Thursday, April 15, 2021

NORML

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Indiana: Governor Signs Legislation Amending State’s Zero-Tolerance Per Se Driving Law

Republican Governor Eric Holcomb has signed legislation into law to provide a legal defense for those motorists charged with violating the state’s marijuana per se traffic safety law.  The legislation provides an affirmative defense for those motorists who test positive for the presence of either THC or its metabolite, but who are not responsible for a traffic accident and who show no evidence of intoxication. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2021. Under the state’s existing traffic safety laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable level of either THC or THC metabolites in one’s blood or urine, even absent any further evidence of psychomotor impairment. NORML has consistently opposed the imposition of THC per se limits, opining that such thresholds are not evidence-based and that they may lead to the criminal prosecution of people who consumed cannabis several days previously but are no longer under its influence. NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano recently testified in favor of legislation, Assembly Bill 400, repealing per se limits in Nevada. Last month, a California-appointed task force consisting of representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Traffic Safety, the American Automobile Association (AAA), and California NORML issued recommendations to the state legislature opposing the imposition of per se limits for cannabinoids. Six states – Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington – impose various per se limits for the detection of specific amounts of THC in blood while ten states (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin) impose zero tolerant per se standards. In these states, it is a criminal violation of the traffic safety laws to operate a motor vehicle with detectable levels of THC in blood – even absent any demonstrable evidence of psychomotor impairment.  Additional information on cannabis, driving performance, and traffic safety is available from NORML here.

Nationwide Poll: More Americans Than Ever Before Say That Marijuana Should Be Legal

Some seven-in-ten Americans believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the United States,” according to national polling data compiled by Quinnipiac University. That percentage is the highest level of support ever reported in a nationwide poll. Sixty-nine percent of respondents expressed support for legalizing marijuana. That percentage rises to 70 percent when only registered voters are included. That is an increase of 19 percentage points since 2012, when Quinnipiac first began polling on the issue. “There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people. In the era of state-level legalization, voters’ support for this issue has grown rapidly — an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters’ desires and expectations.” NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have a mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.” Notably, support for legalization among the public is non-partisan. Strong majorities of Republicans (62 percent), Independents (67 percent), and Democrats (78 percent) back legalization. By contrast, elected officials continue to view the issue through a largely partisan lens, with Democrats primarily supporting the issue and Republicans typically voting against it. Recently enacted legislation legalizing the adult-use marijuana markets in New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia were spearheaded by Democrats and were passed with virtually no Republican support. The Quinnipiac poll also found that Americans of all ages support legalization. Among those ages 65 and older, 51 percent endorse legalization. This percentage of support is significantly higher among younger and middle-age voters, with 78 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 49 backing legalization and 72 percent of those ages 50 to 64 doing so. Other national polls similarly show majority support among Americans of all ages and political ideologies. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 2.8 percentage points.

Mississippi: Supreme Court Hear Oral Arguments in Challenge to Medical Marijuana Vote

The Mississippi Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in a legal challenge that seeks to nullify a November vote legalizing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients. On Election Day, 73 percent of Mississippi voters decided in favor of Measure 65, which establishes a system of state-licensed dispensaries to engage in the retail dispensing of cannabis and cannabis products to patients who possess a doctor’s authorization. Just prior to the vote, officials representing the city of Madison – including the town’s Mayor – filed suit arguing that the legislature’s failure to update guidelines for petitioners with should invalidate the initiative vote. Specifically, state statutes call for petitioners to gather an equal percentage of signatures from five congressional districts.  However, following redistricting in 2000, there are only four congressional districts in the state. Lawmakers since that time have failed to update the statute. NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf criticized the legal challenge and urged justices to uphold the initiative vote. “Legalization opponents have shown time and time again that they cannot succeed in either the court of public opinion or at the ballot box. Thus, they are now asking judges to set aside the votes of over a million Americans in a desperate effort to override undisputed election outcomes. Whether or not one supports marijuana legalization, Americans should be outraged at these overtly undemocratic tactics, and the Court should reject them.” If the vote is affirmed by the Court, Mississippi: will be the 36th state to legalize medical cannabis access. The case is Mary Hawkins Butler v. Michael Watson, Miss., 2020-IA-01199-SCT.

