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LEGISLATION

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate October 12, 2018

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

    This week, The U.S. House bill to respect state medical cannabis laws (CARERS Act) got two new cosponsors, for a total of 30.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a clarification to a policy many feared would prevent Canadians who work or invest in marijuana businesses from entering the country, indicating that “A Canadian citizen working in or facilitating the proliferation of the legal marijuana industry in Canada, coming to the U.S. for reasons unrelated to the marijuana industry will generally be admissible to the U.S. however, if a traveler is found to be coming to the U.S. for reason related to the marijuana industry, they may be deemed inadmissible.”

    At the state level, The working group appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to draft NY’s leglaization legislation is taking public comments on this initiative until the end of October, and you can submit your own comments by clicking here, or you can email comments to rmls@health.ny.gov.

    New Hampshire’s Commission to Study the Legalization Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana will deliver its final report to Gov. Chris Sununu by Nov. 1. The commission includes legislators, law enforcement officials, state regulators, and law and medical professionals. The report will include recommendations for a legal marijuana market if legalization legislation were to pass, ranging from regulatory framework, to licensing processes, to tax rates and revenue projections.

    New Jersey lawmakers discussed the finer details of pending marijuana legalization legislation. The forthcoming bill addresses taxes, regulations and eligibility to operate a marijuana business. It also includes provisions to address racial inequities in marijuana arrests, and to provide for expungement.

    Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo signed a bill into law allowing medical cannabis home cultivation.

    At a more local level, a Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council committee voted to delay consideration of a proposed ordinance to lower marijuana possession penalties, and the Lawrence, Kansas City Commission is considering a proposal to lower marijuana penalties.

    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

    Pennsylvania

    House Bill 928 was carried over from last year, seeking to reduce minor marijuana possession penalties.

    HB 928 amends state law so that first and second marijuana possession offenses (up to 30 grams) are reduced from misdemeanor offenses to a summary offense, punishable by a fine only.

    Update: HB 928 was heard by the House Judiciary Committee on 10/9 at 9:30am, then approved by the committee after shooting down a proposed amendment that would have barred local jurisdictions in the state from imposing their own decriminalization policies.

    PA resident? Click here to email your representatives in support of decriminalization

    That’s all for this week!

  • by Mary Kruger, Executive Director, Roc NORML October 9, 2018

    A listening session was held Thursday evening in Rochester, New York to get feedback about what the community wants to see in the legislation currently being drafted to legalize cannabis for adult use in NY. See the full list of listening sessions happening state-wide here.

    The legislation being drafted is set to pass next April with the budget, and there were many issues from both sides brought up during the session. Overall, the consensus in the room seemed in line with the polling of the state; most people in the room were in favor of legalizing for adult use, while a considerable amount of people are still opposed to the topic due to a mere lack of education.

    Mary Kruger, Executive Director of Roc NORML, the Rochester, NY chapter of the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws, shown in this interview, testified during the session to advocate that restorative justice be on the forefront of the legislation, including: sealing of records and resentencing for low-level marijuana possession related offenses, developing a diverse and inclusive industry with priority licensing that promotes small business growth, and community reinvestment grants.

    The police chief shown in the interview also testified during the session, on behalf of the Monroe County Association Chiefs of Police, in which they indicated their opposition to legalizing cannabis for adult use because “we don’t need another drug on the street.”

    The work group drafting the legislation is taking public comments on this initiative until the end of October at the email address listed below. In your email, make sure to include the following before your testimony:

    Session Location: Rochester

    Organization: As applicable and/or Roc NORML

    Your Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email

    Send emails to rmls@health.ny.gov with the subject line “NYS Regulated Marijuana Listening Session Comment”, or  click here to fill out your contact information and send testimony instantly.

    Roc NORML will also be holding their October Monthly Meeting at which a summary of the session will be provided and volunteers will be available to help the community submit their own testimonies. Keep an eye on your inbox for more details coming soon, or click here to sign up for Roc NORML’s mailing list.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate October 5, 2018

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

    Three U.S. House bills gained new cosponsors this week. One to shield federal employees from being fired for state-legal marijuana (Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act) use got two new cosponsors, for a total of seven. The one to respect state medical cannabis laws (CARERS Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28. And another to require the licensing of more cannabis cultivators for research (Medical Cannabis Research Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of 43.

