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Latest Pew Poll Finds Record Support In Favor Of Legalization

Record Support Of Marijuana LegalizationWashington, DC: Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the firm, which has polled Americans’ views regarding legalization since 1969.

Support is strongest among African Americans (71 percent), Democrats (69 percent), and Independents (65 percent). Support was weakest among Republicans (43 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (38 percent). However, among self-identified Republicans under 40 years of age, 62 percent favor legalization.

Pew’s results are similar to those of other recent national polls. For instance, an October Gallup poll found that 64 percent of the public support making adult cannabis use legal. A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday reports that 58 percent of voters nationwide back adult use legalization, and 91 percent believe that medical cannabis should be legal. That poll also reports that 70 percent of voters oppose federal interference in state marijuana policies.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Oklahoma: Voters To Decide In June On Sweeping Medical Marijuana Initiative

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma City, OK: Oklahoma voters will decide this June on State Question 788 – a statewide ballot measure legalizing the use, cultivation, and distribution of medical cannabis to qualified patients. NORML has endorsed the initiative and is working with the Vote Yes on 788 campaign to build a broad coalition of support in favor of the measure.

Oklahomans will vote on the issue on June 26 during the primary election. Republican Mary Fallin set the date last week via an executive proclamation.

State Question 788 permits physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients at their discretion. Patients possessing a state-issued medical license are permitted to engage in cannabis possession or cultivation, or they can purchase marijuana products from a licensed dispensary.

Initiative proponents gathered sufficient signatures to place the issue before voters in 2016. However, the vote was postponed because of litigation over contested ballot title language. In a 7 to 1 ruling in April, justices rejected the state attorney general’s rewording of the initiative’s ballot title, which proponents had argued was purposely misleading, and ordered that the measure’s initial language be restored.

Under Oklahoma law, the cultivation or distribution of cannabis is classified as a felony offense punishable by up to life in prison.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Vermont: Lawmakers Send Adult Use Depenalization Bill To Governor’s Desk

Vermont Marijuana DepenalizationMontpelier, VT: Members of the House and Senate have given final approval to legislation removing criminal and civil penalties for the possession and cultivation of marijuana by those age 21 and over.

House Bill 511 legalizes the possession of one ounce of cannabis by adults, and also permits home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants (two mature, four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest.

The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed similar legislation last year. However, he has since indicated that he is inclined to sign H. 511.

If H. 511 becomes law, Vermont will be the first state to legislatively act to eliminate both criminal and civil penalties for personal marijuana possession and growing.

“The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Governor Scott would be wise to provide Vermonters with this path forward, rather than cling to the failed policies of the past.”

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Report: Growing Number Of Banks Are Providing Services To Cannabis-Related Businesses

Marijuana BankingWashington, DC: A growing number of banks and credit unions are providing financial services to marijuana-related businesses, according to data released by FinCEN (the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) and first publicized by

The report found that the number of financial institutions actively banking with marijuana-related businesses rose in 2017 from 340 in January to 400 by late September.

Although the federal classification of cannabis as a schedule I prohibited substance discourages banks from cooperating with state-licensed cannabis businesses, a 2014 US Treasury Department memo provided guidance to financial institutions wishing to transact with the marijuana industry.

However, last week the Justice Department rescinded that memo, along with all other prior memos related to cannabis policy issued by the Obama administration.

Legislation (the SAFE Banking Act) is currently pending before the House and Senate to explicitly permit banks and other institutions to engage in relationships with marijuana businesses without running afoul of federal law.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Iowa: NORML Chapter Awarded Damages In Free Speech Victory

Iowa NORMLDes Moines, IA: Members of the Iowa State University chapter of NORML and their legal counsel were awarded a $343,000 judgment by the State Appeals Board after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that their free speech rights had been violated by campus administrators. The Court had ruled 2 to 1 in June that the group faced political discrimination by administrators when they barred the production and distribution of t-shirts stating, “Freedom is NORML at ISU.”

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

P.S. Our efforts are supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and the federal level. Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going?

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