NORML’s Legislative Round Up May 6th, 2016

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate May 6, 2016

    US_capitolLegislation around the country is moving quickly and we’ve got numerous updates for you this week. Keep reading below to find out if your state is moving forward with marijuana law reform!

    Alabama: Governor Robert Bentley has signed legislation, House Bill 61, to protect qualified patients eligible for CBD therapy under a physician’s authorization from criminal prosecution. The measure, known as ‘Leni’s Law’, allows qualified patients to possess CBD preparations containing up to three percent THC. The new law takes effect June 1st, 2016.

    Colorado: House and Senate lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved legislation, House Bill 1373, to permit qualified patients access to the use formulations of medical cannabis while on school grounds.The measure now awaits action by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who indicated that he would sign the measure into law. “My son, if he needed medical marijuana and he needed it during the day while he was in school, I’d want him to have that opportunity,” Hickenlooper said.

    Connecticut: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation expanding patients’ access to the state’s medicinal cannabis program. House Bill 5450 permits qualifying patients under the age of 18 to possess and consume medical cannabis preparations and it also expands the list of qualifying illnesses eligible for cannabis therapy. Other provisions in the bill seek to establish a statewide clinical research program, and protect nurses from criminal, civil, or disciplinary sanction if they choose to administer marijuana to a qualifying patient in a hospital setting. The measure now awaits action by Governor Dannel Malloy. #TakeAction

    Hawaii: Legislation is pending before Governor David Ige to expand medical cannabis access and dispensing. The measure expands the pool of practitioners who may legally recommend cannabis therapy to include advanced nurse practitioners. Separate provisions in the bill remove the prohibition on Sunday dispensary sales and on the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia by qualified patients.It also permits the transportation of medical marijuana across islands for the purposes of laboratory testing. #TakeAction

    Kansas: House and Senate lawmakers have signed off on sentencing reform legislation, House Bill 2049, that reduces 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). Second convictions will no longer be classified as a felony offense. The bill now heads to Gov. Brownback’s desk, and will become law if he does not veto it within 10 days. #TakeAction

    Louisiana: Senate legislation to fix and expand the state’s dormant medical marijuana law received a boost this week after a House Committee amended and passed the measure. Senate Bill 271 seeks to change the language of existing law so that physicians may ‘recommend’ rather than prescribe cannabis therapy. Under federal law, physicians cannot legally ‘prescribe’ cannabis or any schedule I substance. It also expands the pool of patients eligible to receive marijuana therapy. The legislation is scheduled to be heard by members of the House Health and Welfare Committee next week. #TakeAction
    New Hampshire: Members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12 to 7 this week to amend Senate-backed sentencing reform legislation, Senate Bill 498, to also include provisions decriminalizing minor, first-time marijuana possession offenses. The amended language would make first-time offenses a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. The civil penalty would be limited to a fine only: no arrest, prosecution, or criminal record. Subsequent offenses would continue to be classified as misdemeanors. #TakeAction

    Oklahoma: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, HB 2835, to expand the pool of patients eligible to possess cannabidiol under a physician’s authorization. As amended, House Bill 2835 would include legal protections to the following patient groups: those with “spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or due to paraplegia, intractable nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation with chronic wasting diseases.” The measure also removes the age requirement limitation from existing law so that adults with various forms of epilepsy are eligible for CBD therapy. The measure now awaits action from Gov. Mary Fallin. #TakeAction

    Pennsylvania: Representative Ed Gainey is seeking co-sponsors for soon-to-be introduced legislation that would amend minor marijuana possession offenses to a non-criminal offense. Despite both local and nationwide progress on the issue of cannabis prohibition, Pennsylvania continues to charge over 18,000 individuals each year with minor possessory offenses. Please urge your House member to sign on as a co-sponsor to this important legislation. #TakeAction

    Rhode Island: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to consider SB 2420, legislation to regulate the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to those over the age of 21, on Tuesday, May 10th.  Adults would be permitted to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It also permits adults to cultivate up to two marijuana plants (no more than 1 mature) at home for non-commercial purposes. You can read the full text of this proposal here. #TakeAction

    Tennessee: Two marijuana related measures became law recently in Tennessee. The first permits for the licensed cultivation of industrial hemp when “grown by an institution of higher education in this state that offers a baccalaureate or post-graduate level program of study in agricultural sciences.” The second, amends third-time marijuana possession offenses from a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison, to a misdemeanor offense, punishable by no more than one year in jail. The new sentencing penalties take effect on July 1, 2016.

    For a summary of all pending marijuana legislation, be sure to check out our full #TakeAction center!

