Cannabis Headed for Legalization at
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on New Year’s Eve that his office has expunged almost a half-million cannabis-related arrest records and has issued pardons for almost 10,000 low-level cannabis related offenses. What a marvelous way to start 2021 – the year that will see federal cannabis prohibition come to an end.
The actions by the Governor of Illinois are not an isolated event. Pardons and expungements are happening throughout the county as more and more states legalize cannabis.
In 2011, the year before Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis, there were 757,969 arrests for marijuana. In 2019, there were 545,602, a decrease of almost 30%, but that is still more then all the arrests made for violent crimes. We still have a long way to go, but the numbers will continue to drop as more states embrace legalization.
Ending the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of millions of Americans for cannabis offenses is one of the major reasons I, and so many others, strongly supported and continue to support legalization efforts even though they are far from perfect.
With four more states legalizing cannabis in the 2020 elections, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter and brighter. The 2020 elections have brought us to the precipice of truly “freeing the weed” as with the Dems in control of the Senate there really is a really real chance that federal cannabis prohibition will come to an end this year.
The Senate's new majority leader, Chuck Schumer, has said, "Cannabis is now Schedule 1—which is to the point of absurdity to say marijuana is more dangerous than crack cocaine. It's crazy. So we decriminalize it, we deschedule it, and we incentivize and invest in states and local governments to create expungement programs."
The House passed the MORE act in Dec. 2020 which deschedules cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act bringing about the end to federal cannabis prohibition. It will now go to the Senate where Schumer, unlike former Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel, will allow it to come up for a vote. It will pass because almost all Democrats and a significant number of Republican Senators support it. From there it goes to the desk of President Biden.
Biden is in favor of decriminalization and not legalization, but that’s OK as the MORE Act doesn’t actually legalize cannabis - it just takes the feds out of the picture by no longer criminalizing it. By taking the feds out of the picture, it allows the states to make the decision on whether cannabis should be legal within their borders or not. That is a position that Biden has publicly supported many times during the 2020 election. Further I imagine Biden will also sign it since our new VP, Kamala Harris, was THE chief sponsor of the MORE Act in the Senate.
One thing that is not mentioned often about the importance of ending federal cannabis prohibition is recognizing that whatever the United States does has a profound impact the world over. This is especially significant for those Asian and Middle East countries that are still executing people for cannabis crimes. The imprimatur of the U.S. on cannabis legalization will eventually lead to an end of their hideous actions towards their own citizens.
With federal cannabis prohibition ended, each individual state will decide to either legalize or keep criminal marijuana. Unfortunately, those that chose to legalize can set up whatever Rube Goldberg system of legalization they want to. It is now up to those who live in states where cannabis is still illegal to see to it that cannabis is legalized and when it is legalized, make sure that the legalization system that is set up is not so complex that it would be easier to open up a nuclear power plant then open a dispensary.
In California, state and local elected officials will no longer be able to cite its illegality under federal law as a reason they cannot allow the implementation of Prop. 64 and the cultivation, manufacture and distribution of cannabis in their jurisdictions.
With state and local governments suffering massive loss of tax revenues due to the COVID19 pandemic, elected officials are desperately looking for new sources of revenue. Nothing changes minds faster than $$$. The lure of replacing some of those lost tax dollars with cannabis dollars will transform the mind of even the most reefer madness addled politician. It certainly has changed the minds of many California voters as 33 cities and counties that had formerly prohibited cannabis businesses passed ordinances during the November elections allowing them.
Although I thoroughly believe cannabis should be treated like caffeinated beverages, it is likely to have a byzantine system of complex and opaque regulations that makes the system regulating alcohol and tobacco seem like a Libertarian’s dream.
I know people complain that marijuana is not alcohol and not tobacco and that its regulation should not be so stringent. I only wish cannabis would be regulated like alcohol and tobacco.
If cannabis was as easily available and as cheaply available as alcohol and tobacco is, we would be ecstatic. Imagine walking down to your neighborhood convenience store to get your cannabis. Imagine going to big grocery stores and big box stores and they are all selling cannabis in competition with each other. Some might even offer cannabis as a loss leader to get you into the store knowing that you are very likely to purchase other items to enjoy your cannabis with.
My goal for cannabis legalization has always been when I can go to Costco and buy my cannabis. At Costco, it will be reasonably priced and good quality, although you will have to purchase a kilogram at a time. But that’s ok as it will come broken into packages of a dozen different strains which probably means there will be a drawer at home full of packages of that one strain you don’t like.
