NORML’s Legislative Round Up September 23rd, 2016

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director September 23, 2016

    thumbs_upNext Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day and NORML will be releasing an updated and revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard. The Scorecard is an all-encompassing database that assigns a letter grade ‘A’ through ‘F’ to members of Congress based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records.

    With the 2016 presidential election drawing closer and statewide marijuana initiatives qualified for the ballot in nine states, we need YOU to make it out to the polls to support ending cannabis prohibition. Join us in celebrating National Voter Registration Day next Tuesday by double-checking your status as a voter and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. Take a look at how we graded your members of Congress and bring that information with you to the polls on Election Day!


    California: Sixty percent of likely voters say they would vote for Proposition 64: the Adult Use of Marijuana Act according to the latest poll out of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). Only 36 percent of voters said they are against the pending ballot initiative.

    A just-released California Field poll similarly finds that likely voters back Prop. 64 by a margin of 60 percent to 31 percent.

    Proposition 64 permits adults to legally grow (up to six plants) and possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrate) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales. The measure prohibits localities from taking actions to infringe upon adults’ ability to possess and cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. The initiative language specifies that it is not intended to “repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt … laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.”

    The ballot measure is endorsed by the ACLU of California, the California Democratic Party, the California Medical Association, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California NAACP, the California League of Conservative Voters, Equality California, the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and NORML.

    pills_v_potMichigan: Governor Rick Snyder has signed a package of legislation into law regulating the retail sale of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products. The measures are ordered to take immediate effect.

    The measures seek to clarify and expand various aspects of the state’s 2008 medical cannabis law. Specifically, the new law provides qualified patients for the first time with legal protections regarding the possession and use of non-smoked cannabis derived topical products and edibles, as well as cannabis-based extract products. The law also licenses and regulates facilities where state-qualified patients may legally obtain medical marijuana.

    Michigan was one of the only medical marijuana states in the country that had yet to regulate the dispensing of medicinal cannabis. About 210,000 residents are now registered in the state’s medical program.

    Missouri: Voters will not have the opportunity this November to decide on a proposed statewide proposition to permit the physician-supervised use of marijuana.

    A Cole County Circuit Judge this week upheld a decision by St. Louis election officials to disqualify thousands of petition signatures because voters had mistakenly signed forms indicating that they resided in a county other than where they lived.

    The measure, sponsored by New Approach Missouri, sought to authorize qualified patients to possess, cultivate, and/or obtain cannabis through a licensed system of dispensaries. Polling indicated that over 60 percent of voters backed the proposal. On Thursday, Secretary of State Jason Kander called on lawmakers to move swiftly to enact similar legislation.

    Voters in Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota will vote on medical use measures on Election Day. Voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will also vote this November on initiatives legalizing the adult use of marijuana. A summary of 2016 ballot measures and their status is online here.

    Legalize marijuanaNew Jersey: New legislation has been introduced for the 2016/2017 legislative session that seeks to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

    Assembly Bill 4193 permits marijuana to be sold at convenience stores to adults aged 19 and older in unlimited amounts. The legislation also seeks to expunge the criminal records of past marijuana offenders. Says the bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Michael Patrick Carroll: “To me it’s just not a big deal. It’s already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19. If that’s the case, then what’s the big deal about having it available at the local 7-Eleven?”

    Separate legislation to legalize adult marijuana possession, A 2068, is also pending before the legislature. #TakeAction

    Tennessee: Members of the Nashville Metro Council have given final approval to municipal legislation providing police the discretion to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders.

    Council members voted 35 to 3 in favor of the new ordinance. It provides police the option of issuing $50 citations for those who possess up to a half-ounce of marijuana. Under state law, the possession of small amounts of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a criminal record.

    The legislation now awaits action from the city’s mayor, who has pledged to sign the bill into law. A similar measure is awaiting a final city council vote in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Washington D.C.: District Mayor Muriel Bowser announced this week that she will propose amending the city’s medical cannabis law so that qualified patients may obtain up to four ounces of cannabis per month. Under existing law, patients are limited to no more than two ounces per month. The Washington D.C. currently has about 4,000 registered medical marijuana patients.

    Looking for updated information on all of the pending statewide marijuana related ballot measures? Check out our 2016 Election page!

    15 Responses to “NORML’s Legislative Round Up September 23rd, 2016”

    1. mexweed says:

      Prop. 64 permits California adults to possess up to one ounce of flower which if previously sifted would be 1134 Vapetokes at 25 mg each, but allowing for twigs (to teaPot) and stems (flowerpot) at least 900 tokes after sifting.

      Dream: minors allowed to possess up to a gram if they possess and are knowledgeable about Vaping with a 25-mg Dosage Regulation Utensil. Don’t fall for warnings about effect of cannabis– any amount– on young brain which don’t take carbon monoxide (CO) and 4221 $moking Combu$tion toxins into consideration.

