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Weekly Legislative Update 2/2/2018

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate February 2, 2018

    Welcome to the first NORML Legislative Roundup of 2018!

    First, I’d like to highlight a key development at the federal level pertaining to established medical marijuana businesses and consumers.

    The protections for lawful medical marijuana patients and businesses from the Department of Justice provided by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer budget amendment was temporarily extended through February 8th and we are working to ensure that it will be a part of any budget deal for the rest of the fiscal year. In the last week alone, NORML members sent thousands of messages to members of Congress and we plan to keep the pressure up. If you have not already, send a letter to your elected officials in support of extending these important protections.

    At the state level, NJ  Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order calling on state regulators to review the state’s eight-year-old medical cannabis access program, and a Virginia House bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law was unanimously approved by the House floor.

    Additionally, at the state level, several marijuana-related bills are already dead for this session. These include two Virginia bills to decriminalize marijuana possession, as well as four Mississippi bills- one to decriminalize possession, two related to medical marijuana, and the last to license and regulate adult use marijuana.

    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 together we will win,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    End Prohibition: 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 Federal 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 e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    New Mexico

    Democratic state Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino pre-filed legislation, SJR 4, to legalize, tax, and regulate adult use marijuana in New Mexico.

    Update: The Senate Rules Committee voted four to three to approve SJR 4 today. If approved by lawmakers, voters would then be asked whether they want the state to legalize marijuana on this year’s November ballot.

    NM resident? Click here to email your elected officials telling them it’s time to legalize marijuana

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HF 927 and SF 1320, to legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for those 21 and older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale.

    MN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, SB 1027, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

    If passed, SB 1027 would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense. Under current law, the possession of more than ten grams of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the decriminalization law

    Virginia

    Senator Siobhan S. Dunnavant (R-12) introduced SB 726 to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law. Delegate Benjamin Cline (R-24) has introduced companion bill, HB 1251.

    The measures would permit doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oils to any patient they believe would benefit. Under present law, only a neurologist may recommend cannabis oils, and only for patients with intractable epilepsy.

    Update: SB 726 has reported out of committee and is awaiting a floor vote. House Bill 1251 was approved by the House today with a vote of 98 to zero.

    VA resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to leave it up to the medical professionals

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, SF 280 and SF 432, to amend marijuana possession penalties for first-time offenders.

    Senate File 280 and SF 432 reduce criminal penalties for possession of 5 grams of marijuana or less from a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000, to a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and/or a $625 fine.

    Update: SF 432 was approved on a voice vote by the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits action on the Senate floor, and SF 280 has cleared a Republican-led subcommittee in the Senate.

    IA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reducing possession penalties for first time offenders

    Additional Actions to Take

    New York

    Legislation is pending in both chambers, A. 9016 and S. 7564 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the state’s medical marijuana program

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, HB 1893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: HB 1893 was heard by HHS yesterday in the House.

    HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana expansion

    Pennsylvania

    Democratic state Senator Anthony Williams has introduced Senate Resolution 258 to amend the Controlled Substances Act so that marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

    If passed, this resolution would urge Congress to take action to amend federal law so that states could regulate cannabis absent undue federal interference.

    Update: A state Senate committee has unanimously approved the resolution to urge Congress to reevaluate marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance and recognize marijuana’s medical purposes.

    PA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of descheduling marijuana from the CSA

    Arizona

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2144, to make Arizona a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ for licensed marijuana operators.

    With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recently rescinded federal guidance memos protecting state-licensed, marijuana-related activity, passage of this legislation is more crucial than ever.

    If passed, this bill would prevent the state from providing federal agents with the names, addresses and/or other related information pertaining to businesses that have been issued permits to grow, distribute and sell marijuana.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana protections

    Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

    25 responses to “Weekly Legislative Update 2/2/2018”

    1. Julian says:

      There is a civil war occuring within our own military over synthetic CBD and whole plant hemp, bringing new meaning to the popular app game Plants v. Zombies. But where’s the canna-app for continuing cannibis education?

      There are casualties; soldiers suffering from seizures that could be treated by whole plant cannabis are now hearing military authorities tell them hemp is “safe but illegal.”

      https://www.marijuanamoment.net/army-says-cbd-doesnt-seem-harmful-bans-soldiers-using-anyway/
      Worse, those given harmful and mislabeled synthetic CBD oils are suffering dangerous and adverse effects, causing 9 soldiers to recently be hospitalized.

