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Weekly Legislative Roundup 9/28/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 09:07

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

This week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed CBD medication Epidiolex in Schedule V, the least restrictive category of the Controlled Substances Act. The move does not apply to CBD itself or other non-FDA-approved extracts containing it.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection released an official statement confirming the federal government’s policy of banning Canadians who work or invest in the marijuana industry from entering the country.

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked yet another marijuana measure from advancing, this time an amendment to remove the 280E tax penalty on cannabis businesses.

At the state level, Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley filed a bill that would legalize the possession, use, and retail sale of adult use marijuana and also expunge certain marijuana convictions.

New Jersey’s Senate president said he anticipates a vote on marijuana legalization legislation on October 29. The bill still has yet to be introduced.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled. See the full list of sessions here. Cuomo also signed a bill into law, adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. But he signed bills allowing local governments to approve temporary marijuana events at any location they choose, creating a grant program to assist with the implementation of local measures to ensure equity in the cannabis industry, and others.

At a more local level, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance to avoid jail time for marijuana possession. The Kingsland, Georgia City Council also approved an ordinance to eliminate jail time as a penalty for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana under the city code. And similarly, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania City Council approved a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

Following are the bills we’ve tracked still sitting on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

Click here to email your senators in support of this important legislation

California

Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of expungement

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

Senate Bill 829 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.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

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Register to vote and make your voice heard!

MPP Blog - Fri, 09/28/2018 - 07:41

Click here for help registering in your state.

Election Day may not be until Tuesday, November 6, but in many states voter registration deadlines are coming up soon! MPP has teamed up with non-profit Rock the Vote to make it easier for our subscribers to register in their state. Just click here, and their simple tool will help you fill out the voter registration form in your state or tell you where to register online, if your state allows that.

After you fill out their form online, you’ll get an email with your official registration form attached, and all you have to do is print it and mail it in! Easy. Can’t make it to the polls on Election Day? You can also click here if you want to learn more about voting policies in your state, like early voting or voting by mail, as well as whether you can vote if you have a prior conviction.

Voters in Utah, Michigan, North Dakota, and Missouri will get to vote on marijuana initiatives this year, and MPP or our coalition partners have released voter guides in New Hampshire and Maryland. Click here to learn more, and please get out and vote!

The post Register to vote and make your voice heard! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Ask candidates for the Maryland Legislature to commit to supporting marijuana policy reform

MPP Blog - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 10:31

The latest Goucher poll shows that 62% of Marylanders “support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.” Unfortunately, Maryland’s lawmakers have lagged behind the public on this issue — but this could change in November’s election. If you are a Maryland voter,  please let the candidates in your district know that this issue is important to you. (And don’t forget to check out the Maryland Cannabis Policy Coalition’s Voter Guide here.)

If you are interested in hearing more about MPP’s work — and meeting our new executive director, Steven Hawkins — please consider attending the Spark! Maryland networking event on October 4 at 6:30 p.m. at The Reserve at Two Rivers, 4105 Mountain Road, Pasadena, MD 21122. You can purchase tickets here.

Marylanders are ready to join the eight other states that have legalized and regulated marijuana for adults 21 and older. Click here to ask the people who want to represent you in the General Assembly if they’re ready too.

The post Ask candidates for the Maryland Legislature to commit to supporting marijuana policy reform appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Rick Steves to tour Michigan in support of legalization ballot measure

MPP Blog - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 10:26

Next week, legendary travel host Rick Steves will be visiting Michigan to give talks in support of Prop 1, the ballot initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana. Known for his hit PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe,” Rick’s engaging personality and first-hand experience seeing the benefits of legalization in his home state of Washington make this an event you don’t want to miss.

You can catch him in two locations, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Both speaking events are free and open to the public. The tour schedule is listed below.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2
It’s Time for a New Approach: Rick Steves on why legalization is a better solution
Time: 7:30 p.m., doors at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Peter Martin Wege Theatre, 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Cost: FREE
Register here

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3
It’s Time for a New Approach: Rick Steves on why legalization is a better solution
Time: 8:30 p.m., doors at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E Washington St., Ann Arbor
Cost: FREE
Register here

As a board member of NORML, Rick Steves has been a long-time advocate for sensible marijuana policies. Audiences around the country have heard his informative and entertaining talks on marijuana legalization, and now you have a chance to see him, too. Register for one of the events above and share the word by inviting friends and family.

