Tag: marijuana legalization

Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators Calls for Marijuana Decriminalization

BOSTON, MA — Members of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators have for the first time voted in favor of a resolution in support of decriminalizing marijuana.

The NHCSL is a non-partisan group that represents the interests of Hispanic state lawmakers from all fifty states.

The resolution states that federal cannabis criminalization is “unconstitutional” because it was initiated by “racist politicians” who explicitly wished to “target … Mexican-American culture.”

It calls on federal lawmakers to “enact and sign legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana.”

It urges state lawmakers to similarly enact decriminalization policies and to seal the records of those formerly convicted of marijuana-related crimes.

“NHCSL believes that our laws should focus on ending the current lawlessness of the black market and allow sound public policy based on scientific evidence to prevail on the issue of cannabis,” the group’s President stated in a press release.

The NHCSL’s actions come days after representatives of the National Conference of State Legislators resolved in favor of removing marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

National Conference of State Legislatures Endorses Resolution Calling for Marijuana to Be Descheduled

BOSTON, MA — The National Conference of State Legislatures has endorsed a resolution calling for marijuana to be removed from the US Controlled Substances Act.

The plant and all of its organic constituents are classified under federal law as a schedule I controlled substance – the most restrictive categorization available.

Over three-quarters of legislators participating in this week’s legislative summit endorsed the resolution, which calls on federal lawmakers to amend the CSA so that each state can regulate cannabis how best it sees fit.

It states: [T]he National Conference of State Legislatures believes that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from scheduling thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses; and … acknowledges that … in allowing each state to craft its own regulations we may increase transparency, public safety, and economic development where it is wanted.”

Last year, the US Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a pair of petitions that sought to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reschedule marijuana under federal law.

In recent years, NORML has argued in favor of descheduling cannabis from the CSA rather than rescheduling it to a lower classification.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Why Are Pot Shops Mainly in Poor Neighborhoods?

Recreational marijuana retail sales outlets are disproportionately located in poor neighborhoods. That’s what the industry journal Marijuana Business Daily found when it recently analyzed the their distribution in two of the first major cities to host legal pot shops.

In Seattle, the Daily found that 40% of pot shops were in zip codes where the average income was in the bottom 25th percentile. In Denver, the trend was even more pronounced, with nearly 45% of the stores located in the poorest neighborhoods.

Those zip codes account for 26% of the population in Seattle and 27% in Denver, so it’s not that retailers are simply going where the people are. And there’s no evidence it’s some nefarious plot to target poor residents for stupefaction.

So what’s behind the trend? According to the Daily, part of the answer is the initial reluctance by property owners to get involved with a business still federally illegal.

And landlords with properties in middle- or upper-class neighborhoods could appeal to more upscale tenants outside the marijuana business, leaving tenant-hungry property owners in poorer areas more amendable to filling vacancies even with more potential risky businesses.

“That’s where the retail space was available,” cannabis entrepreneur and Dank dispensary owner Greg Gamet told the Daily. “Landlords had a hard time renting properties in these areas previously… they’re more apt to rent these when there’s no renters.”

And poorer areas were cheaper and easier to do business in. Where times are tough, the flame of NIMBYism flickers less brightly.

Low-income neighborhoods generally didn’t protest the arrival of pot shops, which meant jobs and economic development, and they didn’t place as many regulatory hurdles as more well-off areas.

Low-income neighborhoods also mean lower rents. And lower rents meant higher profit margins compared to pot shops in tonier parts of town, a critical factor in consolidating one’s position in the early days of the highly competitive legal weed business.

But the phenomenon of pot stores being overrepresented in poor neighborhoods may prove ephemeral, in part because of the very economic success of the shopkeepers and in part because the stigma around marijuana is eroding and the revenue flows are enticing, even for hard-eyed businessmen with valuable real estate assets.

“Moving forward,” the Daily predicts, “major cities in markets that legalized recreational marijuana after Colorado and Washington state — like Boston and Portland, Oregon — are less likely to see clusters of retail marijuana stores in low-income neighborhoods.”

For better or worse.


