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Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/27/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate April 27, 2018

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

    A lot of action was taken in Congress this week.  A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers has introduced legislation, the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018, to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials involving cannabis. The act ends the University of Mississippi’s existing monopoly on the growth of cannabis for clinical research purposes, by requiring the licensing of additional manufacturers. And Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has publicly announced her intention of filing legislation to protect lawful medical marijuana users from housing discrimination. The forthcoming measure explicitly permits qualified patients to consume marijuana in federally-assisted housing, including public housing and the Section 8 housing program.

    Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced his intention to include the language of the Hemp Farming Act as an amendment to the 2018 version of the federal Farm Bill, which Congress is expected to take action upon in May. Sen McConnell also placed the bill on the Senate calendar using a procedural move that permits the issue to be voted on the Senate floor without going through the committee process first.

    At the state level, Michigan election officials have confirmed that proponents of a statewide ballot measure, The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, have gathered enough signatures from registered voters to place it on the ballot this November. The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to grow and possess personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

    Also, Governor Jeff Colyer of Kansas, Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska have all recently signed legislation into law to establish industrial hemp pilot programs in their state. On a similar note, the New Mexico Supreme Court has allowed two bills to become law that were previously vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez, clearing the way for farmers to obtain licenses from the Deptartment of Agriculture to grow hemp for research and development purposes.

    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,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    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

    Vermont

    H. 167, which regulates the retail supply and sale of cannabis to adults, passed the Senate last year prior to stalling in the House. Lawmakers have placed H. 167 on the calendar for action for 4/17. Separate legislation, H. 490, to also regulate the retail production and sale of cannabis to adults, is still awaiting action from the House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs.

    VT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of regulating the retail sale of cannabis

    Pennsylvania

    Senate Resolution 258 seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act so that marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. If passed, the resolution would urge Congress to take action to amend federal law so that states could regulate cannabis absent undue federal interference.

    Update: SR 258 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/25.

    PA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of descheduling cannabis

    Illinois

    Medical
    Senate Bill 336 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy as an alternative to opioid treatment.

    Update: SB 336 was approved by the Senate 44-6 on 4/26. It now awaits action from the House.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

    Expungement
    House Bill 2367 provides for the automatic expungement of past marijuana possession or paraphernalia violations.

    The measure mandates the automatic expungement of any citation for a civil law violation of either: subsection (a) of Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act, or subsection (c) Section 3.5 of the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act. It also would allow those with certain past criminal marijuana convictions — those that occurred prior to the decriminalization of such offenses — to ask a judge to have the conviction expunged.

    Update: HB 2367 was approved by the Restorative Justice Committee on 4/24 by an 8-2 vote. It is expected to be considered by the full House on 4/27.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expungement

    California

    Assembly Bill 2069 would explicitly bar employers from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to testing positive for medical marijuana use on a workplace drug test.

    Update: The Assembly’s Labor And Employment Committee held a hearing on AB 2069 on 4/25, and then approved the bill. It now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of patient employment protections

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    New Hampshire

    House Bill 1476 seeks to permit qualifying patients to cultivate small quantities of cannabis for their own therapeutic use. The bill already passed the House last month.

    Update: The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 3-2 on 4/25 to recommend that HB 1476 be sent to ‘interim study,’ but the bill is still expected to receive a vote in the full Senate sometime in the next few weeks.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of home cultivation rights

    Iowa

    Senate File 2372 seeks to expand the state’s medical cannabidiol (CBD) law. The measure will remove the arbitrary 3 percent cap on THC content, and would allow doctors to recommend CBD to those suffering from chronic pain as well as to any other patient for whom they believe it would benefit.

    Update: The Iowa State Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 13 to 3 to approve the bill on 4/23.

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

    Illinois

    Senate Bill 2298 would expand the state’s industrial hemp law by allowing individuals to cultivate hemp with a state license even if they are not part of the state’s Agriculture Department pilot program. That program only permits hemp cultivation as part of a state-sponsored research program.