The post Rick Steves to tour Michigan in support of legalization ballot measure appeared first on MPP Blog.

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DEA Reclassifies Plant-Derived Marijuana Medicine To Schedule V

NORML Blog - Thu, 09/27/2018 - 09:09

Epidiolex, a prescription medicine containing a standardized formulation of plant-derived cannabidiol (CBD), has been reclassified today by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to Schedule V — the lowest restriction classification available under federal law. The US Food and Drug Administration had previously approved the product in June for the explicit treatment of two rare forms of severe epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It is the first botanically-derived medicine from cannabis to receive US market approval.

A spokesperson for the DEA affirmed that the change is only specific to Epidiolex, and does not amend the schedule I status of either whole-plant cannabis or CBD — stating: “As of right now, any other CBD product other than Epidiolex remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance, so it’s still illegal under federal law.”

The drug’s manufacturer estimates that physicians will likely be able to begin prescribing the medicine within six weeks. An annual prescription is anticipated to cost patients $32,500.

Commenting on the scheduling change, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “The DEA’s rescheduling of this plant-derived medicine provides an additional option to patients seeking the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. However, it remains to be seen to what degree physicians will be comfortable prescribing this new agent, and whether most patients can feasibly afford it.”

He added: “We anticipated that Epidiolex will be the first of many potential FDA-approved medicines based on the cannabis plant. These are welcome alternatives. But these products should not be regulated in such a manner that patients no longer have ready access to herbal cannabis — a product that humans have used safely and effectively as a medicine for thousands of years and is approved today by statute in 31 states.”

Epidiolex was developed in the United Kingdom. US regulations do not permit private companies to engage in marijuana-derived medicine development, since only the University of Mississippi is federally licensed to cultivate cannabis strains for clinical research purposes.

Schedule V substances, as defined by the US Controlled Substances Act, are medicines deemed to possess a “low potential for abuse,” and may be associated with “limited physical dependence or psychological dependence.”

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Trillanes Gets Reprieve, for Now

Stop The Drug War - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 14:01

Update: Senator Trillanes has had a reprieve, for

read more

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NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition

MPP Blog - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 08:44

On Monday, September 24, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that adds acute pain management to the list of approved conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana as an alternative to opioid use. This new law formalizes regulations the New York State Department of Health issued in July, which added opioid replacement and opioid use disorder to the list.

This is great news for patients! Access to medical marijuana is no longer limited to those suffering from chronic pain. This bill and regulations allow more patients who could benefit from medical marijuana a safe and effective alternative to highly addictive opioids.

Find more information on New York’s medical marijuana program, including the list of qualifying conditions and how to register, here.

The post NY: Medical marijuana program adds acute pain management as qualifying condition appeared first on MPP Blog.

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North Dakota Is Ready To End Criminalization

NORML Blog - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 08:29

Last week, I did something that I had never done before: I traveled to North Dakota.

This summer, the grassroots group LegalizeND successfully collected enough petition signatures to place a statewide marijuana legalization initiative (Measure 3) on this November’s general election. If enacted in November, North Dakota would become the tenth state — and by far the most politically conservative one — to legalize the adult use of marijuana in the United States.

And as if I need to tell you, that would be a game-changer in our country.

Measure 3 has a sort of beauty in its simplicity. Thirty days after passage, it removes the criminal and civil penalties for adults over the age of 21 to possess, privately consume, and privately cultivate personal possession of marijuana. Unlike initiatives in other states, that often possessed robust and sometimes overly-complicated and exclusionary regulatory schemes for the licensing of commercial marijuana market, Measure 3 focuses on the individual consumer — not commercial businesses. In short, it halts new arrests and expunges past convictions. It’s that simple.

If lawmakers in the future wish to enact specific regulations licensing and taxing the marijuana market, that decision will be up to them.

