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Weekly Legislative Update 5/27/17

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director May 27, 2017

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

    Republican Gov. Phil Scott rejected legislation earlier this week, Senate Bill 22, which sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult use and possession of marijuana. The Governor said that he did not support the legislation as written, but remains open to working with lawmakers over the summer on ways to amend the state’s cannabis policies.

    In Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan has apparently chosen to not take action on legislation, House Bill 379 / Senate Bill 949 to permit those who received a criminal marijuana possession conviction prior to October 1, 2014, to seek expungement of their records, meaning the bills will go into effect.

    Earlier this week, we sent out an update to our members pertaining the to status of cosponsorship to federal legislation. Click here to view it and take action. 

    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
    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 Congressional Cannabis Caucus

    Colorado
    SB 192, to protect the state’s adult use marijuana industry in case of a potential federal crackdown, would permit adult use growers and sellers to instantly reclassify their recreational marijuana inventory as medical marijuana “based on a business need due to a change in local, state, or federal law or enforcement policy.” In recent weeks, officials from the Trump administration have indicated that they may consider taking action against recreational marijuana providers, but that they will not likely move against state-licensed medical marijuana providers.

    Update: S. 192 passed the Senate on May 9 and was transmitted to Governor Hickenlooper on May 18. The bill now awaits his signature or veto.

    CO resident? Click here to send a message to the Governor urging his signature. 

    New Hampshire
    Legislation is pending in New Hampshire, HB 215, to establish a commission to study the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.

    Police in New Hampshire arrest some 2,900 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses. The continued criminalization of adult marijuana use is out-of-step with the views of New Hampshire adults, 62 percent of whom now endorse legalizing and regulating cannabis, according to a 2016 WMUR Granite State Poll.

    Update: The bill received a favorable Senate committee report on May 25.

    NH resident? Click here to send a message to your state Senator to support the bill. 

    Minnesota
    HF 2714, to amend the Minnesota Constitution to regulate the adult use, cultivation, production, and retail sale of marijuana was introduced May 20.

    Earlier in the year, Deputy Minority Leader, State Rep. Jon Applebaum introduced additional legislation, HF 927, to permit the adult use, cultivation, production, and retail sale of marijuana has been introduced in the Minnesota House. Rep Applebaum said in support of his House bill, “The world is changing, and Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana. Other states’ successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, have validated the need for a statewide conversation on legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana.”

    MN resident? Click here to send your lawmakers a message in support of these efforts.

    Texas
    House Concurrent Resolution (HRC) 149 – Legislation proposed by Texas House Representative Eddie Lucio, III requests that the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives create a joint interim committee to study the feasibility of medical cannabis in Texas. While an HRC is not required to hold an interim committee study, passing this Concurrent Resolution will ensure that the study takes place.

    TX resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of HRC 149. 

     

    7 Responses to “Weekly Legislative Update 5/27/17”

    1. Julian says:

      Watching the Texas legislature… specifically lieutenant governor Dan Patrick… prioritize bathroom bills while marijuana bills dont make it to a floor vote make “studies” seem like a discouraging settlement, I know. But HRC 149 is important and deserves our attention for several reasons;

      1). HRC 149 forces Liuetenant Governor Dan Patrick and every Senator hiding behind undisclosed “conflicting evidence” to accept the medical efficacy of marijuana as Senator Menendez opens the books to PubMed.

      2). A Concurrent Resolution is not dependent on the ridiculously short biennial legislative session in Texas that notoriously kills bills by flooding the precious debate time with bull$#!+. HRC149 can be introduced anytime, planting the seed for an early marijana floor debate during the 2019 session.

      3). The House majority of 77 members that cosigned onto HB2169, Texas’ mmj bill, knew that the bill had little chance of making it to the floor for a vote. On the one hand this was a heart warming reaction to the emotional and powerful hearing that passed the bill out of committee. On the other hand, House members could risk their Big Pharma and private prison donations and their careers by cosigning as their doners knew the bill wouldnt pass, while appearing to support a mmj bill to their constituents. HCR 149 ups the annie.

