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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. Julian says:

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/02/09/jim-carroll-drug-czar-trump-402080

      Jim Carroll is the new un-director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

      At this point, I can’t tell if Trump’s old ties to the Gambino crime family metatistisized into an all out war with the CIA over who controls the opioid and arms trade or if Trump really is bent on the destruction of our institutions at the behest of a hostile foreign power or both.

      175 Americans per DAY over synthetic opioids… …dead and dying.
      And we have Jeff Sessions barking at the Heritage Foundation last week that marijuana is to blame? The same marijuana thats been reducing opioid addiction by %37 and overdose and suicides by %25 in states with legal mj dispensaries? You mean THAT whole plant marijuana? Treason.

      Is there no point at which a Republican Congress will recognize this administration’s threat to our national security? Of course not. Most of the Republican Congress is complicit with this threat. Taking money from the same pharmacuetical companies responsible for this murder, we get it, but flat out Complicit with treason? This should not wait until midterm elections.

      Our government is killing its own citizens for profit in high gear. And that is why states are turning up their gears on marijuana reform.

    2. Dain Bramage says:

      Register to vote! Check your registration status! Find your polling location!

      Punish the Republicans for Trump on Election Day!

      Mad as hell? Vote!
      You have hell to pay, Republicans!

      https://www.vote.org

    3. Eric says:

      Where is NC at? I may have to move my chiropractic office to SC!

    4. Matt says:

      Hi everyone, have to be quick due to the laptop tech. issue thing, but had to post…

      So, I was watching old man Grassley on cspan 2 on immigration and “border security,” but then switched to cspan 1 and saw Sessions speaking at the Sheriffs event. The video link will be below.

      Sessions said he cannot decide what is legal as AG, and then spoke about a nomination being stalled because one senator did not agree on the nominated’s stance or something on marijuana. Honestly? Sessions seems very hesitant to discuss marijuana these days including at the podium. Personally, I think it is because even diehard Jefferson Sessions knows it is a battle he CANNOT win at this point, including in court. He just briefly keeps bringing it up over and over again. But it is starting to seem like Sessions really does not know how to carry out a further crackdown other than the Cole Memo rescind. Have to run for now, have a safe Mardi Gras. A wise professor once suggested, in a sense, perhaps our modern day police began in New Orleans. Peace

      The link:

      https://www.c-span.org/video/?441014-1/attorney-general-jeff-sessions-delivers-remarks-sheriffs-association-meeting

      • Matt says:

        ironically, Sessions also spoke about immigration, MS-13, another source suggested the gang is a homegrown problem, and that the wall, border security actually empowers the gangs. Sigh….lol, had to change the channel.

        Oh yeah, and Grassley brought up 1986 at one point. Are all these old geezers stuck in the Reagan law and order obsessed era? 2020 could NOT come soon enough. Stand with Sen. Booker and others. Stand for the FUTURE, and an END to this police-state nightmare. Scary, but stay strong! Stand with California and others against Sessions!! On this, sanctuary, other inhumane laws, laws based in fear. This guy is horrible. Hope Cali and the others continue to defy the Feds.

        Later again

        M

    5. Evening Bud says:

      This article is so heartening. It warms the cockles to see so much pro-MJ legalization on so many fronts!

    6. Matt says:

      Hey all, to go with my other post, more on that Sessions attack on the Senator here:

      https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/f1aab657-b0d6-336f-abbf-eaeab774b60f/ss_jeff-sessions-slams-gop.html

      Anglo-American heritage? Just noticed this……maybe he is relating what I mentioned earlier about New Orleans. Wow, it just keeps adding up with this dude, and not in a good way.

      Also found this link, see you all later, heading to bed, lol.

      https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/lies-jeff-sessions-telling-marijuana.html/?a=viewall

      • Julian says:

        Matt and Mark,

        Someone needs to teach Jeff Sessions about one of the most Legendary law enforcers in U.S. history, Bass Reeves:

        https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-bassreeves/

        He served as Deputy US Marshall for 35 years and ventured into lawless territories that even the bravest “anglo” law enforcement of his time would not go, capturing more than 3,000 outlaws alive, and 14 dead. He was revered for his valor in “Anglo,” and black communities as well as Indian Country in Oklahoma for a keeper of the peace.