But can Measure 3 win this November? I went to North Dakota to see for myself.

The fundamentals are strong. In 2016, voters passed a medical cannabis regulatory program with 64% of the vote. But then the legislature gutted the law, rewrote the rules, and ultimately ignored the patients who still today bear the black mark of being criminals in the eyes of the state. And voters in North Dakota are, to say the least, very upset.

This bodes well in the event of Measure 3’s passage, as pressure would ramp up on the lawmakers to swiftly implement a pro-consumer set of rules to compensate for the new legal status of cannabis.

According to the polling by the campaign earlier this year, a plurality of voters favor the measure. In my time in North Dakota, I spoke with numerous supporters — going to door-to-door with campaign volunteers — and appeared on several media outlets to discuss the initiative. As we like to say at NORML, “The more we’re talking about ending prohibition, the more we’re winning.”

Here is just some of the media hits that NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri and I participated in while supporting our friends at LegalizeND and their quest to end criminalization in North Dakota.

National marijuana reform leaders visit ND to offer support: 

The message to North Dakotans from one of the nation’s most well-known marijuana reform organizations is fairly simple as voters consider a ballot measure to approve recreational marijuana this fall: They want to protect the personal freedom of responsible adults to smoke it without a negative effect on public safety.

The executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Erik Altieri, and federal political director, Justin Strekal, were in the state for a three-day visit starting Friday, Sept. 21, to discuss the issue through the media, hold a fundraiser, train volunteers supporting the measure and to “support our friends.”

 Read more: Grand Folks Herald, Bismarck Tribune, Inforum, Jamestown Sun, Dickinson Press

 

Washington D.C. advocacy group in North Dakota in support of recreational marijuana: 

A Washington DC advocacy group has arrived in North Dakota to support the Measure 3 campaign.

Measure 3 would legalize marijuana for adult use and cultivation. Erik Altieri is executive director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He says NORML has a 50 year history and they’ve worked in several states that have already legalized marijuana for recreational use. Altieri says North Dakota is 5th in the nation for per capita incarcerations related to marijuana, and this measure would help keep otherwise law abiding citizens out of jail. He says much like campaigns they’ve worked on in other states, here they will educating the public about recreational marijuana.

Political director Justin Strekal says the legislation would be beneficial to veterans. He says 22 percent of veterans report using cannabis to treat ailments, but if they do it in North Dakota they are considered to be criminals.

Read more: Prairie Public (NPR)

 

Washington nonprofit pushes for legal recreational marijuana in North Dakota: 

Supporters of legal recreational marijuana in North Dakota are getting backers from Washington.

The director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is asking North Dakota voters to say yes to Measure 3 this November.

Read/Watch: WDAY

 

Volunteers Advocate for “Yes” Vote on Measure 3, Which Would Legalize Marijuana:

When you head to the polls, you’ll see something on the ballot called Measure 3. It will legalize marijuana in the state of North Dakota, and advocates say that would help many families.

Read/Watch: KVRR-TV

 

NORML and Measure 3 in ND:

Source: POVnow CBS-KX4 / West Dakota FOX

 

GET INVOLVED: You can follow LegalizeND on Facebook, visit their website at http://legalizend.com/ and click here to support their work.

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Cities Across Georgia Continue to Ease Penalties for Marijuana Possession

NORML Blog - Wed, 09/26/2018 - 05:31

Following the lead of municipalities around the state, the City Council of Kingsland, Georgia, voted to approve a new ordinance to ease penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

“I’m glad to see the Kingsland City Council unanimously approve this ordinance. They join Clarkston, Atlanta, Savannah, Forest Park, South Fulton and Fulton County in enacting sensible marijuana ordinances here in Georgia,” said Tom McCain, executive director of Peachtree NORML.  

Citing concerns of racial profiling and the effects of the black market regarding teen access and use, Councilman Mike McClain was one of the most vocal proponents during Monday’s meeting to discuss the proposal.

“There is a definite amount of racial profiling with the outdated law. We need to be on the right side of history, and I want to do the right thing,” said Mclain. “We are a small town, but we are not afraid of change when it goes to correctly police our community.”

