Loading

Legislative Update

  • by NORML November 16, 2018

    One of the US Senate’s leading marijuana prohibitionists, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley, will no longer be heading the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress.

    Representative Grassley announced today that he is stepping down as Chair of the Committee. As Chair, Grassley refused to hold any hearings or votes on marijuana-related legislation, including bipartisan legislative efforts like the STATES Act. Virtually all Senate legislation specific to marijuana policy must pass through the Judiciary Committee.

    Representative Grassley received a D- grade on NORML’s 2018 Congressional Scorecard.

    Next in line to Chair the Committee is Republican Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who received a C grade from NORML.

    “As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham will have to make a choice when it comes to marijuana,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Will he continue to perpetuate the failed policy of federal criminalization which resulted in over 659,000 Americans being handcuffed in 2017 alone, or will he be open to reform in a way that reflects the rapidly evolving nature of cannabis policy in the majority of states?”

    Representative Grassley’s decision to step down follows the retirement of House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the failed re-election bid of House Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) – both of whom similarly used their powers as Chair to stifle any legislative debate on marijuana policy.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate

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

    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a “guarantee” that hemp legalization will be in the finalized Farm Bill. “If there’s a Farm Bill, it’ll be in there, I guarantee that,” he told reporters.

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

    Incoming U.S. House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) says he will allow floor debates and votes on marijuana amendments, “unlike his predecessors.”

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

    New Jersey’s Assembly speaker and Senate president said they expect committee votes on legalizing marijuana by the end of this month. The Republican Assembly leader said legalization is “inevitable.” And a key state senator who was once opposed to ending prohibition is now expressing support.

    A spokesperson for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the governor plans to “introduce a formal comprehensive [marijuana legalization] proposal during the 2019 legislative session.” A New York senator said she believes Cuomo and lawmakers will legalize marijuana in the state via the 2019 budget.

    It’s possible that Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales could begin on Sunday. The state’s top regulator said sales will likely start in “a week plus or minus maybe a couple of days longer than that.”

    The Vermont marijuana legalization study committee’s taxation and regulation subcommittee plans to recommend a 26% or 27% tax rate on 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 legalize marijuana for adults.

    Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) and the incoming House speaker said that the state will consider legalizing marijuana in 2019.

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

    Muskegon County, Michigan’s prosecutor is dropping some pending marijuana charges in light of legalization and is considering 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

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 9, 2018

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

    This week was a big week for marijuana with Michigan voters approving the legalization and retail sale for adults, and Utah and Missouri voting to allow medical marijuana access.

    There were also 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin that approved non-binding marijuana related ballot measures, as well as five cities in Ohio that voted to remove all criminal possession penalties. Read more here.

    In other news unrelated to the election, Massachusetts regulators are saying that adult use retail sales will begin within days, after being delayed from the original start date on July 1.

    The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board, mainly made up of physicians, voted in favor of adding autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but rejected PTSD, bipolar disorder and ADHD. They also voted to keep the THC cap at 3%. This recommendation now has to be approved by the Iowa Board of Medicine. Separately, the state’s first dispensary will begin selling low-THC medical cannabis products on December 1.

    In light of Michigan’s new legalization and regulation policy, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D) is considering options to expunge marijuana records.

    Two Tennessee lawmakers are preparing to file medical cannabis legislation.

    New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and lawmakers are still negotiating tax rates for marijuana legalization legislation. They had originally set a date for a vote on the measure for October 29.

    New York’s Assembly speaker said “sealing low-level marijuana possession convictions” should be a priority for 2019.

    At a more local level, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that she plans to pursue legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital in early 2019.

    The Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council approved an ordinance to lower the penalties for marijuana possession and the Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council is considering a resolution calling for “legalization, decriminalization and/or regulation of cannabis and cannabis-related products for recreational use.”

    Additionally, in huge non-U.S. news, a key Mexican senator who will be a member of the new presidential administration filed a bill to legalize marijuana production and sales. The move comes less than one week after the nation’s Supreme Court struck down the criminalization of cannabis.

    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 York

    A11390 seeks to require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs.

    The measure amends state law so that publicly funded health programs, including the largely-publicly funded Essential Plan, would treat medical cannabis like any other legal prescription drug “for the purposes of coverage under medical assistance.”

