NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

ballot_box_leafThis week was a busy one for marijuana law reform around the country. There were several election day measures and a new bill was introduced in the Senate. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s marijuana happenings:

The controversial ResponsibleOhio measure failed to garner enough support in Ohio to become law. You can read more on what was learned from the campaign here. The measure was defeated 65 to 35 percent so it’s clear the initiative had some qualities that were less than desirable by Ohio residents. Those living in the city of Logan, OH also had the chance to vote on a local depenalization measure but voters rejected that measure 57 to 43 percent.

On the successful end of things, residents in two Michigan cities approved local measures to reduce the penalties associated with the possession, use, transfer and transportation of small amounts of marijuana.

Following election day, Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders introduced legislation, S 2237, to remove marijuana from the US Federal Controlled Substances Act. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 would deschedule cannabis from the CSA, as is alcohol and tobacco. This legislation provides states the power to establish their own marijuana policies and banking policies free from federal interference.

What’s notable about this legislation is that it is the first ever bill introduced in the Senate that has called for the end of marijuana prohibition at the federal level. And it’s only the fourth marijuana law reform bill to have ever been introduced in the Senate. You can take action on this legislation, here.

While not necessarily legislative news, a couple other important events took place this week:

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 decision that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional. The ruling declares that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use.

While this is definitely a step in the right direction for a country that is almost crippled with drug cartel problems, what happens next remains to be seen. The ruling does not strike down current drug laws and it only applies to the four plaintiffs involved in the case. It could however, pave the way for more substantive policy changes to be made later on.

Disappointingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief, Chuck Rosenberg said this week he doesn’t believe smoking marijuana is actually medicinal and called the entire premise a “joke”.

He said, “What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal — because it’s not. We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine. That is a joke.”

“There are pieces of marijuana — extracts or constituents or component parts — that have great promise” medicinally,” he said. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana, which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana, it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

To have a top official, largely responsible for our country’s drug policy, refuse to acknowledge the therapeutic effects of the whole marijuana plant is disappointing and very misleading. To learn more about medical marijuana and it’s scientifically proven medical efficacy, click here.

Thanks for catching up on what happened in marijuana law reform this week and keep following our blog for more updates as they happen!

19 thoughts

  1. Thanks Danielle;
    Perhaps DEA director Chuck Rosenberg should watch a child having seizures calm down after oral administration of whole plant cannabis extract. Then, with cameras on him, ask him if he still thinks marijuana isn’t medicinal.

  2. It’s amazing to see the DEA grasping at straws and getting defensive about justifying the continued existance fo this out-dated agency.

  3. Canadian Activist Dana Larson makes some of the most succinct points, today: “This century of war on cannabis and cannabis users was not some well-intentioned mistake. This persecution was not a noble effort to protect health or improve society…”

  4. So the new DEA head is calling cannabis bad and dangerous . Too bad. I’ll bet he was dancing when Ohio didn’t pass issue 3. Even though it wasn’t for the reason he would like. He will still spin it to fit his opinion.

  5. Way to go, Bernie!!

    To those who will complain that he’s an “opportunist” on this issue, please explain to me, what the hell are we trying to do here except get the politicos to support or change their minds on pot legalization?

    He’s introduced legislation to remove pot from the controlled substance act, for crying out loud!

    Even you Rand Paul admirers should like that! (?)

  6. Chief Joke Chuck hasn’t gotten beyond the “$moking leaf” talkstyle even though Vaporizers sell 80% more each year? Bad and dangerous: “$moking” is a drug cocktail of carbon monoxide, heat $hock and 4221 Combu$tion toxins– which his ilk continue to blame on “marijuana” of course. Government are too comfy with their tax revenues from H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarettes it would appear. The train wreck Chucky sees down the track is the $igarette format itself derailed by universal preference for vaping with a flexdrawtube one-hitter made by You in Your garage (“disruptive technology”).

  7. The Times may have gone tabloid from their days of true investigative reporting with that awful piece on Sanders “not kissing babies”, but at least their editorial board is stilling beating the drums of legalization;

    I find Canada and Mexico’s recent actions coinciding with quickly shifting Drug Policy from the UN fascinating. We can finally all see the tiger from the trees within the DOJ behind the scary veil known as the CSAct, and the cage that was made for the poor, the sick and minorities appears more and more to be fitted for the pacing predators of prohibition, behaving like arrogant wild cats, darting back and forth within their shrinking territory, only to find the same new walls the architects and profiteers if the CSAct built for themselves; druglords, DEA agents and prohibitionist Congressman who cant believe the end of their fearmongering is plainly in sight.

