OLYMPIA — As of April 1, statutory authority to regulate the makers of marijuana edibles will be added to the administrative responsibilities of the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), a move that will require these businesses to apply for a special endorsement on their business licenses. Ultimate regulatory authority for marijuana operations remains with the Washington State […]
from the Washington LCB… Current Stats from Leaf Data Systems The below statistics cover activity in Leaf Data Systems for the time period between February 1, 2018 and March 11, 2018. Workarounds within Leaf Last week we sent an email that included a link to a table with known workaround solutions for workflow issues. This information will […]
Anacortes – The City Council voted 4-2 Monday to permanently ban medical marijuana cooperatives within city limits. A cooperative consists of four registered medical marijuana patients growing up to 60 plants in one residence for personal use. The ban was put in place because growing that many plants in a single home could cause problems […]
One of WA’s most respected and senior neurologists believes there is potential for medicinal cannabis to help some of the sickest children at Princess Margaret Hospital from next year. PMH head of neurology Lakshmi Nagarajan, who is also the director of its epilepsy program, said there was evidence medicinal cannabis may be useful in treating […]
Anacortes – The city is considering an ordinance that would ban all medical marijuana cooperatives within city limits. The city has had a moratorium on cooperative gardens since Dec. 7, 2015, out of concern for public health and public safety, and to allow time to evaluate the city’s options. In a medical marijuana cooperative, up […]
Near Elma, Wash. – A Grays Harbor County community, starved for jobs, is opening some of its publicly-owned space to a pot grower. The struggle for economic survival is now changing attitudes toward the cannabis industry. A big warehouse near Elma, that has struggled economically for a long time, will soon be filled with pot […]
During the pregnancy of her 5th child, a young Washington mother named Jessamyn Way developed terrible migraine headaches, fainting spells, and blood pressure problems. After the birth of her child, she was sent to a Hospital ER where a CAT scan revealed that she had a brain tumor deep within her skull. She was told […]
Karlee lives in a quiet town in southeastern Washington. Last year, she put in a new cedar fence around her home. The fence is 6 feet tall, and behind it Karlee grows tomatoes, zucchini, and marijuana. As it matures, the sweet smell of pot starts to waft into the neighborhood. This is Karlee’s cue that […]
For a crop that promises to improve the human condition from nutrition to nanotechnology, saying we’ve got a lot to learn may be an understatement. But Washington state is taking on this challenge in a methodical way, with state budgetary support, and the protection if not the blessing, of the federal government. A presentation by […]
The shutdown of medical cannabis dispensaries in June proved a boon for Kitsap County’s recreational marijuana industry. Sales by state-licensed marijuana retailers shot up nearly 20 percent in July, reaching $2.15 million, according to data published by the Liquor and Cannabis Board. All 12 active stores in the county reported an uptick in sales. “We […]
An unlicensed Vashon medical marijuana shop is still operating on the island’s main highway more than a month after dispensaries without proper licensing were closed across the state. Island Cure, on the south end of Vashon in the 17900 block of Vashon Highway SW, has been operating past July 1, which was the deadline for […]
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is taking another step in the marijuana business. Earlier this year, the tribe opened a marijuana testing laboratory in Fife after signing a deal with Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. The tribe has now amended the compact to include production and sales of marijuana for […]
There isn’t much left to say regarding the events that transpired the last 26 days in Washington State. Enough time has passed since the closure of dispensaries and medical collectives around the state for patients to become ill and perish. Patients are still tirelessly rallying at the capitol, hopeful for change. Mothers are still panicked […]
Marijuana used for medicine is different from marijuana used for recreational purposes – or, at least, it should be. Yet, the state Legislature approved a law that went into effect July 1 that essentially merges medical marijuana with the recreational industry. To this point, it’s created a mess. This week, the Walla Walla City Council […]
Anacortes – The city of Anacortes extended its moratorium on new medical marijuana cooperatives through next May during its City Council meeting Monday as the city waits for state lawmakers to further develop medical marijuana regulations. The council voted 4-0 to extend the moratorium. In a medical marijuana cooperative, up to four patients can grow […]
In what may be one of the funnier examples of irony, Iowa state senator Chuck Grassley is wrong on medical marijuana. While he is making progress to introduce the drug as a medicine, he is doing so too slowly. Adult patients can not get help from medical cannabis, however, children in the state are now […]
Buffalo News, 08 May 2016 – Two years ago, Washington State began an unprecedented policy experiment by allowing large-scale production and sale of recreational marijuana to the public. The effects on public health and safety and on the relationship of law enforcement to minority communities will take years to manifest fully, but one impact has become abundantly clear: Legalized marijuana is getting very cheap very quickly. Marijuana price data from Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board was aggregated by Steve Davenport of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. After a transitory rise in the first few months, which Davenport attributes to supply shortages as the system came online, both retail prices and wholesale prices have plummeted. Davenport said that prices “are now steadily falling at about 2 percent per month. If that trend holds, prices may fall 25 percent each year going forward.”
