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NORML Blog

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator April 20, 2019

    NORML's Legislative US MapWelcome to the 4/20 edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Holidaze, and remember to consume responsibly!

    At the state level, Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation into law to facilitate regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of oils and other products containing limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

    Governor Laura Kelly (D) of Kansas signed industrial hemp production legislation into law.

    A decriminalization bill was defeated in the Missouri House of Representatives this week.

    At a more local level, The city commissioners of Daytona Beach voted to decriminalize up to 20 grams of marijuana possession.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    Alabama

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 96 / Senate Bill 98, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, to a non-criminal violation punishable by a maximum fine of $250.

    Update: SB 98 was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/17/18.

    AL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    California

    Legislation is pending, AB 286, to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.

    Update: AB 286 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 4/23/19

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of lower taxes

    Senate Bill 34, which 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 34 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on 4/22/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of compassionate care programs

    AB 1465 (Bloom) would allow licensing of cannabis consumption cafés and lounges in California.

    Update: Ab 1465 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 4/23/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of social consumption lounges

    SB 51 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on 4/24/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

    Colorado

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1230, to allow the social consumption of cannabis by adults in licensed and regulated establishments.

    The measure would establish a license permit process for hospitality spaces to allow cannabis products to be legally purchased and consumed on site.

    Update: HB 19-1230 was approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on 4/16/19, and was then approved by the House of Representatives on 4/18. The bill now heads to the Senate.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of social consumption sites

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1234, to allow licensed marijuana businesses to deliver both medical and adult use marijuana to private residences.

    The measure would establish a licensing system for such delivery services and also require training for delivery permit holders.

    Update: HB 19-1234 was approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on 4/16/19. and was then approved by the House of Representatives on 4/18. The bill now heads to the Senate.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis delivery services

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 19-220, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB -220 was approved by the Senate on 4/15, and will now be transmitted to the House.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Delaware

    Senate Bill 37 would reform the expungement processes for individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

    If enacted, the bill would expand the pool of those eligible to seek expungement to include those convicted of a single misdemeanor or felony charge related to marijuana.

    Update: SB 37 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/17/19, and now awaits action in the House.

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

    Florida

    Legislation is pending, H. 333, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Separately, SB 1020 would also regulate industrial hemp production, and a third measure, SB 7102 would allow for the retail sale of hemp extracts.

    Update: H. 333 was unanimously approved by the House State Affairs Committee on 4/18/19, SB 7102 was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on 4/18.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: HB 673 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/9/19, but the House disagreed with the Senate amendments, so the bill will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1353, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 1353 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/9/19, but the House disagreed with the Senate amendments, so the bill will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, HF 754 and SF 599, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SF 599 was approved by the Senate on 4/15/19, and was then heard in the House Appropriations Committee on 4/18/19.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Nebraska

    Legislation is pending, LB 657, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: LB 657 was approved by the Senate on 4/15/19.

    NE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, SB 430, that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.

    The measure would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with anxiety, autism, opioid addiction or dependence, anorexia, among others.

    Update: SB 430 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on 4/16/19, and was then approved by the Senate on 4/18.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senate Bill 228:

    • Allows service providers such as massage therapists and reflexologists to administer hemp and CBD products for therapeutic purposes; and
    • Allows veterinarians to administer hemp and CBD products to animals

    Update: SB 228 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/16/19, and now awaits action in the Assembly. The bill was amended to remove provisions concerning prohibiting a practitioner from refusing to prescribe a controlled substance to a patient solely because the patient uses marijuana and establishing a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the state’s medical marijuana access program. Provisions allowing veterinarians to administer hemp and CBD products to animals.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.

    Update: HB 481 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/23/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: HB 350 was approved by the Senate on a voice vote on 4/18/19, and now awaits action from the Governor.

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

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 459, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 459 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on 4/23/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, S. 58 / H. 766, to expand upon the state’s decriminalization law and also to provide for the expungement of certain prior cannabis convictions.

    Under current law, the possession of 1.5 ounces of cannabis is classified as a misdemeanor. These proposals raise that threshold to four ounces. The bill would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to expunge their record.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded decriminalization

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 970, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients, as well as those with prior or pending cannabis convictions, from housing discrimination.

    Update: SB 970 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Human Services and Housing Committee on 4/22/19.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Update: SB 256 is scheduled for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/23/19.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SB 260/HB 234, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally possess their medicine while visiting Tennessee.

