On September 27, 2006, the DEA raided California Healthcare Collective, a medical marijuana dispensary in Modesto that had been operating and paying taxes for more than a year. A 2007 Fresno Bee story revealed that the focus of the federally funded, Fresno-based Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and its chief Bill Ruzzamenti had shifted from methamphetamine to marijuana.
In a ceremony on January 18 of that year, then White House drug czar John Walters honored the state, local and federal officers who took down the California Healthcare Collective. Ruzzamenti nominated the Modesto police officers and others who received the “National Marijuana Initiative” awards. The Central Valley HIDTA’s goal had been “to reduce the manufacture, trafficking and distribution of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and other dangerous drugs.” Over time, the Valley’s big meth labs decamped for Mexico—so agents have sought new targets.
CHC proprietors Ricardo Montes and Luke Scarmazzo, both 26, were found guilty of operating a “continuing criminal enterprise” in May 2008. On learning that the offense carried a mandatory 20-year minimum sentence, two jurors filed declarations with U.S. District Court in Fresno recanting their verdict, and lawyers sought a retrial.
Scarmazzo sentenced to 21 years and 10 months and Montes to 20 years. On January 5, 2011, a federal appeals court upheld the convictions of Scarmazzo and Montes, denying them a new trial. “We followed California law to the letter,” Scarmazzo stated. “We paid our taxes. We went to work every day providing a benefit and service to the community. Yet in the end, we were made out to look like common criminals.”
Ricardo Montes was granted clemency by President Obama and was released in May 2017. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, his co-defendant Scarmazzo’s petition was denied. In January 2021, Luke was denied release at the last minute by President Trump.
Luke posted on his Facebook page (1/27/21) that, “I have been in this quarantine unit in a federal penitentiary at Yazoo City, Mississippi for 91 days. When I arrived here prison officials lied and told me I’d only be here the standard 14 days. This, despite me being ‘COVID recovered’ in September 2020, with at least a temporary acquired natural immunity. I’m locked into my cell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Out of 168 hour week, I’m allowed out of my cell for 3 hours to take a shower and use the phone; the other 165 I’m in a concrete box. I haven’t felt the warm sun or inhaled a breath of fresh air in over 3 months. I’m fed enough to be kept alive and confined in frigid temperatures. And these are just a few of the blatant constitutional and human rights violations that I endure daily without just cause.”
Luke has served 14 years and isn’t scheduled for release until 2027. He is the last known federal medical marijuana prisoner from California. He currently has two appeals pending in court that could set #FreeLukeScarmazzo. Read more about Luke.
Luke Scarmazzo 63131-097
USP Yazoo City
PO BOX 5000
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Release date: 03/14/2027
The post Luke Scarmazzo, California’s Last Federal Medical Marijuana Prisoner appeared first on CANORML.
CALIFORNIA PERSONNEL BOARD RULES THAT FAILING A URINE TEST FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT PROOF OF EMPLOYEE’S IMPAIRMENT OR GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL
June 17, 2021 – The California State Personnel Board (SPB), established in the state constitution, provides direction to departments about civil service laws, rules, and policy, and also investigates and adjudicates alleged violations of civil service law which are filed by employees, applicants, and members of the public.
Darrin Harper brought such an allegation against the California Department of Transportation, which refused to reinstate him on his job after he failed a urine test for marijuana use. The SPB ruled that a urine test does not establish that an employee is under the influence of marijuana when reporting for duty, and therefore “does not justify discipline.” The ruling reinstates Mr. Harper to his CA DOT job.
The ruling doesn’t protect employees who are “impaired or under the influence from marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance while at work or while on standby for work.” It concludes, “the Board notes that it does not take a position on whether using marijuana is a good thing or a bad thing. The voters have spoken and legalized it in the State of California. Given that reality, State Agencies are powerless to discipline employees, like Appellant, whose test showed only that marijuana had been ingested or used sometime in the past, but that Appellant was not under the influence of marijuana while on duty.”
The ruling should protect all state employees against employment discrimination due to unwarranted drug testing, at least for inactive THC metabolites (as urine and hair testing do). Unfortunately it won’t protect government workers at the city or county levels, nor employees at private companies.
