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  • by NORML April 2, 2019

    The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary is already heating up and we wanted to reach out to our supporters to take an early straw poll of who they think voters who prioritize marijuana law reform should support in that primary. We will be taking many more in-depth looks at the 2020 race as it progresses, including potential primary challengers on the Republican side, but first we wanted to provide an overview of all the currently announced Democratic candidates, along with their record and policy statements when it comes to marijuana legalization. Please review the information below and then cast a vote in our 2020 Democratic Primary Straw Poll!

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    The Senators

    Amy Klobuchar

    Current Office: Senator from Minnesota
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: B
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: During her tenure in Congress, Senator Klobuchar did not sponsor her own marijuana law reform legislation and did not seem to make changing marijuana laws a priority. Senator Klobuchar did sponsor both the STATES Act and the MEDS Act in the last Congress, but has yet to sponsor any legislation that would deschedule marijuana at the federal level. She remained generally opposed to legalization, while supporting states having the right to reform their own policies, until she clarified her stance as being in support of it after announcing her 2020 presidential campaign.

    Quote: “I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach to marijuana within their borders.” – 02/22/19

    Bernie Sanders

    Current Office: Senator from Vermont
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2015-2016)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (2017-2020), Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Senator Sanders has a long history of supporting reforming our nation’s drug policy. While serving as mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980’s, he called for decriminalizing drug possession and treating substance abuse as a public health issue. When elected to Congress in the 1990s, he co-sponsored legislation that would have allowed for access to medical marijuana. In recent years, he has campaigned heavily on ending federal prohibition and expunging past marijuana convictions while campaigning for president in both 2016 and 2020. Senator Sanders was also the lead sponsor on the Senate version of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in 2015 and is a co-sponsor of numerous marijuana-related bills including the Marijuana Justice Act. NORML endorsed his campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Prohibition doesn’t work. Studies show over half of Americans smoke marijuana. It is insane to be arresting some 600,000 people a year for using marijuana. States are moving forward on decriminalization and legalization. The time is now to say that we are not going to punish people for smoking marijuana, states want to go forward and legalize it. That is their right…The issue that really hits me here, is you have thousands and thousands of people whose lives are wrecked for possession of marijuana.” – All In With Chris Hayes, 04/20/18

    Cory Booker

    Current Office: Senator from New Jersey
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (2017-2020)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Senator Booker has prioritized marijuana law reform since his time serving as mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He has made ending federal prohibition a central plank in his current presidential campaign and has prioritized the issue during his Senate career, serving as lead sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act and the CARERS Act. NORML endorsed his campaign for New Jersey’s Senate seat in 2010.

    Quote: “Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system. States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.” – Announcing the introduction of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, 08/01/2017

    Elizabeth Warren

    Current Office: Senator from Massachusetts
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act of 2019 (2017-2020), Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Earlier in her career, Senator Warren was cautious on issues surrounding cannabis descheduling and legalization. In recent years, she has embraced the issue and is one of the lead sponsors of the STATES Act, that would create an exemption from federal incursion for states that have legalized marijuana for adult or medical use, and is a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act. She has highlighted issues of the inequities caused by marijuana prohibition while on the trail for her 2020 presidential campaign. NORML endorsed her campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Outdated federal marijuana laws have perpetuated our broken criminal justice system, created barriers to research, and hindered economic development. States like Massachusetts have put a lot of work into implementing common sense marijuana regulations – and they have the right to enforce their own marijuana policies. The federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.” – Press Release Announcing the STATES Act of 2017, 06/07/18

    Kamala Harris

    Current Office: Senator from California
    2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)

    Summary: Kamala Harris has a complicated history with marijuana law reform. While serving as district attorney in San Francisco and as US Attorney in California, she enforced laws that saw many go to jail for marijuana offenses and oversaw a period where raids on medical marijuana dispensaries spiked. During her campaign for District Attorney in 2016, she laughed off the question when asked about support for legalization. However, she began to embrace legalization more around 2016 and upon entering the 2020 presidential race, she has become a more vocal advocate and often discusses legalization as a criminal justice reform issue. She said she believes marijuana is a thing that “brings people joy” and supports ending federal prohibition to combat mass incarceration. She was an initial co-sponsor on the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019.

    Quote: “We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it. And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.” Sen. Harris wrote in her book The Truths We Hold.

    Kirsten Gillibrand

    Current Office: Senator from New York
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)
    Summary: Kirsten Gillibrand did not initially support legalization when serving in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, she became a vocal supporter and signed on as a co-sponsor of numerous pieces of marijuana related legislation. On the campaign trail she has often spoken vigorously against our failed war on drugs and the harms caused by marijuana prohibition. She was an initial co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019. NORML endorsed her reelection to the Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities. Just one minor possession conviction could take away a lifetime of opportunities for jobs, education, and housing, tear families apart, and make people more vulnerable to serving time in jail or prison down the road. The reality that my 14-year-old son would likely be treated very differently from one of his Black or Latino peers if he was caught with marijuana is shameful. Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address, and I’m proud to work with Senator Booker on this legislation to help fix decades of injustice caused by our nation’s failed drug policies.” in a press release on 2/14/2018

    The Representatives

    Tulsi Gabbard

    Current Office: Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A+
    Sponsored Legislation: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2017-2020)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: The RESPECT Resolution (2017-2020), Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (2017-2020), Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act (2017-2018), Marijuana Justice Act (2017-2020)

    Summary: Tulsi Gabbard has largely been a vocal supporter of ending federal marijuana prohibition for her full tenure in the House of Representatives. She has twice been the lead sponsor of the End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act and continues to discuss the need for reform while campaigning. This has been a major part of her political platform, in addition to serving as the lead sponsor on End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, she is a co-sponsor on numerous other pieces of marijuana-related legislation. NORML endorsed her campaign for re-election to the House of Representatives in 2018.

