Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/16/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 16, 2018

    Welcome to this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    First, I’d like to highlight a key development at the federal level pertaining to established marijuana businesses and consumers.

    Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) has introduced the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act which would basically codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo. Essentially, the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act would give peace of mind to lawmakers, regulators, 149,000 workers, and the millions of patients and consumers who are dependent on the normalization of lawful marijuana markets. The most essential component in creating a stable business environment to meet consumer demand is certainty and that is what states would have with Rep. Correa’s legislation to protect state-lawful programs from militant marijuana prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Click here to send a message to your Representative in support of the Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act. 

    Also, earlier this week, bestselling guidebook author and travel host Rick Steves held two briefings on Capitol Hill to discuss marijuana prohibition with a group of members of Congress and their staff. Steves serves as a member on the board of directors of NORML and has advocated extensively in support of the successful legalization efforts in Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and his home state of Washington.

    At the state level, a Virginia Senate committee voted unanimously to approve HB 1251, seeking to expand the state’s medical CBD law, which will now go into effect immediately upon the governor’s signature due to recent amendments to the bill. Enactment of this legislation would be historic for Virginia, making it the first state with a hyper-restrictive program to adopt such a broad expansion.

    Also, Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began on Thursday.

    Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act 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 at the federal level.

    Your highness,

    Priority Alerts


    End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

    The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

    Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation


    Democratic Representative James Albis, along with over 20 co-sponsors, has introduced legislation — HB 5112 and HB 5111 — to regulate and tax the retail sale of marijuana to adults.

    The tax revenue raised by commercial retail sales would be used to fund substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs.

    CT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    West Virginia

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 3035, to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana.

    The bill states that “In the interest of allowing law-enforcement to focus on violent and property crimes, generating revenue for education and other public purposes, and individual freedom, the Legislature of the State of West Virginia finds that the use of marijuana should be legal for a person twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.”

    Update: Similar legislation has also been introduced to regulate the adult use and retail sale of marijuana, House Bill 4491.

    WV resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, HM 67 and SM 55, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy as an alternative to opioid treatment.

    Update: HM 67 was approved unanimously by the House, and SM 55 was approved by the Senate with a 36-1 vote.

    NM resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort


    Legislation is pending, HCR2037, to put the issue of legalizing the adult use of marijuana before voters this November.

    The resolution seeks to place a question on the 2018 ballot regarding the adult use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to leave it up to the voters


    Legislation is pending, HB 268 and SB 181, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: A hearing was held on February 15 on SB 181.

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort


    Legislation is pending, HB 1893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: HB 1893 was heard by the Health and Human Services Committee on February 15.

    HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort

    Additional Actions to Take

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, HB 1477, to permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expungement.

    If passed, HB 1477 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana.

    Update: HB 1477 was approved by The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee by a vote of 14-4.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expunging past marijuana convictions


    Newly proposed legislation, The Marijuana Consumer Employment Discrimination Protection Bill, seeks to protect medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.

    This bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to testing positive for medical marijuana use on a workplace drug test. It would also require employers to provide objective evidence that an employee is unable to perform their job adequately because of marijuana use prior to taking any punitive action.

    CO resident?  Click here to email your elected officials in support of employment protections for patients


    Senator Tom Begich has introduced legislation, SB 184, to seal the convictions of past marijuana possession offenders.

    Senate Bill 184 prohibits the release of past records for any marijuana offense that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. The bill’s intent is to reduce barriers to employment for people who have been convicted of low-level marijuana possession crimes that would be legal under today’s laws, and to make it more likely that people convicted of only low-level crimes will become contributing members of society.

    AK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of sealing past marijuana convictions


    Legislation is pending, House Bill 698 to expand the state’s nascent industrial hemp pilot program.

    The bill seeks to “authorize and facilitate the research of industrial hemp and any aspect of growing, cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transporting, marketing, or selling industrial hemp for agricultural, industrial, or commercial purposes.”

    Update: A hearing was held for HB 698 on February 14.

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the industrial hemp program


    Legislation is pending, HB 197, “to ensure the cultivation and processing of cannabis in the state for academic or medical research purposes.”

    If passed, this bill mandates the Department of Agriculture to engage in the cultivation, processing, and distribution of marijuana for the purposes of engaging in academic or medical research.

    Update: HB197 was passed by the House by a vote of 38-32 on February 13, after it died on a narrow vote last week and was resurrected on Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

    UT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of this effort

    Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

    18 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/16/18”

    1. mexweed says:

      Perhaps Representative Correa can next add a Sensible Administration of Cannabis Act (SACA) specifying that, like the 700-mg commercial tobacco combustion $igarette, a 500-mg hot burning overdose monoxide Joint is unhealthy (and wasteful); and therefore legal dispensaries which provide dry flowerbud cannabis must also be required to offer for sale, if not a $600 top quality vaporizer from Tuttlingen, Baden Wu(e)rttemberg, at least a cheap democratic 25-mg microdose utensil (flexdrawtube oneheater) plus free instruction in the Easy-Learn, Heat-Not-Burn Vapetoke Technique (suck slow, don’t glow till after 9-19 seconds or so) and a free Breathbonnet (breadbag or equivalent) for 30 warm wet W’s in honour of the Dawgwagner.

