NORML’s Legislative Round Up January 22nd, 2016

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate January 22, 2016

    map_leafPlenty of marijuana law reform legislation was introduced in state legislatures across the country this week! We have news out of Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, Utah and Washington. Plus some news from abroad! Keep reading below to get the latest news in marijuana law reform from this week.


    Chile: A medical marijuana farm in the country was officially “inaugurated” this week, signifying a growing approval of medical marijuana use in the region. The farm is the largest medical marijuana plantation in Latin America and will provide medicine to about 4,000 patients in the country.

    Israel: The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee held a joint session with the Anti-Drug and Alcohol Committee to discuss reform of the country’s medical marijuana regulations. Currently only a small number of doctors can prescribe the medicine and there is a shortage of supply so officials are looking to expand physician privileges to prescribe cannabis.

    “People are dying and suffering [from lack of the drug],” they said. “We have heard grandiose promises, but so far there are no answers. There is plenty of bureaucracy that doesn’t know how to deal with individual cases.

    Mexico:  After a series of public debates and bipartisan support, a bill to allow the importation of medical marijuana products is expected to pass by May.

    The bill, proposed by Institutional Revolutionary Party Senator Cristina Diaz, aims to change Mexican laws to allow the import of medical marijuana products to help the roughly 5,000 medical patients currently without access to such drugs.”


    Georgia: A newly introduced Senate Resolution seeks to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot to regulate adult marijuana use.

    SR6 would allow voters to decide if they wish to regulate the commercial cultivation, processing, and retail of marijuana to adults over the age of 21. You can read the full text of this proposal here. To contact your lawmakers and urge their support for the measure, click here.

    Kansas: Senate lawmakers are considering legislation, HB 2049, to amend various penalties and regulations specific to marijuana possession and use.

    House Bill 2049 seeks to a) establish a statewide research program to oversee the production of industrial hemp, b) authorize the limited use of cannabidiol for therapeutic purposes, and c) reduce criminal penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses from a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year incarceration and a $2,500 fine) to a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine).

    Click here to learn more and urge your lawmakers to support this legislation.

    Maryland: January 21, members of the Maryland House and Senate voted to override a 2015 veto and to decriminalize the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

    Members of the House decided 86 to 55 in favor of overriding the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 517. Members of the Senate decided 29 to 17 to enact the legislation.

    Senate Bill 517 amends existing criminal penalties regarding the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia from a misdemeanor, punishable by possible jail time, to a civil violation. However, amended language also includes a provision establishing a civil fine of up to $500 for offenses involving the use of marijuana in public. NORML and our affiliates will be working in the future to amend this penalty.

    New Hampshire: This week public testimony was heard on the three pending legalization measures in the House of Representatives.legalization_poll

    On January 27th, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will be voting on the  three separate bills that would legalize various amounts of marijuana.

    HB 1610, HB 1675, and HB 1694 all seek to permit the personal cultivation and commercial retail sale of marijuana in the state.

    For more information or to urge your lawmakers to support legalization in New Hampshire, click here.

    House bill 1631, legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, is also pending in the House of Representatives.

    Last year, similar legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the House in a 297-67 vote, but was tabled in the Senate. Click here for more information!

    Utah: SB 73, the Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, was introduced this week and seeks to amend state law to permit for the state-licensed cultivation of cannabis, including strains with higher THC content, for the manufacturing of medicinal products and/or herbal preparations.

    Under a 2014 law, qualifying patients are permitted to possess cannabis extracts that contain more than 15 percent CBD and no more than 0.3 percent THC. However, the law provides no legal supply source for these products and, as a result, it has largely failed to meet the needs of patients.

    Competing legislation seeks to only permit the use of CBD in pill or oil form and prohibits any form of THC.

    Click here to contact your lawmakers and urge them to support SB 73!

    Washington: Newly introduced legislation, HB 2629, The Adult Home Grow & Criminal Reduction Bill would permit adults to grow a limited number of marijuana plants for personal use.

    Similar legislation (SB 6083) was heard last year in a special legislative session.

    Click here to urge your lawmakers in Washington to support these measures.


    Additional information for these and other pending legislative measures may be found at our #TakeAction Center!

    ** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and to make the changes they want to see. Get active; get NORML!

    23 responses to “NORML’s Legislative Round Up January 22nd, 2016”

    1. Cat Cassie says:

      Well that’s pretty good news. Kansas is the one that shocks me. That’s a good start for them if it happens but I thought they were one of the states with a lawsuit against us.

      • Julian says:

        I agree; In one of the strictest states for marijuana prohibition, Kansas surprised me too. We can only hope this helps the ongoing case of Shona Banda who had to back off of preliminary hearings in defense of possession to protect her son (still in state custody) from being forced by the local prosecutor to testify against his own mother for consuming marijuana to treat her Chrone’s disease. Perhaps national attention to this deplorable act of state-sponsored terrorism is finally creating some momentum to reform marijuana law in the Kansas state legislature. Being a state that has no voter initiative, these are some bold new proposals in the heart of our country, and a sign that even the hardest prohibitionists are losing their base of fear and ignorance.

