Never Underestimate The Power Of A Single Face To Face Interaction

Legalize marijuanaCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is following through on his 2015 pledge to legalize and regulate the adult use of cannabis. Presently, Liberal Party backed legalization legislation is making its way through Parliament, which hopes to implement the new public policy by mid-2018.

But, as Toronto Star reporter Susan Delacourt writes, Trudeau was not always a supporter of marijuana policy reform. In fact, it wasn’t until he met face to face with NORML representatives that the Canadian Premiere ultimately changed his mind for good.

[Excerpt] When marijuana becomes legal in Canada next year, it will be mainly because Justin Trudeau had a change of mind in 2012.

… Five short years ago, Trudeau was not a fan of legalized pot. As he wandered around the 2012 Liberal policy convention in Ottawa — the same one in which a majority of party members voted in favour of legalization — Trudeau was a dissenting voice.

He told one interviewer that marijuana “disconnects you a little bit from the world” and that it was “not good for your health.” For those reasons alone, Trudeau said he wasn’t in favour of any measures that could make pot use more widespread.

“I don’t know that it’s entirely consistent with the society we’re trying to build,” Trudeau said in an interview that still lives on YouTube, where it’s immediately clear he hasn’t had his run-for-leadership makeover: he still sports a moustache and the long, unruly hair.

By the end of 2012, a lot of things had changed for Trudeau — beyond his appearance. He had changed his mind about running for Liberal leader, officially launching his campaign in October, and he was also starting to see that legalization was better than the decriminalization option he’d long favoured.

Today, Trudeau and his advisers trace the shift to a meeting with two women in his office in November of that year, who armed him with some of the pro-legalization arguments that he’s still using today — now, as prime minister. The two women were Kelly Coulter and Andrea Matrosovs, then representing what was known as the women’s alliance of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Coulter, who now lives in Victoria, remembers the meeting well, and is heartened to hear that Trudeau traces his conversion to this encounter.

“I actually saw the ‘aha’ moment,” Coulter says. It had been an emotional meeting in Trudeau’s tiny Parliament Hill office; the three of them talked about their own personal experience with marijuana. Trudeau talked about his mother using pot, and his brother, Michel, who had been charged with possession not long before he died. (Trudeau has subsequently told the story publicly of how his father used connections to get the charges dropped so that his son didn’t have a criminal record.)

Coulter told Trudeau flatly that decriminalization would not keep gangs and organized crime out of the marijuana business. “Al Capone would have loved it if alcohol had only been decriminalized,” she said — a line she often used when talking to politicians.

“I saw the light go on in his eyes,” Coulter said. “He was seeing this as a politician, realizing ‘I can sell this,’ ” she recalled.

Trudeau could see how this argument would blunt Conservative attacks on him as being soft on crime; with legalization, he could simultaneously seem liberal about marijuana but conservative about gangs and criminals. It helped persuade Trudeau that legalization, would be the best way for the government to regulate its use and keep it safe, especially for kids.

As we approach NORML’s upcoming National Conference and Lobby Day — taking place September 10-12 in Washington, DC — it is important to emphasize how influential a single face to face meeting with your elected officials can be. NORML’s interactions with lawmakers, whether its at town meetings or in the halls of Congress, are changing minds and shaping public policy.

Be part of the marijuana revolution. Get active. Get NORML.

Canada should continue with separate medical stream after cannabis is legalized for recreational use: Study

After cannabis is legalized, Canada should continue with a separate medical cannabis stream to keep patients safe, argues a new commentary.

Legalizing marijuana will harm health of youth in Canada, study shows

The Canadian federal government‘s bill C-45 to legalize marijuana in Canada will jeopardize the health of young people and Parliament should vote against it, argues a new article.

Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced in Canada

legalizationToday, the federal Liberal government of Canada released a slate of proposed bills that would legalize and regulate the commercial sale and adult use of marijuana in the country. The legislation would establish 18 as the minimum legal age to purchase marijuana and would create a legal framework for production, sale, and distribution. The bills were introduced in the House of Commons by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freehand.

