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Weekly Legislative Roundup 5/4/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate May 4, 2018

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

    Let’s talk about some new state-level developments. The Maine House of Representatives and Senate overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) veto of marijuana legalization implementation legislation this week. The enactment of the legislation establishes a framework for the retail sale of marijuana to adults, but also amends numerous provisions of the 2016 voter-approved measure — including those specific to home grow limits and taxation.

    The New Approach Missouri medical cannabis campaign submitted 372,483 petition signatures to put their language first on this November’s ballot.

    Also at the state level, the Alaska legislature approved a resolution urging the federal government to respect the state’s marijuana laws, the Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require medical cannabis testing, and The New Hampshire Senate voted 14-10 to hold a medical cannabis homegrow bill for interim study, effectively killing it for the year.

    At a more local level, Seattle, Washington’s mayor and city attorney are asking a court to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for marijuana possession. And the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Council approved a resolution calling on Congress to pass the Marijuana Justice Act.

    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

    New Hampshire

    SB 388 would 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.

    Update: Members of the House passed SB 388 on a voice vote on 4/28. Governor Chris Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt said that the governor plans to sign SB 388 into law.

    NH resident? Click here to email Gov. Sununu in support of medical expansion

    Louisiana

    House Bill 579 would 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. The bill was already approved by the House last month.

    Update: The Senate Health & Welfare Committee voted 4-2 to approve HB 579 on 5/2 with amendments. The committee amendments were adopted on 5/3.

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

    California

    Assembly Bill 1793, would “allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.

    Update: The Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on AB 1793 on 5/2, but no action was taken on the bill.

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

    Delaware

    Medical
    House Bill 374 would expand the state’s medical cannabis access 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 debilitating migraines, pediatric autism spectrum disorder, and pediatric sensory processing disorder.

    Update: HB 374 passed the House on 5/1, and now awaits action in the Senate Health, Children & Social Services Committee.

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

    Expungement
    SB 197 was just introduced, to permit those convicted of past marijuana possession convictions to seek expungement.

    The measure would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting the expungement of any past marijuana possession violations that are no longer defined as a crime under state law. State officials estimate the legislation could affect up to 1,250 people convicted of a single marijuana crime from 1977 to 2015.

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

    Illinois

    House Bill 2367 provides for the automatic expungement of past marijuana possession or paraphernalia violations.

    The measure mandates the automatic expungement of any citation for a civil law violation of either: subsection (a) of Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act, or subsection (c) Section 3.5 of the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act.

    Update: HB 2367 was amended on the House floor on 4/27, then re-referred to the Rules Committee.

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

    Hawaii

    House Bill 2729 would 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. A Conference Committee was appointed last month to reconcile disagreement between the House and Senate on proposed amendments.

    Update: The Conference Committee recommended the measure be passed on 4/27, and both the House and Senate agreed to pass HB 2729 with amendments on 5/1. The bill now awaits action from Governor Ige.

    HI resident? Click here to email Gov. Ige in support of reciprocity

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    California

    Senate Bill 1302 would prohibit local governments from banning home deliveries from state-licensed cannabis providers into their jurisdictions.

    Update: SB 1302 was heard by the Senate Governance & Finance Committee on 5/2, and then approved by the committee. It’s expected to soon be considered by the full House.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of cannabis home deliveries

    Iowa

    Senate File 2372 seeks to expand the state’s medical cannabidiol (CBD) law by removing the arbitrary 3 percent cap on THC content, and would allow doctors to recommend CBD to those suffering from chronic pain as well as to any other patient for whom they believe it would benefit. The bill was recently approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but was never assigned to another committee.

    Update: Similar legislation, SF 2405, is facing strong opposition by House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, stating that she wants to wait to hear recommendations from a state advisory board set up under last year’s legislation. Gov. Kim Reynolds agrees with her.

    IA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD expansion

    Missouri

    Senate Bill 547 and House Bill 2034would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue a registration or permit to growers and handlers of agricultural and industrial hemp. It would also create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp.

    Update: HB 2034 passed the House 133-6 5/3. The Senate passed the bill 29-3 5/2. It now awaits action from Governor Eric Greitens.

    MO resident? Click here to email Gov. Greitens in support of industrial hemp

    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. The bill was already passed by the Senate last week.

