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Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/9/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate February 9, 2018

    Welcome to this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    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 March 23rd 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, New Jersey lawmakers are set to begin holding hearings on marijuana legalization next month, with the first one scheduled for March 5th, and activists in Maryland lobbied state lawmakers in the capital to support legislation that would put legalization on this year’s November ballot.

    Additionally, at the state level, an Indiana medical marijuana bill is dead for this session.

    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.

    Your highness,
    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

    West Virginia

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 3035, to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

    The bill states that  “In the interest of allowing law-enforcement to focus on violent and property crimes, generating revenue for education and other public purposes, and individual freedom, the Legislature of the State of West Virginia finds that the use of marijuana should be legal for a person twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.”

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

    New Jersey

    Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 1557 to legalize adult use marijuana possession and to provide for record expungement for certain past marijuana offenses.

    The bill would legalize marijuana by removing all criminal liability associated with marijuana from the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. With respect to criminal or disorderly persons offense convictions pre-dating marijuana legalization that relate to marijuana possession, use or being under the influence of marijuana, or failure to make lawful disposition of marijuana, these convictions would be expunged in an expedited process.

    Unlike Assembly Bill 1348 and Senate Bill 830, this measure does not establish a regulated commercial market governing the production and retail sale of marijuana.

     

    New Hampshire

    The New Hampshire Legislature is considering HB 656, a bill which would legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years or older.

    The bill also allows the cultivation, possession, and use of hemp, and calls for retail sales and generation of state revenues through taxation, as well as authorizes the licensing of marijuana wholesale, retail, cultivation, and testing facilities.

    Update: a public hearing is happening on 2/13 at 10:00AM in Legislative Office Building 210-211.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalizing marijuana

    Nebraska

    Senator Wishart has introduced a constitutional amendment, LR293CA, to put this issue of medical marijuana legalization to a direct vote on this year’s November ballot.

    Update: LR293CA was heard by the Judiciary Committee on 2/8/18.

    NE resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters decide

    Arizona

    Representative Mark Cardenas (D) has introduced legislation, House Bill 2014, to decriminalize marijuana possession offenses.

    House Bill 2014 reclassifies minor marijuana possession offenses from a felony to a civil offense, punishable by a maximum $100 fine only — no arrest, no criminal prosecution, and no criminal record.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of decriminalization

    Tennessee

    Senator Sara Kyle and Representative Larry Miller have introduced legislation SB 2320 and HB 2391, seeking to place a ballot initiative before voters with regard to the legalization of medical marijuana.

    If passed, these bills would place the following advisory question on the November 2018 ballot:

    Should the Tennessee legislature approve the use of medical marijuana?

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of a ballot question

    Alabama

    Republican State Senator Dick Brewbaker has introduced Senate Bill 251, which seeks to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. By contrast, the measure also enhances penalties for offenses involving the possession of marijuana over one ounce.

    Senate Bill 251 reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,000 fine, to a non-criminal violation and punishable by a fine of no more than $250 — no arrest and no criminal record.

    However, provisions in the bill also reclassify offenses involving quantities of marijuana above one ounce as felonies.

    AL resident? Click here to email your elected officials  and urge them to amend SB 251 in a manner that benefits all marijuana possession offenders

    South Carolina

    Legislation is pending, H 3521: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions.

    If passed, the bill would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    SC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

    Idaho

    Legislation is pending to provide “for the lawful use and possession of Cannabidiol Oil (CBD), if prescribed by a (licensed) practitioner.”

    Similar legislation seeking to provide qualified patients with CBD access was vetoed by Gov. Otter in 2015.

    Update: The bill, RS25862, was approved for consideration by the Idaho House Health & Welfare Committee.

    ID resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD access

    Additional Actions to Take

    Vermont

    Legislation is pending, H.865, to permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expungement.

    If passed, H.865 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law.

    VT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expunging past marijuana convictions

     California

    Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) has introduced legislation, AB 2069, to strengthen employment rights for medical cannabis patients.

    The bill would explicitly bar employers from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to testing positive for medical marijuana use on a workplace drug test.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of employment rights for patients

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program.