    2. Evening Bud says:

      Re the NM legislation, clicked and sent.

    3. Julian says:

      Arizona is back in play so soon? Wonder how much money Insys Therapuetics is going to dump on ads scaring the retirement community this time?
      Except this time states are responding with emergency legislation to treat opioid addiction with medical marijuana. Sessions racist, medically incoherent rants at the Heritage Foundation turned out to be a commercial for state legislatures to pass immediate mmj reform. We should thank Sessions with a subpoena for all the money he made from opioids to depakote.

    4. Julian says:

      In case anybody missed former Mexican President Vicente Fox talk about marijuana legalization in the US and Mexico on Real Time with Bill Maher:


      I know Fox has been getting lots of attention for his passionate way of telling Trump “We’re not paying for your fu€king wall.” And I know he’s got a marijuana farm in Guanajuato he would like to market to the U.S. …
      But personal motivations aside, I must say I am always inspired by Fox for his insight, eloquence, intelligence and leadership on the topic of marijuana legalization. He talks about prohibition from a biblical standpoint: “God did not tell Eve not to eat the apple because it has worms or will make you sick…” Fox once said at a world Cannabis Forum in Washington, “…he just said ‘It’s prohibited.’”

      Take-away quotes from Fox on this Real Time episode were:

      1). “Mexico is working on a path to full legalization of marijuana with the first step of medical marijuana.”

      2). “In Latin America we figured out how to get rid of dictators is by electing a Congress in opposition to the President.”

      3). “The cartels that control illegal drugs are here in the United States. They pay the Mexican cartels to transport the drugs from Colombia or Venezuela. So where are the DEA? Or the CIA?”

      I’ll finish your thought, Vicente; the DOJ IS the world’s cartel under prohibition. And under this administration and with these many local governments legalizing thanks to our activism that fact has never been more apparent before a midterm election.

    5. Mark Mitcham says:

      CO legislation: Clicked and sent!

      Because Corporate America will discriminate, given a chance, unless forced not to do so by law. That’s what they do: discriminate, exploit, and fuck up the environment in the process.

      Time to let Corporate America know: they serve society, and not the other way around. We’re the bosses around here, not those heartless, hateful Corporate bastards.

    6. Dain Bramage says:

      We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the weather forecast.

      This weather report is brought to you by the GOP, Pussy Grabbers since before 2016!

      Expect increasing Fascism, with periodic showers of automatic weapons fire. Take cover, get smaller if you need to! (That was one Republican response to Las Vegas: the victims didn’t make themselves small enough.)

      If you are “scared,” this displeases Trump; you’re fired. Contact your local NRA representative, so that they may “thin the herd.”

      (Seriously, did you see Trump’s hostage video, where he had to pretend to care about victims of violence? Check out the sneer when he says “scared”, like a bully would say it. He can’t do compassion. He can’t even act it out! It is completely foreign to him.)

      We now return you to The War On Drugs.

      • Evening Bud says:

        I saw Trump’s “condolences” too. The part where he looked into the camera and told the kids, “You’re not alone,” felt a bit creepy.

    7. Miles says:

      I am astounded that Tom Garrett (R-VA) wants to to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act!

      Just when I was thinking there was no possibility of my ever casting a vote for a Republican… He may be the sole exception. I wonder why he is a Republican since his party seems very anti-freedom/anti-cannabis.

      Should I trust him? How many times has a Republican seemed to be on the side of sensible cannabis legislation only to vote against it when the time comes?

      • Julian says:

        Vote for Garret during the primaries to give him a boost. Then vote for the best candidate for marijuana policy during the general election. It’s called betting on both horses. Our opponents do it all the time.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        @ Miles,
        Respectfully, my advice: trust him all you want, just don’t vote for him! Because, as you know, Republicans always put party before principle.

        That’s what defines a Republican! Lockstep cult devotion.

    8. Kevin says:

      Utah HB 197 is smoke and mirrors and will do NOTHING for anyone. The current initiative that is gathering votes and is sponsored by Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) and the Utah Medical Cannabis Coalition is a comprehensive piece of legislation that would make Utah a MMJ state. The legislature does NOT want the ballot initiative to go to ballot in 2018 and is doing everything they can to subvert it. HB 197 and other so called mmj bills that are being discussed will kill MMJ in Utah while pretending they have done something. DON’T BE FOOLED!

    9. Daniel says:

      I love you NORML but why are you constantly ignoring the progress we are making in Indiana? Wonder what could happen with your help.

    10. Bill Holic says:

      Shitcan weasel sessions

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Not quite. Shitcan Trump! …and Sessions will follow.

        We understand that Trump is the real problem here, not Sessions.

        Sessions would have been just another piece of white trash, if it weren’t for Trump. Getting rid of Sessions, without getting rid of Trump, won’t help. That’s because Trump is the asshole and Sessions is the turd. If we flush Sessions down the toilet, Trump will just shit out an even bigger piece of shit than Sessions, one that isn’t recused from the Mueller Russia investigation, and who will obstruct justice to Trump’s satisfaction.

        Never mind Sessions, we got bigger problems! That is the asshole who calls himself Trump.