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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director December 18, 2015

    christmas-baubles-clipartWith the holidays around the corner, there is plenty to celebrate in regard to marijuana law reform successes! Congress unveiled their 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that will fund the government through next year which included several marijuana measures and we’ve seen a number of state and municipal measures take hold as well. Keep reading to see if your state is moving ahead in reforming their marijuana laws!

    Federal: In last week’s Legislative Round Up, we covered five distinct marijuana provisions that lawmakers sought to include in the final draft of the 2016 spending bill.

    We now know that two of these provisions have been included in the omnibus appropriations bill. One measure prevents the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The other measure prevents the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state industrial hemp research programs.

    Both measures were initially passed by Congress in 2015, but required reauthorization to extend into 2016.

    To read more about this legislation click here.

    State:

    Vermont: The sponsor has unveiled the bill that will be introduced in the state’s next legislative session to legalize and regulate the adult use, production and sale of cannabis. Once formally
    introduced, the bill will head to the Senate Judiciary committee for its first consideration.legalization_poll

    The 41 page bill allows for retail outlets, lounges, and personal cultivation. Taxes and fees are not
    included in the bill language and will be covered when the bill is considered in the Senate Finance Committee.

    You can read more about the legislation here and write your lawmakers, urging their support here.

    Kentucky: Legislation to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana, The ‘Cannabis Freedom Act, has been pre-filed for the 2016 legislative session.

    The legislation allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, cultivate up to five cannabis plants, store excess cannabis lawfully grown for personal use at the location where it was cultivated; or transfer up to one ounce of cannabis to another person age 21 or older without remuneration.

    In a prepared statement, the bill’s sponsor said: “Too many Kentuckians have had their lives stymied with criminal records as a result of nonviolent marijuana convictions. That is wrong. It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis.”

    Contact your lawmakers in Kentucky and encourage them to support this measure here!

    Delaware: Legislation signed into law last June decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses took effect at midnight this morning in the state of Delaware.

    House Bill 39 reclassifies the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by those age 21 and over from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a criminal record, to a
    thumbs_upcivil violation punishable by a $100 fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record. (Those between the ages of 18 and 21 may face criminal charges, but only if it is their second or subsequent offense.)

    The new law also amends the personal possession of marijuana paraphernalia from a criminal to a civil violation. Public use of the substance, as well as marijuana possession while inside a vehicle, remain classified as misdemeanors.

    Municipal:

    Pittsburgh (PA): An ordinance, proposed by Councilman Daniel Lavelle,  which would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana passed a preliminary vote in City Council on Wednesday.

    The measure would allow police to seize the drugs and issue a $100 fine as long as a person had less than 30 grams of marijuana — about an ounce. People could have about eight grams of hash.

    A final vote is scheduled for this upcoming Monday. You can contact your City Council district here to urge their support for this measure.

    Palm Beach County (FL): With a 4 to 1 vote Tuesday, Palm Beach County decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Law enforcement can now give offenders a $100 fine or the option of 10 hours of community service instead of arrest. The ordinance only covers offenders 18 and over, and an offender can receive a maximum of two citations.

    This vote comes after nearby cities West Palm Beach and Miami Beach also chose to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.


    takeactionban

    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!

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

    1. TheOracle says:

      Part 2

      The other states that are on the cusp of legalizing adult recreational all did medical first, and are now going for adult recreational, item: Vermont and Kentucky.

      Some state, and who the hell knows which state it will be, is going to be the first state that has a legislature who will legalize both medical and adult recreational, maybe even legalize industrial cannabis, industrial hemp, all in the same piece of legislation. Why not Pennsylvania?! The state needs a budget and a new steady revenue stream. That stream was to be an extraction tax on shale gas, but that’s not happening, and the mostly Republican prohibitionists don’t want the shale tax AND Do Not have any other way of getting the money the state needs to pass a budget. 5 months overdue.

      The only way prohibitionists will legalize is if you give them no other choice. Why not Pennsylvania?! It can’t wait until after fall elections when Vermont and other eastern states legalize adult recreational. The state needs a budget revenue source in order to pass a budget, and the budget can’t wait until after the November elections. Budget was due end of June, so November after another June would mean a year and half of no budget or a series of stop-gap state budget bills. That’s just too f#%ked up to wait that long.

      Legalize industrial, medical, and adult recreational cannabis in Pennsylvania in early 2016 so our farmers can order the seed in time to get it into the ground!