    Update: SB 2298 will be heard by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee at 2pm on 5/8/18 in Room 413 Stratton Building.

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

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

    38 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 5/4/18”

    1. Julian says:

      Wow! Great news for Missouri! With that many signatures Project SAM will give up and pick on other states.
      They picked on Maine, though, and how’d that work out for you Kevin Sabet? Feeling buyer’s remorse? Well, I certainly feel good about the Benjamins I threw down for Maine, and I live in Texas!

      Correct me if I’m wrong Carly, but even with all its regressive amendments, Maine just became the first state to legislatively enact marijuana precisely because of its amendments. It’s the same thing that happened in Massachussetts; State Supreme Courts will interpret the amendments as legislatively enacted law.

    2. Julian says:

      Dear Julian:

      Thank you for contacting me regarding proposals to decriminalize hemp cultivation in the United States. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.

      While I recognize that hemp varieties were once common in American agriculture and that imported hemp fiber and by-products still serve a number of legitimate commercial purposes, I share the concern of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency that decriminalizing hemp farming could increase the incidence of illicit marijuana cultivation and complicate federal surveillance and enforcement measures. However, you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should relevant legislation be considered during the 115th Congress.

      I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texas in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

      Sincerely,

      JOHN CORNYN
      United States Senator

      517 Hart Senate Office Building
      Washington, DC 20510
      Tel: (202) 224-2934
      Fax: (202) 228-2856
      http://www.cornyn.senate.gov

      • Dain Bramage says:

        The lesson here: never vote Republican!

        • Julian says:

          Democrats have a golden-green opportunity to reshape the word “conservative” to mean land and water conservation through legalizing industrial hemp the way Republican leadership has failed and refused to do.

          https://www.alternet.org/water-war-will-decide-fate-1-8-americans?src=newsletter1091889

          The article above liks to how the SW United States has %99 chance of having a catastrophic drought that will last over a generation this century. And the Colorado river and Lake Meade will cap off its limits to the entire city of Phoenix by NEXT YEAR.

          Hemp can do the following: Reforestation, storm surge mitigation, soil conservation, reduced use of petrol-based fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides and reduce the use of dicamba resistant genetically engineered soy and cotton which require twice the water for irrigation than hemp.

          And the fact is, thats where most of the Colorado river water is going… including the one that travels through Austin out to the Gulf of Mexico that no one talks about, where despite threats of drought Texas still subsidizes the farming of RICE. Yes, you read that right; the land from Fort Worth to San Angelo is no longer arable for corn or cotton for lack of rain, but our Republican politicians in the Texas state legislature and Congress dont even want to take advantage of 4-year-old federal law that permits the research of drought resistant strains of hemp at Universities or State Departments of Agriculture.

          Republican politicians are a threat not only to our national security, but to our survival as a species.

          • Julian says:

            Then, just for fun, afterattacking the GOP for not being “conservative enough” on hemp and water policies attack the GOP for being too liberal on military spending.

          • Evening Bud says:

            It appears that the donors and lobbyists are firmly ensconced up the rectums of certain Texas politicos. Cornyn’s arse appears to be infested.

        • Julian says:

          As if Schumer were reading my personal comments:

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/05/05/legalizing-hemp-brings-schumer-and-mcconnell-together/#1e076252222d

          Schumer & McConnell are tying a hemp rope around the Koch-funded nemesis of hemp, Guy-who-looks-like-he-walked-out-of-a-1930’s-Refer-Madness-Movie and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, R-IA. By cosponsoring the hemp bill, Schumer paves the way to bypassing the Judiciary by amending the hemp bill into the Farm Bill.

          https://modernfarmer.com/2018/04/the-push-for-legalized-hemp-is-back-with-an-unlikely-leader/

          The above article by Dan Nosowitz from the Modern Farmer calls out the DEA for opposing hemp legalization not because they are too incompetent to tell the difference between hemp or marijuana, (which, frankly, they sometimes are), or the fact that after more than half a century of “eradicating” hemp, they never noticed hemp farmers and marijuana farmers never grow their crops together for fear of crossbreeding… But in fact, the DEA is terrified of losing funding, specifically from archaic, massochistic programs like the Hemp Eradication Program. (Gets tougher to hide your secret DOJ accounts for a$$et forfeitures when you don’t have all those tax dollars to balance your reports to Congress, doesn’t it Chuck?)

