NORML NEWS - July 30, 2015

 Judy Pentz
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.



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