    Quote: “We must pass The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act to ensure that marijuana consumers and state-licensed marijuana businesses are protected from undue federal interference. It will help reduce the strain on our criminal justice system, amend federal law to agree with cannabis’ changing cultural status, recognize the plant’s therapeutic benefits, and reduce contradictions and confusion between federal and state marijuana laws.” in a message to NORML supporters on 03/07/2019

    Beto O’Rourke

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Representative for Texas’ 16th Congressional District
    NORML 2018 Congressional Scorecard Grade: A
    Sponsored Legislation: The Better Drive Act (2017-2018)
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (2017-2018)

    Summary: Beto O’Rourke has been a long-time supporter of abolishing the federal prohibition on marijuana since the start of his political career as a city council member in El Paso. While serving in the US House of Representatives, he co-sponsored several bills including; The Veterans Equal Access Act, The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, The CARERS Act, and The Industrial Hemp Farming Act. In his bid for President, he has called for ending the federal prohibition of cannabis and creating a legal, regulated market. He also supports expunging criminal records of those already convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses. NORML endorsed his reelection campaign to the House of Representatives in 2014 and his campaign for Senate in 2018.

    Quote: “We should end the federal prohibition on marijuana and expunge the records of those who were locked away for possessing it, ensuring that they can get work, finish their education, contribute to the greatness of this country,” O’Rourke wrote in an email to his supporters. March 2019

    John Delaney

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Representative for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District
    NORML 2016 Congressional Scorecard Grade: B
    Co-Sponsored Legislation: N/A

    Summary: John Delaney does not have a long record of supporting marijuana law reform. When he served in the House, he did co-sponsor a very limited medical marijuana access bill and a piece of legislation that would give marijuana businesses the ability to utilize financial services.

    The Governors

    Jay Inslee

    Current Office: Governor of Washington State
    NORML 2018 Gubernatorial Scorecard Grade: A+

    Enacted Legislation: In January 2019, Gov. Inslee announced his intent to provide an expedited process for granting clemency to those with past marijuana-related convictions. Under the proposed plan, those convicted of a marijuana misdemeanor after January 1, 1998, will have their record vacated. It is estimated that 3,500 individuals will be eligible for expungement. (1/4/19), SB 5131: Amends the state’s medical cannabis law so that qualified medical marijuana patients and designated providers can purchase immature plants, clones, or seeds from a licensed producer. (2017), House Bill 2064: Amends state law so that industrial hemp is no longer classified as a controlled substance under the state’s uniform controlled substances act. (2017). SB 6206: Authorizes “the growing of industrial hemp as a legal agricultural activity” in accordance with federal legislation permitting such activity as part of a state-authorized program. (2016), HB 1276: Defines any consumption of marijuana while in a moving vehicle as a traffic violation. The statute further requires that any cannabis possessed in a moving vehicle must be located in a sealed container in either the trunk, glove compartment, or some other area that is inaccessible to the driver or passengers. (2015), SB 5052: Imposed the establishment of a voluntary registration system for qualified patients, reduced the number of plants that patients may legally cultivate and possess, and imposed new regulations of physicians who authorize medical cannabis. (2015)

    Summary: Under the leadership of Governor Jay Inslee, Washington state has acted as a progressive beacon for the rest of the nation in many important areas, including marijuana policy. Washington state historically became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, less than a year before Governor Inslee took office. Although his support for legalization was uncertain prior to the passing Initiative 502 in the 2012 general ballot, he has since vehemently protected his state’s program, defending it against the threat of federal interference. Inslee has assured voters that he will support legalization efforts as president, voicing his belief that it’s time the United States legalizes marijuana federally.

    Quotes: “Our federal marijuana laws are broken—and we need to ensure this Justice Department does not interfere with Washington state’s thriving, well-regulated marijuana market.” 6/8/2018

    John Hickenlooper

    Current Office: None
    Previous Office: Governor of Colorado
    NORML 2016 Gubernatorial Scorecard Grade: B-

    Enacted Legislation: House Bill 1267: Permits qualified patients to access medical marijuana while on probation or parole. Colorado is one of the first states to permit medical marijuana use to parolees by statute. (2015), House Bill 1373: Permits qualified patients access to medical cannabis formulations while on school grounds. (2016)

    Summary: Governor John Hickenlooper has displayed lukewarm support for progressive marijuana policies and has often left voters unsure of his exact stance on cannabis-related issues. He demonstrated outspoken opposition to his state’s decision to legalize in 2014, citing that it would inspire people “to do more of what is not a healthy thing.” Hickenlooper has since admitted that his fears have not materialized. Although he still does not endorse legalization, he believes in a federal reclassification of cannabis and has voiced support for federal banking reforms.

