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Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/13/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate April 13, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!Legalize Marijuana

    I first want to bring your attention to some key developments happening at the federal level. United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with Oregon Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, introduced legislation to remove low THC hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and amend federal regulations to better facilitate industrial hemp production, research, and commerce. Identical companion language, HR 5485, was also introduced in the House.

    Additionally, the United Nations World Health Organization is due to review the current international classification of marijuana, THC, cannabidiol, and other related compounds and preparations this year. In the lead-up, the WHO is asking member nations to submit feedback. Between now and April 23rd, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment from “interested persons” (I.E. you) regarding the international Schedule 1 Status of marijuana under international agreements. Over 8,500 NORML members have already sent in their comments.

    At the state level, Governor Bill Walker of Alaska signed SB 6 into law, to establish an agricultural pilot program to permit the cultivation, production, and sale of industrial hemp by registered providers. The Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Advisory Board recommended adding flower (to be vaped) as a form of medication, and a Florida judge ruled that a medical cannabis patient has the right to grow his own marijuana.

    South Carolina and Maryland state legislatures adjourned this week, effectively killing a SC medical marijuana bill, and a MD decriminalization expansion bill.

    At a more local level, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller signed a bill into law Thursday decriminalizing the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in the city.

    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

    Rhode Island

    Legalization
    House Bill 7883 seeks to place a non-binding marijuana legalization question on the state’s November ballot.

    The proposal question would read: “Do you support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, subject to regulation and taxation that is similar to the regulation and taxation of tobacco and alcohol?”

    Update: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 7883 on 4/10.

    RI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters weigh in

    Employment Protections
    H 7899 seeks to protect state-registered medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.

    Update: The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on HB 7899 on 4/12. The Committee recommended the bill be held for further study, effectively killing it for this year.

    New Jersey

    Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

    The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit. A third proposal, S2373, is also pending to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any condition.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting doctors decide

    Louisiana

    House Bill 579 seeks to expand the state’s nascent medical cannabis program.

    The measure would expand the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis by permitting physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to those suffering from chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, severe muscle spasms or glaucoma.

    Update: HB 579 was approved by the House 60-39 on 4/12, and now heads to the Senate. As amended by the House, the bill also adds Parkinson’s disease to the list of conditions eligible for cannabis therapy.

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

    New Hampshire

    Home Cultivation
    House Bill 1476 is pending, which seeks to permit qualifying patients to cultivate small quantities of cannabis for their own therapeutic use.

    Update: The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a public hearing on HB 1476 on 4/12. The committee’s vote is expected as soon as next week.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of home cultivation rights

    Expungement
    House Bill 1477 would permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expungement.

    If passed, HB 1477 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana. The bill already passed the full House earlier this year.

    Update: HB 1477 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/10. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate on 4/19.

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

    Medical Expansion
    Senate Bill 388 seeks to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis. It already passed the full Senate last month.

    Update: The Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee held a public hearing on AB 388 on 4/11. and there will be an Executive Session on the bill at 10 am on 4/17 in LOB 205.

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

    California

    Assembly Bill 2069 seeks 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.

    Update: The Assembly’s Labor And Employment Committee will hold a hearing on AB 2069 on 4/25 at 1:30pm, rescheduled from 4/18.

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

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    Hawaii

    House Bill 2729 seeks 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. It already passed the full House last month.

    Update: HB 2729 passed the full Senate unanimously on 4/10, but the House disagreed with the proposed amendments.

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

    Maine

    Lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to amend a key provision of the state’s voter-initiated adult use marijuana law. Under existing law, adults may legally cultivate as many as six mature marijuana plants on their property. Lawmakers are suggesting halving this amount. The bill already passed the full House earlier this month.

    NORML opposes this law change.

    Update: Members of the Senate voted 24-10 in favor of the measure. The legislation, which would implement retail marijuana sales, in addition to making numerous other changes with regard to taxes, social clubs, and home cultivation, has enough support to override a potential veto from Gov. LePage — who opposes marijuana sales.