A Cal NORML-sponsored bill to protect employees in California against drug tests for marijuana that do not prove impairment, AB 1256, has been introduced in the legislature as a two-year bill, to be heard in committee later this year or in 2022. Read more about Cal NORML’s employment rights campaign
Also see: Caltrans fired a dad over a marijuana pee test. Here’s why that won’t happen again
Excerpts from CA State Personnel Board decision at: https://www.spb.ca.gov/content/precedential/Harper031721.pdf
In this case, Appellant, a CalTrans Highway Maintenance Worker, submitted to a drug test upon his return to duty after an extended leave of absence. The urinalysis test revealed the presence of delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) [sic – it was an inactive metabolite] in his system, which establishes that Appellant had, at some prior point in time, inhaled or ingested marijuana or a marijuana-infused substance. There were no allegations in the Notice of Adverse Action (NOAA), nor proof at the evidentiary hearing, that Appellant was under the influence of marijuana when he reported for duty or on standby for duty or that he possessed or used marijuana while on duty or on standby. Under these circumstances, a positive urinalysis test for marijuana, without more, does not justify discipline under any of the charges in the NOAA.
Respondent, however, contends that, by virtue of designating Highway Maintenance Workers under California Code of Regulation, title 2, section 599.9613 testing positive for marijuana as a safety sensitive employee is a basis for discipline.
This decision does not impact peace officers who are expressly prohibited from using any mind-altering substance regardless of its legality. To protect the public and ensure the safety and security of its correctional institutions, the state must ensure that its peace officers do not use illegal drugs, or misuse prescription drugs, unauthorized or other illegal mind-altering substances under any circumstances, (Cal. Code of Reg., tit. 2, § 599.960, subd. (e).)
Nothing in this decision should be interpreted to excuse or shield an employee from discipline if they are impaired or under the influence from marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance while at work or while on standby for work. Such conduct remains prohibited under section 599.960, subdivision (b), and may also violate the employing department’s workplace policy.
The post Ruling Protects CA State Employees Against Discrimination For Off-The-Job Marijuana Use appeared first on CANORML.
This June 17th marks the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs. The evidence is clear that the drug war has failed; 83% of Americans say so in a recent ACLU poll.
Cal NORML is declaring a day of “drug peace” in support of more effective, equitable, and humane policies and is circulating following declaration to lawmakers asking for their support:
The War on Drugs is a war on people. Since 1971, California has recorded over 10 million felony drug arrests, including 1 million felony marijuana arrests.
The War on Drugs has disproportionately criminalized the disadvantaged the poor, and racial and ethnic minorities. Blacks were four times more likely than whites to be arrested for a marijuana crime in California in 2019, when Latinx people were twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana as whites.
The War on Drugs is a crime-creation program. The drug laws provide economic opportunity for underground dealers, smugglers, cartels, and narcotics police, while criminalizing millions of users.
While California has rightly moved to legalize cannabis, excessive regulations and taxes at state and local levels handicap the licensed industry and continue to feed the illicit market. The barriers are especially burdensome to less wealthy equity applicants.
The War on Drugs has not solved our drug abuse problem. Tragically, it has failed to stem an epidemic of opiate abuse fed by prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl.
Meanwhile, U.S. law still bans the medical use of cannabis, despite overwhelming evidence that it can effectively reduce opiate abuse in the treatment of chronic pain.
U.S. law likewise bars research using state-legal cannabis.
Californians have repeatedly shown they are fed up with crime-creating drug laws by voting for Prop. 215, Prop. 36, Prop. 47, and Prop 64.
We therefore call for designating June 17, 2021 as a day of Drug Peace, and join 65% of Americans in calling for an end to the US’s unjust and racist War on Drugs.
The post Cal NORML Calls for Drug Peace Day on June 17 appeared first on CANORML.
Raise your company’s profile by sponsoring Cal NORML’s 25th anniversary celebration of Prop. 215, the historic voter initiative that legalized medical marijuana in California and jump-started marijuana reform across the country.