    Quote: “I would not ask the federal government to legalize it for everyone, but I think that in states that do legalize marijuana, with the voters or through their general assembly, the federal government should get out of the way, and allow them to be able to get banking… allow them to look at systems by which you can have this experiment go on successfully.” 3/20/2019

    New Contenders

    Julian Castro

    Current Office: None
    Former Office: Secretary of HUD, Mayor of San Antonio

    Summary: Julian Castro has come out in support of legalization during his campaign for president. He has not held legislative office, so there is no record available for bill sponsorship or votes. While serving as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Obama he issued a memo reiterating the ban on marijuana in public housing.

    Quote: “The White House may crack down on recreational marijuana use–even in states where voters have approved it. That’s a mistake. The federal government should focus its resources on more serious crimes. Not only that, growing evidence from Colorado and other states suggests we can sensibly legalize marijuana use with reasonable controls in place. State voters should have that power.” 02/26/17

    Andrew Yang

    Current Office: None
    Employment: Former Tech Executive, Nonprofit Founder

    Summary: Yang supports ending federal marijuana prohibition and moving towards legalization – in addition to calling for the expungement of those with existing criminal records. While he supports legalization, he also believes that there should be limits on advertising and THC levels.

    Quote: “I don’t love marijuana. I’d rather people not use it heavily. But it’s vastly safer than people becoming addicted to opiates like heroin. And our criminalization of it seems stupid and racist, particularly now that it’s legal in some states. We should proceed with full legalization of marijuana and pardon those in jail for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. It’s a safer, less addictive means to manage pain for many Americans.” – Yang2020.com

    Pete Buttigieg

    Current Office: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

    Summary: Mayor Buttigieg has talked about cannabis reform significantly less than his 2020 competitors. He has never signed legislation directly related to marijuana, and his home state of Indiana lacks even a comprehensive medical program. However, he has voiced strong opposition to the incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders and has related his own experience with a police officer who caught him with a joint while he was in college. While Buttigieg wouldn’t obstruct efforts to change federal cannabis laws, it would likely not be a priority of his administration.

    Quote: “The safe, regulated, and legal sale of marijuana is an idea whose time has come for the United States, as evidenced by voters demanding legalization in states across the country.” 2/26/2019

  • by Mary Kruger, Executive Director, Roc NORML April 1, 2019

    By: Jason Klimek, Esq., Legal Advisor to Roc NORML, and Mary Kruger, Start SMART NY Coalition Member and Executive Director of Roc NORML

    Sixty-five percent of New York residents support the legalization of cannabis. Democrats control the Governor’s office as well as majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate for the first time in a decade. After repeated calls over by politicians to pass adult-use as part of New York’s budget, New Yorkers are waking up on April 1st to find out that they’ve been the subject of, what looks like, an April Fool’s Day prank, several months in the making. Cannabis legalization was not included in the 2019 – 2020 New York State Budget.

    Both the legislature and the Governor’s office, after hearing New Yorkers’ opinions, have repeatedly stated cannabis legislation must address social justice concerns and avoid creating a cannabis economy that will allow large businesses to thrive to the detriment of small business. Focusing on social justice and small business will allow those communities that have been devastated by the failed war on drugs to participate in the cannabis economy and attempt to right the wrongs of the past. The longer New York waits, the less likely those goals will come to fruition. In the meantime, communities will continue to see their members arrested, prosecuted and jailed for cannabis-related offenses.

    Beyond the possibility that New York may see unified control disappear in upcoming elections, if New York to wait until 2020 or longer, the probability of federal legalization drastically increases. If federal legalization were to be implemented prior to New York legalization, small business will have absolutely no chance to compete against the largest businesses who have been operating legally in other states for years and have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars of investments.

    Even if New York were to legalize before the federal government, there continues to exist a high probability that New York will be surrounded by legal states, as Pennsylvania is introducing legislation to legalize, both Connecticut and Vermont are discussing the possibility of legalization, and New Jersey is sure to attempt to pass legislation again. Those surrounding states will create the markets in which small businesses will thrive and draw cannabis revenue to those states. The effect will be to deprive New York of the jobs and tax revenue while sticking New York with any issues that may arise from the legalization of cannabis.

    Legalization is still possible this year, but only if we continue to put the pressure on our elected officials to get it done. We have been talking a lot about the CRTA in the past few months, the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, legislation drafted to legalize cannabis for adult-use, written by a team created by Governor Cuomo. This bill didn’t offer the social and racial justice, community reinvestment in a meaningful way, or consumer rights that we deserve. Our allies in the Senate and Assembly were willing to negotiate on some points, and agreed they couldn’t compromise on important issues for which New Yorkers voiced strong support:

    • The adult-use market must be created in a way that benefits and reinvests back into communities that have been most harmed and targeted in the War on Drugs

    • Provisions must be included that would build an equitable and diverse workforce, with meaningful and ownership level work in the industry

    • Restorative justice is included, in the form of sealing and resentencing past convictions for crimes that would now be legal after the legislation is passed

    • Provisions are included for home cultivation, allowing consumers and patients to grow their own cannabis if they wish; this is similar to the model we see in the thriving craft beer industry in New York

    The Start SMART NY campaign has been working with Senator Liz Krueger, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for over five years on drafting legislation to legalize cannabis for adult-use in New York. They each sponsored companion legislation in the Assembly and Senate, the MRTA, or Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act. These allies in the Senate and Assembly have been working tirelessly with experts to create smart, sustainable legislation that offers marijuana justice and legalization, and we need to help them continue to do this work now, more than ever, and get this bill perfected and passed by the end of the legislative session in June.