This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

National Conference of State Legislatures Urges De-Scheduling Marijuana

BOSTON, MA — The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution Monday urging that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove marijuana from scheduling in order to give federally approved banks the ability to work with marijuana businesses.

This would also allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without the threat of federal interference.

For a resolution to pass, it must be supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75% of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.

Due to the Schedule I status of marijuana under federal law, federally insured banks risk penalties if they offer financial services to marijuana-related businesses.

For that reason, many of these businesses are forced to operate on a cash-only basis, making them a target for criminals.

While limited guidance has been issued, which intended to encourage financial institutions to serve marijuana businesses, access to banking remains a problem.

The resolution states:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Conference of State Legislatures believes that the Controlled Substances Act should be amended to remove cannabis from scheduling thus enabling financial institutions the ability to provide banking services to cannabis related businesses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Conference of State Legislatures acknowledges that each of its members will have differing and sometimes conflicting views of cannabis and how to regulate it, but in allowing each state to craft its own regulations we may increase transparency, public safety, and economic development where it is wanted.

The full resolution can be found online here.

A different version of this resolution, which called for rescheduling marijuana to a lower schedule, was approved by NCSL last year.

In 2015, the conference passed a resolution expressing that “federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act, should be amended to explicitly allow states to set their own marijuana and hemp policies without federal interference.”

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws.

Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in eight states — all of which also have medical marijuana laws — and adult possession and limited home cultivation is also legal in the District of Columbia.

There are currently several bills introduced in Congress that would allow states to determine their own marijuana policies, fix the banking issue, and address tax codes related to state-legal marijuana businesses.

“State legislators and the vast majority of voters agree that marijuana policy should be left to the states,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, which tracks marijuana policy in all 50 states and lobbies in state legislatures throughout the country.

“Legitimate, taxpaying marijuana businesses should not have to face the difficulties of operating on a cash-only basis. Allowing banks to offer them financial services will be good for the industry and benefit public safety,” O’Keefe continues. “Even more so, states should not have to worry about the federal government interfering with their marijuana policy choices.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Nearly Six in Ten Voters Say Legalizing Marijuana “Makes Societies Better”

Nearly six in ten voters ages 18 and older believe that “legalizing marijuana makes societies better,” according to the results of a recently published Harvard-Harris poll.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents answered the question affirmatively. Forty-three percent of respondents said that marijuana legalization makes societies “worse.”

Only 14 percent of poll respondents believe that cannabis should not be legal for either medical or social use.

Seventy-two percent of those polled say that those convicted of marijuana possession offenses in non-legal states should not face jail time.

A nationally representative sample of 2,032 registered participated in the poll.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Only 14% of American Voters Think Marijuana Should Be Illegal, Poll Finds

As federal marijuana prohibition turns 80 years old, a new poll has found overwhelming support for re-legalizing cannabis in some form.

The poll is just the latest in a series of national polls finding overwhelming support for reforming federal marijuana laws, and comes as comprehensive legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level is introduced in the United States Senate.

According to the latest Harvard-Harris poll, only 14 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legal, with 86% supporting some form of marijuana legalization.

Of those surveyed, 49% believe that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use. Thirty-seven percent said it should be legal only for medical purposes.

When taking into consideration those that believe marijuana should be legal for any use and those who feel marijuana should only be allowed for medical purposes, an overwhelming 86% of Americans support the medical use of a plant the federal government denies has any medical value.

Of those surveyed who lived in states where marijuana use was legal, 63% said they were not bothered by their state legalizing marijuana.  Similarly, 69% of voters who do not live in states where personal marijuana use is currently legal said it wouldn’t bother them if their state legalized it.

Only 33% of those surveyed said they would be bothered if a marijuana store opened in their neighborhood.

Regardless of the legal status of marijuana, only 16% of respondents said it would bother them if their neighbors used marijuana in their own homes or on their own property, but 50% said they would be bothered by public marijuana use.

Respondents overwhelmingly endorsed marijuana decriminalization, with 72% of those surveyed saying that if marijuana isn’t legal, people still should not serve jail time for possessing small amounts of it.

