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  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 8, 2020

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

    Members of the Las Cruces, New Mexico City Council approved a resolution supporting statewide marijuana legalization, as the legislature considers proposals to regulate the substance in the state.

    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.

    Your Highness,

    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Connecticut

    Governor Lamont outlined funds within his 2021 budget proposal to prepare for the legalization and regulation of adult use marijuana in the state. The proposal includes the automatic expungement of past convictions and other social justice-focused provisions.

    Separate legislation is pending in the legislature to implement the Governor’s budget recommendations with regard to marijuana legalization. It would allow adults to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. The measure also includes provisions allowing individuals to get past records expunged, facilitating social equity in the industry, and protecting consumers from employment discrimination.

    CT resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Hawaii

    Senate Bill 2543 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder or a positive drug test for THC.

    Update: SB 2543 is scheduled for a public decision making in the Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Artson 2/11/20 at 3:00PM in conference room 224.

    HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Kentucky

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 136, to permit physicians to authorize access to medical cannabis for any patient whom they believe would benefit from its therapeutic use.

    Update: HB 136 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/12/20.

    KY resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 550, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

    If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense, rather than the current threshold of ten grams.

    Update: HB 550 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/11/20.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expanded decriminalization

    House Bill 617 / Senate Bill 604 would develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to students

    Update: SB 604 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on 2/18/20 at12pm.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access in schools

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 179, to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland.

    The measure prohibits a person from being denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis.

    Update: SB 179 was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of 2nd amendment rights

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, 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 eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: SB 420 was approved by the Senate on 2/6/20.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1663, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to 3 can be mature).

    Update: HB 1663 is scheduled for an executive session in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 2/13/20.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization

    House Bill 1150 would establish reciprocity, which would allow qualifying patients from out-of-state to purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New Hampshire.

    Update: HB 1150 is scheduled for an executive session in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/13/20 at 10am.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of reciprocity

    Vermont

    Lawmakers are considering senate-approved legislation, S. 54, to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S.54 was appoved by the House Committee on Ways and Means by a 8-3 vote this week.

    VT resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of retail sales

    Virginia

    For the first time in recent history, there is a clear pathway to advance a decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 2, to the desk of Governor Northam, an issue which is a top priority for him in the 2020 General Assembly.

    Update: SB 2 was approved by Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by a 12-3 vote on 2/6/20. The House Courts of Justice Committee amended and approved legislation HB 972, the House version.

    VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

  • by Empire State NORML February 6, 2020

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has included a plan to “regulate, restrict, and control” the responsible adult use of cannabis in New York, known as the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (“CRTA”). A complex and comprehensive plan laid out in over 200 pages of legislative text, the CRTA would implement one of the most tightly regulated, highly taxed and heavily controlled legal cannabis markets in the world.

    Under the CRTA, adults possessing any amount of untaxed “illicit cannabis” are guilty of an automatic misdemeanor. Adults patronizing the adult-use market will be able to buy (per day) and possess (at any time) up to one ounce of flower and five grams of concentrated cannabis. Possession of over 2oz and 10 grams will still be a misdemeanor criminal offense.

    The plan would create an Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) that would be composed of a 5 member board and an executive director, all of whom are Governor appointees without any legislative oversight. The office is given a vast amount of power and leeway to dictate what this industry will look like in practice, from what forms will be available to the consumer, to what license will be available to applicants and what the potency of products can be.

    The CRTA transfers authority over the Medical Cannabis Program from the Department of Health to the OCM, and in process overhauls some aspects of the program. The explicit language barring patients from “smoking” would be removed. Patients and their caregivers could also apply for a permit to cultivate and process their own cannabis for their own personal medicinal use, with undetermined restrictions to be left to regulations put forth by the OCM. Medical home cultivation patients would be subject to registration requirements as well as warrantless searches by the authorities.

    This new OCM also would assume authority of the Hemp & CBD industry in New York while making big changes in this sector of the cannabis industry as well. It will put a stop to the proliferation of so-called “gas station CBD stores” by requiring all CBD vendors to apply for retail licensing and subject themselves to the lengthy application process and undetermined regulations/restrictions to be promulgated by the OCM.

