Peachtree NORML Challenges the Faith and Freedom Coalition

Post originally published on Peachtree NORML.

At the Georgia Republican Assembly Convention on 8/12/2017 David Baker, the Executive Director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Georgia, used a portion of a 1993 quote from the then Executive Director of NORML, Richard Cowan.  Mr. Baker quoted Cowan as saying “The key to it (marijuana legalization) is medical access”.  Baker’s comments were videoed by AllOnGeorgia’s Jonathan Giles, who wrote about them.  Jonathan reached out to me and asked for a comment or two, which I happily obliged him with.  You can watch the video and read his commentary by clicking here.  I highly suggest you do.  It’s what we are fighting here in Georgia.

What Richard Cowan said in 1993 was, “The key to it is medical access, because once you have hundreds of thousands of people using marijuana medically under medical supervision, the scam is going to be blown”.  Cowan’s statement is an indictment of the DEA classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, having a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value.  Prior to 1937 and The Marihuana Tax Act, Cannabis, marijuana’s real name, was widely used in the preparation of medicines. The American Medical Association condemned its pending Prohibition in a letter to the Ways and Means Committee that enacted the legislation.  The AMA letter stated, in part, “Since the medicinal use of cannabis has not caused and is not causing addiction, the prevention of the use of the drug for medicinal purposes can accomplish no good end whatsoever. How far it may serve to deprive the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research may prove to be of substantial value, it is impossible to foresee”.  Keeping cannabis away from us by prohibiting it was a scam.  That is Cowan’s point.

Read more at NORML

Utah Activists Push for Medical Marijuana on Ballot

Medical marijuana supporters in Utah received a green light from state election officials on Thursday to start gathering the 113,143 signatures required to qualify their MMJ measure for the November 2018 ballot.

The political issues committee Utah Patients Coalition’s spokesperson said they will begin collecting signatures next week—with a stated goal of gathering all the signatures required before the beginning of the legislative session in January 2018.

According to UTP, in 2014 HB 105 made it legal for patients to possess and use low-THC cannabidiol when directed by a doctor. Since this initial victory for patients, cannabis legislation has barely progressed.

Read more at High Times

State Lawmakers’ Group Demands Feds Remove Cannabis from Controlled Substances Act

Photo by Justin Cannabis. 

An influential organization representing lawmakers all over the United States is calling for the federal government to eliminate the cannabis plant from the confines of the Controlled Substances Act.

In a resolution published on Monday, a group known as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) went to the mat for cannabis reform, pushing for marijuana to be removed from its Schedule I classification. The goal is to give the cannabis industry easier access to banking solutions, while improving public safety by making it more difficult for criminal organizations to target dispensaries and other all-cash businesses.

Read more at High Times

SoCal Cannabis Activists to Appeal to Voters

A cannabis industry trade group has filed paperwork in eight of San Diego County’s 18 cities to let voters decide if marijuana business activities should be permitted in those jurisdictions.

On July 27 and 28, the Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP) indicated its intent to collect signatures for ballot propositions to city clerk’s offices in Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Santee, Lemon Grove, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach.

The propositions aim to permit and regulate commercial cannabis operations in accordance with Proposition 64, which was passed in 2016 and legalized the adult use of marijuana in California. Prop. 64 allows for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales of marijuana products to begin in 2018—subject to local regulation. The cities that were targeted for a local initiative showed strong voter support for Prop. 64 and have residents and business owners eager for regulated commerce.

Read more at High Times

A Victory Over Some Illegal “Drug Courier Profile” Traffic Stops in Illinois

The Supreme Court of Illinois recently handed down a decision which found that some of the drug courier profile traffic stops in their state were illegal, and agreed with the lower courts that the drugs confiscated in five cases that had been combined for the court’s consideration, should be suppressed. The case was People v. Ringland, et al.

The criminal defense attorney bringing this legal challenge was NORML Legal Committee (NLC) Life Member Stephen M. Komie from Chicago.