  8. The DEA official must have never heard about Charlotte’s Web variety of therapy Cannabis. I wonder if he know’s, one can’t get “high” off of hemp. “Hemp for Victory!”

  9. I saw the report that a U.S. Dept. of State official mentioned last Thursday that the U.S. is okay with Canada and Mexico legalizing cannabis for adult recreational, as they are sovereign nations and may do so, in light of U.S. states legalizing.

    I sure hope someone from the U.S. and other nations, a delegation of representatives from several nations, is going to the U.N. to request that they and their W.H.O. change their positions and allow countries to legalize cannabis for both medical and adult recreational.

    On a separate note, I would like to be able to choose to see more comments per page. This is fine on my phone, but on my computer I want to be able to scroll and see all comments instead of having to keeping clicking on Older Comments over and over again until I finally get to the first comment. Argh!

    I guess there is no good news regarding D.C and moving forward with adult recreational. I was so looking forward to going there as soon as they could get brick and mortar stores open. I’m very will to pay taxes on legal weed in D.C. in exchange for potency and safety testing (pesticides, fungicides, mold, mildew, infestations, adulteration) and safe and regulated, non-violent circumstances for the transaction.

    Hey D.C., how’s about some legal cannabis banking?!

    I think the U.S. and whoever else should petition the U.N. already to allow legal international cannabis banking in places where it is legal/sanctioned by either the state/province within a country.


  10. Someone please show that ignorant chief Chuck Rosenberg, the Medicinal Marijuana documentaries (also known as “Weed” on YouTube) that Dr. Sanjay Gupta discovered!!!! Those documentaries should enlighten this fool Rosenberg about the many Medicinal benefits of the Marvelous Marijuana plants…..

  11. I love Bernie Sanders and think he would make a truly great president!

    Unfortunately, the new head of the DEA seems to know very little about marijuana and the culture of users… Too bad we couldn’t have got someone in charge of that agency that is better educated. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance appointed to that post. As it is, the DEA continues to be an extremely expensive and totally failed agency in my opinion and that of many many others…

  12. No, this is actually a hilariously desperate attempt of Chuck to move the goalposts! Think about it: it wasn’t so long ago that the prohibitionists insisted that mj had NO medical value, and now it’s “well OK, some parts or aspects of the plant have medical use because I can no longer deny that and be taken seriously, but the WHOLE plant isn’t useful in that way, and so the idea that it is medically useful is silly!”

    He is still admitting the value, but then saying it doesn’t count because some parts of the plant aren’t medically useful (and I don’t know if that’s true, but its irrelevant; I’m sure some parts of the coca or poppy plant aren’t medically useful but we still use it in opiate medicines which are much more dangerous.)

    The fact that he needs to move the goalposts and cook up be “doesn’t count” qualifiers means he is losing and he knows it.

  13. The spiel that Rosenberg and Kevin Sabet want us to believe about cannabis in the “crude form” being unacceptable, is unacceptable.

    The notion that only “isolated compounds” extracted from cannabis is acceptable,is not only dishonest but also ineffectual, considering that were just learning about the compounds in cannabis that have its wide range of medicinal effects.Only until recently, did we know much more about the chemical elements of cannabis other than THC,CBD,CBN,THCVA etc.Now where learning about TERPENES,that have the scents and flavors that are particular to certain strains and phenotypes.The range of terpenes mirror the same scents found in a wide variety of fruits and spices ,and each correspond to their own unique health benefits.

    We know they have the Patent to cannabis.But some artificial concoction from a chemistry recipe that only has isolated components is not superior than Nature. The greed is absolutely amazing.

    Cannabis is a nutraceutical.Man needs to accept the fact that he is not superior to nature,and be humble enough to accept and learn from it.

  14. I am so tired of uninformed people or ignorant, not sure which telling me what is good for my health. Most aren’t doctors just Lawyers, maybe they should keep to what they know and leave this to the informed.

  15. Look the war on drugs is a big joke.we are lied to about marijuana.the law gives them the right to take your life away from you.I used to smoke back in the I know.I quite smoking weed and had no trouble in doing it.and I have tryed so hard to quit smoking cigarettes and can’t do it.I never dream that cigarettes was more addiction then for you all who thinks weed is dangerous. You just don’t know you have no clue. Cigarettes is the most dangerous drug out there

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