    One of the better aspects of this legislation is the explicit ban on vertical integration of the “adult-use” industry for all market participants, aside from those businesses licensed as a cooperative and currently vertically integrated registered organizations. It also creates on-site consumption licenses for retail facilities to apply for. A framework for an ambitious social and economic equity program aimed to right the wrongs of the war on drugs is partially laid out in the CRTA. Those who would qualify would be eligible for some or all of the following benefits: Prioritized and expedited license approval; Deferred of Reduced application fees; Among the first licences to operate; Priority market access in certain areas affected by the war on drugs; Access to low and 0% interest loans; Access to the “Incubator program”; and for those who aren’t applicants, they’ll be eligible for workforce development and hiring programs.

    The CRTA also proposes one of the highest tax rates in the country on cannabis, with the product being taxed during each step of the manufacturing process, combined with the local, sales and excise taxes, the overall rate is well in excess of 40%; in some cases it could be as high as 60%. This weight based multi-tiered tax is not only detrimental to enticing the consumer into buying the product, but it also stands to ruin the industry completely in the event of a massive price drop as seen in other states.

    The Executive and Legislative chambers now must deliberate the proposal over the coming months, with multiple revisions expected to be published between now and April 1st when the budget is due. There is still a chance that sensible and responsible recommendations can improve this plan.

    Send a message to the Governor and your lawmakers asking them to support amending this piece of legislation and urge them to make a market that isn’t built to fail.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 1, 2020

    Marijuana Laws and CongressWelcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    This week, advocates in Missouri began collecting signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the November 2020 ballot.

    City council members in Cleveland, Ohio approved an ordinance by a 15-2 vote to remove jail time for up to 200 grams of marijuana possession. It was signed into law by the mayor a few days later.

    City council members in Berkeley, California voted to approve a proposal to allow marijuana consumption spaces

    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.

    Your Highness,

    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    Chairman’s bill: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884 / S. 2227) is bipartisan legislation that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and enabling states to set their own policies.

    Send a message to your representatives in support of the MORE Act now

    Delaware

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 243, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The measure would permit patients to grow up to six mature plants and six immature plants.

    Update: HB 243 was scheduled for public hearing in the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee on 1/29, but it was removed from the agenda due to lack of support to pass it out of committee.

    DE resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 170, to expand access to medical cannabis in Delaware.

    The bill creates a CBD-rich medical marijuana card so that physicians can recommend medical marijuana to treat anxiety in adults.

    DE resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 79, to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Delaware.

    The measure clarifies existing law that would ensure medical cannabis patients are not disqualified from possessing or purchasing a firearm solely due to their patient status under the Delaware Medical Marijuana Act.

    Update: SB 79 was approved by the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee on 1/29/20. Next, it heads to the floor for a vote.

    DE resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of 2nd amendment protections

    Florida

    Senate Bill 684 / House Bill 565 amends the provision that only allows individuals to expunge a single conviction record every 10 years by granting immediate eligibility to those that have had convictions expunged when they were minors.

    Update: HB 565 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 2/3/20 at 2pm.

    FL resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Hawaii

    Senate Bill 2543 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder or a positive drug test for THC.

    Update: SB 2543 was heard by the Senate Labor, Culture and the Arts Committee on 1/30/20. The bill was deferred.

    HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2787, to regulate medical cannabis delivery services.

    The bill allows the department of health to issue permits to medical cannabis dispensaries for the delivery of medical cannabis and cannabis products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers if certain conditions are met.

    Update: SB 2787 was approved by the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health on 1/31/20.

    HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of delivery services

    Legislation is pending, HB 583 / SB 527, which would authorize licensed medical cannabis facilities to sell edible products.

    Update: HB 583 was heard by the House Health Committee on 1/28/20.

    HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of edible medical cannabis products

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 83, to automatically expunge certain prior cannabis convictions.

    The bill would require all court records and police records relating to certain charges of possession of marijuana to be automatically expunged if the possession charge is the only charge in the case. If marijuana possession was not the only charge, one must wait four years before becoming eligible for automatic expungement.

