Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Silver Tour will convene a medical marijuana training session and lobby day in Washington D.C. to encourage Congress and the Obama Administration to allow states greater autonomy to create their own cannabis policies without political pressure from the federal government.
Lobby training session is scheduled for Sunday, June 16, with legislative lobbying all day Monday, June 17.
For more information about the schedule, speakers and activities, please visit here.
Joining SSDP is the senior citizen medical cannabis educational project The Silver Tour, which is looking for crowdsource funding to bring The Silver Tour bus to Washington, D.C.
According to their webpage they’ve already raised $5,500 of the $10,000 needed.
Last week, the Oregon House of Representatives voted 36 to 23 in favor of Senate Bill 281, which adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition to the state’s medical marijuana program.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Rep. John Lively (D-Springfield) stated, “Each person who suffers has different levels of how they’re impacted and what it takes to recover. This is about providing a legal avenue for people suffering from PTSD.”
SB 281 was previously approved by the State Senate in April and now awaits Governor Kitzhaber’s signature.
You can read local media coverage here.
This week, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed two historic measures into law, making Colorado the first state in the country to officially authorize a legalized and regulated cannabis market.
These measures, House Bills 1317 and 1318, are the first-in-the nation regulations governing the statewide commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to those age 21 and older. HB 1317 establishes a regulatory framework for retail cannabis businesses, which are anticipated to begin operating in early 2014. House Bill 1318 proposes tax rates for commercial marijuana production and sales.
These regulations were drafted by the legislature with guidance from a task force, created at the request of the Governor. Colorado NORML served on this task force as a representative for marijuana consumer interests.
The Colorado Department of Revenue is anticipated to more details for the program in the coming weeks. The proposed tax rates in HB 1318 must be approved by a majority of state voters. They seem likely to do so, as recent polling revealed that 77% of Colorado voters support the 15% excise tax on cannabis sales (which is designated for school construction) and an additional 10% sales tax to cover the costs of regulating the industry.
The regulations in House Bill 1317 would require marijuana retail outlets to license with the state and for the first nine months, only currently operating medical marijuana dispensaries can apply. Owners must also be Colorado residents. Initially, these stores must sell marijuana that they cultivated themselves, but by October 2014 this restriction will be lifted to allow independent growers and retail outlets. State residents will be able to purchase up to one ounce of usable marijuana at a time, while out of state visitors will be capped at one quarter ounce per purchase. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would be legalized for everyone over the age of 21, regardless of residency.
For more information on Colorado’s marijuana program, click here.
As more women are drawn to Humboldt County’s marijuana trade and off-grid lifestyle, a local battered-women’s shelter has noticed a growing trend of violent encounters. The Standard-Examiner reports that, “The bulk of… cases involve single young women aged 18 to 26, who may travel to the area and are lured to farms by promises of work, money and, often, romance. The women are hired for trim work, which involves cleaning freshly harvested pot and preparing it for sale.” Most women who survive violence are hesitant to seek help in general. The women in the pot-growing business however, are under even more pressure to keep quiet because they are part of a culture that promotes secrecy.
There is no doubt the pot-growing industry supports the local economy by pumping much-needed cash into the community. The problem is however, that because farm owners and managers (most of whom are male) are running illegal operations under federal law, standard employment regulations such as working conditions and sexual harassment laws do not apply. The Director of W.I.S.H (Women’s Crisis Center of Southern Humboldt), points out that, “Men managing the farms can be paranoid over the threat of raids or people stealing the plants. Women’s cell phones may be taken away and they may not be allowed to leave until season’s end. Some are forced off farms at gunpoint without being paid. Women may be beaten or psychologically controlled…”.
The cycle of violence is perpetuated by an underground, black market economy. This is just one more reason marijuana needs to be legalized and regulated. Moving the entire marijuana industry above ground will protect workers’ rights, hold employers accountable, and remove the culture of secrecy that continues to foster female exploitation.
Last week, NORML Founder/Legal Counsel Keith Stroup and NORML Communications Director, Erik Altieri, sat down with Bob Edwards (former host of NPR’s Morning Edition) on his SiriusXM talk radio program. The three discussed a wide range of issues, including the benefits of legalization, current pending legislation, industrial hemp, and more.
“You ask why legalize marijuana? In reality, why we should legalize marijuana is the same as most of the stated goals of the people who say they want prohibition. We want to decrease youth access, we want to create safer communities, we want to better prioritize our law enforcement resources and direct them towards violent crimes. Currently, there is a burglary in this country, a home invasion, at a staggering rate, almost every thirty seconds or so. Meanwhile, we are arresting marijuana smokers at a very similar rate. The difference is, most home burglaries, only about 10 percent of those people are ever caught.
If we can take the police and instead of focusing them on these non-violent crimes, focus them on where the police work should be, protecting their communities, focusing on violent crime like assault and burglary, then we can accomplish these goals that the prohibitionists claim they want, but have failed to achieve over 40 years.” – Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director
“There is absolutely no basis to treat [marijuana consumers] as criminals. We’re hard working people, we raise families, we pay taxes, we contribute in a positive way to our communities. Criminal prohibition of alcohol didn’t work and it hasn’t worked with marijuana. Finally, the country has come around to that position. We now enjoy the support of the majority of the American public.” – Keith Stroup, NORML Founder and Legal Counsel
You can listen to his interview with National NORML staff below:
For more on The Bob Edwards Show, including where and how you can listen to this and future episodes, click here.
