licensed cannabis industry.

The report’s authors estimate that adult-use legalization will create an estimated 11,000 new jobs and yield some $620 million dollars in sales within five years.

States the report’s Chairman: “Together, we believe the framework we are submitting is right for New Mexico. It is clear that we have both the necessary apprehension that goes with the venture, as well as the talent to make this happen the right way.”

In a comment to MarijuanaMoment.net, Nora Meyers Sackett, Press Secretary for the Governor, added, “The Governor will be reviewing the recommendations, and the next steps will be to incorporate the recommendations of this working group into balanced legislation and working to win the support of legislators and stakeholders ahead of the session.”

State House lawmakers passed adult-use legalization legislation this past spring, but the bill stalled in the Senate. Lawmakers ultimately enacted separate legislation decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses.

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NORML Canada Launches Post-Legalization Platform on One Year Anniversary of Marijuana Legalization

Generic 15 October 2019 | 0 Comments

Legal Marijuana Sales Being in Canada

NORML Canada launches official Post-Legalization platform to focus advocacy efforts on reforming Canada’s legal Cannabis system.

In light of the first year of legalization, NORML Canada has monitored the Canadian cannabis landscape closely, to determine the next steps for crafting achievable and functional reform of cannabis regulations.

The five key “pillars” established by NORML Canada are designed to help focus organizational resources to support our ongoing government and public outreach.

1) Increased Access 
Our goal is to ensure consumers have ease of access to legal cannabis products, access to medical dispensaries, access to world-class product options, as well as access to affordable legal options.

2) Transitioning “Unregulated Market” into the legal framework
Creating avenues for the current unlicensed market to be welcomed as part of the legal cannabis industry in order to achieve the government’s stated goal of disincentivizing the illicit market.

3) Social discrimination protections
Putting in place protective regulations that remove stigma barriers and consequences for consumers in the workplace, housing, and family.

4) US relations – border & banking
Ensuring international respect for Canada’s sovereign laws. Removal of any unnecessary international banking/travel barriers for legal business and cannabis entrepreneurs.

5) Expungement, apologies, reparations & beyond
Government must acknowledge the fact that cannabis laws were historically unjust and discriminatory in the first place.

NORML Canada invites the public and press to join us at the historic Hotbox Lounge on Oct 17th, from 4-7pm to launch the new official platform, and to discuss the year-to-date. 

NORML Canada proudly welcomes our sister chapter to the South – NORML Michigan, to share insights on Michigan’s newly passed legal recreational cannabis bill. Our combined goals are to understand how we can learn from and collaborate with one another.

For additional information please contact Info@norml.ca

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