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Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/3/2017

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director March 3, 2017


    revolutionbumper
    Welcome to this week’s edition of the NORML legislative roundup!

    At the state level, we have updated or added 23 Action Alerts this week as the total number of pieces of legislation introduced nationwide that pertain to marijuana has now topped 1,400.

    Federally, the developments just keep on coming, furthering the confusion and disarray at the Department of Justice and the marijuana policy objectives of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    AG Sessions has articulated alternative facts in regards to marijuana and violence and opioids and has yet to say what “increased enforcement” means. Yet a staffer at the DoJ did say that the “The department’s current policy is reflected in the 2013 Cole Memo,” referring to the Obama policy.

    Additionally, 11 Senators sent a letter to the Attorney General that stated “It is essential that states that have implemented any type of practical, effective marijuana policy receive immediate assurance from the DOJ that it will respect the ability of states to enforce thoughtful, sensible drug policies in ways that do not threaten the public’s health and safety,” the senators wrote. “This ensures that state infrastructure, including tax revenue, small businesses, and jobs, can be protected; DOJ resources can be used most effectively; and most importantly, that marijuana can be properly regulated to improve public health and safety.”

    Conveniently, the “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” was reintroduced this week in the House of Representatives. Email your Representative to sign onto the bill and support it now by clicking here.

    Below are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Thanks for all you do and keep fighting,
    Justin

    Priority Bills

    Federal
    NEW: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

    The “Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

    Click here to email your Congressional Representative to urge them to support this crucial legislation.

    Join The Caucus: With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

    Click here to email your Member of Congress to urge them to join the newly formed Cannabis Caucus

    States Rights: Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

    HR 975 states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

    Click here to email your Congressional Representative to urge them to support this crucial legislation.

    Arkansas
    Legislative efforts are pending to amend the state’s voter-initiated medical marijuana law in a manner that would restrict qualified patients from smoking herbal preparations of the plant. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson indicates that he favors the plan.

    Update: The Senate version of this bill, SB 357, has passed Committee and now awaits action on the Senate floor.

    AR Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to oppose this legislation.

    Connecticut
    Multiple pieces of legislation to legalize the adult use of marijuana and to regulate its commercial distribution is pending in both the state House and Senate.

    Update: Lawmakers have scheduled a pair of hearings in March to debate these various legalization proposals. Members of the Public Health Committee will hear testimony on Tuesday, March 7. Members of the Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on Wednesday, March 22.

    CT Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Iowa
    Senate legislation is pending, SF 280, to reduce penalties involving the possession of five grams of marijuana or less.

    If passed, the measure would classify first time offenses from a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, to a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and a $625 fine.

    Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee passed the measure to the full Committee on February 28.

    IA Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Tennessee
    Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, are sponsoring the legislature’s most concerted effort to legalize medical use of marijuana.

    Under present law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $250 fine.

    TN Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Vermont
    Rep. Samuel Young has introduced H. 490 to regulate the commercial and retail marijuana market.

    H. 490 establishes a regulated system whereby adults may legally obtain marijuana from state-licensed retail providers and sellers.

    VT Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Virginia
    Senator David Marsden has introduced a bill to re-approve a previously passed act that will regulate the instate production of cannabis oil for the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

    Update: SB1027 has been passed unanimously by both the House (99-0) and Senate (38-0) and now heads to the Governor to be signed into law or vetoed. The Governor’s Action deadline is midnight on March 27.

    VA Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Additional Actions To Take

    Arizona
    Legislation is pending, SB 1337, to permit for the licensed production of industrial hemp.

    The proposal redefines hemp as a legal agricultural product and finds, “[T]he development and use of industrial hemp can improve the economy.”

    Update: SB 1337 passed in the Senate with a vote of 26-4 and is being transmitted to the House.

    AZ Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    California
    Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 1578, to try and limit potential federal interference in the state’s marijuana regulatory laws.

    The bill states, “This bill would prohibit a state or local agency, as defined, from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”

    Update: AB 1578 may be heard in committee on March 21.

    CA Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Kansas
    Legislation is pending before lawmakers, SB 155, to establish regulations governing a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

    SB 155 would permit qualified patients to grow their own medical marijuana or to obtain it from a licensed dispensary, while also educating physicians who seek to recommend cannabis therapy.

    Update: A hearing was held to debate and discuss SB 155 on February 20.

    KS Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Missouri
    Legislation has been introduced in the House, HB 1095, to legalize the adult use of marijuana and to regulate the commercial cannabis market.