The nation’s so-called ‘drug czar’, Gil Kerlikowske, convened a press conference last week to release new government data on drug use in America. The major talking points for the presentation were two fold:
*Insist that cannabis is linked to crime
*The public sentiment in favor of legalization is an unfortunate attraction to ‘bumper sticker solutions’
One could write a doctoral thesis on Mr.Kerlikowske’s supposition and claims, but suffice for space and time, let’s let the now much more watchdog media on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition better describe what they’ve figured out about ONDCP propaganda, data and the intellectual crime of omission. (Boy, do I have a book recommendation for them…)
Slate reported on the ONDCP’s well established proclivity to throw out data and insinuate causality…using squishy terms like ‘linked’:
On Thursday, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced the results of a study that—at least according to him—demonstrated a link between marijuana use and crime. The study analyzed data collected via the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring program (ADAM II), which took urine samples from arrestees in five cities over a 21-day period last year. “Marijuana remained the drug most often detected in ADAM II arrestees in all five sites in 2012, ranging from 37 percent of ADAM II arrestees testing positive in Atlanta to 58 percent testing positive in Chicago,” the study reported. “In three of the five sites, over half of the adult male arrestees tested positive for marijuana.”
Kerlikowske, who opposes marijuana legalization, said in a speech Thursday that the study showed that America needs to “acknowledge and come to grips with the link between crime and substance use.” But correlation is not causation. Just because a high percentage of arrestees tested positive for marijuana does not mean that smoking marijuana made them commit crimes. Here are other things that over half of the adult male arrestees probably had in common: pants, food in their stomachs, a mother who loves them, an impoverished background, an affinity for one or more of the local sports teams.
Now, Kerlikowske only said that drug use and crime were linked, not that drug use causescrime. But still, the implications are obvious. Kerlikowske is not a stupid man, and he’s not actually a terrible drug czar. He has argued that drug abuse needs to be treated as a public health issue, not just a matter of criminal justice, and I couldn’t agree more. In his speech, Kerlikowske mentioned the need to move the drug policy reform debate beyond “bumper stickers.” One good way to do that is to move beyond studies that don’t necessarily say anything at all.
Reason’s Mike Riggs (a prolific and resourceful blogger about criminal justice matters) took the ONDCP to task one step further by busting the office for omitting alcohol related data and not informing the public more accurately about the most problematic and abused drug for incoming criminal defendants: alcohol
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released a study last week that found the majority of arrestees in five metropolitan areas tested positive for marijuana at the time they were booked, and that many other arrestees tested positive for harder drugs. There was one drug missing from the report, however, and it appears it was omitted intentionally. That drug is alcohol.
When I wrote up the 2012 annual report on the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program II, I noticed that the methodology section contained a list of “data domains”; basically, a guide to the questions researchers asked each arrestee. Every question listed had a corresponding chart in the findings section of the report, save one: The data that researchers collected about alcohol consumption–how often arrestees had consumed five or more alcoholic drinks in a single session over the last three, seven, and 30 days, as well as in the past 12 months–was omitted from the report.
Update: Watch the very interesting panel discussion—where the major take away point from the data and interpretation of it is that it unlikely that the country will return to a time when a majority of Americans support cannabis prohibition law enforcement.
Watch video here.
Also and maybe of far greater significance is the white paper by Brookings scholars William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr., The New Politics of Marijuana Legalization: Why Opinion is Changing’. It is an extraordinarily well researched and data-rich paper that well demonstrates a very large, and apparently sustainable shift in public attitude about cannabis, moving from one of great intolerance twenty-five years ago to one of seeking alternative public policies to prohibition, such as decriminalization and legalization.
I highly commend any one serious-minded about cannabis law reform to read and archive the paper.
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 29 from 2:00-3:30 PM (eastern), the Brookings Institute is holding its second in a series of public policy review panels examining the ever-evolving changes of cannabis laws—mainly at the state level, with little-to-no federal reforms—where state legislatures and/or voters have voted to replace prohibition laws with decriminalization, medical access to cannabis or outright legalization.
The first panel discussion in April co-sposored by Washington Office on Latin America and Brookings examined the stark changes in state law and if current federal laws allow states to in effect experiment with cannabis legalization. See Brookings white paper on state and federal conflict here.
This second panel in the series looks at the emerging public polling data, along with vote totals in states with binding initiatives, which strongly indicate a profound shift in public attitude about cannabis in favor of it’s reform and what are the political implication for federal lawmakers.
At no time in previous history is there greater public and political support for legalization than right now. This public policy series at Brookings reflects the need to cast sober and dispassionate policy analysis, coupled with acknowledgement of change in public sentiment, in the fast changing public policy realm that elected policy makers and their staff; media and academics need to be made fully aware as the country apparently morphs from seventy-five years of cannabis prohibition, to one of ‘tax-n-control’.
If you can’t attend in person, Brookings and WOLA are making this important public panel discussion on cannabis legalization available via webcast.
From Brookings’ press release:
Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana, and they may not be the last: legalization now has the support of about half the country, up from 25 percent two decades ago. But legalization remains controversial among the public and contrary to federal law and policy. Is a new national consensus emerging, or a new stage of the culture war? Either way, what are the implications?
On May 29, Governance Studies at Brookings and the Washington Office on Latin America will host a public forum to discuss changing attitudes towards marijuana legalization. Brookings Senior Fellows William Galston and E.J. Dionne will present findings of a detailed study of evidence from opinion surveys, some of it newly available. Two experts on politics and public opinion will comment. After the program, speakers will take audience questions.
Panelists include: Senior Fellows at Brookings William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr.,; Pollster Anna Greenberg and RealClear Politics Sean Trend
Moderated by Senior Fellow at Brookings Jonathan Rauch
This event will be live webcast.
Register here for the live webcast.
Register here to attend the event in person.