    Update: SB 2298 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/24.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp expansion

    California

    Senate Bill 930 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 930 was heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on 4/25, and was then approved by the committee. The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

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

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

    38 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/27/18”

    1. TheOracle says:

      Pennsylvania, you can do better than just a senate resolution. I mean, come on! Pennsylvania can just go ahead and de-schedule cannabis as a state WITHOUT waiting for the feds.

      Grow some freakin’ ballz, Legislature! Cannabis is still listed in Pennsylvania’s schedule: Section 4, Schedule 1, paragraph (iv) Marihuana.

      http://www.health.state.pa.us/pdf/ddc/ddcAct.pdf

      WTF!

      “Senate Resolution 258 seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act so that marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. If passed, the resolution would urge Congress to take action to amend federal law so that states could regulate cannabis absent undue federal interference.

      Update: SR 258 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/25.”

      The Democratic Governor just plans to crack down on the opioid epidemic WITHOUT legalizing cannabis, WITHOUT taking it out of the state’s schedule?

      Tom Wolf, attention, Tom Wolf. Make sure one of your executive orders is to de-schedule cannabis in the state immediately. Make another executive order to expunge people’s records of past cannabis offenses like New Jersey.

      https://hightimes.com/news/pennsylvania-governor-proposes-plan-curb-opioid-overprescription/

      When Pennsylvania legalizes, it needs to keep Big Weed from elbowing all the little folks out. Please remember that.

    2. TheOracle says:

      Jeff Sessions’ understanding of cannabis is evolving far too slowly. He can’t keep up and needs more special education from Dr. Gupta.

      Do NOT wait for Sessions to evolve. He’s a pitiful, hopeless case. Legalization is coming before that. Keep this summer’s July legalizationdeadline.

      https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/3-things-we-learned-about-jeff-sessions-today

    3. Julian says:

      Republicans are going to lose small rural farmers to Democrats as these farners collectively figure out that Big Agribusiness and the Koch brothers have more power in a Republican controlled government than the President, the Senate Majority Leader and the House Speaker. And thats why Repubs cant even pass a job saving conservative Hemp Bill. Guess McConnell will be in Italy looking for Hemp seeds, Gone till November…

    4. Ruben says:

      What’s going on with South Carolina??? we need help over here.!!

      • Paul says:

        I feel like all the money I donate to NORML goes to waste in the state of NC. Really wish the National NORML would step up and try to help out the Carolinas because our local NORML chapters seem worthless. We need real people in these 2 states who care enough to take action, not just some college kids who meet at the local Library and talk about getting high and how cool it would be if it were legal. I write and call my reps more than once a week on any MJ related issue.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        We need you to report on behalf of SC: who is the Democrat or Democrats running against Republican McMaster? McMaster gets a failing grade from NORML.

        What do the Democrats challenging McMaster have to say about legalization? You’re local; please find out, and tell us!

    5. Njt says:

      Makes one wonder if they’ve already been using this stuff for years being the reason they don’t want to legalize it, then everybody will know what’s keeping them all Alive & Alert at that age. Then it will be less for them, just thinking out loud!

    6. Dain Bramage says:

      Hemp is great and all; We need to legalize it.

      But we don’t need Republicans around for that.

      Let’s not lose our perspective here: Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Congress, are traitors to America.

      From sassyfrancis and DailyKos:
      “Now that Republicans in the House have released their version of the Intelligence report, we can finally make concrete claims about their coverup for Russia and Donald Trump’s entourage. And you don’t have to go far to find the glaring incontrovertible evidence of the GOP coverup for Russian agents working with the Trump campaign.

      “Unfortunately for the GOP, an article in the NY Times today reveals the admission by Natalia V. Veselnitskaya that she is in fact a Russian agent. Most honest people had already come to this conclusion but the shocking news of her admission when confronted in an NBC interview with hacked emails provided by Russian opposition members proving that she does in fact have a Russian government handler shines a direct light on the GOP coverup of the Trump campaign’s collusion with a Russian agent in order to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

      “The links between Trump and Natalia’s handler, Denis Katsyv, who was the focus of the money laundering prosecution that was abruptly ended after Trump fired Preet Bahara are something investigators will be… investigating.

