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NORML’s Legislative Round Up April 1st, 2016

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate April 1, 2016

    thumbs_upSeveral marijuana law reform bills were signed into law this week. Keep reading below for the latest updates!

    State:

    California: NORML is opposing pending legislation in the Senate that seeks to impose retail sales taxes on the purchase of medical cannabis. Senate Bill 987 imposes a special 15 percent statewide tax upon medical marijuana sales, in addition to the imposition of existing state and local taxes.

    While NORML generally does not oppose the imposition of fair and reasonable sales taxes on the commercial sales of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do not support such excessive taxation on medical sales. Laws enacted by the legislature last year to regulate medical marijuana explicitly did not include additional taxation, and lawmakers should not try to impose such taxes now.

    The legislation is scheduled to be considered by members of the Governance and Finance Committee on April 6th. If you live in California, please #TakeAction and contact your lawmakers to urge them to reject this unnecessary measure!

    Connecticut: Members of the House Public Health Committee have approved legislation to allow qualified patients under 18 years old to use medical marijuana to treat their debilitating illnesses. Patients who’ve met the necessary requirements would need the consent of a parent or guardian to receive the drug. Presently, Connecticut is the only medical marijuana state that explicitly prohibits use by minors.

    Also, on Tuesday, April 5, Reps. Toni Walker and Juan Candelaria will hold an informational hearing on the merits of legalizing the adult use of marijuana. The hearing is open to the public and will take place at 10:00AM in hearing room 2E of the Legislative Office Bldg, 300 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106.

    Florida: Governor Rick Scott  signed legislation, House Bill 307, into law to permit medical marijuana access to people diagnosed with terminal illnesses. House Bill 307 expands the state’s so-called ‘Right to Try Act’ – legislation that permits terminally ill patients to experiment with non-FDA approved remedies – to include the use of medicinal cannabis. Under the new law, which takes immediate effect, qualifying patients are eligible to access both low-THC and high-THC strains of cannabis. The measure also seeks to expand a 2014 state law intended to provide low-THC varieties of cannabis to patients with pediatric epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, or cancer. However, this law is not yet operational.

    marijuana_gavelIllinois: Senate bill 2228, legislation to decriminalize the possession of personal use quantities of marijuana, was approved by members of the Senate Criminal Law Committee. If passed, Senate Bill 2228 would amend state law so that the possession of up to ten grams of marijuana is no longer classified as a criminal offense.  Currently, those caught possessing that amount could face up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $1500. Under the proposal, offenders would instead be issued a civil citation and have to pay a fine of $100 to $200.  The marijuana would be confiscated at the time of offense. The bill also amends the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety law.

    The legislation is anticipated to be voted on by the full Senate in early April. You can #TakeAction to contact your state Senator and urge their support for this legislation!

    Maine: House lawmakers voted ‘ought not to pass’ on legislation, LD 1628, to impose presumptive impairment standards in cases where low levels of THC is detected in the blood. NORML is actively opposing this measure, which states that the detection of 5 ng/ml or more of THC in a driver’s blood “gives rise to a permissible inference … that [a] person is under the influence of intoxicants.” NORML would like to thank those House lawmakers that recognized this legislation as an unscientific and disproportionate response to behavior that is already sufficiently addressed by present traffic safety laws.

    Massachusetts: Legislation to regulate the cultivation and promotion of industrial hemp received attention this week when lawmakers hosted celebrity Tim Gunn at the Massachusetts State House so he could express his support for regulating the crop. If passed, the measure would establish policies and procedures to allow for the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp if/when federal law permits such activity. You can #TakeAction and contact your state lawmakers to urge their support for this common sense legislation.

    New York: New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014, however the law is one of the most restrictive in the country. Lawmakers have introduced 11 separate bills this session to expand the program and significantly increase access to those patients who so desperately need it. To read more about these pending measures and to contact your lawmakers to urge their support, #TakeAction.

    Ohio: On Thursday, the Ohio Ballot Board certified an initiative to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state. Proponents of the initiative must now collect 305,591 required signatures by early July in order to qualify it for the ballot. You can read the full text of the initiative here.

