NORML’s Legislative Round Up July 1st, 2016

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate July 1, 2016

    map_leafFederal lawmakers requested action this week on restoring medical marijuana access to veterans, while proponents in Arizona came one step closer to qualifying to the November ballot. Keep reading to get the latest news and to find out how you can #TakeAction.


    A bipartisan group of 11 lawmakers wrote a letter this week to Congressional leadership urging them to reconsider the Veterans Equal Access Amendment. Majorities in both the US House and Senate voted in May to include the provision as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee decided last week to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote. The latest version of the Appropriations bill now awaits action by the Senate.

    A separate coalition of US Senators and representatives also drafted a letter this week to DEA officials calling on the agency to move swiftly to reclassify marijuana under federal law, and to allow private producers to cultivate cannabis for clinical research purposes. “We request that you take immediate action to remove ‘cannabis’ and ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’ from Schedule I. We also ask that you issue a public statement informing the research community that the DEA, in compliance with international obligations, will accept new applications to bulk manufacture cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, to be approved on merit-based criteria,” lawmakers requested. In April, DEA officials pledged to issue guidance on the scheduling of cannabis within the first half of this year, a promise they recent walked back.


    Arizona: The campaign to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Arizona yesterday turned in more than 200,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. The campaign needs at least 150,000 of those signatures to be certified in order to qualify for this November’s ballot. Under the proposed initiative, those age 21 and older are permitted to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. The measure would also establish a licensing system for the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis.

    thumbs_upLouisiana: Last week the city of New Orleans began implementing the new ordinance lowering the penalties associated with the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The ordinance was originally approved by City Council back in March in hopes of diverting police resources from minor crimes and keeping low-level offenders out of jail. The ordinance reclassifies minor marijuana possession offenses as non-criminal violations punishable by a fine-only: $40 for a first offense, $60 for a second, $80 for a third, and $100 for a fourth and beyond. Under state law, second and/or third convictions are punishable by between 6 months and 2 years in prison.

    In statewide news, decision-makers at Louisiana State University and Southern University have agreed to apply for cultivation permits to supply medical cannabis. Under state law, qualified patients are permitted marijuana-infused products under a doctor’s recommendation. The state’s nascent medical cannabis program is anticipated to be up and running by 2018.

    Pennsylvania: Members of the Harrisburg City Council are considering a measure to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana within the city limits. In recent days, members of the City Council amended the language to reduce the fines for possession, increase the fines for smoking marijuana in public and expand the effort to include possession of marijuana paraphernalia. The members are scheduled to vote on the measure on July 5th. If you live in Harrisburg you can find the contact information for City Council here.

    Washington D.C.: The D.C. Health Department issued a report this week recommending the District legalize the retail sale of marijuana. Specifically, they recommend D.C. to “impose state taxes on production, distribution, and sales along with a licensed market participation, age restriction, and prohibitions on advertising and marketing to minors,” and ““use current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls.”

    Residents of Washington D.C. voted in 2014 to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana. However Congressional leaders have prohibited the district from implementing a recreational market through annual budget riders. With this new report from the district’s health department and willingness from the Mayor and City Council to create a regulated market, it’s questionable how long Congress will continue to block the will of the people.

    17 responses to “NORML’s Legislative Round Up July 1st, 2016”

    1. Julian says:

      I thought it appropriate to publish the names of all the Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee who are killing our veterans:


      Republicans, House Appropriations Committee

      Harold Rogers, Kentucky, Chairman
      Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey
      Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
      Kay Granger, Texas
      Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
      John Abney Culberson, Texas
      Ander Crenshaw, Florida
      John R. Carter, Texas
      Ken Calvert, California
      Tom Cole, Oklahoma
      Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
      Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
      Tom Graves, Georgia
      Kevin Yoder, Kansas
      Steve Womack, Arkansas
      Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
      Tom Rooney, Florida
      Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee
      Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington
      David Joyce, Ohio
      David Valadao, California
      Andy Harris, MD, Maryland
      Martha Roby, Alabama
      Mark Amodei, Nevada
      Chris Stewart, Utah
      Scott Rigell, Virginia
      David Jolly, Florida
      David Young, Iowa
      Evan Jenkins, West Virginia
      Steven Palazzo, Mississippi

      If any of these treasonous assassins live in your district, please let them know that unless they change their vote, that is what they are.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Just wondering: any vets in that group? Or are they all chickenhawks?

        Hmm, what’s the solution here? Write ’em a letter? Well, yes. I guess so. But, they obviously don’t give a fuck about the opinions of The People, or even their own peers. These types, the more you protest their actions, the more smug they become. It doesn’t sway them, it gets them off!

        Maybe they all need to do a tour of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq! It wouldn’t be the first time there was a draft.

        Or, in the context of such violent force, maybe it would be more civilized to simply make them all eat a plate of cannabis brownies? It would save lives all around. Just considering options.