        Jeff should pay attention to the lessons of integrity to learn here. Oh, and Bass Reeves was black.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          Indeed. Fascinating story. The “great” white America that racists like Jeff Sessions long to go back to, it never really existed. It was always delusional.

    7. Julian says:

      Latest coverage from the NYTimes on upcoming oral arguments on Valentine’s Day, tomorrow from the unprecedented federal case challenging marijuana’s scheduling titled Washington v Sessions;

      https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/nyregion/marijuana-lawsuit-trump-sessions.html?referer=

      The article written by Alan Feuer (Hey, it’s better than “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) confirms my biggest question regarding the case: that the oral arguments will be live streamed as 12-year-old plaintiff Alexis Bortell will not be allowed a temporary or preliminary injunction on the CSA to travel with her seizure-stopping marijuana.

      I’ve been following this case through Pacermonitor and Feuer left out that Alexis has video filing in order to testify in front of the jury in NY tomorrow from Colorado:

      https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/22047318/Washington_et_al_v_Sessions_et_al

      This is vital news for the success of this case. Alexis is allowed to testify, but not in person. She can influence the jury, but her 1st amendment rights are still compromised.

      What Feuer is also missing in his explanation for the involvement of Alexis in Washington v Sessions such as the evidence of irrepreable harm from the DOJ and the CSA not only from preventing her from practising her 1st amendment rights under due process, (to visit her Congressman and NORML founder Keith Stroup in DC for NORML lobby day), but there are also a variety of other rights broken from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 14th amendments.

      And perhaps even more overlooked is that an affidavit mentions that Alexis took depakote, a lethal synthetic overprescribed for epilepsy and mislabeled for dimentia in which Sessions took campaign donations from the manufacturers, Health South, CVS and Abbott Laboratories (which later sold their synthetic marijuana patents to Insys Therapeutics, who donated half a million to stop whole plant marijuana legalization in Arizona, where they are headquartered).

      • Julian says:

        Insys Therapuetics is also the infamous leading producer of lethal synthetic heroin or fentanyl, the overdose of which is the leading cause of death in the US today. Insys Therapuetics is involved in ongoing civil lawsuits over paying kickbacks to doctors to overprescribe deadly fentanyl. Pharmaceutical assassins often sell patents in order to protect eachother from lawsuits. Problem is they publically trade their blood money for profit and reveal whose “it.”

        And instead of prosecuting Insys, our AG, who is sworn under oath to uphold the Constitution and defend us from all threats both foreign and domestic is using our tax resources to prosecute a little girl for life saving whole plant marijuana consumption after being incapacitated by synthetic depakote, a drug Sessions profited from under a manufacturer(s) he is protecting from DOJ litigation?

        When it’s on, it’s on.

    8. Kevin Kimick says:

      Regarding Utah bill HB197:
      This is a stonewall plan that will make people jump up & down like they’ve made a difference. But the reality is we’re going to be the 1st state who’s government has complete control over who grows it & who can’t. Which then all the other states will follow suite & take away already established grow farms & they’re going to take away the right to grow your own like Colorado allows you to do. Then once every state puts a monopoly on it they’ll hand the reigns over to Big Pharma. Utah just set a precedence for every other state to do this. Then when it’s done the Federal Government will legalize. So all of them can know which stocks to buy based on which Big Pharma Company is going to have what contract. They did this in Utah because they know our Reps don’t give a damn if the people like it or not. You’re talking 90% GOP here and that’s how they work. They’ll give a little as long as only so many are making almost all the money to be made. What I mean by give a little is give a little higher paying, punch the clock, Blue Collar jobs. But the people that actually run this state want to keep wealthy families extremely wealthy & hope that they can bring poorer families in to make enough to get by with a little bit of extras. Also a certain Church Group here in Utah has a whole lot of money parked in Big Pharma Companies. What better way to ensure their group gets the most out of their money, while at the same time allowing their richer members to know which stocks to sink their money in to when it comes to the Marijuana Market in Utah. It’s like Legal Insider Trading or better yet Legal Robbery while sitting on their couch watching the stock sore up.

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