Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/30/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator March 30, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    I first want to bring your attention to a key development at the federal level. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) intends to introduce a bill to legalize industrial hemp next month.

    At the state level, Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey made dramatic changes to the state’s regulatory program. Changes include: reduced cost of the medical marijuana registry for patients by 50%; reduced cost for veterans, seniors, and those on disability by 90%; expanded the qualifying conditions list to include Tourette syndrome, chronic pain, and other conditions; among others.

    Also at the state level, Regulators in Iowa awarded five businesses medical cannabis dispensary licenses, and activists in North Dakota are saying they’ve gathered over half the needed signatures to certify a marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

    At a more local level, New Orleans, Louisiana marijuana arrests have significantly dropped after the implementation of a measure that allows police to issue summonses for minor possession violations.

    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


    The Connecticut Legislature is considering several bills to to regulate and tax the retail sale of marijuana to adults. HB 5111 and HB 5112 are still pending in the Joint Committee on General Law, and HB 5458 died in a House committee last week.

    Update: The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on 3/28 on another proposal, HB 5394, to develop a plan to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana in the state and to provide for substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs and measures.

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

    South Carolina

    Legislation is pending, H 3521 and S 212: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions. If passed, the bill would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    Update: The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved S 212 on 3/29 on an 8-6 vote, after it was approved by the subcommittee on a 3-2 vote last week. H3521 was tabled after the House Medical, Military, and Public and Municipal Affairs Committee held a hearing, but the Chairman didn’t put the bill on the agenda.

    SC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access


    Medical Extracts
    State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to establish a limited medical marijuana access program in Tennessee.
    The measure permits qualified patients to possess marijuana-infused oil products, as well as other non-herbal forms of cannabis, from state-licensed dispensaries. Both patients and physicians would be required to participate in a state registry.

    Update: HB 1749/SB 1710 was significantly amended at the request of the sponsor. As amended, the measure depenalizes the possession of CBD extracts by qualified patients, and also provides protections to those from out of state. It does not provide an in-state regulated supply system for CBD products. Members of the House Criminal Justice Committee approved the amended bill on 3/28.

    HB 1749 will be heard by the Health Committee on 4/3, and SB 1710 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee also on 4/3.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD extracts

    Medical Cannabis
    Legislation is pending, HB 830 and SB 1119, to establish a medical marijuana access program.

    The bill would provide qualified patients with access to cannabis therapy through licensed dispensaries or pharmacies, under the supervision of a certified practitioner. The bill would also prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical cannabis access

    New Jersey

    Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

    The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical expansion

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, SB 388, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis. Currently there are only four licensed dispensaries operating across the state to serve an estimated 3,500 patients.

    Update: SB 388 passed the Senate on 3/22, and now awaits action in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical expansion


    Additional Actions to Take


    Legislation has been introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 930, to assist financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 930 will be heard by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on 4/18 at 1:30pm in Room 112.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of banking access


    Legislation is pending, HB 2729, to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii. It already passed the House earlier this month.

    Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status.

    Update: HB 2729 will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday 3/29 at 10:50am in Conference room 211.

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


    HB 2913 is pending: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. If passed, this bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes. It already passed the House unanimously earlier this month.

    Update: HB 2913 was approved by the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee on 3/27, and is now awaiting action from the Appropriations Committee.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of a hemp pilot program


    Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program. It was already approved by the Senate last month.

    Update: SB 263 was approved by the House on 3/28 by a 123-1 vote. It now awaits action from the Governor.

    KS resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of hemp research

    That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

    51 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/30/18”

    1. Dain Bramage says:

      What’s the biggest threat to marijuana legalization today? I would argue the answer is: Fascism.

      Wake up, Democrats. Are you ready to vote?

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Register to vote! Get on the Big Blue Wave!



      • Julian says:

        Fascism is a threat to everyone. Dr. Martin Luther King recognized he would not make progress in civil rights without recognizing that the white people buying into the racist propaganda are victims too. Lack of civics in our public schools, false equivalencies, cognative dissonance, raicism are all part of agendas among the wealthy to dismantle Democratic voting and justice. Check out the movie “The Free State of Jones,” to see how some poor white southerners saw through the deception during the Civil War as Confederates stole from poor white people for the
        war effort” and organized some of the first black voters in Mississippi post civil war.