    Update: HB 83 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 1/28/20.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of automatic expungement

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 550, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

    If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense, rather than the current threshold of ten grams.

    Update: HB 550 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/11/20.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expanded decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 331, to allow registered medical cannabis patients to access their medicine while at school.

    The bill requires the Department of Education and the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission jointly to develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to certain students during school hours and school-sponsored after-school activities.

    Update: HB 331 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on 2/5/2020 at 2pm.

    MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access in schools

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1648, to remove all criminal and civil penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to 3/4 ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to three mature, three immature).

    Update: HB 1648 was approved by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/28/20.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of depenalization

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, 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 eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: SB 420 was approved by the Health and Human Services Committee on 1/30/20.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1663, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to 3 can be mature).

    Update: HB 1663 was scheduled for a public hearing and executive session in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 2/5/20, but it was cancelled.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization

    House Bill 1543, “prohibits an employer from using a failed drug test for cannabis use as grounds for terminating the employment of, or to deny promotion to any employee.”

    Update: HB 1543 is scheduled for a vote in the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee on 2/5/20 at 1:30pm.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    House Bill 1386 “prohibits an employer from firing an employee solely because the employee has a positive drug test for cannabis if the employee is a qualified patient.”

    Update: HB 1386 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee at 10:00am on 2/5/20 in Legislative Office Building 307.

    NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 115 / House Bill 160, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

    The bill includes provisions for the automatic expungement of prior possession convictions, as well as provisions decriminalizing the home cultivation of up to three mature and six immature plants.

    Update: SB 115 was approved by the Senate Public Affairs Committee on 1/28/20.

    NM resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, HB 883/SB 686, to allow individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses, upon the completion of their sentence, to petition the court to have their records sealed.

    Update: HB 883 was heard in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee at 12pm on 1/28/20 in House Hearing Room III.

    TN resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of record sealing

    Virginia

    For the first time in recent history, there is a clear pathway to advance a decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 2, to the desk of Governor Northam, an issue which is a top priority for him in the 2020 General Assembly.

    Update: SB 2 was approved by the Judiciary Committee by a 10-3 vote on 1/29/20.

    VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 32, to allow those with certain past cannabis convictions to get their records cleared.

    The measure would allow those convicted of a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offense to petition the court to expunge their record if at least eight years has passed and the individual has no other convictions on their record.

    Update: HB 32 was approved by the House Courts of Justice Committee on 1/31/20.

    VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Vermont

    Lawmakers are considering senate-approved legislation, S. 54, to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: S.54 was unanimously approved by a House committee on 1/31/20.

    VT resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of retail sales

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2740, to protect marijuana consumers from employment discrimination.

    The bill would prohibit employers from refusing to hire an individual solely because they use marijuana off the job or test positive for THC on a drug test.

    Update: HB 2740 was heard in the House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards on 1/28/20, and is scheduled for executive session in the same committee at 3:30pm on 2/4/20.

    WA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture.”

    This bill allows adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.

    Update: HB 1131 is scheduled for afor public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations at 3:30pm on 2/5/20

    WA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

  • by NORML January 30, 2020
    Respected Lawyer, Tireless Advocate and Dear Friend.

    With sorrow, we share the news of the tragic and unexpected passing of Judd Golden. Judd was a tireless fighter in defense of the constitution. A staunch advocate for marijuana rights.  A lifetime champion of civil rights. A friend.

    If you’ve attended a live music event in Colorado, chances are you danced next to Judd. He was a music lover, an attorney who devoted his life to defending our civil liberties, and a kind soul who never failed to have a welcoming smile on his face.

    A former Colorado NORML Board Member and head of the Boulder ACLU Chapter, Judd was recognized for his work as a cooperating attorney in CU v. Derdeyn, which found that random drug testing of student-athletes was unconstitutional.

    We will remember him as a staunch defender of civil liberties, human rights, and freedom. We in the cannabis communities will also remember his passion, advocacy, and dedication to marijuana reform.

