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This Week in Weed: August 28th – September 3rd

thisweeknew 300x204 This Week in Weed: August 28th – September 3rdNow streaming on NORMLtv is the latest edition of “This Week in Weed.” This new weekly video series covers the most newsworthy stories shaping the marijuana law reform world. This week a new study is released on cannabis use and obesity, Arkansas lowers marijuana penalties, and the DEA continues to reject proposals to grow cannabis for research purposes.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to get notified as soon as new content is added.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Wired Magazine: Check the Map. Are You Paying Too Much For Your Marijuana?

The September issue of Wired Magazine, working with FloatingSheep, has published a non-peer reviewed report and heat map of the United States demonstrating the current cost to purchase one ounce of cannabis, along with some interesting analysis regarding the disconnect between cannabis prices and state penalties.

324203 258775054144478 120804747941510 919623 19307 o Wired Magazine: Check the Map. Are You Paying Too Much For Your Marijuana?

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Congressman Dennis Kucinich speaks at Seattle Hempfest

MOXNews.com was in the crowd at the Main Stage as Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich addressed the 20th Anniversary Seattle Hempfest.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Drug Czar’s Office To NORML: ‘We Can’t Legalize Marijuana Because Some People Abuse Prescription Drugs!’ Wait, Huh?

purple bud Drug Czar’s Office To NORML: ‘We Can’t Legalize Marijuana Because Some People Abuse Prescription Drugs!’ Wait, Huh?“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

What can I say? I’m flattered. David Mineta, deputy director for demand reduction in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has taken time to publicly respond to little ol’ me. I wonder if they pronounce ‘Armentano’ phonetically at the Drug Czar’s office?

The back story: Last week NORML Board member Paul Kuhn and I published a guest commentary in Nashville’s largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, opining in favor of H.R. 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. Here’s an excerpt:

Marijuana legalization bill offers safer alternative
via The Tennessean

We know tobacco is the leading cause of death in America, contributing to 400,000 deaths each year. So it’s hardly any wonder the FDA will require the placement of prominent warning labels. Alcohol is the third-leading cause of death in America. The World Health Organization reported earlier this year that “alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence.”

… What about marijuana? With every other drug from Advil and alcohol to Zantac, a correct dose is effective, but too high a dose kills the patient. No dose of marijuana is capable of causing a fatal overdose.

… And unlike alcohol and tobacco, adverse effects of even heavy cannabis use are minimal. There is no epidemiological evidence in any country, after scores of studies and centuries of use by tens of millions of people, that marijuana smokers have a shorter life expectancy than non-smokers.

… They don’t become violent at sports events or beat their spouses and children. They don’t get heart disease, cancer, brain damage or any other deadly illness at a higher rate than those who abstain. In fact, a pair of studies conducted by Kaiser Permanente found that marijuana use, even long-term, was not associated with elevated levels of mortality or incidences of cancer, including types of cancers associated with tobacco smoking.

… America is on a path to allow adults to choose a safer alternative to tobacco and alcohol. And create more tax revenue and more jobs in Tennessee. And more freedom.

Apparently quite a few people read our editorial, including some folks at the Drug Czar’s office. And it must have gotten under their skin because today the White House responded with this.

Movement for legalized marijuana ignores dangers
via The Tennessean

Proponents of marijuana legalization often argue it will do everything from fixing our economy to ending violent crime (“Marijuana legalization bill offers safer alternative,” Tennessee Voices, Aug. 15). Yet, the science is clear: Marijuana use is not a benign drug and it is harmful to public health and safety.

… Would marijuana legalization make Tennessee healthier or safer? One needs to look no further than Tennessee’s current painful experience with prescription drug abuse. In Tennessee, prescription drugs are legal, regulated, and taxed — and yet rates of the abuse of pain relievers in the state exceed the national average by more than 10 percent.

Nationally, someone dies from an unintentional drug overdose — driven in large part by prescription drug abuse — on average every 19 minutes. What would America look like if we had just as many people using marijuana as we currently have smoking cigarettes, abusing alcohol, and abusing prescription drugs?

The classic ‘bait-and-switch’ goes on and on, but you get the idea. But I’m not sure the Drug Czar’s office does. After all, if their logic above had even a hint of consistency then they would be arguing for the criminal prohibition of cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription drugs. And lots of other things.

