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Major Virginia City Calls For Marijuana Decriminalization

Marijuana Moment - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:12

Virginia’s second-largest city is officially calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana. It also wants an expansion of the commonwealth’s existing limited medical cannabis program.

At a meeting on Tuesday evening, the Norfolk City Council approved its 2018 state legislative agenda. Item number four reads:

“Support the decriminalization of simple possession of marijuana as well as the expansion of conditions that physicians licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine can treat with cannabidiol or THC-A oil.”

The call by Norfolk officials comes as the state is better positioned than ever before to remove cannabis’s criminal penalties.

Incoming Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) made decriminalization a centerpiece of his campaign, often describing the issue in stark racial justice terms.

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote in a blog post early last year. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

New Virginia Governor Pledges Marijuana Decriminalization

And, the issue has bipartisan traction. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment has announced he will file a decriminalization bill when the new legislative session convenes. Earlier this week, he revealed some details of his modest proposal, which would only apply to first-time offenders.

Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin has also filed a separate, more far-reaching decriminalization bill.

The cannabis effort could get an additional boost by Democrats’ surprising number of wins in House of Delegates elections in November. Depending on the results of two still-pending races that may be settled by litigation, the party could either have a narrow majority in the chamber, be tied with Republicans or be just a couple of seats in the minority. The GOP has a two-seat majority in the Senate, and tie votes there would be broken by the Democratic lieutenant governor.

Over the past week, legislative chambers in New Hampshire and Vermont have voted to pass marijuana legalization bills.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization

Vermont Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization Bill

The post Major Virginia City Calls For Marijuana Decriminalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Dispensaries reduce crime, safe for teens

The Leaf Online - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 00:20

New data show that neighborhoods with cannabis shops tend to be as safe as any other and that young people who consume marijuana are just as motivated in life as their abstinent peers. To put it another way, two more myths used to stigmatize cannabis users should fall by the wayside. Marijuana retail businesses are […]

The post Dispensaries reduce crime, safe for teens appeared first on The Leaf Online.

Taxpayers will pick up huge tab for Iowa State's attempt to ban marijuana shirt

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 23:43
Iowa State University’s unconstitutional crackdown on a pro-marijuana student group’s T-shirts is expected to cost state taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs.

Colo. Sen. Gardner to meet with Jeff Sessions on marijuana after doubling down on threats to block DOJ nominees

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 22:58
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said he plans to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions on federal marijuana policy Wednesday. He is prepared to block all nominees related to the Department of Justice.

Maine lawmakers consider pushing marijuana sales back another 3 months

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 22:03
Maine lawmakers on Tuesday considered a proposal to extend a ban on retail sales of marijuana until May 1 to give the state more time to craft rules.

Colorado Congress members send letter to Sessions, urging reinstatement of Cole Memo

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 21:11
Colorado congressional legislators fired off a letter Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking that he reconsider last week's rescission of the Cole Memo and related marijuana guidance.

Ohio lawsuit challenges "racial quota" in marijuana program

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 21:00
A company that wasn't chosen for Ohio's new medical marijuana program filed a lawsuit against the state claiming it was bumped because of "an unconstitutional racial quota."

Anti-marijuana Kansas lawmaker who suggested African Americans predisposed to abusing drugs resigns from leadership roles

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:46
Kansas Republican Rep. Stephen Alford did not give up his seat in the Legislature, however.

Will Georgia Finally Implement Access And Regulations For Medical Cannabis?

Weed News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:45
I received the following alert out of Georgia today. If you live in Georgia, make sure to contact your lawmakers and urge them to allow reasonable medical cannabis access for patients: Yesterday,...

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Detroit medical marijuana on hold amid lawsuit

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:34
A pending lawsuit by a business group over medical marijuana regulations in Detroit means the industry will be on hold until it's resolved.

New Hampshire House Votes To Legalize Marijuana

Weed News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 20:16
Earlier today the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize cannabis. As Tom Angell tweeted about, “New Hampshire House leadership unexpectedly referred the marijuana...

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Cannabis at the Olympics? Gold medalist and advocate Ross Rebagliati on CBD's future in international sport

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 18:38
The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from it's prohibited substance list on Jan. 1, but cannabis remains illegal in South Korea, host of this year's Winter Games

Louisiana governor to Trump: Don't prosecute medical marijuana

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:53
Louisiana's governor John Bel Edwards is asking President Donald Trump to shield states' medical marijuana programs from federal prosecutors.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Bill to Legalize Marijuana

The Joint Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 17:12
The New Hampshire House of Representatives has approved a bill to make marijuana legal for adults.

