Author: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Alternet: “Why Election Day Marks the Beginning of the End of Marijuana Prohibition”

Why Election Day Marks the Beginning of the End of Marijuana Prohibition via Alternet.org The criminalization of cannabis is a policy that has been in place federally since 1937 and on the state level, in many instances, long before that. Yet, it is a policy that fails to withstand serious scrutiny and possesses only limited public support. Today, a majority of Americans espouse ending America’s nearly century-long, failed experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a system of limited legalization and regulation. Recent national polls by Gallup , Rasmussen, […]

US News & World Report: “Should Marijuana Use Be Legalized?”

Next Tuesday, three voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will be deciding on statewide ballot measures to legalize the adult possession, use, and distribution of cannabis. Today, US News & World Report ‘Debate Club’ asks its readers: “Should marijuana use be legalized?” I, along with Alison Holcolm (New Approach Washington), provide commentaries in favor of ending cannabis prohibition. [Update: MPP’s Morgan Fox also now has a commentary here.] An excerpt from my op/ed appears below: Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails via US News & World […]

Michigan Cities To Vote On Cannabis Depenalization Measures Next Week

Voters in Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, Oregon, and Washington will not be the only ones deciding on marijuana policy on Election Day. Voters in four Michigan cities — totaling over a million people — will also decide on Tuesday whether to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Voters in Detroit will decide on Proposal M, which removes criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, Michigan voters will decide on a citizens’ initiative […]

Marijuana Arrests Decline In 2011, But Still Total Half Of All Illicit Drug Violations

Police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is a decrease from past years. During the years 2006 to 2010, police annually made over 800,000 arrests for cannabis violations. According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise one-half of all illicit drug arrests in the United States. Approximately 43 percent of all drug violations are for cannabis possession. “As in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana […]

Suit Before Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals Seeks To Halt Federal Actions Against California’s Medical Cannabis Providers

On Wednesday, October 24, a group of California dispensary operators, medical cannabis providers, and patients, as Plaintiffs, filed their Opening Brief before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, asking the Circuit Court to hold that Plaintiffs, in their continuing litigation against the Federal Government, have a constitutional Ninth Amendment and Substantive Due Process fundamental right to distribute, possess and use medical cannabis. The brief, filed by members of the NORML Legal Committee, also contends that the Federal Government’s criminal prohibition of medical cannabis has no rational basis […]

Study: Over 200,000 Marijuana Arrests In Colorado Over Past 25 Years

In the 25 years from 1986 to 2010, police and sheriffs’ departments in Colorado made 210,000 arrests for the crime of possessing small amounts of marijuana, according to a report released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project. The study finds that cannabis arrests have risen sharply in the state, from 4,000 in 1986 to 10,500 in 2010, and that young people are most likely to among those arrested. According to the report, eighty-six percent of those arrested for cannabis offenses were age 34 or younger; 79 percent were 29 […]

End Criminal Sanctions For Growing And Possessing Cannabis, British Study Says

Possessing and cultivating personal use amounts of cannabis should no longer be a criminal offense, according to the recommendations of a six-year study released last week by a coalition of leading British drug policy experts, treatment specialists, and law enforcement. The study, commissioned by the UK Drug Policy Commission, argues that decriminalizing minor cannabis offenses will reduce police and prosecutorial costs without adversely impacting levels of illicit drug use. The UK Drug Policy Commission is an independent charity “that provides objective analysis of the evidence concerning drug policies and practice.” […]

Appeals Court To Review DEA’s Dismissal Of Cannabis Rescheduling Petition

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear opening arguments next week in a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s refusal to consider reclassifying cannabis as a schedule I prohibited substance under federal law. At issue in the case is whether the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) acted appropriately when the agency last year denied an administrative petition – initially filed by a coalition of public interest organizations, including NORML, in 2002 – that called on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of cannabis. Under […]

Federal Cannabis Prohibition Turns 75-Years-Old Today

In a milestone that will no doubt go largely unnoticed by the mainstream media, today marks the 75th anniversary of the enactment of federal marijuana prohibition. On October 1, 1937, the US government criminally outlawed the possession and cultivation of cannabis — setting into motion a public policy that today results in some 850,000 arrests per year and has led to more than 20 million arrests since 1965. But times are changing. Now, for the first time, a majority of Americans say that they favor replacing this failed policy with […]

Connecticut’s Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect Today

This morning Connecticut officially became the 17th state since 1996 to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis as a therapeutic option for qualified patients. House Bill 5389 — the Palliative Use of Marijuana Act — which was signed into law on by Democrat Gov. Dan Malloy on June 1, took effect today. Online registration for qualifying patients and their physicians is now available from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection here. Applicable qualifying medical conditions under the law include: cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired […]