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Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/29/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate June 29, 2018

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

    The US Senate has been busy this week talking about marijuana policy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), just introduced legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with prior marijuana convictions.

    The full Senate voted to legalize hemp as part of the 2018 Farm Bill by a 86-11 vote. The Senate also approved a funding bill with a provision allowing Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana to veterans.

    At the state level, Oklahoma became the 31st state to legalize medical marijuana, after voters approved State Question 788, permitting doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patients who they believe will benefit from it. But Governor Fallin (R) stated shortly after the result was called that she plans to work with lawmakers to restrict aspects of the measure.

    A majority of the Delaware House of Representatives voted to approve a marijuana legalization bill, but it failed to obtain the 60% supermajority support needed to move the bill to the Senate, ultimately defeating the bill for the year.

    Massachusetts regulators approved an equity plan to ensure that communities that have been impacted by the war on drugs have the means to participate in the emerging marijuana industry. They also voted to make consideration of cannabis testing lab license applications a priority.

    Governor David Ige (D) of Hawaii said he will veto a bill that would allow medical as an alternative to opioids, and to treat substance use and withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, Governor Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania signed a bill into law to establish a medical cannabis research program.

    At a more local level, the district attorney of Sacramento County, California has been dismissing old marijuana convictions; Jacksonville, Arkansas police will stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana; and Las Vegas, Nevada is considering permitting marijuana consumption lounges.

    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 Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

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

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    Senate Bill 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 Board of Education wants SB 20-62 amended to ban cannabis on campuses and from public school system buildings and to exempt the agency from discriminating against employees who consume marijuana.

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

    New York

    A. 9016 and S. 7564 seek to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: The Republican Caucus pushed A. 9016/S. 7564 off the table and merged it with A. 11011b / S. 8987a which passed both chambers of the legislature on 6/20. The bills now await action from Governor Cuomo.

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

    California

    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 heard by the Senate Public Safety Committee on 6/26, and then approved by a 5-1 vote. The bill now awaits action in the Appropriations 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 Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a vote of 8-1, and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of helping needy patients

    Senate Bill 1127 will help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on campus to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate last month.

    Update: SB 1127 will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on 7/3.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of patient access to medical cannabis in schools

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

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