The day-long event will be held at the beautiful General’s Residence at Ft. Mason Center in San Francisco. Speakers from around the state will reminisce about the coalition of activists and events that made history 25 years ago, and make plans to move forward towards further reforms.
Sponsorship will position and brand your business as one that is helping to move cannabis issues forward. We expect at least 100 attendees.
• $5,000 Platinum
• $2,500 Gold
• $1000 Silver
• $500 Bronze
WHAT YOU GET
• One free ticket to the event
• Listing with link on the Event Website Page
• Space on the literature table for your product or service
• Acknowledgement in the slide show at the event
• All of the above, plus:
• Announcement of sponsorship on Cal NORML’s social media accounts
• One Cal NORML eblast sponsorship (value: $200)
• A shared table at the event to hand out literature and (cannabis-free) samples
• All of the above, plus:
• One-year business listing on CaNORML.org (value: $500)
• Two free tickets to the event
• A 6′ table at the event to hand out literature and (cannabis-free) samples
• All of the above, plus:
• Ability to add your company’s name or logo to name tag lavaliers or goody bags, etc.
• One-year listing, plus a banner ad on CaNORML.org
Questions? Write email@example.com
The post Sponsor Cal NORML’s 25th Anniversary of Prop. 215 Celebration appeared first on CANORML.
SAVE THE DATE!
Cal NORML’s 25th Anniversary
of Prop. 215 Celebration
Join us to celebrate California’s
historic 1996 medical marijuana law
on the date it passed 25 years ago.
Friday, November 5
The General’s Residence
Ft. Mason, San Francisco
Stay Tuned for More Details!
Join Cal NORML’s email alert list to be updated on all news, action items, and events.
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May 4, 2021 – Last week, opponents to a California bill pushing back against a proposed ban on billboard ads for licensed cannabis businesses touted a study they say claimed marijuana use is up significantly among youth in the state following legalization. On closer look, however, the study they cite is an an analysis of the CA Dept. of Education’s Health Kids Survey which found no such rise in use, only a slight rise in self-reported use in the past 30 days by 7th graders that could be the result of a change in the survey question to clarify that “use” meant vaping or edibles as well as smoking.
Lifetime marijuana use by California students showed a similar pattern in the survey, with 11th graders’ admitted use dropping from 31.9% to 29.2% , 9th graders dropping from 17.4% to 17.1%, and 7th graders upticking from 4.2% to 6.3%, again attributed perhaps to a change in the question asked (Table A6.2).
Yet, the analysis as cited by opponents claims an 18% increase in the “likelihood” of lifetime use and a 23% increase in past 30-day use, following a seven-year decline in marijuana use (actually, the decline started more like 25 years ago, after Prop. 215 legalized medical marijuana in California). The researchers seemed to be adjusting for an assumption that a further decline in youth use would have been expected based on the years prior to 2018-9; however a leveling off is not an increase. The researchers added that, “was not significantly associated with frequency of past-30-day use among users,” so although kids may be trying marijuana, they aren’t using it more frequently since legalization.
The group performing the “multilevel logistic regression analyses” on the data is PIRE (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation), which has no direct affiliation with a university and instead lists a group of “client/partners” including the DOD, DOJ, NIH, etc., and among its “academic partners” the Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, long known for its anti-marijuana studies (which are what the government is far more likely to fund).
A study from UCSD looking at similar years found no uptick in teen use. NORML is not aware of data from any other state attributing an increase in teen use post-legalization. A recent study commissioned by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found no underage sales at licensed California cannabis retailers. Read about earlier years’ studies on youth marijuana use in California.
Perhaps reason is starting to invade politics in California: Asm. Quirk’s AB 1302, allowing for restricted cannabis billboard ads, advanced out of committee last week while a competing bill from Asm. Jacqui Irwin to effectively ban them did not advance. Irwin quoted the PIRE study in an oped in the Ventura County Star claiming “data doesn’t lie.”