    While the MRTA isn’t perfect legislation, it has about 90% of what we’re hoping to see the final draft have; compared to the CRTA which only have about 50% of what we’re hoping to see. The rhetoric from the Governor’s office last month about this issue being rushed because we just started having these conversations simply aren’t true; the MRTA is on its fourth draft and was originally introduced in both the Senate and Assembly five years ago. These conversations have been happening and our allies are willing to negotiate with the Governor, but he needs to do just that – negotiate.

    We must see the legislation rooted in justice, equity and restitution back into communities that have been devastated from the War on Drugs. When folks ask why, the answers are quite simple:

    Marijuana prohibition has not been effective in stopping or remotely curbing marijuana usage. Marijuana remains the most widely used illegal substance nationally, with half of Americans admitting having tried the substance in their lifetime. Despite this widespread experimental user, the rate of regular use has not changed significantly since the 1980s, steadily remaining at about 1 in 8 Americans – despite significant increases in enforcement over that time.

    Marijuana prohibition has not increased public safety. According to a Human Rights Watch report published in 2012, people who enter the criminal justice system with an arrest for public possession of marijuana are no more likely to be threats to public safety than someone who has not been arrested.

    Marijuana prohibition has been disproportionately enforced in communities of color and has led to devastating collateral consequences. An arrest and conviction for a marijuana offense can prohibit individuals from fully participating in society, inhibiting their ability to get a loan, get a job, go to college, or to access public housing, among other negative impacts. Statewide, people of color have borne these collateral consequences at alarming rates, with Black and Latino people representing 80% of those arrested for simple possession in 2016 alone, despite equal rates of use across populations.

    Marijuana decriminalization is not enough. New York State first decriminalized personal marijuana possession in 1977—yet more than 800,000 people have been arrested for low-level marijuana possession in the past 20 years alone. Although New York officials, including Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, have previously recognized these arrests as ineffective, unjust, and racially discriminatory, they still continue across the state because of a loophole in the law. Ending prohibition would end these arrests.

    Ending marijuana prohibition is a cost-saving measure. Legalizing marijuana will drastically improve the state’s ability to make investments that benefit and advance all New Yorkers, such as education, housing, and infrastructure. In 2010, New York spent more than $650 million enforcing marijuana prohibition. Those resources went to increased policing in communities of color, resulting in more than 50,000 marijuana arrests for simple possession that year, usually only for small amounts of marijuana.

    Visit http://smart-ny.com/join/petition/ to sign the petition now and pressure our lawmakers in Albany to pass smart legislation, this year. Another New Yorker’s life shouldn’t be ruined while we have folks right here in New York making money from selling the same plant.

    Go to norml.org/action-center/item/new-york-demand-support-for-marijuana-legalization and send a pre-written email to your lawmakers, urging them to support this effort.

    Go to vote.norml.org and find your New York State Assembly Member and Senator. Then call and tell them you want to see smart legislation passed, and you support the MRTA, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

    Now is not the time to back down – now is the time for the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who support legalization to make our voices heard loud and clear; we demand marijuana justice and legalization, and we won’t stop until we get it.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Start SMART NY – Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade – is the campaign dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition in New York. We believe that it is time to stop the ineffective, racially biased, and unjust enforcement of marijuana prohibition and to create a new, well-regulated, and inclusive marijuana industry that is rooted in racial and economic justice.

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate March 29, 2019

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

    The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has passed The SAFE Banking Act, HR 1595 out of committee this week. It now awaits consideration by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

    Guam became the first US territory to send a bill legalizing the adult-use of marijuana to the governor’s desk in 2019. The bill awaits action by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D).

    Governor Jim Justice (R) of West Virginia signed legislation into law that allows financial institutions to provide banking services related to the state’s medical marijuana program.

    Governor Gary Herbert (R) of Utah signed legislation into law that strengthens protections for medical cannabis patients and further improves upon the state’s new medical cannabis access program.

    Late last week, the North Dakota State Senate overwhelmingly passed a measure to expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Earlier, a similar bill was overwhelmingly passed in the State House. Despite support in both chambers, the House and Senate need to come to a consensus on a single bill before it can be sent to the governor for his signature.

    New Jersey tabled a scheduled vote to pass adult-use marijuana legalization after falling just a few votes short of the threshold needed to pass. Legalization legislation now awaits another floor date while advocates in New Jersey gain the necessary support to pass it.

    In Texas, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence passed a marijuana decriminalization bill out of committee this week. The bill would make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine with no jail time and no marks would be added to a person’s criminal record.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    All Power to All the People,

    Tyler

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    California

    Senate Bill 34 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 34 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development on 4/1/2019.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of compassionate care programs

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 223, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    The measure permits a parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis to their child patient on school grounds in a non-smoking and non-vaping form.

    Update: SB 223 was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a “do pass” recommendation on 3/26.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Colorado

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: HB 19-1028 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services on 3/14, and then was approved by the Senate on 3/20. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

    CO resident? Click here to email your governor in support of medical expansion

    Connecticut

    Lawmakers in Connecticut have introduced a package of bills specific legalizing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana by adults and facilitating equity in the industry.