    Oregon: Governor Kate Brown signed legislation, Senate Bill 1511, allowing adults 21 and older to immediately become eligible to purchase marijuana extracts and marijuana infused edibles from Oregon dispensaries. In 2014, residents in Oregon voted to legalize the adult use and retail sale of herbal marijuana. Senate Bill 1511 legally permits adults to also purchase limited quantities of cannabis-infused products, such as edibles and extracts.

    legalization_pollVermont: The House of Representatives continues to weigh Senate Bill 241, legislation to regulate the adult use, production, and sale of cannabis.  Multiple House committees have held hearings in recent dyas to consider public testimony on the subject while Gov. Peter Shumlin has publicly reaffirmed his support for the measure. In an interview released this week with TIME, Governor Shumlin discussed the merits of marijuana legalization and described the reform as something “enlightened states” do. You can read the full interview here.

    Washington: House and Senate lawmakers voted 131 to 6 to override Governor Jay Inslee’s veto of Senate Bill 6206, which establishes limited licensed hemp production. The Governor had previously vetoed the bill, along with several others, in response to lawmakers’ failure to pass a comprehensive budget plan. Senate Bill 6206 authorizes “the growing of industrial hemp as a legal agricultural activity” in accordance with federal legislation permitting such activity as part of a state-authorized program.

    Don’t forget to buy your Early Bird tickets for our 2016 Congressional Lobby Day that is taking place May 23rd and 24th! The schedule will be released soon but rest easy it will be a full two day itinerary focused around marijuana consumerism, the 114th Congress, post prohibition concerns, marijuana in the media and more! We’ll hold our informational conference on Monday with moderated discussions between some of the most influential thought leaders in the movement and then on Tuesday we’ll #TakeAction and gather on Capitol Hill to lobby our elected officials for common sense marijuana law reforms.

    We’ll also be hosting a NORML Social at O St. Mansion on Monday night for a special award ceremony to honor our most valuable marijuana activists! If you wish to join the party don’t forget to purchase a separate ticket at checkout.

    12 Responses to “NORML’s Legislative Round Up April 1st, 2016”

    1. Galileo Galilei says:

      I’m really rooting for the folks in Vermont. The first reform to come from a legislature — quite a significant step on the road to Normlcy.

    2. Julian says:

      @Maine legislature: Marijuana is NOT an intoxicant: Marijuana is NON-TOXIC. Marijuana is a neuroprotectant that can be psychoactive with THC or NON psychoactive with more CBD. A common example of an intoxicant would be alcohol or perhaps bad legislators that introduce baseless, harrassing, greedy, unscientific legislation like LD 1628. These kind of people are absolutely costic and should be handled with complete chemical suits or hopefully a majority of non toxic Congressman to neutralize their poison…

      @the Governor of Washington; You vetoed hemp, the most sustainable job creating source of production and revenue to ever pass the state legislature?… and then you were overridden by a vast majority of the Senate? When we consider the vitality of a domestic hemp program to restore the sustainabilty of life on our planet, and the sheer greed and hubris it took to veto hemp legalization in the state where the Hemp Industries of America is headquartered in Seattle, Governor Inslee, you get the Darwin award.

      C’mon Vermont! Don’t let us down now! Make U.S. History and be the first state to legalize marijuana legislatively!

      • mexweed says:

        I noted the word “costic” (as in Maine LD 1628 legislators) and think mainly you mean “caustic” as in “holocaustic”– because post-cannabis driving leniency could massively reduce alcoholic impaired driving death tolls.

        • Julian says:

          Thanks Mexweed,
          Typo; Yes I did mean “caustic” in both the “sarcastic” and “corrosive” definitions.
          Our legislators are so caught up in fundraising that we may as well be lobbying the source of the corrosion and negotiate revenue for Sherriff’s Associations from legal and fairly taxed marijuana sales? I would be happy to convince my local Sherriff that we would make sure that each police patrol had two officers so officers can safely engage the public and represent their communities without abandoning their vehicle. And I will personally make sure each police station has their own margarita machine in exchange for giving up asset forfeitures without due process.
          What do you think? We can get L.E.A.P. involved and create a direct-source campaign lobby.

          …or maybe I’ll get arrested, but it’s worth a try! :-)

    3. TheOracle says:

      Thank you all for your efforts in Pennsylvania! NORML, MPP, DPA, LEAP, etc.

      As Philly NORML points out the legislation has many flaws. It should go to the governor’s desk to be signed into law, and then tweaked later rather than improved then sent back to the state’s House where the prohibitionists would delay it even longer. It’ll be at least 2 years before patients could actually get their medicine legally, they state on the Philly NORML post.

