Tag: NORML

STILL More Arrests for Cannabis Than All Violent Crimes Together

We’ve made so much progress all across the nation legalizing and regulating cannabis for both medical and adult use, that it baffles the mind that we are still arresting and jailing so many people for cannabis in this nation. While some people try to brush off the importance of ending cannabis prohibition, the war on the cannabis community continues to ruin lives and disrupt an industry that is one of the bright spots in today’s economy. In fact, the United States arrests more people for cannabis than for all violent crimes combined:

According to the Uniform Crime Report, which was compiled by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, police in the U.S. made 10,085,207 arrests in 2019. Of that total, 545,602 were for cannabis violations. That number is higher than the 495,871 individuals arrested for violent crimes and represents more than 5 percent of all arrests carried out by law enforcement that year. Cannabis arrests made up about one-third of all drug-related arrests despite being considerably safer than other illicit drugs or opioid-based prescription medications. 

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“Police across America make a marijuana-related arrest every 58 seconds,” said Erik Altieri, executive director at NORML. “At a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is an outrage that many police departments across the country continue to waste tax dollars and limited law enforcement resources on arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simple marijuana possession.”

The total number of arrests only tells one part of the story. There is a notorious disparity between rates at which white people are arrested versus those from black and Latinx communities. However, the rates at which these groups consume cannabis are similar. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, black Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related violations. 

It is imperative that we don’t remain complacent and continue to urge our federal officials to end prohibition. Too many people are losing their freedom and livelihoods and cannabis businesses can’t flourish without reasonable banking and tax policies. Cannabis businesses in legal states are creating jobs and generating revenue for important social services, and it is simply nonsensical and un-American to continue the harmful and wasteful war on the cannabis community.

Be sure to take advantage of living in the great legal state of Oregon and enjoy the selection and deals at Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique. Discounts available for Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Patients, seniors, veterans, and everyone utilizing the pick-up window. Order online via Leafly to save time.

NORML: Congress Needs to Stop Trump’s Plan to Derail State Cannabis Laws

Support for medical cannabis and states’ rights to choose their own path on cannabis policy has increasingly become a bipartisan issue. Virtually every major presidential candidate during the last two elections has stated support for states’ rights to legalize and regulate cannabis, particularly for medical use.

While President Trump’s administration caused some alarms when he appointed Jeff “Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana” Sessions as Attorney General and tension was heightened when Sessions repealed President Obama’s Cole Memo policy that mandated a federal hands-off approach regarding state cannabis programs, the Trump administration has maintained a states’ rights positions. Unfortunately, alarm bells have gone once more after Trump’s latest budget proposal okays federal agents trampling the will of state voters that have legalized medical cannabis.

Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML, writes that “Congress should halt Trump’s plan to upend states’ medical marijuana laws” in The HIll:

In his recently released 2021 federal budget proposal, the president has called for ending existing federal protections that limit the federal government from interfering in the state-sanctioned regulation of medical cannabis. Doing so would place thousands of medical cannabis providers and the millions of patients who rely on them at risk for criminal prosecution.

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Most recently, Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for Trump’s 2020 campaign, stated in an interview that the administration is intent on keeping marijuana illegal under federal law. “I think what the president is looking at is looking at this from a standpoint of a parent of a young person to make sure that we keep our kids away from drugs,” he said. “They need to be kept illegal, that is the federal policy. I think the president has been pretty clear on his views on marijuana at the federal level, I know many states have taken a different path.”

Let’s be clear — the policy that the administration wants to keep in place is the same failed policy that has existed since 1970, which opines that the cannabis plant should remain classified in the same category as heroin and possesses no accepted medical value. This position doesn’t comport with either public opinion or scientific reality

Mr. Stekal is right, of course, Congress needs to ensure that state medical cannabis programs should be protected from federal interference. Actually, we need to go one step further and ensure that adult use programs are protected as well. The people have spoken. Cannabis legalization is here to stay and this administration, and future administration need to respect and follow the will of the voters. Or pay political consequences.