    “Judd Golden was a long-time personal friend and NORML activist who headed the NORML efforts in Iowa back in the 1970s, and who continued his support for legalization in recent years in Colorado. He was a bright and committed individual who also worked with ACLU and who cared deeply about civil liberties, and he will be missed. May he rest in peace,” said NORML Founder Keith Stroup.

    May his spirit rest in the hearts of those who love him and those who defend freedom.

  • by Josh Kasoff, Nevada NORML January 29, 2020

    Although we’re only one month into the Roaring 20’s, Nevada NORML has already hit the cannabis advocacy ground running at full sprint. Following a wild and groundbreakingly successful 2019 with several memorable events across both The Battle Born State and the nation as a whole, Nevada NORML wanted to ensure that their operations in 2020 surpassed even that of the previous year. After coming down from the high of coordinating all the panels for the CBD.io convention and hosting a festive Happy Holidays party at Nuwu’s historic cannabis consumption lounge, taking it to an even higher level in 2020 was absolutely vital.      

    Starting within the first few days of the year, Las Vegas NORML hosted their monthly meeting with a very special guest and a representative who’s become a huge legislative champion for cannabis, Assemblyman Steve Yeager. During the meeting, Yeager spoke about the new pieces of cannabis legislation signed by Governor Sisolak from the 2019 legislative session that Nevada NORML was instrumental in the passing of, such as Assembly Bill 132 and 192. As usual, Acres Underground was packed to capacity with passionate volunteers who span from across the cannabis community and those new faces eager to learn about cannabis advocacy.

    On January 22nd in the state-of-the-art Cannabis Business Den in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada NORML then hosted the first meeting of their extensive campaign for the countless elections occurring throughout all branches of government in November, lovingly called Smoke The Vote. During the meeting, Madisen, Executive Direcor, and Tina, Communications Director, spoke about how to register, the various strategies throughout Nevada that NORML and the many volunteers will be using for mass voter registration and awareness for further cannabis reform within the state and desperately needed reforms on the federal level.

    “Smoke the Vote has been a strong national campaign by NORML for years, and we here in Nevada are proud to do our part to contribute to it.” says Nevada NORML Director Madisen Saglibene. “By building bridges between consumers, industry, and government officials, we anticipate extremely high participation in the 2020 election cycle and beyond.”

    The innovative ways in which Nevada NORML will be finding consumers and turning them into new voters and volunteers will be vast far reaching across the state. 

    “Through partnerships with local dispensaries along with other supporters, we will be popping up at various locations to spread the word about the voter registration process. As we get closer to November, we will be providing voters with a scorecard based on candidates positions on cannabis reform. We look forward to working with candidates and consumers alike to work towards sensible solutions within marijuana policy.” describes Saglibene. 

    And just this past weekend, Las Vegas NORML ventured to visit friends up north, Reno NORML, and assist in their defining activities over the weekend. While there, Nevada NORML exhibited its true strength for providing the unique blend of cannabis culture and cannabis advocacy at Hookava hookah bar. And to their credit, Reno NORML hosted an inaugural fundraiser/party this past Saturday with a turnout and an exhilarating energy that could easily match any party at a hookah bar in Vegas. 

    “The amount of people that came together for our very first fundraiser to support responsible cannabis use was unbelievable.” described Reno NORML Treasurer, Heather Carona. “It was a great kickoff event for NORML officially coming to Northern Nevada and was an opportunity to share what we are about. So many vendors and people were willing to offer their time, and products for raffles or sponsorships. It was very inspiring.”

    To document, a couple of Reno NORML volunteers put together a video of the event, perfectly detailing the success of the fundraiser. 

    “NORML is tat he core of legal cannabis and we are at the forefront. Our first fundraiser’s success shows how hungry the community is for cannabis law reformation. History is being made.” said Reno NORML Communications Director, Conchita Maberry. 

    With events focusing on everything from the next steps in the Smoke The Vote campaign to Black History Month and the racial injustices that have come with cannabis prohibition, February is guaranteed to be one to remember and especially one to become involved in.

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