    Federal law explicitly authorizes states to engage in the state-authorized cultivation of hemp for research purposes. Over two dozen states have enacted legislation permitting licensed hemp cultivation in a manner that is compliant with federal law.

    KS resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp research

    Illinois

    Legislation is pending, SB 336, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy as an alternative to opioid treatment.

    Update: SB 336 passed the Senate Executive Committee on February 7 by a vote of 16-1.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to put opioid dependence on the list of qualifying conditions

    Alaska

    Legislation is pending, HB 300, to make Alaska a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ for licensed marijuana operators, prohibiting “the expenditure of state or municipal assets to enforce federal marijuana laws.”

    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.

    AK resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to make Alaska a sanctuary state

    Hawaii

    Democratic State Representative John Mizuno has introduced legislation, HB 2740, to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii.

    Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status.

    HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reciprocity.

    Utah

    Republican Brad Draw has introduced legislation, HB 197, “to ensure the cultivation and processing of cannabis in the state for academic or medical research purposes.”

    If passed, this bill mandates the Department of Agriculture to engage in the cultivation, processing, and distribution of marijuana for the purposes of engaging in academic or medical research.

    UT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana research

    Check back next week for more legislative updates!

    45 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/9/18”

    1. Matt says:

      Great to hear, esp. in Alaska, California, Vermont, New Hampshire, but others. Business is booming, and the future is knocking.

    2. TheOracle says:

      Instead of these short-term measures, simply de-schedule cannabis at the federal level.

      http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/02/07/senate-will-consider-legalizing-marijuana-year-says-high-ranking-republican

      Join the year 2018, and come up with an accurate test that detects impairment at the time of the test or stop testing, you prohibitionist profiterring assholes.

      https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/sessions-advisor-ramping-up-drug-war-profiting-from-drug-tests

      If cannabis users had a place to partake of the sacred herb like Amsterdam-style coffeeshops, you wouldn’t have nearly the stoned driving, and your results of testing would be more accurate instead of a survey or relying on flawed testing that doesn’t show impairment at the time of the test.

      The tragedy with Peter Tosh’s son never would have happened if cannabis were legal.

      http://merryjane.com/culture/peter-tosh-s-son-suffered-a-brain-injury-in-jail-for-a-pot-bust-now-his-family-wants-justice

      http://merryjane.com/culture/lena-waithe-snoop-dogg-ggn-full-episode

      Separate the market of soft drugs such as weed, hash and cannabis products from hard drugs.
      https://www.thecannabist.co/2018/02/09/teen-marijuana-use-parents-cannabis-education/98607/

      • Julian says:

        What happened to Jawara Tosh is a shame for American drug policy and a tragedy for Jamaica. 1 month into serving a marijuana possession charge and he is beaten into a coma by a prison inmate. Another non-violent victim of a violent drug war. He has a beautiful family.

        I’m glad to hear the family is holding a memorial, concert and conference in DC in April with Cypress Hill. The family should work with Senator Booker to pass the marijuana Justice Act.

        “Legalize it” by the late Peter Tosh remains part of the NORML anthem like Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up.” It has moved many marijuana marches and rallies across this nation and inspired us to action and participation in the legislative process. Let what happened to Jawara Tosh act like a catalyst for New Jersey to become the first state to legislatively enact a state legal marijuana market, so this injustice may never happen again.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Hi Oracle,
        Your last link to The Cannabist leads to an article by David Frese, of The Kansas City Star, which is both amusing and sad.

        David Frese sounds like a victim of reefer madness, and a fish out of water. Even though he spouts drug war bullshit, I feel more pity than rage in this case.

        People who were young adults in the Seventies and Eighties were taught that the single most important decision you can make in your life — from career, to health, to freedom, to family and kids — is the decision to “say No” to marijuana.

        Now we know it’s legal, safe, and good for you.

        Those who bought into the D.A.R.E. propaganda must be bewildered these days. They just can’t let go of the notion that marijuana is a boogy-man.

        Reefer Madness tactics:

        There is the axiomatic framing: Assume marijuana is bad for your health.