    And don’t forget to register to attend NORML’s 2016 Congressional Lobby Day  in Washington D.C. May 23rd and 24th! We have just recently confirmedthree members of Congress’ ability to address our group on Capitol Hill so you won’t want to miss it!


    14 responses to “NORML’s Legislative Round Up May 6th, 2016”

    1. Julian says:

      Lots of encouraging news. Thank you Ms. Keane, that’s quite a week’s worth of legalization to summarize.
      What’s the analysis of Rhode Island? After the way they voted for Sanders it looks like there’s plenty of active momentum from the voters, but if this is going to be legislatively initiated, as we learned with Vermont, the House can be full of obstacles.
      Im really exited about the language in the Hawaiian bill. Dr. Sue Sisley has been working tirelessly to get nurse practitioners involved in treatment for opioid addiction and PTSD. That’s the way we need to go to get treatment and health care the way America traditionally had it before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.
      It’s also encouraging to see southern Republican states going back and correcting their medicinal marijuana or CBD laws, like Alabama simply changing their language to recommends so patients get the access they need. Maybe theres hope for Texas next year after all.

    2. Carolyn Saulter says:

      I am glad to see some common sense legislation going forward. You probably know that the Libertarian party supports legalizing it every where. I believe that this will free up a lot of space in our jails which are currently being occupied for non-violent crimes, and reduce the revenue for the cartels bringing it in from other countries. Now that it is pretty settled that trump and Clinton will be the nominees for the mainstream parties, it is making the Libertarian party more attractive than ever. Less government (will appeal to trump-hating constitutional conservatives) and More freedom (will appeal to Clinton-hating JFK democrats).

    3. Mark Mitcham says:

      I can’t help but reflect on the changing times, when I see some of the states that keep showing up on these lists — states that I wouldn’t have expected to see, like Alabama, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma. Hemp in Tennesssee? Cool!

      For so many years, we appeared to be going nowhere. There was a lot of fatalism going on. Occasionally, hard working activists would get something on a ballot, or get some kind of legislative hearing; but it would always go down in flames, and it was always a kick in the gut to me. (I was not personally involved in these efforts, just eagerly following along in the news.) It was The Man telling me, “See, you can’t win, it’s futile, don’t even try, don’t get back up.” But that was a lie, because, just look at our progress now!

      Sure, these days, it may seem like baby steps forward in many of these unlikely states; After all, “Legalize it!” is, and always has been, the mantra. Still, we are talking about “forward” not “backward” here; and so these are important victories nevertheless. I still cherish each little victory: it matters, it all matters. Hats off to all who put in time, resources, and effort!

    4. Dan Viets says:

      That’s the 2016 NORML
      and Lobby Day!

    5. Denny E Strausser Jr says:

      “Pennsylvania: Representative Ed Gainey is seeking co-sponsors for soon-to-be introduced legislation that would amend minor marijuana possession offenses to a non-criminal offense. Despite both local and nationwide progress on the issue of cannabis prohibition, Pennsylvania continues to charge over 18,000 individuals each year with minor possessory offenses. Please urge your House member to sign on as a co-sponsor to this important legislation.”

      I hope this gets to Tom Wolf’s desk, as I believe he will pass it.

    6. Zach Lazarus says:

      Lets not forget about the goliath California. I live in south San Diego near Chula Vista. I work at A Green Alternative, the city of San Diego’s first legal marijuana dispensary and delivery service. http://www.AGreenAlternative.org We are getting ready for Sean Parker’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act to go on this Novembers ballot. ballot.http://www.letsgetitrightca.org I am super excited because everyone that I talk to that is close to me supports the idea of regulation and taxation. I believe the ground work is set, with the approval of Ab-266, we should see Sean’s initiative pass this November.

    7. David says:

      I am 60 yrs old, and a smoker for 47 years.
      I can not tell you how impressed I am at the progress you people have made for us all.
      god work very good work
      have a very 420 day

    8. Anonymous says:

      What the hell happened in Vermont?

    9. Jim says:

      Someone needs to stop Doctors like Kaiser doctors that ignore patients right to use Pot and Force by CONTRACT and refusual to treat serious pain if pot is used. This is sending people to the streets and killing them.

    10. Todd says:

      I have seen throughout Florida newspapers that Governor Scott has passed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana, around March 28th, 2016. Under Bill – CS for CS/CS/HB 307 & HB 1313 – Medical Use of Cannabis. Maybe you could investigate this further and add information to your webpages.

      [Paul Armentano responds: You are referring to HB 307, which permits medical marijuana access to people diagnosed with terminal illnesses. You can read more about the law here: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18364.%5D

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Surprising, given Governor Scott’s alleged financial ties to the drug testing industry. I wonder what cornered him into this.