Humboldt NORML Monthly Meeting Notes


  Meeting Notes 3/28/2017

LAST MEETING RECAP

-National Academy of Sciences Releases a Positive Report on the Health Effects of Cannabis

-Trump Administration to Study Marijuana and Driving under legislation President Obama signed into law last month.

The U.S. government will conduct a study investigating “marijuana as a causal factor in traffic crashes”

the Department of Transportation will look at methods for detecting marijuana-impaired driving.

The department is directed to issue a report within one year making recommendations on a possible impairment standard for driving under the influence of marijuana, similar to the 0.08% blood alcohol content limit.

-Study finds nearly 2/3 of police officers support marijuana legalization

32 percent said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only and 30 percent said that marijuana should not be legal at all.

-Obama to commute hundreds of federal drug sentences in final grants of clemency

-Congressional Cannabis Caucus Is Formed

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first Congressional Cannabis Caucus to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

-White House Press Secretary Hints Federal Marijuana Crackdown

Sean Spicer said that the Trump administration may engage in “greater” efforts to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in jurisdictions that have legalized and regulated its adult use.

-NORML’s Response to Opioid Addiction Correlation to Cannabis/ Marijuana

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in 2016 who admits cannabis is not a gateway drug: “When you look at someone that, for example, has a heroin problem, it very often started with a prescription drug problem. Something totally legal. Something in every medicine cabinet. Something you can have prescribed to you in good faith by a doctor,”

1) “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate

2) Chronic pain patients with legal access to medicinal cannabis significantly decrease their use of opioids, according to data published in The Journal of Pain.

3) A study published in Health Affairs examined data from Medicare Part D and found that states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.

4) Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed federal crash data in 18 states over the period from 1999 to 2013. States that passed a medical marijuana law during this period saw a reduction in opioid involvement in fatal car accidents. The reduction was greatest among drivers aged 21 to 40, the age group most likely to use medical marijuana where it’s available.

UPDATES SINCE LAST MEETING

  • Cal NORML has posted a list of the 44 bills that are pending in the legislature in Sacramento.

Six pending bills concern DUID laws. One is AB 6 (Lackey). We just got word that this bill, which would have permitted the collection of oral swab tests for drivers, has been gutted after Cal NORML submitted a letter in opposition. Instead, the bill now proposes formation of a task force to study the issue of driving and marijuana impairment. We are providing input into the makeup of that task force. The bill is scheduled for an Assembly Public Safety Committee Hearing on February 28, 9 AM in Room 126 at the Capitol.

  • Other notable bills:

SB 65 (Hill) – would increase the penalty for smoking while driving to a misdemeanor. Cal NORML opposes.

SB 698 (Hill) – would establish a per se DUID standard of 5 ng if the driver is also found to have a BAC between .04 -.07%.

AB 64 (Bonta) – an omnibus bill that seeks to merge AUMA and MCRSA

AB-1578 (Jones-Saywer) seeks to prohibit a state or local agency from using resources to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California.

AB 729 (Gray) – would require a licensee to post a sign that reads “No Person Under 21 Allowed,” expands on laws protecting minors, and codifies their use as informants. It would prohibit the sale of marijuana in vending machines and prohibits a licensee from being located within a 600-foot radius of a playground, hospital, or church.

AB 963 (Gipson) – would impose specific criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for certain violations of the provisions relating to the cultivation and excise taxes on marijuana. Federal: Bill Introduced To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition.

The rest are largely regarding licensing and regulation, see full list on CANORML.org

  • Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017

– Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

-eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

  • Las Vegas Cannabis Cup Continues with State Rights over Federal Cannabis Issues

-Cannabis use was allowed and sales of cannabis was regulated.

  • Senators Urge Sessions to Keep Trump’s Promise of Marijuana Federalism

-11 senators sent Attorney General Jeff Sessions a letter expressing concern about recent statements suggesting he plans to enforce the federal ban on marijuana against state-licensed businesses that serve recreational cannabis consumers.

  • Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party Presidential Candidate Visited Humboldt County 3/8/2016
  • Studies in place to determine if California’s power grid would be able to keep up with legal marijuana’s demand?
  • Feds Sentenced 3,500 to Prison Last Year for Pot-Related Offenses

Of the total number of marijuana-related sentences, 96% — 3,398 — were related to trafficking charges, and 122 (3.5%) were related to simple possession. In total drug-related cases, marijuana ranks third behind methamphetamine (6,626, of which 6,567 were trafficking cases) and powder cocaine (3,891, of with 3,642 were trafficking cases).

In all, 19,231 trafficking cases resulted in a median sentence of 48 months and a mean of 66 months. For all federal sentences (e.g., murder, kidnapping, child pornography) last year the median sentence was 21 months and the mean was 44 months.

The median sentence length for a marijuana-related conviction was 18 months, compared with a median of 70 months for a meth-related conviction and 65 months for a crack cocaine conviction.

By race, 77% of marijuana offenders were Hispanic, 11.9% were white, and 8.3% were black.

The full report is available at the Sentencing Commission website along with reports for the previous three years.

  • DEA Awards Synthetic Cannabis Drug with Schedule II Status

Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization in Arizona last year, received preliminary approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration this week for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug.

  • Regulatory costs due to MCRSA are estimated to run between $225 and $873 per pound, according to an economic analysis by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.

Over half of the costs are accounted for by testing requirements.

This analysis doesn’t include taxes. The Prop 64 cultivation tax comes to $148/pound – less than the estimated cost of testing.

The analysis also estimates that adult-use production will be 61.5% of the market, the medical use segment 9%, and the illegal segment 29.5%

  • Local complaints about $4-$10/ sqft for commercial cannabis space.

-Small space around the size of a standard 25 x 25 sqft garage = 625 sqft could cost $2,500-$6,250/ month lease.

-Meeting participant stated that Colorado is charging $15 or more in some areas!

  • Cannabis Tax Seminar Report from Humboldt NORML Communications Director

NEW DISCUSSION TOPICS

  • New Action Plans

-Social event and fundraising effort for Humbolt NORML promotion

-Increase community outreach

-Education effort to minimize light pollution in rural areas from lighted green houses that are not covered appropriately. This is a concern for aesthetic beauty as well as wildlife concerns.

-Coordinate with agencies to determine cannabis state tax allotment to Humboldt County area

  • Audience Comments/ Questions/ Concerns

-Humboldt County cannabis ordinance related EIR estimated by the end of year

-HUMMAP update that Humboldt County judge denied a petition for an enforcement order against the county, sparing hundreds of cannabis business permit applications from possible invalidation.

-Workers compensation insurance can be paid with cash through Applied Underwriters in collaboration with Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

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