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VETO Overridden - Paraphernalia Decriminalized!

by , January 21, 2016 5:39 PM

Governor Hogan's VETO of decriminalizing paraphernalia was overridden!  You guys did it!  You wrote to your delegates and senators to let them know you wanted the override and made it happen!

Members of the House decided 86 to 55 in favor of overriding the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 517. Members of the Senate decided 29 to 17 to enact the legislation.  

Senate Bill 517 amends existing criminal penalties regarding the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia from a misdemeanor, punishable by possible jail time, to a civil violation. However, amended language also includes a provision establishing a civil fine of up to $500 for offenses involving the use of marijuana in public. Maryland NORML and NORML (National) will be working in the future to amend this penalty.

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Let's Override the Governor's Veto on Decrim of Paraphernalia

by , January 11, 2016 10:11 PM

The Maryland General Assembly is back in session and Maryland NORML needs you to help us  get things done!

A vote will be taken in the next day or two.  Now is the time to overturn Governor Hogan's veto on Senate Bill 517 which was passed by both the House of Delegates and the Senate to decriminalize the possession of paraphernalia.   For some reason he did not understand the bill and mistakenly believed it made it legal to smoke marijuana while driving your car. 

We DID have the votes to overturn the veto, however, some representatives are now changing their minds.  Overturning it may not happen.  Please write AND call your Delegate(s) and Senator.  Let them know you want them to vote "Yes" to overturn the veto and decriminalize possession of paraphernalia by going to THIS LINK.  

 http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18071

If we don't generate major public pressure, the veto will not be overridden.   Again, forward this email to all your friends/family and have them write and call too.  

Find out who represents you HERE and call them.  If you want change, We The People must act now!


Expungement Law Kicks in Oct 1

by , October 01, 2015 1:20 PM

Criminal expungement (SB0651): A new law will allow people convicted of crimes to petition for expungement, or obliterate it from their record, if the act is no longer considered a crime in the state. This could include people who have been charged with possession of small amounts of marijuana, which was decriminalized in 2014. —Erin Serpico


Medical Cannabis Grower Applications Finally Released

by , September 28, 2015 12:09 PM

Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Posts Applications For Those Seeking Grower, Processor and Dispenser Licenses (from their press release)

Application Deadline is Nov. 6, 2015

 

BALTIMORE, MD (Sept. 28, 2015) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Natalie

M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) today announced it is seeking applications from qualified applicants interested in receiving a license to operate as a medical cannabis grower, processor or dispenser within the state. License applications in each of these categories have been posted to the Commission’s website: http://mmcc.maryland.gov.

 

The deadline to submit an application is Nov. 6, 2015. The Commission anticipates that the application evaluation, scoring and ranking period will be completed by mid‐January 2016, although final timing will depend on the volume of applications received.

 http://mmc.maryland.gov/pages/applications/applications.aspx


Norml News August 7, 2015

by , August 07, 2015 12:25 AM

Oregon: Law Signed Expediting Retail Cannabis Sales

Oregon: Law Signed Expediting Retail Cannabis Sales

Salem, OR: Democrat Gov. Kate Brown signed emergency legislation last week expediting the retail sales of cannabis to those age 21 and older.

Senate Bill 460 permits state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to also engage in cannabis sales to non-medical persons beginning on October 1, 2015. Adults will be allowed to purchase up to one-quarter ounce of cannabis per visit per day.

Initiated legislation approved by voters in November and enacted on July 1 allows those over the age of 21 to legally possess up to one ounce of cannabis and/or to engage in the non-commercial cultivation of up to four marijuana plants (yielding up to eight ounces of marijuana). Separate provisions in the law permitting the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to adults were not anticipated to go into effect until next summer. Senate Bill 460 permits adults to legally obtain cannabis from dispensaries during this interim period.

Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington permit adults to legally possess and purchase limited quantities of marijuana for their own personal use. The District of Columbia also allows adults to possess and grow marijuana legally, but does not provide for a regulated commercial cannabis market. All of these measures were enacted by the passage of voter initiatives.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org.

NIDA Director Says Cannabidiol Is A "Safe Drug"

NIDA Director Says Cannabidiol Is A "Safe Drug"

Washington, DC: The director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, believes that cannabidiol (CBD) - a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid - is "a safe drug with no addictive effects." Volkow made the comments in an op-ed published last week by The Huffington Post.

Volkow further acknowledged, "[P]reliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions."

Preclinical studies have documented CBD to possess a variety of therapeutic activities, including anti-cancer properties, anti-diabetic properties, and bone-stimulating activity. Clinical and observational trials have documented the substance to possess anxiolytic, anti-psychotic, and anti-seizure activity in humans. Safety trials have further concluded the substance to be "safe and well tolerated" when administered to healthy subjects.

To date, 15 states have enacted laws specifically permitting the possession of high-CBD formulated extracts for therapeutic purposes, primarily for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy.

In a recent Time Magazine op-ed, Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein (CA) and Republican Sen. Charles Grassley (IA) encouraged the Obama administration to "definitively determine if CBD has scientific and medical benefits," and to "look at expanding compassionate access programs where possible, to benefit as many children as possible."

Under federal law, CBD - like cannabis - is defined as a Schedule I controlled substance with "a high potential for abuse ... no currently accepted medical use, ... [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug ... under medical supervision."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org.

DEA Head Says Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana

DEA Head Says Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana

Washington, DC: Newly appointed Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) administrator Chuck Rosenberg publically acknowledged last week that marijuana is "probably" not as dangerous as heroin and then in a clarifying statement made this week, "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana."