    Under this measure, patients who are registered to use medical cannabis in those 33 jurisdictions that permit its therapeutic use may legally possess up to a half-ounce of cannabis while visiting Tennessee.

    Update: SB 260 is scheduled for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/23/19.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of out-of-state protections

    Vermont

    S. 54 is pending to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committee on S. 54 was heard by the House Committees on Government Operations; Judiciary; and Commerce and Economic Development this week.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, HB 1401 / SB 5719, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 1401 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/15/19. The bill will now head back to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 19, 2019

    Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that the use of marijuana by adults “should be legal,” according to national polling data compiled by CBS News. That figure is six percentage points above last year’s total, and is the highest percentage of support ever recorded in a CBS poll.

    Majorities of Democrats and Republicans back legalization, and most respondents agree that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol or other drugs. Fifty-five percent of Americans also acknowledged having personally consumed cannabis, the highest total reported in the poll’s history.

    Most Americans (62 percent), including a majority of Republicans and Democrats, also say that they oppose the federal government taking action to disrupt the production and sale of marijuana in states where it is currently legal.

    The CBS poll results are consistent with those of other recent major surveys, such as those by Gallup (66 percent), Pew (62 percent), and Quinnipiac University (60 percent) — all of which similarly show support for legalization at record or near-record highs.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 18, 2019

    home cultivationCook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged that her office will begin expunging thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in the coming months. Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the second-most populous county in the United States.

    Foxx’s office is negotiating with the same non-profit group that assisted the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in automatically reviewing and vacating over 8,000 past marijuana-related convictions earlier this year.

    Foxx also indicated that her office is reviewing policies regarding whether to bring criminal prosecutions in cases involving marijuana sales. Under existing policy, the office typically does not prosecute low-level drug possession offenses.

    Under state law, the possession of more than ten grams of cannabis but less than 30 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. Possessing more than 30 grams is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to six years in jail.

    In recent months, prosecutors in a number of major cities – including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – have moved to limit low-level marijuana prosecutions, while officials in a number of other cities and counties, like Brooklyn, Denver, San Diego, and Seattle have moved to vacate past cannabis-specific convictions. .

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 17, 2019

    Marijuana CBD OilRepublican Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation into law today to facilitate regulations governing the licensed production and distribution of oils and other products containing limited amounts of plant-derived THC.

    House Bill 324 (aka Georgia’s Hope Act) establishes a regulatory commission to oversee the eventual “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC to qualified patients. The law allows for the licensing of up to six cultivation operations, and seeks collaboration with the University of Georgia in the manufacturing of THC-infused extracts and oils.

    Under a 2015 state law, qualified patients are exempt from criminal prosecution for the possession of oil extracts containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than the amount of THC. However, the law failed to provide any mechanism for patients to obtain low-THC products from a state-regulated producer or provider.

    Approximately 9,500 patients are currently registered with the state to possess medical cannabis products.

    For additional information on pending state legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

  • by NORML April 15, 2019

    As we approach April 20, we’d like to take a minute to thank you for being an active supporter of NORML’s efforts to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.

    As we say, “when we’re talking, we’re winning.” So, as a token of our appreciation for your support, we want to send you our conversation-starting sticker!

    When NORML was founded in 1970, only 12% of the country supported legalizing marijuana; 88% were opposed to our goals. After decades of hard work by thousands of committed advocates like you, we have gradually won the hearts and minds of a majority of the public. Today, over 60% of adults nationwide support ending marijuana prohibition and establishing a regulated market where consumers can obtain marijuana in a safe and secure setting.

    NORML’s work is fueled by the power of grassroots supporters just like you – not big donors or the emerging cannabis industry. Because of that, we are the only organization that focuses on the issues facing consumers, ranging from criminalization, employment discrimination, child custody, expungement, and a litany of other issues that impact responsible marijuana consumers.

    Make a contribution of $10 or more now to keep our momentum going and we’ll send you a sticker to show off your support!

    We still have lots of work ahead of us, even in those states that have enacted some form of marijuana legalization. But, as we continue to educate our lawmakers and fellow citizens alike, we’ll get there together.

    Thanks for all you do,

    The NORML team

    P.S. Don’t want a sticker but want to help offset the costs of us distributing them around the country? Click here to make a contribution to keep NORML going strong.

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