Follow the conversation at #MJLegalization.
Study: Hemp Seed Oil Associated With Improved Clinical and Immunological Parameters In Multiple Sclerosis Patients
The consumption of legal hemp seed nutritional oil, in conjunction with the intake of evening primrose oils and a restricted diet high in Hot-natured foods (such as pepper) and low in saturated fats and sugars, is associated with “significant improvement” in symptom management and immunological characteristics in subjects with multiple sclerosis, according to clinical trial data published this month in the scientific journal BioImpacts.
Researchers at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran assessed the impact of hemp seed oil, evening primrose oils, and a restricted diet for a period of six months in 23 patients diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. Researchers reported that participants at the study’s completion “were healthier in comparison to baseline,” concluding that “clinical and immunological parameters showed improvement in the patients after the intervention.” They noted that hemp seed oil possesses potent antioxidative properties and also likely acts on specific signaling pathways that regulate inflammatory responses — two characteristics that would presumably make it beneficial in the treatment of MS.
Authors concluded: “After 6 months, significant improvements in extended disability status score were found. … [O]ur study demonstrates for the first time in the literature a decrease in both clinical and pro- inflammatory disease activity in MS patients during periods of dietary intervention. Our data demonstrated that co-supplemented hemp seed and evening primrose oils with Hot-natured diet intervention may decrease the risk of developing MS.”
Previously published clinical trials assessing the impact of inhaled cannabis and extracted organic cannabinoids in patients with MS have demonstrated that plant cannabinoids can alleviate disease symptoms — such as involuntary spasticity, neuropathy, and bladder dysfunction — and, in some subjects, may actually moderate disease progression. Nonetheless, the National MS Society shares little enthusiasm for cannabis or cannabis-derived products as a therapeutic option for MS patients, stating on its website: “[B]ased on the studies to date — and the fact that long-term use of marijuana may be associated with significant, serious side effects — it is the opinion of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Medical Advisory Board that there are currently insufficient data to recommend marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS symptoms.”
DFW NORML proudly presents the Texas Regional NORML Conference at the Norris Conference Center (304 Houston St. Fort Worth, Texas 76102-7404) in downtown Fort Worth from June 7 – 9. This historic event includes over a dozen speakers such as Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, Judge Jim Gray, the 2012 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nominee, expert cultivation and concentrate tips, medicinal alternatives to smoking, an exclusive screening of the new documentary American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny, patient testimonials, a hemp fashion show, reception and live art show, two after parties, vendors, prizes and more than a few surprises.
The primary goals for the Texas Regional NORML Conference are:
1.) Give Texans an honest, entertaining and interactive cannabis education.
2.) Showcase the strength of the Texas effort to end prohibition.
3.) Call all Texans to action because now is the time to get involved!
This historic event includes over a dozen speakers including Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, an exclusive screening of the new documentary American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny, expert cultivation and concentrate tips, a hemp fashion show, reception and live art show, two after parties, vendors, prizes and more than a few surprises.
Get your 3 Day pass for a $100 donation which includes all days of the conference, the reception, both after parties and a swag bag full of goodies provided by our generous sponsors. Discounted pricing available for students, seniors, veterans, media and NORML chapters.REGISTRATION DEADLINE
The deadline for online registration of the Texas Regional NORML Conference is 6/7. Otherwise, you can register in person 6/7 – 6/9 for the same price!CONFIRMED SPEAKERS:
(Click the names with links to view short videos with the speakers)
- Judge Jim Gray, 2012 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential Nominee and author of“Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It”
- Keith Stroup, Founder & Legal Counsel at NORML
- “Radical” Russ Belville of 420radio.org
- Mike Hyde – Founder of the Cash Hyde Foundation and father of Cash Hyde
- Cheyanne Weldon, Executive Director of Texas NORML
- Shaun McAlister, Executive Director of DFW NORML
- Erik Altieri, Communications Director & Chapter Coordinator for NORML
- Jamie Balagia – Public Information Officer and Attorney at San Antonio NORML
- Joy Strickland – Founder of Mothers Against Teen Violence
- Clif Deuvall – Co-chair of Texas at US Marijuana Party of Texas, Chairman at Texas Cannabis Party and Founder Norml of Waco Inc. at NORML
- Leslie Burgoyne, DFW NORML Family Law Attorney
- Reverend Russell Elleven – Unitarian Universalist Minister
- Derek Cross – Author at Hemp Healthy Today
- Allen Patterson – Chairman of the Tarrant County Libertarian Party
- Larry Talley – Strategist for DFW NORML, speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and retired US Navy
- Terry Nelson – Executive Board Member at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), former Border Patrol agent and Homeland Security Supervisor
- Toni Ann Hanskett-Mills – Patient Advocate for Medical Cannabis Patients with 28 yrs experience in Direct Patient Care
- Stephen Betzen – Founder of the Texas Coalition for Compassionate Care
- Margarita McAuliffe – Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Texas Moms United
Hope to see you in Texas soon!
Senator Ron Wyden has introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 3240, the Senate version of this year’s federal farm bill, that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
The amendment language mimics the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013,” which remains pending as stand-alone legislation in both the House and Senate but has yet to receive a legislative hearing. Senator Wyden’s provision to the Senate’s Farm Bill amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The measure grants state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
“For me, what’s important is that people see, particularly in our state, there’s someone buying it at Costco in Oregon,” Senator Wyden previously stated in support of this Act, “I adopted what I think is a modest position, which is if you can buy it at a store in Oregon, our farmers ought to be able to make some money growing it.”
Eight states – Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia – have enacted statutory changes defining industrial hemp as distinct agricultural product and allowing for its regulated commercial production. Passage of this amendment would remove existing federal barriers and allow these states and others the authority to do so without running afoul of federal anti-drug laws.
