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NORML Chapters Continue State-Level Push for Marijuana Law Reforms

  • by NORML April 5, 2018

    Legalize marijuanaSince the beginning of the year, NORML Chapters throughout the country have been busy organizing lobby days for the 2018 legislative session. With the hope of reforming various aspects of their state’s marijuana policies, NORML affiliated activists have been meeting with state representatives to educate lawmakers and their staff about the advantages of ending marijuana prohibition and encourage support for over 100 pieces of legislation nationwide.

    In addition to organizing more lobby days than was previously done in 2017, many NORML chapters including Delaware NORML, Denver NORML, Illinois NORML, and Lehigh Valley NORML have scheduled multiple lobby days for their 2018 legislative sessions. To date, NORML chapters have organized and/or participated in nearly 30 lobby days in 16 states. From fighting for employee protections in Colorado, Oregon and California, to pushing to expand access for patients in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and working to pass legislation to tax and regulate adult-use marijuana in Delaware, NORML chapters have been working overtime this legislative session.

    Virginia

    Members of Virginia NORML, led by Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, have been focused on securing access and protection from prosecution for all patients since 2016. This session, their hard work finally paid off with unanimous passage of HB 1251 and SB 726 to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis oil law by removing qualifying conditions and instead allowing doctors to decide when to issue a recommendation.

    “Virginia will be the first state to expand a hyper-restrictive single qualifying disorder program to include any diagnosed condition. This didn’t happen because of industry dollars or high powered lobbyists, it happened because two moms wouldn’t take “no” for an answer,” said Jenn Michelle Pedini.

    Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and support their work here.

    Colorado

    There’s an effort underway in Colorado to define off-duty marijuana use a legal activity under Colorado’s prohibition of legal activities as a condition of employment law. Democratic Representative Jonathan Singer is leading the effort in the House, but proponents – consisting mostly of members of Denver NORML, Colorado NORML, and Southern Colorado NORML – are working to lock down a Republican sponsor before the bill is introduced to encourage bipartisan support.

    Also in Colorado, state lawmakers recently formed the first-ever statewide Cannabis Caucus to facilitate discussions on how to best address the various areas of public policy that have been impacted since voters approved the state’s marijuana legalization measure in 2012.

    “This kind of caucus is something we at the national level have been looking at for quite some time,” says NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji, who’s based in Denver. “Since the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, it just made sense to have something similar at the state level.”

    California

    Members of California NORML are also working with state lawmakers on a bill that would bar employers from discriminating against workers because of their status as a medical marijuana patient, or a positive drug test for medical marijuana use. NORML believes that this practice is discriminatory and defies common sense. While law-abiding and responsible adults in some states have the legal option to consume marijuana in the privacy of their homes, they still are at risk of losing their employment as a result of a positive drug test — even in instances where the use took place on weekends or after-hours.

    Ellen Komp, Deputy Director of California NORML shared her thoughts on the effort: “Eleven states protect medical marijuana users’ employment rights in their laws, but not California. Cal NORML is sponsoring AB 2069, the Cannabis Worker Protections Act, to give workers in California the same right to use medical cannabis as opiates and other prescription drugs, as long as their use does not impair them on the job. Supporters can write to their representatives in favor of the bill at and join Cal NORML at our Lobby Day in Sacramento on June 4, 2018.”

    Follow California NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and support their work here.

    Maryland

    Members of Maryland NORML focused their time on lobbying members of the Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee in favor of HB 1264 / SB 1039 – a constitutional amendment that would put a question on this November’s ballot to let the voters decide on the issue of marijuana legalization and retail sales.

    While that effort was not successful, Maryland is now in a position to expand the amount of personal possession of marijuana that is decriminalized from 10 grams to 30 grams as SB 127 continues to move forward after passing in the state Senate.

    Follow Maryland NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and support their work here.

    Delaware

    Members of Delaware NORML lobbied for legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults. The Delaware Marijuana Control Act regulates and taxes marijuana in the same manner as alcohol. It allows adults over the age of 21 to legally possess and consume under 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use. It does not permit people to grow their own marijuana.

    Hosting three lobby days already this year with a number on the way, Delaware is one of the states that we expect to achieve reform this decade.

    Follow Delaware NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and support their work here.

     

    34 responses to “NORML Chapters Continue State-Level Push for Marijuana Law Reforms”

    1. Julian says:

      Citizen lobbying is some of the most rewarding activity we can do as marijuana reforming advocates and as US Citizens. Join your local NORML Chapter today and find out how it feels to participate in the legislative solution to our collective freedom.

