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Marijuana legalization has gone mainstream. Rick Steves has helped.

10/27/18--Rick Steves, a travel writer and public radio and television host, is an outspoken activist for the legalization of recreational marijuana. He says smoking pot is like a “declaration of independence.” The legalization of marijuana is a more mainstream issue now than it has ever been, and this trend is both reflected and powered by the advocacy of people like Steves, who campaigned for legalization in his home state of Washington in 2012 and now travels the country doing the same thing. Read

Cannabis descheduling not one of pharma giant’s “core priorities”

2/23/18--Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co., a pharmaceutical giant that once developed marijuana-based medicines, won’t be advocating for the descheduling of cannabis anytime soon. The company opposes a shareholder proposal seeking Lilly to proclaim support of marijuana descheduling, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing made Friday. Read

Anti-legalization group urges feds to “systematically shut down” cannabis industry

8/30/17--Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a nonprofit group opposed to marijuana legalization, announced it had sent a report to Jeff Sessions and other lawmakers detailing how the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana have failed to live up to the responsibilities outlined. Based on its report, “The Cole Memo: 4 Years Later,” SAM recommended that Sessions “take measured action to successfully protect public health and safety. Limited federal resources should be used to target the big players in the marijuana industry who are circumventing (Department of Justice) guidance and state regulations.” Read

Marijuana lobbyists harvest cash from bankers, accountants, lawyers and others

9/1/17--Bankers, accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, and other professionals hoping to serve Maine’s recreational marijuana industry spent much of the $260,000 that has been paid to State House marijuana lobbyists so far in 2017. The money being spent to influence legislation reflects the potential size of the recreational pot market: nearly $300 million in sales a year by 2020, according to one attorney involved in lobbying legislators. Read

The reaction to Booker’s marijuana bill that he doesn’t want to see

8/21/17--Two very different groups have launched efforts against U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's efforts to remove the federal ban on marijuana. While Booker said he was moved to act because law enforcement unfairly targeted members of minority communities for using the drug, the organizations said that legalization in the states that so far have voted for it has not made any difference. Read

Los Angeles’ new cannabis czar for ‘new era’ is longtime legalization activist

8/18/17--Cat Packer, an active and prominent supporter of the campaign to legalize recreational-use cannabis in California, will serve as executive director for the city’s newly created Department of Cannabis Regulation. The city is weighing proposed regulations to allow dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, and other types of cannabis-related businesses to operate. As California prepares to move forward in January with legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, Packer will be the person steering the Los Angeles rollout of regulation for the burgeoning industry. Read

L.A. set to approve officials to oversee new marijuana department

8/16/17--The Los Angeles City Council is expected to back Mayor Eric Garcetti’s picks to oversee City Hall’s new Cannabis Department, a vote that comes as officials prepare for legalization of recreational marijuana in California. Cat Packer, the former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, will lead new cannabis regulations for the city. A five-member Cannabis Commission will provide input on those new rules. Read

Oregon lawmakers to the federal government: de-schedule marijuana

8/8/17--A bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers joined legislators from across the country on Monday in calling for the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of controlled drugs. If the federal government were to heed the request, it could ease restrictions on cannabis research and banking in states that have legalized the drug. Read

DPA to host 2017 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Atlanta

7/29/17--More than 1,500 people will gather in Atlanta, Georgia, October 11 – 14 for DPA’s biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference to discuss issues, such as how the Trump Administration will impact drug policies in America, what will happen with states that have legalized marijuana and those that are considering similar policies, and what can be done to solve the overdose crisis, just to name a few. The upcoming conference is taking place at a paradoxical moment in the fight against the war on drugs. Read

Card denied: Marijuana advocacy group’s bank account terminated

7/13/17--PNC has closed the account for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's Ohio branch without notice, leaving all seven of its regional chapters without access to funds. PNC also closed the account of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, another marijuana legalization advocacy group, in June. Read

PNC shutters marijuana group’s Ohio bank account

7/14/17--One of the nation’s largest financial services companies, Pittsburgh-based PNC, recently shut down the account of the Ohio chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Read

Roger Stone urges Trump to not interfere with states that have legalized marijuana

6/24/17--Former Donald Trump presidential campaign advisor Roger Stone is calling on the president to uphold his pre-election promise regarding marijuana legalization as his attorney general appears closer than ever to reining in states with legal weed. Stone recently formed a pro-marijuana lobbying group, the United States Cannabis Coalition, and its main purpose is ensuring the president keeps his campaign promise with respect to legalization, particularly in the face of recent comments made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggesting otherwise. Read

PNC Bank is closing the Marijuana Policy Project’s account

6/22/17--PNC Bank is closing its account with an influential marijuana legalization group, the Marijuana Policy Project. The group claims it's being singled out because of its ties to the pot industry. Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert said he wonders why a bank would have a problem dealing with an organization that receives money from marijuana businesses when those businesses pay taxes. Read