The poll also found that 57% of voters feel that legalizing marijuana makes societies better.

The poll, which touched upon a number of topics, was conducted online within the United States between July 19-24, 2017 among 2,032 registered voters.

Full results can be found here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

In Uruguay, Pharmacies Are Selling Marijuana Over the Counter

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY — Select pharmacies are now selling marijuana over the counter, as long-awaited regulations took effect on earlier this month.

Cannabis sales are limited only to those citizens who participate in the state’s marijuana registry. Foreign tourists are not permitted to purchase cannabis at this time.

Marijuana flowers are capped at a price of $1.30 a gram.

Federal officials initially approved legislation in 2013 lifting Uruguay’s criminal prohibition of the plant.

Under the policy change, citizens may cultivate up to six plants per household, and engage in collective cultivation as part of membership clubs.

Rules and regulations governing the distribution of marijuana for medical purposes are overseen by the Ministry of Health.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Uruguay, First Country in the World to Legally Regulate Marijuana, Begins Retail Sales Today

Today, Uruguay will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents, becoming the first country in the world to regulate legal marijuana sales.

The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at improving public safety. Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making theirs the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults.

“This is a historic moment,” says Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “In recent years, Latin American leaders have decried the staggering human, environmental and financial costs of the War on Drugs in their region. Uruguay is boldly demonstrating that concrete alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies are possible.”

In 2013, a broad coalition emerged to support the proposal, which included LGBT, women’s rights, health, student, environmental and human rights organizations, alongside trade unions, doctors, musicians, lawyers, athletes, writers, actors and academics, united under the campaign Regulación Responsable (“Responsible Regulation”).

The Uruguayan model allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health; domestic cultivation of up to six plants per household; membership clubs where up to 45 members can collectively produce up to 99 plants; and licensed sale in pharmacies to adult residents. Regulation will be overseen by the government’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis(IRCCA). Sales to minors, driving under the influence of marijuana, and all forms of advertising are prohibited.

“Uruguay’s model will look quite different from the eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana,” Hetzer continued. “There is no one-size-fits-all marijuana legalization system. It’s important for each jurisdiction to tailor marijuana regulation to their local needs and contexts, providing the world with different models to learn from.”

Since the bill was passed in 2013, the government has been developing regulations, registering domestic cultivators and membership clubs, and preparing for the implementation of licensed sales in pharmacies. Two companies have received licenses to produce the marijuana sold in pharmacies, which will be available next week at $1.30 per gram. Each registered individual will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams a month.

Implementing licensed sales in pharmacies took longer than anticipated, due to a presidential election in 2015, a delay in funding for the IRCCA, and the government’s commitment to moving forward cautiously.

Marijuana reform gained remarkable momentum throughout the hemisphere in recent years. Twenty-nine U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, while eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana more broadly. Jamaica decriminalized marijuana for medical, scientific and religious purposes; Colombia and Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana through executive orders; Chile allows for marijuana cultivation for oncology patients; Mexico recently passed a medical marijuana bill a year after their Supreme Court ruled that prohibition of marijuana for personal consumption is unconstitutional; and Canada is set to become the next country to fully legalize marijuana.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Tell AAA to Stop Lying About Marijuana Legalization

Over the first six months of 2017, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has been spreading misinformation and propaganda in a lobbying effort to defeat marijuana legalization legislative efforts in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and other states.

As reported by Leafly.com, AAA representatives have recently preyed upon unsubstantiated fears regarding the alleged “increased plague of drugged driving” and the claim that “more babies will be born high” on marijuana in their lobbying efforts against adult use regulatory reforms. The distortions do nothing to advance the public debate surrounding legalization, but they do tarnish the organization’s reputation.

Send a message to AAA telling them to put the brakes on lobbying against legalization efforts

According to federal data, auto accident fatalities have fallen significantly over the past two decades – during the same time that a majority of US states have legalized marijuana for either medical or social use. In 1996 when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were an estimated 37,500 fatal car crashes on US roadways. This total fell to under 30,000 by 2014.