The somewhat unique fact in all five of these cases, which arose in 2012 and 2013, was that the drivers were all stopped and searched by a “special investigator” of the La Salle County prosecutor’s office; not by state or local police. After carefully considering the statute that establishes and defines the powers of state prosecutors, the high court found that the prosecutor did not have the legal authority to hire their own people to drive up and down the highways, making traffic stops and searching vehicles for drugs.

Read more at NORML

NORML Chapters Hope to Bring Marijuana Discussion To Congressional Town Hall Meetings

NORML Chapters around the country are currently organizing efforts to engage their representatives on the issue of marijuana law reform during the upcoming congressional recess where members of the House and Senate will host town hall meetings in their districts. In addition to providing unique opportunities for face-to-face interactions with congressional representatives, town hall meetings provide our volunteers the chance to promote NORML’s message of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana to an audience of politically engaged voters.

With the help of Town Hall Project, a nonprofit organization that’s focused on empowering constituents across the country to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives, we have identified almost a dozen town hall meetings taking place in cities with strong NORML representation. To take advantage, NORML leadership is focused on mobilizing our supporters to ask specific questions and encourage their representatives to support legislation that will: protect consumers and business in legal marijuana states, expand access to medical marijuana for veterans, stop civil forfeiture and end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

Below is a list of town hall meetings that NORML Chapters will be targeting. We will continue to update the list as new town hall meetings are announced:

Read more at NORML

Pennsylavania Cities Continue to Embrace Decriminalization of Marijuana

With the recent passage of a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, the City of York joins Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg in no longer criminalizing the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Following several meetings to discuss the proposal, members of city council heard from Chris Goldstein, executive director of Philadelphia NORML and Les Stark, executive director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. Both spoke in support of the proposal and even provided encouraging data showing a decline in marijuana arrests in other municipalities that adopted similar measures.

“Towns across Pennsylvania are moving away from handcuffs and towards issuing fines instead, that’s good new sin a state where we have more than 18,000 consumers arrested every year,” said Chris Goldstein.

Similar to other decriminalization measures that have been adopted by municipalities in the Commonwealth, the ordinance approved by the York City Council replaces criminal prosecution and potential jail time with a simple fine or community service for those possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana. The ordinance also decriminalized the public consumption of marijuana.

Read more at NORML

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again!

As an attorney, I am always disappointed that the courts in this country – both at the state and federal level – have refused to get involved in the efforts to end marijuana prohibition and end the practice of treating responsible marijuana smokers as criminals. But that is the reality.

While the courts in this country have played a leading role in ending racial discrimination, in guaranteeing women the right to obtain a legal abortion, in protecting the rights of the LGBT community, and in many other areas involving the protection of personal freedom, they have consistently rejected attempts to declare state and federal anti-marijuana laws as unconstitutional.

But that does not mean that we should give up the fight in the courts, and rely only on voter initiatives and elected officials to fix this problem. As long as there are new legal arguments to be made, and fresh and hopefully more convincing facts to be argued, we must continue to engage the courts in this struggle for personal freedom.

Read more at NORML

WATCH: Marijuana in the Halls of Congress!

Yesterday, NORML moderated a Facebook Congressional Conversation on marijuana law reform with Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Tom Garrett, Beto O’Rourke, and Justin Amash.

We discussed a wide range of issues including the needless burden of the federal driver’s license suspension mandate, access to medical marijuana, racial injustice, and pending bipartisan legislation to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

WATCH NOW:

Read more at NORML

New Musical ‘Willy Wonka and the Weed Factory’ Is Lighting Up in Los Angeles

Didn’t think Charlie Bucket could get any higher than his near-death experience with Wonka’s Fizzy Lifting Drink? Well then, think again.

Roald Dahl’s litany of literary characters are getting lit in Los Angeles this week with the opening of Willy Wonka and the Weed Factory, a musical satire presented by Welland Productions and sponsored by the California-based concentrates company Spliffin.

The original comedy, co-written by Brittany Belland and Weslie Lechner, takes the audience to the year 2025, in which cannabis has just been legalized for use and production across the United States, and deep into the heart of a small town, where reefer madness still reigns supreme—despite pot’s new legal status.

Read more at High Times