Last year the cannabis industry donated $18,500 to presidential candidates. Only $1,000 of that went to Sen. Bernie Sanders.
If the evidence stacks Bernie up as the only pro-cannabis candidate — and it does — why hasn’t the industry done more to support him?
That’s a bit of a misleading question. It’s true the National Cannabis Industry Association and Marijuana Policy Project donated more to Rand Paul than Sanders, but cannabis PACs historically don’t donate to presidential campaigns. This is partly because they don’t expect cannabis reform to come from the executive branch, and partly because they don’t have the cash to spare.
Donation records show that a number of budtenders have made individual contributions to his campaign, but it’s hard to account for the myriad of industry jobs that aren’t as obviously cannabis-related: jobs like policy analyst, lawyer, researcher, writer, sales representative, and my own title, photo editor.
This still doesn’t address my titular point, though. Why should cannabis advocates support Sanders?
For one, he’s the only candidate who will push to federally legalize cannabis.
All three remaining Republican candidates are on-record as supporting states’ rights to choose, but none of them advocates federal rescheduling. Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich openly condemn adult consumption. Donald Trump has changed his position so many times, it’s hard to know where he stands on this (or any other) issue.
Hillary Clinton wants “more research.” She supports moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II. That would open up opportunities for meaningful medical studies within the U.S. and would ensure certain patients access, but that access would be “severely restricted.” Clinton, in other words, would be a mild step in the right direction.
Her position on cannabis has marginally improved during the latest election cycle, but it hasn’t always been so sympathetic. Moreover, that recent improvement can be attributed almost entirely to Sanders’ success.
Clinton has demonstrated essentially zero commitment to cannabis reform. In the 1990s she was a vocal proponent for President Bill Clinton’s crime bill, the one that massively expanded America’s drug incarceration rate.
In a 2011 interview with Televisa, she said she wouldn’t consider legalization because “there is just too much money in it.” She further argued there was “no alternative” to continuing the bloody fight between Mexican law enforcement and the cartels. Apparently she wasn’t aware that criminalization is not only one of the least effective methods of countering drug addiction, according to the RAND Corporation, it’s also the second most expensive.
Hillary is nothing if not adaptable, though. She’s recently changed her tune to favor a (somewhat) treatment-based approach to criminalized drugs, but she still won’t consider removing cannabis from federal scheduling entirely, which would put the plant on par with alcohol and tobacco. Her call for “more research” — which ignores the literally hundreds of studies that show both cannabis’s medical promise and its limited risks — could be heartfelt concern over the well-being of Americans. Or it could be an example of money talking.