UPDATE 5/6 – The National Institute on Drug Abuse and other federal agencies are accepting grant applications to support research on the “effects of changes in the legal status of cannabis on health-related behaviors and outcomes” and the “effects of variations in the legal provisions applicable to legalized cannabis.” Listed as a scientific contact is someone from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which funded the PIRE study.
The post Opponents Falsely Claim Marijuana Use is Up Significantly Among California Teens appeared first on CANORML.
Attorneys can earn up to 8.5 hours CLE (pending) by attending the full seminar ($250) or attend individual sessions ($50 each).
Members of the cannabis industry and the general public are welcome, and can purchase tickets (without CLE credits) for individual sessions for $25 each or full days for $75.
Signing up early gives you early access to presentation materials from the speakers. Proceeds benefit Cal NORML’s advocacy work.
Tuesday, June 1
10-11:00 AM BCC Compliance and Enforcement
Attorneys Michael Chernis & Khurshid Khoja will host a roundtable discussion with acting BCC chief Tamara Colson.
Topics will include: Agency consolidation and its impacts on licensing and enforcement; BCC discipline and enforcement priorities; licensing transfers and ownership changes; and the recent court decision on advertising cannabis on billboards in California.
11:15 AM – 12:30 PM All Things Local Government
Attorneys Hannah Nelson, James Anthony and Pamela Epstein will cover topics including satisfying CEQA and provisional license issues.
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Nuts and Bolts of an Appellation Petition
Attorneys Omar Figueroa and Hannah Nelson, plus Genine Coleman, ED of Origins Council will discuss new California laws and regulations governing establishing cannabis appellations for growers.
2:15 – 3:00 PM Cannabis Law Ethics
Omar Figueroa will cover current state laws, opinions and rulings regarding representing clients in the cannabis space.
3:15 – 3:45 PM Parental Rights and Cannabis
Jennifer Ani will cover recent court cases regarding parental rights and cannabis use, and the failure for courts to distinguish between responsible use and substance abuse, particularly in the Northern California cannabis growing regions and in Southern California.
Wednesday, June 2
10 AM – 11:00 AM – Criminal Law, Descheduling and Employment Rights
With Cal NORML legal director Bill Panzer and executive director Dale Gieringer this session with look at descheduling cannabis at the state level and other strategies to address statutes still be used to charge cannabis felonies, despite legalization. Also, the current status of a pending bill protecting employment rights of cannabis users in California will be presented.
11:15 – 12:15 PM Equity Grows Up–the Increasing Political Presence of the Social Equity Movement in California Cannabis
James Anthony, Lauren Vázquez, Ariel Clark will discuss the laws & ordinances geared to ensure social equity in cannabis licensing at the state and local levels, particularly in Oakland and Los Angeles.
1:15 – 2:15 PM CBD/Hemp
Attorneys Patrick Goggin and David Kramer will bring participants up to date on state and federal laws and regulations governing hemp cultivation and legal CBD products.
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM Federal Legalization: Here It Comes?
With IP attorney Amanda Conley, Khurshid Khoja of NCIA and NORML Political Director Justin Strekal, this panel will address trademark issues cannabis companies need to prepare for with pending federal legalization, plus the current bills under consideration at the federal level and what they will mean for cannabis businesses and consumers.
PRESENTERS WILL INCLUDE:
Jennifer Ani is a distinguished family law attorney and a zealous advocate for her clients’ rights. Ani’s law practice includes Juvenile Dependency and Family Law litigation as well as guardianship, adoption, civil rights, juvenile immigration status, marital agreements and dissolution (divorce) mediation, VAWA self-petitions, domestic violence, defense of CPS and child abuse allegations, and legal malpractice.
James Anthony, a Former Oakland Deputy City Attorney, drafted voter initiatives in San Jose and Santa Ana, and litigated local land use issues for collectives throughout California and helped collectives maintain legal compliance in jurisdictions including Bakersfield (Kern County), San Francisco, Oakland, Mendocino County, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose and many others. Anthony is a graduate of San Francisco State University and UC Davis School of Law.
