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NORML Blog

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator April 24, 2019

    On Thursday, April 25, members of the Texas House of Representatives are scheduled to consider a marijuana decriminalization bill.

    House Bill 63 would reduce penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail, to a civil offense punishable by a $250 fine only.

    The bill was approved by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last month by a 5-2 vote.

    Thursday will be the first time in decades that marijuana decriminalization will be discussed on the House Floor. It is essential to continue to build momentum behind this important piece of legislation so that minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, are no longer saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.

    Click here to send a message to your Texas state representatives now in support of decriminalization, and urge them to co-author HB 63

    The consideration of HB 63 on the House floor comes just days after the state’s House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp production bill, and after a separate House committee approved a bill to expand access to medical cannabis for Texas patients.

    Governor Greg Abbott (R) has expressed his opposition to legalizing adult use marijuana, but has also stated that he is open to reducing low-level marijuana possession penalties.

    For additional information on marijuana reform efforts in Texas, visit the Texas NORML website.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 23, 2019

    After multiple delays, regulators are finally moving forward with draft regulations to implement the state’s 2016 voter-approved initiative legalizing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana.

    Regulators are now deliberating over a 73-page draft of rules governing the adult use marijuana market. The rules will not be finalized until regulators receive input from the public and they are approved by a majority of lawmakers.

    Under the proposed rules, commercial licenses will only be granted initially to state residents. Those with a felony drug conviction within the past ten years will be ineligible for a license.

    The proposed regulations also impose limits with regard to THC content and the appearance of cannabis-infused edible products. Retailers will not be permitted to sell customers more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and/or five grams of concentrate in a single day. Retailers will need to first receive local approval prior to applying for a state operators license.

    Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – have repeatedly taken steps to delay the law’s implementation.

    Newly elected Gov. Janet Mills (D) is on record stating that lawmakers “must follow the will of the people [and] implement the [voter-initiated marijuana] law.”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 22, 2019

    Cannabis PenaltiesA spokesperson for the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff’s Office announced today that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders.

    Under the new policy, police will issue a summons to those who possess personal amounts of marijuana or cannabis-related paraphernalia. Offenders will no longer be arrested or booked. Those cited and released will still have to either pay a fine or appear in court at a later date. Those with prior cannabis violations will still be eligible to receive a summons.

    Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $6,000 fine.

    Similar cite and release programs are in place in other cities and counties around the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida and in Harris County (Houston), Texas.

    Additional information is available from NORML’s ‘Local Decriminalization’ report, online here.

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

    NORML's Legislative Action CenterWelcome 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.

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