Most importantly, especially from the affordability angle, is that farmers will be able to grow cannabis like any other agricultural crop. When they are able to do that and grow hundreds and thousands of acres of cannabis, prices will come tumbling down to levels that the taxes will be, like a lot of alcohol products and almost all tobacco products, the biggest part of the purchase price. Cannabis selling for $25 a pound, before taxes, would be an entirely reasonable price providing a fair profit for growers, manufacturers and distributors. After all, what other agricultural crop sells for $25 a pound – especially in its natural unprocessed state?
With the end of federal prohibition, we have the opportunity to make this happen, but this cannabis nirvana is not going to be served up to us on a silver platter. We have to be active to shape the coming changes to cannabis accessibility.
I know many of you are concerned about big businesses and conglomerates taking over the cannabis industry. It is a legitimate concern and they will be there with big bucks representing their business interests, but who will be representing yours?. Who is going to be lobbying your city councils and county boards if you don't?
That's where you come in. You need to be involved - you need to contact your local officials to see to it that when cannabis comes to town, it comes in a way that benefits the consumer. Call them, email them and most importantly go to the City Council and County Board of Supervisors meetings and let them know how the ordinances allowing cannabis business and home cultivation should be written. I have seen it time and time again - when enough citizens show up at these meetings - they listen and then they act to get done what needs to be done so they will vote for them in the next election.
We need to coordinate and work with other cannabis organizations on the state level to make sure state regulations and taxes don’t financially strangle but rather promote consumers access to cannabis. We need to go to Sacramento and lobby our state Assembly members and Senators to make the needed changes to Prop. 64 so that we do indeed have cannabis nirvana in California.
More and more cities and counties are opting to allow the cannabis business provisions of Prop. 64 to take effect. Even more will join in when federal prohibition comes to an end. I know many of you want to see cannabis cultivation, manufacture and distribution take place in your local communities along with reasonable home cultivation regulations. I am here to help you with that, so contact me if you are ready to roll up your sleeves to make cannabis safely, reliably, legally, locally and AFFORDABLY accessible.
A Holistic Outreach to Veterans at Sat. Feb. 6 MAPP Virtual Meeting
Two veterans’ organization that promote the use of cannabis as part of their programs providing health services to veterans will be featured at the 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 virtual MAPP meeting.
A Future for Veterans Foundation is developing a program called SPACE (Safe, Predictable, Affordable, Collegiate Environments) to empower veterans in the development of their mental and physical well being by providing housing, education, job assistance and peer support counseling to military veterans.
Veterans Walk and Talk is a community of veterans who advocate for outdoor and psychedelic therapy utilizing exercise, cannabis, psychedelics and community to enable veterans to take control of their health journey.
Alex De La Campa, the founder of A Future for Veterans Foundation will discuss how his organization ensures that charities like Veterans Walk and Talk and Operation Evac have a fiscal 501c3 sponsor for their hikes and peer support groups. His presentation will include information on veterans' transitional housing programs as well as their work with the tech community in the development of AI to facilitate veteran reintegration.
A veteran of Afghanistan having served in the Army Infantry, Colin Wells is the founder of Veterans Walk and Talk. Formed in 2016, there are now VWAT chapters all over the country. Facilitating psychedelic and cannabis medicines for VWAT members, he will be discussing their cannabis related programs that employ and empower veterans in the legal cannabis space, enhance wellness programs and relate personal anecdotes that illuminate how cannabis benefits veterans on many different levels.
Luna Stower, CEO/Founder of Luna Stower Marketing, LLC will share her experience as a liaison helping to provide cannabis to veterans utilizing SB34 and Prop. 64 via the Bloom Network's Compassion Program, Fiorello Brands' partnership with A Future for Vets and Jetty Extracts Shelter Project for Cancer Patients.
The Saturday, Feb. 6 virtual MAPP meeting at 1 p.m. is free and done entirely on the phone – no need for a computer, internet connection, camera and all the other Internet paraphernalia needed to attend a virtual meeting. The MAPP virtual meeting is truly come as you are. To hear and speak with Alex, Collin and Luna this Sat. Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. call 701-802-5390 and enter the access code 2545046#.
Want to help MAPP? Consider joining our 420 Club and make an effortless donation of $4.20 each month or make a one-time donation. Your support would be gratefully appreciated.
