Chuck Schumer To Introduce Comprehensive Marijuana Reform Legislation

Generic 19 April 2018 | 0 Comments

In a video tweet posted on Vice News, Leader Schumer says:

“I’ll be introducing legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, from one end of the country to the other.”

With this announcement, Senator Schumer has effectively made it clear that a legislative priority for the Democratic Party is to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. As Democratic Leader, it is his role to ensure that the caucus as a whole falls in line with this public policy position — a position that is held by more than 60 percent of Americans.

BREAKING: Senator Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) changes position and says he will submit a bill aimed at decriminalizing marijuana. See the exclusive interview on VICE News Tonight at 7:30PM on @HBO pic.twitter.com/2FvF7IvMQS

— VICE News (@vicenews) April 19, 2018

This legislative relief must come sooner rather than later. Over 600,000 Americans, a disproportionate percentage of which are black, brown, young, and poor, are arrested for violating marijuana laws annually. These people bear the greatest burden and lifelong consequences of this ongoing failed federal policy, and it is time for Congressional leaders to take a stand to right these past wrongs.

Vice reports: “The legislation, which his office expects will be released within the next week, has six main points. First, it would remove marijuana from Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances, which would end federal prohibition and leave it up to states to decide how to regulate the drug. Schumer stopped short of calling it legalization, but de-scheduling would essentially make marijuana legal at the federal level.”

With Chuck Schumer now joining Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Ron Wyden in sponsoring comprehensive marijuana law reform legislation, it is time for the Democratic party to speak with one voice. The Party must be clear and consistent in their intent to legalize marijuana, as well as expunge the criminal convictions that hold millions of Americans back from basic needs like employment, housing, and pathways to higher education.

As states start dialing back their war on marijuana consumers, it is important that those who were impacted by this oppressive prohibition are able to see previous harms remedied, and be provided the opportunity to participate in the benefits that come along with legalization and regulation. We fully applaud Senator Schumer acknowledging this reality with today’s announcement.

More information about Senator Schumer’s bill to come in the days ahead. 

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Senator Sanders Co-Sponsors The Marijuana Justice Act

Generic 19 April 2018 | 0 Comments

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders joined Senator Cory Booker on a live stream for a conversation about ending prohibition and co-sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act.

But they can’t do it alone.

Right now, 33 members of Congress have put their name on the House and Senate versions of this legislation, but we still have a long way to go. Politicians are starting to realize that legalization is not only good policy, but good politics. Send a message to your federal officials and tell them to put their name on this legislation too.

The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. The Marijuana Justice Act would be the sensible, moral, and rational way to end the failed policy of marijuana criminalization.

In 2016, over 650,000 people were arrested for marijuana. The consequences are staggering. From time spent in jail to the costs of legal fees – to the collateral consequences, including but not limited to having to list a criminal offense on a job or housing application, the criminalization of cannabis is a cruel concept that most hurts those in poverty and is disproportionately enforced against people of color.

Don’t wait until 4/20 to take action. Send a message to your lawmakers NOW.

Thanks for standing up, speaking out, and being a NORML citizen.

Your friends at National NORML.

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Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Facilitate Medical Cannabis Trials For Veterans

Generic 19 April 2018 | 0 Comments

United States Rep. Timothy Waltz (D-MN), along with over 30 bipartisan co-sponsors, has introduced legislation, HR 5520: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018, to facilitate federally-sponsored clinical research into the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis among veterans.

The legislation states: “In carrying out the responsibilities of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, … the Secretary may conduct and support research relating to the efficacy and safety of forms of cannabis … on the health outcomes of covered veterans diagnosed with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions the Secretary determines appropriate.”

According to nationwide survey data compiled by The American Legion, 39 percent of respondents affirmed that they “know a veteran” who is using the plant medicinally. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they themselves “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.” Yet, VA Secretary David Shulkin has consistently rejected calls from veterans groups and lawmakers to study the use of cannabis among military veterans.

Passage of HR 5520 explicitly authorizes “the Secretary to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis.”

Representative Walz, who is the ranking member of the House VA committee, said: “While we know cannabis can have life-saving effects on veterans suffering from chronic pain or PTSD, there has been a severe lack of research studying the full effect of medicinal cannabis on these veterans. Simply put, there is no department or organization better suited to conduct this critically important research than VA, and there will never be a better time to act.”

Please click here to urge your federal lawmakers to support HR 5520: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018.

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Are You Doing 4/20 Right? Here’s a List of What’s Happening

Generic 19 April 2018 | 0 Comments

Following tradition, marijuana consumers and advocates from around the globe are organizing rallies, marches and other acts of political expression or civil disobedience in advance of this year’s celebration of 4/20, an annual protest against the prohibition of marijuana. While these public events are often effective at generating some buzz and raising public awareness, they are rarely organized to directly influence or appeal to those elected officials who continue to oppose common sense marijuana law reform efforts.