Read more here: https://www.allongeorgia.com/camden-local-news/kingsland-city-council-passes-relaxed-marijuana-rule/

As state lawmakers around the country continue to drag their feet on marijuana law reforms, municipalities are taking matters into their own hands. As a result, more than 50 localities in a dozen states have adopted municipal ordinances to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“While they cannot change Georgia Law, they can indeed lower penalties for simple possession, and in doing so, send a message to the General Assembly that it needs to follow suit at the state-level,” added McCain.

Click Here to Review NORML’s Decriminalization Report

To learn more about marijuana law reforms in Georgia, follow Peachtree NORML on Facebook, and Twitter or check out their website!

Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

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Open Thread

DrugWarRant - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 23:51

Sorry folks – my mind and energies have been elsewhere, and I have been a poor host recently. Hope to change that soon.

I’ll also have some new posts up in the next couple of days (although the comments section is the most important area right now).

Something to think about… I’m looking for someone to help out with the site by putting in the occasional post or even a link to a good story as a contributor. Wouldn’t have technical skills – I could either give you access, or you could email me the item and I’d post it for you.

It must be someone who I recognize – someone who has been a regular contributor here at DrugWarRant – I get offers practically every day from people who want to write boilerplate posts for this site in exchange for link to their drug treatment scam.

So give me a holler if you’re interested!

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Michigan legalization campaign wins a big endorsement

MPP Blog - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 12:23

Great news! The Detroit Free Press, one of Michigan’s largest media outlets, has endorsed the Yes on 1 legalization campaign!

The paper’s supportive editorial echoed many of the Yes on 1 campaign’s core messages: marijuana prohibition wastes law enforcement resources, unfairly harms communities of color, and prevents the state from collecting millions in tax revenue that could fund critical social programs. This is a huge boost for Prop 1, but we have to make sure the momentum is carried forward into November.

You can help the Yes on 1 team by making a donation here. Supporters can also promote the effort by picking up Yes on 1 gear from the new campaign store. There, you’ll find some great items, including t-shirts, hoodies, and yard signs, with the official Yes on 1 logo.

We’re just a few weeks away from Election Day (November 6). Michigan residents should visit the Secretary of State’s voter page to get information about polling locations, absentee voting, and more. The deadline to register to vote is October 9. If you’re not already registered, click here for the registration form. Be sure to fill it out and deliver it to your city or town clerk’s office by October 9.

If you have friends or family in Michigan, please forward this email to them and ask them to vote “Yes” on Prop 1. I’m confident that if enough people pitch in, we’ll be celebrating another major victory on November 6.

The post Michigan legalization campaign wins a big endorsement appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Are you ready to #SmokeTheVote?

NORML Blog - Tue, 09/25/2018 - 10:39

Happy National Voter Registration Day!

It’s critically important that we make sure all reform supporters are registered and turnout to vote for pro-cannabis candidates this year for the “Marijuana Midterms.”

With just six weeks until Election Day, NORML is proud to roll out the following educational tools for you to take with you to the ballot booth.

Smoke the Vote: NORML has graded every incumbent and major candidate for federal office throughout the country – making it easy for you to get the facts.

NORML chapters around the country have recorded many of the positions of candidates for state-level offices. This scorecard is meant to be a living document, and with over 10,000 legislators at the state and federal level across the nation, we NEED your help to keep it up to date. If you see that we’re missing a candidate’s position or a great quote from them regarding marijuana policy, send it our way.

NORML Election Central: Learn about the various ballot initiatives around the country and see all of the NORML PAC endorsed candidates.

NORML Voter Registration Tool: NORML has partnered with Rock the Vote making it easy and fast for you and your friends to register to vote!

We need more voices supporting reform in the political process. If our supporters are not registered and voting, lawmakers will not hear the need for legislative action. Make sure your friends, family, and neighbors are registered to #SmokeTheVote and make 2018 the Marijuana Midterms!

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

Below are a few more resources that should come in handy over the next couple of months.

Resources and Tools for Voter Registration:

Stay informed – Rock The Vote offers voter registration resources, election FAQs, and opportunities to help build the political power of young people in the United States.Voter Registration Deadline – Use U.S. Vote Foundation to find your state’s deadline.

