Pennsylavania Cities Continue to Embrace Decriminalization of Marijuana


With the recent passage of a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, the City of York joins Philadelphia, State College, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg in no longer criminalizing the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. Following several meetings to discuss the proposal, members of city council heard from Chris Goldstein, former executive director of Philadelphia NORML and Les Stark, executive director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. Both spoke in support of the proposal and even provided encouraging data showing a decline in marijuana arrests in other municipalities that adopted similar measures.

“Towns across Pennsylvania are moving away from handcuffs and towards issuing fines instead, that’s good news in a state where we have more than 18,000 consumers arrested every year,” said Chris Goldstein.

Similar to other decriminalization measures that have been adopted by municipalities in the Commonwealth, the ordinance approved by the York City Council replaces criminal prosecution and potential jail time with a simple fine or community service for those possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana. The ordinance also decriminalized the public consumption of marijuana.


While local governments across Pennsylvania continue to adopt measures to reduce the penalty for personal possession of marijuana from jail time to a simple fine, state lawmakers have been more apprehensive on the issue. But advocates are hopeful things will change as the conversation advances on the local level. “This really puts the pressure on legislators in Harrisburg to vote on statewide bills and start having the bigger conversation about full legalization,” added Goldstein.

Read more here:

For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Philly NORML by visiting their website and Facebook page!

Atlanta City Council Considers Decriminalization of Marijuana


**Update: Peachtree NORML has just informed us that the vote has been postponed. We will keep you posted as developments unfold. 

On Monday, May 15, 2017, the City Council of Atlanta, Georgia will vote on an ordinance that would decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana within Atlanta’s City Limits. Under Georgia law, the possession of one ounce or less is an arrestable offense that could result in up to a $1000 fine and 12 months in jail. This ordinance would allow for the issuance of a citation which carries a $75.00 fine. The ordinance would only apply to the Atlanta Police Department. Other agencies operating within the City, such as the State Patrol and Fulton County Sheriff, would still be able to arrest for the offense.

While it may not seem like much protection, the passage of this ordinance would be a giant step in Georgia. The small town of Clarkston passed a similar ordinance in July 2016. While that stirred up some news, the Capital of Georgia passing it would have a major ripple effect. One mayoral candidate, Vincent Fort, who is a current member of Georgia’s Senate, has made decriminalization the major plank in his campaign platform. It is a hot topic in Georgia.

Peachtree NORML, in association with Georgia C.A.R.E. Project, has begun a City-by- City campaign which is beginning to have some success. By providing fact-based data to municipal governments wishing to consider such measures, we hope to begin reducing the harm caused by an arrest for small amounts of marijuana in Georgia.

If approved by Council, Atlanta will join a growing list of cities around the country that have adopted a more pragmatic approach for dealing with marijuana-related offenses on the local level. Kansas City, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, Tampa, Orlando, Milwaukee, Monona, Toledo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and several others have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Sharon Ravert, the Founder of Peachtree NORML is fond of saying, “When we are talking, we are winning.” Hopefully the City of Atlanta will prove her right next Monday.

Contact your council representatives today and urge them to vote “Yes” on a fiscally sensible proposal that will enable police, prosecutors, and the courts to reallocate their existing resources toward activities that will better serve the public.

Click the link below to get started!


For more updates on local reform efforts, follow Peachtree NORML by visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter! To make a donation to Peachtree NORML, please click here.

California: Supreme Court Upholds Authority Of Cities To Prohibit Medical Marijuana Facilities

The California Supreme Court ruled today that municipalities possess the legal authority to prohibit the establishment of medical cannabis dispensaries.

The unanimous ruling upheld a 4th District Court of Appeals opinion (City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients’ Health and Wellness Center, Inc.) which held that local zoning measures banning the establishment of brick-and-mortar facilities that engage in the distribution of cannabis to state-authorized persons are not preempted by state law. Other lower courts had ruled against such local bans, arguing that cities can’t use zoning laws to bar activity legal under state law.

It is estimated that some 200 California cities presently impose moratoriums on medicinal cannabis facilities. At least 50 municipalities have enacted local regulations licensing dispensaries.

