Cannitrol – Cannabis Control Agent

Marijuana news from around the world


Marijuana Reform: 22 Representatives Earned an ‘A’ and 32 Failed

The 2016 election cycle has made a lot of good people more than a little nervous, and for good reason quite frankly. This presidential election and its congressional ramifications could ultimately spell the end of marijuana prohibition in the 21st-century, while simultaneously thrusting Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. While our current […] Thanks to

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The Marijuana Industry Thrives in Lansing, Michigan

Our industry’s green-minded elite have come together in Lansing, Michigan for the first ever Extreme Cannquest & Expo. Ganjapreneurs from across North America will be flocking to this event for the opportunity to gain tens of thousands of dollars in investment funding on The Marijuana Show, the show that has ABC, CBS, CNN, Forbes, Fortune, and […]

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Time To Stop Complaining and Get Involved

We receive a lot of inquiries (and some complaints) at NORML from those who favor legalization and wonder why we continue to focus on a state-based strategy instead of focusing on Congress. The belief is that Congress could legalize marijuana in one fell swoop if they wanted to do so. It’s a reasonable question, but […]

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National NORML Board Endorses AUMA Legalization Initiative in CA

At a board meeting held on Saturday, February 20th in Washington, DC, the NORML Board of Directors voted to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) voter initiative to legalize marijuana in California. The NORML Board reversed its former policy of waiting until an initiative has officially qualified for the ballot before endorsing it, […]

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Bill Maher Lights-Up On Network Television

Long-time marijuana legalization proponent, and NORML Advisory Board member, comedian Bill Maher, achieved some sort of milestone recently when he lit-up a joint during a humorous monologue on his HBO television show Real Time With Bill Maher. Now, don’t get me wrong. There have likely been thousands of entertainers and celebrities over the years who […]

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Concern About the Industry Influence In the Legalization Movement

A couple of recent developments have focused attention on the newly legal marijuana industry in several states and the potential for those new businesses to have an enormous impact on the shape of legal marijuana as it is rolled out in several new states. There is a lot of money involved in the industry, and […]

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Justin Trudeau and Marijuana: Like Father, Like Son

The recent victory in Canada by Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party, a landslide triumph that ended nearly a decade of rule by the Conservative Party, promises a significant change in the politics of Canada in a number of policy areas, including a boost in spending to stimulate the economy; raising taxes on the wealthy; and legalizing marijuana.

Stephen Harper, head of the Conservative Party, attempted to use marijuana legalization as a wedge issue against Trudeau in the recent campaign, making the rather bizarre claim that marijuana is “infinitely worse” than tobacco (an estimated 37,000 Canadians die each year from tobacco smoking). His allegation fell flat with the voters and likely helped Trudeau demonstrate the need for new, fresh and more innovative and honest leadership.

Trudeau has long favored the legalization of marijuana, publicly acknowledging his own past use of weed (including an admission of smoking when he was a member of Parliament). Shortly after the recent Liberal Party victory, he announced legalization would move forward as one of his top priorities. We share a common border stretching nearly 4,000 miles, and whatever occurs in the U.S. inevitably has an impact on Canada. It appears our domestic experience with marijuana legalization has favorably impacted attitudes in Canada, and they too are now ready for a tax and regulate regimen.

The First Prime Minister Trudeau

This needed change in Canadian marijuana policy reminds some of us of earlier times when Canada had a far more progressive and tolerant marijuana policy than the U.S., going back to the 1960s and 1970s, when Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was the Prime Minister. Pierre Trudeau served as prime minister from 1968 to 1979, and again from 1980 to 1984. He was a dominant political presence who, with his glamorous wife Margaret Trudeau, was part of the fast-lane crowd during the 1970s, famously partying with the Rolling Stones; hanging-out at then-popular Studio 54 in New York; and, in a strange moment in a Washington Post news article, once publicly invited disillusioned young Americans to visit Canada, promising they would not be harassed if they brought along a couple of joints.

This was during the height of the anti-Vietnam War movement, when young Americans burning their draft cards and long hair and marijuana smoking were all part of the cultural rebellion that would transform American society and eventually bring that war to an end. Canada, and Pierre Trudeau, were generally opposed to the war, and supportive of U.S. draft resisters (offering them asylum in Canada) and others who were working to stop the killing.

Raising the “Pierre Trudeau Defense”

It was this public invitation to visit Canada that led me to raise the “Pierre Trudeau defense,” when I was busted with a joint entering Canada to give a college lecture in Calgary in the mid-1970s.