    The measure permits adults to legally possess up to 35 grams of marijuana and/or to cultivate up to six marijuana plants. Adults may legally possess the total yield from those plants.

    MO Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    New Mexico
    State Representatives Bill McCamley and Javier Martinez introduced HB 89, the Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act to regulate the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana in the state. Companion legislation, SB 278, introduced by Sen. Gerald Ortiz, is also pending in the Senate.

    Update: Members of the House Business and Industry Committee voted 9-1 on Monday, February 27, to defeat House Bill 89. SB 278 is still awaiting a vote in the Senate.

    NM Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Additionally, Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 258, to reduce penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.

    The measure eliminates criminal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one-half of one ounce of cannabis, reducing the offense to a $50 fine. Under present law, this offense is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail and criminal record.

    Update: A Senate substitute version of SB 258 was passed 33 to 9 by members of the Senate. The amended version of the bill now awaits action by the House.  

    NM Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    South Dakota
    Two bills are pending in South Dakota that provide various protections for medical marijuana users in South Dakota. SB 95 and SB 157 do not establish a South Dakota program, but protect those individuals who are prescribed medical marijuana in another state.

    SB 95 removes cannabidiol from schedule I and places it in schedule IV. Furthermore, it excludes cannabidiol entirely from the definition of marijuana.

    SB 157 protects patients that possess marijuana while they have a valid medical card from another state. The measure “covers patients who have moved to Colorado… or another legal state and done their due diligence for being prescribed medical marijuana.”

    Update: Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee removed the FDA provision from SB 95 and passed it 7 to 3 on March 2.

    SD Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Tennessee
    Legislation is pending in the Tennessee House, HB 173, to nullify the enactment of citywide marijuana decriminalization ordinances and to prevent additional municipalities from enacting similar marijuana reform measures.

    The intent of the bill is to override the passage of recent citywide measures in Nashville and Memphis — both of which passed local ordinances last year making minor marijuana possession offenses a non-arrestable citation.

    Update: HB 173 has been passed out of subcommittee and now awaits action by the full House Criminal Justice Committee.

    TN Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to oppose this legislation.

    Additionally, Several pieces of legislation are pending to amend marijuana possession penalties.

    HB 831 and SB 1116 seek to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Update: SB 1116 has a hearing scheduled for March 7.

    TN Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Texas
    State Senator Jose Menendez has filed Senate Bill 269, currently making its way through committee, to protect qualified patients who consume cannabis and to provide for the state-licensed production and distribution of the plant.

    Update: A bipartisan House version of SB269 to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Texas has just been introduced by Representative Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, titled HB 2107.

    TX Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Washington
    Legislation is before lawmakers, House Bill 2064, to amend state law so that industrial hemp is not longer classified under the state’s uniform controlled substances act.

    If passed, hemp plants will no longer be regulated as a controlled substance.

    Update: HB 2064 has unanimously passed the House and awaits action in the Senate.

    WA Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    Wisconsin
    Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) introduced a pair of bills seeking to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical cannabis. The first bill establishes a statewide medical marijuana program, while the second bill would poll voters’ attitudes on the issue in the form of a nonbinding statewide referendum.

    Update: The first bill, SB 38, had been introduced to the Senate and referred to committee.

    WI Resident? Click here to email your elected officials to support this legislation.

    39 Responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/3/2017”

    1. Anonymous says:

      Only in Arkansas, Medical Marijuana will be legal ,, it will just be illegal to smoke it or eat it… I guess Senator Jason Rapert,, is trying to tell Medical Marijuana patients the only legal use for Marijuana is to shove it up our……..

      • Dain Bramage says:

        That apparently being so, then if I am a medical marijuana patient, on suppository, and if I cut a fart in public, in Arkansas, would that be considered a crime?

        Would that be considered “vaping” in public?

        Or is my question out of line?

    2. Mark Mitcham says:

      I like the way this page is organized for action. If you live in one of these states, please take advantage of these “action” tools.

      These constituent emails, across all of the states, will act as a steady drumbeat of support for legalization, and will let our representatives know that the cannabis revolution is real, and that they need to get on board.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          Thank you.

          This tells me, in part, that the effectiveness of my contacts with my representatives will vary, depending on a variety of factors. They may take me seriously, or they may not.

          I’ve been shocked at the arrogance of some of the return letters I’ve gotten in the past — they, too, have spelled it out pretty well for me, when my representative tells me to go fuck myself!