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Meet MaryLynn Mathre at 1 p.m. Sat. Jan. 2 virtual MAPP meet
Yes we needed to legalize cannabis to end the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Americans, to end the control and distribution of cannabis by criminals, allow for the creation of a vibrant market for cultivators, manufacturers and distributors to provide legal cannabis, but one of the major reasons, if not THE major reason, was to make the health and medical benefits of cannabis use legal, reliable, safe and affordable for everyone.
Consequently, I am so pleased to let you know that MaryLynn Mathre, one of the foremost proponents of the health and medical uses of cannabis, will be the guest speaker at the 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan.2 virtual MAPP meeting. As co-founder and President of Patients Out of Time, MaryLynn has been educating health care professionals and the public for almost three decades, about the therapeutic uses of cannabis. POT has sponsored the most amazing conferences bringing together scientific researchers, doctors, nurses, national, state and local elected officials, patients and the general public to further the acceptance and availability of cannabis.
I have attended several of their conferences and I can say without a moment’s hesitation, that they have been outstanding in both the caliber of presenters, the wealth of information presented and most importantly the networking provided by bringing all these people together.
At the virtual meeting this Saturday, MaryLynn will discuss the formation in 1995 of Patients Out of Time, the programs they have brought to fruition and their current efforts to further the use and understanding of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Most excitedly, she will provide information on the upcoming 25th Anniversary celebration as well as discuss their conference series including the 14th annual POT conference this May and how you can attend them.
MaryLynn will also discuss the ongoing efforts of POT working in conjunction with a broad coalition of activists and reformers to de-schedule cannabis and related resolutions. After her presentation there will be time tor you to ask questions
The Saturday, Jan. 2 virtual MAPP meeting at 1 p.m. is done entirely on the phone – no need for a computer, internet connection, camera and all the other rigamaro needed to attend a virtual meeting. The MAPP virtual meeting is truly come as you are. To hear and speak with MaryLynn Mathre this Sat. Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. call 701-802-5390 and enter the access code 2545046#.
Won’t see you then, but looking forward to speaking with you.
Oh yes – have a happy new year – you might find my thoughts on celebrating it to be of interest. If so, CLICK HERE.
Just before the clock strikes midnight on December 31, raise your left leg so that you will start off the year on the right foot.
Then continue 2021 on the right foot by joining MAPP’s 420 Club and donating $4.20 every month to keep us going throughout 2021.
From working with Riverside County to establish reasonable and realistic regulations for cannabis businesses to protecting cannabis consumers from losing their jobs for using legal cannabis, MAPP is here. Please help us be there for you.
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Prop. 64 was suppose to end the criminal penalties for cannabis consumption and allow for the creation of licensed and regulated businesses to produce, manufacture and distribute cannabis to both medical and recreational users. Unfortunately Prop. 64 was not written to create a cannabis nirvana but rather to assuage the fears of voters who were on the fence about legalizing it.
Attorney J. David Nick is the featured guest on the latest episode of the award-winning Internet podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense. On the show he tells why Prop. 64 has totally failed to meet its goals of cannabis justice and create a sensible, rational and reasonable system of regulation. With a precision analysis, he points out that this current system of loop holes for prosecutors, outrageous taxation, over control by local municipalities and the crazy quilt map of municipalities that continue to have total bans without justification or a vote by local citizens has created a system that is unfair, unjust and unworkable. Offering a variety of solutions both simple and complex including the need to submit a new proposition, Attorney Nick provides a clear explanation and a thought-provoking analysis of Prop. 64 and the current status of cannabis legalization in California.
With offices in San Francisco and Palm Springs, J. David Nick has been practicing law for 28 years. His areas of legal expertise include federal and state court litigation, criminal defense, appeals in criminal and civil matters and civil litigation. He has had multiple appellate court opinions on the subject of cannabis regulation published. From criminal liability to regulation, taxation and cannabis business disputes, he has represented many cannabis icons such as Dennis Peron, Brownie Mary, Steve Kubby and NORML.
To listen to the Internet podcast of Marijuana Compassion & Common Sense featuring Attorney Nick CLICK HERE.
Looking for the perfect gift for your iconoclastic cannabis connoisseur friends? Here it is!