Senator Wyden’s amendment is co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has also expressed his support for this proposal.
According to a Congressional Research Service report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”
Click here to quickly and easily contact your Senator in support of industrial hemp.
The NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada announced via Marketwired:
TERRACE, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – April 18, 2013) – On Saturday April 20(th) , activists and cannabis enthusiasts will gather in cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Yellowknife. It is hoped the events will be a watershed moment for cannabis law reform as Canadians seek to follow their American counterparts and end the social injustice of cannabis prohibition.
This year, the annual nationwide 420 celebrations are entirely sponsored by lottery winner Bob Erb.
When Bob Erb started buying lottery tickets in the early 1970s, ending the war against cannabis may have seemed more likely than hitting the jackpot.
On November 2, 2012, four decades of playing the lottery paid off: Bob Erb won a $25,000,000 jackpot. Two days later, Canadian laws regarding cannabis changed too as mandatory minimum sentencing for cannabis offences came into effect.
To some, winning the lottery would mean retiring from a life-long career of cannabis activism. But to a man who describes the criminalization of cannabis as the “biggest social injustice” of his lifetime, the money meant a chance to do more.
Bob Erb has championed social justice issues, including cannabis law reform, for decades. He has seen firsthand the harm and waste caused by cannabis prohibition, and has set about making change. Particularly, he has tried to create change from within: in 2001 he ran as a Marijuana Party candidate in the BC provincial election and the following year he ran for mayor. Both times his message was clear: its time for a change on cannabis.
Looking to the future, Bob has pledged one million dollars to fund national campaigns to end the criminal prohibition of cannabis and enact positive regulations regarding use, production and consumer safety. His goal is to see a pro-reform party elected in the next Canadian federal election.
So far, Bob Erb’s contributions to the cannabis reform movement can be felt nationwide. In February he had a conference in his hometown of Terrace, BC. The conference brought together activists and policy experts from across Canada to discuss strategy for the future.
As a result of the conference, Bob committed one million dollars to legalize cannabis in Canada and pledged support to various reform organizations including Sensible BC, the NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada, NORML Canada, Stop the Violence BC and the 420 rallies.
This Saturday, tens of thousands of Canadians will gather from coast to coast advocating cannabis law reform. Hopefully, individuals will feel part of something bigger than themselves or the local rally they attended.
Bob Erb’s generosity has jump-started a national campaign to elect a new government ready to undertake modern approach to cannabis regulation. Advocates are confident cannabis law reform will be an issue in the next federal election. This year’s 420 rallies will be a call to voters and the beginning of a movement in the name of Bob Erb.
NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada
Get NORML this 4/20 with one of the dozens of events being hosted across the country by our affiliate groups. There are events going on across the country including festivals, concerts, comedy shows, softball tournaments, and more. Check out some of these activities on the list below. If you don’t see your state listed below, visit our chapter directory here to find your local group and check out their websites for their latest activities.
Don’t have a chapter nearby? What better way to celebrate 4/20 than getting a group of committed friends together and forming your own. Click here for information on starting a NORML affiliate in your local area.ARIZONA
Festival Of Education
When: 4/20 – 12pm until 6pm
Where: Tumbleweeds Health Center, 5301 E. Broadway Bjvd., Tucson, Arizona
About: 4/20 is upon us again and we encourage all our members to come out to Tumbleweeds Health Center, 5301 Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85711. 10am-6pm. Saturday April 20th 2013. There will be live music, information booths, vendors, food and our signature Cures not Wars, Marijuana March & Rally. 2013′s Festival of Education starts at 10am, at Tumbleweeds Health Center, 5301 Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85711. The Rally will begin at 1pm and at 3pm the March will head west to Rosemont crossing Broadway Blvd. then will turn East, and crossing Craycroft Ave., march to Park Mall crossing Broadway Blvd. again turning west, crossing Craycroft Ave, again and returning to Tumbleweeds Health Center, the circular nature of the march allows anyone who is unable to complete the planned route to participate can conveniently begin or end at their own discretion. Signs will be provided or bring your own! Don’t forget your hat and a bottle of water, sunscreen is advised. A continuous stationary rally will start at 12noon and continue till 5pm out in front of the 4/20 event at Tumbleweeds. This will allow our non-mobile patients to participate.
Hitting for Hemp: Benefit Softball Tournament
When: 4/20 – Softball games will be starting at around 9AM.
Where: Mills Pond Park, 2201 NW 9th Ave, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
About: Bring plenty of sunscreen. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the softball field. Admission to the softball tournament is free but donations will be welcome. There will be T-shirts for sale for both the tournament and for NORML of Florida.
When: 4/20 – 2pm to 2am
Where: Fusse Studios, 327 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL
About: There will be live bands, vendors, food trucks, contests, giveaways, information and more. All that for $10 at the door. Admission limited to 18 and over.
IL NORML Monthly Meeting
When: 4/20 – 10am
Where: Whiskey Roadhouse, 3207 N Main St, Rockford, Illinois
About: We’ll go over updates on legislation in Springfield, local efforts and national bills that are being debated in Congress. General info on cannabis prohibition and ways to get involved in ILLINOIS NORML.
QFA Illinois NORML Benefit
When: 4/20 – 9pm until 2am
Where: Live Wire Lounge, 3394 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, Illinois
About: Join host and QFA CEO, Lair Scott, at Live Wire as we benefit IL NORML for the important work they do here in Illinois to pass positive cannabis laws. Bands are Seeso, Heroin Black, Catch A Fire, The Hello Freaks, Element Control, The Loudness War and MC Rota. Door Donation, 21+ w/ proper ID.