          But to my way of thinking, you can’t NOT SEND the letters, because, even though they might disregard your views, and even though they might still vote against you, at least they can’t say that their constituents fully support them! The many letters provide documentation to the contrary.

          When they receive lots of letters, it makes it harder to lie and say that their constituents are “One Hundred Percent behind them!”

          And when they lie, it exposes the fascism. That’s why I do it.

          And of course, there’s always the possibility that they will listen, and act accordingly!

    3. TheOracle says:

      Either of these two, HR 1227 and HR 975, stops the federal witch hunt on the cannabis community. HR 1227 removes it from the CSA schedule of illegal drugs altogether. This would have to lead to international cannabis prohibition being lifted. Who will put sanctions against the U.S. because it made the move on the cannachessboard? Nobody.

      Witch hunts have been in the news associated with Trump. Well, let me tell you President Trump the cannabis community has been the target of a witch hunt for decades, and now you know what it’s like to be the prey.

      Just pass your tax cuts in the structure that you make it cheaper for the business community to pay to keep the ACA–with tweaks that make it ever so slightly cheaper if not for all then for some. Campaigned on it. Then you are no longer useful to the larger business community and they should put up no resistance to your early exit out of the White House.

    4. TheOracle says:

      Ds & Rs, while you’re at it get rid of Sessions. You have the FISA warrant and the collected data. It’s not a Watergate. If you don’t get rid of Sessions soon the war hawks will have enough time for him to rewrite–twist–the laws and policies to pull some Alberto Gonzalez shit, like making something that was illegal–waterboarding, torture–apparently sound legal enough that people actually did it under W’s administration.

      Mr. Sessions may indeed be used to rewrite the laws making something that was illegal now legal, and he can do that for cannabis without a burden on his conscious that it is not the right thing to do. The Trump administration’s acknowledgment of the value of medical cannabis signals that there needs to be an overhaul at the federal level.

      Sessions needs to take care of making cannabis legal before he does anything for the war hawks. Get rid of Sessions before he can do any of the bidding of the war hawks. You got till April 2017 for him to be neutralized, and hope the protections get re-appropriated, another extension to keep the feds out.

      By then, if the evidence leads to Trump himself, special prosecutor, impeachment. I don’t care if Trump is controlling Putin and got him to help him get elected, like somehow Putin make a heap of money off it, or if Putin has something on Trump and swayed public opinion to help Trump get elected there definitely needs to be an investigation. The President of the United States absolutely CAN NOT be compromised or in a position to be blackmailed. Sessions may be telling the truth and just has a bad memory. Sessions could redeem himself by sinking his teeth into investigating this Trump-Russia stuff and greenlight federal legalization, you know, preparing Trump’s early exit and ending the witch hunt on cannabis.

      • TheOracle says:

        Above should read:…without a burden on his conscience…

        Anyway, you know that’s con + science, with emphasis on science, you know, facts, not shit you pull out of your asses, you prohibitionists.

      • Freedom&Liberty says:

        Time to wake up. Put aside the delusions and bitterness…everyone with their it was the Russians…that’s a old tool people used when hacking… make it look like Russia or China….This nonsense doesn’t unite our marijuana movement…or our nation. Don’t get distracted by bitter Democrat/Republican establishment. We have to unite no matter if your guy won or lost…Now we gotta win together unite yes with the President. Learn how we honestly can win more freedom…end marijuana prohibition.

        • TheOracle says:

          Great pep talk. Suppose someone voted for Trump, and now he’s turned on those in the cannabis community who voted for him. We shall see what the investigation turns up. If Trump is going to be a prohibitionist and there is a way to get rid of him, I’m all for it.

        • Negative Nancy says:

          No. Denied.
          We will not work with Trump. We will work against Trump.

        • Julian says:

          Nostroyev! You must be new to this blog! Tell me, Liberty;
          Your quote, “Everyone with their it was with the Russians” was syntactically priceless. I was truly floored.
          I agree with your message of unity. Curious question though; did you click on the green Act! Tab? It be forr Grreen Act Tab, yes? Because here on this blog we need to encourage eachother to contact our Congressman and change BAD LAW not just CHANGE BAD PRESIDENT. Would you not agree comrade?