        There are the false equivalencies: equating the health effects of cannabis with those of other drugs, like alcohol and tobacco.

        There’s the hypocrisy: do as I say, not as I do.

        There’s the “potency” paper-tiger argument: “not your parents’ marijuana.”

        There’s the ever-present threat of violence: “I could turn you in to the cops, you know, and prison is a dangerous place for a pretty boy like you.”

        The threat of financial failure: “Nobody will hire you!”

        It can’t be easy for a D.A.R.E. graduate these days! I feel sorry for them. They have been so badly deceived.

        Like the last adherent to an extinct religion, he finds that nobody cares anymore. That can’t be fun.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          I feel a brief moment of compassion for the victims of reefer madness propaganda, despite the hell they have put me through; for indeed, they are victims themselves.

          The thought occurs to me: many of them must have sincerely thought they were fighting for something good and just and true.

          Then, like Neo in The Matrix, they become aware of the truth. What’s the first thing he does, in that movie scene? He drops to his knees, and pukes his guts out.

          I don’t hate anyone for being tricked. Hell, I was tricked, too; and I was slow to catch on. Man, was I pissed off when I finally did!

          DARE victims, when you’re done puking, clean up, rest a moment, then let’s work together to end marijuana prohibition.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Dain,

          I must’ve graduated H.S. before the D.A.R.E. program came out; but my brother was a teacher’s aid back in the ’90s, and he told me about an incident at his school, when a D.A.R.E. person spoke at an assembly in the gym. After that person’s speech about the hazards of pot smoking, the school’s principal asked the students, “So what do we say to drugs?”

          And in unison, according to my brother, the students yelled, “Just say YES.”

          Which, of course, left the principal PO’d.

          So, it appears that even the kids (this was a middle school) knew bullshit when they heard it.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Dain,

          That mentality–“you won’t get a job, etc” was the mindset of many people, especially older and conservative people back in the ’70s. I recall arguing with my mom about the issue in the early ’70s, and when she couldn’t win the argument with logic, she invariably retreated to, “Well, it’s illegal.” (She was a radio operator at the cop shop back then.)

          So even then, their arguments were easily refutable. (I’m happy to report that my mom, now in her late eighties, has evolved on the subject, and now believes we should legalize! Of course, it probably helps that she’s a liberal Democrat.)

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Evening Bud,
            Yes, that is exactly the kind of cognitive dissonance that eventually drove me nuts! That’s why I sometimes go by the handle “Dain Bramage.”

            And also because of a bong I saw many years ago, with multiple chambers and tubes, called “Dain Bramage.” At a place and time when even paraphernalia was illegal. I was impressed.

            But mainly the cognitive dissonance.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              The snapping point for me, I think, as a young man, was seeing images of law enforcement, with assault weapons and Kevlar vests, dropping down ropes from helicopters in order to small patch of wild hemp. And it wasn’t performance art, or parody. They were deadly serious.

              And while, of course, much greater drug war injustices have occurred, there was something so absurd, and just so sick, about that violent assault on a flower patch, that, as I watched, a fuse blew somewhere in my head, and I never entirely recovered from that.

            • Evening Bud says:

              We live in a police state here in the good ol’ USA. We’re not content with exporting our violence to other countries, but routinely unleash it on our own citizens, too.

    3. Dain Bramage says:

      Trump is a drug war reformer? Fuck no, he’s the worst of the worst. From NPR’s All Things Considered:

      “Trump spent just over a minute of his 80-minute State of the Union address talking about opioids. In a speech this week in Cincinnati, he had a few more comments. The opioid epidemic, he said, “has never been worse. People form blue ribbon committees. They do everything they can. And frankly, I have a different take on it. My take is you have to get really, really tough, really mean with the drug pushers and the drug dealers.”

      • Dain Bramage says:

        But we have this modern reefer madness to look forward to, from Miss “Alternative Facts”:

        “The White House is preparing to act on one of the recommendations of its opioid commission—that it launch a campaign to educate the public, especially young people, on the dangers of opioids. The campaign is being developed not by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but by a team in the White House led by Kellyanne Conway.”

        Oh, great.

        Trump supporters, you suck so bad, words fail me.