        Today, our civil war is perpetuated by bad laws like the Controlled Substances Act, and our greatest threat to Democrats, even more than our inability to see through the fascist lies and corruption, is that Democrats don’t vote.
        I just got off the phone from being nominated to Chair my Democratic district, where Democrats don’t even have an official caucus in my County since not enough show up to the polls. Out of 27.5 million Texans, only 1 million voted during the primaries while 1.5 million Republicans voted.

        We could have marijuana legalized federally if just half a million more Democrats vote this November, and if only 1,200 Repubs who believe in marijuana reform stay at home in Pete Sessions’ district.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Julian, that supports the point I have been making about the marijuana legalization movement, and Traitor Trump. Which is, we as a movement cannot afford to lose those who aren’t white enough, or loyal enough, for Trump! Cannabis is inclusive; Trump is exclusive. Traitor Trump is fully incompatible with marijuana legalization.

          We legalizers must oppose Trump categorically, because cannabis is a human right, not just an American right. Trump, obviously, is a mortal threat to human rights across the globe.

          Trump supporters who support marijuana legalization are idiots who don’t know whether they are coming or going. Ignore them.

    2. Anonymous says:

      The McConnell Hemp Announcement should have it’s whole own story on NORML. A monumental development.

    3. Cannabliss says:

      It’s ironic that at the federal level people are considering rescheduling hemp, yet at the local level they still consider it vice. Can you see the pragmatist double standard, still trapped in the past attitude. Everyone needs a scapegoat and a weed that cannot speak for itself, must be recognized as beneficial. If we ever plan on leaving this world for another, it will be very difficult without cannabis. Are they only interested in protecting there investors and investments, expendability rues the day, for example: environment, health care cost, compassion, bedside manner, etc..?

    4. Julian says:

      Glad to see your Federal coverage of the hemp bill… I said it before and I’ll say it again;
      Say what we will about the Turtle-Man, but this hemp amendment to the Farm Bill has a real chance.
      Because McConnell has interests in Kentucky Hemp Futures.
      Let’s see if he tries to pin a failure on Pete Sessions if it fails the Rules Committee. Good luck getting reelected in 2020 Turtle-Man.

      Meanwhile, Insys Therapuetics, the evil legal cartel that pays off doctors to overprescribe fentanyl and paid half a mill to stop legalization in Arizona is lobbying the DEA to ca$h in on their marijuana patents:


      Seriously, Insys Therapeutics can go suck on some fentanyl.

      Whole plant marijuana is a wonderful treatment for lethal synthetic patents.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        I used to think schedule 2 for cannabis was harm reduction, now I doubt that.

        We always knew craven Corporate America would cash in on legalization, once it happened. But that was a price we were willing to pay.

        But if rescheduling to schedule 2 won’t stop the arrests for marijuana, and if it only further empowers our enemies, then it’s not harm reduction. It’s a harm increase!

        We can’t call schedule 2 “marijuana legalization” if it is only for corporations, and not for people!

        • Julian says:

          Agreed that schedule 2 is a hoax by Big Pharma to maintain corporate quasi-prohibition. So called marijuana “advocates” like Roger Stone will talk around legalization then slip in the word “re”schedule when they think were not paying attention. Cocaine is a schedule 2 controlled substance. It still means jail while the DEA brokers licensed prescription$.

          However don’t be too quick to disparage the hemp amendment to the farm bill. I havent read it because its still being introduced, but it seeks to remove hemp as defined by less than .3% THC from the CSAct. Being that hemp and marijuana are the same species, this will act more like a Trojan Hemp horse for marijuana. And the DEA will certainly lose their hemp eradication program out of this, further weakening their prohibition conglamorate.
          Is McConnel acting out of his own self interests? Of course. Is he being promised investments in Kentucky hemp futures? Double yes. But in the long run, it’s the old story of the dog that barks at his own reflection to lose the meat in his mouth. Maintaining prohibition of marijuana while legalizing hemp will be no different.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            I have spoken carelessly by conflating hemp and schedule 2. They are not directly related. But what I was trying to say was, this is no longer a social fear of all things cannabis that we are up against. We’ve already breached that taboo when we got dispensaries all over USA.

            I think perhaps that the utility of hemp in “desensitizing” and “deprogramming” people out of their irrational fears of marijuana has reached its limit.

