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LEGISLATION

  • by NORML June 25, 2019

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation legalizing the adult use of marijuana and regulating its commercial production and retail sale. Illinois is now the eleventh state to legalize adult-use marijuana, and it is the second state to legalize marijuana use via legislative action rather than by voter initiative. The Prairie State is the first state to legislatively regulate cannabis sales.

    “Today, Illinois residents and political leaders demonstrated the power of democracy in action, using the political process to achieve sensible policies that protect individual freedoms and that ensure community safety,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Governor Pritzker and legislators in Illinois have laid out a path forward for states like New York, New Jersey, and others to emulate in the national movement towards comprehensive marijuana law reform.”

    Beginning January 1, 2020, Illinois residents who are 21 or older may legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, while those visiting from out-of-state may legally possess half that amount. Patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program will be legally permitted for the first time to personally cultivate up to five marijuana plants. Non-patients face civil fines of no more than $200 for growing personal use quantities of cannabis. Under current law, minor marijuana cultivation offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

    The bill establishes procedures for the automatic expungement of low-level minor convictions (possession up to 30 grams) and facilitates a process for the expungement of cases involving the possession of up to 500 grams. 

    Under the plan, licensed medical dispensaries will have the first opportunity to engage in adult-use marijuana sales. New applicants will be able to access low-interest loans in order to defray start-up costs.

    Support our continued work to legalize marijuana in all 50 states. 

    For more information, visit Illinois NORML or contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

    Join NORML Tuesday, July 2 in Chicago for the NORML Legalization Celebration

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator June 23, 2019

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

    This week, history was made. For the first time ever, the U.S. House of Representatives just voted to restrict the Department of Justice from interfering with the states that have legalized adult-use marijuana.

    Also this week, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing to discuss the economic and employment opportunities in the emerging legal cannabis industry and the challenges that federal prohibition and criminalization pose in regards to the Small Business Administration.

    New York state lawmakers approved legislation on Friday to further expand cannabis decriminalization and expunge certain records. The bill now heads to the Governor.

    Governor Kate Brown (D) signed legislation into law to to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

    Governor John Bel Edwards (D) of Louisiana signed legislation into law to deschedule hemp and hemp-derived CBD from the state’s list of controlled substances.

    Activists in Nebraska working to qualify a 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative are almost 10,000 signatures deep.

    At a more local level, the district attorney for Monroe County, New York will no longer prosecute cases involving low-level cannabis possession.

    California

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

    Update: SB 223 was heard and approved by the Assembly Education Committee on 6/19/19. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 6/25/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access at school

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 34, which 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 Assembly Revenue And Taxation Committee on 7/2/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 7/9/19.

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

    Delaware

    Bipartisan legislation is pending, Senate Bill 37, that would reform the expungement processes for individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

    If enacted, the bill would expand the pool of those eligible to seek expungement to include those convicted of a single misdemeanor or felony charge related to marijuana.

    Update: SB 37 was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee on its merits (recommending that action be taken, without specifying what that action should be).

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

    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 was approved by the Senate on 6/20/19, and now heads to the House. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Health & Human Development Committee on 6/27/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 24, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would give doctors the discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient for whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use.

    Update: SB 24 was reported out of the Senate Health and Social Services Committee on its merits on 6/20/19.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of letting doctors, not politicians, decide

    Massachusetts

    Legislation is pending, S. 978, that would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume marijuana off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: S. 978 was heard by the Joint Committee on The Judiciary on 6/17/19.

    MA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of consumer employment protections

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 315, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 315 was approved by the Senate on 6/17/19, and now heads to the House. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Agriculture Committee on 6/25/19.

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

    New Jersey

    Recently introduced legislation, A20, seeks to significantly expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It allows limited social consumption spaces, reciprocity for out-of-state patients, shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody, and phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, among other changes.

    Update: A20 was approved by the Assembly and Senate on 6/20/19, and now heads to the governor’s desk.

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

    Wisconsin

    Legislation is pending, AB 206 / SB 188, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: The Senate Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committee held a work session in SB 188 on 6/19/19.