    Senate Bill 1085 permits those age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one and one-half ounces of marijuana. The measure would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to have their record expunged.

    Separately, House Bill 7371 would establish a regulatory framework for the licensed retail sale of adult-use marijuana.

    Update: There was a Public Hearing for SB 1085 on 3/22 after its passage out of the General Law Committee.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.

    Under state law, adults face civil penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses. Senate Bill 45 would make this policy consistent for juvenile offenders.

    Update: SB 45 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health & Social Services on 4/10/2019 at 2:30pm in the Senate Hearing Room.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions for juveniles

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 59, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants and nurse practitioners to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: SB 59 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health & Social Services on 4/10/2019 at 2:30pm in the Senate Hearing Room.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Georgia

    House Bill 324 seeks to establish a regulatory framework to permit the retail sale of medical CBD products to registered patients.

    Update: HB 324 was heard by the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee on 3/21.

    GA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical CBD expansion

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1383, that would decriminalize certain marijuana possession offenses.

    The bill would impose a civil penalty for the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, punishable by a $30 fine.

    Update: HB 1383 was heard and approved by the Committees on Judiciary and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on 3/19. The bill was amended to lower the fine from $200 to $30.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: HB 673 was heard and approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health on 3/21. The bill was amended to strip out provisions that would allow the sale of medical cannabis edible products and permit physician assistants to issue recommendations. But a provision to protect patients from employment discrimination was added.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senate Bill 1353 seeks to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 1352 was heard by the House Committee on Judiciary on 3/18.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Illinois

    House Bill 902 – The Cannabis Legalization Equity Act would regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of adult-use marijuana.

    The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 224 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 24 mature plants in their home.

    Update: HB 902 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    House Bill 2493 allows those convicted of possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis to petition the court to have their records automatically expunged.

    House Bill 2734 would call for a review of past convictions and would establish a process to automatically expunge the records of individuals who were convicted of certain marijuana possession offenses.

    House Bill 2621 would allow individuals to petition the court for expungement of marijuana possession convictions for activity that has since been decriminalized.

    House Bill 3392 would automatically limit access to criminal records of individuals who have completed all court orders and have gone ten years without any additional felony or misdemeanor convictions.

    Update: All four bills were heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

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

    House Bill 2980 / Senate Bill2023 would amend the Illinois Banking Act and the Illinois Credit Union Act in a manner that facilitates banks and other financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed marijuana businesses.

    Update: HB 2980 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19. SB 2023 was approved by the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on 3/20.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

    A majority of the members of Illinois’ House of Representatives have added their names as cosponsors to a resolution urging lawmakers hit the brakes on the marijuana legalization debate.

    The resolution states, “Lawmakers should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues but should consider the health and safety of Illinoisans as their first priority when considering the question of legalization.”

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in opposition to stalling the legalization debate

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 233 / HB 2173, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 2173 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture on 3/20.

    KS resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Maine

    Legislation is pending, LD 1374, to allow licensed dispensaries and caregivers to home deliver medical cannabis to select patients.

    ME resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis delivery services

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, HB 33 / SB 893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: SB 893 was approved by the Senate on 3/15, and recently had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 857 / House Bill 17, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.

    Update: SB 857 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/15, and recently had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis edible products

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 854, to mandate employers and/or their insurers to provide worker’s compensation for those who may require medical cannabis therapy as a result of an occupational injury.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of workers compensation for medical cannabis

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending, HF 766 / SF 1070, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would:

    • Authorize each dispensary to open four additional locations in specified areas throughout the state
    • Allow specific formulations of medical cannabis to be administered to qualified patients on school grounds

    Update: HF 766 was heard by the House Committee on Health and Human Services Finance Division on 3/28.

    MN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095, reduce marijuana offense penalties in Missouri. This measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana or marijuana concentrate from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. It also reduces the penalty for the delivery of up to 100 grams of marijuana or marijuana concentrate from a felony to a civil infraction.

    Update: HB 1095 is scheduled for a hearing in the Special Committee on Criminal Justice on 4/4/2019 at 8:00am in House Hearing Room 1.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization.

    Montana

    House Bill 498 would allow qualified patients to access medical cannabis while on either probation or parole.

    Update: HB 498 had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/27/2019.

    MT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion.

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 228, to expand Nevada’s medical cannabis access program.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allows wellness service providers such as massage therapists, reflexologists, and structural integration practitioners to recommend and administer cannabis and hemp infused products for therapeutic purposes;
    • Prohibits a practitioner from refusing to prescribe a controlled substance to a patient solely because the patient uses marijuana; and
    • Establishes a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the state’s medical marijuana access program.

    Update: SB 228 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on 4/1/2019.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    Update: The House Ways and Means Committee submitted a report with an “ought-to-pass with amendment” recommendation for HB 481 on 3/28.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 364, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings and to possess up to two ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: HB 364 had a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of home cultivation

    Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: HB 364 had a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019.

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

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 459, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 459 was approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives on 3/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, that would permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.

    Update: HB 399 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 4/2/2019 at 10:30am.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of record expungement.

    New Jersey

    Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act would regulate adult use marijuana sales and also provide for the expungement of certain past records.