    2. Julian says:

      Thanks for the rundown Danielle.
      First we must express our unanimous support for New Approach Missouri to take a new approach and never give up. The legislature will only take the right for homegrow away, but we can still improve the law if they do. I haven’t seen the documentation that shows the county of voter registration, but it would appear worth appealing for even if it goes to the ballot next year. %60 means there’s still a chance for this initiative to pass even during a non presidential election year.

      New Jersey saw WHAAAAAT? ConVENience stores? 711? 19 years old? …Ambitious… Yet I like it. Drag the NACS lobby into the cannabis market to combat Big Tobacco? Sounds like a challenge! Start clearing your shelves Jersey! The marijuana movement finally found someplace where governor Christi can load up on pot AND snacks! Just make sure there are regulations in place to subsidize medicinal marijuana dispensaries with recreational revenue so 711 doesn’t block them out. And for God’s sakes use some of that revenue on your public schools! Then maybe people won’t be afraid to shop at 711 in New Jersey!

    3. Matt says:

      Mr. Carroll has the right idea and see the Big Picture, common sense, and is EXACTLY right. Also, about time the Garden State, New Jersey, got on board.

    4. Kim says:

      Wish Pennsylvania would get on board

    5. David DeMoss Sr says:

      We need to get rid of Scatt Walker, and any other politicians here in Wisconsin who are for continued prohibition of cannabis for medical and recreational uses. As it is the state of Wisconsin is conducting random drug screens to stop people from using cannabis for pain relief. And want to keep putting us in prison. This is a prison for profit state. I personally have had better pain relief from cannabis than the pharmaceuticals that the politicians and police get from big pharmaceuticals. This discriminationhas to stop.

    6. MACA says:

      What about Massachusetts????????????

    7. Julian says:

      From a helicopter pilot who looks down at a black man with his hands up and says “He’s definitely on something,” and now this;


      Under intense scrutiny from ongoing protests before a 5 day deadline where Charlotte police will no longer be required to submit police video, there is no revealed smoking gun, no mention of where the police found the one they claim Keith Scott had, and as all too predictable under these circumstances, the CPD admits they only approached Mr. Scott’s vehicle because he “appeared to be rolling a marijuana cigarette.”
      In what kind of drug enforcement bubble do our law enforcement operate where peacefully rolling a joint, minding one’s own business in a parked vehicle becomes justification for aggrivated assault with a deadly weapon and premeditated murder?
      If Charlotte wants to end the violence its going to take more than releasing a video or police training; we need to end the drug war. We need to end the predatory incentives that create police officers that see a vehicle for asset forfeiture and police auction instead of a father; That see a kickback or a quota from a private prison or the DEA to close a drug case on a non-violent possession charge instead of seeing someone’s husband peacefully recovering from a motorcycle accident.
      We don’t need the “best” prosecutors to create more drug enforcement bureaucracy and perpetuate more racial violence to line city budgets, as one orange candidate suggested this week.
      We need to diffuse the economic incentives that reward law enforcement for targeting minorities who appear disadvantaged to defend themselves or their assets in court, which means take it to Congress:

    8. Julian says:

      “William Barber II, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., said in an interview on Saturday that the release of the two videos was not sufficient. He called for the full release of all police videos of the incident, and demanded a federal investigation.

      He noted that neither he nor anyone else in the public was in possession of all of the facts in the case. But he also said that neither the possession of marijuana nor the possession of a gun should warrant “a death sentence.”

    9. Julian says:

      In this Times analysis, the question of whether the gun was planted is overshadowed by the real intent by law enforcement for bringing up the possession of marijuana in the first place: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/26/us/what-we-know-about-the-details-of-the-police-shooting-in-charlotte.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

      In an open carry state like North Carolina, where the criminal history of Mr. Scott was unknown to police during this tragic escalation of events, the police needed to report Mr. Scott was in possession of marijuana in order to legally justify the unprofessional “investigation.” Of course, possession of marijuana is no moral justification for taking one’s fire arm away, if he had one, but it is legal:

      Don’t expect the NRA to come to the rescue. They don’t want to pick a fight with their best arms dealers, the ATF.

      The video is somewhat revealing;
      “The police have not explained why or how they assumed, from inside their unmarked vehicle, that Mr. Scott was rolling marijuana while sitting in the driver’s seat of his own vehicle.”
      “Officer Vinson (new to the force) graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice…”
      This is looking like a bad sequel to “Training Day.” It was premeditated. But for what? Did their undercover sting go wrong, so Vinson looked at Scott and thought he needed to fill a quota? Was it worth the SUV at auction? Or is the real dangerous drug here the adrenalin and ego of an officer, like too many, unfit to be a cop?

    10. Mark I. says:

      What your local legislators are doing has been rendered moot by some who are limiting the voters access through barriers on identity and birthplace.

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