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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 13, 2015

    thumbs_upWith many state legislative sessions coming to an end and the federal government beginning final budget negotiations, we’ve seen plenty of marijuana legislation move forward this week. Keep reading below to catch up on this week’s legislative action!

    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.

    Federal:

    On the eve of Veterans Day members of the US Senate adopted language to permit Veterans access to medical marijuana in states that allow for its use. Senate members passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs APpropriations Bill, which for the first time includes language to allow Veteran’s Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. You can read more about this measure here.

    State:

    New Jersey: Governor Chris Christie signed legislation into law on Monday, November 9, that allows for the administration of edible forms of cannabis for children attending school.

    A4587 and S3049 “require facilities providing services to persons with developmental disabilities and schools to adopt policies permitting administration of medical marijuana to qualifying patients.”

    Additionally, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Monday, November 16th at 1:00PM in Committee Room 4 of the state capitol to discuss the merits of legalizing and regulating marijuana in New Jersey. The informational hearing comes ahead of the anticipated introduction next session of legislation to legalize the plant’s production, sale, and use. To express your support for legalization in New Jersey, click here.

    Vermont: Members of the Senate Government Operations Committee are discussing how best to implement a regulated marijuana industry in Vermont. Statewide polling reports that 57 percent of Vermont voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana production and sales. State lawmakers acknowledge that 2016 is the “time” to regulate cannabis in Vermont and they need to hear from their constituents that legalization is a priority. To contact your lawmakers and urge their support for legalization, click here.

    North Carolina: Senate Bill 313, an act to establish a pilot program for hemp cultivation in North Carolina, has become law absent the Governor’s signature. The legislation declares, “The General Assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.”

    New York: Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that seeks to accelerate medical marijuana access to patients who are suffering from critical conditions and are in urgent need for medical cannabis. Assembly Bill 7060 & Senate Bill 5086 require the Commissioner of Health to establish emergency access to medical cannabis access for patients with conditions for whom a delay would pose a serious risk to the patient’s life or health.

    Florida: The Broward County Commission approved a marijuana ordinance on Tuesday, that will give police officers the option of issuing a $150 civil citation to someone caught with 20 grams or less of marijuana instead of filing a misdemeanor criminal charge against that person. Similar ordinances have been passed in Miami-Dade County and Key West.

    Palm Beach County will be voting on a similar measure, December 15th. Contact your County Commissioner today and urge their support for the option of issuing a civil citation for the nonviolent possession of marijuana! You can find out who your County Commissioner is here.

    Texas: In Houston, District Attorney Devon Anderson announced last Thursday that starting January 1st, those who are caught with less than two ounces of marijuana will be offered a diversion program and released rather than receiving a criminal charge. The suspect must complete the program to avoid facing charges.

    Anderson said, “It frees up space in jail. It minimizes the administrative burden that officers face when filing charges. It reduces the cost for prosecution and court proceedings. And of course, it gives the offender an opportunity to have a completely clean record,” she said. “When we don’t offer it until after the offender is charged, we lose a lot of the best benefits of the program.”

    Illinois: More than two years after lawmakers initially approved medical cannabis legislation in the state, patients are finally getting relief. This week, several of the state’s licensed dispensaries began serving patients for the first time. About 3,300 patients with Illinois-issued ID cards were able to purchase medical cannabis at one of five dispensaries opening Monday. Besides Canton, retail shops in Addison, Marion, Mundelein and Quincy were among the first to open. An estimated 25 facilities are anticipated to be operational by the end of the year.

    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!

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

    1. Julian says:

      Fascinating stuff on veterans and Vermont this week; A major advance at the Federal level while the legislative brancb of a state (Vermont, the same state Bernie Sanders is Senator of), is presenting this country’s first non voter-initiative passed legalization law for marijuana before California can pass their voter initiative. Can someone smell a Supreme Blunt Ruling in fast response to executive decision?
      Or… We could just vote for Sanders… Same thing, just more secure!

    2. Joe Nickelsack says:

      OH! BOY!! Anyone seen Florida’s new medical marijuana proposal? the only way you can get a medical marijuana card is to have one year of life left in you (terminally ill) and that has to be verified by not one, but two independent physicians.Why don’t they just paint a big pharma swastika on the capital dome?…

    3. Will legend says:

      Yes Bernie is the vote for president but not just for cannabis. My question for this organization is why dont we have a section for whistleblowers against corporate takeover of this industry? Nowhere hae I read any inside information about the Canadian prarie plant corporation or the MCC in mihigan that want to make he hands of a few rich off of a free plant and limit private production.

      We need more watchdogs so that these things get exposed. Free the weed meand FREE the eed, not small amounts to all but a single enterprise gets all he commercial production rights.

      Another Ohio. The voters spoke there.

      [Editor’s note: Whistleblower section? Inside information? Corporate takeover? Apparently, in the Internet age–with hundreds of cannabis-related webpages and many mj magazines–you’re the self-appointed anti-corporate-taking-over-weed-whistleblower.

      Whistle blow away.]

    4. Mark I. says:

      It is time for patients to demand safe access. It is time for healthcare professionals to rid their industry of federal interference in providing effective, safe, and personal care to patients whether they are at the end of life or just taking control of their personal healthcare decisions.

    5. Mark Mitcham says:

      You have me rubbing my eyes, maybe I need new glasses: rabid stoner-hater New Jersey Gov Chris Christie SIGNED A BILL which ALLOWS KIDS IN SCHOOL EDIBLE MARIJUANA??
      Not that I’m opposed, you understand. Just surprised.

    6. sweet says:

      My hat is off to you NORML I thought this fight would have long been over. Thank you for fighting the good fight and staying the course.

    7. Rick says:

      I see an add at the bottom of this blog for a dextox kit. How is random work place drug testing even legal? I would like to argue that it is against my religion because the only thing I really believe in is the US constitution where it states that I do not have to provide evidence against myself.
      Maybe Norml has to start a religion where random work place testing is against it’s religion. Then you could just say no, to random testing.

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