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Weekly Legislative Roundup 5/25

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate May 25, 2018

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

    Federally, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) became the fourth Senator to cosponsor the Marijuana Justice Act, joining the bill’s sponsor, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and cosponsors Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

    At the state level, NORML PAC announced the endorsement of Jared Polis for Governor of Colorado. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that a state law prohibiting medical marijuana on college campuses is in violation of the state Constitution. And Nevada dispensaries set a new record after selling over $41 million worth of recreational marijuana in March.

    At a more local level, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) instructed the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking marijuana in public, and will come up with a plan to prepare the city for legalization. Los Angeles County, California adopted a resolution supporting state legislation to expunge marijuana convictions; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a measure to  decriminalize marijuana; and voters in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin will see a non-binding marijuana legalization question on this November’s ballot.

    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

    Minnesota

    HF 927 and SF 1320 are pending to regulate adult use marijuana possession and provide for retail sales. HF 927 has been awaiting action from the House Health and Human Services Committee since February and so has SF 1320 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Update: A third measure, HF 4541, was introduced on 5/20 to also regulate adult use marijuana possession and provide for retail sales.

    MN resident? Click here to email you elected officials in support of regulating adult use marijuana sales

    Commonwealth of the Nothern Mariana Islands

    SB 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The bill already passed the full Senate earlier this month.

    Update: The House Committee on Judiciary & Government Operations will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on 5/29.

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

    Pennsylvania

    House Bill 928, which was carried over from last year, seeks to reduce minor marijuana possession penalties. The bill amends state law so that first and second marijuana possession offenses (up to 30 grams) are reduced from misdemeanor offenses to a summary offense, punishable by a fine only.

    Update: Representative Ron Marsico has offered a June vote before the House Judiciary Committee, with hopes of a full House, and then Senate vote by the end of the summer.

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

    California

    Expungement
    AB 1793 would “allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.

    Update: The Assembly’s Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing on AB 1793 on 5/25 at 9am.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expunging past records

    Employment Protections
    AB 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: AB 2069 is scheduled for a vote in Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday, May 25. The bill must pass the full Assembly floor by June 1.

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

    New York

    Record Sealing
    A. 2142 and S. 3809 would seal the records of those who have previously been convicted of certain marijuana misdemeanors.

    New York has historically had one of the highest marijuana arrest rates in the nation largely because of arrests made under the public view and public smoking exceptions to New York’s decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of sealing past records

    Medical
    S 8191 has been introduced in the State Senate to explicitly permit children and developmentally disabled individuals with serious conditions for which medical marijuana has been recommended to have their medicine administered at schools and other facilities, and require school districts and facilities to create policies for medical marijuana administration.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of allowing medical marijuana in schools

    Opioids
    A. 9016 and S. 7564 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence. Both bills have been stagnant in their respective chambers since January.

    Update: A third measure, S. 8820, was introduced on 5/22, to include opioid use as a condition that permits the use of medical cannabis.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of adding opioid use to the qualifying conditions list

    Illinois

    SB 336 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy as an alternative to opioid treatment. It was already approved by the Senate last month.

    Update: The House Executive committee voted 8-3 to approve SB 336 on 5/24.

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

    New Jersey

    A3971 was recently introduced and would establish reciprocity with other states’ medical marijuana program.The measure would allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting New Jersey, in accordance with state law.

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

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    Illinois

    Senate Bill 2298 provides for the ability for 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. The bill was already approved by the full Senate last month.

    Update: SB 2298 was approved by the House on 5/23. It will now go back to the Senate for concurrence.

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

    New York

    Legislation to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in New York State is pending in the Senate (S. 8772) and Assembly (A. 10104) Health Committees. The bill would allow veterinarians to recommend medical marijuana for our pets. Most non-human animals have an endocannabinoid system like we do, which means they can also benefit from the therapeutic effects of marijuana.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana for our furry friends

    California

    AB 3157 would temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.

    Update: AB 3157 was supposed to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/16, but the hearing was postponed until 5/25 at 9am.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of lowering taxes

    That’s all for this week, folks!

    33 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 5/25”

    1. Matt says:

      Some great news, thanks, Carly! Have a good weekend, all. Beautiful day, and remember our Vets this Memorial Day! Give thanks!

      Strong in the struggle

      To legalization, to a GREATER FUTURE.