        • Julian says:

          I have to remind myself that sarcasm is not so easily conveyed in writing, F&L. If my previous posts are ommitted I would not be surprised. (All I did was tell you to fuck off, Im sorry about that. In Russian. But the characters paste into question marks so I had to tell you to fuck off in English… its a dumpster fire under Trump isnt it?)
          Regardless, you make some good points about uniting Republicans and Democrats behind marijuana legalization. Unfortunately that was obscured behind a strange Russian syntax and lost-cause salute to unite behind Trump. Were uniting in bipartisan approach on the issue of marijuana reform alright, but because Trump is sadly running out of supporters to throw under the bus and keeps making disasterous executive orders against our cause were about to remind him that HE works for US.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree Freedom and Liberty is a Russian. They’re trolling sites all over the internet to support Trump.. Tom Clancy is spinning in his grave..

    5. TheOracle says:

      Follow the money and make sure cannabis money doesn’t go to people who will give it to terrorists and extremists who in turn will use it to convert us or coerce us to their way of living or hunt us out of existence.

      http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2017/03/how-donald-trump-could-weaken-isis-with-cannabis/

    6. Evening Bud says:

      Dear NORML editors,

      Thank you for the convenient links to contact our Reps/Senators. I signed both petitions pertaining to New Mexico.

    7. Nomad says:

      New York? Ultra liberal NY always seems to be lagging behind toward the idealism of legalization.

    8. B says:

      Tennessee has a second bill for vote SB 1119. Why we have 2 bills, one by dems and one by rep, I do not know.

    9. Julian says:

      @Justin; Great work on the Weekly Round Up! Standing ovation! Thats a LOT of work to pull together, organize and link in one week.

      To everyone: If 6 million people can visit ths website a year then we can for damn sure get more than 130k people per year to hit the green Act button and contact our state and federal legislators. Link it and sink it. The soul of our nation is at stake.

      To Texans:
      A bipartisan House version of SB269 to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Texas has just been introduced by Representative Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, titled HB 2107, and I am proud to report that my Representative Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs has co-sponsored the pending legislation!!!
      Even better, one of the original House advocates for medical marijuana, Representative Joe Moody, D-El Paso was recently appointed Chair of the House jurisprudence Committee, giving the House bill a fair chance at being heard out of committee, where the main bills still remain:
      The Senate version SB 269 needs our help to get out of committee:
      Senate bill 269 has reached the Senate Health Committee. Contact Senate Health Committee Chairman Sen. Shwertner here:

      http://action.mpp.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20841

      Senate Bill 170 to decriminalize marijuana in the State of Texas has also reached committee:

      http://action.mpp.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=20838

      Key points for Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Whitmire linked above:
      1). This will create jobs by keeping productive nonviolent Texans in the workforce.
      2). Allow law enforcement to focus on real crimes like rape and murder
      3). Dont forget to mention SB 380 to eliminate asset forfeitures without due process:

      http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/SB00380I.htm

    10. Julian says:

      Now on to the next Sessions of headlines…
      It’s SO important we subscribe and donate to professional investigative journalism. There arent many Libertarians left that make sense or support good policies but Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is doing his part. Lets do ours and subscribe.

      The third front page article in the Post shows the first class action lawsuit ever allowed against a private prison for 60,000 ICE detainees outside a “corrections” facility in Denver that were allegedly forced into slave labor:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/03/05/thousands-of-ice-detainees-claim-they-were-forced-into-labor-a-violation-of-anti-slavery-laws/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_pn-detainees-801am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.45e3fe9149ea

      Slave camps. Thats right. Conducted by the second largest private prison in the US, GEO group. The largest is CCA, both large long time contributors to AG Jeff Sessions.
      As the allegations surface, what we are talking about here are hard slave labor camps for profit, just as the south implemented private prisons to do after the Civil War and “emancipation” of slavery in the US.
      Sessions reversed policies from the Obama administration over the use of private prisons:
      https://www.google.com/amp/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58af529ce4b0a8a9b780669a/amp

      Before that GEO and CCA began to focus on illegal immigrants to fill prisons as states legalize marijuana and Obama reduced deplorable private prison use.

      Mexweed posted a link recently on Sessions ties to another evil nemesis of marijuana legalization and all of humanity, Phillip Morris and Big Tobacco. But with tobacco, consumers are making uninformed decisions to purchase lethal products that empower evil enterprise. With private prisons we are having our liberty and justice directly stolen by malignant corporations whose only purpose is to create hell on earth for profit using unjustifiable crimes. We have to ACT on the ACT tab NOW.

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