You can read more details on the proposed legislation HERE.

This sensible approach to marijuana stands in stark contrast to the direction and tone United States President Donald Trump and his administration have been taking on the issue. While the Canadian government is moving in the direction of legalization and regulation, the Trump Administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions seem more intent on reviving outdated and erroneous Drug War rhetoric than allowing science and facts to dictate public policy. The United States should follow Canada’s example and end our own costly and disastrous prohibition on marijuana.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY AND URGE THEM TO END FEDERAL MARIJUANA PROHIBITION

Canada: Trudeau Administration Seeking Marijuana Legalization By July 2018

flag_of_canadaThe Trudeau administration is anticipated to introduce legislation in early April to regulate the use, production, and sale of marijuana. In 2015, the Liberal Party pledged to “legalize and regulate” marijuana if Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister.

The forthcoming legislation will likely be modeled after recommendations issued by a federal task force in 2016. Members of the task force called on Parliament to permit those over 18 to possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana, and further recommended lawmakers regulate and tax the commercial cannabis market.

The pending legalization legislation is expected to be introduced the week of April 10, CBC News has reported. Proponents of the measure are seeking to achieve its implementation by July 1, 2018.

Until that time, however, Canadian police are continuing to enforce marijuana prohibition. In recent weeks, police in several Canadian cities – including Toronto and Vancouver – carried out raids of various storefront dispensaries, including those operated by longtime activists Marc and Jodie Emery.

Canadian Government’s Legal Marijuana Task Force Releases Recommendations

legalizationThis morning in Ottawa, a government task force assigned to study legalizing and regulating the adult use of marijuana in Canada released their recommendations. The task force recommended that sales should be restricted to those over the age of 18 with a personal possession limit of 30 grams. Their recommended model of legalization would put heavy restrictions on most types of cannabis advertising and tax the product based on THC content. The task force suggested that both storefronts and delivery services would be allowed as well as the home cultivation of up to four plants. They also believe that all of Canada’s current laws regarding medical marijuana remain in place as they are currently with no change.

“The prohibitory regime exists does not work and has not met the basic principles of public health and safety that have to be at the core of this public policy,” stated Anne McLellan, former minister of justice and chair of the task force.

The group’s nine members had discussions with scientific experts across Canada and received the opinions of over 28,000 citizens via online consultations before making their recommendations. They also made visits to states in the US that have already legalized marijuana for adult consumption.

While the task force’s recommendations are non-binding, they announced during the press conference that the Canadian government will present legislation in the spring of 2017 modeled after this report. The implementation date of that legislation is still unclear.

With Canada blazing a new and smarter path forward on marijuana policy, the pressure will only continue to build on the United States government to reform our federal marijuana laws.

You can read the full report HERE.

Canadian Lottery Winner Commits $1 Million For Marijuana Legalization

The NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada announced via Marketwired:
NWA Canada Prohibition CarTERRACE, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – April 18, 2013) – On Saturday April 20(th) , activists and cannabis enthusiasts will gather in cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Yellowknife. It is hoped the events will be a watershed moment for cannabis law reform as Canadians seek to follow their American counterparts and end the social injustice of cannabis prohibition.

This year, the annual nationwide 420 celebrations are entirely sponsored by lottery winner Bob Erb.

When Bob Erb started buying lottery tickets in the early 1970s, ending the war against cannabis may have seemed more likely than hitting the jackpot.

On November 2, 2012, four decades of playing the lottery paid off: Bob Erb won a $25,000,000 jackpot. Two days later, Canadian laws regarding cannabis changed too as mandatory minimum sentencing for cannabis offences came into effect.

To some, winning the lottery would mean retiring from a life-long career of cannabis activism. But to a man who describes the criminalization of cannabis as the “biggest social injustice” of his lifetime, the money meant a chance to do more.