        You are all just racist White Trash. You stand for no other principle. Go rot.

    4. Norma Sapp says:

      Hey! You forgot Oklahoma passed a Hemp Bill out of committee on February 8th! Big deal for us!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ Norma Sapp,
        I am sure I’m not the only one on this blog who loves to hear about legalization progress in places like OK, or GA… places you might not expect to see it. We’re not done until you’re free, too!

        I emphasize the “United” in USA. One people, one law!

        Thank you for speaking up.

    5. Julian says:

      WOW.

      Look at all the Republican strongholds states of prohibition on the list!

      Alaska, a red state, a “sanctuary” state for marijuana?

      Kansas… the only state left with NO marijuana legislation, and if anything a safe haven for anti-hemp Koch Industry policies, is trying to legalize hemp research? I’ll admit, I’m looking at the law skeptically, but this is almost the equivalent of Ford announcing they’re going to rebuild the hemp car and Republicans are going to pay for it.

      I don’t mean to imply there are no Democrats in the prohibition category.. Joe Kennedy and Debbie Washerman Shultz come to mind. Nor do I imply that there are no champions of marijuana policy on the red team… My own state representative Jason Isaac-TX is running for Federal Representative and would make a great candidate for state marijuana rights.

      But before NORML publishes the new http://www.norml.org/congressional-scorecard we should step back and look at the big Green-Blue Tsunami heading to capitol hill, and see what it’s really made of:

      It’s made of people like those of us on this blog who write and call our Congressman to reform marijuana policy.

      It’s made of Representatives and Senators like Beto Orourke who are running on small donations and the votes of their citizens… not big corporate PAC donations…

      It’s made of people that don’t want the FDA trying to synthesize, patent or prohibit a safe and effective plant we choose for our own medicine.

      It’s made of the interns, the executive directors, and the citizen lobbyists of NORML chapters all across America that are marching to our state capitols to demand freedom, justice and equal protection under the Constitution to cultivate and consume our own cannabis. If it’s a plant, than it should not be patented and the FDA should not be involved.

      It’s about our personal freedom. And that’s a right we need to exercise with continuing cann-education.

    6. Keith says:

      Why no mention of GA bill that is floating around?

    7. Mark Mitcham says:

      MAGA is fascism.

      Real Americans hate fascism; that’s why real Americans hate Trump.

      Trump is not a real American — not because of where he was born (Siberia, maybe? Who knows) but because he is a traitor, a Russian operative, and an enemy to the American People.

      Boycott All Republicans! Punish them for inflicting Trump upon us.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        The significance of this to the marijuana legalization community should be obvious: avoid Trump like the plague! Fascism is not compatible with marijuana legalization!

        Therefore, We on this NORML blog renounce Trump fully. (Trolls, bots, and dumbasses notwithstanding.)

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          You could also say we stoners oppose fascism because we are decent human beings, and a part of the fabric of civilized society; that would be enough!

          But to make the connection crystal clear: Trump is fascism; the marijuana legalization community opposes fascism; therefore, the marijuana legalization community opposes Trump.

      • Evening Bud says:

        Mark,

        I know I sometimes say we should give GOPers the benefit of the doubt, etc. But when I see stories, like I just saw, linking that Florida H.S. shooter to white supremacists, alt-right asswipes, etc. it makes my blood boil.

        Not only at the idiot himself, but also at our great “liberal” media for refusing to even acknowledge that. Had that kid been Muslim, you can bet that the great “liberal” media would be reporting that nugget non-stop.

        This is your Republik Party of today folks. They’re anti-marijuana; anti-democracy (see voter suppression, obscene gerrymandering, etc etc etc), anti-women’s rights, anti-education, etc,

        BUT pro guns (military style assault weapons for civilians), pro pollution, pro corporate greed, pro govt corruption (see Russia investigation, money laundering, etc etc)

        This is a party that wants to cut food stamps for poor people and even medicare for the elderly, but hey, the rich needed that huge tax break, you know, because of freedom! The Republiks need to go extinct, and take their right-wing propaganda network, FOX, with them to the dustbin of history.