According to Open Secrets, Hillary Clinton has accepted over $2 million in donations from the pharmaceutical industry so far in the 2016 election cycle. Between her Senate bids in 2000 and 2006 and her 2008 presidential campaign, she accepted nearly $1 million from drugmakers. Donors to her 2008 campaign included Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among others. These companies boast a wide portfolio of prescription drugs, including many that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, arthritis, anxiety, inflammation, hypertension, asthma, glaucoma, generalized pain, and more — conditions and symptoms that also have seen varying degrees of success when treated with cannabis.
If pharmaceutical companies are among Clinton’s enemies, as she has claimed during this election’s democratic debates, why does she keep accepting their donations?
Bernie Sanders, by comparison, is a longtime champion of the cannabis cause.
More than 20 years ago, he co-sponsored HR 2618, which would have amended the Controlled Substances Act to authorize medical marijuana federally. In 1997, he fought for medical cannabis again by co-sponsoring the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. He co-sponsored the States’ Rights to Medical Marijuana Act in 2001 and 2005. He co-sponsored the Industrial Hemp Farming Acts of 2012, 2013, and 2015. Last year, he co-sponsored the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act.
Sanders’ resolve has only strengthened since announcing his presidential bid. In October 2015, he publicly announced his intention to completely remove cannabis from the DEA’s schedule of controlled substances. He even introduced a Senate bill to that effect, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015.
He won’t stop at cannabis legalization. Sanders is committed to re-enfranchising those who lost their right to vote after serving felony drug time, banning for-profit prisons, eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses, giving cannabis businesses and industry professionals equal access to banking, and stopping local governments from using criminalization as a source of revenue.
Hillary Clinton is touting a good number of these policies too — or at least she started to once Sanders began gaining supporters by openly embracing them.
Is Sanders electable? You might be surprised by the answer.
A lot of media coverage has suggested that Clinton appeals to more people than Sanders. The evidence doesn’t support that claim. The most recent aggregation of public polling shows favorable Clinton ratings at 40.7 percent and unfavorable ratings at 54.7 percent. Sanders’ ratings are, by contrast, 49.5 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable. Clinton’s public approval ratings have been slowly declining since 2011, and rapidly declining since late 2012. By April 2015, more people felt unfavorably about her than favorably. By contrast, Sanders’ approval ratings have been consistently increasing since March 2015.
Source: Huffington Post
Critics often claim Sanders isn’t electable in November’s general election, but the numbers say otherwise. Recent polling not only suggests he’s electable, it also shows he’s actually more likely to win against Trump or Cruz than Hillary Clinton would be.
When discussing electability, it’s also important to consider how states vote in the general. The majority of Hillary’s delegate leads come from red states, states that historically vote Republican in presidential elections. Right now, Hillary has only won four blue states, one of which was nearly a tie (Iowa: 23 to 21). Bernie has won six. She has won more swing states than Bernie (four to his one) but there’s no guaranteeing how those states will vote in the general election.
This means Hillary’s strongest support is coming from states that usually vote Republican anyway. Sanders has outright won more states that tend to vote Democrat, and the blue states he’s lost have been by mostly insignificant margins. Clinton’s lead isn’t as big as it might seem.
What about delegate math? Is it true that Sanders can’t mathematically catch up to Clinton?
No. She has a lead, particularly among superdelegates, but that lead isn’t “all but insurmountable.”
Right now, neither candidate has an insurmountable majority of pledged delegates. Clinton has 1,243 delegates, Sanders has 980. In other words, Clinton has 56 percent of current delegates, and Sanders has 44 percent. Twenty-two states and territories have yet to vote, with a total of 1,747 pledged delegates up for grab.
While a majority of superdelegates have expressed support for Hillary, their backing isn’t guaranteed. If Sanders continues to win states outright while also winning relatively equal numbers of delegates in the states he loses, superdelegate support could very well shift to Sanders by the time the Democratic convention convenes in July.
As Nate Silver pointed out at FiveThirtyEight, “Superdelegates are mathematically relevant when a candidate has 41.2 percent to 58.8 percent of elected delegates.” Both candidates are currently in the range where superdelegate votes matter, and Hillary’s lead isn’t strong enough to knock Bernie out of the running.