Genine Coleman is the Executive Director of the Origins Council (currently Mendocino Appellations Project), which is a nonprofit education, research and policy advocacy organization dedicated to sustainable rural economic development within cannabis producing regions, and establishing nationally and internationally recognized, legally defensible, standards-based, geographic indication systems for cannabis.
Tamara Colson was appointed Assistant Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Cannabis Control on May 4, 2016 and is currently acting head of the BCC. She had been Assistant General Counsel at the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 2014. Previously, she was Chief Prosecuting Counsel at the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from 2011 to 2014, Special Assistant Inspector General in the California Office of the Inspector General from 2006 to 2011, and an Administrative Law Judge at the California Office of Administrative Hearings from 2005 to 2006. Ms. Colson also served as Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 1999 to 2005 and was an associate attorney at Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann and Girard from 1997 to 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Michael Chernis is one of California’s foremost experts in both federal and California laws relating to cannabis and the growing legal cannabis industry. Chernis represents existing cannabis operators engaged in cultivation, manufacturing and retail sales activities in connection with regulatory and general counsel issues; investors seeking to obtain an interest in or purchase an existing cannabis business; and landlords and others seeking to do business with cannabis businesses. He also represents individuals and businesses in civil litigation with municipalities arising from such activities, and in criminal matters when charged with violating federal or state marijuana laws.
Ariel Clark is one of California’s best and most dedicated business attorneys advising clients in highly regulated, emerging markets. For over a decade, Ariel has been in the trenches of cannabis law and drug policy reform, helping enact industry-defining regulations while building a client list of leading operators, entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and healers.
Ariel founded the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force, which was instrumental in the passage of Measure M, authorizing the creation of a legal, regulated industry in LA. Over the last ten years, she has advised many other trade associations and drug policy reform organizations on regulatory and legal changes necessary for a thriving legal marketplace.
Prior to founding Clark Howell LLP (originally Clark Neubert LLP), Ariel captained her own firm and worked with California Indian Legal Services in Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Eureka.
Amanda Conley is a partner at Brand & Branch LLP and co-founder of the National Cannabis Bar Association. Amanda has a diversified practice focused on intellectual property (IP) and other legal issues in emerging technologies and highly regulated industries, Amanda helps her clients protect and enforce their IP and expand and exploit their IP portfolios through licensing and other strategic business relationships. She also advises on advertising, marketing, and labeling compliance. Amanda was named a 2018 Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Pamela Epstein is General Counsel and Chief Regulatory and Licensing Officer at Eden Enterprises, Inc. Prior to joining Eden, she was co-founder of Green Wise Legal, P.C., a full-service cannabis law firm. Her diverse background, inclusive of legal, non-profit, & environmental work, places her in a unique position to lead & advise the cannabis community on the emerging intersection of recreational legalization and cannabis compliance. Pamela is known as a fearless advocate for local cannabis businesses across the supply chain and has been a featured speaker at several cannabis conferences, providing energetic and compelling commentary on topics such as land use, zoning, regulatory compliance, and environmental issues.
Omar Figueroa is a pioneering cannabis lawyer who has been providing legal representation to members of California’s cannabis industry since 1998. He is the author of Cannabis Codes of California, the first comprehensive guide to laws and regulations governing the California cannabis industry. Omar entered the cannabis industry as a criminal defense lawyer, where he tirelessly defended individuals charged with cannabis-related crimes. With the passage of cannabis legalization in California, he has expanded his practice to keep pace with the industry’s legal needs, and is committed to thesuccess of the commercial cannabis industry.
Omar earned his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Yale College, his juris doctor from Stanford Law School, and is a proud graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College. Omar also trained under legendary San Francisco trial lawyer Tony Serra. He is a Founding Lifetime Member of the National Cannabis Bar Association, a Lifetime Member of the NORML Legal Committee, as well as a proud member of the American Bar Association, the California State Bar.
Dale Gieringer has been the state coordinator of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) since 1987. He is also on the national NORML board of directors, and directs the California Drug Policy Forum (DPFCA).
