2010: The Year In Review — NORML’s Top 10 Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–December 31, 2010. 

#1 ‘Gold Standard’ Studies Show That Inhaled Cannabis Is Medicine
The results of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing the efficacy of inhaled cannabis concluded that it is safe and effective compared to conventional medications, according to the findings of a 24-page report published in February by the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. “This (report) confirms all of the anecdotal evidence – how lives have been saved and pain has been eased,” said California Democrat Senator Mark Leno at the press conference announcing the findings. “Now we have the science to prove it.” Read the full story at:

#2 Record Number Of Americans Nationwide Say They Back Pot Legalization
National polling data published by Gallup in October showed that Americans’ support for ‘making marijuana legal’ is now at its highest reported level of support ever. The poll reported that a new high of 46 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing use of the drug, and a new low of 50 percent are opposed. The increase in support this year from 44 percent in 2009 continues an upward trend that has been consistent since 2000. Read the full story at:

#3 Over 4.6 Million Californians Vote For Legalization
More than 4.6 million Californians voted in November in favor of Proposition 19, which sought to legalize the private adult use of marijuana and enact regulations regarding its commercial production and distribution. The measure was defeated 47 percent to 53 percent, but garnered the greatest percentage of citizen support ever recorded on a statewide marijuana legalization effort. Commenting on the result, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana in a regulated manner is no longer a matter of ‘if;’ it is a matter of ‘when.'” A similar measure is expected to qualify for the 2012 statewide ballot. Read the full story at:

#4 Washington DC Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary Measure
Members of the DC City Council gave final approval in May to legislation authorizing the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in the District of Columbia. The legislation seeks to enact components of Initiative 59 – a 1998 DC ballot measure that garnered 69 percent of the vote, but was never implemented. In July, Congress declined to overrule the legislation, which is expected to take effect by summer 2011. Read the full story at:

#5 California: Marijuana Possession No Longer A Criminal Offense
Outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October signed Senate Bill 1449 into law, reducing adult, non-medical marijuana possession charges from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction. The measure amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is classified as an infraction, punishable by a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. The measure takes effect on January 1, 2011. Read the full story at:

#6 California Supreme Court Affirms State’s Medi-Pot Possession Laws Are A Floor, Not A Ceiling
The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled in January that the state’s medical marijuana possession and cultivation guidelines, enacted by the legislature in 2004, do not supersede the broader patient protections provided by California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996. In a 53-page decision (The People v Patrick K. Kelly), the Court found that patients who possess quantities of medical cannabis above those recommended under the state’s 2004 law (six mature or twelve immature plants and/or eight ounces) may still be afforded legal protections if this amount is “related to meet (the patient’s) current medical needs.” Read the full story at:

#7 NORML Launches NYC Times Square Ad Campaign
NORML debuted a pair of digital ads this spring on the CBS Super Screen in New York City’s Times Square. NORML’s ads appeared eighteen times per day on the CBS’s digital billboard, located on 42nd Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Approximately 1.5 million people walk by the billboard each day. Read the full story at:

#8 United Kingdom, Other Countries Approve Marijuana Spray As Medicine
British health regulators in June approved the sale and marketing of Sativex, an oral spray consisting of natural cannabis extracts (primarily the plant cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol aka CBD) as a treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Regulators in Spain and New Zealand also approved the prescription use of the drug in 2011. Read the full story at:

#9 Arizona Becomes The 15th State To Legalize Medical Cannabis
Arizona voters in November narrowly passed Proposition 203, making Arizona the 15th state to allow for the physician-supervised use of marijuana. Regulations overseeing the new law, which allows for the licensed production and dispensing of medical marijuana to state-authorized patients, are expected to be finalized by April 2011. Lawmakers in New Jersey also passed medical marijuana legislation in 2010, although that law has yet to be implemented. Read the full story at:

#10 NORML Launches The NORML Women’s Alliance
In January NORML launched the NORML Women’s Alliance (NWA) – a nonpartisan coalition of prominent, educated, successful, geographically diverse, professional women who believe that cannabis prohibition is a self-destructive and hypocritical policy that undermines the American family, sends a mixed and false message to our young people, and destroys the cherished principles of personal liberty and local self-government. Visit the NWA online at:

NORML and NORML Foundation are supported by cannabis consumers and other caring citizens. Please make an end of the year donation to help us keep going strong into 2011. —Thanks from NORML’s staff and nationwide chapter network!