So which candidate should cannabis advocates back this election?
When choosing whom to lend their vote (and financial support) to, I ask all cannabis advocates to ask themselves: Do you want a candidate with a 20-plus year track record of fighting for federal cannabis legalization, sensible drug policy, and criminal justice reform? Or do you want a candidate who openly opposed cannabis reform until it became politically untenable (and even then only avowed tepid leadership), who supported policies that further institutionalized mass incarceration for cannabis consumers, and whose campaign is, at least partially, funded by the pharmaceutical industry?
To me, the answer is clear.
Image Source: Todd Church via Flickr Creative Commons
LATEST NORML NEWS
State and Local:
Everyday NORML Affiliates and Chapters from around the country invest countless hours into contacting representatives, hosting events, and talking to voters, all with the hope of passing meaningful marijuana reforms on the local, state and federal level! In an effort to highlight their hard work and accomplishments, we will feature their stories on NORML.org and promote the content through our social media channels. To get involved in your area, please send an email to KevinM@nullNORML.org to get started today!
California NORML’s executive director questioned a recent report produced by an anti-tobacco organization that encouraged municipalities to ban the use of marijuana in public areas or in locations that must adhere to clean indoor air regulations.
“The report vastly inflates the health hazards of smoked marijuana, but concedes that it shouldn’t be criminalized. Rather, it calls for stigmatizing it as much as possible,”
As California gets closer to approving a legalization measure for this November’s ballot, some activists are raising concerns about the impact it will have on the state’s medical marijuana program.
“If you look at the ballot initiative that’s circulating right now, it doesn’t give a lot of incentives to the medical marijuana industry except that you can avoid some of the (proposed 15 percent excise and extra cultivation) taxes if you go to some trouble.”
“We are calling for locals to repeal the bans in favor of meaningful land regulations that will enact the statewide licensing standards … in order to protect public safety, the environment and patients’ rights,”
Last week, Denver NORML announced they will be leading a Responsible Use initiative that will allow the limited consumption of marijuana in the City of Denver. Details are still being worked out with NORML’s national office.
“We are willing to work with them on this issue — we just really want something to happen, we want action to take place,”
“Denver NORML announced that it would be filing its own initiative to put a limited social use of marijuana item on the ballot in 2016.”
Medical marijuana patients in Illinois experienced another setback after lawmakers rejected a proposal that would have expanded access to the state’s medical marijuana program.
“My concern is first and foremost for patients to have access to this medicine and if shops are closing then patients will have to go farther distances to get access to this medicine.”
“By having the Illinois Department of Public Health deny the eight conditions that the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board approved to be added to the list of debilitating conditions for the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, this administration has turned their back on veterans suffering from PTSD”
After a long court battle, Iowa State University NORML won a first amendment lawsuit against school administrators after an attempt to censor a marijuana leaf printed on a t-shirt.
“Members of ISU NORML weren’t keen on being censored. They felt the administration was discriminating against their group. So on July 1, 2014, they filed a lawsuit alleging that school administrators had violated their constitutional rights.”
NORML KC is working hard to push an initiative that would decriminalize the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana in Kansas City.
“Once you start talking to people about cannabis reform, you’d be surprised how many people are for it,” Kacz said. “It doesn’t have to be Democrats or liberals, it’s Republicans, it’s religious people, it’s elderly people.”
New Hampshire NORML urged lawmakers to support a bill that would add PTSD to the state’s list of ailments for medical marijuana.
“By stuffing opiates down people’s throats, it’s going to create a problem. You guys are going to have a heroin epidemic. You’re going to see it. And in the last two years, it is just out of control,”
With some of the stringent marijuana laws in the country, Virginia NORML continues to work with state lawmaker on a wide range of marijuana reform bills.