    2. YearofAction says:

      These laudable efforts by the NORML Chapters will help to prepare the States to assume control when the people convince Congress to enact this careful reform of the federal definition of marijuana, and subsequently remove it from Schedule 1:

      The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company; such smoke is prohibited to be inhaled by any child or by any person bearing any firearm, as is the intake of any part or product of such plant containing more than 0.3% THC by weight unless prescribed to such child by an authorized medical practitioner.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Yearofaction,
        How did you become so totally convinced that you have the silver bullet? What makes you so sure you are right? Have you ever tried to weigh the pros and cons to your idea?

        More importantly, how about lending a hand in the meantime, and “getting with” the collective effort going on here, which is to contact elected representatives?

        I remain unpersuaded by your arguments.

        The term “marijuana” means pot. Weed. Bud. Nobody’s gonna believe otherwise, just because of your semantic shell games!

        But hey, at least you’re not out here pimping Traitor Trump! Now THAT is what REALLY pisses me off!

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Seriously, you’re saying it’s not marijuana until it is burned, which is ridiculous.

          • YearofAction says:

            You say it is ridiculous. I say it is accurate. The plant is identified as Cannabis sativa L., and marijuana is derived from that plant. What is “…all parts of the plant…”, but does not include “…the mature stalks of the plant…”? Cannabis smoke, that’s what.

            Why do you want the law to call cannabis “marijuana” anyway? Fidelity to the 20th century tradition that prohibited cannabis? Accuracy can lead us out of the mire with the legal definition that de-schedules all un-burned cannabis plants, but specifies the prohibitions that will remain when cannabis smoke is removed from Schedule 1.

            Also, what is so unreasonable about adults having to put their guns away when they want to sesh. Don’t you want the militia to be “well regulated”?

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Yearofaction,
              Set aside guns for the moment.

              Marijuana: we legalizers won the argument years ago. Cannabis should be legal, even when smoked.

              The problem is that our enemies don’t respond to logic or reason. Your legalistic parsings, even if put into effect, would be rolled right over, just like any other protection we have ever sought as good citizens of the USA.

              Unless you have an actual magic incantation, it’s not going to work on them. Why would it?

              (And, I did not comment on guns. However, since you ask, I support a ban on AR-15’s, and including all military weaponry, for police and civilians.)

      • Julian says:

        Your definitions and smoke prohibitions are getting worse, Yearbait. People who smoke weed don’t need togo to jail. But people who think they need a firearm to feel connected or in “control” could defintely use a toke of weed.
        Synthetic schedule 2 prohibition by the Sacklers and Insys Therapuetics can go suck on their own pills. Whole plant, smokeable marijuana legalization is happening and all the parasites in Big Pharma can’t stop us.

    3. Matt says:

      Like I said, Federal law or not, every state that legalizes makes us stronger, no matter they be large/big or small. Keep up the great work, NORML!
      New York state, imo, would be a CRITICAL addition, Texas, Florida, NJ, the rest of NE, Arizona as well. And we need to open up the Midwest! And Canada will help tremendously!

      • Julian says:

        The Texas state Health Committee is already recommending whole plant medical marijuana legalization ahead of the 2019 legislative session. And speaking of Sessions, only 1200 of the 7000 Republicans who voted against Pete Sessions during the primaries in Dallas County need to stay home, vote Dem or vote blank in the general election to get rid of the single worst prohibitionist in Congress today.

    4. So if AG Jeff Sessions and EPA Admin Scott Pruitt are next on President Trump’s “You’re Fired” hit list, who with enough experience and positive outlook on Marijuana law reform should we be politicizing as replacements?

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Fire Traitor Trump, stupid!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        If you’re Thomas Jefferson, then I’m Jesus! So watch your ass.

        • Jesus says:

          Verily, I say unto you: Renounce Trump! Beware false prophets who go by the name “Thomas Jefferson” but he’s dead. And so the false prophet turns out to be a punk-ass white boy… who’s true name is White Trash.

          Thus sayeth The Lord.

      • Julian says:

        PAC money-refusing Democrats. No one Trump replaces Pruitt or Sessions with will be better for marijuana reform, because Trump works for the same private prisons and Big Pharmacites they do. The fact that Sessions is still AG after recusing himself from Mueller’s damnifying investigation should attest to how a spoiled rotten fascist that can’t understand the AG is not his personal lawyer caves in to Big Pharma ca$h.
        Vote by purchasing legal whole plant marijuana instead of synthetic opioids for pain management. We always underestimate how far our dollars go to influence politics as American consumers.

