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  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate July 15, 2016

    US_capitolMembers of Congress this week heard testimony on the state of marijuana research, and leading members of the U.S. Senate introduced legislation to potentially reclassify CBD. A medical marijuana initiative in Montana qualified for the November ballot and Governors in three states signed marijuana related bills into law. Keep reading below to get this week’s latest marijuana news and to find out how you can #TakeAction.

    Federal:
    On Wednesday, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) held a hearing titled, “Researching Marijuana’s Potential Medical Benefits and Risks”. Testimony was provided by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who are co-sponsors of the CARERS Act, as well as by officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While several witnesses were asked by the committee whether or not they expected the DEA to reschedule cannabis, none provided a direct answer. An archive of the hearing is available online here.

    Today, US Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced legislation, the “Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act.” The Act requires the Attorney General to make a determination as to whether cannabidiol should be reclassified under the Controlled Substances Act and would expand research on the potential medical benefits of cannabidiol and other marijuana components. You can voice your support for this measure, as well as other pending federal legislation, by clicking here.

    State:

    Hawaii: On Tuesday, Governor David Ige signed legislation, House Bill 2707, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    The measure expands the pool of practitioners who may legally recommend cannabis therapy to include advanced nurse practitioners. Separate provisions in the bill remove the prohibition on Sunday dispensary sales and on the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia by qualified patients. Other language in the bill permits the transportation of medical marijuana across islands for the purposes of laboratory testing, but maintains existing prohibitions banning individual patients from engaging in inter-island travel with their medicine.

    Full text of the bill is available here.

    Missouri: Governor Jay Nixon signed legislation into law today making it easier for those with past marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.

    The legislative measure expands the number of offenses eligible for expungement from roughly a half dozen to more than 100 non-violent and non-sexual crimes. It also allows people to expunge their records sooner, shortening the waiting period to three years for misdemeanors and to seven years following a felony offense. However, the law does not take effect until January 1, 2018.

    Missouri’s NORML coordinator Dan Viets said, “This law will allow many thousands of people who have a marijuana conviction on their public records to escape the lifelong disabilities such a conviction has caused in the past.”

    For more information, contact Missouri NORML here.

    pills_v_potMontana: On Wednesday, a statewide initiative to expand and restore the state’s medical marijuana program qualified for the November ballot. The initiative is seeking to reverse several amendments to the program that were initially passed by lawmakers in 2011.

    If approved by voters, I-182 allows a single treating physician to certify medical marijuana for a patient diagnosed with chronic pain and includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a “debilitating medical condition” for which a physician may certify medical marijuana, among other changes. You can read the initiative language here.

    Pennsylvania: On Monday, legislation to establish “a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp” was sent to Governor Wolf for his signature.

    This measures allows state-approved applicants to research and cultivate industrial hemp as part of an authorized pilot program. This proposal is compliant with Section 7606 of the omnibus federal farm bill, authorizing states to sponsor hemp cultivation pilot programs absent federal reclassification of the plant. More than two dozen states have enacted similar legislation permitting licensed hemp cultivation in a manner that is compliant with this statute. #TakeAction

    Rhode Island: Governor Gina Raimondo signed legislation, House Bill 7142, this week to make post-traumatic stress patients eligible for medical cannabis treatment and to accelerate access to those patients in hospice care. Members of both chambers previously overwhelmingly approved the measure. Full text of the bill is available here. The new law went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 30, 2010

    More than half of Californians now say that they will vote ‘yes’ this November on Proposition 19, which would legalize the private adult use and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis, and allow local governments the option of regulating its commercial production and retail distribution.

    The latest poll of 2,004 likely voters throughout the state by the Public Policy Institute of California reports that 52 percent of Californians back Prop. 19, versus 41 percent opposed and seven percent undecided.

    Prop 19 is more popular than any candidate or incumbent

    Of the statewide propositions polled, only Prop. 19 possessed majority support among California voters. In fact, the same poll reports that a greater percentage of voters now back Prop. 19 than support incumbent Democrat Senators Barbara Boxer (42%) and Dianne Feinstein (44%), Senate Republican challenger Carly Fiorina (35%), Gubernatorial Democrat candidate Jerry Brown (37%) or Gubernatorial Republican candidate Meg Whitman (38%).

    Historically, ballot initiative campaigns lose support in the months prior to election day. But Prop. 19 is bucking this trend, as recent results from the Field Poll, Survey USA, and polltracker.com clearly show that marijuana legalization is maintaining, and in some cases gaining, voter support as we approach November 2, 2010.

    Proposition 19 is endorsed by a broad coalition of divergent and powerful interest groups, including the California NAACP; the Latino Voters League; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); the National Black Police Association; the United Food and Commercial Workers, (UFCW) Western States Council; the California Council of Churches IMPACT; Firedog Lake; the California Green Party; and the Republican Liberty Caucus. These organizations, along with millions of Californians, agree that it is time to end criminal marijuana prohibition in California.

    If you live in California but are not registered to vote, you can do so by going here. Help make history on November 2!

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 22, 2010

    On Tuesday I penned a commentary for the Los Angeles Times rebutting Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s public condemnation of Prop. 19 — The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative of 2010.

    Now the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides non-partisan fiscal and policy advice, has come out with their own repudiation of Sen. Feinstein’s claims. Specifically, it sets the record straight regarding opponents allegations that passage of Prop. 19 would not result in significant cost savings, and counters the senator’s groundless argument (which nevertheless will appear in the 2010 California voter guidebook) that the measure is “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.”

    You can read the entire LAO summary here. Below are some key excerpts regarding what the passage or Prop 19 would and would not do. (Note: sections are set in bold for emphasis by the editor.)

    Proposition 19 — Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed
    via the California Legislative Analyst’s Office

    State Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Cultivation for Personal Use
    Under the measure, persons age 21 or older generally may (1) possess, process, share or transport up to one ounce of marijuana; (2) cultivate marijuana on private property in an area up to 25 square feet per private residence or parcel; (3) possess harvested and living marijuana plants cultivated in such an area; and (4) possess any items or equipment associated with the above activities. … The state and local governments could also authorize the possession and cultivation of larger amounts of marijuana. … State and local law enforcement agencies could not seize or destroy marijuana from persons in compliance with the measure.

    In addition, the measure states that no individual could be punished, fined, or discriminated against for engaging in any conduct permitted by the measure.

    [E]mployers would retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.

    [T]he measure would not change existing laws that prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or that prohibit possessing marijuana on the grounds of elementary, middle, and high schools.

    Authorization of Commercial Marijuana Activities
    The measure allows local governments to adopt ordinances and regulations regarding commercial marijuana-related activities— including marijuana cultivation, processing, distribution, transportation, and retail sales. For example, local governments could license establishments that could sell marijuana to persons 21 and older. … As discussed below, the state also could authorize, regulate, and tax such activities.

    … Whether or not local governments engaged in this regulation, the state could, on a statewide basis, regulate the commercial production of marijuana. The state could also authorize the production of hemp, a type of marijuana plant that can be used to make products such as fabric and paper.

    Impacts on State and Local Expenditures
    Reduction in State and Local Correctional Costs. The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually.

    Reduction in Court and Law Enforcement Costs. The measure would result in a reduction in state and local costs for enforcement of marijuana-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the court system.

    Impacts on State and Local Revenues
    The state and local governments could receive additional revenues from taxes, assessments, and fees from marijuana-related activities allowed under this measure. … To the extent that a commercial marijuana industry developed in the state, however, we estimate that the state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues.

    NORML’s Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville also has recently posted a line-by-line analysis of Prop. 19 here for those of you who have any lingering questions or concerns.