        • Mark I. says:

          I’ve been trying to get Kansas to use cannabis for phytoremediation. Every summer we loose the recreational lakes due to plumes that cannabis growing below the feed yards would alleviate. These old politicians like to recreate? Or are we just waiting for them to pass on?

          • Julian says:

            Yeah its fun to corner a so-called “conservative ” politician with several people in his office and provide evidence that cannabis is conservative; it conserves soil, water, produces more protein than corn, more fiber than cotton and without the pesticides or fertilizers… Unless dried up corn is what they want to feed our cattle during the next drought… Good luck with that Mr. Conservative Congressman!

            But this case with Shona Banda cuts into the heart of hypocrisy with prohibition. A kid stands up in a DARE meeting to tell cops that they’re wrong, that marijuana treats his mother’s Chrones Disease, and they raid the home, take state custody and terrorize the child by telling him to go on the stand and testify against his mother?
            That is nothing less than domestic state sponsored terror for profit, and the Kansas legislature knows it.

    2. Julian says:

      How’s that for a twist in the old joint? Mexico is proposing importing their medical marijuana rather than grow it in plain competition with illegal growers?

      At least the suppliers from Colorado won’t kill each other over who gets the contract. They can settle that in court instead of the streets.

      Hey, anybody need a medical cannabis broker from the US to Mexico? I can navigate and have ties for a small contractor’s fee… _\|/_

    3. Michelle says:

      Come on Georgia!!! Hubby and I just moved here to get him the oil for Crohn’s disease. Sick people need this medicine!!

    4. Oliver Steinberg says:

      Minnesota has an abbreviated legislative session this year due to construction work on the Capitol. Along with another NORML member, I spoke with four legislators last Wednesday night. We have a clear sense of what we are up against. Our allies in the legislature are still afraid to break the taboo and many who should be our allies are misled by incessant anti-cannabis propaganda aimed directly at them. If NORML has a political coordinator, we in the heartland are unaware of it.

    5. Doogalou says:

      Good news in AZ too! Hundreds of Arizonans called and emailed a republican law maker who was trying to introduce law to restrict access to patients by banning 85% of doctors who can recommend a patient to receive their state issued mmj card.
      When he was asked why he changed his mind after the hundreds of calls from patients and other supporters of the current AZ mmj program, he said that he did not do enough research!?!!

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      Yea, Maryland!

    7. TheOracle says:

      Andy Harris of Maryland keeps screwing things up for DC, and his kind of rhetoric likely sways Marylanders from being able to make more progress and faster toward legalization.

      We need the public to see and hear him in potumentaries and newsbytes spouting out stupid shit like he did with Adam Eidinger.

      His ridicule and the criticism against him and his assholish statements regarding cannabis certainly ought to dissuade other politicians from repeating them, while resulting in Andy Harris having to shut the fuck up.


    8. TheOracle says:

      East Coast cannatourists to Colorado don’t even register significantly in the Leafly Out-of-State Visitors to Colorado’s cannabis shops. That means the first state near enough to the I-95 corridor is out to make some really BIG BUCKS until other states around them legalize, too. It could be years until other states’ politicians pull their heads out of their asses.


    9. TheOracle says:

      So much for Trudeau’s legalizing cannabis in Canada because of this raid in Toronto. I thought he was going to call off the dawgz!


      The sooner Canada and the US send envoys to the UN Secretary General to demand the UN get the hell out of the way of legalization the sooner Trudeau and Obama can stop dragging their feet. Pennsylvania is between Ottawa and Washington, DC so I am hoping that FINALLY Pennsylvania’s politicians will be forced to legalize. Thus far, we have all too many assholes cut out of the same fiber as that Andy Harris of Maryland.

    10. grandma3d says:

      I just posted two comments on Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s facebook page please go to her facebook page under comments “Last Chance Iowa Caucus see picture of O’Malley, Hillary and Bernie walking across stage. My comment follows: “It is unfortunate that you support Alcohol consumption (as well as the alcohol industry financially supporting your political career). Shame on you. Alcohol kills people every day.Yet you are against Cannabis consumption which has never killed anyone and has been proven to be highly beneficial for a number of health problems. I feel sorry for you constituents some of which are war veterans suffering with severe pain and PTSD who would greatly benefit from the medicinal properties of cannabis consumption. You should really identify yourself as a Republican because you have the same agenda. Wake up to the truth, Full legalization is coming get on board or get left behind.” 2nd comment : “I am ashamed of you as a woman and as a democrat. Please change your obvious mistaken affiliation with the democratic party and identify yourself as the true Republican you really are.”.