By Sonia Case
Following important cannabis news articles every day can be a real burn-out, we know. That’s why the Emerald rolls up a chronicle of the headiest news hits, and passes them to you at the end of each week. We Bring You: The Digital Dime.
“This Isn’t Normal” —NORML
This Monday, June 8th, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) wrote an open letter to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) calling for the end of federal cannabis prohibition. According to Marijuana Moment, the letter was written in response to a blog post by the Director of NIDA, Nora D. Volkow, M.D. in which she publicly “acknowledged racial disparities in drug enforcement and the harm that such disparate practices have caused.”
The move comes as we move into the third week of protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police. NORML’s letter states that it is not enough for NIDA to merely acknowledge the relationship between systemic racism and cannabis legislation. Instead, NORML’s letter asks that the agency “publicly acknowledge that the perpetuation of the criminal enforcement of marijuana prohibition […] is far more detrimental to public health.”
NORML’s letter closes by stating that, “we all have an important part to play right now in acknowledging the role that racially-motivated drug war policies have played in perpetuating systemic injustice in America.” The letter adds to the many voices making the connection between the Black Lives Matter protests and the need for drug policy reform.
Elon Musk Tells it Like it is
“This will probably get me into trouble, but I feel I have to say it,” tweeted Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, last Friday, June 5th. In typical Elon Musk fashion, he waited until Saturday, June 6th, to complete his declaration, stating that, “selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business…in much of America & yet many are still in prison,” and that it “doesn’t make sense, isn’t right.” We hear you Elon Musk. We hope that your 35 million followers hear you too.
Cannabis legalization is a civil rights issue and we need to continue to challenge prohibition. As California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference last week, legalization is “about addressing the disparities…addressing incarceration…[and] addressing the ills of this War on Drugs.”
Restore, Reinvest, Renew
Move over recycling, because there’s a new triple-R in town! Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest and Renew (R3) program is finally up and running. R3 aims to redistribute $31.5 million of cannabis tax revenue to Illinois communities most affected by the War on Drugs. R3’s website indicates that nonprofit organizations, local governments, faith-based organizations and other community associations may apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $850,000.
Did you know that Illinois cannabis law requires that 25% of cannabis tax revenue go towards funding the R3 program? According to Leafly, “the R3 program is one of the highest-profile examples of social equity being ‘baked in’ to marijuana legalization proposals.” Now that’s the type of positive change we can get behind!
As of last week, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have temporarily disabled their online dispensary databases. This follows a series of dispensary robberies under the cover of recent protests. The agencies hope that by removing the listings, licensed dispensaries will be harder to locate and therefore, looters will be less likely to target them. Additionally, the Department of Public Health has also blocked all addresses for cannabis dispensaries and related businesses in the state.