Rosenberg's comments appear to be in conflict with marijuana's Schedule I classification under federal law, which places it in the same category as heroin and in a stricter category than cocaine. Federal law currently defines cannabis and its dozens of distinct cannabinoids as possessing "a high potential for abuse ... no currently accepted medical use, ... [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug ... under medical supervision."

Originally Rosenberg said, "If you want me to say that marijuana's not dangerous, I'm not going to say that because I think it is. Do I think it's as dangerous as heroin? Probably not. I'm not an expert." But after a week of media covering the DEA Head's uncertainty, Rosenberg offered a clarified statement at a press briefing saying heroin is "clearly" more dangerous than marijuana.

Rosenberg's predecessor, Michele Leonhart, refused to acknowledge during direct questioning from Congress that marijuana possesses fewer risks to health than either heroin or methamphetamine.

Commenting on the new DEA administrator's remarks, NORML Political Director Danielle Keane said, "Rosenberg's comments, coupled with those by NIDA Director Nora Volkow publically espousing the safety of CBD, indicate that it may no longer be a question of if the federal government will move to reclassify cannabis but when."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at paul@norml.org.


NORML NEWS - July 30, 2015

by , August 01, 2015 10:27 AM

Senators Vote For Marijuana Banking Reform

Senators Vote For Marijuana Banking Reform

Washington, DC: Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16 to 14 late last week in favor of an amendment to allow state-compliant marijuana businesses to engage in relationships with financial institutions.

Sponsored by Senators Jeff Merkley (D) of Oregon and Patty Murray (D) of Washington, the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill prohibits the US Treasury Department from using federal funds to take punitive actions against banks that provide services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws.

The vote marks the first time that members of the US Congress have decided in favor of amending federal law to permit marijuana-related business access to banks and other financial institutions.

Commenting on the vote, NORML's Political Director Danielle Keane said: "No industry can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. It is time for Congress to change federal policy so that this growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities."

Related legislation, The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, is also pending before lawmakers in the United States House and Senate.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at: danielle@norml.org.

Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Say They Have Tried Marijuana

Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Say They Have Tried Marijuana

Princeton, NJ: Forty-four percent of Americans age 18 and older say that they have consumed cannabis, according to nationwide polling data reported by Gallup. The figure is the highest percentage of self-reported use ever documented by Gallup pollsters, who began asking the question in 1969. At that time, only four percent of respondents admitted to having tried cannabis.

Men (47 percent) were more likely than women (35 percent) to admit having used cannabis. Males (13 percent) were also more than twice as likely as females (6 percent) to identify themselves as current marijuana users. Democrats (12 percent) and Independents (11 percent) nearly equally identified as active cannabis consumers, while virtually no Republicans (one percent) did so.

Americans across all education and income groups were nearly equally as likely to say they had tried marijuana at some point in their lives, pollsters reported.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

New Hampshire: Sixty Percent Of Adults Back Legalizing Cannabis

New Hampshire: Sixty Percent Of Adults Back Legalizing Cannabis

Durham, NH: Three out of five adults in New Hampshire endorse legalizing marijuana, according to statewide polling data released last week by the University of New Hampshire. The support level is the highest ever reported by UNH pollsters.

Sixty percent of respondents said that they "support legalizing marijuana for recreational use" - up from 48 percent in 2013. Thirty-five percent of respondents oppose the idea.

Among those respondents backing legalization, 70 percent "approve of marijuana being sold at licensed outlets and taxed at liquor levels."

An even greater percentage of respondents, 72 percent, acknowledged that minor marijuana offenses should be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-criminal infraction. Earlier this year, members of the House approved legislation decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses by a margin of four to one. However, members of the state Senate tabled the measure after Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan voiced opposition to the proposal.

New Hampshire is the only New England state that maintains criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.

When respondents were asked whether they believed state lawmakers should legalize and tax marijuana, decriminalize marijuana penalties, or maintain the status quo, 51 percent backed regulating the plant. Twenty-four percent of respondents supported maintaining criminal prohibitions while 22 percent endorsed decriminalization.

Separate 2015 statewide polls in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia have previously reported majority support for legalizing marijuana.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Israel: Pharmacies To Provide Medical Cannabis

Israel: Pharmacies To Provide Medical Cannabis

Jerusalem, Israel: Medical marijuana preparations will soon be available in Israeli pharmacies, a Health Ministry representative announced Monday. In conjunction with the plan, government officials also intend to license additional physicians to prescribe cannabis therapy.

Medical cannabis will be "prescribed and monitored by the same standards as other medications," the agency says.

The Israeli government has authorized the limited production and distribution of marijuana as a medical treatment since 2011.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.


Local News Recap of HB911 Hearing

by , February 25, 2015 5:02 PM

Maryland NORML had front and center seats as it's Executive and Deputy Directors both testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday Feb 24th. Take a listen to the local news reports from CBS, ABC and FOX about the hearing.

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Tax & Regulate Bill & Decriminalization Improvements Expected in 2015

by , January 25, 2015 8:40 PM

Maryland is going to move forward again this year with tax & regulate legislation.  Members of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland have been working hard with legislators.  We will be holding a Lobby Night on February 2, 2015 so that the people of Maryland can appeal to their legislators to make Tax & Regulate/Legalization a reality.  We hope you will join us.   Bills should be introduced soon and Maryland NORML will provide full details as we get them.

Also, there will be corrections made to last year's decriminalization bill.  We hope that paraphernalia will be added to the decriminalization law and its expected that legislators will try to increase the amount of cannabis someone may have in their possession, higher than 10 grams.


What you need to know about the Maryland decriminalization law

by , August 11, 2014 8:04 AM

In the state of Maryland, marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I substance, with a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value. A person arrested for possession of marijuana can be convicted of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.

As of October 1, 2014, the possession of a small amount of marijuana will no longer be a criminal offense.

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