Indiana NORML – 420 in the Park
When: 4/20 – 4:20pm
Where: Lynnville Park, 405 W SR 68 Lynnville, IN.
Indy Mojo’s 420 Tent Party
When: 4/20 – 7pm
Where: The Mousetrap, 5565 N Keystone Ave, Indianapolis, IN
About: IndyMojo’s 3rd annual 4.20 Tent Party @ The Mousetrap. 3 stages, Jam + EDM + Acoustic
Tickets are $7, ages 21+
MassCann/NORML and UnRegular Radio Present: The 2013 Battle for the Rally
When: 4/20 – 8pm
Where: The Spotlight Tavern, 208 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA
About: Celebrating the passage of Medical Marijuana in Massachusetts and officially kicking off the campaign for FULL LEGALIZATION in 2016, this year people we are stepping it up for the 24th annual and first ever 2-day Boston Freedom Rally on September 14th and 15th 2013 on the Boston Common. To help us educate and rock the expected 50,000 plus crowds, MassCann with the help of Unregular Radio are kicking off the 2013 Battle for the Rally. This year over 36 bands will be competing for 3 spots on the Rally’s 2 Stages, with 3 bands winning the chance to play at the second largest PRO-Marijuana concert in the Country.
4/20 Celebration With MINORML Chapters
When: 4/19 – 4/21
Where: Archie Keil Residence, Rapid City, MI
About: Kalkaska, Antrim, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, and Benzie County NORML Chapters will join together to promote Michigan NORML at the Archie Keil residence in Rapid City, MI on April 19,20,& 21. Live music,camping,food,and fellowship are on the agenda. Open to the public. Contact Archie at 231-676-0123.
The 4/20 Show – A Fundraiser for Minnesota NORML
When: 4/20 – 8pm
Where: The Comedy Corner Underground, 1501 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota
About: The Comedy Corner Underground (In basement of Corner Bar) is hosting a Fundraiser for Minnesota NORML! There are only 150 tickets available, 75 per show! The show times are 8PM and 10PM. We expect both of them to sell out quickly, so buy your tickets ahead of time here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/341804 – The 8PM show is 18+ and the 10PM show is 21+
4-20 Rally & Concert
When: 4/20 – 12pm until 5pm
Where: Grace Abbott Park, 601 State St. W, Grand Island, NE.
About: This is a free event hosted by NORML Nebraska! Come on down for the good times and great live music. Featuring Homemade Crazy and A Life Led Lucid!
When: 4/20 – 10am
Where: Ramapo College Band Shell Lawn
About: It’s almost that time of year again for NORML and 1STEP’s 4/20 celebration! This is easily Ramapo’s best Spring festival, so make sure you keep this weekend open! Invite your friends and stay up to date with event contests and announcements!There will be FREE FOOD, LIVE MUSIC, YOGA, GAMES, HIKES, INFLATABLE FUN, 30′ PARACHUTE, TIE DYE, BAKED GOODS AND MUCH MUCH MORE.
Empire State NORML Meeting and Trivia
When: 4/24 – 6:30pm
Where: 9 Bleecker Street, New York, New York
About: Learn more about Empire State NORML, upcoming volunteer opportunities and exactly how YOU can help to legalize marijuana in New York. Followed at 8PM by a special ALL MARIJUANA Drug War Trivia Night sponsored by Empire State NORML.
NCNORML 4/20 Event
When: 4/20 – Music starts at 9pm.
Where: Roux, 501 E 36th St, Charlotte, NC 28205
About: Music lineup includes The Fritz, Frankie Gene with Butter, Bubonik Funk, SpongeCake and the Fluff Ramblers. Tickets are $8 at the door.
Asheville NORML 420 Earth Day Event
When: 4/20 – 12pm
Where: 5th Annual Asheville Earth Day on Lexington Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina
About: Asheville NORML will be in full swing at the 5th Annual Asheville Earth Day Festival on 4-20. This is the perfect opportunity to educate the public on the benefits of Cannabis and to let everyone know about our new chapter! We will meet at 12:00 pm at Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. We will have a brief chat and will supply our volunteers with flyers to pass out at the festival. If you would like to make your own signs with facts about Cannabis (especially facts that relate to “Earth Day”) and wear any clothing you have supporting Cannabis, we can have a bit of a parade as we leave from the park and head to the festival on Lexington. We also look forward to spending time with our new friends on 4-20! Please respond to this event so that we can plan on an appropriate amount of flyers. This will be our first community event and we want to make a respectful impression on the community! Come join us with peace in my mind and empower yourself with knowledge on the amazing plant we speak for CANNABIS! Keep Asheville NORML!!!
Cleveland NORML – Dance with Mary Jane
Where: Negative Space, 3820 Superior Ave. E, Second Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44114
About: Negative Space & Cleveland NORML present Dance with Mary Jane. Come out on Saturday April 20, 2013 at 4pm @Negative Space in the Asian Town Center which is located at 38th St between Superior and Payne St in beautiful Cleveland Ohio. A truly unique event in the cannabis world! A holiday that surpasses all other events. You can if you want to come out you can see JustLikEdith and the feature of the event: Wanyama! There will be a 2 drinks with your $10 admission ticket and there will be a 2 ticket raffle prize drawing. There will be a finger snacks and a Cleveland NORML membership table.