NORML Remembers Steve Fox

NORML regrets the passing of Steve Fox, a longtime marijuana policy advocate and strategist. Steve Fox spent the better part of the past two decades leading both statewide and federal policy reform efforts during his tenure at various organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) – a group he cofounded in 2005 – and Vincente Sederberg LLP. In 2009, Fox co-authored the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chlesea Green Press), along with NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano and Mason Tvert. Later, he was the key drafter and proponent behind the historic Amendment 64 initiative campaign in Colorado, which legalized the adult-use marijuana market in 2012 and ushered in the wave of statewide legalization efforts that continues to this day. “Steve’s vision helped to transform the mainstream narrative surrounding cannabis,” said NORML’s Paul Armentano. “That transformation played a major role in the policy successes we enjoy today, and it will continue to pay dividends going forward. His efforts and his prescience will be sorely missed.” In a statement issued by VS Strategies and Vincente Sederberg LLP, his colleagues said: “Steve was always thinking step ahead of the rest. Long before cannabis was legalized, he envisioned a legal, organized, and responsible cannabis industry. He played leading roles in conceptualizing and establishing several of the nation’s largest and most influential cannabis trade organizations, including the National Cannabis Industry Association, the Cannabis Trade Federation, and the U.S. Cannabis Council.” They added: “Steve’s role in cannabis community cannot be overstated. He was a trailblazer in the movement to end prohibition, and he was an architect and caretaker of the legal industry that is quickly replacing it. He beat the path, built the shelter, and worked tirelessly to make it as welcoming, accessible and beneficial as possible. He always put the mission—the wellbeing of others and the betterment of society—ahead of himself.” NORML offers its condolences to the family and friends of Steve Fox.

NORML Comments on Biden’s Pick for DEA Administrator

The Biden Administration has announced its intention to nominate Anne Milgram, who formerly served as New Jersey Attorney General, to the position of DEA Administrator. If confirmed, Milgram will be the first DEA Administrator to have been confirmed by the Senate since the presidency of Barack Obama. Former President Donald Trump previously relied on administrators who were serving in an acting capacity. “America has begun to fully rethink our ongoing failed practices of over-policing and incarceration that have categorized our racist War on Drugs for decades and our nation needs the next administrator of the DEA to be someone who acknowledges the need for reform, including the legalization of marijuana,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. During her tenure as the Garden State’s Attorney General under then-Governor Jon Corzine, Milgram offered cautioned support for the state’s medical-marijuana program when legislation to approve it was passed in 2010. “During her career, Anne Milgram has demonstrated a priority for data-based decision making and an openness to making important changes to our broken criminal justice system,” added NORML’s Altieri, “If she wants to take over the DEA and its multi-billion dollar budget, the American people deserve to know if she will continue the agency’s hostility to legalization, something that 70% of our citizens support and that is already a legal reality for over 40% of the population.” Senate confirmation hearings for Milgram are expected in the coming weeks.

New Mexico: Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization, Automatic Expungement Measures into Law

Earlier today, Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed two separate measures into law amending the state’s marijuana policies. The first measure (House Bill 2) legalizes and regulates marijuana possession, production, and sales for adults. The second measure (Senate Bill 2) facilitates the automatic review and expungement of the records of those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. Lawmakers approved both bills during a special legislative session demanded by Gov. Lujan Grisham, who had been a vocal proponent of the reforms. NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a day to celebrate! New Mexico will greatly benefit from this new revenue stream and the creation of thousands of jobs. Most notably though, legalization will spare thousands of otherwise law-abiding residents from arrest and a criminal record, and the state’s new expungement law will help provide relief to many who are suffering from the stigma and other collateral consequences associated with a prior marijuana conviction.” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.” The adult-use measure (House Bill 2) permits those ages 21 and older to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. It also permits adults to home-cultivate up to six mature plants for their own personal use. Retail sales would begin by April 2022. Possession is depenalized on June 29, 2021, when the new law takes effect. The expungement measure (Senate Bill 2) stipulates that those with past convictions for offenses made legal under this act are eligible for automatic expungement of their records. Those currently incarcerated for such offenses are eligible for a dismissal of their sentence. It’s estimated that over 150,000 New Mexico residents are eligible for automatic expungement under this measure, according to the Department of Public Safety.