Bob Erb has championed social justice issues, including cannabis law reform, for decades. He has seen firsthand the harm and waste caused by cannabis prohibition, and has set about making change. Particularly, he has tried to create change from within: in 2001 he ran as a Marijuana Party candidate in the BC provincial election and the following year he ran for mayor. Both times his message was clear: its time for a change on cannabis.

Looking to the future, Bob has pledged one million dollars to fund national campaigns to end the criminal prohibition of cannabis and enact positive regulations regarding use, production and consumer safety. His goal is to see a pro-reform party elected in the next Canadian federal election.

So far, Bob Erb’s contributions to the cannabis reform movement can be felt nationwide. In February he had a conference in his hometown of Terrace, BC. The conference brought together activists and policy experts from across Canada to discuss strategy for the future.

As a result of the conference, Bob committed one million dollars to legalize cannabis in Canada and pledged support to various reform organizations including Sensible BC, the NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada, NORML Canada, Stop the Violence BC and the 420 rallies.

This Saturday, tens of thousands of Canadians will gather from coast to coast advocating cannabis law reform. Hopefully, individuals will feel part of something bigger than themselves or the local rally they attended.

Bob Erb’s generosity has jump-started a national campaign to elect a new government ready to undertake modern approach to cannabis regulation. Advocates are confident cannabis law reform will be an issue in the next federal election. This year’s 420 rallies will be a call to voters and the beginning of a movement in the name of Bob Erb.

NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada

Kelly Coulter

(613) 331-1489

Skunk Magazine Publishes Extensive Feature on NORML

Skunk Magazine, Canada’s premier marijuana culture publication, has published an extensive feature on NORML and its staff. The fourteen-page story features an excerpt from NORML Founder Keith Stroup’s new book, “It’s NORML to Smoke Pot: The 40 Year Fight for Marijuana Smokers’ Rights,” as well as extensive interviews with NORML staffers Paul Armentano (Deputy Director), Sabrina Fendrick (Coordinator, NORML Women’s Alliance), Erik Altieri (Communications Director), and Jil Staszewski (Membership Coordinator). Post-Election Day comments from NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre are also featured.

This feature is a must read for those who wish to learn more about the day-to-day operations at NORML and the motivations and expectations of its full time employees. NORML has scanned and uploaded the full story, which is available for viewing here.

Industrial Hemp Reform Emerging From Marijuana Legalization Election Victories

One of the major public policy and business fronts to end cannabis prohibition in America is to pressure the federal government to allow American farmers the same ability to cultivate industrial hemp like farmers in the United Kingdom, France, Russia and even Canada do under current so-called anti-drug international treaties. Ninety percent of hemp used in the United States is cultivated and imported from Canada.

What sane reason can be employed by the federal government to ban industrial hemp cultivation when Canadian farmers can prosper from cultivating it?

Numerous states–just like with decriminalization, medicalization and legalization–have passed industrial hemp reform laws that run afoul of the federal government’s anti-cannabis policies. This has created upward political pressure on Congress to introduce needed hemp law reform.

Check out this recent Washington Post article profiling lobbying efforts to get hemp legalized.

You can help out by signing the White House petition to bring the matter of industrial hemp law reform before the Obama Administration for a public reply.

See the dozen or so state hemp laws here.

To learn more about hemp and law reform efforts in states and Congress check out VoteHemp.

Study: Cannabis Is A “Potential Exit Drug To Problematic Substance Use”

Three quarters of medical cannabis consumers report using it as a substitute for prescription drugs, alcohol, or some other illicit substance, according to survey data published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory.

An international team of investigators from Canada and the United States assessed the subjective impact of marijuana on the use of licit and illicit substances via self-report in a cohort of 404 medical cannabis patients recruited from four dispensaries in British Columbia, Canada.