    Update: S. 2703 was scheduled for a full floor vote on 3/25/2019, but the vote was cancelled after falling just a few votes shy of the threshold needed for passage. The bill now awaits another vote that has yet to be scheduled.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    1. 3205 / A. 4498, would make more crimes eligible for expungement — including offenses involving controlled dangerous substances — and cut the wait time down to five years. It also includes a “clean slate” process that will wipe away all offenses at once for anyone who has a clean record for 10 years after their last offense. Many more serious crimes would not be eligible.

    Update: S. 3205 was heard and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/18, and A. 4498 was heard and approved the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the full chambers on Monday 3/25.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 10 seek to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis.

    The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, amongst other changes.

    Update: A. 10 was heard and approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills awaiting scheduled floor votes.

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

    New Mexico

    Senate Bill 406:

    • Allows medical practitioners to recommend medical cannabis for several new conditions, including PTSD, Parkinson’s, and severe chronic pain;
    • Prohibits employers from taking adverse action on an employee due to a positive drug test result or their status as a patient
    • Allows primary caregivers to obtain a license to grow medical cannabis;
    • Removes medical cannabis use as a violation of probation or parole;
    • Protects patients who require organ transplants

    Update: SB 406 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/16, and now heads to the governor’s desk.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New York

    Legislation is pending, S.4117, that would prohibit the eviction of tenants for using medical marijuana for a certified medical use.

    Update: S. 4117 had a hearing in the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee on 3/26.

    NY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 168, to expand the state’s medical CBD exemption law.

    The measure expands the pool of individuals eligible for a medical CBD exemption to include those diagnosed with autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and Mitochondrial disease.

    Update: S. 168 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/20.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded medical CBD exemptions

    North Dakota

    House Bill 1417 allows physicians to explicitly authorize patients diagnosed with cancer to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.

    Separately, House Bill 1519 would permit providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with 13 additional conditions, including anorexia nervosa, anxiety, opioid use disorder or withdrawal, and autism.

    A third measure, House Bill 1283, would allow physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

    And a separate measure, House Bill 1364, would permit edible medical cannabis products, as long as they do not appeal to minors.

    Update: HB 1417, 1519, and 1283 were all approved by the Senate Human Services Committee. HB 1364 was reported out of committee without a recommendation.

    ND resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 868 / House Bill 2628, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 868 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on 4/1/2019 at 3:00pm and HB 2628 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Wildlife on 4/1/2019 at 10:00am.  

    OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 3169, which seeks to allow licensed cannabis businesses to safely conduct transactions with financial institutions.

    If passed, this legislation would allow banking institutions and credit unions to organize as limited charter cannabis financial institutions.

    Update: HB 3169 had a publice hearing in the House Economic Development Committee on 3/25.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.

    The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

    Update: SB 420 is scheduled for a work session in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 4/8/2019 at 8:00am.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement.

    Rhode Island

    1. 5290 would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: H. 5290 had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/26/2019.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis patients.

    1. 5828 would establish a system for the regulation and taxation for the adult-use and cultivation of marijuana in the state of Rhode Island. The bill would allow for the personal possession of up to one ounce of cannabis outside the home and up to five ounces of cannabis in a person’s primary residence. It also allows for the cultivation of up to two cannabis plants in a person’s home, with one or fewer being mature.

    Update: H. 5290 had a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/26/2019.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis patients.

    South Carolina

    1. 3660 / S. 366: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, would regulate medical cannabis distribution and access, but it prohibits the inhalation or smoking of herbal medical cannabis.

    Update: S. 366 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs on 4/4/2019 at 10:00am in the Gressette Room 308.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Legislation is pending, H 3449, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: H 3449 was heard in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on 3/21.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Update: HB 235 has a hearing scheduled in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 4/3/2019.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SB 260/HB 234, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally possess their medicine while visiting Tennessee.

    Under this measure, patients who are registered to use medical cannabis in those 33 jurisdictions that permit its therapeutic use may legally possess up to a half-ounce of cannabis while visiting Tennessee.

    Update: HB 234 has a hearing scheduled in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 4/3/2019.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of out-of-state protections

    Legislation is pending, SB 357 / HB 844, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 844 was heard by the House Rules Committee on 3/21.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Vermont

    1. 54 would establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committee on Government Operations on 3/27.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 58 was approved by the Senate Committees on Finance, Agriculture, and Appropriations on 3/22.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, SB 5605 / HB 1500, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated.

    Update: SB 5605 recently had a hearing in the House Committee on Public Safety on 3/25, and is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Public Safety on 4/2/2019 at 3:30pm.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of vacating past records

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095 / Senate Bill 5442, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    Update: HB 1095 had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on 3/27.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 5276 is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

     

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate March 25, 2019

    Big news out of Connecticut today, as a bill to legalize the adult-use and retail sale of marijuana has passed through a critical vote in the General Law Committee with a 10-8 majority. In addition to legalizing adult-use and establishing a regulated retail market, the bill also includes strong social justice language that incentivizes minority participation in the state’s marijuana market. It also establishes a commission that would be tasked with studying the impacts of provisions not already included in the legislation, such as homegrow and microbusinesses.

    Next up for the bill is a vote in the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee on Thursday, March 28th. Should it pass through committee and successfully pass a floor vote, the bill will go to the governor’s desk. Governor Lamont has been very vocal about his support for marijuana legalization in the state, frequently referring to reform as one of his administration’s top legislative priorities.