      The incredible irony over the military’s ban on whole plant hemp is our military historically relied on hemp to win all of the wars we ever fought since the Revolution:

      http://www.hemped.org/single-post/History-of-Hemp

      It was war efforts like the Hemp for Victory campaign that made hemp profitable during WWII and heavily cultivated even after it had been deceptively banned under the racist Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937.

      Of course, today demand is surging for hemp for health products and medicine. But doctors are under siege from the archaic and lethal CSAct propped up by synthetic pharmaceuticals that cant profit from poisons if Americans figure out how different strains of cannabis work:

      https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/05/medical-marijuana-dispensaries-are-opening-will-shortage-doctors-keep-/

      Then there is Koch Industries, the fossil fuel predator dinosaur of timber and petroleum patents for everything from petroleum based stainmaster carpets to synthetic fertilizers made from natural gas at Koch refineries in Chorpus Christi, TX that lose value under a legal domestic hemp industry. But who really knows we are eating natural gas biproducts in our lettuce or ham and beef?

      (continued…)

      • Julian says:

        The most important part of the cannabis learning curve legally and medically (that I somehow managed to leave out) is that doctors, particularly in low THC programs like here in Texas, need to understand that some if not most patients suffering from epilepsy or a variety of other neurodegenerative diseases NEED more THC dosage in their whole plant strain.
        Synthesizing cannabinoids is bad for our health. And trying different strains of cannabis for different ailments is infinitely safer and more effective than experimenting with lethal prescription synthetics. We in the marijuana community already know this but medical schools are still prohibiting the science of the endocannabinoid system and the botanics of whole plant synergy. Thats why we need an app to create a public canniversity out of our NORML library. If we want to cure the patients, first we have to cure our doctors from synthetic propaganda.

    2. Julian says:

      And thats really all it comes down to: the learning curve. Who knows whats in our food and medicine unless we grow it ourselves? Why can’t our military grow hemp in Afghanistan instead of poppy? Or protect schools and hospitals fueled and built with hemp instead of blocking the Taliban while the poppy is harvested by our DOJ?

      Despite the civil hemp war we are in, the Green Age of enlightenment is dawning. Cannabis itself… both hemp and marijuana… reminds us that “organic” plants are… well… plants… not patently unhealthy, synthetic pharmaceuticals. Cannabis inspires us to buy a $40 battery powered drip irrigator on a timer and grow an herb garden.

      So let’s give our doctors the email to our Patient Outreach coordinators from our local NORML chapters. Let’s provide the time and space to place the endocannabinoid system and basic civics into our education systems.

      Because the future I see is school children growing hemp at a public school garden to harvest for their themselves and stock the cafeteria with homegrown food and the nurses office with home grown medicine.

      The future I see has our nation’s military defending the building schools and hospitals with hemp and marijuana, not poppy or corrupt double agents.

      How’s that for continuing education? Who can help us build a NORML app and build a free public canniversity based on small donations?

    3. Ken says:

      Federal: Do we know if any of the desired resolutions or bills are in the Senate’s bi-partisan product announced today (2/7/18)

      • Julian says:

        Not yet Ken. The Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendments will have to be negotiated in the House and Senate conference committee. The House Chair of the Rules Committee, Pete Sessions, R-TX has been busy blocking marijuana amendments from Polis-McClintock to Rohrabacher-Blumenauer. The Senate has always included the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment as a rider in its appropriations bill. Which means that it’s entirely up to who ever is on the conference committee to force the House along. I’ve been told by Congressional staffers that the conference committee would be made up of the ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. That would be:

        Committee on Ways and Means Members, 2017-2018
        Democratic members (16) Republican members (24)
        • Richard Neal (Massachusetts) Ranking Member • •Kevin Brady (Texas) Chairman
        • Sander Levin (Michigan)
        • Sam Johnson (Texas)
        • John Lewis (Georgia)
        • Devin Nunes (California)

        Democrats John Lewis and Richard Neal the only members that I know would vote yes:
        http://www.norml.org/congressional-scorecard

        The best we can do is click on the http://www.norml.org/act tab and contact our own representatives in our own voting districts. Then watch Kevin Brady and Pete Sessions get voted out of Congress this November, which is quite a real possibility.

        Even if the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment is allowed to expire, I believe it would only serve more as a catalyst for marijuana legalization.

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