Yet when it comes to Americans’ use of substances like tobacco, booze, and prescription drugs — substances that pose far greater dangers to health than does cannabis — the White House recognizes that prohibition is not the answer: regulation and education are. So why does the Drug Czar’s office fail to apply this same common-sense principle to pot? Perhaps it has something to do with the federal requirement requiring the office to lie about legalization.

Finally, as to the specific question: ‘What would America look like if we had just as many people using marijuana as are presently using tobacco, alcohol, and prescription medications?’ Well, what does America look like today? After all, the federal government imposed criminal prohibition over 70 years ago; yet today that very same federal government admits that over one out of ten Americans admit to having using cannabis in the past year. Among those age 18 to 25, almost half admit to consuming cannabis recently!

The question isn’t ‘What if Americans consumed marijuana?’ The reality is that tens of millions of Americans have and do consume marijuana. Most do so privately and responsibly. Legalizing cannabis simply acknowledges this reality and seeks to regulate the behavior appropriately. In a free society, why would even consider doing differently?

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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NASCAR Again Shows Bias Against Marijuana By Suspending Driver Who Legally Uses Medical Cannabis

The recent and unfortunate suspension of Ronnie Hults, a NASCAR driver from Colorado who is a lawful medical cannabis patient—along with the recent rejection of a NASCAR car sponsored by Cannabis Planet— would seem to affirm a clear bias that the auto racing organization has against cannabis and cannabis consumers.cannabis+planet+tv+nascar NASCAR Again Shows Bias Against Marijuana By Suspending Driver Who Legally Uses Medical Cannabis

And this from an organization like NASCAR….with its well established roots in the illegal trafficking of untaxed alcohol (i.e., Moonshine) post-Prohibition in America’s southeastern states; a major promoter of tobacco products for decades; and current major billboard for the pharmaceutical industry to promote their drugs.

There appears to be no allegations of Mr. Hults driving while under the influence of medical cannabis and as NLC member from Denver Warren Edson wryly observes: ‘What’s the problem here, all these guys have to do is turn left?’

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Legalization Week: Oregon, California, Colorado, Washington Activists on Ballot Initiatives for 2012

NORML SHOW LIVE Stacked1 150x117 Legalization Week: Oregon, California, Colorado, Washington Activists on Ballot Initiatives for 2012

Weekdays 1pm, 4pm, and 10pm Pacific, on http://live.norml.org

This week on NORML SHOW LIVE we took a look at four states where activists are proposing multiple ballot initiatives to legalize… or “sensibly regulate”… marijuana for all adults, even healthy ones. We covered Oregon, California, Colorado, and Washington, click the Full Story link below to get the lineup of interviewees and videos.

Join us online for our live coverage this weekend at Seattle Hempfest.  We have interviews scheduled with Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, Councilman Nick Licata, City Attorney Pete Holmes, Washington Rep. Roger Goodman, Washington Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, and US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, plus all the activist luminaries and performing artists we can snag!  Check out our NORML Stage Schedule for more info.

Watch the Legalization Week interviews here.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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NORML Women’s Alliance: Connecting Female Activists

norml 300x225 NORML Women’s Alliance: Connecting Female Activists

Sister-To-Sister Interview:
Big Sister Kyndra Miller and Little Sister Melissa Sanchez discuss their reasons for becoming activists in the marijuana reform movement, as well as their participation in the NORML Women’s Alliance burgeoning mentorship program, Sister-to-Sister. Both women currently live in California working as attorneys within the Cannabis Industry.
By: Brooke Napier, intern with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy

Why did you get involved with the marijuana reform movement?

Melissa: As a Mexican-American, I was motivated to join the marijuana reform movement because marijuana prohibition in this country stemmed from racism, with enforcement policies disproportionately affecting minority communities. My family and friends in Mexico live with fear of violence because of our drug policies. I had to get involved!

What is your Little Sister like? What has she voiced as being important for her to get out of Sister-to-Sister?

Kyndra: Melissa is a very smart and beautiful human being.  When we first met, she was looking for someone in the movement to reach back and help her become a more informed activist.  She told me that prior to signing up for Sister-to-Sister she was having difficulty finding someone that would be willing to take the time to talk to her. Melissa never ceases to amaze me with her many professional skills and gifts. We seem to really balance each other out.  The experiences that I may not have – she has had – and vice versa.  I am a firm believer that the personal is political.  To that end, she has had a lifetime of experiences that led to her activism.

What kinds of activities are you planning on doing with your Sister?