Further, a recently published study in the American Journal of Public Health reports that fatal traffic accident rates in legal marijuana states are no different than those in states where cannabis remains illegal. A separate study published last year in the same journal previously reported that the enactment of medical marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in traffic fatalities compared to other states, particularly among younger drivers.

One would hope that AAA would be nonpartisan in this debate; that they would be the group to separate the facts from the myths so that politicians and law enforcement would be more likely to pursue evidence-based policies with regard to regulating marijuana in a manner that strengthens public safety. Instead they’re largely fear-mongering and further politicizing the issue — calling for the continued criminalization and arrest of millions of Americans who choose to use marijuana privately and responsibly. By doing so, they are arguing in favor of the failed criminal justice policies of the past and they are alienating the 60 percent of Americans who endorse the outright legalization of recreational cannabis by adults (Gallup, 2016).

Tell AAA to stop distorting the truth, send their public affairs department a message right now

There are areas of public policy where AAA is absolutely in agreement with reform advocates, including NORML. For instance, we both agree that driving under the influence of cannabis should be discouraged and legally prohibited, and that the detection of either THC or its metabolites in blood or urine is not indicative of psychomotor impairment and, therefore, should not be used a legal standard of criminal liability.

Our hope is that some day groups like NORML and AAA can work together to advocate for rational policies that work to keep our roadways safe from the threat of impaired drivers. Specifically, we recognize — as does AAA — that there is a need for greater tools and methods  to more accurately determine whether or not someone is under the influence of cannabis, such as via the use and promotion of handheld performance technology.

Tell AAA that the days of ‘reefer madness’ are over. It’s time for a rational and evidence-based discussion regarding how best to regulate the use of marijuana by adults and how to keep our roads safe.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Uruguay, First Country in the World to Legally Regulate Marijuana, Begins Retail Sales Wednesday

Uruguay will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents on July 19. The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by former President José Mujica in 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at improving public safety.

Uruguay’s parliament gave final approval to the measure in December 2013, making theirs the first country in the world to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults.

“This is a historic moment,” says Hannah Hetzer, Senior International Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “In recent years, Latin American leaders have decried the staggering human, environmental and financial costs of the War on Drugs in their region. Uruguay is boldly demonstrating that concrete alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies are possible.”

In 2013, a broad coalition emerged to support the proposal, which included LGBT, women’s rights, health, student, environmental and human rights organizations, alongside trade unions, doctors, musicians, lawyers, athletes, writers, actors and academics, united under the campaign Regulación Responsable (“Responsible Regulation”).

The Uruguayan model allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health; domestic cultivation of up to six plants per household; membership clubs where up to 45 members can collectively produce up to 99 plants; and licensed sale of marijuana in pharmacies to adult residents.

Regulation will be overseen by the government’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis(IRCCA). Sales to minors, driving under the influence of marijuana, and all forms of advertising are prohibited.

“Uruguay’s model will look quite different from the eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana,” Hetzer continued. “There is no one-size-fits-all marijuana legalization system. It’s important for each jurisdiction to tailor marijuana regulation to their local needs and contexts, providing the world with different models to learn from.”

Since the bill was passed in 2013, the government has been developing regulations, registering domestic cultivators and membership clubs, and preparing for the implementation of licensed sales in pharmacies.

Two companies have received licenses to produce the marijuana sold in pharmacies, which will be available next week at $1.30 per gram. Each registered individual will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams a month.

Implementing licensed sales in pharmacies took longer than anticipated, due to a presidential election in 2015, a delay in funding for the IRCCA, and the government’s commitment to moving forward cautiously.

Marijuana reform gained remarkable momentum throughout the hemisphere in recent years. Twenty-nine U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana, while eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana more broadly. Jamaica decriminalized marijuana for medical, scientific and religious purposes; Colombia and Puerto Rico legalized medical marijuana through executive orders; Chile allows for marijuana cultivation for oncology patients; Mexico recently passed a medical marijuana bill a year after their Supreme Court ruled that prohibition of marijuana for personal consumption is unconstitutional; and Canada is set to become the next country to fully legalize marijuana.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.