Opined the Court:

“We have consistently maintained that the CUA (the California Compassionate Use Act aka Proposition 215) and the MMP (the Medical Marijuana program Act) are but incremental steps toward freer access to medical marijuana, and the scope of these statutes is limited and circumscribed. They merely declare that the conduct they describe cannot lead to arrest or conviction, or be abated as a nuisance, as violations of enumerated provisions of the Health and Safety Code. Nothing in the CUA or the MMP expressly or impliedly limits the inherent authority of a local jurisdiction, by its own ordinances, to regulate the use of its land, including the authority to provide that facilities for the distribution of medical marijuana will not be permitted to operate within its borders.”

Although language included in Proposition 215 explicitly called for the state government “to implement a plan for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana,” to date, lawmakers have failed to enact any specific statewide regulations regarding the retail production and distribution of cannabis to those patients authorized to consume it.

Commenting on the ruling, California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer said, “The court essentially affirmed the status quo. Local governments may choose to allow or limit dispensaries as they please. The unfortunate result of this decision is to leave many needy patients without legal access to medical marijuana in their communities, thereby promoting illegal black market suppliers. It is time for the state and federal governments to step up to the plate and fulfill the mandate of Prop 215 to implement a system of ‘safe and affordable’ access for all patients in medical need.”

Legislation is presently pending in both the California Assembly (AB 473) and Senate (SB 439) to impose statewide regulations governing the dispensing of marijuana produced for medical purposes.

Full text of the California Supreme Court’s opinion is available online here.

Report: New York City Cops Spent One Million Hours In Staff Time Making Marijuana Possession Arrests

New York City police spent an estimated one million hours in staff time making low level marijuana possession arrests between the years 2002 and 2012, according to the findings of a study released today by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance.

Authors of the study report that City law enforcement personnel engaged in approximately one million hours of police officer time to make 440,000 marijuana possession arrests over the past 11 years. Authors further estimated that those arrested for marijuana possession in New York City have spent five million hours in police custody over the last decade.

Authors concluded: “[I]t is clear that the marijuana arrests have taken police off the street and away from other crime-fighting activities for a significant amount of time.”

Under state law, the private possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana is a non-criminal civil citation, punishable by a $100 fine. By contrast, the possession of any amount of cannabis in public view is a criminal misdemeanor [NY State Penal Law 221.10].

Previously published data reports that over 90 percent of all marijuana arrests in the state of New York occur in New York City. In 2011, New York City law enforcement spent $75 million arresting approximately 50,000 minor marijuana offenders under Penal Law 221.10. Many of these offenders possessed small amounts of marijuana on their person, and only revealed the cannabis publicly after being ordered by police to empty their pockets during ‘stop-and-frisk’ searches. Over 85 percent of those charged were either African American or Latino.

In his 2013 ‘State of the State’ address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbied in favor of legislation to equalize the state’s marijuana possession penalties and to reduce the number of low-level possession arrests in New York City. “These arrests stigmatize, they criminalize, they create a permanent record,” he said. “It’s not fair, it’s not right, it must end, and it must end now.”

Full text of the report, “One million police hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests ion New York City, 2002-2012,” appears online here.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Starting Next Month, No Jail for Marijuana Possession

Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new marijuana policy for the city during his State of the City address.

Mayor Bloomberg, who previously stood with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his call for fixing New York’s marijuana laws, reiterated that support, but said his city won’t wait for Albany on this issue.

But we know that there’s more we can do to keep New Yorkers, particularly young men, from ending up with a criminal record. Commissioner Kelly and I support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a violation, rather than a misdemeanor and we’ll work to help him pass it this year. But we won’t wait for that to happen.

Right now, those arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana are often held in custody overnight. We’re changing that. Effective next month, anyone presenting an ID and clearing a warrant check will be released directly from the precinct with a desk appearance ticket to return to court. It’s consistent with the law, it’s the right thing to do and it will allow us to target police resources where they’re needed most.

-Mayor Bloomberg

Under current law, possession of marijuana for personal use in private is punishable by a ticket, but possession of marijuana open to public view or being burnt in public is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 with a maximum sentence of 90 days.