“We will continue to work educating lawmakers who wish to learn more about cannabis science and widely accepted medical applications, the successful decriminalization legislation in 21 states and successful medical legislation in 24 states.”
Washington NORML is encouraging lawmakers to support a bill that would permit the home cultivation of marijuana.
“NORML Washington is doing a great job leading this fight to grow your own marijuana. They have even made it possible for you to help the movement from your computer/tablet/phone. Here’s a letter they’ve put together for you to send to your representatives and urge their support for personal cultivation”
After going through a much needed reorganization, Wyoming NORML has assembled a strong team who are dedicated to passing the Peggy A. Kelley Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016.
“We haven’t stopped on that from day one, but in the same process we just had to get things a little more organized and get a better structure in here.”
“NORML Wyoming spokeswoman Carrie Satterwhite said the group has the fewest number of volunteer petition circulators in the conservative northeast part of the state, but that region will be targeted in the upcoming months”
“Even though Wyoming NORML didn’t get enough signatures this year, members say if they have enough signatures for the 2018 ballot, medicinal marijuana could help Wyoming in the long run.”
NORML’s deputy director, Paul Armentano recently spoke to reporters about the need for a common sense approach to ending the prohibition of marijuana in America.
“This administration clearly recognizes that the present enforcement of marijuana prohibition and marijuana criminalization is out of step with both public opinion and common sense,”
NORML board member and passionate marijuana advocate will prove to be one of this year’s most effective weapon in the war against the prohibition marijuana.
“Steves has been on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for years and he has worked closely with Washington pot initiative author Alison Holcomb, who now heads the American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice”
During a recent interview, NORML’s deputy director, Paul Armentano shared his thoughts on a recent study about the health risks associated with marijuana use.
“Ultimately, this study’s findings are consistent with the notion that while cannabis is not altogether harmless, its potential risks to health relative to other substances — including legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications — are not so great to warrant its continued criminalization,”
2016 NORML Congressional Lobby Day
NORML Houston Marches at the State Capital
Illinois NORML Lobby Day Feb. 17, 2016
Veterans: Operation Trapped – Year Long Project
Texas NORML’s 3rd Annual Puff-N-Putt Spring Fling at Willie’s Golf Course
Texas NORML’s 9th Texas Marijuana March
Texas NORML Statewide Veteran Conference Call
Seattle Times, 30 Jan 2016 – Several longtime Seattle medical-marijuana businesses filed a lawsuit Friday against the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) alleging that regulators are not following their own rules in issuing a new round of licenses for retail stores. At issue is the process of bringing medical businesses into the state’s licensed recreational-retail system. The Legislature last year gave the LCB authority to license new stores, with priority given to longtime medical players seen as good actors, in following rules and paying taxes.
Seattle Times, 17 Dec 2015 – Liquor and Cannabis Board Would Double Number of Stores in Seattle Trying to fold medical marijuana into the state’s retail system, state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) staff are recommending an additional 222 retail stores around Washington, including 21 in Seattle.
The Herald, 15 Nov 2015 – ALIGN U.S. CANNABIS LAW WITH STATE LAWS The U.S. Smart Act Would Protect Marijuana Users and Businesses in States Where It Has Been Legalized. In 2012, voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502, which legalized the sale, consumption and taxation of marijuana products. Including Washington, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of marijuana, and in 2016, several more states are expected to consider marijuana legalization ballot initiatives.
Seattle Times, 02 Oct 2015 – PORTLAND – At 10 a.m. Thursday, the doors of the Pure Green dispensary opened for the first time to recreational sales, with staff ushering in customers waiting outside who could choose from two dozens strains of pot, and receive a free joint along with their first purchase. Pure Green is one of 119 medical dispensaries scattered across Portland that as of Oct. 1 can sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 21. These dispensaries turn the city into a recreational pot mecca, where such outlets outnumber those that sell hard liquor, according to state regulatory agencies.