Loading

LEGISLATION

  • by NORML December 13, 2018

    Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka ‘The Farm Bill’), which for the first time includes provisions lifting the United States’ centuries-long prohibition on domestic, commercial hemp production. The President is anticipated to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

    “The significance of this law change should not be underemphasized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “This law marks the first change in the federal classification of the cannabis plant since it was initially classified as a schedule I controlled substance by Congress in 1970, and paves the way for the first federally-sanctioned commercial hemp grows since World War II.”

    He added, “As statewide and public support in favor of broader marijuana reforms continues to grow, it is apparent that this federal change won’t be the last when it comes to the cannabis plant.”

    The hemp-specific provisions of the Act amend the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The Act also broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ (Section 297A) to include “any part of the plant, including …. extracts [or] cannabinoids” that do not possess greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis.

    The Act (Section 297B) permits those US states that wish to possess “primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp” to submit a plan to the US Secretary of Agriculture. The agency has 60 days to approve, disapprove, or amend the plan. In instances where a state-proposed plan is not approved, “it shall be unlawful to produce hemp in that state … without a license.” Federal grant opportunities will be available to licensed commercial farmers, as will the ability for farmers to obtain crop insurance. The Act does not federally recognize non-licensed, non-commercial hemp cultivation activities.

    Nothing in the new language (Section 297D) shall “affect or modify” the existing regulatory powers of the US Food and Drug Administration or other agencies with regard to the enforcement of the US Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act or the Public Health Service Act. The FDA has previously acknowledged: “We’ll continue to take action when we see the illegal marketing of CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims. We’re especially concerned when these products are marketed for serious or life threatening diseases, where the illegal promotion of an unproven compound could discourage a patient from seeking other therapies that have proven benefits.”

    Interstate commerce in hemp and hempen goods is permitted under the Act (Section 10114).

    NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said: “These changes represent a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will likely still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft consistent benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”

    On Background:

    What is hemp?

    Unlike traditional cannabis, which is primarily grown for the purpose of harvesting its flowers, industrial hemp is a fibrous crop grown mainly for its stalk and seeds — which can be utilized in the manufacturing of textiles, paper, animal feed, food-stuffs and numerous other products. Because only trace levels of THC, the primary psychotropic compound in marijuana, is present in hemp, most countries — including Canada and Japan — appropriately define it as an agricultural crop and not as a controlled substance. In fact, according to the Congressional Research Service, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”

    What is CBD?

    Cannabidiol is one of a number of naturally occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. It possesses a number of known therapeutic effects, such as anxioltytic and anti-convulsant effects. Like other cannabinoids, it is most prominent in cannabis flowers, and not in the plant’s stalks. As a result, some experts opine, “Traditional hemp is an inefficient source of CBD.” Federal agencies have generally opined that CBD sourced from traditional cannabis meets the criteria of a schedule I controlled substance.

    Can’t some states already grow hemp?

    Yes. Under Sec. 7606 of the 2014 Farm Act, states may license farmers to cultivate hemp as part of a university-sanction pilot program. Over 40 states have enacted legislation permitting such activity.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 10, 2018


    Up until a few years ago low-income housing that received federal subsidies were required to maintain a “drug-free” environment. This meant that if anyone living in subsidized housing was caught possessing and/or consuming marijuana onsite, everyone living in the property was at risk of being evicted.

    Fortunately, in 2014 the Obama Administration amended this policy to no longer mandate evictions which provided some discretion to housing management. As a result, the decision is now left to property management so they can insist on a “drug-free” environment, but are not required by law to impose such restrictive policies.

    Unfortunately, due to inconsistencies in the different policies adopted by property management companies and limited knowledge of the law, marijuana patients residing in subsidized housing are losing their homes. A situation that is becoming all too common. Most recently, John Flickner, a 78-year-old wheelchair bound medical marijuana patient, was evicted from his low-income senior housing facility in Niagara Falls for using medical marijuana that was recommended by his physician.

    In response, Lynne Patton, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regional official announced that she is working to resolve the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws as it applies to tenant rights in federally-subsidized housing.

    “State & federal law needs to catch up with medicinal marijuana usage & require private landlords to legally permit the same. Period,” Patton wrote. “Regardless, my team is already working with Mr. Flickner & a local grantee to place him in permanent housing again, as anyone else in his boat.”

    Read more here: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-official-wants-to-legally-permit-medical-marijuana-in-federally-subsidized-housing/

    That’s why NORML is supporting the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would prohibit property owners of federally assisted housing from establishing standards to prevent access to federally assisted housing to anyone who engages in the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana as long as they are in compliance with state laws.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate December 7, 2018

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

    At the state level, certain provisions of Michigan’s voter approved legalization measure specific to the adult possession and cultivation of cannabis took effect on Thursday. Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana measure also took effect on Thursday.

    Iowa’s first medical cannabis dispensary, MedPharm, opened on Saturday. And Alzheimer’s disease was added to Minnesota’s list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions by the state’s Department of Health.