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

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 14, 2019

    Marijuana HempMembers of the Cincinnati City Council have voted in favor of a municipal measure eliminating criminal and civil penalties for marijuana possession. The new local law takes effect on July 12.

    Under the ordinance, activities involving the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana will no longer be subject to local penalties. Cincinnati is one of a growing number of Ohio municipalities, including Athens and Toledo, to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

    The Council is also expected to vote imminently on a separate ordinance facilitating the expungement of prior marijuana possession convictions.

    Under state law, the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis is classified as a minor misdemeanor offense.

    Additional information is available in the NORML report, Local Decriminalization, online here.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator

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

    The U.S. House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday on the challenges and opportunities small businesses face in the cannabis industry. Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday, where the Veterans Affairs Committee will discuss various bills that are pending regarding medical cannabis programs and veterans access.

    Governor John Bel Edwards (D) of Louisiana signed legislation into law giving patients the option to inhale medical cannabis through vaporization.

    Governor Doug Ducey (R) of Arizona signed legislation into law to establish medical cannabis testing standards.

    Governor Janet Mills (D) of Maine signed legislation into law facilitating reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients visiting Maine.

    Governor Kay Ivey (R) of Alabama signed legislation into law to create a commission to study medical CBD.

    Activists in Mississippi have collected approximately two thirds of the needed signatures to qualify a medical cannabis ballot initiative in 2020.

    Ohio’s State Medical Board denied petitions to add depression, insomnia and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of medical cannabis qualifying conditions. The Board delayed consideration of adding autism and anxiety.

    At a more local level, the Cincinnati, Ohio city council approved a measure to decriminalize up to 100 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

    The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

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

    California

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 34, which 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 heard and approved by the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 6/11/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 305, to permit qualified patients the ability to access medical cannabis preparations while in health care facilities.

    Update: SB 305 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on 7/2/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded medical access

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Banking And Finance Committee on 6/24/19.

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

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 24, to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    The measure would give doctors the discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient for whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use.

    Update: SB 24 is scheduled for a hearing in the Health & Social Services Committee on 6/17/19 at 2:30pm in the Senate Hearing Room.

    DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of letting doctors, not politicians, decide

    New Hampshire

    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: The House disagreed with the Senate’s amendments to HB 459, so the bill now heads to conference committee for reconciliation.

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

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 315, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 315 was heard and approved by the Committee on Judiciary on 6/11/19, and was then heard by the Committee on Finance on 6/12.

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

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director

    Next week, the two key committees will hold hearings on various aspects of federal marijuana policy.

    The first will be held on Wednesday, June 19th, in the Small Business Committee, entitled Unlocked Potential? Small Businesses in the Cannabis Industry. 

    Currently, in the 10 states that have legalized adult use cannabis and the 33 states that have legalized medical marijuana programs, entrepreneurs and small businesses are unable to access the valuable programs and support of the Small Business Administration. Ultimately, this prohibition on access to resources hampers the potential to create a robust and competitive marketplace for consumers.

    It is expected that members of the committee will soon introduce legislation to address this issue and this hearing will mark the first time that Congress has discussed the issue in a formal capacity.

     

    The second hearing is to be held on Thursday, June 20th, in the Veterans Affairs Committee to discuss various bills that are pending regarding medical cannabis programs and veterans access. For years, NORML has supported legislation introduced by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, entitled The Veterans Equal Access Act, which would allow veterans living in states that have a regulated medical marijuana program to discuss cannabis as part of their healthcare plan and allow VA doctors to fill out state-legal paperwork.

    Presently, V.A. doctors are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. Passage of either of these bills would lift this prohibition.

    You can send a message to your lawmakers in support of the Veterans Equal Access Act by clicking here. 

    In the 114th Congress, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote. Similar language was also included during the 115th Congress in the Senate yet stripped out by Republican leadership.

    Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction CAPS (Clinician Administered Post-traumatic Scale) symptom scores following cannabis therapy.

    A recently released poll conducted by The American Legion showed that nearly 1 in 4 veterans self-reported using marijuana to alleviate a medical or physical condition.

    You can see a full list of pending federal efforts and contact your lawmakers in support at https://norml.org/act.

     

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