Central Ohio NORML – 420 Party
Where: Circus Club & Grub, 1227 N. High St, Columbus, Ohio 43201
Miami Valley NORML – Earth Day Celebration
When: Noon until 5pm
Where: Sawyer Point, 805 E Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Miami Valley NORML – 420 Earth Day Hemp Exhibit
When: Noon until 5pm
Where: Sawyer Point, 805 E Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Miami Valley NORML – 420 Earth Day Celebration
Where: Fries Cafe, 3247 Jefferson Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Miami Valley NORML – Love ya Mother Earth
Where: W.O. Wright’s Grill & Pub, 3979 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Beavercreek, OH 45324
About: Miami Valley NORML benefit, $5 Cover.
Miami Valley NORML – Wiley’s Comedy Club
When: 8:30pm & 10:30pm
Where: 101 Pine St, Dayton, Ohio 45402
About: Miami Valley NORML comedy show benefit, shows 8:30 + 10:30, cover charge is $10.
PhillyNORML/The Panic Hour – Smoke Down Prohibition IV
When: 4/20 – 3pm
Where: Independance Mall, Philadelphia, PA (by the Liberty Bell)
About: After three successful Smoke Down Events, The Panic Hour is back on the highest of stoner holidays, 4/20, to demand an end to cannabis prohibition! We will be playing a game show with fabulous prizes, signing cards of support for wrongly incarcerated drug war prisoners, and welcoming special surprise guests, possibly of an elected-official nature. There is absolutely no excuse for not spending the most important date on the marijuana calendar with us! Tell all your friends, roll a huge bone, and join The Panic Hour and Philly Norml as we have an absolute blast ending the LUNATIC INSANE FALSE TEACHINGS DRUG WAR.
Buds in the Burgh – 4/20 Smoke Down Event
When: 4/20 – 4pm until 5:30pm
Where: Point State Park, Pittsburgh, PA
About: This April 20th, 2013 come down to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh and take your stand! We will be gathering together at 4:00 PM to let our voices be heard. Then promptly at 4:20 PM we will join together in a moment of cannabis reflection.
Pittsburgh NORML/Pittsburgh NORML Women’s Alliance – The Bong Show
When: 4/20 – 8pm
Where: Lava Lounge, 2204 E Carson St, South Side, Pittsburgh, PA
About: For this cannabis holiday, please come out to support NORML and the NORML Women’s Alliance of Pittsburgh at our 4/20 fundraiser! The long awaited return of the Bong Show, a talent show where the stakes are high, and so are the judges! Hosted by Phat Man Dee and Smokin’ McQueen, this high stakes gritty competition is judged off site by 3 very suggestible judges. These judges don’t have a Gong, but they have a Bong and are not afraid to use it! Don’t worry, no laws being broken here, the judges are shown live via satellite feed from the great state of Colorado! Live performances by musical groups Chai Baba, The Rusty Haywhackers and J Pad da Juggernaught! Prizes for the winner and raffle items provided by our generous sponsors: Slacker, Hot Rod Body Piercing, Jesters Court Tattoos, Krutch Rolling Papers, PKN Law, Element Skateboards.
TN NORML 4/20 Marijuana Education Day & Celebration
When: 4/20 – 4:20pm
Where: Performing Artist Co-Op, at 5-Points, East Nashville, TN
About: Come help educate & celebrate 4/20 with TN NORML! Wrapper’s Delight food truck will be there from 4:00 to 9:00!!! Entertainment includes comedy, music and poetry. We will have a table with information for the taking.
4/20 at the Green Elephant Presented by DFW NORML
When: 4/20 – 3pm until 2am
Where: The Green Elephant, 5627 Dyer St, Dallas, Texas
About: DFW NORML is back at the Green Elephant to celebrate everyone’s favorite hempy holiday, 4/20! As always, you can expect some of the finest live music DFW has to offer, as well as vendor booths, prizes, fire spinners, hoop dancers, live glass blowing, drink specials and more. RSVP and invite your friends and together we’ll continue ending cannabis prohibition one Texan at a time. 18+ Welcome.
First Annual NOVA NORML 4/20 Party
When: 4/20 – 6:30pm until 2am
Where: Lucy’s ARL. 2620 S Shirlington Rd, Arlington, Virginia
About: Can’t make it to Colorado for 4/20?! Come hang out with us! Join NOVA NORML on April 20th for our first ever social event! Join us for an evening of fun at Lucy’s in Arlington. We will have raffles with awesome prizes, drinks specials, good music and more.Your contribution will go to Virginia NORML to help end marijuana prohibition in VA! We are very pleased to announce that the Upton Blues Band and also Maple will be there performing live! It will surely be a night to remember! Invite your friends. No cover charge
Ben Masel Day at the Capital
When: 4/20 – 2pm
Where: State Capital Building, Madison, Wisconsin
About: In honor of Ben Masel, Madison’s proudest fighter for freedom, let’s meet at the Capitol to remember our missed friend and the ideas he stood up for. As April 20th has been officially deemed Ben Masel Day in Madison it seems only fitting. 2pm. Come ready to speak if you have words.
Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced federal legislation that would establish a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy. The proposed commission, inspired by the 1971 Shafer Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, would be tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of how federal policy should interact with state laws that make marijuana legal for medicinal and personal use, the cost of our current marijuana prohibition and potential revenue from marijuana regulation and taxation, the impact of federal banking and tax laws on marijuana related businesses, the health benefits of risk of marijuana use, the public safety and criminal justice implications of marijuana prohibition compared with regulation, and the effects of marijuana prohibition and potential regulation on our international relationships and treaties.
“Regardless of your views on marijuana, it’s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana,” said Congressman Cohen. “This conflict is only going to continue to grow over the next few years and we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. A national commission would provide us with the information we need to create sensible policy going forward.”
Representative Steve Cohen is joined by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR), Jim Moran (D-VA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).