      “Irregardless of that, we now know that Trump Jr, Manafort, and Kushner met with a Russian agent promising dirt on Hillary Clinton stolen from the US government.

      “So, now that the House GOP’s cards are on the table, we can finally say without any doubt that the lengths to which the GOP will go to in order to cover up their party’s embrace of Russian spies is a threat to our democracy.”

      • Dain Bramage says:

        There is legislation in play in the Senate which would protect the Mueller investigation from Trump. Even a few nervous Republicans have signed on. The Democrats are screaming “Tsunami” and a couple of Republicans are saying “Maybe a little flood insurance wouldn’t hurt.”

        But when asked about the legislation, Mitch stated flatly that it was his call as Senate leader, and that “no such legislation” would reach the Senate floor. Traitor!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Trumpism is fascism.

        And, it is axiomatic, but I will spell it out: fascism is bad for marijuana legalization. To put it mildly!

        • mexweed says:

          Think about “fascism” for a moment. The latin word “fascis” meant a torch. The number #1 most prevalent torch in modern use is the matchstick, #2 is the $iggerette, #3 is the joint. Get rid of Big Tobacco (700-mg $iggerette), Big Marijuana (500-mg Joint) and substitute 25-mg single vapetokes in a flexdrawtube oneheater.
          .
          Microdose: often mentioned is 2.5 mg THC. That’s exactly what you get in one 25-mg single toke of 10%-THC bwdflower.

        • Julian says:

          If there ever was any doubt the Trump administration is against marijuana legalization:

          https://www.marijuanamoment.net/marijuana-industry-not-eligible-for-business-loans-trump-administration-says/

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Another bullseye for Julian.
            (No, that’s not a typo, or spellcheck sabotage. Bullseye, that is.)

            I knew Trump was against marijuana legalization when he ran as a Republican. He said it in his inaugural address. You couldn’t miss it.

            He just can’t stop blowing fascists like Putin and Duterte. And, when he appointed Jeff Sessions, the die was cast.

            Yet retarded Republican stoners are still at it. “See? No crackdown! Chill!”

            What would it take to convince them? Money?!

            Oh, right, right, right… How stupid of me — yes, of course: money! What else would it be?

            It’s all in the link:
            “Marijuana industry not eligible for business loans, Trump administration says.”

            • Julian says:

              Of course, how can we expect our President to lead legislation that respects states’ rights and the will of a majority of voters all the way from Moscow?

              If people even just read the WAPO instead of watching Cable “news” … the thought in mind that Jeff Bezos who owns it is a Libertarian who wants those tax cuts just as bad as the prohibitionists he exposes… Hell… if we all just PAID ATTENTION… every day… the historical clues are boundless.

              I knew Trump was a gumba wannabe mafioso back in the 80’s when I learned about how he used Polish immigrants like slaves to build Trump towers and he cut deals with “Fat Tony” salerno for cheap concrete.

              And we wonder how the Twin Towers fell.

              But even if I didn’t already know he was a schmuck, I knew who Anslinger was. Trump started his campaign by saying “Mexicans are bringing their rapists,” almost verbatim to Anslinger’s “reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” and want to “rape our white women.”

              Sure, your average Fox viewer wouldn’t know that… but when a majority of Republican voters want marijuana legalization one would think they would have seen a red flag when Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump’s campaign back in Feb. of ‘16.

              To be fair, back then, Repub voters were still below %50 in favor of reform (how fast times are changing), but talk about willful ignorance. What did they think Jeff was going to do? Hand out free joints on 4-20?!

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Speaking of Traitor Trump’s hard-on for violent, fascist dictators, do you really think Trump sees Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, any differently?

            Speaking plainly, Trump will see that violent criminality as a feature, not a bug.

            You can expect Trump to attempt to enter into criminal enterprise with Kim Jong-un, of some kind. You should not expect Trump to attempt to advance the best interests of USA. After all, why start now?