          But Chuck, whether Grassley or Rosenberg, isn’t the only threat to passing a hemp amendment.

          There’s still the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the real Green Goblin, Pete Sessions, R-TX.

          So is this all political posturing before midterms? Of course.

          Will a hemp amendment pass through the farm bill? If Pete wants to get reelected, maybe. But as long as he’s in power, probably not. Because the next Koch-funded hemp obstructionist that’s going to get a Trojan Hemp Horse is Paul Ryan, whose retiring, but not fighting for a House version of the Hemp Bill. Tick Tock, GOPers… we’re calling your bluff… annie up.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Julian, my concern is precisely that this is all posturing on the part of Mitch McConnell, who, like Cory Gardner, has already proven that he does not give a fuck about regular citizens — particularly poor citizens, whether they are his constituents or not.

            The Republican Party will never give up marijuana prohibition, anymore than they would elect a black President. These are the two things they hate the most: blacks, and marijuana!

            So, do I believe now, in the face of overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, the GOP has suddenly changed its values, suddenly becoming more moderate and reasonable? Fuck no!

            Do I think, instead, that they have merely changed their marketing campaign? Fuck yes!

            McConnell appears to be moving toward Schumer politically, but I don’t think this is what he is actually doing. This isn’t a concession by McConnell, so let’s not give him credit he hasn’t earned. What has he really given up?

            Let’s take another look at the elephant in the room:

            Republicans, in every political decision they make, deliberately choose the most dickish move possible 99 percent of the time. They are systematically ruining America, from the courts, to the environment, to workers rights, to civil rights, to women’s rights, to even the basic right to vote and participate in society. Republicans really, really HATE America!

            And now they have finally installed their perfect despot: Trump.

            So when, one percent of the time, they say “legalize hemp,” we must not fall for it! Such crumbs the Republicans offer. They remain enemies of The People.

            There is a gigantic FACT that hangs over all this bullshit: America under Trump is a fascist authoritarian regime, just like Russia. Our Democracy is not just at risk, it has already been compromised by Putin. People either don’t see it or don’t believe it, but that too is a case of denial.

            It will be easier to legalize hemp WITHOUT Republicans. This too is a fact.

            • Julian says:

              Dain, first off, I would like to correct myself: Pete Sessions is Chair of the House Rules Committee. Chuck Grassley is Chair of the Senate Judiciary Comittee. But I do not retract that Pete Sessions is arch nemesis of both marijuana legalization and the Amazing Spider Man… (google Pete Sessions and the Green Goblin… “images.” It’s worth it). Albeit with less soul or momentary lapses of conscience as the Green Goblin.

              Now… that THAT is settled…
              I agree with most of your points save that we should always encourage bipartisan support of cannabis reform. And we should give McConnell due credit. As hard as Ive been on his posturing, there does exist the chance that the House and Senate could compromise on a hemp amendment without Pete Sessions.
              Of course this would be easier with a Democratic Congress. But that doesn’t mean we give up on negotiating with the cards we have in play. If the GOP wants to bluff with the hemp card I say call their bluff, which Schumer is doing. And tell Pete Sessions to annie up or explain to his constituents in Dallas why he folded.

            • Evening Bud says:

              Dain,

              I started realizing something about the modern Republican/conservative/libertarian, something that occurred to me earlier this year, and that is, that many of them don’t actually give a crap about the various legalization that their side may support. I began realizing that something far more important to them was the notion of “sticking it” to the liberals, to the big govt, and politically correct liberals.

              So, that explains in large part their attitudes for the last 25 years or so of being a party of obstruction and destruction. You’ll notice, they have a very difficult time legislating, and coordinating legislation, because they’re not wired for that.

              I also began realizing this after talking about MJ legalization with my wife’s conservative cousin and her husband (both of whom are heavy-duty pot smokers). When I mentioned one time to the husband how Gov. Susanna Martinez staunchly opposed legalization in any form, he sniffed, “Yeah, I know about that. I think legalization’s inevitable.”