Dr. Gieringer has published original research on medical marijuana, the history of marijuana and drug prohibition, the economic benefits of legalization, potency and CBD testing, marijuana and driving safety, and drug urinalysis. He sponsored path-breaking R&D on vaporizers as a smoke-free delivery system for cannabis. He has testified before the legislature and in court on issues concerning personal use of marijuana. He was one of the original co-authors of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, and the proponent of Oakland’s Measure Z cannabis initiative in 2004.
Patrick Goggin earned an Environmental Law Certificate from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1996. Based in San Francisco, he served as co-counsel in the seminal HIA v. DEA cases in the early 2000s. Later, Mr. Goggin led the industry effort with Senator Mark Leno in 2013 to finally pass California’s Industrial Hemp Farming Act after three vetoes.
Mr. Goggin began working on medical cannabis regulation in San Francisco in 2005 when the City commenced its regulation of dispensaries. Since then, he has represented clients throughout Northern California on compliance issues and permitting of all facets of medical cannabis activity. He served on San Francisco’s Medical Cannabis Task Force from 2010-11.
Presently, Mr. Goggin sits on Vote Hemp’s board and is working to implement hemp research in California. He recently joined Hoban Law Group full-time and continues to advise clients on all forms of cannabis compliance. With a long history of litigating, Mr. Goggin is a trained mediator and has a respected reputation as a dispute resolution specialist.
Khurshid Khoja is Principal and Founder of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, a minority-owned and woman-managed business law firm founded in 2012, representing clientele in California, Washington, and Hawaii from across numerous sectors in the legal cannabis industry, on regulatory, start‐up, corporate, intellectual property, finance, and other commercial and transactional matters. Khurshid is a business lawyer with over a dozen years of experience in transactional matters, including advising clients and employers on: state and federal banking, corporate, finance and securities laws in multiple highly-regulated industries (including cannabis, insurance and energy); antitrust, unfair competition and trade association laws; intellectual property; commercial contracts; government relations; and regulatory compliance.
Khurshid has participated in legislative drafting, stakeholder meetings, lobbying, and executive agency outreach in connection with the California Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (and the amendments thereto) as well as amendments to the Medical Marijuana Program Act — specifically, and most recently, AB 2679. He also participated in initiative drafting in connection with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act — drafting AUMA’s pro-investor ownership definition, and successfully advocating for the removal of MCRSA-style cross-licensing restrictions and mandatory third-party distribution by the drafting committee. His is currently the chair of the Board of Director of NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association).
David Kramer is a partner in Vicente Sederberg’s Los Angeles office and a leader in the firm’s Hemp & Cannabinoids Department, as well as a member of the firm’s Corporate and Litigation & Arbitration departments. His practice focuses on helping commercial cannabis and hemp clients navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape and assisting licensed operators, brands, cannabis-focused funds, and ancillary cannabis companies throughout the U.S. execute a wide range of corporate transactions. David also works with clients located outside the U.S. investing in and licensing cannabis-related technology to, North American cannabis and hemp markets. David is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.
Prior to joining Vicente Sederberg, David was an attorney at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, where he litigated intellectual property, antitrust, and False Claims Act cases. David graduated Order of the Coif from the UCLA School of Law, and also holds a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University.
Hannah Nelson has been deeply involved in cannabis law and policy for more than 25 years. She has a long history in criminal defense, forfeiture and civil rights appellate and trial cases on the cutting edge such as: thermal imaging and the need for a warrant, dismissal of cases during lapse of forfeiture laws, representation of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project in landmark cases such as GreenSweep, and development of the Mendocino County 9.31 program along with the Mendocino County Sheriff and District Attorney. Nelson’s successes include the first fully litigated return of medical cannabis to the patient, and the use of environmental laws to reign in eradication teams.
Nelson is an expert in cannabis business licensing and compliance law, policy and regulatory advocacy, real estate, partnerships, and business operations. She has knowledge and experience in the multitude of issues impacting cannabis businesses including zoning and land use, CEQA and other environmental requirements, employer responsibilities, and detailed permitting and licensing issues. Hannah is a key policy advisor to the Origins Council and Mendocino Cannabis Alliance. She also remains extensively involved in drafting public policy and providing analysis and comment at the local and state levels.