Researchers reported that subjects frequently substituted cannabis for other substances, including conventional pharmaceuticals. Authors reported:

“Over 41 percent state that they use cannabis as a substitute for alcohol (n=158), 36.1 percent use cannabis as a substitute for illicit substances (n=137), and 67.8 percent use cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs (n=259). The three main reasons cited for cannabis-related substitution are ‘less withdrawal’ (67.7 percent), ‘fewer side-effects’ (60.4 percent), and ‘better symptom management’ suggesting that many patients may have already identified cannabis as an effective and potentially safer adjunct or alternative to their prescription drug regimen.”

Overall, 75.5 percent (n=305) of respondents said that they substitute cannabis for at least one other substance. Men were more likely than women to report substituting cannabis for alcohol or illicit drugs.

Authors concluded: “While some studies have found that a small percentage of the general population that uses cannabis may develop a dependence on this substance, a growing body of research on cannabis-related substitution suggests that for many patients cannabis is not only an effective medicine, but also a potential exit drug to problematic substance use. Given the credible biological, social and psychological mechanisms behind these results, and the associated potential to decrease personal suffering and the personal and social costs associated with addiction, further research appears to be justified on both economic and ethical grounds. Clinical trials with those who have had poor outcomes with conventional psychological or pharmacological addiction therapies could be a good starting point to further our under- standing of cannabis-based substitution effect.”

Previous studies have similarly demonstrated cannabis’ potential efficacy as an exit drug. A 2010 study published in the Harm Reduction Journal reported that cannabis-using adults enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs fared equally or better than nonusers in various outcome categories, including treatment completion. A 2009 study reported that 40 percent of subjects attending a California medical cannabis dispensary reported using marijuana as a substitute for alcohol, and 26 percent used it to replace their former use of more potent illegal drugs. A separate 2009 study published in the American Journal on Addictions reported that moderate cannabis use and improved retention in naltrexone treatment among opiate-dependent subjects in a New York state inpatient detoxification program.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs: A dispensary-based survey of substitution effect in Canadian medical cannabis patients,” appears online in Addiction Research and Theory. NORML Advisory Board Member Mitch Earleywine is a co-author of this study.

Angus Reid Poll: Most Canadians, Americans Support Marijuana Legalization — Expect It To Be Legal Within Ten Years

A majority of adults in both Canada and the United States believe that cannabis ought to be legal, according to a two-country Angus Reid Public Opinion poll of 1,005 randomly selected Canadian adults and 1,002 randomly selected American adults.

In the online survey of representative national samples, a majority of Canadians (57 percent) and Americans (54 percent) support the legalization of marijuana. Sixty-six percent of those polled in both countries said that they anticipate that cannabis will be legalized within the next ten years.

Respondents strongly opposed the notion of legalizing any other illicit substances besides marijuana.

Respondents in the Northeastern region of the United States expressed the highest level of support for legalizing marijuana (61 percent), while those in the South voiced the least level of support (51 percent). Nationally, 65 percent those age 18 to 34 backed legalization; 49 percent of respondents age 35 and older did so.

In Canada, men (64 percent) were more likely than women (50 percent) to call for the legalization of cannabis. By contrast, Americans’ support for legalization was nearly equally among genders (55 percent male support versus 53 percent female support).

The Angus Reid results are similar to those of other national surveys — including those conducted by Gallup, Rasmussen, and YouGov — showing that more Americans now support legalizing the adult use of cannabis than support maintaining its prohibition.

[UPDATE! A separate nationwide poll released today by CBS News finds: "For the first time since CBS News began asking the question, as many Americans now think marijuana use should be legal as think it should not.

"Support for legalizing marijuana inched up slightly from 45 percent in September to 47 percent today. ... Another 47 percent think it should remain prohibited. A year ago, a slight majority of Americans, 51 percent, opposed legalizing marijuana use. ... While 51 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents support legalizing marijuana, 66 percent of Republicans oppose it."