Melissa: We have a tardeada, an afternoon party, planned for women in the movement in Fresno. At the High Times Cannabis Cup in June, we noticed that many women who were coming up to the NORML Women’s Alliance booth were from the Fresno area. Coincidentally, Fresno County passed a ridiculous anti-medical marijuana ordinance right before our event, so we expect a lot of people to come out and become activists.

Kyndra: During 2012 we will be expanding to other states within the western region.  Our goal is to educate as many people as possible about drug policy reform.

Why do you ladies think Sister-to-Sister is so important?

Kyndra: If I had to isolate one aspect of the program that is most significant, it would have to be the creation of a social network among women. It has helped decrease the levels of loneliness and isolation that some women feel as they fight to end marijuana prohibition.
Melissa: Exactly. It helps create and bring together informed, thoughtful and enthusiastic women activists. I have met some incredible women as a result of my participation in the program. We then all go on to talk about Sister-to-Sister, or the NORML Women’s Alliance to other women, and more of us join. The excitement is contagious. We know we can foster significant change.

What advice would you give to women just getting involved in the marijuana reform movement?

Kyndra: The best advice that I can give is to sign up for Sister-to-Sistah!

[Sister to Sister: Cultivating Female Activists Mentoring Program is designed to recruit and retain female activists in the marijuana reform movement by establishing big sister, little sister, or sister-to-sister peer relationships for new and seasoned activists.]

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Student Drug Testing Fails To Reduce Teens’ Self-Reported Substance Use

NORML Remember Prohibition Student Drug Testing Fails To Reduce Teens’ Self Reported Substance Use[Editor's note: This post is excerpted from this week's forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's media alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here. To watch NORML's weekly video summary of the week's top stories, click here.]

Students subjected to student drug testing programs in school are no less likely to report consuming illicit drugs, tobacco, or alcohol than their peers, according to survey data published online in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

An international team of researchers from the United States, Israel, and Australia assessed the impact of school drug testing programs on a nationally representative sample of 943 high school students.

Investigators reported that the imposition of such programs had no positive impact on males’ self-reported drug use. Student drug screening programs were associated with minor reductions in females’ self-reported drug history, but only among women who attended schools with ‘positive’ environments. By contrast, investigators found that the enactment of drug testing programs in ‘negative’ school environments were most likely to be associated with “harmful effects on female youth.”

Authors reported, “[C]onsistent with previous research, students in schools that conduct drug testing do not report less substance use. … In total, the results indicate that, to the extent drug testing is effective, it is primarily for female students in schools with positive climates.”

They concluded: “The current research expands on previous findings indicating that school drug testing does not in and of itself deter substance use. Indeed, drug testing appears to be particularly ineffective for female students in negative climate schools, which tend to have higher substance use rates and thus are in most need of effective substance prevention programs. Interventions that improve school climate may have much greater efficacy. Thus, our findings indicate that drug testing should not be undertaken as a stand-alone substance prevention effort and that improvements in school climate should be considered before implementing drug testing.”

Previous studies assessing the impact of student drug screening programs, including a 2010 study by US Department of Education, have similarly failed to report that drug testing deterred student drug use.

More than one-fifth of US high schools impose some form of student drug testing, according to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control.

NORML’s fact-sheet, ‘Just Say No to Random Student Drug Testing,’ is available here.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Tremendous PBS Video Explains Why Medical Cannabis Works — And How Big Pharma Is Planning To Cash In On It

PBS is to be commended for producing this excellent video summarizing the science behind the use of cannabis as a medicine.

Want to know why cannabis is effective at treating multiple symptoms and conditions? Watch this video. Want to know how cannabinoids selectively target and kill cancer cells? Watch this video. Want to know how many patents Big Pharma has taken out on cannabis-derived synthetic drugs? Watch this video.

And then share it with your friends and family.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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This Week in Weed: August 21st – 27th

Update: You can now access NORMLtv by typing NORML.tv into your browser,
thisweeknew 300x204 This Week in Weed: August 21st – 27th

Now streaming on NORMLtv is the latest edition of “This Week in Weed.” This new weekly video series covers the most newsworthy stories shaping the marijuana law reform world. This week we cover new research on the efficacy of school drug testing, the safety of THC delivered intravenously, and announce the date for NORML’s Key West Legal Seminar.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv each Thursday afternoon to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to get notified as soon as new content is added.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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