    Members of the New York state assembly held a public hearing on adult use marijuana legalization at Babylon Town Hall on Long Island.

    At a more local level, Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, Colorado, announced via Twitter that his administration will begin to “vacate low-level marijuana convictions.” And two city councilmen in Cincinnati, Ohio are advocating for marijuana decriminalization in the city with legislation that would put the question on the ballot.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: 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.

    Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

    Utah

    House Bill 3001 is “compromise” legislation that sought to significantly amend Proposition 2, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. The changes are likely to adversely impact patients’ medical cannabis access and unduly delay the law’s implementation.

    Update: On 12/3, Governor Herbert (R) signed HB 3001 into law shortly after it was approved by the Utah House of Representatives 60-13, and then the Senate 22-4. The new law takes effect immediately.

    Illinois

    House Bill 2367 seeks to vacate criminal records among those with certain past marijuana possession convictions.

    The bill amends the Cannabis Control Act so that Illinoisans may file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. Several other states, including Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have enacted similar laws.

    Update: On 11/29, the Illinois House of Representatives voted 67-37 to pass HB 2367. The measure now awaits action in the Senate.

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

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 30, 2018

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

    U.S. House and Senate lawmakers this week have agreed on final language for the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp. These provisions amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: 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.

    Click here to email your federal lawmakers and urge them to support this important legislation

    New Jersey

    Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act seek to regulate the adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S2703/A4497 were heard by the Joint Committee on Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday 11/26, and then both measures were approved by the committee.

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

    Legislation is pending, S 10, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    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: Members of the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee, along with members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, voted on Monday 11/26 to advance the bill. Separate language contained in S2426 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis to any patient they believe will benefit has also been incorporated into S10.

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

    Legislation is pending, S2318, to permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expedited expungement in the event of decriminalization or legalization.

    If passed, the bill would would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting expungement for any past marijuana violation that is no longer defined as a crime under state law, but only upon enactment of legislation legalizing or decriminalizing possession and use of marijuana.

    A separate measure, S3205, is also pending. If signed into law, it 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: S3205 was heard by the Joint Committee on Budget and Appropriations on 11/26, then approved by the committee.

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

    Illinois

    Rep. Kelly Cassidy plans to introduce legislation in 2019 to legalize marijuana for adults in Illinois.

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

    Michigan

    HB 6508 would allow those who are currently incarcerated for a violation “based on the use, possession, or distribution” of marijuana, to petition the parole board for release from prison. If the parole board denies a petitioner’s request for release, the petitioner would be permitted to appeal the decision to the Department of Corrections.

    Another measure, SB 1200, would allow those convicted of certain marijuana-related offenses to file a petition with the court to “set aside” their records.

    MI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of vacating past conviction records

    SB 1243 seeks to amend the voter-initiated Proposition 1: The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act in a manner that would strip away language that currently permits adults to home cultivate cannabis, among other changes.

    The measure removes provisions from the law that permit adults to home cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants on their private premises. NORML opposes this legislation.

    MI resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to vote NO on SB 1243

    North Carolina

    Lawmakers plan to reintroduce legislation in 2019 to decriminalize the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.

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

    Indiana

    State Senator Karen Tallian plans to introduce a bill in 2019 to decriminalize the possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana.

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

    Sen. Tallian also plans to introduce a bill in 2019 that would allow qualified patients to use and possess physician-authorized medical marijuana.

    IN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

    Utah

    A majority of Utah voters decided on election day in favor of Proposition 2, The Utah Medical Cannabis Act. However, politicians are threatening to significantly amend this Act during a special legislative session in December. Their proposed changes are likely to adversely impact patients’ medical cannabis access and unduly delay the law’s implementation.

    Update: The Health and Human Services Interim Committee? held a public hearing? on the legislation, prior to the special session that will convene on Monday 12/3.

    UT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in opposition to this effort

    California

    Legislation was reintroduced that 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. Last session, the measure was vetoed by Governor Brown.

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

    That’s all for this week!

  • by NORML November 29, 2018

    Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a reconciled version of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill), which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.

    “For the first time in nearly a hundred years, commercial hemp production will no longer be federally prohibited in the United States,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “This represents a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft simple benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”

    The hemp-specific provisions – which Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) included in the Senate version of the bill, but were absent from the House version – amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance. (See page 1182, Section 12608: ‘Conforming changes to controlled substances act.’) Certain cannabinoid compounds extracted from the hemp plant would also be exempt from the CSA.

    House and Senate lawmakers will need to vote on the engrossed version of the Act, and they are anticipated to do so before the end of the year. Passage of the bill would allow state governments, rather than the federal governments, to be the primary regulators of hemp and hempen products.

    Senator McConnell previously shepherded hemp-related language (Section 7606) in the 2014 version of the Farm Bill, permitting states to establish hemp research and cultivation programs absent federal approval. A majority of states have now enacted legislation to permit such programs.

Page 1 of 11712345...102030...Last »