House Bill 656, introduced last session by Represenative Glen Aldrich (R-Gilford), would make possession of three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana legal for those aged 21 and older. Home cultivation of up to three mature and three immature plants would also be legalized. It passed the House today with a vote of 207 to 139.

“The House deserves tremendous credit for taking this reasonable step forward”, says Matt Simon, the New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Granite Staters understand that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, and they’re ready to see it treated that way. Allowing adults 21 and older to grow a few plants without penalty will give them a much-needed alternative to buying from illicit dealers.”

Last year, the New Hampshire Legislature voted overwhelmingly to replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with civil penalties. Governor Chris Sununu (R) signed the bill into law.

Eight states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, including Massachusetts and Maine, all through ballot initiatives. The Vermont House approved a measure that would make marijuana possession and limited home cultivation legal for adultson Thursday, and it is expected to pass in the Senate tomorrow. A poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in April and May of 2017 found that 68% of Granite Staters support legalizing marijuana.

The post New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Bill to Legalize Marijuana appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Federal marijuana bills boosted by new supporters as Congress gets back to work

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:49
Lawmakers lined up behind several cannabis-related House bills in the wake of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ marijuana policy shift.

New Hampshire House Votes to Legalize Marijuana Possession and Cultivation

NORML Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:41

UPDATE 01/09/18 1:30 PM Eastern: New Hampshire House Leadership, instead of sending the approved bill directly to the state Senate, has referred the legislation back to the House Ways and Means Committee. Now, either the committee declines to take action and sends the bill to the state Senate or holds hearings on the bill before sending it back to the House floor for another full vote.

This morning, in a direct rebuke to the bluster coming from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 207 to 139 in favor of a measure that would legalize the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of 3 mature plants for adults 21 years of age or over. This legislation is similar to a measure passed by members of the House of Representatives in neighboring Vermont last week. Both measures now await action by their respective state Senates, with a vote in Vermont expected for later today.

A broader legalization bill, which included commercial cultivation and retail sales, was voted down in a New Hampshire House committee last November. Today, state Representatives voted to overturn that initial vote and amended that legislation to only include the legalization of personal possession and cultivation. Currently, there is a standing legislative study committee in the state that is researching and reviewing the potential of legalized commercial marijuana in New Hampshire and is expected to give recommendations later this year.

“Despite the best attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to intimidate state governments, the recent votes in Vermont and New Hampshire demonstrate that legislators are ignoring this bluster and are standing up for the will of the people,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “An overwhelming majority of Americans want to see marijuana legalized and their elected officials are smartly siding with this broad public opinion and sensible policy direction over the Reefer Madness being spouted by Attorney General Sessions.”

NORML will keep you updated as these and other legislative reform efforts advance.


New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:23

The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, just five days after the Trump administration moved to rescind federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws.

Under the bill, which now moves to the state Senate, people over 21 years of age would be allowed to legally possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home. Retail sales locations would not be allowed.

Please visit Forbes to read the rest of this piece.

(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)

The post New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

New Hampshire House votes to legalize recreational marijuana

Cannabist - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:19
The New Hampshire House approved a bill Tuesday that would legalize possession and sales of marijuana.

Marijuana Legalization Expected To Pass Vermont Senate Tomorrow

Weed News - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 14:50
Vermont’s Legislature became the first in the nation to pass a marijuana legalization bill last year. Unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Vermont’s Governor, who instructed the...

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NH & VT cannabis legalization votes this week (Newsletter: Jan. 9, 2018)

Marijuana Moment - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 13:02

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KS lawmaker’s racist marijuana comments; More congressional Sessions reaction; NV gov wants Sessions to explain

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I’ve continued to add congressional pushback to U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana policy change to my compilation post on Marijuana Moment. There are…a lot…of lawmakers from both parties who are speaking out against the move.

A Kansas representative justified marijuana prohibition by saying these racist comments:

  • “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past.”

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

The Vermont Senate is expected to vote on a House-passed marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday.


U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) will lead a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday to push back on the Trump administration’s marijuana policy reversal.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said he supports Sessions’s anti-cannabis move. Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney for Oklahoma’s Western District said the office’s “primary focus is going to be on multi-state drug trafficking organizations and I don’t anticipate that [federal marijuana]  memo will change what have been our practices here in this district.” But the state’s Eastern District U.S. attorney said  the move “opens up” marijuana laws, allowing his office to further “protect the citizens of the eastern district.” And the Northern District’s U.S. Attorney said his office is committed to “turning back the tide of the drug crisis.”

The Massachusetts U.S. attorney, in response to requests for more information about his cannabis enforcement plans, said he cannot “provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from federal prosecution.”