This initiative could go a long way towards correcting the draconic policy currently in place in the city, which disproportionately effects people of color and costs taxpayers about 75 million dollars a year in enforcement and prosecution costs. New York City is the marijuana arrest capitol of the world, with 50,684 arrests for marijuana offenses in 2011 alone, hopefully this action from the mayor will encourage his fellow New Yorkers in Albany to cease the arrest of marijuana consumers across the state.

You can view the full text of Mayor Bloomberg’s speech here.

Medical Marijuana Super Store Opens in East Oakland

Oakland, CA (PRWEB) January 26, 2010

Growing Business in East Oakland, 70 Hegenberger Loop Oakland, CA, 94621

On Thursday January 28th at 5:00PM, iGrow, the Bay Area?s largest full service hydroponic superstore, will celebrate its? grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Oakland City Councilmembers Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan. This 15,000 square foot facility by the Oakland Airport offers turnkey services to assist medical marijuana patients in creating their own cannabis gardens.

iGrow is a one-stop shop where medical marijuana patients can get their cannabis cards, buy their grow equipment, and even hire on-site technicians to build out their grow rooms. iGrow offers all the services required for medical marijuana patients to set up their own gardens. The on-site medical doctor offers cannabis card recommendations, which is the first step in California for a patient to legally cultivate cannabis. The retail area of iGrow not only offers the largest selection of hydroponic equipment but also features Ikea-style grow room demonstrations with live plants, allowing new cultivators to visualize everything required for a new setup. And lastly iGrow?s very own ?Grow Squad? offers free cultivation advice and in-home technician services for customers interested in avoiding legal and safety hazards with a professional build out.

Oakland entrepreneur and founder, Dhar Mann, 25, says, ?We?re excited that iGrow was born in the epicenter of the cannabis movement. And we?re even more thrilled to see the strong support that the City of Oakland and the community has shown us for the grand opening of our new business.?

To schedule interviews, please contact:

Justin Jorgensen

70 Hegenberger Loop

Oakland, CA, 94621



San Jose City Council wants to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries

On September 13, 2011 the San Jose City Council approved ordinances that woulds have limit the number of medical marijuana collectives to 10, putting about 1500 jobs in jeopardy. In this video, locals affected by this decision are speaking their mind. News: On Friday october 28, a day early, CCPC turned in 48598 signatures almost 20000 more than needed. The ban is suspended. The county has 30 working days to verify the signatures. Then the city council had ten days to decide to repeal it themselves (and work with us all on a real ordinance) or put it on the June election. For more information visit

Springfield City Council Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative, May Be Amended

Last night, the City Council of Springfield, MO voted 6-3 in favor of an initiative that would lower city penalties for possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis to a maximum $150 fine. This measure came about as part of a petitioning process by the group Show-Me Cannabis Regulation. After the group collected enough signatures from Springfield voters, the council had the option of either passing the legislation or putting it before voters in the November election.

This measure is similar to an ordinance passed in Columbia, MO in 2004, that received 61% of the vote. This initiative differs in that it adds automatic expungement of convictions for possession
of up to 1 and 1/4 ounces of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia two years after a plea of guilty
or conviction. It also requires the council to appoint a “Citizens Committee” to review and monitor the implementation of the ordinance.

The city council has the opportunity to amend its language and several members have signaled a desire to do so. If they are to amend the language they only have 30 days in which to do so. To what extent the measure will be changed before it is implemented remains unclear. Councilman Tommy Bieker stated that, “I will be voting in support with the intent of turning around and working out the amendment.”

His colleague, Councilman Jeff Seifried told press he supported passing the amendment “then gutting, the entire ordinance.”

NORML will keep you updated as this situation progresses. You can read more about initiatives that did advance to this fall’s ballot by visiting NORML’s 2012 Election Guide, Smoke the Vote.

San Jose City Council Voted to Eliminate 1,500 Jobs and Lose $3.5 Million in Revenue, Says Med Mar Healing Center

San Jose, CA (PRWEB) October 24, 2011

The San Jose City Council ordinance, which was ratified on September 27th, puts strict new limitations on medical marijuana in San Jose, including limiting the number of dispensaries to ten, changing zoning allowances, and requiring all dispensaries to grow medicine and create medicated products onsite. The ten dispensaries will be licensed on a first-come, first-serve basis, rather than on a quality-based scale.

