NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director October 16, 2015

    map_leafWhile the Presidential candidates clarify their marijuana-centric positions and voters in one state (Ohio) prepare to decide on legalizing the plant, state and federal lawmakers continue to move forward with legislative reforms. Here’s a look at some recent, pending legislative developments.

    To support the measures below, please use our #TakeAction Center to contact your state and federal elected officials! A full list and summary of pending state and federal legislation is available here. Summaries of the dozens of marijuana law reform bills approved this year is also available here.

    New Federal Bill Introduced:

    Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene is sponsoring H.R. 3746, the State Marijuana and Regulatory Tolerance (SMART) Enforcement Act, to protect medical patients, recreational consumers, and licensed businesses in states that regulate marijuana. Under this proposal, the US federal Controlled Substances Act would no longer be inapplicable in states that have legalized and regulated marijuana in a manner that addresses key federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and drug-induced impaired driving.

    State Legislative Developments:

    California:  Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a legislative package of bills that seek to provide statewide regulations for California’s medical cannabis industry.

    The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which consists of three separate bills (Assembly Bill 266, Assembly Bill 243, and Senate Bill 643), creates a new state agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs to develop rules and licensing procedures for authorized medical cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries must be compliant with local guidelines prior to receiving a state license. State-licensed dispensaries will be permitted to operate on a ‘for profit’ basis. However, the new regulations will not override existing municipal moratoriums, nor will they prohibit the collection of local sales taxes on marijuana purchases in communities that presently impose them.

    Separate language in the Act seeks to regulate the licensed production of cannabis and imposes rules in regard to growing, testing, and labeling cannabis like other agricultural products. The Act also seeks to provide additional oversight to physicians who recommend cannabis therapy. However, it does not limit physicians from recommending cannabis at their own discretion – activity that is codified under Proposition 215/the Compassionate Use Act.

    The new law takes effect on January 1, 2016. However, regulations imposed by the new law are not expected until early 2017.State licensing is anticipated to begin in early 2018.

    Illinois: House members are considering House Bill 4276, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, to permit those over the age of 21 to legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis and/or to engage in the home cultivation of marijuana for non-commercial purposes (up to eight plants at any one time.) Adults would be permitted to possess the full harvest from their plants and would not be subject to any taxation or commercial fees for engaging in home cultivation. Existing criminal penalties involving the possession or cultivation of marijuana above these limits would also be significantly reduced under this measure.

    Michigan: House members recently amended and passed legislation to expand Michigan’s existing medical marijuana law.

    House Bill 4209 would license and regulate above-ground, safe access facilities for state-qualified patients seeking medical marijuana. Previously, lawmakers wanted to impose a special 8 percent excise tax on dispensary-related income; however, following the objections of advocates who argued that the imposition of additional fees would drive many patients to the black market, this proposed tax now been lowered to 3 percent.

    House Bill 4210  would provide qualified patients legal protections for their use of non-smoked cannabis derived topicals and edibles, as well as cannabis-based extract products. Lawmakers also passed a third bill, HB 4827, which seeks to establish regulations tracking the production and sale of medical marijuana products.

    This package of bills now goes before the Senate Judiciary committee for consideration.

    Additional information for these and other pending legislative measures may be found at our #TakeAction Center!

    ** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and to make the changes they want to see. Get active; get NORML!

    11 Responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up”

    1. Will Cahill says:

      Why is there nothing happening in NY for recreational still……the support is there I’m sure. I thought the politicians were supposed to represent us.

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    3. dk says:

      I live in a very red state. I contacted one of my elected representatives once about civil asset forfeiture and the response that I got made me sick to my stomach. I decided that contacting these people about anything other than ‘how can I donate to your election campaign’ was unwise. I haven’t done it since. If they think it’s okay to take property from innocent folks…

    4. Anonymous says:

      We have the Bill of Rights for a reason, and it’s all We the People have in writing. The 5th Amendment says: No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

    5. Anonymous says:

      We already know how much tax revenue is being made in medical and recreational states. Give it a couple of years and the whole country will catch on. I can almost guarantee it!

    6. Todd says:

      @dk and Julian (previous blog)
      We have the Bill of Rights for a very good reason, that reason being it is all We the People have in writing as assurances from our government. The 5th Amendment says: “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

    7. Bob Constantine says:

      Good people will always ignore bad laws.

      Laws that tell people what they can grow, how much they can grow or whether they have “permission” to ingest something spring from the same well that slavery does.

    8. Julian says:

      Aaaalright… Since were copying from previous blogs:

      Julian says:

      October 19, 2015 at 2:29 pm
      @dk & Todd;
      My focus now is on reforming and/or removing civil asset forfeitures and bad federal grants in order to improve our Democracy. Here in Texas, I am tired of watching Sherrif’s Associations and city budgets tied to disproportionate fees and confiscations and unconstitutional suit of property continually lobby and threaten out our marijuana reform laws by purchasing and intimidating our State Congressman. This is the worst example of corruption set by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970; Counties and City governments have adapted these horrible, violent unconstitutional punishments and fines for profit for too long which is why being active at the local level is so important to shed disinfecting light on why legalization has taken so long.

    9. Daniel Johnson says:

      Next year’s 4/20 will be the most significant ever, the UN Special Summit on Drugs is happening April 19-21, with major changes a possibility if enough public pressure can be channeled from every part of the world. http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/un-set-reform-drug-policy/34037

    10. Ivan says:

      Norml needs to hurry up and help us Texans decriminalize and fully legalize Marijuana here in Texas! Don’t forget about Texas Norml!!!!!
      We Love Marijuana just as much as the rest of our Great Country does!!!!!…..

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