            I think the prohibitionists like McConnell have evolved their reefer madness to adapt to the fact that marijuana is “cool” now from a marketing perspective. That’s why you see “hemp” beers on the the shelves (with no hemp or THC in them.) That’s why junk food producers are marketing to stoners now.

            But none of this is progress if people are still getting arrested. It is a Corporate, “schedule 2 type” of mentality: feign reasonableness, while maintaining corporate control and maintaining the essence of prohibition: the prohibition of the people’s right to grow a flower.

            I don’t wish to stand in the way of legal hemp.

            But McConnell would have no problem with Kentucky filling their fields with hemp, and at the same time, filling their prisons with stoners (preferably black. McConnell is KKK. He voted for Sessions, anyone who supports Sessions supports KKK.)

            • Dain Bramage says:

              So let’s not give McConnell points for switching from one adversarial tactic to another.

            • Julian says:

              Agreed, and thanks for the clarification, Dain. But here with this pending hemp amendment, despite McConnell’s blood-$ucking nature, I believe the corporate hubris at play could benefit marijuana legalization. We shouldn’t allow the “perfect to become the enemy of the good.”
              The major players against hemp legalization are Koch Industries and Bayer-Monsantos, who are hemoraging at the prospect of a pending trade war with China that are already drastically affecting the value of their synthetic, genetically engineered stocks and petrol patents. Subsidies for corn, soy and cotton are at play and farmers were already looking for more stable crops than the stuff were growing for China and Bayer Monsantos that requires so much of the pesticide dicamba that that they essentially engineered all the profit out of the seed, soil and water.
              Hemp doesnt require all those pesticides, petrol fertilizers or herbicides. Due to prohibition, hemp hasnt been frankensteined and genetically patented (as much) and has more potential profit than corn, soy or cotton, at very least as a rotational crop.
              If there was ever a chance to pass a Trojan hemp horse through Congress, this would be the time to fracture the Republican party of prohibition while they’re still in power.

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Honestly, anything good for hemp that Mitch McConnell is willing to do, a Democrat will do more, and better. To hell with Republicans and their extortion tactics!

    5. Dain Bramage says:

      If I may…

      Somewhere between the battle between the smart-asses and the dumb-asses, we must focus on harm reduction.

      I agree with Julian’s assertion that the biggest current threat to legalization is the GOP. They are a threat to legalization, and to so much more — Democracy itself.

      Here’s what needs to be done in practical terms: vote. Plan it out. Find your polling location, and your candidates for your district. Get on the Big Blue Wave, and vote out the Republicans.

      It’s important.

      Register to vote well in advance!

      Then vote! Don’t let yourself be sandbagged by the everyday demands of the mundane society. Yes, of course you have to work, and feed the kids, and all the other things. For these are the things at stake: the world you care about.

      That’s why planning ahead is so important. Register now!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Consider this: the GOP, to the extent that it ever had legitimacy within a Democracy, has gone rogue. Trumpism is Fascism.

        Fascism is bad for Americans of all political stripes. Fascism benefits only one person: Putin.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          I acknowledge Julian’s position: the problem is Democrats who don’t vote. Julian’s point about Democrats, and Evening Bud’s assertion about the GOP, are both true, and both are facets of the same challenge we face as marijuana consumers.

          At this point in history, Republicans are the disease and Democrats are the cure.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        That was Evening Bud’s assertion about the GOP which I echoed above, not Julian’s. Apologies for the erroneous attribution.

    6. TheOracle says:

      Here I sit on this Passover/Easter weekend pondering a cannabis vacation this summer.

      It’s only about $600 roundtrip from the Least Coast to the Best Coast states where recreational cannabis is legal. It’s about $1300 roundtrip from the Least Coast to Amsterdam where the freedom of consumption in coffeeshops is permitted. In the States, the meme is still “all revved up and no place to go” insofar as cannatourist consumption.

      Nipton, California, is off the table, and I am hoping that Sir Richard Branson would be willing to use his clout and cash to create a mokum in the desert, an American Amsterdam-style coffeeshop haven in the desert to replace the Mokum in the Mojave we might have gotten. If his airline is going to be flying in plane loads of Brits to the casinos and recreational shops, yet consumption is not allowed in the hotels, why pay all that transatlantic money?