I was (obviously) not familiar with the rigors of international travel at the time, and had stuck a joint in the pocket of my sports coat to share with the students when the lecture was over. We usually went back to someone’s apartment after a college lecture, where the students would generally pass around a joint of whatever weed was available on the black market, at prices most students could afford, and frequently it was not high quality – what we might call “ditch weed” today. So I always enjoyed bringing a joint from my own stash – high quality homegrown – to share with the students, to let them experience the better marijuana that was available if one had the right connections on the black market.

As further evidence of my naiveté, I also was wearing a gold marijuana-leaf lapel pin on my sports coat, oblivious to the fact that the marijuana pin might well bring closer scrutiny as I entered the county. I almost made it through Customs without a problem, but at the last minute, one of the officers recognized my pin, and decided to stop me and search my pockets, where he found the joint.

As I was being taken into custody, a group of the students who were meeting me to take me to the lecture saw what was happening, and someone had the good sense to bring the lecture fee that I would have received, to use as bail, so I could get out of custody and deliver the lecture on schedule later that night.

When I returned in a few weeks to go to trial, my old friend Gerry Goldstein, a young Texas criminal defense attorney who was then heading Texas NORML, accompanied me as my attorney. Since we knew possession of a single joint in Canada would bring, at most, a slap on the wrist and a modest fine, we decided to engage in some street theater, and to make it into a show trial, at which we put on the “Pierre Trudeau defense”.

I was never quite sure why Trudeau had made that statement. Perhaps he simply wanted to demonstrate how hip he and his wife were, since they were known to have smoked marijuana with the Rolling Stones at some point. Regardless, it sure sounded like something that might help me justify my actions in Canada, and it would surely make good theater for the media.

So attorney Goldstein first introduced a copy of the Washington Post article into evidence, and then had me take the stand, and under oath, say I admitted bringing the joint into Canada, but insisting that I had done it on the reliance that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had assured me (and other young Americans) that we would not be hassled.

It was obviously not a legal defense, but it did have a certain appeal to the media, and seemed to further NORML’s position that there is nothing wrong with smoking pot.

The judge saw the humor in what we were doing, and allowed us to put on our defense, but then convicted me (on my own testimony), imposed a modest fine, and sent me on my way home, none the worse for wear. It had been exhilarating to challenge the system, and we felt we had successfully pushed the policy envelope by being so out-front and unapologetic about my marijuana smoking.

Busted Again, On the Way Out of the Country

But then things turned ugly. On our way through customs as we were leaving the country, still beaming from the fact that we had pulled-off our legal street theater without harm, the Canadian customs officials found an empty one-gram cocaine vial which I had inadvertently left in my shoulder bag, with trace amounts of cocaine still in the bottle, and I was taken back into custody. Suddenly, this little Canadian joke did not seem so humorous, and especially not to the prosecutor or the judge who had just allowed us to pull-off our stunt in his courtroom.

I was thrown in jail overnight, and the following morning Goldstein arranged for me to plead guilty to the new cocaine charge, pay a larger fine, and finally get out of the country, with a warning that I would never be permitted back into the country. (In fact, I have since been back to Canada on several occasions, so apparently someone saw fit to remove me from the list of banned travelers at some point.)

But all these many years later, when I hear the name Trudeau as the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, I cannot help but smile as I remember the good-old-days, when a combination of youth and naiveté allowed us to live close to the edge, with little or no fear of the consequences.

Today I lead a far less dangerous lifestyle!

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A Second Look at Ohio: Why It’s Worth Supporting

With the 2015 election day only two weeks away, and prodded by our friend Russ Belville at 420 Radio for failing to more enthusiastically embrace Issue 3 in Ohio, this seemed like a good time to take a second look at the measure on the ballot in Ohio to both legalize marijuana for medical purposes and fully legalize marijuana for all adults.

First, one might justifiably ask the authors of this measure why they would bother with medical marijuana at all. If marijuana is legal for all adults, that includes patients as well as recreational users, and it removes the need for patients to pay a physician to confirm their need for marijuana. With the exception of a small medical use program that would cover those minors who have a legitimate medical need, there is no need for two separate legalization distribution systems.

But having somewhat duplicative legalization systems, while it may not be efficient, is not a reason to oppose Initiative 3.

Provisions Limiting Access to the New Market Are Not New

The reason given by most who claim to support legalization, but who oppose the Ohio proposal, is the reality that the investors who have put up millions of dollars to qualify the initiative for the November ballot also stand to profit handsomely from their investment, by controlling the 10 commercial cultivation centers allowed under this plan. It strikes many of us as inappropriate to build such an economic advantage by a few rich investors into the state’s constitution.