Liz McDuffie - meet the new Little Old Lady From Pasadena helping health care facilities provide cannabis to patients at 1 p.m. Sat. Dec. 5 virtual MAPP meet
Although Jan and Dean were not singing about Liz McDuffie when they recorded their classic song "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" in 1964, it is interesting to note that if they had known Liz, they certainly might have been referring to her. In 1967 Jan & Dean reworked the lyrics from "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" renaming the track "The Little Old Lady from Tijuana." Released as a single that same year, the lyrics now contained thinly-veiled references to marijuana use. (To read the lyrics CLICK HERE even better to hear Jan & Dean sing them CLICK HERE).
When it comes to marijuana Liz McDuffie is certainly the new "Little Old Lady from Pasadena." Liz is the founder and director of Medical Cannabis Caregivers, an organization dedicated to producing and distributing medical cannabis information and also the founder of the Landmark Research Collective, California’s first clinical teaching dispensary for Complementary and Alternative (CAM) Practitioners specializing in cannabis therapeutics. Both are located in Pasadena and have contributed significantly to the implementation of medical cannabis programs in California. In 2018 the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) approved her class on Senate Bill 94 “Licensing Exemption” for Licensees of Health Care Facilities which is currently being offered under the CDSS Continuing Education Program for Licensing Re-certification.
Liz's presentation at the Sat. Dec. 5 virtual MAPP meet will focus on new issues relating to cannabis for medicinal uses and how to use current California law to allow for the distribution of medical cannabis at health care facilities from hospitals to hospices.
Liz has worked to not just educate and advance medical cannabis programs, but was the operator of one of Pasadena's first medical cannabis dispensaries. She also operated a medical cannabis educational and doctor's recommendation facility in Las Vegas at the time the "sin city" first began to allow medical marijuana distribution.
Liz serves on the Advisory Board for the National Institute of Health (NIH) Study of Cannabis Use Among Adults in Los Angeles County. Additionally she serves as a Software Producer for HIPAA Compliant electronic Medical Record Platforms for physicians and dispensary operators.
Liz is currently working on the development of programs for Health Care Facilities to provide cannabis based medicines to their clients as provided for under SB 94. Working with hemp-based health care product manufacturer, Willow Creek Springs, they are collaborating on a pilot study on the safety and efficacy of using hemp-based medications to treat pressure wounds (bed sores) in residential care facilities.
At the virtual MAPP meeting we will also celebrate the passage of the MORE Act by the House of Representatives today with a virtual 420 celebration and discuss what happens next.
The Sat. Dec. 5 virtual MAPP meeting begins at 1 p.m. and everyone is invited to attend. It is not an internet based virtual meeting, but strictly done on the telephone via freeconferencecall.com. No cameras so you can truly attend just as you are. To join the virtual meeting and meet with the new Little Old Lady from Pasadena and get the latest updates on the MORE Act, call 701-802-5390 and enter access code 2545046#.
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Congress to vote to make cannabis LEGAL!!!
The most important piece of cannabis legislation since the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) made cannabis illegal in 1970 is coming up for a vote this Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the House of Representatives. It is the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement) Act and it is important because it removes cannabis from the CSA which will end federal cannabis prohibition and turns regulation over to the states just like alcohol and tobacco.
The MORE Act does even more:
- permits physicians affiliated with the Veterans Administration for the first time to make medical cannabis recommendations to qualifying veterans who reside in legal states,
- it incentivizes states to move ahead with expungement policies that will end the stigma and lost opportunities suffered by those with past, low-level cannabis convictions,
- allows the Small Business Administration to support entrepreneurs and businesses as they seek to gain a foothold in this emerging industry.
There have been some objections raised to the MORE Act by a few cannabis aficionados as it allows states to regulate cannabis like tobacco and they feel cannabis is not tobacco and should not be regulated in the same way.
The MORE act doesn’t mandate that cannabis be treated like tobacco but it does allow states to regulate cannabis any way they like and if they want to treat it like tobacco they can. This is not necessarily a bad thing considering that you can get a pack of 20 tobacco cigarettes for under $10 including taxes. Also you can buy them just about everywhere including the ubiquitous convenience stores in which in 2019 there were 152,790 of which over 120,000 were operated by mom and pop and not by Circle K and 7-11. If only cannabis were so cheaply and widely available - it would be a boon for medical patients and recreational users and even more of a boon for mom and pop.
Passage of the MORE Act by the House will move the fight to the Senate which is still run by Republican Mitch McConnel. Notwithstanding our newly elected Vice-President Kamala Harris is the MORE Act’s lead sponsor in the Senate, if Democrats fail in their Quixotic quest to secure the two Georgia Senate seats up for election in January, the MORE Act may never see the light of day on the Senate floor, as McConnel is no friend of cannabis reform.