              So, in this way, in his mind he doesn’t actually have to support any politician who might advocate for legalization (in NM that would mean most likely a Dem), because legalization’s “inevitable.”

              The best of both worlds–he can keep hating on the Dems who are actually pushing for legalization, and he can keep supporting GOPers who oppose legalization. Because it’s “inevitable.”

              This is the mentality we’re dealing with here, folks. The truth is that it MAY be inevitable–but that inevitability may not kick in for another 20 or 25 years (particularly in some parts of the country). I for one, at my age, can longer afford to wait for that inevitability.

            • Julian says:

              Evening Bud,
              You are right, brother, you are sooo right!

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Julian and Evening Bud,

              Julian, agreed our pro-hemp Senators and Reps should continue to play the hand they have, in the short term. That hand isn’t so hot right now, though. That’s why I think that our pro-hemp voters should treat McConnell like a STD, and get rid of it as soon as possible! After the midterms, we should be dealt a better hand, IF we don’t fall for fake-friendly, Republican marketing, which is all nothing but false promises. So, I think we are in agreement.

              Evening Bud, you have put your finger on a tactic used by the pot-smoking RWNJ’s. I have heard it from them, too! If I tell them that the Republicans — the very Republicans THEY SUPPORT — oppose legalization, they say, “Legalization is inevitable,” as if that makes any goddamn sense. All I can say about that is, while the “stupid stoner” mythology is a false stereotype, sometimes there will also be stupid people out there, Trump supporters, Republicans, who just also happen to enjoy marijuana. Their bullshit never ends. Like I said before, they put the cart before the horse. They say: I love pot; I am a Republican; therefore [all] Republicans support marijuana legalization. This is obviously a fallacy.

            • Julian says:

              Stupidity is inevitable.

      • Matt says:

        lol, Dear Julian…..he gave you “if THIS, than maybe THIS” song and dance. A new one? Fed. surv. smh, convinient for him. Good on you for writing, though. Backwards status quo dinosaurs….they NEVER change. Old white men, with old thinking, old ideas.

      • DefeatedInOhio says:

        Reading through the list, one would expect me to be excited. It seems all across America, sensible cannabis reform and the end of prohibition at state level is moving ahead… But. I am in Ohio. My wife does not want to move to a more free state. Stuck in Ohio without any forseeable chance of this state doing the ethical thing and allowing adults to consume cannabis, both for recreation and medical reasons. So, I give up. Anybody that can, who is not tied to a state such as Ohio with its utterly depressing views on the matter, pack your bags and head to a free part of the country. I give up. This is something that will never happen in Ohio. They had their chance in 2015 and cocked it up. So, toke away people. I’ll maybe a catch a whiff blowing down from soon to be legal Michigan.

        • Julian says:

          I live in Texas and I’m never giving up until cannabis is legally regulated in a fairly taxed, open source market. Even my seeds will grow to haunt this state legislature. Keep citizen lobbying. Keep marching. Keep the promise to our forefathers and to our unborn grandchildren, we will legalize hemp and marijuana for the whole country, and for the world.

          At least Ohio had a legalization bill, however flawed, called to a vote before the state legislature. We barely had an mmj bill out of committee!

          • Matt says:

            WE are reading your articles, Julian, don’t always have time to provide a proper response, but let me say you are seriously appreciated here, your posts are detailed, informative, and, personally, very often my favorites! lol, Cornyn’s response letter….

            old dinosaurs….

        • Evening Bud says:

          Defeated,

          I know it may sound trite to say, “Don’t give up.” But it’s true. Julian gives good advice here; he should know, he’s living in a hellhole in the world of MJ incarceration, but, somehow, I know Julian will be fighting for our cause to the end.

          I’ve sometimes felt that sense of hopelessness. But, for me at least, it feels at least a little therapeutic to call my politicos and ask for their support in MJ legalization.

          If Michigan were to legalize in any case–and my fingers are crossed–it will have to have some effect on Ohio. The fact that Colorado legalized is not lost on a single New Mexican that I’ve ever talked with. And mostly, the people here see the economic boom in Colorado with jobs creations, tax money, etc. Certainly when I call my politicos I always remind them of that.

