NORML Canada: July 2014 Newsletter
Greetings Cannabis Law Reform Community
In this month’s newsletter:
Marc Emery, the Canadian cannabis activist extradited by the United States Federal Government for selling marijuana seeds to American customers, has concluded his five year sentence in the United States and is returning to Canada.
Given the constant developments in marijuana law reform in North America, it seems almost appropriate that the ‘Prince of’ Pot’ is coming back in time to join the fight towards marijuana law reform. Emery is coming back to a vastly different landscape. Much has changed since he began his sentence, perhaps most ironically, the legalization of recreational marijuana use in two American states, as well as the legalization developments in Uruguay.
In the past, Emery has shown a willingness to stand up to the Government for what he believes are unjust laws. It started by rebelling against local municipal by-laws, and grew with the selling of banned music and marijuana literature. Eventually this evolved into a much bigger fight against bigger players—the U.S Government and the DEA’s involvement in the Canadian legal spectrum and on Canadian soil.
Marc Emery found himself caught in the middle of an unreasonable political war in Canada and the United States. The War on Drugs perpetuated by the U.S is a war that labels suppliers and users of marijuana as criminals in a black market, while silencing the voices shouting for reform and quashing their efforts.
If there is a Canadian example of how the War on Drugs and its policies create more damage to the individual than the drug itself, it is the example of Marc Emery. NORML Canada believes that the present policy of discouraging marijuana use through the use of the criminal law has been excessively costly and harmful to both society and individuals. Therefore, the fact that the United States Government used its wherewithal on Emery, with the aid of the Canadian Government, not just for selling seeds but for funding a movement, makes it clear to us that Emery has faced much more harm at the hands of the Government than from any smoke from the cannabis plant.
It is also clear the current state of our marijuana laws is unacceptable, yet the status quo looks even that much more bizarre when we have the present real life example of Marc Emery in front of us. Now free, Emery has vowed to be active and vocal in Canada again, and will soon be a constant, persuasive reminder to Canadians of the political persecution he unfairly faced at the hands of the United States Government, resulting in a sentence that would have likely amounted to a minor charge and certainly not a five year prison sentence in Canada.
Emery is also welcoming the opportunity to support the Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in the next Federal election to both further his goal to legalize marijuana.
While we continue on with the fight towards the legalization of marijuana, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Marc Emery was willing to give up his liberty in the fight to change our bad laws. We have confidence that his actions will not have been in vain and that his story will continue to raise awareness about the archaic laws surrounding marijuana in Canada and worldwide.
As an organization that aims to end marijuana prohibition, NORML Canada is very pleased to welcome Marc Emery home.
Marc will be held until some time in August at the Tensas Parish Detention Center after which he will be dropped off in Windsor, Ontario. If you want to send Marc letters or books (ordered online; they cannot be sent from an individual), you can send them to:
Marc Emery #079067710
Tensas Parish Detention Center
8606 Hwy 65
Waterproof, LA 71375
Marc’s situation may change, and his arrival in Windsor, Ontario is at the whim of the For Profit detention center, so please follow Jodie Emery on Twitter for the latest updates on Marc’s location and arrival home in Canada: twitter.com/JodieEmery and of course our friends at Cannabis Culture will have the latest news regarding Marc which you can see here: cannabisculture.com.
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On July 5th, governor of New York Andrew Cuomo officially signed a medical cannabis program into law. The given law allows patients limited access to cannabis, and is more restrictive than other states. Smoking cannabis remains prohibited, however, alternative methods of consumption, such as vaping, ingesting edibles, or using tinctures, is allowed. The program is set to launch in roughly 18 months.
New York’s medical cannabis program will be designed to benefit patients suffering from diseases such as epilepsy, AIDS, and cancer. Patients must receive prescriptions from a state approved physician prior to receiving medical cannabis, after which they must carry a registration card. Patients can be prescribed no more than a 30-day supply of cannabis.
In regards to production and distribution, no more than five businesses will be authorized to grow and distribute cannabis; each business may have up to four dispensaries throughout New York State.
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Earlier this month, July 8th to be exact, Washington state began the legal sale of recreational cannabis, joining Colorado as the second state ever to do so. Within the first three days of sales the state has already earned $148,000 in excise taxes. Due to the high demand, prices have been relatively high. However, high prices have not been enough to deter customers and curb demand, causing some stores to completely run out of supply. As Washington progresses, more retail licenses and more frequent harvests are expected to help lower prices. Needless to say, Washington is off to a tremendous start. Congratulations to Washington and best of luck to you all from NORML Canada!
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U.S. NORML is launching a better business bureau for cannabis, NORML Business Network. The initiative advocates for high industry standards and seeks to make the cannabis industry a force for positive change.
The objective of this project is to encourage socially conscious business models that focus on the interests of their customers and their community. One of the tragic flaws of the black market is the lack of recourse consumers have in the face of poor business practices. Cannabis stores in the U.S. that carry the NORML business partner seal confirm that they are operating a values-driven operation and that they are active supporters of cannabis law reform all across the country.
In the words of Sabrina Fendrick, NORML’s director of Strategic Partnerships,
U.S. NORML wants its seal of approval to represent honest, value-driven business. Cannabis businesses must agree to a private assessment in which they are ranked on four criteria: products (39.1% of score), sustainability (6.7 % of score), social conscionability (26.1% of score), and customer relations (26.1% of score). Stores will be considered based on various criteria such as testing, labelling, environmental sustainability, fair wages, decent pricing, and special discounts for certain populations such as medical patients, seniors, and veterans.
The U.S. currently has the National Cannabis Industry Association which regulates business-to-business relations. The NORML Business Network will be more focused on business-to-consumer relations. U.S. NORML have partnered with industry heavyweights Weedmaps, High Times Magazine, and Marijuana.com on this project.
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