With one out of every three Americans now living in states that allow for the use of cannabis by adults for any reason and states struggling to make up for COVID19 related lost revenue, its passage in the House will still be very important symbolically and could give state legislators the green light they need to pass cannabis legalization legislation.
Taking 60 seconds to contact your Congressional representative is not an act of spinning your wheels, - it is the essence of citizen lobbying and is an important component of moving the needle significantly forward toward totally ending cannabis prohibition. Take that 60 seconds right now and contact your Congress person and tell them to Vote Yes on the More Act.
The absolutely best and easiest way is to call their office – it's so simple, you don’t even need to know the name of your Congressional Representative. Call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 (you can call anytime as the Congressional switchboard operates 24/7) tell the real live person who answers the phone either the name of your Congressional Representative or the zip code in which you live and they will connect you to their office. When you are connected tell the receptionist who answers the phone (or leave a voice-message if the office is closed and no one answers) that you want your Congress person to vote YES on the MORE Act. You can add a few more words if you want, but just telling them to vote YES on the MORE Act gets the point across succinctly and forcefully.
The next best way is to send your Congress person an email. The Marijuana Policy Project has made it super simple to send your Congressional Representative an email. Whether you know who they are or not, the website produces a letter that will go to their office and it also allows you to add your two cents worth to the letter if you want. To send your Congressional Representative an email letter, CLICK HERE.
LITTLE OLD LADY FROM PASADENA featured speaker at the 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 Virtual MAPP meeting
Liz McDuffie may not be “the terror of Colorado Boulevard,” but she is an extraordinary cannabis activist who strikes fear into the hearts of those who stand in the way of making cannabis mainstream and easily available to medical patients - especially in Pasadena where she lives and does her work for cannabis patients.
She will be the featured speaker at the virtual MAPP meeting on Sat. Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. where she will be speaking on her myriad activities in the cannabis community from serving on the Advisory Board for the National Institute of Health (NIH) Study of Cannabis Use Among Adults to her role as Director of the Medical Cannabis Caregivers Institute and founder of the Landmark Research Collective, California’s first clinical teaching dispensary for Complementary and Alternative (CAM) Practitioners specializing in cannabis therapeutics.
Watch for email newsletter later this week specifically on Liz McDuffie – the real little old lady from Pasadena.
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Stress and Anxiety Free MAPP meeting Sat. Nov. 7 at 1 p.m.
Celebrate and feast with Cannabis Cheri
Covid19. Economic & Racial Injustice. Polarized Politics. Election Conundrum.
Take a break from it all with Cannabis Cheri, gourmet chief and prolific author as she tells the fascinating story of cannabis cooking and provides recipes and ideas to make the upcoming holidays a true celebration of cannabis.
Cheri is our featured speaker at the 1 p.m. Sat. Nov. 7 virtual MAPP meeting. It’s strictly a teleconference – no cams, no internet - simply a phone call to 701-802-5390 and access code 2545046#.
Come as you are and meet Cheri for new ideas on using and celebrating our favorite plant - cannabis.
Many consider the 2020 November election to be one of the most consequential elections since like forever. Certainly the direction of this country and even the world will be profoundly affected by who wins the Presidency, keeps or takes control of the U.S. Senate and you will be affected by who is elected to your state legislature and local county boards and city councils. This applies to a multitude of issues from the COVID19 health care crisis, the teetering economy, racial justice, climate change and a host of other issues including cannabis law reform affecting your ability to access cannabis on the local level.
Although cannabis legalization is on the ballot in New Jersey, South Dakota and Arizona, it is almost a side issue although it will definitely affect state and local races in those states. Our votes count and at the MAPP virtual telemeeting on Sat. Oct. 3 at 1 p.m., cannabis will be front and center.
Ellen Komp, associate director of CalNORML will give an overview of NORML’s “Smoke the Vote” guide, covering federal, state and local candidates and local cannabis ballot measures. NORML's guide is the quintessential analysis of candidate's views on not just the legalization of cannabis, but everything from medical use to allowing cannabis businesses to operate in their district. Ellen will take a look at all levels of government, but will place special focus on those running for office in California.
