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Rhode Island: Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Legislation Into Law

NORML Blog - Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:07

Democrat Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation permitting those with past marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.

House Bill 8355/S. 2447 allows those with past convictions for crimes involving the possession of less than one ounce of cannabis to petition the court to seek an order of expungement. It states, “[W]here the court has determined that all conditions of the original criminal sentence have been completed, … the court [will] order the expungement without cost to the petitioner.” The law took effect upon passage.

State lawmakers decriminalzed minor marijuana possession offenses in 2013.

“If an act has been decriminalized since a person was charged and paid their price for it, that person shouldn’t have to keep paying the price in the form of being denied jobs and other opportunities because of their criminal record,” bill sponsor Sen. Harold Metts said in a statement. “Let them move on, and they can better support themselves and their families and contribute to our communities and our state.”

Delaware lawmakers passed similar legislation this month permitting the expungement of marijuana-related offenses that have since been decriminalized. That bill is awaiting action from the Governor. Maryland enacted a similar law in 2017.

Both Massachusetts and Oregon have enacted legislation vacating the convictions of marijuana-related crimes that are now defined as legal under state law. In California, where voters elected to legalize the adult use of marijuana in 2016, District Attorneys in various cities and counties – including San Francisco and San Diego – are automatically reviewing and dismissing thousands of past marijuana-related convictions.

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Minnesota patients with autism and sleep apnea now qualify for medical cannabis

MPP Blog - Tue, 07/10/2018 - 14:46

Last November, the Minnesota Department of Health approved adding autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. Under state law, the additions take effect the following summer.

Starting on July 1, 2018, patients with a doctor’s certification and either of those conditions could begin registering for the program. They can start accessing medical cannabis no sooner than August 1. Our allies at Sensible Minnesota offer one-on-one assistance to patients who need help navigating the process. Learn more here.

Congratulations to Sensible Minnesota and to all the advocates and health professionals who were involved in petitioning to expand the program!

Sensible Minnesota is now working on petitions to expand the program to include opioid use disorder, hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and insomnia.

If you are a Minnesota medical professional who might be willing to add your voice to the petition, contact Sensible Minnesota at 952-529-4420 or by email.

The post Minnesota patients with autism and sleep apnea now qualify for medical cannabis appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Maine: Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto, Expand Medical Marijuana Access

NORML Blog - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 16:17

Legislation to significantly expand patients’ access to medical cannabis will become law later this fall following a decision today by Maine lawmakers to override the Governor’s veto.

By a vote of 119 to 23 in the House and 25 to 8 in the Senate, lawmakers rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of LD 1539. The bill will become law 90 days after the conclusion of the 2018 legislative session.

Under the new law, physicians will possess the discretion to recommend cannabis for any patient for whom they believe it will benefit. It also expands the total number of licensed medical dispensaries from eight to 14, earmarks funding for medical marijuana research, permits caregivers to oversee multiple patients, and licenses marijuana extraction facilities, among other changes.

An estimated 42,000 patients are currently certified with the state to use medical marijuana.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has a long history of opposing virtually all marijuana law reform legislation, and has previously vetoed numerous bills seeking to liberalize the state’s cannabis policies.

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North Dakota: Advocates Turn In Signatures For 2018 Adult Use Initiative

NORML Blog - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 15:49

Proponents of a statewide ballot initiative to legalize the adult use of marijuana in North Dakota turned in nearly 19,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office today in an effort to place the measure before voters this November. State officials must certify 13,452 signatures in order to qualify the measure for the 2018 electoral ballot.

The voter-initiated measure, organized by the grass-roots group Legalize North Dakota, legalizes the possession, use, and sale of cannabis, as well as the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, by those over the age of 21 and also expunges past marijuana convictions.

In 2016, nearly two-thirds of state voters approved a ballot measure regulating medical cannabis access. However, state officials have yet to make the program operational — with regulators now aiming to have licensed dispensaries up and running by June 2019. Regulators’ failure to swiftly implement the 2016 measure was the impetus for the 2018 campaign, activists have acknowledged.

State officials are anticipated to take an estimated 35 days to verify proponents’ signatures. According to internal polling data commissioned by the Legalize North Dakota campaign, a plurality of voters back the measure.

Voters in Michigan will also be deciding this November on whether to legalize the adult use of marijuana, while voters in Utah and Missouri will be deciding on medical access measures.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 7/6/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 11:23

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

At the state level, Vermont’s law legalizing marijuana possession and home cultivation took effect on July 1, and so did Georgia’s law allowing low-THC medical cannabis preparations for PTSD and intractable pain. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that although marijuana legalization didn’t make it into the state’s budget deal, there is agreement from lawmakers to get it done “sooner rather than later.” The Senate president said that legislators are “committed” to passing marijuana legalization this summer.

At a more local level, the Rock County, Wisconsin Board voted to place a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot. The Forest Park, Georgia City Council voted 3-2 for decriminalization and a Savannah, Georgia law allowing police to avoid low-level marijuana arrests took effect on Sunday.

Following are the bills from around the country 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

End Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, 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 e-mail your senators and urge them to support this important legislation

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Senate Bill 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.

Update: The House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee recommended the passage of SB 20-62 on 7/2.