      M

    2. Julian says:

      The war between the DEA and CBD continues:

      https://www.marijuanamoment.net/heres-what-the-dea-told-agents-about-cannabis-enforcement-this-week/

      But a recent 9th district court ruling establishes the Farm Bill preempts the CSA.

      C’mon Senators Gilibrand, Booker and Harris: Wannabe President? Cosign the Hemp Bill!!!

      Meanwhile the Texas State Department of Health Services is holding on to crackdowns on CBD labeled products due to public comment.

      The Hemp Industries of America won a court battle in 2004 against the DEA to import hemp products for sale in the U.S. But farmers can’t grow it here domestically. And the Trump administration is hurting small farmers with regs that favor Monsantos and tarrif threats that could make or break the rural farmers that voted for Trump.

      Democrats: See a “conservative” opportunity?

      • Julian says:

        If the Farm Bill preempts the CSA, then we need to prepare for a patchwork prohibition where bills keep preempting small bits of the CSA one bite at a time. The good news is, this means the Joyce amendment passed recently through the House Appropriations Committee now has some big judicial teeth in it to protect mmj dispensaries from federal prosecution. Judges aren’t going backwards to side with the archaic tyranny of the Controlled Substances Act. And that is good news worth celebrating with some Lemon Haze on a curved NORML hemp paper!

        • Leroy says:

          Well I’ll smoke to that.

        • OBVIOUS PROOF says:

          THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, PREEMPTS THE C.S.A. !!!

          i predict NORML could double it’s support,
          both voter support, and financial donations,
          IF,
          it would go beyond marijuana,
          and challenge the entire C.S.A.,
          as being UNCONSTITUTIONAL…

          THE BLATANTLY, REDICULULOUSLY, OBVIOUS PROOF;
          they had to AMEND the constitution,
          to give them the authority,
          to make alcohol illegal.

          that authority was repealed,
          revoked, and ENDED FOREVER,
          when alcohol prohibition was repealed.

          therefore; there is NO constitutional AUTHORITY for the C.S.A. .

          the C.S.A. IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL END-RUN,
          because PROHIBITION WAS ALLREADY DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

          • Julian says:

            Obvious,
            NORML along with founder and legal councel Keith Stroup has challenged the CSAct with the Constitution in Federal Courts for decades. They got DEA Judge Francis Young to admit cannabis was among “the safest” substances known to man back in the 80’s. Still no descheduling of marijuana.
            Deputy Director Paul Armentano testified in California’s NE District a few years back against Project SAM’s Dr. Bertha Mad-@$$ Madras only to have Judge Mueller rule “Congress doesn’t have to be right.” (Although I bet those longitudinal studies from JAMA showing a reduction in opioid overdose in legal state mj markets will shut Bertha’s yap).

            It’s Congress. They make the laws. And while a majority of Republican voters want mj legalized at the federal level our Republican Reps are like clothes dryers; they work hard, and they’ll smoke marijuana if you give it to them, but they never get anywhere.
            It’s time to put in an opposing Congress… even if that means voting in an Independent like Tim Canova, because I’m just as ready to call out a Democratic prohibitionist, albeit less frequent than Republicans, like Debbie Washmoney Shultz out of Broward County Florida.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          I’ll be damned. Julian has hypnotized the cobra!

          The MAGA-men are applauding a strong judicial branch! They are doing their “impressions” of a person of principle. Nice acting.

          The “big judicial teeth” Leroy toasts… Would that apparent respect for the institutions of law and order then also apply to the Mueller investigation? Or are Traitor Trump and his henchmen above the law?

          That is the point at which the alt-right’s lip-service to a principled stance on anything is exposed as nothing but self-serving deceit.

          One moment, the Trumpanzees are spitting fire in defense of The Constitution; the next moment, they are calling for civil war, the dismantling of the “deep state,” and inciting treason in defense of Russian political interests.

          They are so full of shit.

      • Leroy says:

        “Wannabe President? Cosign the Hemp Bill!!!”
        C’mon Julian, you’re jumping the shark with this one.

        • Julian says:

          How so? Each of them have or have had plans for a Presidential campaign. Hemp and marijuana legalization is one place where Republicans and Democratic voters can agree on policies and yet these three have yet to cosign the Hemp Bill, which is the only way forward through the Farm Bill. Pete Sessions, R-TX blocked all three of the hemp amendents, and that’s going to cost him his Chair on the House Rules and his time in Congress. So long as enough people get out and vote, the same applies for anyone running for President in 2020.

