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NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 9, 2018

    Legislation to significantly expand patients’ access to medical cannabis will become law later this fall following a decision today by Maine lawmakers to override the Governor’s veto.

    By a vote of 119 to 23 in the House and 25 to 8 in the Senate, lawmakers rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of LD 1539. The bill will become law 90 days after the conclusion of the 2018 legislative session.

    Under the new law, physicians will possess the discretion to recommend cannabis for any patient for whom they believe it will benefit. It also expands the total number of licensed medical dispensaries from eight to 14, earmarks funding for medical marijuana research, permits caregivers to oversee multiple patients, and licenses marijuana extraction facilities, among other changes.

    An estimated 42,000 patients are currently certified with the state to use medical marijuana.

    Republican Gov. Paul LePage has a long history of opposing virtually all marijuana law reform legislation, and has previously vetoed numerous bills seeking to liberalize the state’s cannabis policies.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Legalize marijuanaProponents of a statewide ballot initiative to legalize the adult use of marijuana in North Dakota turned in nearly 19,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office today in an effort to place the measure before voters this November. State officials must certify 13,452 signatures in order to qualify the measure for the 2018 electoral ballot.

    The voter-initiated measure, organized by the grass-roots group Legalize North Dakota, legalizes the possession, use, and sale of cannabis, as well as the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, by those over the age of 21 and also expunges past marijuana convictions.

    In 2016, nearly two-thirds of state voters approved a ballot measure regulating medical cannabis access. However, state officials have yet to make the program operational — with regulators now aiming to have licensed dispensaries up and running by June 2019. Regulators’ failure to swiftly implement the 2016 measure was the impetus for the 2018 campaign, activists have acknowledged.

    State officials are anticipated to take an estimated 35 days to verify proponents’ signatures. According to internal polling data commissioned by the Legalize North Dakota campaign, a plurality of voters back the measure.

    Voters in Michigan will also be deciding this November on whether to legalize the adult use of marijuana, while voters in Utah and Missouri will be deciding on medical access measures.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate July 6, 2018

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

    At the state level, Vermont’s law legalizing marijuana possession and home cultivation took effect on July 1, and so did Georgia’s law allowing low-THC medical cannabis preparations for PTSD and intractable pain. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that although marijuana legalization didn’t make it into the state’s budget deal, there is agreement from lawmakers to get it done “sooner rather than later.” The Senate president said that legislators are “committed” to passing marijuana legalization this summer.

    At a more local level, the Rock County, Wisconsin Board voted to place a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot. The Forest Park, Georgia City Council voted 3-2 for decriminalization and a Savannah, Georgia law allowing police to avoid low-level marijuana arrests took effect on Sunday.

    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 Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, 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 e-mail your senators and urge them to support this important legislation

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    Senate Bill 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.

    Update: The House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee recommended the passage of SB 20-62 on 7/2.

    CNMI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    Delaware

    Senate Bill 197 seeks 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. The bill was already passed by the Senate last month.

    Update: on 7/2, SB 197 was unanimously approved by the House. The bill now awaits action from Governor John Carney (D).

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

    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.

    Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 8/6 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.

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

    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: On 7/2, SB 829 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a vote of 8-1, and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of helping needy patients

    Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on campus to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms.

    Update: SB 1127 was heard by the Judiciary Committee on 7/3, and then approved by the Committee by a 7-3 vote.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanded access to medical cannabis in schools

    That’s all the legislative updates for this week!

  • by NORML July 4, 2018

    How are you celebrating freedom this Fourth of July? Having a cookout with neighbors? Watching fireworks with your family? Lighting up with friends?

    For millions of Americans who consume cannabis, that freedom may be fleeting. In many states, Americans are still threatened with arrest, criminal prosecution, and jail time for marijuana possession. First-time offenders in states like Arizona and Florida may even face felony charges for small possession charges. In Oklahoma, growing even a single plant is punishable by up to life in prison.

    At NORML we understand that this harsh reality is probably not something that you think about every single day, let alone on a holiday. But, we do, and it’s why we’re working hard to empower NORML’s national network of engaged citizens — citizens like you — to change America’s outdated and overly punitive marijuana laws. And, because of good folks like you, we are winning!

    Will you join us in DC later this month for our Lobby Day to urge Congress to reform our nation’s marijuana laws?

    Can’t make it? Get your official membership card and help fund NORML’s critical work

    It is the highest ideal of American democracy that our nation has a well-informed and politically engaged electorate. That is why every week through our blog, social networks, and newsletter, NORML arms our supporters with the latest science, news, legislative and legal developments pertaining to cannabis and cannabis policy. Via the NORML Action Center, we keep you up to date on and engaged in all state and federal legislative efforts to end marijuana prohibition and restore our freedoms. Thanks to the 200,000+ of you who have taken action over the past few months!

    Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we come together and assert our authority over our elected officials. The Declaration of Independence explicitly states: That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

    In sum, it is our responsibility to compel our elected officials to institute change.

    So join us in DC later this month or get your membership card now and fuel the movement.

    Our system of government is not perfect. In fact, it is far from it. But for hundreds of years, citizens have organized and struggled to come closer to Thomas Jefferson’s iconic aspiration, “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Thomas Jefferson legally grew cannabis. You should be able to as well.

    Happy Fourth of July,
    The NORML Team

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director July 3, 2018

    Can you smell it? It’s the smell of victory!

    At a time when news comes fast and furious, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all. So we’d like to take a moment to remind you of some of the amazing events that have transpired over just the past month.

    June 16: The Texas GOP added marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis planks to their party’s platform.

    June 19: A new nationwide poll reported that 68 percent of US voters back legalizing marijuana — the highest percentage of support ever recorded!

    June 20: Canada became the second country in the world to formally approve adult marijuana use, production, and sales, and announced October 17, 2018 as the effective legalization date.

    June 23: The Texas Democratic party added marijuana legalization as a plank to their party’s platform.

    June 25: The FDA approved the first-ever plant-based marijuana medicine for the treatment of intractable pediatric epilepsy.

    June 26: Oklahoma became the 31st state to legalize medical cannabis access, passing one of the most patient-centric medical marijuana programs ever.

    June 27: The Senate’s leading Democrat introduced landmark legislation to deschedule cannabis and expunge past convictions.

    Yes, indeed, we ARE winning — and with your continued support we are not going to get “tired of winning” any time soon.

    When NORML was founded in 1970, the deck was stacked against us and only 12% of Americans supported reform. Now, the dominos are falling in our favor, one by one — one city and one state at a time. That is because good folks like you are stepping up, speaking out, and demanding to be heard. Together, we are effectively pushing statewide reforms through ballot boxes and legislatures from coast to coast and nearly every state in between. Thank you for pledging your support for the end of federal prohibition by continuing to be an active part of NORML and the marijuana law reform movement.

    Are you tired of winning? I didn’t think so. Help us achieve even more important victories in the weeks and months ahead.

    Chip in $25, $50 or $100 to keep NORML going strong or make a monthly pledge to marijuana reform now.

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