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Weekly Legislative Update 4/29/17

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director April 29, 2017

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

    At the federal level, it is important to highlight two key developments pertaining to established marijuana consumers, businesses, and regulatory structures.

    First, the protections for lawful medical marijuana patients and businesses from the Department of Justice provided by the Rohrabacher-Farr budget amendment was temporarily expended through May 5th and we are working of ensuring that that will be a part of any budget deal for the rest of the fiscal year. In the last week alone, NORML members sent over 24,000 messages to members of Congress and we plan to keep the pressure up. If you have not already, click here to send a message to your elected lawmakers. 

    Second, on April 27, Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), to provide access to banking services to end the practice of marijuana businesses being forced to pay their employees, rent, taxes, and other associated costs in cash. At the end of the day, no industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions.

    Following 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 Alerts

    Federal
    Protect Patients: Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    On April 28, Congress re-authorized the amendment as part of a one week spending package, House Resolution 99. This bill extends federal funding through May 5 2017, at which time the measure — and the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment — will expire.

    Click here to message your members of Congress to protect state medical marijuana and their patients. 

    Banking Access: A bipartisan coalition of more than two dozen co-sponsors have introduced legislation in Congress, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 2215, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

    If enacted, banks would no longer face the threat of federal sanction for working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.

    Click here to send a message to your member of Congress to support access to banking for state-compliant marijuana businesses.

    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) earlier this year formed the 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 created Congressional Cannabis Caucus

    New Hampshire
    After nearly a decade of frustration, 2017 was looking like it would finally be the year that New Hampshire voters successfully see marijuana possession decriminalized. Yet, stagnation has descended upon the state Senate and now State Sen. Bradley is pushing for an amendment that would remove the decriminalization paragraph (and thus the whole point) from the bill.

    NH resident?  Click here to send a message to your state Senators and tell them to quit stalling and decriminalize marijuana now. 

    Florida

    On November 8th, more than 71 percent of Florida voters decided in favor of the constitutional amendment, Amendment 2, to allow for the licensed production, use, and dispensing of medical cannabis to patients with a doctor’s recommendation. However, state politicians are contemplating legislative efforts to amend the law in a manner that violates both its spirit and intent.

    Update: Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee approved SB 406 on April 25.

    FL resident? Send a message to your lawmakers telling them not to guy Amendment 2. 

    Pennsylvania 
    Under current law, possession of up to 30 grams is third-degree misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine and a driver’s license suspension if convicted by a plea or trial.

    House Bill 928 amends state law so that first and second marijuana possession offenses (up to 30 grams) are reduced from misdemeanor offenses to a summary offense, punishable by a fine only, and had a hearing earlier this week.

    PA resident? Click here to send a message to your state lawmakers telling them it is time to decriminalize marijuana. 

    Texas
    HB 2107, which authorizes the possession, production, and distribution of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products to qualified patients. Patients would receive cannabis through a network of private dispensaries and operators, similar to pharmacies, regulated under “strict guidelines” by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    A hearing is scheduled for this week on May 2.

    TX resident? Click here to send a message to your lawmakers now to support patients and medical marijuana in Texas. 

    Other Actions to Take

    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.”

    CA resident? Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of this bill.

    Colorado
    Legislation is pending to prohibit public employees from assisting federal agents in “arresting a Colorado citizen for committing an act that is a Colorado constitutional right.” Such acts would include the production and sale of marijuana.

    Update: Members of the House voted 56 to 7 on April 26 in favor of the bill. It now awaits action from the Senate.

    CO resident? Click here to send a message to your state Senator to support this effort.

    Also, Legislation to make patients with post-traumatic stress eligible for medical cannabis therapy awaits action from Gov. John Hickenlooper.

    Members of the House approved the bill by a vote of 39 to 25. Senate members approved it by a vote of 32 to 2.

    CO resident? Click here to send a message to the Governor is support of this effort.

    Iowa
    In a last minute deal by Iowa state lawmakers, both chambers passed an amended version of HF 524 on the final day of the legislative session. The measure expands the state’s existing CBD exemption law, which was set to sunset this year, and expands it. Specifically, HF 524 permits patients with various qualifying conditions, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS and HIV, Crohn’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, to possess CBD with up to 3% THC. The bill also seeks to establish regulations for the manufacturing and dispensing of CBD products within the state. The bill now goes to Governor Terry Branstad (R) for his signature or veto.

    IA resident? Click here to send a message to Gov. Branstad to sign HF 524. 

    Vermont
    Legislation is pending, H.170, to eliminate civil and criminal penalties specific to the possession and cultivation of personal use quantities of marijuana by adults, yet by a vote of 21-9, senators amended H 170 to include a full-scale system of taxed and regulated cannabis sales.

    VT resident in favor of legalization? Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort. 

    Additionally, legislation is pending, SB 16, to expand the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy.

    If approved, SB 16 would permit physicians for the first time to recommend medical marijuana to patients with post-traumatic stress, Crohn’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. The measure also allows physicians to immediately issue medical cannabis recommendations for patients suffering from cancer, a terminal illness, or under hospice care supervision.

    Update: Members of the House Human Services Committee voted 10-0 in favor of SB 16 on April 27.

    VT resident? Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort. 

    Washington
    House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, SB 5131, to expand medical cannabis access. The measure now awaits action from Gov. Jay Inslee.

    Senate Bill 5131 permits qualified patients and/or caregivers ages 18 and older to purchase immature cannabis plants, seeds, or clones from state-licensed dispensaries. Marijuana cooperatives may also purchase seeds from a licensed marijuana producer.

    WA resident? Click here to send a message to Gov. Inslee in support of SB 5131.