    Update: Companion legislation, S9189, was introduced on 11/2/18 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana coverage

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate November 2, 2018

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

    A bit of news from across the border to start; Mexico’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s prohibition of marijuana by issuing two separate rulings, setting binding precedent that the country’s ban on consuming marijuana is unconstitutional. The nation’s Congress has 90 days to repeal cannabis bans now considered unconstitutional.

    Let’s talk about Election Day, which is this Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Don’t forget to vote if you haven’t already! No matter where you live, or what political party you identify with, your vote counts. It matters. It can make a difference. It’s your civic duty to exercise your right to vote. Make sure you know where your voting location is. And, make sure you know who and what is on your ballot, so you can make an informed decision. Also check out NORML’s voter guide and scorecard to see who the most cannabis friendly candidates are this election, and get ready to #SmokeTheVote!

    In Congress this week, The U.S. House bill to require the federal government to study the effects of legalizing marijuana (Marijuana Data Collection Act) got two new cosponsors, for a total of 33.

    At the state level, Utah lawmakers and advocates are working to tweak provisions of proposed medical cannabis compromise legislation. The House speaker also held a public forum on the issue.

    New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study committee released a lengthy report looking at policy considerations for the potential end of prohibition.

    New Mexico lawmakers held a hearing on allowing medical cannabis at schools. Separately, a New Mexico judge ruled that the state’s 450-plant limit on medical cannabis dispensaries is arbitrary and capricious and has no factual basis.

    Maine regulators are estimating that the first recreational marijuana stores could open next year.

    Colorado regulators will host a Marijuana Science and Policy Work Group meeting on Monday.

    Oregon regulators will hold a public hearing on technical changes to marijuana rules on November 16.

    Colorado regulators are inviting people to submit comments on proposed changes to medical cannabis rules. You can submit your own comments here.

    Ohio regulators are now accepting petitions to add additional medical cannabis qualifying conditions. You can submit your own petition here.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a bill into law to stop revoking driver’s’ licenses from people convicted of drug offenses and other crimes unrelated to motor vehicle operation.

    At a more local level, San Francisco, California’s mayor announced the expansion of the city’s cannabis equity program. And Manhattan’s district attorney announced that marijuana prosecutions are down 94% in the first quarter of a newly implemented policy.

    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 York

    A11390 seeks to require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs.

    The measure amends state law so that publicly funded health programs, including the largely-publicly funded Essential Plan, would treat medical cannabis like any other legal prescription drug “for the purposes of coverage under medical assistance.”

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana coverage

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate October 19, 2018

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

    Some news from across the border to start off, this week Canada became the second nation to explicitly legalize the social use, possession, cultivation, and retail production and sale of cannabis. The new law will also include pardons of all criminal possession charges of less than 30 grams.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comments specific to whether changes ought to be recommended regarding the international classification of cannabis as a controlled substance. Members of the public have until October 31, 2018 to submit their comments to the FDA for consideration. They’ve already gotten at least 2,000 submissions. Click here to submit your own comments quickly and easily now.

    In Congress this week, the Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans affairs to study medical cannabis (VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

    The House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis (Veterans Equal Access Act) got one new cosponsor, for a total of 29.

    At the state level, four New York Assembly committees held a joint hearing in Manhattan on marijuana legalization proposals.

    Utah Democratic lawmakers will hold a town hall meeting on medical cannabis next Wednesday 10/24. They’ll discuss the Utah Medical Cannabis Act, Proposition 2, and the medical cannabis landscape more broadly.

    Rhode Island regulators added autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions, and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation into law prohibiting marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

    At a more local level, the mayor of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is helping to collect signatures for the state’s proposed 2020 medical cannabis ballot measure.

    A draft Seattle, Washington 2019 legislative agenda says the city supports state legislation to allow marijuana delivery services and cannabis vaping lounges, as well as expunging misdemeanor convictions.

    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

    A4510 seeks to create a state bank to provide financial services to licensed marijuana business operating in accordance with state law.

    The measure would permit the bank to make loans to, and accept deposits from, any marijuana-related business. Currently, many financial institutions are discouraged from interacting with the cannabis industry because of the plant’s illegal federal status.

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

    That’s all for this week!

Page 1 of 1012345...10...Last »