    5. Julian says:

      http://m.thetrailblazeronline.net/news/article_4bb1b640-392f-11e8-882d-33d760513bcd.html?mode=jqm

      The pieces are being set to legalize industrial hemp. The above article explains that the Secretary of Agriculture is already reviewing hemp legalization favorably. The production costs, the profits of hemp combined with the short term continued prohibition of “street value” marijuana (legally mj with more than .3% THC) is being set ablaze by Trump’s trade war with China: Chinese tarriffs on Soy, pork, and other American agricultural products which supply more than a third of Chinese food consumption is already spiking the value of potential hemp futures for which Majority Leader McConnel is deeply invested.
      In short, it just became WAY more valuable to grow hemp than soy, cotton or corn, no matter what subsidies and genetic patents Bayer-Monsantos or competing petrol patents Koch Industries own.

      While none of us in the marijuana legalization movement look forward to the hypocrisy of continued THC prohibition while big corporations invest in industrial hemp, I still like to compare these circumstances to the old fable of the dog that barks at his reflection in the river to lose the meat in his mouth. While the DEA goes parading around with Project SAM and Sessions tries to blame weed on the opioid epidemic, the fall out of a hemp amendment to the farm bill will bring about a variety of federal court battles over everything from antitrust laws to the way we patent life as we know it.
      We never needed to set the example at the local level more than we do now, to create fairly taxed, quality tested marijuana laws. Join your local NORML chapter and join the resistance.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Legalize hemp, just don’t reward the Republicans for participating. Take what help they offer, and then kick every one of those fascist bastards out of office.

        No political points for Republicans. Fuck them all. They inflicted Trump upon USA; and by God, they must be punished. Vote out ALL Republicans.

    6. Archie Griffin says:

      How can I get active in Tennessee to help out?

      • Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director says:

        Thanks for reaching out! You should connect with Susan Daniel, communication director of Tennessee NORML. The organization has been very busy lately so I’m sure they’ll welcome your help. She can be reached via email at normltnactivist@gmail.com.

    7. Dain Bramage says:

      Democrats own the marijuana legalization issue. Republicans are prohibitionists.

      • Bryan says:

        I’m a Republican, and I am all for complete legalization of marijuana

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Bryan, you’re useless because you vote for prohibitionists.

        • Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director says:

          We appreciate your support!

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Bryan,
          If a Republican voter really wanted to stop marijuana prohibition, he or she would abandon the Republican party.

          The only principled thing the Republican party consistently stands for, besides power for power’s sake, is racism. A Republican for legalization is like David Duke for civil rights; it is a load of shit; it doesn’t mean a thing.

          It’s only an advertisement!

          It is a lie designed to market Republicanism itself, in defiance of the facts, by putting lipstick on a pig. But it’s still a pig. If that is a sexist metaphor, then I withdraw it — call it chocolate frosting and sprinkles on a cow-pie!

          Democrats are embracing marijuana legalization.

          Republicans are ramping up the drug war, and calling for the death penalty for drug users. Are you listening??? DEATH PENALTY! REPUBLICANS!

          Fuck Traitor Trump, and that goes for all the rest of the treasonous, UN-American Republicans.

          Republicans, smoke all the pot you want; that doesn’t mean you support legalization. By all means, donate to NORML; just don’t kid yourself — as a Republican, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

          And it shows!

          • Dain Bramage says:

            This is Republican bogus logic:

            I am a nice guy.
            I voted for Hitler.
            Therefore, Hitler is a nice guy.

            Anybody else see the fallacy there?

          • Dain Bramage says:

            This is a discussion, not a test! And so here’s the answer, as I see it. There is an implicit premise to the syllogism, which is that good people don’t do bad things. This premise is false.

            Rewrite the syllogism as follows:

            I am a nice guy.
            (Nice guys don’t do bad things.)
            I voted for Hitler.
            Therefore, Hitler is a nice guy.

            If the premises are true, and the logic is valid, then the conclusion is true. But the implicit premise is false, thus the argument fails. Good people will do very bad things, it turns out. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

            Further, even if you believe that “good people don’t do bad things,” still, all three premises cannot simultaneously be true. If the implicit premise is true, then the following premise “I voted for Hitler” must be false.

            Thus, the argument must always fail. Hitler was a monster. So is Traitor Trump. So are the Republicans who enable the entire shit-show to continue.

            Dig it?

    8. Mark Mitcham says:

      Shout out to Colorado Representative Jonathan Singer! He fights for me!
      http://www.singerforcolorado.com

    9. Dain Bramage says:

      Traitor Trump is a murderous son of a bitch, who hasn’t killed as many innocent people as George W. Bush, but he sure as hell will if we don’t stop him. You can bet your ass on that!

      Democrats are the only way to stop this unhinged fucker from getting us all killed. He’ll take a page from the playbook of his idol, Putin, and bomb an American city. Or worse.

      It is naive to think he isn’t perfectly capable of such a crime against humanity. Of course he is capable of it, he is chomping at the bit, right now!

    10. jackspade says:

      I hope Texas is next!

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