Around the State

Here in Arizona, the “Concentrates Crisis” has continued to dominate the industry since the appellate court ruling one month ago. Lawyers, dispensary owners, and advocates have been scrambling to prepare legal defenses. Noted appellate court lawyer, Robert Mandel, has been brought in and filed a continuance in the case. Select organizations such as the ACLU are filing amicus briefs.  AZ-NORML legal counsel and former national NORML counsel, Tom Dean, has taken a lead role in coordinating the process. Both the ADA and NORML are organizing legal defense teams for patients caught in the crossfire. If YOU are a patient, involved in a criminal case with concentrates, please contact NORML (928-234-5633) to find out what resources are available in your area.

NORML News This Month – August

AZ-NORML joined the annual pilgrimage of cannabis activists to Washington DC for National NORML Lobby Days. Activists came from all over the country to participate in workshops, seminars, networking and most importantly, advocating. Activists from 23 different states attend over 140 scheduled meetings with Congressional offices. Our Arizona chapter was able to meet with 11 congressional offices, all nine Congress member offices, and both Senate offices. In addition, four of the nine Congress members were on hand to meet w AZ-NORML activists and all the staff drug policy experts in every office were provided w background on cannabis as medicine, a primer on AZ MMJ patient rights and detailed info on the federal bills NORML is working to advance at our US Capitol.

Among the 54 cannabis-related bills in Congress, for this year’s lobby day NORML focused on six bills total and participated w Reps Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) in announcing a new piece of legislation to authorize DHHS to collect data from state programs to refine federal policy. The lead bill for this year’s effort is S1689/HR4815, The Marijuana Justice Act, which would not only remove cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act, but would also initiate federal post-conviction relief. Another favorite is the STATES Act, S3032/HR, which would amend the CSA to allow states to regulate their own programs without the threat of interference. Our chapter also focused on HR1820, The Veterans Equal Access Act which would allow the VA to discuss cannabis therapies with vets in states with medical programs.

Since 2015 Mikel Weisser has served as the state director of the Arizona chapter NORML. A former congressional candidate, DNC delegate and political writer, Weisser helped draft Arizona’s 2016 cannabis legalization initiative and served as a staff writer for Cannabiz News. His reporting on cannabis has also been published in Leafly and Freedom Leaf and has been a consultant in AZ’s cannabis industry since 2014. Weisser has a Masters in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield and a Masters in Secondary Education from Northern Arizona University. He lives with his wife in So-Hi, AZ.