Long Distance Voter – Is a website where you can request an absentee ballot.

Verify your Registration Status – Vote.org offers an online tool to check the status of your voter registration.

Polling Place – Check out Rock the Vote to find a polling location near you.

Additional Resources:

Election Laws: https://bit.ly/2MdVn1s

State Information: https://bit.ly/2xb1SPW

Voting Rights: https://bit.ly/2NrVM57

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Exercise your civic duty on National Voter Registration Day

NORML Blog - Mon, 09/24/2018 - 11:44

Are you ready to legalize marijuana? Registering to vote is the first step. Tomorrow is National Voter Registration Day, and you can help NORML make sure everyone knows voting is an essential part of the fight to end the prohibition. It is crucial that supporters of reform register to vote in time to cast their ballots in the November 6th election.

Are you registered to vote? Check the status of your voter registration here.

Ready to register to vote? You can do so by clicking here.

We need more voices supporting reform in the political process. If our supporters are not registered and voting, lawmakers are will not hear the need for legislative action. Make sure your friends, family, and neighbors are registered to vote.

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Facebook

Share our Voter Registration Tool on Twitter

As the old adage goes, elections are decided by those who show up. The 2018 midterm elections will be decisive for marijuana reform. NORML is working to bring as many supporters of responsible marijuana policy to the polls as possible. Will our communities voice be heard on November 6?

Let’s finish what we started. Let’s legalize it.

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FBI: Marijuana Arrests Spike For Second Straight Year, Far Outpace Arrests For All Violent Crimes

NORML Blog - Mon, 09/24/2018 - 09:55

The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the second consecutive year, according to data released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations last year. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017.

Of those arrested for marijuana crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses, a slight increase over last year’s annual totals. Total marijuana arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade. The uptick comes at a time when ten states, including California, have legalized the adult use of cannabis – leading to a significant decline in marijuana-related arrests in those jurisdictions.

“Actions by law enforcement run counter to both public support and basic morality,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “In a day and age where twenty percent of the population lives in states which have legalized and nearly every state has some legal protections for medical cannabis or its extract, the time for lawmakers to end this senseless and cruel prohibition that ruins lives.”

As in previous years, marijuana possession arrests were least likely to occur in the western region of the United States, where possessing the plant has largely been either legalized or decriminalized. By contrast, in Midwestern states, marijuana-related arrests comprised over 53 percent of all drug arrests.

The 2017 FBI report, “Crime in the United States,” is available online here.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 9/21/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 09/21/2018 - 09:05

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

This week, reports circulated that  the US Customs and Border Protection Agency will enforce a federal policy denying entry into the United States any individual involved in Canada’s burgeoning marijuana market. Under the policy, US officials are to bar entry to Canadians who acknowledge having consumed marijuana at any time in their past, as well as those who are either employed or invested in legal cannabis enterprises. NORML responded here.

The U.S. Senate’s VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 got one more cosponsor, for a total of five. And The U.S. House’s Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

At the state level, the New Jersey Department of Health removed the ban that prohibited licensed medical cannabis dispensaries from selling concentrates to patients. Separately, details arose about New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill, which includes what would be the lowest tax rate in the country, home delivery, social consumption sites, and provisions benefiting small and minority owned businesses, but nothing about home cultivation. Nothing is final yet.

Several New York Assembly committees have scheduled the first of what will be four joint hearings this fall on the prospect of legalizing marijuana in the Empire State. This comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is holding a series of separate listening sessions across the state to gather public input on cannabis legalization.

Mississippi activists kicked off their signature gathering effort for a 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative. Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting. Kentucky lawmakers held an interim hearing on medical cannabis, and the West Virginia Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health met to discuss banking access issues for medical cannabis businesses.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed two bills into law this week,  one preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes, and another clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. Brown also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

At a more local level, the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

Following are the bills we’ve tracked this week pending before California Governor Jerry Brown, 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

Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

Click here to email your senators in support of this important legislation

California

Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.

Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of expungement

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.

Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.

CA resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of allowing students’ medical marijuana at school

Senate Bill 829 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.

Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.

CA resident? Email your senators in support of supporting compassionate care programs

That’s all for this week!

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U.S. territory to legalize, regulate marijuana!

MPP Blog - Fri, 09/21/2018 - 05:34

The remote U.S. territory of the Northern Mariana Islands is so far ahead of the mainland U.S., it’s already late evening there. And the Northern Mariana Islands are also far ahead of the mainland U.S. when it comes to reforming marijuana laws.

The Northern Marianas just made history when it became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. where a governing body enacted legislation to both end marijuana prohibition and establish a system of regulation to replace it! Earlier today, Gov. DLG Torres signed the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act of 2018, after it was approved overwhelmingly by the commonwealth’s House and Senate.

All eight state laws that legalized, taxed, and regulated marijuana passed by voter initiative. And earlier this year, the Vermont Legislature enacted a bill that legalized adult-use possession and cultivation of marijuana. However, unlike the Northern Marianas’, Vermont’s law doesn’t include sales. (MPP spearheaded six of those nine campaigns.)

We’re proud of our allies at Sensible CNMI and lawmakers in the Northern Marianas for crafting a comprehensive, thoughtful bill that includes home cultivation, micro-producers, and on-site consumption. And we were honored to play a supporting role.

Check out our summary of the bill here.

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Legislature could enact a law to legalize and regulate marijuana soon. Please consider making a generous donation to MPP so we can convince lawmakers in other states and territories to follow the Northern Marianas’ lead!

The post U.S. territory to legalize, regulate marijuana! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Marijuana Law Reform Advocates Head to Harrisburg

NORML Blog - Thu, 09/20/2018 - 14:25

With a state legislative session spanning almost an entire calendar year, supporters of marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania are working overtime to make sure their voices are heard. That’s why members of Lehigh Valley NORML, Pittsburgh NORML, Lancaster NORML and Philly NORML are teaming up with the Keystone Cannabis Coalition and ACLU of Pennsylvania for rally and lobby day next week in the state’s capital of Harrisburg.

Click Here to RSVP Today!

“Marijuana activists in Pennsylvania are poised to introduce an aggressive agenda for reform in 2019 when they fill the Capitol Rotunda at 10am on Monday, September 24,” said Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML. “With cannabis arrest counts rising across the state and neighboring states threatening legalization, the time is right for this discussion in Pennsylvania.”

But activists in the Keystone State have come a very long way in just a short amount of time.

Local Victories

In late 2014 Philadelphia’s city council decriminalized simple possession of marijuana. Little did they know, their decision would trigger a wave of municipalities across the Commonwealth to adopt similar measures. In the years following, local lawmakers in Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg, York, Erie, and most recently, Bethlehem followed suit.

These local victories were celebrated not just by advocates, but also the Commonwealth’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who shared the following statement:

“Decriminalization saves millions of dollars spent yearly on marijuana prosecutions. Decriminalization also has human benefits by reducing the loss of income and other social, personal and emotional impacts on those arrested for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.”

Full statement here: https://bit.ly/2NvfopR

Statewide Victories

Following the flurry of local marijuana law reform victories across the Commonwealth, lawmakers in Harrisburg passed SB 3: The Medical Marijuana Act in 2015 which was later signed into law by Governor Wolf in early 2016. Passage of the law established rules and regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program which permits registered patients to access cannabis oils, pills and tinctures, but due to a restriction against smoking, the availability of marijuana flower was delayed.

After months of pressure from patients and advocacy groups, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana advisory board recommended several updates to the state’s program. One of which, was allowing the sale of marijuana flower. The catch? It must be consumed using a vaporizer. This means no smoking. Regardless of a few hiccups, dispensaries began serving patients earlier this year.

Looking ahead, advocates are hoping to educate state lawmakers about the benefits of ending the criminalization and harassment of honest, hardworking Pennsylvanians for simply possessing a small amount of marijuana.

“New legislation will be introduced at the rally, as 2019 will mark the first time that PA will have partner bills for decriminalization and legalization in both House and Senate. If Pennsylvanians could vote on cannabis legalization in November, I am confident that we would win,” added Riedy.

