Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/8/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator June 8, 2018

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

    There were some key developments this week at the federal level, including a new bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales. A bipartisan House companion bill was introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly pledged to allow a vote on the bill, while President Trump has publicly expressed his support for it.

    Also in Congress, the US House Rules Committee, led by prohibitionist Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), blocked multiple amendments related to marijuana from being considered by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer either legal protections or expanded access to veterans who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    Members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar amendment to allow veterans to get medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs doctors and to protect them from being denied VA services because of their participation in state-legal medical marijuana programs.

    In a press release from Senator Mitch McConnell’s office, he announced that he had secured the language of S. 2667 in the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider the legislation on Wednesday, June 13.

    At the state level, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed legislation to allow marijuana “tasting rooms,” as well as legislation to add autism as a qualifying medical condition, but he signed a bill into law to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at schools. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation into law allowing physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to those suffering from chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, severe muscle spasms, autism or glaucoma. And Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill modifying provisions relating to industrial hemp.

    New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari introduced a new bill that would regulate adult use marijuana while also expanding the medical marijuana program. And Michigan Republican lawmakers failed to get enough support to amend and enact marijuana legalization by Tuesday’s deadline, meaning that the legalization and regulation measure will be on this November’s ballot.

    At a more local level, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania City Council unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization measure; Savannah, Georgia police are implementing a marijuana decriminalization measure beginning on July 1, and Fulton County, Georgia approved a measure to decriminalize marijuana in unincorporated areas.

    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


    Lawmakers in Delaware are once again considering House Bill 110 to legalize and regulate adult marijuana use.

    The legislation in 2017 was voted out of Committee, but then stalled as lawmakers elected to approve a resolution establishing a marijuana legalization task force. This group, which includes representatives from Delaware NORML, is anticipated to make recommendations to the legislature early this year.

    Update: It is anticipated that House Bill 110 will get a vote in the House in the next couple weeks, as well as in the Senate before the end of the legislative session in late June.

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

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    SB 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.

    Update: The House Committee on Judiciary & Government Operations held a hearing on marijuana legalization on 6/5.

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

    New York

    Legislation is pending in both chambers, A. 9016 and S. 7564 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: A. 9016 was approved by the Assembly on 6/6, and now awaits action in the Senate Health Committee.

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


    Assembly Bill 1793 seeks “to 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: AB 1793 was approved by the full Assembly on 5/31, and now awaits action in the Senate Rules Committee.

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

    Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions

    Update: SB 829 was approved by the Rules Committee unanimously, and now awaits action from the Committee on Business and Professions.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of exempting compassionate care programs from paying taxes

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

    4 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/8/18”

    1. Julian says:

      With all the hype in the news over the STATES Act and Trump saying he’ll “probably” sign it I barely noticed that when I’ll be driving down to DC on the 11th of July (Keith, we’re gonna smoke a NORML curved paper!) …through Delaware on my summer road trip there exists the real possibility that the state may beat New Jersey and the rest of the US to become the first legislatively enacted legal marijuana on the market. It’s like everyone is watching the NBA playoffs and no one is noticing there’s a guy from Delaware smoking a joint in the front row.

      C’mon Delaware! I want to get legally high on your bridge!


      God, I always love that clip from Wayne’s World…

      “Imagine being magically whisked away to… Delaware!… Hi! I’m in Delaware!”

      They’ve got a bridge.

    2. ancient james says:

      Happy are those officials who think that all of their responsible adult neighbors ought to be free – of course – to choose their own medicines and their own lifestyle.

    3. Mark Mitcham says:

      Thank you, Carly Your Highness.

      “At the state level, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) vetoed legislation to allow marijuana “tasting rooms,” as well as legislation to permit autism as a qualifying condition, but signed a bill into law to allow school personnel to administer medical cannabis to patients at schools.”

      This is the kind of split-the-baby duplicity we in Colorado have been putting up with all the while Hickenlooper has been Governor. He is another corporate-blinded prohibitionist DINO (a prohibitionist brewer, at that, a classic hypocrisy) who we can do without. If he runs for President, I will not support him.

      I did cast a ballot for Jared Polis, and am looking forward to his leadership as Governor of Colorado!