    3. Duck says:

      Yeah, Julian, we wouldn’t want to complicate federal surveillance and enforcement measures, now would we? 8-/

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Yeah Duck, you’re right, that’s a creepy fucking thing to say. Sounds like a threat against Julian, reading between the lines. Intimidation: don’t speak out, he seems to be saying. That might intimidate some, but not Julian, I’ll bet good money!

    4. Mark Mitcham says:

      Dear Mr. Mitcham,

      Thank you for contacting me regarding marijuana. I appreciate you taking the time to write. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate and I hope you will continue to write with your thoughts and ideas on moving our country forward.

      On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters passed an amendment to the Colorado Constitution which legalized marijuana for personal use by adults over the age of 21. Apart from the legalization of marijuana, Amendment 64 also allows persons over the age of 21 to produce, grow, and sell marijuana at retail stores. Further, the Colorado General Assembly and the Governor’s Office are tasked with implementing regulations, restrictions, and taxes regarding the sale and usage of marijuana.

      There have been legislative proposals that seek to exempt Colorado from the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) when it comes to marijuana. The CSA, passed by Congress in 1970, lists marijuana as a Schedule I substance, making it illegal to possess, distribute or manufacture marijuana.

      Our founders intended for states to be laboratories of democracy and Colorado is deep in the heart of the laboratory. As proposals surrounding the legalization of marijuana continue, rest assured I am monitoring the situation closely and will keep your thoughts in mind.

      Again, thank you for contacting me, and do not hesitate to do so again when an issue is important to you.

      Sincerely,

      Cory Gardner
      United States Senator

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? But Gardner opposes marijuana legalization. He isn’t afraid to say so, except when he’s bullsitting me, as illustrated above. Notice he never indicates support. But Colorado is for stoners. So, the best lipstick he can put on it is that marijuana legalization is an experiment in a “laboratory.”

        Wrong! You soulless fuck, Gardner — medicine is a human right! But then again, you voted to take away my Healthcare, too, you bastard.

        I won’t be voting for any Republican. No Hell No. The Democrats are ready to legalize nationwide. The Republicans want to “experiment.” Fuck that!

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Take note: we don’t want to exempt Colorado from the CSA act, and leave the rest of USA to rot. That’s Federalism — The UN-united States of America. That sucks; so naturally, Republicans are for it. That divides USA leaving it ripe for plunder by oligarchs like Trump and his mommy, Putin.

        Instead, we want to remove cannabis from the CSA Act.

    5. Thomas says:

      We need to get Marijuana Legalization on ballot in Florida; also we need to fix fatal flaw in current medical marijuana laws causing anyone who gets a prescription to lose their 2nd Amendment Rights!

      Fluoride causes cancer & the population is forcefully drugged with it in the drinking water. Marijuana can cure cancer and many other ailments naturally, yet its still effectively banned completely for law abiding citizens in Florida who value their right to bear arms.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        The NRA does not support second amendment rights if you use marijuana or if you are black. It does support Putin, however.

        The NRA is UN-AMERICAN, and should lose the right to display the American flag.

      • Matt says:

        article post from me soon…check out what is happening in Utah. Groups there are going door to door, attempting, essentially to get ppl to remove their signatures from the ballot petition! Someone even approached a legalization group leader, saying the petition wording was “flawed,” and, therefore, misleading….on outrage, and shows Utah Medical Association, backed apparently in part by DEA (Big Pharma related?), getting desperate. Drug Free Utah is another. Google it, I will post this, and an article on just how LONG medical is taking here in MI when on a device which can copy, paste, and type faster than one laborious letter at a time.

      • Matt says:

        Old man Sembler, Gov. Scott, others

    6. Matt says:

      Thanks Julian and Mark, great shares! Good news, from multiple states!

    7. Matt says:

      and more soon on Iowa! “futurist” centrist there opposed to medical, heads PDR FREE IOWA and otherwise progressive, the Hawkeye State’s version of Maine’s Scott Gagnon…..great news from Louisiana, about time for full legalization in Hawaii, others.

    8. My vote goes to the Legalization of Marijuana. That’s it.

      Sunwest Genetics

    9. LAURA C SWEENEY says:

      Wondering if there is any news from FL? Still waiting for our dispensaries to get with the program and stock their shelves! Jacksonville is so far behind…does anybody care?

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