    ME resident? Click here to email Governor LePage and urge him to veto this bill

    Oklahoma

    Senate Bill 1120 seeks to preemptively challenge provisions in State Question 788. SQ 788 is written in a manner to be patient-centric. The changes proposed by SB 1120 are unduly restrictive and are not in the best interest of physicians or their patients. The bill already passed the full Senate last month.

    NORML endorses State Question 788 and opposes SB 1120.

    Update: SB 1120 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 4/11 by a 11-5 vote.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in opposition to this effort

    Illinois

    Senate Bill 2298 provides for the ability for individuals to cultivate hemp with a state license even if they are not part of the state’s Agriculture Department pilot program. That program only permits hemp cultivation as part of a state-sponsored research program.

    Update: SB 2298 was heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee on 4/12, and was then approved by the Committee.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of hemp cultivation

    California

    Assembly Bill 3157 seeks to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.

    Update: AB 3157 will be heard by the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on 4/23.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of temporary tax reductions

    That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

    23 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/13/18”

    1. Matt says:

      some good news at least. thanks Carly! 🙂

    2. Evening Bud says:

      Albuquerque has decriminalized!! Thank you Mayor Keller! I will be giving his office a call of gratitude next week.

      I know some people get tired of me and others harping on the Dem/Gop situation–but decriminalization in Albq only happened because the GOP mayor is gone, replaced by a Dem. On the city council vote, all Dems voted for decriminalization except one turncoat, and all GOPers voted against decriminalization. Dem’s the facts.

      I had such a strange feeling of freedom last night when I heard the news. Told my wife, it feels surrealistic not to have to worry about getting arrested now for an ounce (a lid). This isn’t the same as legalization, but it’s the next best thing.

      • Julian says:

        It brings joy to my heart. Congratulations, Bud! American Indians getting arrested more than “white” people in a white majority city needs to stop.
        Now we can focus on saying “Al Capone would have loved alcohol prohibition.”
        I still like my original slogan, “It should be a crime not to get stoned in New Mexico.” I don’t get tired of saying that, and you have every right to point out that Dems decrimed Albuquerque.

        • Evening Bud says:

          Thank you Julian. I still have a few goose bumps. I know it’s not the same as legalization, but, hell, I’ll take it! It still feels surrealistic to think that now a cop could pull you over, see that 1/2 oz of weed on your front seat and only give you a friggin’ $25 fine! (I was not the type to regularly drive around with half a lid in my car, but had to drive to score my stashes–that was always a long ride home, watching feverishly for cops until I reached home base).

          Those emails and phone calls work, folks. I think too many politicians are at heart cowards, and must sometimes be led by the hand to do the right thing.

    3. Julian says:

      Thanks Carly; your updates are going to make my summer Road Trip far more interesting.
      That’s wonderful news in Alburquerque. New Mexico is one of my favorite places to get stoned. It should be a crime NOT to get stoned looking at those landscapes!

      What state Republicans are doing in Oklahoma needs to get called out for the voter supression that it is.

      And House Rules Chair Pete Session R-Dallas, TX needs to resign or we’re going to destroy his career in humliating defeat in November.

    4. JEFF NEWBERRY says:

      WHAT ABOUT OHIO???

    5. jeff newberry says:

      cannabis reform!!!
      cannabis reform!!!
      cannabis reform!!!
      cannabis reform!!!

      what about Ohio?

    6. please clarify says:

      re; a Florida judge ruled that
      ‘A’
      medical cannabis patient has the right to grow his own marijuana.

      JUST ONE SPECIFIC GUY ???

      or, does this apply to ALL medical cannabis patients ??

      does this SET A PRECIDENT ??

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Just you, you lucky dog! Congratulations.

      • PRETTY PLEASE says:

        ATTENTION NORML;

        THIS COMMENT IS FOR NORML ONLY;

        PRETTY PLEASE;

        is there ANYONE,
        with a REAL NAME,
        that works for NORML,
        that can answer some very simple questions;

        re; a Florida judge ruled that
        ‘A’
        (not ‘ANY’, not ‘ALL’)
        medical cannabis patient has the right to grow his own marijuana.

        does this SET A PRECIDENT ??

        does this apply to ALL medical cannabis patients in florida ??

        if so; did the judge say HOW MANY MARIJUANA PLANTS are allowed to be grown, PER PERSON, in florida ??

        are the prohibitionists CHALLENGING this ruling ??

        so far, all i got was JOKES,
        from an anonymous poster,
        who is proud to let the world know,
        that he is a brain dammaged fool.

