TX NORML open meeting notes, May 5, 2010
During last month’s meeting we covered these stories:
-Punishments For Student Drug Test Failures Conflict With Federal Guidelines
-Rhode Island: Senate Commission Backs Decriminalizing Marijuana & House Introduces Legalization Bill
-National NORML Foundation runs ad in Times Square after petition spurs CBS
-Medical cannabis use doesn’t adversely affect substance abuse treatment outcomes
-Washington State expanded medical marijuana law significantly
-New Hampshire House Lawmakers pass marijuana decrim bill
-Hawaii lawmakers pass 2 marijuana law reform bills, decrim and MMJ expansion
-South Dakota MMJ initiative qualifies for Nov. ballot, 2nd time
-California’s “Regulate, Control, & Tax” initiative officially qualified for Nov. ballot
-NYCity marijuana arrests for 2009 are 2nd highest ever
We also had a guest speaker, Amy Fowler, representing the Travis County Democratic Party, here to tell us about the marijuana legalization/decrim referendums that she introduced at her precinct and were subsequently voted into the Travis Co. Dem. Party
Recap of last month’s events:
-Reggae Fest, April 16-18th, bad weather didn’t keep people away, but did delay opening on Sunday.
-4/20 show’s at Stubb’s & Beauty Bar, great to be in 2 spots!
-4/30 TCC pre-party at Spider House, with Chief Greenbud & Paul Bullock, great turnout and atmosphere!
-5/1 3rd Annual TCC, total recap. . .
Now for the news from the past month:
Philadelphia: No More Criminal Records For Minor Pot Offenders, D.A. Says
-Minor marijuana possession offenses will be no longer be prosecuted as criminal misdemeanors, according to a policy change announced by new District Attorney Seth Williams and reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Philadelphia NORML had been lobbying for the policy change after publishing a report which found that African American males comprised an estimated 83 percent of all persons in Philadelphia arrested for minor marijuana possession offenses.
Under the new policy, which is anticipated to take effect later this month, prosecutors will charge minor marijuana possession (defined as 30 grams or less) as ‘summary offenses’ rather than criminal misdemeanors. Defendants will be required to pay a fine, but will not face incarceration or receive a criminal record.
Florida: Lawmakers Unanimously Pass Law Restricting ‘Paraphernalia’ Sales
-Members of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives have unanimously passed legislation, Senate Bill 366, prohibiting the sale of so-called ‘marijuana paraphernalia’ – including “water pipes,” “chillums,” “bongs,” or “glass or ceramic smoking pipes” – in stores that receive fewer than 75% of their annual revenue from the sale of tobacco products.
-Once signed by Gov. Charlie Crist, the new law will take effect on July 1. Violators of the law will be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face up to one year in jail.
-Florida’s lawmakers are further criminalizing marijuana and marijuana-related activities at a time when most other state lawmakers are considering measures to legalize and regulate cannabis
Fruita, Colorado: City Passes State’s First-Ever Medical Marijuana Sales Tax
-Municipal voters on Tuesday passed a proposal imposing a five percent sales tax on medical marijuana and related paraphernalia. Nearly 60 percent of Fruita (population: 7,500) city voters approved the measure – marking the first time that any Colorado city has imposed a tax on cannabis sales.
Oregon: Supreme Court Okays Firing State-Authorized Medi-Pot Users For Off-The-Job Marijuana Use
-In a 5 to 2 decision, the Court determined that an employee who uses marijuana in accordance with state law is nonetheless “engaged in the illegal use of drugs” and may be fired for his or her off-the-job conduct. Because marijuana remains classified as an illicit Schedule I drug under federal law and may not be legally prescribed by a physician, the Court opined that employers should not be mandated to accommodate workers who engage in its use.
-Despite the Court’s ruling, the majority stated that the federal Controlled Substances Act does not preempt provisions of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act that exempt patients’ possession, manufacture, or distribution of medical marijuana from state criminal liability.
The Court’s decision overturned a previous decision from the Bureau of
-Labor and Industries ordering the employer to pay damages, and a Court of Appeals decision affirming that judgment.
Maine: Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensary Rules
-State lawmakers last week approved legislation establishing guidelines for the establishment of state-authorized medical marijuana distribution facilities.
-As approved by the legislature, LD 1811 authorizes the creation of up to eight nonprofit medical cannabis dispensaries – one for each of the state’s public health districts. Under the measure, dispensaries may legally “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply or dispenses marijuana or related supplies and educational materials” to state-authorized medical marijuana patients.
-Patients and/or their caregivers will still be allowed to cultivate their own medical cannabis under state law. However, patients will now be required to join a confidential state registry in order to be able to legally possess and grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Urine Testing Unlikely To Identify Drugged Employees Or Reduce Workplace Accidents, Study Says
-Victoria, Canada: Workplace urine testing programs are a poor method for identifying employees who are under the influence, and do not significantly reduce job accident rates, according to a study published in the scientific journal “Addiction”.
Investigators at the University of Victoria in British Columbia reviewed 20 years of published literature pertaining to the efficacy of workplace drug testing, with a special emphasis on marijuana – the most commonly detected drug.
Researchers found: “[I]t is not clear that heavy cannabis users represent a meaningful job safety risk unless using before work or on the job; urine tests have poor validity and low sensitivity to detect employees who represent a safety risk; drug testing is related to reductions in the prevalence of cannabis positive tests among employees, but this might not translate into fewer cannabis users; and urinalysis has not been shown to have a meaningful impact on job injury/accident rates.”
D.C. Council Gives Final Approval to Medical Marijuana
-Washington D.C.’s Council voted unanimously for a second time in favor of legalizing the sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. A preliminary vote was made on 4/20.
The final vote means the bill will now go to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty for his signature.
The legislation allows between five and eight medical pot distribution centers to open inside the District, provided they are not located within 300 feet of any school or youth center. BUT, as with New Jersey’s new law, patients will not be permitted to grow their own marijuana at home.
Jack Herer, at 70 years old, died Thursday, April 15th
-His life’s work & masterpiece, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” was first published
in 1985, and has sold more than 700,000 copies.
National Farmers Union Adopts New Policy on Industrial Hemp
-New policy supporting industrial hemp from the National Farmers Union (NFU) at its 108th annual convention in Rapid City, South. The policy urges the Obama administration and Congress to direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to differentiate between non-drug industrial hemp and marijuana and allow states to regulate hemp farming without requiring DEA permits.
-NFU issued the following statement on its new policy: “We urge the President, Attorney General, and Congress to direct the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency [sic] (DEA) to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana and adopt policy to allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp under state law without requiring DEA licenses.”
-For the last four growing seasons, farmers in North Dakota have received licenses from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp. Despite the state’s authorization to grow hemp, these farmers risk raids by federal agents, jail time and possible forfeiture of their farms and assets if they try to grow the crop, due to the failure of the DEA to distinguish non-drug industrial hemp from drug varieties of Cannabis.
UPCOMING EVENTS & ALERTS
-we will be at Ruta Maya this Friday, May 7th, for Ashes of Babylon, Green Seeds, & SeedLove
I feel like I’m forgetting something, so. . . . .