      Maybe Mitch McConnell’s hemp legalization legislation is the toe in the door to getting cannabis out of the CSA altogether, as genetically hemp and recreational and medical cannabis are the same species.

      The difference between the #1300 and $600 air fare is the price the retail cannabis consumer pays for the freedom to consume cannabis without the fear of police and the criminal justice system and all the Jim Crow that goes along with it.





      • Mark Mitcham says:


        I love Colorado!

        I know you’re no newbie to the scene, and I won’t condescend, and tell you things you probably already know.

        But, for the record, if you do try Denver, remember bring ID (an out-of-state license is fine for “Recreational” purchases. 21 and up.)

        There is nowhere legal to smoke it, true… but if one is discreet (and old habits die hard) and respectful of other pedestrians, one can find a corner of a park or pavilion and take a quick toke. A bust is possible, but not likely in those circumstances, and at worst, results in a ticket which you can copy and frame before paying it.

        Hash smells better than joints, to a straight, and produces less potentially offensive smoke.

        Or, just much some edibles and walk hands free!

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          I just remembered: Denver got it’s first pot/coffee shop!

          Sorry, Carly, Your Highness! You posted about that.

    7. Dain Bramage says:

      I support the second amendment, I also support a ban on AR-15’s and all military weaponry for civilians and police.

      I say, if you want to use military weaponry, you must join the military.

      There are responsibilities involved, the gun is not a toy. Chicken hawks fondle guns,but won’t serve in the military. Bone spurs, or whatever.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Personally, I would never own a gun, or join the military. I do have a stake in preventing mass shootings of civilian populations.

      • Evening Bud says:

        I totally agree with your points here. I suspect the Republican congress will continue to dawdle and delay any attempts at real gun reform; but the gun slaughters will continue, and it’ll become harder and harder after each one for the GOP to ignore the issue. They’re still committed to besmirching the Florida high school kids, but that hasn’t been working out especially well for them.

        The NRA isn’t through fighting this issue, but it’s not as strong as we’ve all been led to believe.

    8. Terry says:

      just a question, how does it help us to legalize industrial hemp?

      • Julian says:

        Ending the catastrophic hemp eradication program would be revenue creation in itself, and boost local economies in order to innovate with carbon trapping building materials, textiles, and as Henry Ford originally intended, build entire vehicles and fuel them entirely out of hemp. The ecological, non-toxic, pesticide-herbicide and petrol-fertilizer reduction is an immeasurable benefit to our planet’s homeostasis.
        Legalizing hemp would finally allow business that are already selling “CBD oil” here in states like Texas where cannabis is illegal only to hard-to-prescribe legal federally to bank with financial institutions, create a drought resistant crop tat uses less water than staple crops like corn, cotton and soy, which are so genetically frankensteined and engineered to resist pesticides like dicamba that we are losing our fresh water and precious soil due to overwatering.
        By finally recognizing hemp, defined as “less than .03 percent THC” as legally different from marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, we open the door to sensible regulations and fair taxation (representation) for all cannabis products. Furthermore, we can zone industrial hemp for different uses such as reforestation, flood mitigation, crops and medicine so that overlapping zones don’t flood the legal markets, preventing cross pollination can be addressed and insured, and appropriate licensing can be zoned from commercial, industrial and residential use to keep prices healthy and the world too.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Terry, I don’t smoke hemp.
        Legalize marijuana, and hemp will follow. Legalize hemp without legalizing marijuana, and the arrests will continue as our enemies get stronger.

        Mitch McConnell opposes marijuana legalization, make no mistake. He is not a reformer, he is an opportunistic parasite.

        Schedule 2 is not legalization, but that is where this is headed: all power to Big Pharma, and more Drug War for the 98 percent.

        Ditch that bitch Mitch! Vote the racist, treasonous bastard out of office!

    9. Dain Bramage says:

      Black lives matter!

      Vote Democratic, or submit to a fascist police state!

      From Daily Kos and Dan Bather:

      “SACRAMENTO, CA. – The National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento Sunday issued the following statement, contesting law enforcement accounts now being circulated regarding what occurred at the Stephon Clark demonstration at Florin Road and 65th Street Saturday (March 31), including the hitting by a Sacramento Sheriffs Deputy’s vehicle of 61-year-old activist, Wanda Cleveland:

      “We do not normally comment on incidents at free speech-protected public events; Our work is to observe the actions of law enforcement and in cases where demonstrators’ rights are violated, we log them and only speak out if conditions warrant it – this is one of those times.