Midterm Election

Considering Pennsylvania is one of several states that lacks a ballot initiative process, all marijuana law reform efforts must be pursued through the state legislature. This means, in order to be successful, advocates must educate those who are willing to listen or elect new, more supportive lawmakers to represent them in Harrisburg. So make no mistake, the outcome of this November’s election will certainly have an impact on the future of marijuana in the Keystone State.  

Register To Vote Today!

That’s why we’re encouraging voters in Pennsylvania to support Jon Fetterman, an outspoken supporter of legalizing marijuana, who is running for Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Fetterman was the very first candidate endorsed by NORML PAC for the 2018 midterm elections.

Read more about our endorsement here: https://bit.ly/2OMBjoM

For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Twitter and Facebook!

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Voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election published

MPP Blog - Thu, 09/20/2018 - 12:05

Find out where N.H. candidates stand on marijuana policy, then help good candidates win on Nov. 6!

Less than seven weeks remain until the November 6 general election. The winners will have the power to determine New Hampshire’s marijuana policies for the next two years, so it is critically important for supporters of cannabis legalization to become informed and active participants in this year’s election.

Click here to learn where candidates on your ballot stand on marijuana policy!

As our voter guide explains, there are many strong contrasts between candidates’ positions on marijuana policy. In the race for governor, Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has not yet been convinced to support legalization, but Molly Kelly (D) and Jilletta Jarvis (L) have both taken clear positions in support.

The outcome of state Senate races will also be critical for our success, and those contests are often determined by a very small number of votes. If you are able to volunteer to help a good Senate candidate win in your area, please consider doing so. This could end up making a big difference in November!

Click here for a condensed, printable one-page version of our voter guide.

Please share this information with your family and friends. Then, please do what you can to help good candidates win in November!

The post Voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election published appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Jersey getting closer to finally legalizing marijuana

MPP Blog - Thu, 09/20/2018 - 07:11

While the new bill to legalize and regulate marijuana has not yet been revealed to the public, lawmakers and the Murphy administration are reportedly close to reaching a deal. However, it is not yet clear what the legislature intends to do to help people who are still suffering from the collateral consequences of a prior marijuana conviction.

If you’re a New Jersey resident, please ask your lawmakers to support not only ending marijuana prohibition for adults moving forward, but also ensuring that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records and move on with their lives.

New Jersey has been hotly debating the best way to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis since Gov. Phil Murphy made that an important part of his campaign in 2017. MPP continues to advocate for adopting the best practices of other states to ensure that legalization allows opportunities for people impacted by marijuana prohibition and small businesses, and we’re encouraged that these ideas are reportedly being included in the legislation.

However, we want to continue fighting to include criminal justice reform as well. If you live in New Jersey, please help by asking your legislators to include strong expungement provisions now.

The post New Jersey getting closer to finally legalizing marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

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MPP endorses North Dakota’s legalization ballot measure

MPP Blog - Wed, 09/19/2018 - 12:26

Learn more about the campaign and make a donation here.

Last month, a team of grassroots activists beat the odds and succeeded in qualifying a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adults in North Dakota. With just a few weeks left until Election Day, they need our help. Today, MPP is endorsing their effort and urging allies to support Measure 3. Click here to read the full text of the measure.

There’s a real chance North Dakotans could approve Measure 3, which would end prohibition and create a process to seal criminal records for nonviolent marijuana convictions, but polling suggests the vote is going to be very close. Every dollar the campaign receives goes towards voter outreach and education. North Dakota has a small population, so your contribution could make all the difference.

Will you make a donation to support the grassroots campaign to legalize marijuana in North Dakota?

A victory for Measure 3 would be huge. It would show that adult-use legalization can win anywhere, even in more rural and conservative states. It would also send a strong message to Congress that federal laws on marijuana are deeply unpopular throughout the country.

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for our movement. There are four marijuana-related state ballot questions in play, and each of them needs your help. Click the logos below to check out the campaigns. Please follow them on social media, spread the word to voters in those states, and donate what you can.

The post MPP endorses North Dakota’s legalization ballot measure appeared first on MPP Blog.

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