Loading

NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 25, 2015

    ballot_box_leafWhile Thanksgiving is cutting the work week short for many, there is no shortage of legislative news in marijuana law reform. Keep reading below to find out what new developments have taken place in the past week related to marijuana!

    A full list and summary of pending state and federal legislation is available here. Summaries of the dozens of marijuana law reform bill approved this year is also available here.

    Federal:

    The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was in the spotlight this past week for a couple reasons.

    First, organizers of a Change.org petition calling for President Obama to fire the agency’s acting administrator, Chuck Rosenberg personally delivered over 100,000 printed signatures to DEA headquarters last Friday. The petition is still garnering support so make sure to sign it if you haven’t already!

    Second, a group of Democratic lawmakers led by Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) wrote a letter to House leadership this week urging them to include language in the final spending package for FY 2016, that would remove a significant portion of funding from the DEA that is currently being used to eradicate marijuana plants across the country and instead direct it to more worthy causes. The language is from an amendment that Lieu sponsored and was passed by the House in June.

    The letter reads, “The Cannabis Eradication Program’s sole mission is to eradicate marijuana plants and arrest growers. However, historical data indicates that the vast majority of plants seized under this program are wild plants descendant from industrial hemp. They are not intentionally grown, and they are not suitable for recreational or medical use. Therefore, the seizure of these plants has served neither an economic nor public-safety nor a health related purpose. Its sole impact has been to expend limited federal resources that are better spent elsewhere.”

    Other members that signed the letter are Reps. Jared Polis (CO), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Steve Cohen (TN), Eric Swalwell (CA), Mark Pocan (WI), Mike Honda (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Beto O’Rourke (TX) and Sam Farr (CA).

    State:

    Alaska: Last Friday, Alaska became the first state to allow residents age 21 or older to consume cannabis in retail facilities that sell it . Members of the Marijuana Control Board voted 3 to 2 in favor of permitting limited public use of cannabis. This lack of public use facilities has proven to be an obstacle elsewhere, most notably among tourists who wish to indulge while on vacation in states that regulate the plant’s social use.

    Florida: On Monday, following over a year of legal battles, state regulators finally approved five nurseries to cultivate high-CBD strains of marijuana. This decision marks the first real step forward in the implementation of a 2014 law to allow the use of CBD extracts by qualified patients with intractable epilepsy, muscle spasms and advanced forms of cancer. To qualify for the low-THC-based cannabis treatment, patients must obtain permission from a qualified doctor and be added to the state’s Compassionate Use Registry. The law establishes a number of steep requirements in order for nurseries to qualify for licensure. Applicants must have been in business for at least 30 years and possesses the ability to grow at least 400,000 plants. The selected applicants must post a $5 million performance bond before receiving a license from the state.

    Washington: Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor held a hearing on Friday in regards to SB 6083, legislation to allow adults to legally cultivate personal use amounts of marijuana in private. “This bill is about consistency, congruency and especially, freedom” said Rep. Brian Blake, who is sponsoring the measure in the House. “Adults in our state can brew their own beer and make their own wine for personal consumption. Just like alcohol, marijuana can be used safely and responsibly, so it makes sense to allow adults to home grow their own if they want to.”

    You can contact your lawmakers in Washington to urge their support for this legislation here.

    Pennsylvania: On Wednesday, November 18, members of the House Rules Committee passed Senate Bill 3, to allow for the production and distribution of non-herbal marijuana products to qualified patients. The bill will now awaits a floor vote by House lawmakers.

    While this measure is a step forward for Pennsylvania patients, SB 3, as presently written, contains several provisions opposed by NORML, specifically its restrictions on smoking and vaporization. House lawmakers are expected to amend the measure further when debating it on the floor.

    Please ask your House members to consider changes that would further expand patients’ access and choices by clicking here.

    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. This is a great blog! Thank you for the detailed information. May I ask how you feel the United States government will handle the legalization of marijuana in Canada or rather how it will respond?

    2. Galileo Galilei says:

      “The Cannabis Eradication Program’s sole mission is to eradicate marijuana plants and arrest growers. However, historical data indicates that the vast majority of plants seized under this program are wild plants descendant from industrial hemp. They are not intentionally grown, and they are not suitable for recreational or medical use. Therefore, the seizure of these plants has served neither an economic nor public-safety nor a health related purpose. Its sole impact has been to expend limited federal resources that are better spent elsewhere.”

      Another absurd prohibitionist ritual we’ve all watched for years.

    3. Ben says:

      Thanks, NORML.

      I always appreciate the info.

    4. mexweed says:

      @Galilei, this absurd ritual is just their way of making damned sure absolutely no high quality stuff sneaks through, but underneath the prime motivation (what they’re PAID to do) is to keep the PRICE of any cannabis as high as possible for fear any of it could ever successfully SUBSTITUTE for (H)ot (B)urning (O)verdose (M)onoxide $lave niggotine $igarettes.

    5. Ohio I am says:

      I love you NORML
      My little Green Engine that could.
      We All together are almost over the Mountain.

    6. Mark I. says:

      The ignorant prohibitionists will want another wall.

    7. Julian says:

      “This mornin
      I woke up
      In a cerfew
      Oh God…
      I was a prisoner too…
      Yeah…
      Could not recognize the faces
      standing over me
      They were all dressed in uniforms
      of brutality

      And that’s why we’re gonna be
      Burnin an a Lootin tonight…”

      Bad laws create bad violence and tyranny;
      Or as Colorado has shown,
      Good laws create peace and justice!

    8. Linda Keller says:

      For ALL OHIOANS:

      When you search for ResponsibleOhio.org you are now sent to their new website at http://freemarketohio.com/

      They’re working on introducing legislation in 2016 in Ohio WITHOUT the oligopoly (said to be a monopoly) restrictions that were in their 2015 legislation that hindered legalization.

      Take their survey on what you’d like them to include in this bill that would get your yes vote.

      And NORML, please address this in your BLOG now, so that people will take the survey and provide info for what would garner their support, and so that the word gets out in plenty of time before legislation has to be introduced to ensure this new and better marijuana legalization bill will be included on the ballot for the 2016 election.

    9. AC says:

      Medical marijuana laws are not a step towards freedom…they are just another control mechanism. Legalized marijuana, with the exception to minors, just as alcohol, IS the answer. Any laws that go further than making it illegal for minors’ use should be voted down, We do not want marijuana in the hands of those who decide the fate of our health or of our lives

    10. Arlene says:

      Can we get another petition going in Minnesota. Our Governor backed law enforcement and we lost the fight to legalize. So lets get going people and back country wide legalization. Lets get those guys in DC getting after the President to do something good before he leaves office. Legalize, tax and regulate…

    Leave a Reply