NORML promises fight after latest Trump minion hints of marijuana crackdown

6/14/17--The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is sending a clear signal to the administration of President Donald Trump following the latest negative words and deeds aimed at legal marijuana in Colorado and beyond by Justice Department officials Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. In the words of NORML policy director Justin Strekal, "Should the Department of Justice decide to throw out the Tenth Amendment and respect for states' rights as they govern their own intrastate commerce, they're going to have a fight on their hands." Read

Safer Arizona continues saga for marijuana legalization in Phoenix

6/4/17--Since Arizona is still hesitant about embracing the legalization of marijuana, Safer Arizona continues spread awareness and invoke their advocacies to other people about the benefits of cannabis in both personal and economic status. Although the fight for marijuana legalization by Safer Arizona has piqued the interest of some, others who have the same interest in making marijuana legal contradict Safer Arizona as they think that the group can’t influence the decision of the state. Read

George Soros still quietly buying district attorneys’ seats

5/18/17--The left-wing billionaire George Soros has turned the Philadelphia district attorney’s race on its head by giving $1.45 million to fund a super PAC in support of his preferred candidate, Larry Krasner. The influx of money from Soros gave Krasner a significant leg up over his opposition. Despite splitting votes with six other candidates, Krasner, who was not a favorite to win before Soros’ investment, finished 18 points ahead of the second-place finisher. Read

Legal weed’s number 1 warrior puts down his pipe

4/28/17--Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is stepping down after leading the organization for more than 20 years. On his last day, he sat down with The Daily Beast to reflect on his field’s remarkable past and uncertain future. Nadelmann himself played a role in most of the ballot referenda legalizing marijuana. His organization successfully promoted criminal-justice reforms in California, New Jersey, and New York. Read

Clergy for a New Drug Policy

4/12/17--Clergy for a New Drug Policy calls for an end to the War on Drugs which the United States has waged, at home and abroad, for over 40 years. The group believes this War has failed to achieve its stated objectives; deepened divisions between rich and poor, black, white, and brown; squandered over one trillion dollars; and turned the United States into a “prisoner” nation. Read

Coalition for Safer Illinois

4/12/17--Safer Illinois is a coalition that supports replacing the harmful and ineffective prohibition of marijuana with sensible regulations and taxation. The organization believes adults 21 and older should not be penalized for using a product that is safer than alcohol. Additionally, Safer Illinois believes that thoughtful regulation and education is a safer approach than marijuana prohibition for both cannabis consumers and communities. Read

Legal marijuana advocates are uneasy with Sessions’ stance

4/6/17--Supporters of marijuana legalization are worried because new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been making tough comments about the drug, and there's a lot of uncertainty about how the Trump administration will enforce federal law. Marijuana legalization advocates say if the Trump Justice Department makes big changes, it will be in for a fight. Read

West Virginia NORML makes final push for medical marijuana legislation

4/3/17--Although Senate Bill 386 passed out of the full Senate by a considerable margin of 28-6, it still faces an uncertain future. With an uphill battle expected in the House of Delegates, members of West Virginia NORML are calling for supporters of SB 386 to join them in a final push to encourage a yes vote from members of the House. Read

Veterans groups fight for marijuana access to curb opioid abuse

4/1/17--States with medical marijuana programs are beginning to open access to the drug for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, under mounting pressure from veterans groups advocating marijuana as an alternative to opioids. Many are unable to get relief from painkillers or traditional treatments allowed under current federal law, leaving them at the mercy of their particular state’s policy. Read

Sir Richard Branson suggests New Zealand farmers swap cows for marijuana

3/29/17--Billionaire businessman Richard Branson has urged kiwi farmers to swap cows for cannabis. He sees a significant business opportunity for the country’s dairy farmers in marijuana. "I think that would be wonderful because obviously the amount of dairy cows that New Zealand has is damaging the rivers. If you could put some of that land over into growing cannabis it would be just as profitable for them, if not more profitable,” says Branson. Read

Lobbying against sin: Baptist leader ready to fight marijuana

3/29/17--The Rev. Joe Godfrey serves as executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), an interfaith ministry and lobbying group funded by the state's Southern Baptists to promote their stance on issues such as alcohol and gambling. ALCAP opposes the legalization of marijuana. Although Godfrey doesn't foresee a movement towards marijuana legalization in Alabama anytime soon, he says ALCAP will step up to fight it if it does emerge. Read

Pushing for legalization: Alabama housewife to marijuana activist

3/29/17--Former housewife turned marijuana activist Loretta Nall has become one of the most outspoken advocates for the legalization of pot in the nation. She formed the U.S. Marijuana Party in 2002; ran for Alabama governor in 2006 on a platform to legalize pot; created the Alabama Compassionate Care group to fight for use of marijuana for treatment of disease; and in 2010 was named by the magazine Skunk as one of the top 100 most influential women in Cannabis. Read