        No, no, I’m kidding. Just vote ’em out of office. Save your weed. Register to vote, and them vote against the bastards, that’s our best response.

      • Galileo Galilei says:

        Good ol’ Andy Harris is there, true to form.

      • Mark I. says:

        Yes, I agree. Let the public know congresspersons responsible for allowing the ignorance and extortion to continue.

    2. Juli says:

      Meanwhile, these are the names of the Democratic leadership that is pushing the DEA to “remove Marijuana from schedule 1” (or at least reschedule) marijuana:

      Signers of the letters are Sens.
      Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,
      Barbara Mikulski of Maryland,
      Barbara Boxer of California,
      Ron Wyden and
      Jeff Merkley of Oregon,
      Kirsten Gillibrand of New York,
      Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, and
      Cory Booker of New Jersey.

      Republican leadership in the House thinks they don’t need the marijuana vote in November? Republicans, you did this to yourself. Sure, polling in favor of legalization is low among Republicans, but what about all those swing voters out there; You know, the next generation and the future of the Republican party? If they aren’t all Democrats by now, they’re voting for Gary Johnson, but rest assured some Republicans just lost their seats this November.


      • Galileo Galilei says:

        I think you hit the nail on the head, Juli. We need to vote against those who persist in their efforts against reform.

    3. Julian says:

      “Juli”? What is that, my effeminate alter ego? Pressed enter too quick. Between that and my earlier comments about when I had hair like ShioTessCal (Xiohtescatl) people are gonna think I look like one of those eunichs from the Dark Crystal. Sorry, 38 now, no chance of that. At least I don’t have man-boobs like Louis CK; Thank God that’s a myth about heavy marijuana consumption we can set aside!

      Well since this post isn’t going to stay on topic.. (BTW, good luck Harrisburg, D.C. and New Orleans!)
      … I want to bring up an old topic about the AAA report that proves we cant determine when someone is impaired by THC, and the idea that automated vehicles, not responsible driving, are a solution to our highway safety. Check the headlines of any major news source today and you’ll see that the first fatality from an automated vehicle occurred yesterday because the driver, Joshua Brown, a 39 year old owner of a tech company was watching a movie while the sensor on his Tesla model S failed to contrast the light sky from the broad side of a white 18 wheeler. This is too bad for Joshua and too bad for Tesla, but reminds us that no matter what we are doing, we need to rely on our own senses and focus on driving responsibly. If Joshua had been rolling a joint instead of watching a movie, we know what Kevin Sabet would have done with that information. So as responsible marijuana consumers, please don’t trust your life with a brake-system sensor made in a factory, keep your eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel and trust the sensors we were born with in our endocannabinoid system.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Automated vehicles? Bad freakin’ idea!!
        A Reality Check is badly needed here — people are confusing movie magic for actual technology.

        It’s the consumer’s ultimate delusion, that with more money and technology, we can control ultimate Reality, and make the world safe for our own foolishness. If only we could flatten the Earth! Then we could make it all one big shopping mall with an even bigger parking lot. After we extinct all the rodents and birds and shit, there will be no more road kill to worry about! (sarcasm.)

        Want to watch a movie on the way to work? Take public transportation! Driving to work? Fuck the movies; just try to survive the hazard-packed journey without killing yourself or anyone else!

        What’s all that got to do with Cannabis? I’ll tell you: It’s about what I call Sobriety, or in this context, Living in the Real World. Namely this: In this life you have to understand the difference between true dangers and illusions.

    4. Julian says:

      Joining Gillibrand in signing the new letter are Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D- OR) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ted Lieu (D-CA)


    5. mexweed says:

      “(Harrisburg) City Council amended the language to reduce the fines for possession, increase the fines for smoking marijuana in public and expand the effort to include possession of marijuana paraphernalia”– include in what? Good news or bad news? Is vaping equipment considered “paraphernalia” and no distinction made from the monoxide $moking alternative? Council members, please clarify.

      DC: “use current regulatory models for tobacco and alcohol to base legislation to enact effective marijuana controls”– does that mean something like this example: a 24-ounce can of 5% beer with a nonreasealable top! Message to sneaky kid user who gets hold of it $omehow: better bingedrink it all up in a hurry because you know they all say after a few hours the beer aint no good anymore!

      Or the 700-mg commercial $igarette which is sold everywhere (including bootleg) while kids in most municipalities are afraid to get caught POSSESSING a 25-mg single toke flexdrawtube utensil? Council?

    6. Fireweed says:

      Interesting in the DC health dept report that while they cite ambiguous data suggesting the unsubstantiated elevation of risk of heart disease among pot smokers, the actual data they have shows a slightly lower incidence of heart disease among pot smokers. Now why is that?

    7. Matthew says:

      That’s what I like to see: list the names of our heroes and our enemies. Thx!

    8. hockee says:

      Yeaaa…let’s list some of the same idiots that help get the War Resolution passed that has created this situation…

    9. Mark I. says:

      They voted for their paycheck increases also.