      Read it all at this link:

      http://www.phillynorml.org/2016/04/02/pa-medical-marijuana-in-the-senate-concur-or-continue-the-fight/

      The legislation hasn’t changed that much since a Philly.com article from April 2015 accurately described the legislation saying “SB3 can no longer be called a medical marijuana law. It’s a ‘limited cannabis products bill.”

      Read more at:
      http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/philly420/Philly420_Pennsylvania_going_backwards_on_marijuana.html

    4. TheOracle says:

      More about the update on Pennsylvania:

      The “Fiscal Note” document from the state’s legislation site clearly shows how the state is hell-bent on preventing patients and/or their caregivers from growing their own, another one of the bill’s flaws, along with trade in viable seed strains not being legalized for retail sale at first to MMJ patients, and later to adult retail once the state goes adult retail. Once the MMJ is running and the public sees it’s not the danger the prohibitionists have led them to believe, as elsewhere, we can move forward with adult recreational. Progress in Pennsylvania moves at a glacial pace, despite all evidence that global warming is speeding up glacial melting.

      The following applies with respect to fees:
      For a grower/processor:
      ? initial registration fee of $200,000, with an initial application fee of $10,000;
      ? annual renewal fee of $10,000. DOH must verify, at time of initial application, that grower/processor has $2 million in capital, with $500,000 on deposit.
      For a dispensary:
      ? initial registration fee of $30,000, with an initial application fee of $5,000;
      ? annual renewal fee of $5,000. DOH must verify, at the time of initial application, that dispensary has $150,000 in capital, which must be on deposit.
      DOH

      http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2015&body=S&type=B&bn=0003

      • mexweed says:

        Thank you for your important Pennsylvania work. Readers should chime in on the bias against owngrowing, one big reason being that children deserve to learn about the growth process of many plants including especially cannabis. What excuse is there to deny parents the right to show the progress of male or low-THC high CBD female plants which, leaf-and-bud-edited day by day, can add instructive flavor to a blender SMOOTHIE?

    5. Sam Fox says:

      AZ residents need to look up a side by side of the MPP initiative & Arizona Safer’s initiative.
      MPP’s init. doesn’t do much for the user. AZ Safer’s init. allows for much more freedom. You can see that in a side by side comparison of the two initiatives.
      I am very disappointed with MPP.

      medMUser

    6. Debi Cooper says:

      It’s VERY discouraging for those of us in other states. I live in VA, where it will be awhile before any legislature that would be helpful for so many people to be passed. I desperately need marijuana to maintaine both my mental and physical well being. Long story: I have Scleroderma and Lupus which produce a host of other issues such as Reynauds Phenonmanum, neuropathy, gastraparesis, t

    7. Debi Cooper says:

      SORRY!!!
      Anyway, you get the point. Prior to “smoking” for the first time in decades, I got minimum relief and A LOT of side effects, often worse than the original symptoms, to the MANY narcotics I was given in increasing increments. Anything I can do, as a person who suffers daily from debilitating muscle/joint pain associated with the various illnesses that are now “my life” , as well as a host of other “lesser” diseases caused by these, such as gastraparesis, neuropathy, etc…I would be more than happy to share my battles with the broken down system of “Pain Management” and the vast benefits derived from partaking in some medicinal marijuana to elevate the needless suffering many people endure due to VA’s antiquated “opinion” of marijuana and their continued effort to squelch what could very well be a life saving answer for many!

    8. tim says:

      Ok,,why not ask every American to donate 5 dollars to hire a group of attorneys to confront the supreme court to legalize for the whole country,,we are supposed to be the United states of america,,,we should all have the same rights as colorado,Washington state, washing dc,ect…. we are not different countries like Europe we are the usa,,,we should all have the same rights. I had pancreatic cancer 15yrs ago and it was the that cured me,,,,I want to be involved,,,I want people to know,,,,it’s not fair that some states are more free than others,,we are america. I want to tell my story to America and the Senate and the supreme court. You will surely receive enough donations to hire several attorneys to fight for our rights. Thank you very much.

    9. IND GROWr says:

      +1 there tim
      these state to state laws are not what out forefathers had in mind. Its simply disgusting. There is nothing United in the States anymore.
      The wife and I are relocating to Ohio just to be able to live without fear. My epilepsy meds are extremely expensive and what the meds dont take care of, the MJ does. I wont support a criminal element but I am simply forced to, unless I want to grow, if caught doing that I risk having a criminal record, loose my rights as well as my 2a right.

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