          • Leroy says:

            Point’s been made a few times by others, to vote based on marijuana policy alone is absolutely foolish.

            Proponents of legalization win points in my book. But they can lose Leroy-points with their other policies. Dems and repubs, you’re graded the same. Is the candidate the best choice overall?

            Voting for hemp or cannabis doesn’t secure a politician’s victory. Might win a few points, but a few points are a drop in the bucket. Gotta play the whole game.

            • Sean says:

              Leroy points? That and a quarter won’t get even me a cup of coffee.

            • Sean says:

              *get

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Leroy, you almost sound reasonable there. But I can’t count on you to follow through, and to apply reason consistently. Why? Because, by your own criteria, Hillary was, is, and always will be, a far better choice for President than… Excuse me, the thought makes me vomit…

              …well, you know who I’m talking about, that goddamn sick-fuck power-mad Russian mobster sitting in the Oval Office right now, fucking everything up for you and for me.

              But you wouldn’t go that far, now would you? That would involve an objective assessment of facts and evidence. And that is precisely where you cannot go. Therein lies your deceit, Leroy.

              You’re all noise. It seems your sole mission, straight from Putin, is to promote false equivalency between the Democrats and the traitors.

              By the way, I’m curious, Leroy. Where do you shop, after you get paid in rubles?

            • Julian says:

              Leroy:
              “Gotta play the whole game…” An interesting choice of words in reference to picking our Congressman on a marijuana blog dedicated to lobbying our Congressman to reform marijuana policy.

              NORMLy, I would say that we should be one-issue voters when it comes to marijuana policy. We should leverage our vote for marijuana policy at every given opportunity from the local level up to Congress. I would say that the current polarized political climate under Citizens United has forced Democrats to make marijuana a lifestyle issue the way that Republicans have made guns a lifestyle issue at the polls and in the passionate way we contact our Congressman.

              I would also agree with you that sometimes there are more pressing matters than marijuana policy, such as high treason, rapidly increasing average global temperatures and ocean levels, over reliance on finite fuels and the issue of dark campaign money pouring, funneling and laundering in from every bad place on earth that would like to see the end of what is left of the direct Democracy within our Democratic Republic. But marijuana policy is inextricably tied to every one of these major issues regarding sustainable human development, economics and politics.

              So the one question that binds and puts into context all of these opposing concepts is if after contacting your Representatives and Senators and citizen lobbying them on marijuana policy, and after you see that they will not stand to reason, that they will not fight for our freedom and will not legalize and fairly regulate marijuana, but a candidate from an opposing party will, what could possibly be more important to you, Leroy, that you would vote against your own interests?

            • Leroy says:

              Julian, marijuana is one of the issues I’m most passionate about for various reasons, but this doesn’t mean it drives all my votes. It would be entirely irresponsible for me to vote only for marijuana while ignoring the other issues.

              Partisan politics are the enemy.

              I disagree with you, the important issues are not all tied to marijuana. An individual’s views on marijuana do not determine all their other views in life. I can advocate legal marijuana and disagree with you on a number of other issues.

              My phone’s auto correct keeps winning each battle, and I’m out of patience for the day. This is where I stop for now. Sorry. I do thank you for the thoughtful dialogue.

            • Julian says:

              Leroy,
              Assuming you have either an i phone or an android, go into settings and shut off your auto correct. I will not criticize mispellings.

              You did not answer my question; What are the political issues that are more important to you than marijuana reform that would cause you to vote, most likely, as a Republican?

              Answer this and I will gladly explain how marijuana reform is tied directly to each of them.

          • Leroy says:

            @Sean

            No Leroy-points for you!

        • Dain Bramage says:

          A woman President, Leroy. How does that suit you?

          • Leroy says:

            Implying I’m sexist? Slinging mud you made out of bullshit. Always classy.

            • Sean says:

              Funny how Trump supporters come on this site expecting graciousness and civility. Doesn’t anybody notice the irony?

            • Dain Bramage says:

              No, Leroy, I am not implying you’re sexist. I am saying it is a fact. Your support for Trump proves the fact.

              Didn’t mean to leave any doubt!

            • Dain Bramage says:

              Leroy, you shouldn’t talk about watching Rocky movies, and then use the word “classy.” Makes you appear dim-witted.

