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LEGISLATION

  • 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.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 23, 2018

    Legalize MarijuanaWelcome to the Thanksgiving edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! I hope everyone had a happy and festive Turkey Day!

    In the U.S. Senate this week, it was announced that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chair of the Judiciary Committee and avid prohibitionist, is stepping down from his position. As Chairmain, he refused to hold any hearings or permit votes on marijuana legislation.

    At the state level, Michigan’s new legalization law goes into effect on December 6, which means adults can legally possess and grow marijuana for personal use. And Massachusetts dispensaries began selling adult use marijuana this past Tuesday.

    Ned Lamont (D), Connecticut’s soon to be Governor, stated that marijuana legalization is one of his priorities for 2019. The president of the Senate supports this as well. Democratic and Republican lawmakers think legalization is likely next year. And The Senate president in Vermont said he expects a bill regulating marijuana sales to be introduced shortly after the new year.

    At a more local level, the attorney general of Washington, DC said he supports regulating marijuana sales if and when the congressional rider blocking the city’s ability to do so is removed.

    People in Jackson County, Missouri will no longer be pursued by the county prosecutor in most instances of marijuana possession. Marijuana cases in Kalamazoo County, Michigan are also being dismissed.

    Door County in Wisconsin was considering a proposal to put marijuana advisory questions on the April 2019 ballot, but it was rejected.

    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.

    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

    S2703 seeks to legalize adult marijuana sales and further expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.

    The legislation permits those age 21 and older to legally possess and/or purchase up to one ounce of cannabis. It also permits the licensing of 218 retail dispensaries — 120 of which would provide marijuana to adults while 98 would provide marijuana to authorized patients. At present, one half-a-dozen medical dispensaries are operating in the state.

    Update: S2703 will be heard in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

    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 would increase the number of licenses the Department of Health can issue to new providers in order to meet New Jersey’s increased patient demand.

    Update: S10 will be heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

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

    Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

    The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit.

    Update: S2426 will be heard in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday 11/26 at 10am.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of letting doctors, not politicians, decide what’s best for their patients

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 16, 2018

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

    US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he guarantees that the prohibition on hemp will be lifted as a part of the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.

    Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) has introduced a series of bills aimed at addressing the therapeutic use of marijuana among veterans.

    James McGovern (D-MA), who will be the new U.S. House Rules Committee Chairman next year, is expected to allow floor debates and votes on marijuana amendments, “unlike his predecessors.”

    At the state level, Utah lawmakers are set to consider a compromise medical cannabis bill during a special session which convenes December 3.

    The Assembly speaker and Senate president in New Jersey said they expect committee votes on legalizing adult use marijuana soon after Thanksgiving. And one state senator who previously opposed ending prohibition is now showing support.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to introduce a marijuana legalization measure after the start of the 2019 legislative session. One New York state senator said she thinks the state will legalize marijuana through the 2019 budget process.

    Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales could begin as soon as Sunday.

    The taxation and regulation subcommittee of the marijuana legalization study committee in Vermont intends to recommend a 26% or 27% tax rate on retail sales.

    An Indiana state senator plans to file several marijuana reform bills, including decriminalization and medical marijuana legislation. A North Dakota representative plans to file a marijuana decriminalization bill. A Wisconsin state senator also plans to introduce a bill in 2019 to regulate marijuana sales.

    Tim Walz (D), Minnesota’s soon to be governor, as well as the incoming speaker of the House shared that the state will consider regulating marijuana in 2019.

    At a more local level, the Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor will stop pursuing a majority of marijuana possession cases. Similarly, Albany County, New York’s district attorney said that starting on December 1, he will no longer prosecute minor marijuana possession cases.

    Muskegon County, Michigan’s prosecutor is dropping some pending marijuana cases since legalization was approved, and is also thinking about expunging past convictions. Separately, some Michigan municipalities are already moving to opt out of allowing legal marijuana sales, at least temporarily.

    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.

    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

    Texas

    House Bill 63 has been pre-filed by Rep. Joe Moody that seeks to replace current criminal sanctions for marijuana possession with a civil penalty, punishable by a fine only with no jail or criminal record.

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

    Senate Bill 90 has been pre-filed by Sen. Jose Menendez that seeks to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP) and make it more inclusive and compassionate for patients.

    TX resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical cannabis expansion

    Virginia

    Senator Adam Ebbin filed Senate Bill 997, seeking to decriminalize personal possession of marijuana in Virginia.

    If passed, the bill would provide a civil penalty of no more than $50 for a first violation, $100 for a second violation, and $250 for a third or subsequent violation. The bill also requires that the suspended sentence substance abuse screening provisions and driver’s license suspension provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a juvenile.

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

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