California: Study Finds 100% of Marijuana Retailers Compliant with State’s Minimum Age Laws

Licensed cannabis retailers in California are vigorously enforcing rules prohibiting young people’s entry into their facilities if they fail to show proof of age, according to a study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Chicago. Researchers assessed whether retail cannabis facilities would service pseudo-underage buyers who failed to show proof of age. All 47 of the randomly selected retailers denied the patrons entry. Authors concluded: “At 100 percent of the recreational marijuana outlets visited, the pseudo-underage patrons were required to show age identification to enter. It appears that California recreational marijuana outlets avoid selling to underage customers.” The results are similar to those documented in other states, like Colorado and Oregon, where inspections have similarly found that nearly all retailers are compliant with age-restriction requirements. Commenting on the study’s results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Regulation works. Illicit marijuana providers don’t ask for or check for ID, but licensed businesses most certainly do.” An abstract of the study, “An examination of the legal marijuana use age and its enforcement in California, a state where recreational marijuana is legal,” is available online here. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers.”

New Mexico: Lawmakers Send Marijuana Legalization Measures to Governor’s Desk

Members of the New Mexico House and Senate gave their final approval today to two separate measures amending the state’s marijuana laws. The first legalizes and regulates marijuana possession, production, and sales for adults. The second facilitates the automatic review and expungement of the records of those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. Lawmakers advanced both measures during a special legislative session demanded by Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has been a vocal proponent of the reforms. Commenting on the bills’ passage, NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a historic day for New Mexico! These important policy changes will ensure that consumers going forward will no longer suffer criminal arrest and prosecution, while also remedying past injustices caused by the drug war. I commend lawmakers for working together to craft legislation that prioritizes social justice and inclusion. Passage of this legislation will ensure that minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, are no longer saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. They are the third state so far this year that has approved legalization via the legislative process and we expect several more will follow suit in a short period of time. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than currently legal alcohol and tobacco. Thankfully lawmakers at the state level are finally implementing the will of their constituents and, by doing so, they are applying further pressure on the federal government to finally deschedule marijuana nationally and end this ongoing tension between state and federal policies.” The adult-use measure (House Bill 2) permits those ages 21 and older to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. It also permits adults to home-cultivate up to six mature plants for their own personal use. The expungement measure (Senate Bill 2) stipulates that those with past convictions for offenses made legal under this act are eligible for automatic expungement of their records. Those currently incarcerated for such offenses are eligible for a dismissal of their sentence. Both bills now await action from the Governor, who is anticipated to sign both measures into law imminently. Earlier this week, she signed legislation into law eliminating fines for the possession of cannabis by a minor and modifying the requirement for community service to a maximum of 48 hours.

BREAKING: New York Legislature Approves Marijuana Legalization

New York State lawmakers today advanced The Marijuana Revenue and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalizes and regulates an adult-use commercial marijuana market in New York State, and also permits those over the age of 21 to cultivate personal-use quantities of cannabis in their own homes. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill imminently. “These votes are historic because they signal the beginning of the end of the racially discriminatory policies that have long made the Empire State the marijuana arrest capital of the United States, if not the world,” stated NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “Once enacted, this measure will end the practice of annually arresting tens-of-thousands of New Yorkers for low-level marijuana offenses, the majority of whom are overwhelmingly young, poor, and people of color.” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano added, “The passage of legislation legalizing the adult-use marijuana market in New York State will not only have serious economic and social justice ramifications for its nearly 20 million residents, but it no doubt will have ripple effects across the nation and arguably also within the halls of Congress — providing further pressure on federal lawmakers to amend federal law in a manner that eliminates the existing inconsistencies between state and federal cannabis policies.” Six percent of US House members represent New York State, and seven percent of all Congressional House Committee and Subcommittee Chairs are from New York. Empire State NORML Deputy Director Troy Smit said, “We stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s taken a great amount of work and perseverance by activists, patients, and consumers, to go from being the cannabis arrest capital of the world, to lead the world with a legalized market dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This might not be the perfect piece of legislation, but today, cannabis consumers can hold their heads high and smell the flowers. Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes have laid the groundwork for marijuana justice and a consumer-centric industry. Now, it’s time for the Office of Cannabis Management to take up their torch and implement regulations that protect patient and consumer rights. In the words of our late Director, Doug Greene – Cannabis Excelsior!” The Act allows adults to obtain marijuana from state-licensed retailers or grow their own (up to three mature plants at one time). The measure also facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past convictions for offenses made legal under the MRTA. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will receive legal relief under this provision.  Regulators would license commercial producers and sellers of cannabis, as well as issue licenses for delivery services and on-site consumption facilities. Retail sales will be taxed at nine percent, plus up to a four percent local tax, as well as an additional tax based upon THC content. Forty percent of tax revenue will be directed toward communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. Provisions in the MRTA seek to award half of all business licenses to social equity applicants. New York: Quinnipiac University Poll (March 2021): Voters say by a more than 2 to 1 margin (64 – 29 percent) that they support allowing adults in New York State to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Law enforcement in New York has historically arrested its citizens for marijuana at astonishing rates. According to a 2020 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2018, almost 60,000 New Yorkers were arrested for marijuana law violations. Of those arrested, 95 percent of defendants were charged with possession only. Arrests for the possession of marijuana in the state made up over half of all drug arrests in 2018. Three New York counties (Columbia, Greene, Washington) fell within the top 20 in the nation for the most marijuana possession arrests per capita. More recent data, issued weeks ago by The Legal Aid Society, found that in the five boroughs in New York City for the year 2020, Black and Hispanics comprised over 93 percent of those arrested for marijuana violations. 