?This extreme measure will make it practically impossible for any of the existing dispensaries to continue operation. No other business in America is forced to have 100% of production and sales on site,? points out Doug Chloupek, founder of San Jose medical cannabis dispensary MedMar Healing Center. ?It will result in just a few huge dispensaries, chosen for their speed of application rather than their merits, to serve the needs of the thousands of San Jose residents who seek access to safe, clean medicine.?

San Jose marijuana dispensary MedMar Healing Center is encouraging San Jose residents concerned with ensuring that their neighbors suffering serious ailments do not have to turn to the streets to get the medication they need, and with upholding California?s laws supporting safe access to medicinal marijuana, to sign a petition blocking the City Council?s unworkable new ordinance and allow the community the chance to unite and come up with better policies that work for everyone.

The Citizens Coalition for Patient Care (CCPC), a coalition of dispensaries, growers, and marijuana advocacy groups, is taking action to get the 30,000 registered voter signatures needed by October 29th to prevent the ordinance from being enacted. MedMar encourages concerned San Jose citizens to visit, the website of CCPC San Jose, for information about the ordinance and actions they can take to stop it.

?Please sign the petition to halt this ordinance if you want to support safe access to medication, avoid a rise in crime, and prevent the City from losing millions in tax revenue,? asks Chloupek. ?We are not against regulation, but this particular ordinance will have negative consequences that will be felt by residents of San Jose.?

If the new ordinance succeeds, San Jose stands to lose an estimated $ 3.5 million in tax revenues, money that would go to fund essential City services including police, fire, emergency response, street maintenance, pothole repair. ?This ordinance shows the City Council?s blatant disregard for the public?s interest. At a time when San Jose is struggling to fund basic services, eliminating millions in tax revenue is harmful to the City and its residents,? says Chloupek.

By closing down over 90% of its medical marijuana dispensaries, the City of San Jose will also be instantly cutting as many as 1,500 jobs. ?At a time when unemployment is rampant, commercial space stands empty, and San Jose struggles to close its budget deficit, purposely closing down small businesses and leaving people unemployed is counterproductive, to say the very least,? notes Chloupek.

By reducing the allowed dispensaries to just ten and requiring that they produce all medicine onsite, San Jose is also risking federal backlash, says MedMar. San Jose is going against previous precedent set in Oakland. Last year, Oakland tried to limit medical marijuana growing to four large operations in the city, but the federal government came out heavily against it, making Oakland back down.

For more information about the petition to stop the new ordinance from being enacted, or to learn more about any of MedMar Healing Center?s products and services, call (408) 426-4400 or visit the San Jose cannabis club online at MedMar is located at 170 South Autumn Street, San Jose, CA 95110.

About MedMar Healing Center

MedMar Healing Center is a San Jose medical marijuana dispensary, acting as an easily accessible resource for Bay Area medical marijuana patients. They are a community-based San Jose medical cannabis club centrally located in downtown San Jose, only blocks from the San Jose Sharks home, HP Pavilion. They are close to major freeways and thoroughfares, and are located near all the major public transit options, including Diridon Station.

MedMar provides residents of San Jose with medical marijuana in many forms, including flowers, hash, edibles, and concentrates. MedMar Healing Center tests each of their strains of medicine for a cannabinoid profile, which helps their knowledgeable staff recommend the best medicine for the diverse ailments of each client.

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Related California Cannabis Clubs Press Releases

City of Ink Euro Tour 2010

Greedmont TV presents City of Ink’s Euro Tour, where a group of their tattoo artist [Miya Bailey, Corey Davis and Samba Sillah] venture overseas to Europe for a first time experience and to learn about the different cultures of London, Amsterdam and Paris. [Shot by Corey Davis] An iPhone app made strictly for adults 18 and up, the Sin Finder app! Submit Your Business? Thanks for looking! Don’t forget to SHARE & LIKE it up! :)

City of Lake Forest Wins Case Prohibiting Illegal Marijuana Stores; Judge Affirms City?s Right to Enforce Land Use and Zoning Decisions

Lake Forest, CA (PRWEB) May 13, 2010

Orange County Superior Court Judge David Chaffee granted the City of Lake Forest a preliminary injunction to close ten marijuana stores which are operating illegally in the city (Case No: 30-2009-00298887-CU-MC-CJC Superior Court of California, County of Orange). In his ruling, Judge Chaffee found that marijuana stores operating in Lake Forest are a public nuisance as they are in direct violation of land use regulations per the Lake Forest Municipal Code. Judge Chaffee further stated that it is illegal for cities to pass regulations that allow businesses to violate state or federal law, per Government Code Section 37100. This directly applies to marijuana stores since the Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana as a Schedule I ?controlled substance? and prohibits the use of this drug for any purpose.