    At the state level, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill into law facilitating the review and expungement of hundreds of thousands of past marijuana convictions.

    But he vetoed bills that would have allowed schools to adopt policies for parents to administer medical cannabis to students, let businesses give away free medical cannabis, and allowed safe injection facilities for illegal drugs.

    Michigan lawmakers sent Gov. Rick Snyder (R) a bill to ban marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages. Separately, the House Agriculture Committee is considering an industrial hemp bill.

    Utah medical cannabis supporters have reached an agreement with opponents on compromise legislation, which they expect to be considered during a special session in November. All sides said they will “de-escalate” efforts to campaign around the ballot measure and instead focus on the legislation.

    Mississippi activists have so far collected more than 5,000 signatures in support of a proposed 2020 medical cannabis ballot measure.

    A bit outside the bubble, but Guam senators approved legislation to allow home cultivation of medical cannabis.

    At a more local level, the Superior, Wisconsin City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance. And a medical cannabis tax proposed by Phoenix, Arizona’s mayor was unanimously defeated by the City Council.

    As far as specific pieces of legislation go, none have moved this week, as most states’ legislative sessions are adjourned for this year. But be sure to check http://norml.org/act for any legislation still pending in your state and the federal level.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as bills move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

     

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 1, 2018

    Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation, Assembly Bill 1793, facilitating the review and expungement of hundreds of thousands of past marijuana convictions.

    The new law requires “the Department of Justice, before July 1, 2019, to review the records in the state summary criminal history information database and to identify past convictions that are potentially eligible for recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or redesignation pursuant to AUMA (the Adult Use Marijuana Act).” Prosecutors would have up to a year to either vacate the conviction or to reduce it from a felony to a misdemeanor.

    An estimated half-million Californians are eligible for relief under the law. “Long after paying their debt to society, people shouldn’t continue to face the collateral consequences, like being denied a job or housing, because they have an outdated conviction on their records,” the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, said.

    Other states – including Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, and Rhode Island – have enacted similar expungement laws following the passage of either marijuana decriminalization or legalization.

    Governor Brown also took action on several other marijuana-related bills. Specifically, he vetoed Senate Bill 1127, which permitted certain students to access medicinal cannabis products on school grounds, and Assembly Bill 1996, which authorized the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to cultivate marijuana for clinical trial research. The Governor also vetoed Senate Bill 829, which prohibited cultivation taxes from being imposed on medicinal cannabis designated for donation to indigent patients, and signed into law Senate Bill 1294, which allocates grant funding to assist minority-owned businesses in the cannabis industry.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate September 28, 2018

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

    This week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed CBD medication Epidiolex in Schedule V, the least restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act. The move does not apply to CBD itself or other non-FDA-approved extracts containing it.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection released an official statement confirming the federal government’s policy of banning Canadians who work or invest in the marijuana industry from entering the country.

    The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked yet another marijuana measure from advancing, this time an amendment to remove the 280E tax penalty on cannabis businesses.

    At the state level, Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley filed a bill that would legalize the possession, use, and retail sale of adult use marijuana and also expunge certain marijuana convictions.

    New Jersey’s Senate president said he anticipates a vote on marijuana legalization legislation on October 29. The bill still has yet to be introduced.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled. See the full list of sessions here. Cuomo also signed a bill into law, adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use.

    California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. But he signed bills allowing local governments to approve temporary marijuana events at any location they choose, creating a grant program to assist with the implementation of local measures to ensure equity in the cannabis industry, and others.

    At a more local level, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

    Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

    The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance to avoid jail time for marijuana possession. The Kingsland, Georgia City Council also approved an ordinance to eliminate jail time as a penalty for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana under the city code. And similarly, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council approved a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

    Following are the bills we’ve tracked still sitting on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

    Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

    Click here to email your senators in support of this important legislation

    California

    Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to 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. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

    Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

    CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of expungement

    Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

    Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

    CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

    Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

    Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

    CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

    That’s all for this week!

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