     

     

    12 Responses to “Weekly Legislative Update 4/29/17”

    1. Edward says:

      1937 the government ban marijuana on racism acts.about blacks,Mexicans and American Indians.because the leaf was healthy and special interest groups and medical pharmacies losing millions.in 2017.we the people found out our government.lied, brain wash and criminalize non violent people for personal profit. It time to legalize marijuana same as alcohol and let federal,state and local governments can make billions in tax revenue open around 60% of prisons for violate criminal not pit smokers.and medical cost will drop a lot,because medical pharmacies won’t be making money off American people pain and suffering

    2. Julian says:

      Thank you Justin, the whole NORML staff and to all our members and supporters that contacted their legislators to keep the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment rolling. 24,000 letters in one week is no tiny accomplishment. Lets keep it up!

      Texans: For those of us who can make it to the Capitol in Austin Tuesday to support HB2107 through committee its worth the walk all the way to the back of the capitol to the House kiosks. Gotta go downstairs, pass the rotunda, pass the Capitol Cafe down the hall to the left behind the House Committee conference rooms. The touchscreen House kiosks are against the wall. Or just get within wifi range outside and click here and follow the instructions:
      https://www.mytxlegis.legis.state.tx.us/hwrspublic/about.aspx

    3. Mark Mitcham says:

      Thank you, NORML, for the chance to participate!

    4. Matt says:

      Way to go, Colorado, Washington, California. Great work!

      Shame to hear about New Hampshire. WHY are our New England States taking SO LONG to pass COMMON SENSE legalization measures? You folks should be in the leadership of the movement!

      • Matt says:

        and, as I have said before…we need MORE STATES….not only to expand the movement, but to make it harder and HARDER, for the DEA and AG Sessions.

    5. Julian says:

      http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/331265-trump-invites-duterte-to-the-white-house#

      Trump congratulates President Duterte of the Phillipines for indiscriminate killing of thousands of alleged “drug addicts” (anyone who is perceived to oppose Duterte) and Duterte congratulates Trump on his war on drugs, telling his own people “(Trump) will really kill you.”

      Trump congratulated Erdowan of Turkey after effectively ending Democracy there.

      Trump said “America isnt better” while praising Putin after a reporter said Putin is “a murderer.”

      Trump appointed prohibitionists Sessions to USAG, Tom Marino to Drug Czar, and Chris Christi on a special Presidential Commission to fight opiate addiction.

      With his appointment to the FDA, Trump gave the FDA to Big Pharma.

      Our only hope to reform marijuana law is to put marijuana reforming Progressive Democrats into federal Congress.

      https://electjon.com

      https://robquist.org

      Continue to contact Congress to extend the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment:

      http://act.norml.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19415

      Remember, we may not be able to stop Trump from praising extraducial killings or patting other dictators in the back, but at least we can spell “Rohrabacher!”

      • Julian says:

        Correction: “extrajudicial.”

        And on a more ridiculous note: Disney officially bans any marijuana substance… even CBD tinctures for epileptic children… from their parks:

        https://www.marijuana.com/news/2017/04/disney-world-officially-bans-marijuana/

        Well that officially bans my family from ever going back THERE again. Not because any of my young kids have epilepsy, (although I have an older nephew who consumes marijuana to control his seizures), but who in their right mind could tolerate waiting in the scorching Florida heat for the Dumbo line without being completely stoned off your @$$?
        Thank God we had to get reissued our tickets and we accidentally found the only alcohol they serve at Disney Springs. Cool bar with a neon fishtank and draft beer… people are vaporizing in THAT motherfucker just to recover from the buyer’s remorse and their hopped up kids. I saw one mother sitting by herself, staring off into oblivion, no idea where her kids were, looking suicidally depressed and (lol… heres the funny part…) …there are these moaning, lifelike robotic dinosaurs spread throughout the Disney dinosaur-themed restaurant. And this poor woman who is staring into the infinity of her own demise happens to be sitting next to a pachycephalasaur thats bent over with the speaker in its mouth groaning out this looooong mooooan RIGHT into her ear!! At this point Im kicking myself at the bar trying not to piss and failing miserably to contain my laughter. As we leave the bar and I compose myself in front of my children, and I prepare for the onslaught of waiting in lines my day has set before me I think to myself “It should be a crime to keep marijuana off of Disney properties.”
        And the punishment will be BOYCOTT.

        • Julian says:

          Ironically, everyone is smoking at the dock of this long @$$ wait for the ferry boat. See Disney? Stoners will fill up all the rides no child could possibly wait for!

    6. Tim ONeal says:

      Isn’t it strange that the government would push in all other arenas to consume to the limit, but have a strict policy regarding that which could be consumed with less risks across the board?

    7. Jamal says:

      Emails stored on external servers are not secure unless encrypted at source. Binfer bypasses email storage servers. This is the best way to send secure email. http://www.binfer.com.

      • Julian says:

        Thank you Jamal. Theres also a secure website at http://www.luxsci.com

        But honestly the DOJ has bigger fish to fry than search anything posted on this website. And the NSA doesnt have the manpower either, since most of their “employees” are ghosted for embezzlement anyway.
        Most data mining is from corporations that want to sell us $hit we dont need. What we do need to watch out for are scams from our stolen emails. For example, your bank should operate only within your app, not ask you for your password via email. The IRS will always write an official letter in the mail. They never ask for money from email much less phone unless you initiated the contact that way through their official website.
        We should feel safe emailing our Representatives to reform marijuana policy. They work for US remember.
        If you care about your google search history for employment then dont use your last name when posting here. Otherwise no one is going to gustapo your house for saying that Trump takes finasteride which means he has a little dick. Your welcome.

    8. Me says:

      Oh Florida how you love to go against the will of 71% of voters for Amendment 2 with your laughable attempts at implementating the amendment because you are too worried about appeasing Mel Sembler and big pharma.

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