    If Connecticut successfully passes and enacts marijuana legalization into law, it would become the first state to pass a regulatory framework for the retail sale of marijuana through the state legislature, rather than as a ballot measure for popular vote.

    Major reform is within reach in Connecticut. If you’re a Connecticut resident, click here to send a message to your state lawmakers in urgent support of legalization!

    _________________________________________________________________________

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator March 22, 2019

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

    The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has scheduled to convene a markup on The Safe Banking Act, HR 1595 on Tuesday, March 26th.

    Activists in Oregon have filed a 2020 ballot initiative with the Secretary of State that, if approved, would allow social cannabis consumption sites and protect consumers from employment discrimination. Similarly, activists in Arizona are attempting to qualify a 2020 legalization ballot initiative.

    Governor Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida signed legislation into law to restore patients’ right to smoke medical cannabis.

    Governor Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia signed legislation into law that will allow medical cannabis oil to be administered to patients on school property.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York announced that marijuana legalization language will no longer appear in his budget proposal.

    At a more local level, city commissioners in Lawrence, Kansas voted 4 to 1 to reduce the city’s fine for cannabis possession to $1. And Steelton Borough, Pennsylvania passed an ordinance to decriminalize up to 30 grams of cannabis possession.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    California

    Senate Bill 34 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 34 was approved by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on 3/20.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of compassionate care programs

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 223, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    The measure permits a parent or guardian to administer medical cannabis to their child patient on school grounds in a non-smoking and non-vaping form.

    Update: SB 223 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/26 at 1:30pm.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Colorado

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: HB 19-1028 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services on 3/14, and then was approved by the Senate on 3/20. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

    CO resident? Click here to email your governor in support of medical expansion

    Connecticut

    Lawmakers in Connecticut have introduced a package of bills specific legalizing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana by adults, and facilitating equity in the industry.

    Senate Bill 1085 permits those age 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one and one half ounces of marijuana. The measure would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to have their record expunged.

    Separately, House Bill 7371 would establish a regulatory framework for the licensed retail sale of adult use marijuana.

    Update: SB 1085 was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/22, and HB 7371 was heard by the House General Law Committee on 3/22.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.

    Under state law, adults face civil penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses. Senate Bill 45 would make this policy consistent for juvenile offenders.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions for juveniles

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 59, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants and nurse practitioners to issue recommendations to their patients.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Georgia

    House Bill 324 seeks to establish a regulatory framework to permit the retail sale of medical CBD products to registered patients.

    Update: HB 324 was heard by the Senate Regulated Industries & Utilities Committee on 3/21.

    GA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical CBD expansion

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1383, that would decriminalize certain marijuana possession offenses.

    The bill would would impose a civil penalty for the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, punishable by a $30 fine.

    Update: HB 1383 was heard and approved by the Committees on Judiciary and Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on 3/19. The bill was amended to lower the fine from $200 to $30.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure would protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: HB 673 was heard and approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health on 3/21. The bill was amended to strip out provisions that would allow the sale of medical cannabis edible products and permit physician assistants to issue recommendations. But a provision to protect patients from employment discrimination was added.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senate Bill 1353 seeks to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 1352 was heard by the House Committee on Judiciary on 3/18.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Illinois

    House Bill 902 – The Cannabis Legalization Equity Act would regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of adult use marijuana.

    The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 224 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 24 mature plants in their home.

    Update: HB 902 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    House Bill 2493 allows those convicted of possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis to petition the court to have their records automatically expunged.

    House Bill 2734 would call for a review of past convictions and would establish a process to automatically expunge the records of individuals who were convicted of certain marijuana possession offenses.

    House Bill 2621 would allow individuals to petition the court for expungement of marijuana possession convictions for activity that has since been decriminalized.

    House Bill 3392 would automatically limit access to criminal records of individuals who have completed all court orders and have gone ten years without any additional felony or misdemeanor convictions.

    Update: All four bills were heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19.

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

    House Bill 2980 / Senate Bill2023 would amend the Illinois Banking Act and the Illinois Credit Union Act in a manner that facilitates banks and other financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed marijuana businesses.

    Update: HB 2980 was heard in the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/19. SB 2023 was approved by the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on 3/20.

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

    A majority of the members of Illinois’ House of Representatives have added their names as cosponsors to a resolution urging lawmakers hit the brakes on the marijuana legalization debate.

    The resolution states, “Lawmakers should not rush irresponsible legislation purely for tax revenues but should consider the health and safety of Illinoisans as their first priority when considering the question of legalization.”

    IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in opposition to stalling the legalization debate

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 233 / HB 2173, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 2173 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture on 3/20.

    KS resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Maine

    Legislation is pending, LD 942, to require health insurance companies to reimburse patients for their out-of-pocket medical marijuana related costs.

    Update: LD 942 was heard in the Senate on 3/19.

    ME resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of reimbursement for patients

    Legislation is pending, LD 1374, to allow licensed dispensaries and caregivers to home deliver medical cannabis to select patients.

    ME resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis delivery services

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, HB 33 / SB 893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: SB 893 was approved by the Senate on 3/15, and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27 at 1:00pm..

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 857 / House Bill 17, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.