        PLEASE ANSWER.

        thank you.

    7. please clarify says:

      and HOW MANY PLANTS are allowed in florida ??

    8. Evening Bud says:

      Why is LePage such an asshole? Why in god’s name did the people of Maine put into office such an asshole? (I should talk–here in NM we had our own resident asshole in Gov Susanna Martinez–fortunately, she’s outta there after this year!)

      Maybe we can finally legalize here in NM with another GOP asshole on the way out. Of her potential replacements, the Dem, Michelle Lujan-Grisham is generally sympathetic to MJ legalization, and the GOPer, Steve Pearce, predictably, is against legalization. (Sorry, folks, I’m so fricking tired of prohibitionist GOP assholes–ready for the new world–the post-GOP world–to unfold.)

      There are Dem centrists and corporatists who are nearly as bad as GOPers, but I’m trying to do my part to replace them with progressives.

      • Julian says:

        I’m counting down to watch Republican House Rules Chair Pete Sessions go down in flames this November. No one in Congress has done more to hold up and deny marijuana reform, and for precisely that reason he’s going to lose Dallas County to a marijuana reforming PAC money refusing Democrat.

        Meanwhile locally I’m all in for the Democratic Party. I captained a couple of districts to get out the vote for local Dems and Beto Orourke. Refusing PAC money is the only way out of this me$$ Republicans are making for us.

        The harder the battle the sweeter the victory.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Maine got LePage because third parties split the opposition vote. Here’s Samantha Bee, from before the 2016 election…

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UB1bSJB3n10

      • Dain Bramage says:

        LePage promotes diversity, in this strictly parodical and limited context: he has refreshed and diversified my profanity pallete!

        As you can hear in the clip, LePage called the Portland Press Herald, and left a recorded message calling the paper a “cocksucker… you little socialist son-of-a-bitch cocksucker…” for calling him a racist, which he is.

        He says he was Trump before Trump was even “popular!”

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Evening Bud,
        Daily Kos and Carolyn Fiddler have identified a NM fake Democrat, such as you mentioned.

        “Take a look at New Mexico state Rep. Debbie Rodella’s greatest hits and see if you can guess which party she belongs to:

        “Just over a year ago, she killed proposals to implement automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration by voting to let these bills die in committee.

        “In 2013, she voted against a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

        “And she’s repeatedly used her position as chair of a key committee to protect payday lenders from reform measures—even as she’s received sizable contributions from the industry.

        “If you guessed that Rodella’s a Republican—despite that being a perfectly reasonable assessment—you’d be quite wrong.

        “Rodella is, in fact, a Democrat who was first elected to the New Mexico state House in 1992, and she hasn’t faced a primary challenger in over a decade.

        “But progressives in the state are increasingly aware of Rodella’s betrayals, and this cycle, a candidate who represents real Democratic values is taking her on. Daily Kos is thrilled to endorse Democrat Susan Herrera in New Mexico House District 41.”

        https://susanherrera.com

    9. john oates says:

      why can we here in texas make our state house vote on this.. .. it is sad to live in texas that is not moving along like other states… I know the law case that Robert c Randall had .. just like him I am going blind from the same thing.. I am on three kinds of eye drops an lost my left eye.. my psi in my life eye went to 70. my right went to 45 one night and I went blind in the ER in Galveston they gave me a pill made from weed I was told that made me see again in my right eye .. dr’s told me that night this is the last thing we have.. dr’s would not give me the pills said we live in texas.. I was making 80 grand a year. now on fed check of 1200 every 30 days… I would like to use weed it take my psi down to just 5 I check it out and can see better.. but don’t like thinking of jail.. texas is going to make me go blind the only way I can look at this.. sad.. I don’t know why it works but it dose…

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