Study: “No Evidence” That Medical Cannabis Access Laws Encourage Youth Marijuana Use

Neither the enactment of medical cannabis legalization nor the establishment of dispensaries are associated with any upticks in young people’s use of marijuana, according to data published in the journal Substance Abuse. A team of investigators affiliated with John Hopkins University in Baltimore, as well as with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reviewed cannabis use trends in more than one-million adolescents (grades 9-12) over a 25 years period. Consistent with prior studies, authors concluded, “This study found no evidence between 1991 and 2015 of increases in adolescents reporting past 30-day marijuana use or heavy marijuana use associated with state MML [medical marijuana law] enactment or operational MML dispensaries.” Authors added: “Our main finding was that adolescents residing in states with MMLs had significantly lower odds of past 30-day (“current”) marijuana use compared to adolescents residing in non-MML states (6 percent). In grade stratified analyses, the 9th graders had 9 percent lower odds, whereas there were no differences for other grade levels.” Commenting on the study’s findings, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These data, gathered from 46 states over more than two decades, show unequivocally that medical cannabis access can be legally regulated in a manner that is safe, effective, and that does not inadvertently impact young people’s habits. These findings should reassure politicians and others that states’ real-world experience with medical cannabis is a success from both a public health and a public safety perspective.” The abstract of the study, “Medical marijuana laws (MMLs) and dispensary provisions not associated with higher odds of adolescent or heavy marijuana use: A 46 state analysis, 1991-2015,” appears online. Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

New Mexico: Lawmakers Fail to Approve Marijuana Legalization Before Key Legislative Deadline

Members of the New Mexico state House and Senate failed to approve House Bill 12 to legalize and regulate the adult-use marijuana market prior to Saturday’s adjournment of the 2021 legislative session. A spokesperson for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday evening that “the governor is prepared to call a special session to get cannabis done and done right.” “Lawmakers, for the moment, have once again failed to deliver common sense marijuana policy reform for the people of New Mexico, an overwhelming majority of whom support legalizing cannabis for adults.” said NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf. “In the interim, thousands of their constituents, disproportionately their constituents of color, will continue to be saddled with criminal records and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.” House Bill 12 sought to allow adults to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers, and also would have permitted the home-cultivation of up to six mature plants for one’s own personal use. Under this measure, those convicted of offenses involving the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana possession would have been eligible for automatic expungement, and those currently incarcerated for these offenses would have been eligible for either a dismissal or a revision of their sentence.

NORML Comments on Reports of Marijuana-Related Firings of White House Staff

Newly published reports allege that “dozens of young White House staffers have been suspended, asked to resign, or placed in a remote work program due to past marijuana use.”  The reports of the firings come just weeks after the Office of Personnel Management issued updated guidance indicating that federal agencies should not automatically disqualify applicants from federal service solely because of their past use of either cannabis or other controlled substances, but rather “should exercise special care before making a determination of unsuitability for criminal conduct based on marijuana possession.” In response to the reported firings, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “These reports, if accurate, are highly troubling. They appear to be counter to the Administration’s own policies, which recognize that a growing number of US jurisdictions – including Washington, DC – have legalized the use of cannabis by adults, and which acknowledge the undue hardships caused by the ongoing criminalization of marijuana at the federal level.” Altieri added: “This sort of ‘Flat Earth’ mentality refuses to recognize the reality that millions of Americans currently engage in the use of cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states, and that these people are at no greater risk for occupational accidents or injuries. They should not be singled out and discriminated against solely for this activity, and it is highly inappropriate for the Biden Administration to take these punitive actions.”