Ohio marijuana advocates continue medical marijuana, hemp ballot effort

3/9/17--Backers of a measure enshrining in the Ohio Constitution the right to use medical marijuana and grow industrial hemp are moving forward, despite the fact that medical marijuana is already legal in Ohio. Supporters of the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Amendment say constitutional language would ensure Ohio patients have access to marijuana and solidify the argument that marijuana is a states' rights issue. Read

Marijuana lobby ready to spend more to defend Mass. law

3/14/17--Marijuana advocates spent millions of dollars to put a legal marijuana law in place in Massachusetts last year, and they are willing to spend more to protect the law approved by almost 1.8 million voters. Jim Borghesani, the communications director for the Yes on 4 campaign who now works with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said the advocacy group is prepared to spend money in Massachusetts to make the case that legislative changes violate the voter-approved law. Read

DEA removes marijuana misinformation from website

2/13/17--After months of public pressure, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed factually inaccurate information from its website. The change comes after Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice last year demanding that the DEA immediately update and remove factually inaccurate information about cannabis from their website and materials. Read

Government has apparently dropped ‘gateway’ theory

2/16/17--Recently the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) quietly removed a report from its website, suggesting that it is finally giving up the false theories that cannabis is a “gateway drug,” or that it causes permanent brain damage or psychosis. These myths have been at the heart of positions held by marijuana prohibitionists and often served as their platform when voting against medical cannabis legislation. Read

Marijuana advocates mobilizing in advance of Sessions confirmation hearing

1/6/17--Marijuana legalization activists are organizing a national “Day of Action” on Monday to protest the potential confirmation of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the nation’s attorney general. Day of Action participants will be “flooding” senators’ phone lines to demand that Sessions not be confirmed if he does not respect state marijuana laws, NORML officials said. Read

What the drug war could look like under President Trump

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-10-18-36-am12/22/16--Just how devastating President Trump will be for the drug policy reform community was a subject of some debate in the days immediately following his surprise win. On the rare occasion Trump has expressed support for medical marijuana, he thinks broader legalization should be left up to the states. One glimmer of hope for legalization advocates comes straight from Trump's inner circle. Specifically, some hope Trump's outspoken ally Peter Thiel could influence the incoming president's thinking in a positive way. Read

Causal links between cannabis, schizophrenia

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-11-08-pm12/19/16--People who have a greater risk of developing schizophrenia are more likely to try cannabis, according to new research, which also found a causal link between trying the drug and an increased risk of the condition. This latest study from Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology sheds fresh light on the issue, while still cautioning that the results ought to be considered in the wider context of other contributing factors of mental health. Read

Americans for Safe Access’ members challenge DEA

screen-shot-2016-12-27-at-8-49-28-am12/5/16--Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a petition with the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) immediately update misinformation about cannabis. The petition is being filed under the rules of the Information Quality Act. Read

National anti-pot group SAM takes stock post-election

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-10-17-am11/16/2016--Kevin Sabet,  one of the leading opponents of marijuana legalization and head of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), recently told The Cannabist,  “I don’t think that legalizers can really look themselves in the mirror and declare total victory.” Sabet also expressed that legalization backers likely will face uphill battles at the state legislature level as well as the federal level. The Republican-dominated government is the “worst outcome” imagined for marijuana advocates, he added. Read

NORML: Marijuana is here to stay

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-11-20-40-pm10/23/16--According to Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), despite nearly a century of criminal prohibition, marijuana is here to stay. Armentano believes America’s laws should reflect this reality, and they should regulate the marijuana market accordingly. Read

Marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and D.C.

fb-square-english-spanish10/13/16--According to a new report by the Drug Policy Alliance, there is good news for the states considering legalization during this year's election. It has been reported that there is a massive drop in marijuana arrests, no increase in youth marijuana use, no increase in traffic fatalities, and major fiscal benefits in states with legalized marijuana. Additionally, tens of thousands of people spared from harmful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences, and $552 million in tax revenue raised in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Read and Read

United by pot, divided by policy: How Maine’s pro-marijuana forces disagree

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-8-44-48-am10/12/16--One of the biggest hurdles for marijuana advocates in Maine is finding common ground among the enthusiasts who philosophically agree with legalization. Anxiety around the recreational legalization proposal in Question 1 is coming from the caregiver community, some of whom fear their niche market could collapse. Read

Jay Z: ‘The war on drugs is an epic fail’

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-11-02-14-pm9/15/16--A short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter), is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. Filmmaker Dream Hampton proposed creating an animated video that the Drug Policy Alliance would produce about the impact of the drug war in African-American communities. Read