But as Belville and others (including this author) have noted, several other states that have legalized marijuana (for medical use) have limited entry into the legal industry by placing severe limits on the numbers of licenses that will be permitted, or by requiring such enormous financial investments that ordinary citizens are effectively shut out of the industry. So limiting access to the commercial cultivation centers in the newly legal market would be nothing new, nor should it justify opposing this opportunity to end marijuana prohibition in Ohio. We should focus on ending prohibition, and not get distracted by who will profit from the legal market.

Why NORML Supported I-502

In his latest rant, Belville questions why NORML and other pro-legalization organizations would endorse I-502 in Washington state in 2012, which failed to legalize personal cultivation, and included a 5 nanogram per se DUID provision that would leave many smokers unfairly subject to a DUID charge, but would either remain neutral on Issue 3 in Ohio (MPP, ASA and DPA) or tepidly endorse the proposal (NORML).

The answer to this question is simple: In 2012 marijuana for personal use was illegal in all 50 states, and had been for more than 75 years. It was crucial that some state – any state – show the courage to break the mold and openly defy federal law, as New York and a handful of other states did near the end of alcohol prohibition. For the legalization movement to gain credibility and force our way onto the mainstream political agenda, we had to take legalization out of the theoretical realm and demonstrate that it actually works.

Our opponents had always claimed that if we legalize marijuana, the sky would fall. Everyone would sit home and get stoned all day; no one would go to work or live an ordinary life; and western civilization as we know it would come to an end (perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the point).

Of course, we would counter that legalization would stop the senseless arrest and prosecution of otherwise law-abiding citizens who smoke marijuana responsibly, and save enormous amounts of law enforcement resources that could be redirected to fighting serious and violent crime.

But until we had at least one state with the fortitude to declare itself out of the prohibition game, we had no actual data to validate either position. It was an endless theoretical argument, with no clear winner.

The approval of legalization in Washington and Colorado in 2012, by giving us these two state laboratories where we could measure the actual impact of legalization, was the game changer that catapulted full legalization into the mainstream political debate, and gave us the measurable evidence that legalization is indeed the solution that most Americans are looking for. And the fears that were stoked by our opponents – of a spike in adolescent marijuana smoking, or carnage on the roads caused by stoned drivers – simply did not materialize. In fact, just the opposite. Adolescent use is slightly down in the legalization states, and there has been no increase in DUID cases.

We gave our strong support to I-502 in Washington (as well as A-64 in Colorado) even with its limitations, because of the crucial need to demonstrate that a majority of the voters in a state would support full legalization, and that legalization actually works on the ground, with few, if any, unintended consequences. Those first two victories made it possible for our subsequent victories in Alaska and Oregon in 2014, and hopefully many more to follow.

Issue 3 in Ohio Should Be Approved

There. Now I have said it, clearly and unequivocally. Issue 3 in Ohio should be endorsed by all who favor legalization, even with its imperfections. As the NORML board of directors concluded when we endorsed the Ohio proposal, unless the current proposal in Ohio is approved, it will likely be five years or more (perhaps far longer) before marijuana will be legalized in Ohio. Under their current laws, roughly 12,000 Ohioans are arrested on marijuana charges each year. Does anyone really believe we should sit by waiting for a more acceptable version of legalization to magically appear, while another 60,000 to 100,000 smokers are arrested in Ohio?

In addition, just as the victories in Washington and Colorado were especially significant because they were the first, and opened the door for serious consideration in additional states, it would be an enormous step forward politically to adopt full legalization in Ohio — a large, conservative midwestern state. And it would suddenly put full legalization on the table for serious consideration by many other similarly situated states.

Its time to legalize in Ohio.

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Marijuana Industry News December 20, 2013


Colorado might have fundamental banking system setup for Shops at the begining of 2014…


The legal medical and leisure marijuana industries have battled to function their companies since initially opening their doorways within the U . s . States.  Without accessibility banking system, simple tasks other companies ignore are impossible.  Deposits, transparent documentation, and business breaks happen to be extremely difficult for shops.  Furthermore, this leaves two combustible products discussing close quarters, cash and marijuana.  For employees and patients, there’s a substantial and unnecessary risk for shops being criminal targets, because they cannot have armed security on premises, with crooks knowing just as much.  Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief counsel, Jack Finlaw lately stated that “probably within the first quarter of 2014 you will see some guidance released that’s similar to the Cole memo in the Department of Justice which will give, not a eco-friendly light, but a yellow light to banks to enable them to conduct business [with marijuana companies] — to consider deposits, to setup checking accounts, to setup small company financial loans, to permit these companies to simply accept purchases through an atm card or charge cards, to permit what normal companies are permitted to complete.Inch


