Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/3/2017

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

    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,

    Priority Bills

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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. Freedom&Liberty says:

      Thank goodness normal is starting to post better. Almost there. So let’s continue to get away from childish troll behavior. Let’s realize that marijuana legalization is something all parties can agree on. Put aside bitterness. As we bring out common sense to end marijuana prohibition. So we have 28+ states and growing. We must end the bitterness towards President Trump, Clinton lost and had no desire to legalize and Obama failed too….and honestly the only possible pro cannabis was Sanders…and Trump so let’s learn how to unite and unite our country to accomplish the marijuana freedoms we wish..and yes President Trump will listen and help us to gain our desire.
      Let’s bring Common Sense to policy, law and to unite to push congress… so end the childish behaviors …Let’s bring Common Sense to our movement we must make it easier on AG Jeff Sessions by supporting H.R.975 -and the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017 both these bills must pass.
      Let’s unite and have pride in the USA. Let’s end bitterness and organize honestly Common Sense is our ally learn how so politicians and our President will listen.
      The Nixon lies The Nixon anti-marijuana no longer has a place in the USA.
      Help organize. Help states gain freedom and ultimately help Citizens gain freedom on the federal level.

      • Negative Nancy says:

        We will always work against Trump and Sessions, never with them.

      • Julian says:

        “We must end bitterness against President Trump…

        ????? ?????????? ??????…

        yes… our response to you my friend?

        ???? ??????

        • Julian says:

          Haha… good thing that was edited… because I told this Russian hack to fuck off in Russian… and that would have been offensive.

          • Julian says:

            (Sigh…) havnt I been posting on this website long enough to know how much NORML loves freedom of speech? I cant believe I really thought ya’ll would edit that. I’ll try better and edit myself but it aint easy these days. 🙂

      • Evening Bud says:


        You started to sound neutral on the subject until you retreated to the mantra that Hillary opposed legalization and Trump supported it.

        In fact, you’re using the same arguments that another poster did back just before the election. He was (and you undoubtedly are) very selective on the two candidates’ positions. He used old Hillary quotes to try to support his case that she was against legalization (conveniently leaving out her later positions), and he used the latest Donald quotes to try to prove Trump was pro-legalization (conveniently leaving out Donald’s more contentious quotes, and the dates thereof).

        If you want people to believe you, that you simply want unity in the movement, you’ll have to at least pretend to be more neutral on the subject. (I just have this feeling that you ragged Hillary endlessly, possibly using another moniker, but now that your guy is in, you want everyone to get along, to accept “our” president.

        It doesn’t work that way.

        I will give DJ Drumpf respect the day he earns it, not because you want us all to accept your guy. I have yet to hear ONE WORD from him about recreational legalization since he’s been in the WH. All I’ve heard is threats from Spicer.

        In fact, I’ll cut to the chase. Give me ONE QUOTE where Drumpf claimed he’s for recreational legalization. ONE.

    2. Freedom&Liberty says:

      Let’s unite and end the marijuana prohibition.

      • Negative Nancy says:

        You can abandon your evil master Trump and join us, if you like, but we will never join with Trump — that would be stupid. Instead, we will defeat Trump.

      • Julian says:

        On this we can agree… lets unite to end marijuana prohibition and click on the Act! Tab to contact our state and federal Congressman to accomplish jyst that! …Just stop asking Americans to unite under Trump, because he missed that opportunity back when he started his campaign blaming Mexico for a preconceived failed US drug policy just like Harry Anslinger did 3/4 of a century ago. If you cant figure that out, do us all a favor and stop the propaganda, cause its fooling no one here.

      • Four More Years says:

        Marijuana is not going to be legal at the Federal Level, not medical and not recreational until the next time we elect a Democrat President ( with the balls of Obama ), a margin in the House, and a filibuster proof Senate,, then they’ll have to deal with the Judges Trump/Sessions appoints over the next 4 years.. Let’s not Unite Behind the Administration that’s appointed the most anti-marijuana Attorney General he could find, has encouraged asset forfeiture in the most explicit terms, promised police more military equipment,
        promised profits for FOR PROFIT prisons.
        And as we speak rounding up entire families for forcible deportation.,, some of whom probably work at Trumps hotels,,,
        And that’s just his policy on Weed. On everything else I care about, the Planet, Making enough to feed myself, Health care,, Freedom,, Not being in league with Russia,
        Due Process,, A free Press,,, an equitable tax code, Draining the Swamp INTO the White House, Liberty,, Respect for men who were in the Hanoi Hilton, not Paris Hilton.
        Trump can Land Marine One in my front yard and drop off a bail of the best ganga he could swindle, tell him to take it back, I can’t be bought, not by the likes of him..

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ Freedom&Liberty,

        Bullshit. You are a Trump propagandist. Trump opposes drug legalization. We on this blog support drug legalization. This is why you are full of shit.

        Whether or not you personally support marijuana legalization is irrelevant. Your mindless support for Trump (who, despite your sack of foul lies, is an enemy to the drug legalization movement) takes precedence.

        You come to this NORML blog, demanding censorship, demanding our silence at Trump’s crimes against the country, against women, against blacks, against gays, against browns, yellows, and reds. You demand that we be silent about the Trump administration’s traitorous deals with Russia. You demand that we be silent about his crimes against the environment. You demand that we be silent about Trump and Sessions’ WAR AGAINST MARIJUANA CONSUMERS, and anyone who supports American Freedom and American Liberty!

        Hell no.
        Fuck Trump.
        Fuck Sessions.
        And finally, Mister, fuck you.

    3. Anonymous says:

      LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Senate has rejected a proposal to ban smoking medical marijuana in the state.
      Senators voted 15-10 on Monday against the bill co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Jason Rapert

    4. Joel: the other Joel says:

      There is nothing evil about pot. There are people who believe pot is evil so that they can control and take away your liberty. They also benefit from it by auctioning your property and reap the money from it.

      Make marijuana legal and have the increase income the good way. Make America Greater!

    5. Matt says:

      wake up, Tennesee! And New Mexico!

      • Evening Bud says:


        I think we’re trying to wake up here in New Mexico. Course we still have this prohibitionist teabagger as Governor, Susanna Martinez, tho her reign is over in ’18. But there are rumblings here, possibly for decriminalization and even legalization; and MMJ may become stronger too.

    6. Julian says:

      Texas Update:

      HB81 has a date on Criminal Jurisprudence Committee!

      Its Monday, March 13th.


      Starting at 8am if you happen to be in the state capitol in Austin you can get within the capitol steps wifi in order to register your support of HB81.

      If you have professional and/or personal testimony to provide to the committee we can submit a testimonial in several ways: written and submitted via email to the committee clerk (Rachel.Wetsel@house.texas.gov),
      written/printed (12 copies), and submitted in person on the day of the hearing, or verbally to the committee (two minutes).
      One of the Co-sponsors of the bill is the chairman of the committee! Representative Joe Moody, D-El Paso will make sure we are given adequate voice on this issue.
      The other Co-sponsor is my Representative Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs who is showing some desperately needed leadership on this issue for a Republican dominated legislature. Ive been lobbying his office for years and Im here to say citizen lobbying WORKS. With that said, Isaac is taking his own brand and conservative angle that decrim will keep Texans Employed so expect him to continue to a tough stance to protect marijuana consumers in the workplace.
      Remember Texans, we do NOT have to choose a party-line ballot in 2018; we can research and pick the legislators that make most sense for marijuana policy reform… Ds or Rs and use that as leverage! Research, citizen lobby and vote! Dress professionally and let them know they represent our districts.
      Now click the Act tab and lets legalize marijuana!

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