      4). Without the governors hostile interference, we can get the Senate to vote on their concurrence with the House on their support or interference with mmj… before 2018 elections.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the updates on Texas. Sounds like repressive politics in the Lone Star state.

        Hope you don’t mind, but after Susanna Martinez’ tenure as repressive governor of NM, we’re gonna try to send her back, lol.

        • Julian says:

          Governor Martinez can go get lost in the desert without any water or a joint for all I care.

          Governor Abbott actually called for a special session on our tax dollars today. The Governor gets to choose what bills get to be submitted. So they must be really important bills, right? Like to save lives? Like legalizing medical marijuana?
          NOPE! It’s more important to spend our tax dollars worrying about where a transgender student is going to the bathroom, y’know, so Google, Facebook and the NBA can stop investing in Texas?
          Our legislature likes adding so much bull$#!+ to the relatively short session in order to “weed” out good bills they couldn’t even keep our medical system financed …which was Abbott’s excuse for calling for a special session in July. Sure sounds like a ripe opportunity for a protest amendment to our medical marijuana bill… I’ll be calling Representative Isaac’s office tomorrow on that one.
          And adding school vouchers to privatize public education? The GOP should be terrified of Texas Congressional elections in 2018. Redistricting will be in court next month to determine how electoral maps will be redrawn to end discrimination of voting rights of Democratic minorities in Texas. That will give the edge for Democratic candidate and weed legalizer Beto Orourke to take the Senate and Lose Ted Cruz.

          Hey that sounds good…

          LOSE TED CRUZ!!!
          Orourke makes Congress WORK!

          • Evening Bud says:

            Julian, that “anonymous” comment was of course mine; I obviously failed to type in my moniker after posting.

            Regarding Abbott, once again we see a “small-government” conservative displaying his hypocritical side. They’re always for less government–except of course when they’re not.

    2. Matt says:

      From the section of this article on Colorado….so…the Trump administration indicates they ARE considering, at the very least, taking action on recreational use? I just have one question……

      Why? Just,

      why?

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        At a guess, I would suspect forfeiture is the motive, and legal dispensaries represent the lowest hanging fruit.

    3. Julian says:

      More good news in small doses for poor Texans with fines to pay (including those with marijuana posession):

      https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/28/bill-end-jail-time-those-too-poor-pay-fines-heads-texas-governor/?utm_source=Texas+Tribune+Master&utm_campaign=f8fadd24d8-trib-newsletters-the-brief&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d9a68d8efc-f8fadd24d8-101235045&mc_cid=f8fadd24d8&mc_eid=b54ed21e31

      Last week a bill passed that stops requiring Texans to disclose non-felony criminal history to employment applications.
      Now Governor Abbott will review Senate Bill 1913 by Judith Zaffrini, D-Laredo, which will give Texas judges discretion to review ability to pay and the amount of a fine for petty crimes.
      Apparently we can chip away at decriminalization at the state level if we dont include the word “marijuana” in a bill. (Either that or make Houston DA Kim Ogg our next Lt. Governor)
      It remains to be seen what attention the governor will give this bill while he is under pressure from lawmakers to go into a Special Session after the House and Senate couldnt even agree on funding the State Medical Board which is the only state agency responsible for doctor accountibility. (Except for DPS which monitors a doctors compliance with the states failed marijuana Compassionate Use Progam; figure that one out).
      The Governor has the discretion to what bills are set for the Sunset Session. So if he throws in the bathroom bill, cant blame the House for killing good bills (like mmj) by focusing on ridiculous bull$hit like building an extra transgender bathroom in our stadiums at tax payers expense so the NBA can take venues elsewhere.
      Its bad-billionaire anarchy. Sorry, this was supposed to be a good-news post. Oh yeah, The city of Round Rock is opting in the cite-and-release program for marijuana like Dallas did. There, thats uplifting isnt it? (Yay… ) :-(

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