            • Leroy says:

              You’re a stupid duck, Dain. Quack you, ducker.

              Tired of you dominating NORML the last couple years with constant stupidity, hypocrisy, and blatant lies about anyone you deem an enemy of your agenda. Your agenda is far beyond legalization, and you’re the real danger. You fascist-duck.

            • Leroy says:

              Sean, you’re clueless.

              Good day.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            Leroy,
            I will bet a dollar you don’t know the meaning of the word “fascism.” Identify the essential elements of fascism. Show your work; give examples.

            I’m a “Duck?” Are you kidding? How did you know I’m cuddly, soft and downy? Aw.

    3. Julian says:

      https://www.alternet.org/drugs/why-are-californias-legal-marijuana-sales-so-low?src=newsletter1092629

      Phillip Smith over at Alternet explains how California’s state mj regs failed to include local governments and help transition farmers out of the black market.

      Between that and the black market demand in prohibited states until marijuana is legalized federally, tax revenue reveals that most of California’s pot sales are still in the black market.

      We’ve come a long way but we have a long way to go. I’m with Bill Maher on this one: Let’s make marijuana a lifestyle issue like Republicans did with guns.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        A fancy, high-end pot pipe won’t get you any higher, but a fancy, high-end gun certainly will kill one hell of a lot more people in a very short amount of time.

        I say, ban assault rifles and all weapons of war for police AND civilians.

        Do we want civilization or anarchy? It’s an easy question, a no-brainer! We want civilization!

    4. Julian says:

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-latinamerica-drugs-un/latin-america-must-think-about-legalizing-drugs-u-n-agency-says-idUSKCN1IU0B1

      A relatively slow weekend in marijuana reporting reveals some very welcome and interesting marijuana reform activity out of the UN from ECLAC, the Evonomic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean calls for legalizing all drugs in the region.
      Glad to know the OAS and the DPA aren’t at this alone.

    5. Steve says:

      Come on Texas, I have a feeling that Texas will be the last state to legalize!!!

      • Steve says:

        Does anyone have any god news for Texans?

        • Julian says:

          I’m not sure about any “God” news for Texas in regards to marijuana policy, although a Libertarian candidate introduced a made-to-fail bill during the 2015 session that claimed marijuana should be legalized because “it is a plant from God.” Teasing at your typo, of course. And that “good” State Rep is no longer representing Longview. Just as the GOP did to my state rep, Jason Isaac, a Republican, he will no longer be representative next year because the GOP and Koch money went to back his prohibitionist Republican opponent during the primaries after they discovered he supported mmj policy.

          I’m sorry, you were looking for good news from Texas?

          That wil require another post:

        • Julian says:

          The Democrat for District 21 is Joseph Kopser, who supports full legalization of mj, but more from a business perspective. (I’m working on him to represent mj consumers). Rapidly changing demographics are going to give Dems a boost in Dist. 21 where retiring Republican prohibitionist and climate denying wax figure Lamar Smith has held legalization at bay.

          Also at the federal level, the most obstructive, evil prohibitionist in Congress, and bomb-throwing villain from a Spider-Man movie, Representative Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, only needs 1,200 Republicans to not vote for him or that many more Democrats to show up in a district Hillary won by 5 percentage points. No Dem ever ran against him before. This is good news because as Chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, Pete Sessions has blocked every mj and hemp amendment in Congress.

          More mj reforming Dems are running campaigns across Texas than ever before. And candidate for Senate, Beto Orourke, a passionate advocate for mj policy, just visited every county in the entire state talking about mj policy, sustainable agriculture, health care and making education affordable while paying down the debt.

          If enough Texans get out and vote… (check the voter guide at http://www.Texasnorml.org) we can shape the state legislature in such a way that we can not only pass an mmj bill during the short legislative session in January, but force Governor Abbott to let it ride. I don’t think the Democratic candidate for Governor, Lupe Valdez will draw out enough people to vote unless she runs a strong ground game like Beto, and gets latinos out and registered, but for what it’s worth, she would totally sign an mmj bill where Abbott has sworn he would not. Ironically, he did sign the Compassionate Use Act in 2015 and the Republican state platform calls to expand it. The only thing standing in the way besides Abbott and Costello… I mean Dan Patrick… is more Texans getting out to vote.

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