William Panzer is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and Golden Gate University School of Law. He has been practicing law in the Bay Area for thirty years, specializing in cannabis defense.
Panzer is a co-author of California’s Proposition 215, “The Compassionate Use Act of 1996,” the nation’s first law legalizing the use of cannabis by patients pursuant to a physician’s recommendation. In his practice he has represented patients, growers, and medical cannabis dispensaries throughout California in state and federal court, at both the trial and appellate level.
He has lectured at numerous NORML legal seminars, Patients Out of Time legal seminars, conferences and other events on cannabis law and related issues. A member of the NORML Legal Committee for over twenty years, Bill is a former winner of the NORML “Al Horn Award” and a two-time winner of the Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana’s “Compassion In Action” Award, as well as a High Times magazine “Freedom Fighter of the Month.”
Justin Strekal is the Political Director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation’s laws to no longer treat marijuana consumers as second class citizens. Before working on drug policy, Justin worked on tax, wage, and campaign finance policy and for electoral campaigns throughout the country at every level of government.
Lauren Vázquez is the Fired Up Lawyer. She is a cannabis business attorney and social entrepreneur who has worked for over a decade to end cannabis prohibition and advance alternatives to the failed war on drugs. An industry leader, Lauren served as a Senior Advisor and Statewide Organizer for the Prop 64 campaign. Lauren has practiced cannabis business law since 2009 and entered private practice in 2011. She has advised numerous cannabis companies and organizations. Lauren has worked with cities and counties for years to develop local licensing for cannabis businesses. Lauren is a Professor at Oaksterdam University and previously served as the National Deputy Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. Lauren Vázquez is an industry expert and pioneer.
By Sarah Russo
The Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), the first and oldest medical organization in the USA to advocate for the therapeutic use of cannabis, is pleased to announce the launch of a new Medical Cannabis Clinical Training Curriculum. This curriculum will enable clinicians to provide the best possible treatment to their patients while bridging the education gap between healthcare providers and the communities they serve. These courses provide the most comprehensive cannabinoid education for medical professionals to date.
Interest in cannabis is growing worldwide. A common denominator is a lack of clinical education and access to the latest reliable scientific data used to best guide patient care. Although the plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years, overriding political concerns of our current era have hindered research on its clinical benefits. A 2020 study found that only 18% of patients reported their provider was a good source of information on medical cannabis.
Education is Crucial
Without guidance, patients are left to figure out medical cannabis on their own. This may cause them to use products that are not well suited for their situation. They may try many options, some of which may be costly and unhelpful. In most cases, patients go to dispensary staff for guidance. The staff has neither the medical background nor know-how to navigate the patient’s health situation. While some states have pharmacists on staff, not all have been properly trained to adequately guide patients on cannabis.
Patients need professional insight to be able to manage safe medical cannabis use. Educated healthcare professionals can provide recommendations on timing and dosing, cannabinoid ratios, terpene profiles, and how to avoid polypharmacy issues or potential adverse reactions. Many patients use cannabis without clinician guidance to address situations and common medical challenges where they have found no relief.
SCC Clinical Training Curriculum
Knowledge is key to understanding how medical cannabis can help patients and minimize adverse effects. The SCC provides direct training for clinicians to stay up-to-date on key topics in medical cannabis to ensure best quality patient care. The SCC’s new Training Courses offer critical information missing from most health professional training schools and continuing clinical education programs.
SCC modules integrate the latest cannabis research and decades of combined clinical knowledge from 20 world-renowned experts and thought leaders in medical cannabis. The curriculum explores the underlying mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system, basics of laboratory analysis, and therapeutic implications for a wide range of conditions. Course authors share vital research and practice standards developed after treating thousands of patients.
There is a growing amount of information on cannabis available online, but it is often rife with misinformation. SCC courses explore scientifically supported evidence on the benefits and considerations of using medical cannabis. The intent is to empower medical graduates and healthcare professionals to discuss cannabis as a treatment option with patients. Courses are available for clinicians as well as pharmacists, midwives, nurses, dentists, podiatrists, therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, nutritionists, health coaches and others.