House Reintroduces SAFE Banking Act To Normalize Cannabis Commerce

Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and Warren Davidson (R-OH), along with over 100 additional co-sponsors, have reintroduced The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the US House of Representatives.  Federal law currently defines all marijuana-related endeavors as criminal enterprises, including those commercial activities that are licensed and legally regulated under state laws. Therefore, almost no state-licensed cannabis businesses can legally obtain a bank account, process credit cards, or take standard business deductions on their federal taxes.  In this environment, the rapidly growing multi-billion dollar cannabis industry must operate largely on a cash-only basis, which makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. This ongoing federal prohibition also places the safety and welfare of these businesses’ customers at risk, as they must carry significant amounts of cash on their persons in order to make legal purchases at retail facilities.  For these reasons, NORML has long advocated that federal lawmakers vote “yes” on The SAFE Banking Act. You can send a message to your lawmakers in support of the SAFE Banking Act quickly here. Last Congress, members of the House of Representatives voted 321 to 103 in favor of the bill on September 25, 2019. On two additional occasions, House members re-approved the bill’s provisions as part of broader economic stimulus packages. However, members of the Senate failed to take up the language. Here are what the bill’s sponsors had to say: “The genie is out of the bottle and has been for many years. Thousands of employees and businesses across this country have been forced to deal in piles of cash for far too long, and it is the responsibility of Congress to step up and take action to align federal and state laws for the safety of our constituents and communities. The public safety need is urgent, and a public health and economic need has also emerged with the pandemic further exacerbating the cash-only problem for the industry,” said Congressman Perlmutter. “In many states, the industry was deemed essential yet forced to continue to operate in all cash, adding a significant public health risk for businesses and their workers. As we begin our economic recovery, allowing cannabis businesses to access the banking system would also mean an influx of cash into the economy and the opportunity to create good-paying jobs. Thank you to Reps. Velázquez, Stivers and Davidson for their continued support and input on the bill, and I look forward to working with Senators Merkley and Daines to get the SAFE Banking Act passed in the Senate and signed into law.” “The cannabis industry has been operating with great success, with many of these businesses deemed essential as the coronavirus pandemic took hold,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “However, without the ability to safely utilize the banking system, cannabis-related businesses are left behind and stuck resorting to tactics that can threaten public safety and economic success. That’s why I am proud to join to Reps. Perlmutter, Stivers, and Davidson in introducing the SAFE Banking Act, to allow these business in states that have legalized cannabis to access to the banking system, just as any other business currently enjoys. Doing so will help create jobs in communities throughout America, while stimulating the economy as we recover from the fallout of the pandemic.” “We have a responsibility to legislate for the reality we live in, and the reality is that legal businesses in thirty-three states, including Ohio, are being denied access to the banking system and forced to assume huge risks as a result of operating solely in cash,” Congressman Stivers said. “The SAFE Banking Act is about keeping people safe, something that 321 of my colleagues recognized last year. I look forward to seeing this bill make it all the way to the President’s desk this Congress.”  “I’m excited we’re reintroducing SAFE Banking, again with bipartisan support. This bill is an important hedge against financial cancellation, and it will protect businesses and industries that find themselves out of favor with the latest trends of the day,” said Congressman Davidson. “Today we’re talking about banking cannabis, hemp, and firearms, but tomorrow there could be another industry that has its access to the banking system threatened by statute or by public opinion. With SAFE Banking, as long as its legal in the jurisdiction, no bank should be compelled to cancel their customers by a mob saying, ‘You aren’t going to bank THOSE people are you?’ Sadly, that has already happened too often in American history and it must end.”

NORML Comments on Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Confirmation

Today, in a bipartisan 70-30 vote, members of the US Senate approved Merrick Garland to be the next Attorney General of the United States. Commenting on his successful nomination and its potential impact on the future of marijuana policy reform efforts at the state and federal level, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “There are many reasons for marijuana policy reform advocates to be optimistic about Attorney General Merrick Garland. During his confirmation hearing, he recognized that “criminalizing the use of marijuana has contributed to mass incarceration and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.’ He further acknowledged that he does ‘not think it [is] the best use of the Department’s limited resources to pursue prosecutions of those who are complying with the laws in states that have legalized and are effectively regulating marijuana.’ These comments ought to be reassuring to those employed by the growing state-regulated cannabis industry and to the millions of individuals who rely upon it, as well as to the nearly seven in ten Americans who believe that cannabis should be legal for adults.” Altieri added, “That said, such a ‘hands-off’ policy is little more than a short-term band-aid. The long-term solution is for Congress to deschedule cannabis – thereby repealing the failed federal policy of marijuana prohibition and eliminating the existing state/federal conflict.”

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