During an interview with Barbara Walters in December of 2012, President Obama stated, “…what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske stated in January of this year that, “Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”
“The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that a national conversation is needed when it comes to our country’s marijuana policies, but so far that conversation has been largely one sided,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “It is time for federal lawmakers to listen to the voice of the majority of Americans who want to see change to our nation’s marijuana laws and for them to take part in that dialogue. NORML is pleased to have worked with Representative Cohen and his staff on this important legislation that would provide a public and professional venue for that conversation to take place. A majority of Americans agree that it is time for the United States to end it’s fruitless and expensive war on cannabis consumers and pursue policies of regulation and taxation. Enjoining this national commission would be a pragmatic and productive step towards assessing the true costs of our current prohibition and creating a framework for a functional federal policy on marijuana.”
Join NORML and federal legislators in calling for a “serious national conversation” on regulating marijuana.Click here to quickly and easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this legislation.
With tongue firmly planted in her cheek, leading scholar, author and activist for youth drug education, Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D, from the Drug Policy Alliance, criticizes DARE’s ineffectiveness and expense for the last thirty years.
‘Just Say No’ Turns 30
Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D
If you are under 40, it is very likely that you, like 80 percent of schoolchildren in the U.S., were exposed to Drug Abuse Resistance Education, which celebrates its 30th birthday this month.
D.A.R.E. was created by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1983, following the rise of a conservative parents movement and First Lady Nancy Reagan in need of a cause. The purpose of D.A.R.E. was to teach students about the extreme dangers of drugs by sending friendly police officers into classrooms to help kids resist the temptation to experiment; to stand up in the face of peer pressure; and to “just say no.”
Because of its widespread use in elementary schools all across America (and in over 40 countries around the world), D.A.R.E .was evaluated extensively. The reviews consistently showed that while students enjoyed interacting with police (especially examining the sample cases of drugs used for show and tell), and may have been initially deterred, effects were short lived. In fact, by the time D.A.R.E. graduates reached their late teens and early 20s, many had forgotten what they had learned or rejected the exaggerated messages they’d heard. And by 2001, D.A.R.E. was deemed by none other than the United States Surgeon General, “an ineffective primary prevention program,” and lost 80 percent of its federal funding shortly thereafter.
Yet D.A.R.E .has kept going — trying to keep up with the times, at least rhetorically, with its new “Keepin’ it Real” curriculum. Last fall, I read with keen interest that the program in Washington State had been notified by national D.A.R.E., its oversight agency, that the subject of marijuana would be dropped from the curriculum.
What???? The very same D.A.R.E. program that taught my daughter that marijuana would lead to heroin addiction isn’t even mentioning pot? Had it given up its “reefer madness” campaign, perhaps in light of Washington’s Initiative 502 that legalized marijuana last November?
I had to call and hear for myself about these big changes.
President and CEO Frank Pegueros told me that, in fact, D.A.R.E. had changed. The didactic approach is gone, replaced by dialogue and discussion. “Just say no,” he said, “has gone by the wayside.” It sounded almost touchy feely to me.
I was encouraged, thinking for a brief moment that the chorus of anti-D.A.R.E. critics, like me, who emphasized the importance of honest, science-based drug education, had actually been heard.
But then I asked Mr. Pegueros about marijuana, and why it was dropped from the curriculum, and that’s when I got the real scoop.
Actually, it was not officially dropped. Instead, not wanting to pique students’ interest, the subject of marijuana will be discussed by D.A.R.E. officers only if it is brought up by students themselves. And what will they be told? As for content, one needs only to peruse www.dare.com to see that although the packaging may have evolved, the content has remained the same: marijuana is a very dangerous drug; medical marijuana is a hoax; and big money, rather than compassion and pragmatism, is behind legalization initiatives.
By now it is commonly known that the extreme dangers of marijuana have been exaggerated, and few users become addicted or graduate to hard drug use; roughly 70 percent of the American population supports medical marijuana; and it is public opinion that is driving initiatives and legislation to make medical marijuana available to people who need it.
If D.A.R.E. failed to convince youth a generation ago to “just say no” because its content was unbelievable, no amount of new anti-drug rhetoric will help. Students didn’t believe what they were told 30 years ago, and they’re too smart to believe it now.
And worse, D.A.R.E.’s recycled rhetoric will certainly fail to provide young people with useful information to help them make wise, health-driven decisions about dealing with the myriad of substances available to them today.
So Happy 30th D.A.R.E. Now that you’re approaching middle age, how about trying “just say know” this time around?
Marsha Rosenbaum is the founder of the Safety First drug education project at the Drug Policy Alliance and author of “Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs.”
A poll released today by Public Policy Polling, funded by Marijuana Policy Project and Drug Policy Alliance, revealed that 63% of District of Columbia voters support taxing and regulating marijuana, similar to the initiatives just passed in Colorado and Washington. Only 30% of respondents were opposed.
The survey also found that 75% of respondents supported changing the penalty for marijuana possession to a civil violation, punishable by a $100 fine and only 21% were opposed to this change.
Considering this overwhelming support, and the fact that the District of Columbia allows for ballot initiatives, Washington, DC seems incredibly ripe for reform in the very near future. While the politicians who work in Congress seem to be tone-deaf to the growing call for legalizing marijuana, those living right in their backyard have overwhelmingly made up their minds that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana.
You can read the full results of the poll here.
United States Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with a bipartisan coalition of three Republicans (Reps. Rohrabacher, Rep. Justin Amash [R-MI], and Don Young [R-AK]) and three Democrats (Reps. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR], Steve Cohen [D-TN] and Jared Polis [D-CO]) today introduced House Bill 1523: the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act.