      The worse the budget stalemate becomes the more desperate the prohibitionists in the public ought to become to focus on the money grab from legalization, and downplay the negatives prohibitionists are always harping about.

      $Penn$ylvania$! $Indu$trial$ $Medical$ $Adult Recreational$ = $tate Budget$

    2. TheOracle says:

      Yeah, Vermont!

      Part !

      They already have legal MMJ in VT. Vacation destination, after their legislature legalizes adult recreational. And, there’s Kentucky, closer more states by the mere fact that Vermont borders on Canada.

      Which brings me to Pennsylvania, have you seen the cost of flights to Denver? And then you can’t take anything back out of state with you! There’s still cannabis coffeeshop solution for tourists, and there’s no Flyin’ High Airlines that will let you vape your shit on the plane, let alone with let you bring back stuff with you, no hassle going through and getting out of the airport, too.

    3. mexweed says:

      Delaware: “Possessing drug paraphernalia for use in connection with up to an ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to a $100 fine…” — what’s new? $neaky way of protecting the
      $igarette tax money racket.

      Rolling papers have ONE advantage: EASIER TO HIDE from stoolpigeon, cop or your Mom than a flexdrawtube one-hitter, end of story. 1. Easier to hide before you roll the joint, 2. easier to hide rolled, 3. easily hurriedly used up and disposed of instead of getting caught retaining it for a later use.

      Children taught to “protect” themselves by choosing 500-mg $igarette papers over a 25-mg microdosage utensil (a) “get it all at once”, suffer impact of heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 combustion toxins, causing dopy symptoms blamed on cannabis, (b) are lured to try “Blunt” with addictive nicotine in the cigar skin, (c) acquire and get addicted to the swaggary gestures of $igarette $moking. The Joint thus serves as Trojan Horse to lure children into lifelong $iggerette addiction (which pays taxes and employs rich folks who subsidize anti-cannabis politicians).

      PS did you know they invented the word “PARAPHERNALIA”, with “paranoia”, “infernal”, “alien” hidden in it, to scare kids?

    4. Julian says:

      What a wonderful thing to have lost track of how many states have qualified for state ballot initiatives for 2016. But the one that stands out is Vermont, not so much because this little state is represented by Senator Bernie Sanders, the only candidate willing to deschedule, not reschedule marijuana, but because this is the first state legislative body that has drafted and passed their own marijuana legalization laws, without petition, without voter initiative. And within an epiphany of Democracy one of the smallest states has silently crossed the threshold, the “tipping point” of legalization like the green flash of a distant sunrise, before big states that we are all holding our breath for like California could yet find their own path. Take note there is something remarkable about Vermont in our great Marijuana Tragedy, and I don’t just say this because I come from a state of complete oligarchy in Texas. In Vermont representatives of our government have paid Democracy forward with representation where voters have voiced their willingness for taxation for cannabis. What a concept; A government where representatives listen to their constituents, and voters listen to their representatives… And legislation is introduced by our representatives accordingly… (…BwAAAh! My head just exploded!)

    5. jajaeppa says:

      It has been a long time since posting on here but I want to know where the outcry by Norml and MPP are over Mike Huckabee saying “kids need to sign up and support our country instead of worrying about marijuana and free college”… I tried signing up but my knees were too bad. WTF guys. We must ask for his removal from the Presidential campaign since we asked for the DEA chief to resign.

    6. Matthew says:

      SAM maintains that the Feds’ request for SCOTUS dismissal of the lawsuit against CO only means that a lower, federal court should hear the case, first. This is something that a lawyer should weigh in, on. Of course, if SCOTUS complies with the DOJ request to dismiss the case – that should preclude lower courts from hearing it. Right?

    7. Julian says:

      @jajaeppa;
      Unfortunately, even if we had Citizens United overturned we wont stop the campaign laundry machines like Trump and Huckabee who despite their bravado are merely kiss @$$ corporate media slaves making irresponsible irrelevant entertainment for the publicity money and to keep our eyes off the prize.
      Sanders has a real tangible way to pay for tuition; taxing Wall Street on speculations and legalizing fairly taxed marijuana, and its scaring the hemp socks off all the other candidates. Now That’s what I call entertainment!

    8. Rod says:

      Kentucky doesn’t have medical

      [Editor’s note: “The ‘Cannabis Freedom Act, has been pre-filed for the 2016 legislative session”]

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