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NORML Blog

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2019

    House and Senate lawmakers have finalized and passed legislation, House Bill 1383, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses and vacating past convictions. The legislation now awaits action from Democratic Gov. David Ige.

    The measure reduces penalties involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a criminal record, to a non-criminal violation – punishable by a $130 fine.

    It also provides a mechanism for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.

    The measure also establishes a task force to review cannabis policy and to make recommendations to the legislature by 2021.

    If signed, the new law takes effect on January 11, 2020.

    To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized (eliminated the possibility of jail time) the adult possession and personal use of marijuana.

    For additional information on pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s Take Action Center online here.

  • by Representative Earl Blumenauer

    A poll commissioned by the American Legion showed that more than 1 in 5 veterans self-reported using marijuana to alleviate a medical or physical condition. VA healthcare providers, however, are prohibited from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a state-legal medical cannabis recommendation, forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician. Seeking care is hard enough, and we should not make it even harder for our veterans.

    That’s why I testified today to the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding my legislation, the Veterans Equal Access Act, HR 1647, which would lift this prohibition.

    The reefer madness days are done and it’s time for Congress and the VA to face the facts surrounding marijuana — most pointedly, it’s medicinal benefits for veterans. More and more veterans are reportedly using cannabis to help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, and several other ailments.

    Join me in sending a message to Congress now in support of veterans healthcare rights.

    I introduced the Veterans Equal Access Act because it is my responsibility as a Member of Congress to ensure that all Americans have access to medical treatment as recommended by their physicians.

    Today, you can make a difference and show your true support for veterans and the efficacy of medical cannabis.  Tell your members of Congress now to support the Veterans Equal Access Act – because our veterans need more from our government than words of support, we need action.

    Courage,
    Earl

     

    Earl Blumenauer
    Member of Congress

     

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    House and Senate lawmakers have passed legislation, House Bill 1050, reducing marijuana possession penalties. The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.

    Under the proposal, the possession of up to one-half ounce (14.175 grams) of cannabis or marijuana-related paraphernalia for a first-time offender is reclassified from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, to a criminal infraction – punishable by a fine but no possibility of jail time. Those charged with subsequent infractions over the course of a calendar year may face the possibility of misdemeanor charges.

    In 2016, North Dakota ranked sixth in the nation in per capita marijuana possession arrests.

    Separate provisions in the measure reduce penalties for the possession of up to 500 grams of cannabis from a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to a class B misdemeanor. Penalties for the possession of greater amounts are amended from a felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

    If signed into law, the new penalties will take effect on August 1, 2019.

    For more information about pending legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

  • by NORML April 29, 2019

    On April 30, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing for multiple pieces of legislation, including the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, the Veterans Equal Access Act and the Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act.

    In the last Congress, the previous iteration of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act was passed by the Committee, yet was not advanced to the floor by the Republican leadership of the time. The legislation “would direct VA to conduct clinical research with varying forms of medicinal cannabis to evaluate the safety and effects of cannabis on health outcomes of veterans with PTSD and veterans with chronic pain.”

    The Veterans Equal Access Act has been introduced for a number of sessions now by Representative Earl Blumenauer, the co-Chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, yet has yet to receive consideration until now. 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 this bill would lift this prohibition.

    The Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act similar legislation the Veterans Equal Access Act and is the first time that is has been introduced to Congress.

    You can send a message in favor of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act to your lawmakers by clicking HERE. 

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

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, House File 732, to expand the state’s medical cannabis access program. The measure now awaits action from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

    Under existing law, licensed dispensaries may only dispense plant-derived extracts possessing CBD and no more than three percent THC. House Fill 732 eliminates the THC cap. It also permits physician assistants and/or advanced registered nurses to make medical cannabis recommendations, and expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those with “severe or chronic” pain.

    The new measure imposes restrictions regarding the total amount of THC a patient may possess in a 90-day period (25 grams). However, this limit may be waived at the advice of a health practitioner.

    About 1,000 Iowans are currently authorized to access low-THC cannabis oils.

    For additional information regarding pending marijuana legislation, visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

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