The measure would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to exempt from federal prosecution individuals and businesses, including marijuana dispensaries and/or retail outlets, who comply with state marijuana laws.
“This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws,” Rohrabacher said in a news release. “It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”
The proposal is one of several marijuana law reform bills now pending before the United States Congress, including House Resolution 499: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, House Bill 689: the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, and Senate Bill 359: the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013.
On Election Day 2012, Colorado and Washington residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana. In the months that followed nearly two dozen states have introduced countless bills to reform marijuana laws locally, including an unprecendent ten measures that would legalize marijuana outright. In Washington, DC, more measures than any previous year have been introduced to roll back the federal prohibition on marijuana.
On April 20th, 2013 celebrate our recent victories and support the ongoing fight to bring these reforms nationwide by buying one of these limited edition NORML t-shirts, available exclusively during this year’s high holiday. Proceeds go to help NORML in our mission to legalize marijuana in the other 48 states!
Together, we WILL legalize marijuana.Click here to pre-order your shirt today!
Brookings Institute: Marijuana Policy and Presidential Leadership: How to Avoid a Federal-State Train Wreck
As previewed last week on NORML’s blog, the Brookings Institute is convening a cannabis policy forum on Monday, April 15.
Excerpts from the Brookings’ press release and description of the issues tackled by Brookings scholar and noted legal writer and commentator Stuart Taylor, Jr. are found below.
Mr. Taylor’s thoughtful and dynamic analysis and policy recommendations are here.
Of equal value and incredibly informative are two accompanying appendixes:
Appendix One: The Obama Administration’s Approach To Medical Marijuana: A Study In Chaos
Appendix Two: Conflicts Of Laws: A Quick Orientation to Marijuana Laws At The Federal Level and CO and WA
Stuart Taylor, Jr. examines how the federal government and the eighteen states (plus the District of Columbia) that have partially legalized medical or recreational marijuana or both since 1996 can be true to their respective laws, and can agree on how to enforce them wisely while avoiding federal-state clashes that would increase confusion and harm communities and consumers.
* * *This paper seeks to persuade even people who think legalization is a bad idea that the best way to serve the federal interest in protecting public health and safety is not for the federal government to seek an end to state legalization. To the contrary, Taylor asserts, a federal crackdown would backfire by producing an atomized, anarchic, state-legalized but unregulated marijuana market that federal drug enforcers could neither contain nor force the states to contain.
In this broad-ranging primer on the legal challenges surrounding marijuana legalization, Taylor makes the following points:
- The best way to serve the federal interest in protecting public health and safety is for the federal government to stand aside when it comes to legalization at the state-level.
- The federal government should nonetheless use its considerable leverage to ensure that state regulators protect the federal government’s interests in minimizing exports across state lines, sales outside the state-regulated system, sales of unduly large quantities, sales of adulterated products, sales to minors, organized crime involvement, and other abuses.
- Legalizing states, for their part, must provide adequate funding for their regulators as well as clear rules to show that they will be energetic in protecting federal as well as state interests. If that sort of balance is struck, a win-win can be achieved.
- The Obama Administration and legalizing states should take advantage of a provision of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to hammer out clear, contractual cooperation agreements so that state-regulated marijuana businesses will know what they can and cannot safely do.
- The time for presidential leadership on marijuana policy is now. The CSA also gives the administration ample leverage to insist that the legalizing states take care to protect the federal interests noted above.
Stuart also surveys (1) what legalizing states can and cannot do without violating federal law; (2) the Obama’s administration’s approach to medical marijuana and; (3) current marijuana law at the federal level and in Colorado and Washington State.
The Obama Administration has released its National Drug Control Budget for the FY 2014 and despite their claims that “the war on drugs is over” and that they have “bigger fish to fry” the Office National Drug Control Policy is still prioritizing failed drug war tactics over prevention and treatment.
Prevention, in the form of education and outreach efforts, receives a paltry $1.4 billion dollars. While this is a 5% increase over the previous year’s budget, it is still a minuscule sum when you consider we are spending nine times more on arresting people than we are to educate them on risks of drug use and stop them from ending up in the criminal justice system in the first place. The budget calls for an additional 9.3 billion to be spent on treatment programs for those considered to have drug abuse issues (though $80 million of this funding goes to the drug court program, infamous for giving defendants the “choice” of serving time in rehab or spending time in a jail cell).
For all their rhetoric, this recent budget shows that little has changed in the federal government’s priorities when it comes to the War on Drugs. Funding is still disproportionately spent arresting people or diverting them into treatment programs after the fact, while only a small fraction (13%) of the overall drug budget is spent trying to fix the problem before it starts.
It is time for the Obama Administration’s policy to match its language on the issue of drug law reform. President Obama once promised that he would allow science and factual evidence to guide his administration on issues of public policy, but when it comes to marijuana laws, we are still waiting for him to deliver.
You can view the full text of the budget here.
Senate lawmakers today voted 42 to 4 in favor of House Bill 1101, which establishes a new 12-member state commission to promulgate medical cannabis research. House members had previously approved the measure, which now goes to the desk of Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to sign it into law.
House Bill 1101 establishes an independent commission within the state Department of Health. The purpose of the commission is to request applications from academic medical centers to operate ‘medical marijuana compassionate use programs.’ The commission will decide which patients will qualify for the programs and it will license growers to provide cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Medical marijuana patients who are not participants in an authorized medical center program will not be legally protected from arrest. (Existing state legislation allows certain medical cannabis patients to raise an affirmative defense of medical necessity at trial.)
Full text of House Bill 1101 is available here. Once signed into law, the measure will take effect on October 1, 2013. However, media reports estimate that the programs are not likely to be up and running until 2016.