    Update: SB 857 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/15, and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on 3/27 at 1:00pm.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis edible products

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 854, to mandate employers and/or their insurers to provide worker’s compensation for those who may require medical cannabis therapy as a result of an occupational injury.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of workers compensation for medical cannabis

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending, HF 766 / SF 1070, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would:

    • Authorize each dispensary to open four additional locations in specified areas throughout the state
    • Allow specific formulations of medical cannabis to be administered to qualified patients on school grounds

    Update: SF 1070 was heard by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Finance and Policy on 3/21.

    MN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 228, to expand Nevada’s medical cannabis access program.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allows wellness service providers such as massage therapists, reflexologists, and structural integration practitioners to recommend and administer cannabis and hemp infused products for therapeutic purposes;
    • Prohibits a practitioner from refusing to prescribe a controlled substance to a patient solely because the patient uses marijuana; and
    • Establishes a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the state’s medical marijuana access program.

    Update: SB 228 was heard by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/20.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    Update: The House Ways and Means Committee will hold an executive session on HB 481 on 3/27.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 364, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings, and to possess up to two ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: HB 364 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019, Room 101, Legislative Office Building at 2:15 pm.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of home cultivation

    Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: HB 364 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/26/2019, Room 101, Legislative Office Building at 1:15 pm.

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

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 459, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 459 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/19.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    New Jersey

    Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act would regulate adult use marijuana sales and also provide for the expungement of certain past records.

    Update: S. 2703 was heard and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/18, and A. 4497 was heard and approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the full chambers on Monday 3/25.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    S. 3205 / A. 4498, would make more crimes eligible for expungement — including offenses involving controlled dangerous substances — and cut the wait time down to five years. It also includes a “clean slate” process that will wipe away all offenses at once for anyone who has a clean record for 10 years after their last offense. Many more serious crimes would not be eligible.

    Update: S. 3205 was heard and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/18, and A. 4498 was heard and approved the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the full chambers on Monday 3/25.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 10 seek to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis.

    The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, amongst other changes.

    Update: A. 10 was heard and approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 3/18. The bills are scheduled to be considered by the full chambers on Monday 3/25.

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

    New Mexico

    Senate Bill 406:

    • Allows medical practitioners to recommend medical cannabis for several new conditions, including PTSD, Parkinson’s, and severe chronic pain;
    • Prohibits employers from taking adverse action on an employee due to a positive drug test result or their status as a patient
    • Allows primary caregivers to obtain a license to grow medical cannabis;
    • Removes medical cannabis use as a violation of probation or parole;
    • Protects patients who require organ transplants

    Update: SB 406 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/16, and no heads to the governor’s desk.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    New York

    Legislation is pending, S.4117, that would prohibit the eviction of tenants for using medical marijuana for a certified medical use.

    Update: S. 4117 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee on 3/26 at 10:30am in Room 123 CAP.

    NY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 168, to expand the state’s medical CBD exemption law.

    The measure expands the pool of individuals eligible for a medical CBD exemption to include those diagnosed with autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and Mitochondrial disease.

    Update: S. 168 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/20.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded medical CBD exemptions

    North Dakota

    House Bill 1417 allows physicians to explicitly authorize patients diagnosed with cancer to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.

    Separately, House Bill 1519 would permit providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with 13 additional conditions, including anorexia nervosa, anxiety, opioid use disorder or withdrawal, and autism.

    A third measure, House Bill 1283, would allow physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

    And a separate measure, House Bill 1364, would permit edible medical cannabis products, as long as they do not appeal to minors.

    Update: HB 1417, 1519, and 1283 were all approved by the Senate Human Services Committee. HB 1364 was reported out of committee without a recommendation.

    ND resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 868 / House Bill 2628, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 868 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/18, and will now be transmitted to the House.

    OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 3169, which seeks to allow licensed cannabis businesses to safely conduct transactions with financial institutions.

    If passed, this legislation would allow banking institutions and credit unions to organize as limited charter cannabis financial institutions.

    Update: HB 3169 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Economic Development Committee on 3/25 at 1pm in room HR D.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

    South Carolina

    H. 3660 / S. 366: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, would regulate medical cannabis distribution and access, but it prohibits the inhalation or smoking of herbal medical cannabis.

    Update: S. 366 was approved by the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee on 3/20, and will next be considered by the full committee.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Legislation is pending, H 3449, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: H 3449 was heard in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on 3/21.

    SC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Update: HB 235 was placed on the calendar for a hearing in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 3/27.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SB 260/HB 234, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally possess their medicine while visiting Tennessee.

    Under this measure, patients who are registered to use medical cannabis in those 33 jurisdictions that permit its therapeutic use may legally possess up to a half-ounce of cannabis while visiting Tennessee.

    Update: HB 234 was placed on the calendar for a hearing in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 3/27.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of out-of-state protections

    Legislation is pending, SB 357 / HB 844, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 844 was heard by the House Rules Committee on 3/21, and will be considered by the full House on 3/25.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Vermont

    S. 54 would establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committee on Government Operations on 3/20.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 58 was approved by the Senate Committees on Finance, Agriculture, and Appropriations on 3/22.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, SB 5605 / HB 1500, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated.

    Update: SB 5605 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Public Safety on 3/25 at 1:30pm.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of vacating past records

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095 / Senate Bill 5442, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    Update: HB 1095 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education on 3/27 at 1:30pm.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 5276 is scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

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