To increase the political effectiveness of these events, NORML chapters are planning to combine these traditional events with a robust presence on social media that includes a call-to-action urging federal lawmakers to support HR 1227: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act. If passed by Congress, this legislation will eliminate federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, give states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference, and remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would allow for more marijuana research both recreationally and medicinally.

NORML Chapters will continue to use these public events to demonstrate that our culture is a growing part of the broader community, and to raise awareness and support for marijuana law reform efforts.

A couple examples of which are:

Members of Chicago NORML have a lot to celebrate after voters in Cook County, Illinois voted to approve, “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older,” through a non binding referendum earlier this year. Organizers are planning a 4/20 celebration that will help fund educational & outreach efforts in their community.

In South Carolina, members of Lowcountry NORML are hosting a 4/20 rally in downtown Charleston to raise awareness about marijuana’s proven medicinal benefits, its hundreds of industrial uses, and the obvious need to end the mass arrest, stigmatization, and incarceration of nonviolent marijuana consumers. To help spread the word, supporters will be wearing t-shirts, holding signs, sharing stories, and asking others to join the fight to end marijuana prohibition.

Below is a list of events that are taking place around the country:

Alabama

Alabama NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/144416092932869/

California

Humboldt NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/176073716520697/

Monterey County NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/150183702470495/

Colorado

Denver NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/2137082429854938/

Southern Colorado NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/165225564129646/

Delaware

Delaware NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/420211771762876/

Florida

Northeast Florida NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/2049355575350535/

Illinois

Chicago NORML – https://chicagonorml.z2systems.com/np/clients/chicagonorml/eventRegistration.jsp?event=503&

Indiana

Indiana NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1964672153792901/

Purdue NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/353749958430389/

Iowa

Iowa NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1173742189395622/

Kentucky

Kentucky NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/155608048425043/

Minnesota

Minnesota NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/582709222121912/

Minnesota NORML Women’s Coalition – https://www.facebook.com/events/121504848551480/

New Mexico

New Mexico NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1546743615424372/

New York

Western New York NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1983972578530607/

North Carolina

North Carolina NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1568205869881130/

Charlotte NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/296119900919588/

NC NORML of the Triangle – https://www.facebook.com/events/457312888018481/

South Carolina

Aiken NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/146375166036064/

Lowcountry NORML – https://normlsc.org/pages/420-rally

Tennessee

Memphis NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1673604129371656/

Texas

DFW NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/185597428714345/

El Paso NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1779571042339535/

Houston NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/556580421390187/

Hub City NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1893685727608368/

Hub City NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/576627839344019/

Southeast Texas NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/221071241791222/

Texas NORML – http://www.austinreggaefest.com/

Virginia

Hampton Roads NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/217136348839688/

Roanoke NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/158436751510406/

Wisconsin

Southeastern Wisconsin NORML – https://www.facebook.com/events/1894312693920769/

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Meta-analysis: Cannabis Exposure Not Associated With Residual Adverse Impact On Cognitive Performance

Generic 18 April 2018 | 0 Comments

Cannabis exposure in adolescents and young adults is not associated with any significant long-term detrimental effects on cognitive performance, according to a systematic literature review published today in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Investigators affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine and with the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania reviewed data from 69 separate studies published between 1973 and 2017 involving 8,727 subjects (2,152 frequent or heavy users and 6,575 controls). Researchers reported no significant long-term deficits in memory, attention, or other aspects of cognitive functioning that could be independently attributed to cannabis use, regardless of subjects age of initiation. These findings are in contrast to similar studies assessing the impact of alcohol use and other controlled substances on cognition, which “have shown medium to large effect sizes.”

Authors 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. [R]esults indicate that previous studies of cannabis youth may have overstated the magnitude and persistence of cognitive deficits associated with marijuana use.”

Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These conclusions are consistent with those of prior studies – in particular, recent longitudinal twin studies reporting that cannabis use is not independently associated with any residual change in intelligence quotient or executive function. These findings, combined with other recent studies reporting that cannabis exposure appears to have minimal adverse impact on brain morphology — particularly when compared to the dramatic effects of alcohol —dispute the long-standing ‘stoner-stupid’ stereotype, and should help to assuage fears that cannabis’ acute effects on behavior may persist long after drug ingestion.”

Presently, the medical use and dispensing of cannabis is regulated in 30 states. Eight states also regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults. According to numerous peer-reviewed studies, neither the enactment of medicalization or adult use legalization has been linked to increased marijuana use or access by young people.

Full text of the new study, “Association of cannabis with cognitive functioning in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” appears in JAMA Psychiatry.