Check out the course offerings here.
SCC courses can be taken home, at your own pace. Courses are available as individual modules or full course packages and include certificates of completion. The courses are optimized for desktop and mobile, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. SCC members receive a discount on courses and as well as other perks of being part of the organization.
More about the Society of Cannabis Clinicians
The Society of Cannabis Clinicians is a nonprofit educational and scientific society of healthcare professionals and allies dedicated to advancing research and disseminating knowledge about medical cannabis. Through expanding educational advocacy, the SCC now has members in 23 countries and growing. The organization has chapters in Latin America, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The SCC was founded in 1999 by Tod Mikuriya, MD. Dr. Mikuriya started the organization with several other physicians to discuss their respective medical cases and to observe patients using cannabis treatment. Regarded by some as the Grandfather of the Medical Cannabis Movement, Dr. Mikuriya introduced and approved the plant for over nine thousand patients.
Fred Gardner, journalist and former Scientific American editor, wanted to document Tod’s clinical cases. They started O’Shaughnessy’s: the Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice which continues to this day. The SCC was formed to highlight the mass accumulation of clinical evidence that can serve as the basis for clinical trials. The organization continually advocates for the education of healthcare professionals and the patients that they serve.
The post New Medical Cannabis Clinical Training Curriculum from the Society of Cannabis Clinicians appeared first on CANORML.
It’s April and that means 4/20 is upon us! To celebrate, Cal NORML is offering $420 yearly business memberships (regularly priced at $500) through April 30. Memberships can also be purchased for $42/month.
As a California NORML business member you’ll be listed in one of the Cannabis Marketplace Directories on CaNORML.org, our longstanding website with 1.63 million yearly page views. Directory categories include Dispensaries & Delivery, Legal Services, Cannabis Products, Cannabis Business Services, and Vaporizer Resources.
Additional benefits of business membership include the ability to sponsor our weekly eNewsletter or publish a guest blog post, and discounts on NCIA memberships. Become a Cal NORML Business Member or learn more.
Also this month, 420 club members who purchase a personal yearly Cal NORML membership of $42 or more, will be sent a groovy Vintage Cal NORML lapel magnet. Join the 420 Club!
In addition, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Prop. 215 (which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996), we are offering a special EarlyBird price on our upcoming Legal Seminar. For $215 you can attend both days of the Zoom event (June 1 & 2). Attorneys can earn up to 8.5 hours of CLE credit (pending) for attending. Learn the latest on civil and criminal law in California from top attorneys in the field. Sign up for our Legal Seminar.
Support Cal NORML this April and save!
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March 31, 2021 – Consumers wishing to buy products to vape cannabis oils may want to make their purchases ASAP before vape companies and shippers move to comply with a new US law banning shipment of certain vaporizer products. We have heard from one company that will cease shipping to certain CA zip codes as of noon tomorrow (April 1 – no fooling).
The law should not affect devices used to vape dry herb or waxes, only oils.
According to a recent article in MJ Biz Daily:
The legislation takes effect in late March, after which the USPS has 120 days to create rules to implement the law.
FedEx and UPS already have said they will follow the U.S. Postal Service’s directive and won’t ship vaping products.
“Effective April 5, 2021, UPS will not transport vaping products to, from or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products,” Matthew O’Connor, a UPS spokesman, said in a statement.
While the law is directed at nicotine products, it arguably includes cannabis oil products by banning shipment of:
“any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device,” including “an e-cigarette; an e-hookah; an e-cigar; a vape pen; an advanced refillable personal vaporizer; an electronic pipe; and any component, liquid, part, or accessory of a device described [above], without regard to whether the component, liquid, part, or accessory is sold separately from the device.”
Cal NORML has promoted vaporization as a valuable harm reduction tool for reducing exposure to harmful smoke toxins since sponsoring the first scientific studies on vaping in 1996 and 2001. We objected to USPS’s new rule and NORML put out an action alert on it.
The post ALERT: USPS, Other Shippers to Cease Sending Cannabis Oil Vape Products appeared first on CANORML.