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Drive Through Medicinal Marijuana Approved in Illinois City…

As the easy joke is marijuana patients visit the drive through after smoking, within the Illinois town of Naperville, they might be going in advance.  On The month of january 1st the medicinal marijuana program will start in Illinois, and possibly being an early holiday present, the Naperville City Council has approved drive through marijuana shops.  The Town Council appears seriously interested in patient concerns as Councilman Steve Chirico lately stated,  “These facilities, the things they sell apart from medicinal marijuana oftentimes are health-related, natural, organic kinds of items … and that i just have no idea that … you want to be in the industry of restricting it.”


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Wyoming Lawmaker Seeks Decriminalization of Marijuana for Sake of Patients…


In another sign that marijuana goes beyond political obstacles, another condition formerly considered to unfriendly territory for marijuana reform might be presenting new legislation to decriminalize.  NORML intentions of starting a petition drive to obtain a ballot to voters in 2016 that will legalize medical and leisure marijuana use.  Condition Repetition. Sue Wallis, (R-Recluse) is wishing to obtain a jumpstart and also have some reforms in position before that.  She intentions of presenting a decriminalization bill at the begining of 2014 that will a minimum of make penalties on suffering patients much less harsh.  The problem hits home for that Wallis as her husband experienced relief in Colorado through medical cannabis in the final days.  She referred to the problem by saying ” Consequently of this experience, and also the research that I have done since that time, I’ve become absolutely believing that essentially what wiped out him was prescription pain relievers consequently of the old equine wreck that split his pelvis and messed up his back rather than cured properly.”


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Marijuana Industry News September 27, 2013


Poll: Majority of California Residents Support Legal Marijuana…

While many think that support for marijuana legalization in California is a foregone conclusion, that has not always been the case.  Residents have supported medical marijuana for years.  At times, residents against recreational legalization have seemed to outnumber those for it.  That trend is starting to change and recent polls show a majority of residents do support legal marijuana. With what happened last year in Colorado and Washington, and the DOJ’s recent admission that they will not prosecute those in accordance with state law, it may not be a surprise if the trend continues all over.  A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Institute of California, indicated that 52% of California residents would like to see marijuana legalized. Democrats favored legalization by a margin of 64-33 while Republicans favored keeping marijuana illegal by a margin of 53-45%.  The poll also found significantly more support for federal authorities to respect state laws,  68% of  likely voters said the federal government should not interfere with state marijuana laws.  California has encountered considerable financial and budgetary problems, perhaps making the idea of green lighting new tax revenues popular.

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NORML Makes Attempt at Getting Marijuana Ad to Air During Superbowl…

The NFL may not be able hide under its archaic marijuana policy for much longer.  Calls to reduce mandatory suspensions for marijuana violations
are coming from all over.  There is no mandatory suspension for Dui related arrests.  Marijuana  Policy Project recently put up a billboard outside of the Denver Broncos stadium that questioned the NFL’s pro alcohol and anti-marijuana policies.  The billboard received a great deal of press.  Now there may be a chance NORML takes the issue to even newer heights.  Intuit is running a contest where the organization that receives the most votes will have a Superbowl ad paid for.  NORML’s ad is currently the leader in votes.  It will be interesting to see if Intuit will award NORML or refuse to help the ad air.  Fox, the television host of the Superbowl may also elect not air the commercial.  Unfortunately for Intuit, they may find that you cannot send an open offer to the people if you are not prepared to discuss what is truly on their minds.

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High Profile Mexicans Urge Decriminalization In Newspaper Ad…

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox has been beating the marijuana legalization  drum for years.  The country is experiencing devastating cartel violence and the idea of legalizing marijuana to reduce cartel power is popular.  Earlier this week, a newspaper advertisement was printed with many highly successful Mexican residents including a Nobel prize scientist, businessmen, actors, and lawmakers coming together to call for marijuana decriminalization.  The ad had a caption that read :

“Mexico has paid a high cost for applying the punitive policy of prohibition.  We know well that neither decriminalization nor any other individual measure represents a panacea to end the violence, corruption and lawlessness in Mexico. But effective decriminalization of marijuana consumption by raising the dose permitted for personal use is a step in the right direction.”

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