Delaware’s U.S. attorney said his office has “limited resources and [we] have got to be smart with how we utilize the. The public safety of the citizens of Delaware is our overarching priority, as far as I’m concerned, and that starts with violent crime.”

The U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington said he would apply “principles [that] have always been at the core” of his office’s work in determining marijuana enforcement and will “focus on those who pose the greatest safety risk.”

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reiterated that Congress should consider extending existing state medical cannabis protections in a budget rider to cover broader recreational marijuana laws too.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  said the federal marijuana change is “an incredibly destructive thing to do.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tweeted that he sides with the New York Times editorial board over U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on marijuana.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) said Sessions was within his right to rescind the Obama-era guidance, but he wants Congress to pass a law exempting medical cannabis from federal marijuana prohibition.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) is siding with Sessions.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is calling on his colleagues to change federal marijuana laws.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “”Even with all of the progress we’ve made, the ‘war on drugs’ continues to criminalize communities of color. There won’t be justice until we end this double standard which has ruined so many lives.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lillian Salerno, who is challenging anti-marijuana Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), says she supports legalization.

Two of the top ten most-viewed bills on Congress.gov over the past week concern marijuana.


Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said he thinks legalization has gone “extremely well” in his state and will be reaching out to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal marijuana enforcement soon.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader discussed details of a limited marijuana decriminalization bill he plans to file soon.

Connecticut’s Senate president and other lawmakers will continue pushing marijuana legalization this year.

Oklahoma’s acting commissioner of health says that if voters approve a medical cannabis ballot measure, another agency should be in charge of regulations.

An Indiana senator introduced a medical cannabis bill. Separately, state officials are apologizing to businesses after erroneously citing them for selling CBD products.

A Virginia delegate introduced a bill to allow doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oil for any condition.

Kentucky representatives filed resolutions urging Congress to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana and to incorporate safety and efficacy standards for medical cannabis.

A Pennsylvania senator is introducing a resolution calling on Congress to allow medical cannabis patients to purchase guns.

New Hampshire’s marijuana study commission met Monday. Also, the state’s medical cannabis patient count has more than doubled in the past year.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on January 18.

Rhode Island regulators are preparing to approve delivery plans from medical cannabis dispensaries.

Colorado regulators are asking people to submit “topics to study related to the potential adverse effects or public health impacts of marijuana use.”

An Ohio company that failed to win a medical cannabis business license is suing the state over an alleged “unconstitutional racial quota.”


Las Vegas, Nevada officials put plans for marijuana social use areas on hold after news of the federal cannabis policy change.

Former Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D) criticized the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.


The Government of Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat hired a staffer from marijuana website Lift. (Lift is now hiring a new editor and news writer.)


The Democratic Attorneys General Association said that “Dem AGs are vowing to push back on the [Trump administration’s new marijuana] directive.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is pressuring New Jersey prisons to stop banning incarcerated people from reading drug policy book “The New Jim Crow.”

The Minority Cannabis Business Association announced a new president and Board of Directors.

A fellow from the conservative Heritage Foundation says the federal anti-marijuana move is a good thing.


A study concluded that state medical cannabis policies “decrease high school graduation rates by 0.36 percentage points, indicating that nearly 13,000 students will not graduate as a result of the [medical marijuana law]  implementation.”

A study found “a high degree of association between Cannabis use and the occurrence of traffic accidents with injuries of the driver.”

A study found that medical cannabis “dispensary users do not necessarily reside in the same area in which dispensaries are located and do not necessarily reflect the local population.” (Some readers reported trouble with the link to this study in Monday’s newsletter, so I’m trying again.)


The Denver Post editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board isn’t happy either.

Neither is the Seattle Times editorial board.

Nor the the Las Vegas Sun editorial board.

The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board says nothing much will change without the Cole memo.

The New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board is criticizing U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for slamming the Sessions marijuana move without sponsoring any cannabis reform legislation.


The Canadian Securities Exchange is asking listed marijuana companies with U.S. operations to publicly detail any risks they face in light of federal enforcement policy changes.

A debit card processor has stopped working with Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensaries in light of the federal move.

Significant percentages of marijuana professionals reported witnessing or personally experiencing sexual harassment “specifically in the cannabis industry” in a survey.

Stateline looks at how the Justice Department’s marijuana policy change could further imperil marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

EdSource looks at how California universities are continuing to ban marijuana even in light of state legalization.

/ CULTURE     

Actress Meryl Streep says her son gave her marijuana-infused foot cream for Christmas.

The post NH & VT cannabis legalization votes this week (Newsletter: Jan. 9, 2018) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

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