    8. Mark Mitcham says:

      HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

      Fellow Stoners, we are beginning to join with with mainstream society; that comes with responsibilities. As American Citizens, we have a duty to protect our society from tyranny and evil.

      HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND “MAGA”: (This is the kind of piece of shit that works for Donald Trump)

      From New York Daily News, 2/9/2018:
      “A Trump-supporting Kentucky man who previously served as a district judge pleaded guilty to a slew of crimes on Friday, including human trafficking.

      Tim Nolan, the self-proclaimed chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in Campbell County, could face up to 20 years behind bars for felony charges that also include promoting human trafficking of minors and unlawful transaction with minors, according to a press release from the Kentucky attorney general’s office.

      The 70-year-old former judge was arrested in April and was later indicted on 28 felony counts and a pair of misdemeanor charges. As part of a plea agreement, Nolan pleaded guilty to 21 of those charges, which involved 19 victims. He’s also required to pay a $110,000 fine — the bulk of which will be donated to the Human Trafficking Victims fund established by state Lawmakers in 2013.”

    9. Mark Mitcham says:

      For a stoner who openly supports marijuana legalization, the political fight is a cage match for survival. There are no rules.

      Your enemies are bigger, stronger, and armed to the teeth. They operate on the principle that “might makes right” (as fear makes clear.) Their God is Self-Interest: craven greed.

      You only have two weapons: Principle and Integrity. Integrity is the gun, and Principle is the bullet.

      Abandon either of these principles, and you are disarmed.

      Why? Because if you abandon either your integrity or your principle, you BECOME the enemy, only weaker: just another power structure seeking, naturally, more power. Why should anyone care if you get crushed?

      This is why it is so very important to defeat Trump and his sick-fuck followers. Principle and Integrity. We stoners will not survive without them.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Example:
        For Principle, take Freedom. Is this not the fundamental principle behind NORML itself?

        For Integrity, take the issue of racial disparity in marijuana arrest rates. Integrity demands that Freedom apply equally to all races, else it is nothing more than another white class privilege.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          …and “white class privilege” is a different cause from Marijuana Legalization. That’s Trump’s cause, and the KKK’s cause. That would be a different website. If that’s your thing, don’t let the door hit you in the ass!

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          AG Jeff Sessions and Trump believe Law Enforcement rightfully belongs to white people! Sessions just said so:

          Get this — Jefferson Peckerwood Sessions, quote:

          “The office of Sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement. We must never erode this historic office”

          (Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking at the National Sheriff’s Association winter conference in DC. @vicenews 9:14 AM – Feb 12, 2018)

          Repeat it!

          He said “the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement” must not be eroded!

          Holy fucking christ. Fuck Yes, the motherfucking War On Drugs is racist! Tattoo it on your forehead!!!

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            Here’s the Sessions clip:
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TGokFOErVaI

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            Black lives matter!

          • Sean says:

            Hi Mark. I read that too. Don’t let the Trump despicables try to spin a yarn claiming that Sessions meant English Common Law. That’s what there are trying to do. But I know you won’t let those bastards get away with it. I read Session’s statement and there was no reference to English Common Law. It was a white supremacist statement pure and simple to anyone with a brain. Not to mention he’s a bona fide criminal that has fetish for jailing people for weed. Peace.

            • Mark Mitcham says:

              Thanks, Sean. I think that’s called “gaslighting”, the tactic they are using there.

              As someone recently explained to me, it’s a tactic where you shit on someone, then try to convince them that they are crazy for thinking you just shit on them.

              When you hear someone say “You’re paranoid” or “Why are you being so touchy?” or “Geez, I was only kidding. Can’t you take a joke?” …that’s a clue that you might be being gas-lighted.

              As we are here.

            • Sean says:

              *they’re*

    10. Julian says:

      When this is “all over” and we finally deschedule marijuana and expunge all marijuana arrest records we have to pass a law for the CDC that makes us recogize bad laws like the Controlled Substances Act or the UN Drug Convention of 1961 for what they are… highly infectious, patented, synthetic, pharmaceutical, profit-driven social diseases in need of a whole plant remedy.

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