      “Saturday, our six-person legal observer team, including lawyers and legal workers, was on the scene for about six hours. We witnessed cases of harassment and excessive force by the California Highway Patrol and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Dept, including the unprovoked hit-and-run of a demonstrator, the issuance of unlawful orders and threats to our legal observers.

      “Our video of the hit-and-run incident clearly shows the pedestrian crossing to the sidewalk in front of a Sacramento Sheriff’s vehicle and almost to the other side of it before the vehicle quickly accelerates, making a loud ‘thud’ sound, knocking her to the ground before then speeding off.

      “When we attempted to report the crime to a nearby CHP command vehicle, the officer would not take the report and threatened our team member repeatedly with arrest. When we approached Sacramento Sheriff Dept. and CHP vehicles later to make the report, we were also threatened with arrest, although law enforcement is aware we are legal observers (we wear bright green hats) for a bar association, not protest participants.”

      • Dain Bramage says:

        (That should be Dan Bacher.)

      • Dain Bramage says:

        As a stoner, I am already predisposed to hate cops, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand why.

        As a human being, I hate cops, because black lives matter. White trash blowhards that want to argue about that axiomatic truth can bite me.

        When Trump is in prison, you goddamn Republicans are going to be all like “We didn’t know, he fooled us! We’ve changed! Like us! Please, like us!” But I don’t like you at all.

        And I’m going to say “Bullshit!”

        • Julian says:

          I worked hard with the local DA’s office in San Antonio to help decriminalize marijuana by pointing out that NORML wants to “improve the trust and integrity between law enforcement and local communities.”
          Be careful not to paint all cops with a bad brush. Theres the Law Enforcement Action Partnership for example, which I’ve seen in my state capitol lobbying our Congressman, and they listen.
          At Texas NORML, our motto is “It’s the Law that is Bad, Not the Plant.” Same for cops. The penal code and laws that regulate, train and provide cops with authority that oversteps into collusion with prosecutors and City Councils that use disproportionate fines and fees that are the problem. This means we need to vet our local DA’s and Sheriffs while they are campaigning in order to reform criminal justice, and that requires working with them and sometimes writing the laws ourselves. Why not? That’s what GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America does all the time.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            I wish to be fair, and I know you do too, but I wouldn’t want to be a doormat, either. I wouldn’t want my own values used by others to control me. I wouldn’t want that for you, either.

            “Don’t paint all (x) with the same brush” certainly sounds fair, in general. It is important not to over-generalize, or to mistake specifics for generalities, I acknowledge that.

            But I am talking about something else here: Gaslighting. It is gaslighting disguised as an admonishment for rudeness. Gaslighting is something I will challenge. When it comes to cops, just like Republicans, there is more to say here.

            The problem is, they walk in lock-step. They cover for each other, right or wrong.

            So, when I say I hate all cops (and Republicans) let’s start a pile: first, I hate all the racist cops (and Republicans.) That’s a lot, already.

            Next, I hate all the cops (and Republicans) who support Trump, because Trump is a traitor/fascist/thug/KKK/Putin bitch and so are his supporters. So, throw them fuckers on the pile, too!

            Now toss onto the pile all those cops (and Republicans) who are willing to cover for, and go along with, the others.

            A few stragglers aside, that’s damn near all of them!

            And of the “stragglers”, I have noticed that a good chunk of them are just salesmen, doing marketing, trying to humanize the monsters.

            So, my paint brush is broad. It’s more of a paint “cannon!” So my advice to any cops (and Republicans) who don’t want to get “painted” as worthless shits is: “Stand aside!”

    10. Dain Bramage says:

      If you cringe at my harsh words, and would plead for better manners on my part, I say again: I reject a double standard which rewards Traitor Trump for hate speech and hate actions, yet which would compel me into limiting my own words to nothing but vapid, meaningless, empty farts.

      I won’t do it. Not until Traitor Trump is in prison.

      • Sean says:

        Charles Barkley hit the nail on the head when he recently suggested that the sniveling Trump voters blame everyone else for there failures, instead of taking responsibility for their own lives. If Trump voters feel that their lives truly suck and they needed to put their faith in a fascistic rip off artist, then they should really look in the mirror.