          • Evening Bud says:

            Surely, some Drumpf apologist will weigh in here . . . you know, clear up the confusion . . .

    7. TheOracle says:

      I am expecting Pennsylvania state Senator Mike Folmer (R) to lead the R-controlled legislature to de-schedule cannabis out of the state schedule, without waiting for a green light from the feds. Mike?

      Do NOT wait for the likes of Jeff Sessions to get out of the way of de-scheduling. It he does get out of the way, great. If not, it’s happening anyway.

      https://www.leafly.com/news/health/dr-sanjay-gupta-calls-on-jeff-sessions-to-back-medical-cannabis

      The U.S. just needs to de-schedule without all this bullshit rigamarole of the FDA going to WHO and then the UN saying to a U.S. official who passes it on to HHS for de-scheduling and it’s one big clusterf***!

      WHO is influenced by gateway theory prohibitionists such as Kurosch Yazdi, who wrote a book called The Cannabis Lie. He is the complete opposite of Dr. Gupta. Why is a prohibitionist like him holding up everything?!

    8. Dain Bramage says:

      Republicans are our enemy.

      They oppose marijuana legalization. They support the NRA. The NRA opposes marijuana. The NRA supports Republicans. The NRA supports Putin. Putin supports the NRA (but not for Russian citizens.) Putin supports Trump. Both Trump and Putin hate social justice… And they are all worthless, hypocritical, fascist scumbags.

      From Huffington Post:
      “Guns will be barred during Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance at an upcoming National Rifle Association convention to protect his safety — prompting survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida to wonder why the gun group won’t agree to gun restrictions elsewhere to protect children.

      “Those attending the NRA Leadership Conference in Dallas are on notice that no firearms or “weapons of any kind,” or ammunition, will be allowed in the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center “prior to and during” Pence’s appearance on May 4. The NRA posted the restrictions ? a requirement of the Secret Service ? on a website announcing the conference.

      “There will be no storage for firearms,” the NRA says in the announcement. Knife Rights, a knife advocacy group, will provide “complimentary storage” for knives, the NRA adds.

      You Republicans suck ass.

      Oh, I’m all done with liberal tears. It’s time for some payback, bitches.

    9. chris says:

      What about new york ? we are now flanked on all sides by legal states [n.j,mass,vermont,maine,and most likely conn. soon .gov. Coumo still wants to do studies and the N.Y. medical program does not have the products needed so sad that N.Y. tax dollars are soon going to be crossing the boarder in all directions Mrs C Nixon is running against Coumo and i feel shes got a real shot at taking his job if he does not act soon .Her #1 running issue is complete legalization for N.Y.

      • Duck says:

        I wouldn’t put NJ in the legal column just yet. The governor wants it, but if they had the votes in the legislature it’d be done by now. Apparently Sabet et al have sold some black Democrats on the “legalization is just rich white folks looking to make money targeting black children with pot candy” story, so even with a D majority we’re not there yet. Could still happen, but I dunno. Good luck in NY!

        • Evening Bud says:

          Some Democrats are regressive, and should be replaced with progressives. I don’t know the political situation in NJ, but it seems to me that having a Gov declare for legalization is HUGE. Surely your chances for legalization have to be better now with Christie gone.

          • Duck says:

            Yes, of course: it is indeed huge, and the chances are much better post Christie (how could they not be?). I was simply reacting to chris’s mention of NJ as an already legal state. Not there yet but there’s still hope!

            • Julian says:

              I’ve been lobbying a Republican lawyer in Jersey for three decades to join the bright side of the Force… and if after all that I can convince him, by God we can convince the Jersey legislature!

      • Evening Bud says:

        Cuomo is corporate shill who needs to get replaced by a REAL Democrat. That said, it seems from my (outside) point of view that NY is actually getting legitimately closer to legalization. I’m pulling for you guys.

    10. Demonhype says:

      Hey NORML! Any info on how promoting performance impairment testing to employers in lieu of drug testing is going? I haven’t heard a word about this initiative for about two years! It’s not nice to tease your readers like that!

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