Join in the meeting on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. where you can hear Ellen and also ask questions. The meeting is strictly a teleconference - just on your telephone. No need to connect up your computer or get dolled up to be on cam - just come as you are. On Sat. Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. become an educated cannabis voter by calling 701-802-5390 and enter access code 2545046#.
You may not have heard of Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris, but we’ve all been affected by their work. The Power Couple of Pot have traveled the world working for justice, created organizations, books, museums and exhibits and were instrumental in California’s legalization of both medicinal and adult use cannabis.
From Prop. 215 to Prop. 64, they have worked side by side with every major cannabis reform organization such as the Drug Policy Alliance, NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project. Their efforts and those of the many cannabis legalization activists have been critical in the success of brining cannabis out of the shadow of prohibition and into the light of safe, reliable, local and affordable legal access.
Chris and Mikki will be the featured speakers at the teleconference at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 5 of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project speaking on Prop. 64, Kamala Harris and the ancient and once again burgeoning movement for the spiritual uses of cannabis.
Their historical perspective on cannabis legalization in California is legendary. Not only involved in the creation and passage of. Prop. 215, the first medical marijuana initiative in the nation, they were committed to making it work after passage. In 2004 Chris became a member of San Francisco’s Medical Marijuana Task Force where he worked with then SF District Attorney Kamala Harris.
A great deal of controversy surrounds Ms. Harris’s tenure as DA and Chris will present a first-person perspective on whether she helped or hindered implementation of Prop. 215 in SF. He will also present a nuanced and reasoned look at her position and actions on medical marijuana and legalization as California’s Attorney General and U.S. Senator as well as what her role would be as Vice-President in advancing legalization if Biden wins the presidency.
The point people specifically working with the medical marijuana community for the passage of Prop. 64, Chris and Mikki will reveal the much heralded and derided story behind the story of the passage of California’s legalization initiative.
Mikki has become extensively involved in the spiritual uses of cannabis and is working to create a welcoming environment for the many different types of spirit-centered cannabis ingestion. She will review the legal landscape surrounding the increasing use of cannabis for spiritual enlightenment and what needs to be done to make it as acceptable as any other sacramental plant.
Join Chris and Mikki on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 1 p.m. for the free MAPPteleconference for the stories of the plant that have shaped your life. There will be plenty of time for questions following the presentations.
This is not a Zoom or Webex conference – it is a true teleconference done on your telephone. No need to have a computer or dress up for the camera – you can truly come as you are. The telephone number to call to meet, hear and chat with Chris and Mikki is 701-802-5390 and the access code is 2545046#.
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House Passes Major Federal Legalization Bill
The House of Representatives passed the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment to the annual federal appropriations bills which prevents the Dept. of Justice from spending any money to enforce federal marijuana prohibition laws in states that have legal medical AND adult-use.
With almost one in every four Americans now living in states that allow for the adult-use of marijuana, the importance of this legislation cannot be underestimated as it will stop almost all federal enforcement action against legal licensed cannabis businesses.
Since 2014, Congress has passed annual spending bills that have included language protecting those who engage in the state licensed use, production, and dispensing of MEDICAL cannabis from most prosecutions by the Department of Justice. The Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment expands these protections to also include activities specific to the production and sale of cannabis to adults in the eleven states that have LEGALIZED the plant for anyone age 21 or older.
Passing with a very respectable 254 to 163, cannabis has been touted as a bipartisan issue. Maybe, but if it really is a bipartisan it has to be one of the most lopsided bipartisan issues passed in 2020 with 97% of the Democratic caucus (222 of 228) voting yes and only16% of the Republican caucus (31 of 188) voting yes.
An almost identical amendment was passed by the House last year, but failed to be included in the Senate’s appropriation bill. With Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) still in control of the Senate, the same fate probably awaits it. But who knows? Senators like Cory Garnder (R-CO), who is in a tight re-election campaign and is probably a bigger booster of legalized cannabis then his Democratic opponent, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, would definitely get a boost if the Senate passed it. With the Republicans in danger of losing the Senate, maybe they will pass it to help him get re-elected but I would advise against holding your breath.
There was also a major success at the California Democratic Party's Executive Board meeting last weekend where a resolution was passed in favor of allowing cannabis lounges to operate independently with a licensing system similar to obtaining one to sell beer and wine at restaurants and taverns. For those who understand the licensing for alcohol, a licensing system similar to beer and wine for cannabis lounges would be a tremendous step in the right direction in making cannabis far more available then it currently is under the byzantine system currently in operation.
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