Judge Chaffee?s ruling makes it clear that it is illegal for Lake Forest to enact zoning ordinances or other land use regulations that permit activities or businesses that violate federal or state law ? including marijuana stores, medical marijuana dispensaries and storefront collectives. If the ruling is appealed, and a court of appeal upholds the ruling, it would be precedent setting for other cities in California.

?We?re very pleased the courts have ruled in our favor. This entire case was about the city?s right to enforce its zoning ordinance on behalf of the people of Lake Forest,? said Mayor Peter Herzog. ?This sends a clear message to marijuana store operators and commercial property owners that these activities are illegal and will not be tolerated in the community, and any future operations like the ones in existence today will be immediately closed.?

According to Lake Forest?s litigation attorney Jeffery Dunn, ?The big story in all this is that Lake Forest is allowed to enforce its land use plan and this ability is not superseded by the Compassionate Use Act, consistent with a recent State of California 2nd District Appellate court decision (City of Claremont v. Kruse). We have prepared a proposed order to be signed by Judge Chaffee calling for the immediate closure of all marijuana stores in the city.?

The ruling grants the City?s motion for preliminary injunction to close 215 Agenda (now operating as Bulzi RX), Lake Forest Community Collective, Vale Tudo Caf

Long Beach City Council Takes Up Medical Marijuana Dispite Federal Pressure – Pt 1

Long Beach, City Council, Suja Lowenthal, Robert Garcia, Medical Marijuana, Dee Andrews, Steven Neal, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Medical Cannabis Dispensing Centers, Medical Marijuana 411, Cheryl Shuman, Long Beach Collective Association, Chronic Pain Relief Center, cannabis, marijuana, Federal Raids, Kamala Harris, Joe Grumbine, Americans for Safe Access, The Human Solution, NORML, OC NORML, OC ASA, Orange County, LA County, Steve Cooley, US Attorney, Melinda Haag, Laura Duffy, San Diego, Kern County, Cannabis, drug, Orange County, California, Nonprofit, Carl Kemp, Civil Rights, Collectives, Medical Marijuana Collectives, Judge Sheldon, Allison Margolin, Chris Glew, San Diego medical marijuana directory. Look up San Diego neighborhood medical marijuana dispensaries. Medical cannabis articles & videos. Alsoa section on Los Angeles medical marijuana & Orange County medical marijuana.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

Long Beach City Council Takes Up Medical Marijuana Dispite Federal Pressure_Part

Long Beach, City Council, Suja Lowenthal, Robert Garcia, Medical Marijuana, Dee Andrews, Steven Neal, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Medical Cannabis Dispensing Centers, Medical Marijuana 411, Cheryl Shuman, Long Beach Collective Association, Chronic Pain Relief Center, cannabis, marijuana, Federal Raids, Kamala Harris, Joe Grumbine, Americans for Safe Access, The Human Solution, NORML, OC NORML, OC ASA, Orange County, LA County, Steve Cooley, US Attorney, Melinda Haag, Laura Duffy, San Diego, Kern County, Cannabis, drug, Orange County, California, Nonprofit, Carl Kemp, Civil Rights, Collectives, Medical Marijuana Collectives, Judge Sheldon, Allison Margolin, Chris Glew,

Contact The District Attorney’s Office in regards to this costly, and unjust case. District Attorney’s Office County of Los Angeles 210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000 Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210 Telephone (213) 974-3512 Fax (213) 974-1484 TTY (800) 457-7778 (8:30am – 5:00pm MF) E-Mail: Contact Joe Grumbine if you would like to help in some way. Joe’s #: 951-436-6312 E-Mail Joe @:

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