It adds: "Eighty-three percent of Americans favor allowing doctors to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses, the poll shows - up from 77 percent a year ago and 62 percent back in 1997. A majority of Americans of all ages - as well as most Republicans, Democrats, and independents - favor allowing this."]

CTV: Health Canada debating future of medical marijuana

From CTV News: Health Canada held a hearing in Montreal on Wednesday to hear from groups concerned about the future of medical marijuana in Canada. Legal use of the drug has been in a grey zone for almost a decade, since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled marijuana use for medical reasons was permissible. However acquiring marijuana has been a problem for thousands of would-be users. Many doctors have refused to provide prescriptions for marijuana, so compassion clubs and dispensaries were handing it out to anyone who showed up with what was considered to be a valid medical reason. Those compassion clubs were recently shut down by Montreal police following complaints that they had essentially turned into centres for drug trafficking. montreal.ctv.ca cannabisculture.com http freemarc.ca
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5 + 4:20 Is It Cruelty To Be Beaten To Death With A Hockey Stick In Canada?

Legal Medical Marihuana / Marijuana vs Illegal MJ / Pot www.facebook.com Pot Clubs & Off Sales Coast To Coast, “BC Prison Pot Farms”, Where “Crime Is Permitted To Grow”? www.youtube.com That’s right I do NOT support the Prince or His Minions who Profit from the Sick by selling us Street Dope that the Criminals in Government support, for cash and votes, cause to think we lost 4 Mounties at a Grow-Op that was supported by ANY Member of ANY Government would be MURDER!! CBC Fith Estate MP / MLA Supported RCMP POT Murders! www.cbc.ca Free The Weed! But it is already! That’s what makes the Pot Heads look so stupid man! Don’t you get it? The Government “US” invest like M in a Product that sucks! Do you know why? Cause the Freedom Of Pot Idiots want the SICK using Dirty Street Dope as Medications! Yes the Pot Prince crumbles? See that’s what? the SICK need SEE!! We suffer every day and TRUST our Leaders would do the same if put in our place! What a freaking Joke eh? They give up who suffers? The SICK! Introducing The Leader Of Canada’s Official Opposition in OUR House Of Commons, & Friend! Yes this means Every Canadian will soon have Jack fighting for thier RIGHT to have a Grow-op and every street have it’s very own Drug House!! This will cut down the NEED for Doctors as Canadians Self Medicating with what ever they wish!! Let us see if Jack still Demands Freedom Of POT be a VOTE, or a DIN# so Medical MJ may be “Prescribed” so the SICK not need support the Criminals! To bad
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cannabis,hashish
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Hope For Industrial Hemp? Group Of Senators Seeking Legislative Sanity

According to Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill, a group of bipartisan Senators, led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden (D), have filed legislation seeking to exempt industrial hemp (which, in effect, is very low potent cannabis) from the Controlled Substances Act (which, concerning cannabis specifically, is largely directed at prohibiting recreational and therapeutic use of the herb).

Update: You can help advocate for this bill’s passage here.

One of the most indefensible aspects of modern Cannabis Prohibition is the federal government’s continued opposition to allowing American farmers and consumers benefit from a domestic industrial hemp industry, when, ridiculously, other free market and democratic countries who also maintain user prohibitions on cannabis—countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and notably Canada—allow their farmers to legally cultivate industrial cannabis. This inherently places American farmers and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage and American consumers paying higher costs for imported raw and finished hemp products.

Senator Wyden tells The Hill:

“I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it  resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked  a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the U.S.’s ban on  industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near  
future.”

Read more here.

To learn everything you need to know about hemp and efforts to reform America’s antiquated industrial hemp laws, please check out our hempen friends:

VoteHemp.org

TheHIA.org

 

Students trading sex for drugs or alcohol happens also in rural Canada

Just over two percent of teens in rural schools who have ever tried alcohol, marijuana or other drugs report they have also traded sex for these substances, according to new research.

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