CNMI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

Delaware

Senate Bill 197 seeks to permit those convicted of past marijuana possession convictions to seek expungement.

The measure would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting the expungement of any past marijuana possession violations that are no longer defined as a crime under state law. The bill was already passed by the Senate last month.

Update: on 7/2, SB 197 was unanimously approved by the House. The bill now awaits action from Governor John Carney (D).

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

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.

Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 8/6 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.

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

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: On 7/2, SB 829 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a vote of 8-1, and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of helping needy patients

Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on campus to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms.

Update: SB 1127 was heard by the Judiciary Committee on 7/3, and then approved by the Committee by a 7-3 vote.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanded access to medical cannabis in schools

That’s all the legislative updates for this week!

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Hawaii governor considering medical cannabis/opioid bill

MPP Blog - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 06:13

Earlier this year, the Hawaii Legislature overwhelmingly approved SB 2407, which would allow opioid and substance use disorders, and their symptoms, to be treated with medical cannabis if a physician recommends it. But last week, Gov. David Ige announced he intends to veto this compassionate bill.

Medical cannabis can ease the devastating symptoms of opiate withdrawal and make it easier for individuals to stay on treatment regimens. For some, this is an issue of life or death.

The governor has until July 10 to act on the bill. If you are a resident of Hawaii, please call Gov. Ige at 808-586-0034 or send him an email to urge him to reconsider. We’ve provided some talking points and a draft email message to make the process easy.

The post Hawaii governor considering medical cannabis/opioid bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Rhode Island legislative session ends…and the election season begins

MPP Blog - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 13:37

The 2018 Rhode Island legislative session recently came to a disappointing close. By extending its unproductive marijuana study commission into next year and failing to expand the number of medical marijuana compassion centers, the General Assembly has once again ignored the overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders who support sensible marijuana policy reform.

If you are a Rhode Island resident…

The best way to make your voice heard now is to become active in local elections. When candidates hear from voters about an issue on the campaign trail, they’re far more likely to take action when elected.

If you see a campaign event happening in your district, attend and ask candidates if they will push for legislation to legalize marijuana. Make sure they know that your support for them depends, in part, on their support for ending the senseless policy of marijuana prohibition.

During the 2019 legislative session, MPP plans to launch a robust legalization effort in Rhode Island. Getting involved in local elections is the most effective way for you to help us lay the groundwork for victory next year.

The post Rhode Island legislative session ends…and the election season begins appeared first on MPP Blog.

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New Hampshire’s “drug czar” speaks against marijuana legalization

MPP Blog - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 13:31

The walls of marijuana prohibition have crumbled all around New Hampshire. It is now legal for adults in all three neighboring states to grow and possess cannabis, and retail sales will soon become a reality in Massachusetts, Maine, and Canada.

Sadly, Gov. Chris Sununu continues to oppose legalization, in part because he continues to rely on terrible advice from New Hampshire’s so-called “drug czar,” former Manchester police chief David Mara. Last week, during an appearance at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Mara went on camera and offered an incredibly weak argument in defense of the status quo.

In other news, Senate Democratic leader Jeff Woodburn has launched an online petition calling for Sununu to support legalization. Sen. Woodburn announced last month that he intends to sponsor a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in 2019.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please call Gov. Sununu’s office today — tell him it’s time to stop listening to Chief Mara and start listening to the people of New Hampshire, who overwhelmingly support ending marijuana prohibition!

The post New Hampshire’s “drug czar” speaks against marijuana legalization appeared first on MPP Blog.

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How will you celebrate the Fourth?

NORML Blog - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 07:19

How are you celebrating freedom this Fourth of July? Having a cookout with neighbors? Watching fireworks with your family? Lighting up with friends?

For millions of Americans who consume cannabis, that freedom may be fleeting. In many states, Americans are still threatened with arrest, criminal prosecution, and jail time for marijuana possession. First-time offenders in states like Arizona and Florida may even face felony charges for small possession charges. In Oklahoma, growing even a single plant is punishable by up to life in prison.

At NORML we understand that this harsh reality is probably not something that you think about every single day, let alone on a holiday. But, we do, and it’s why we’re working hard to empower NORML’s national network of engaged citizens — citizens like you — to change America’s outdated and overly punitive marijuana laws. And, because of good folks like you, we are winning!

Will you join us in DC later this month for our Lobby Day to urge Congress to reform our nation’s marijuana laws?

Can’t make it? Get your official membership card and help fund NORML’s critical work

It is the highest ideal of American democracy that our nation has a well-informed and politically engaged electorate. That is why every week through our blog, social networks, and newsletter, NORML arms our supporters with the latest science, news, legislative and legal developments pertaining to cannabis and cannabis policy. Via the NORML Action Center, we keep you up to date on and engaged in all state and federal legislative efforts to end marijuana prohibition and restore our freedoms. Thanks to the 200,000+ of you who have taken action over the past few months!

Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we come together and assert our authority over our elected officials. The Declaration of Independence explicitly states: That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

In sum, it is our responsibility to compel our elected officials to institute change.

So join us in DC later this month or get your membership card now and fuel the movement.

Our system of government is not perfect. In fact, it is far from it. But for hundreds of years, citizens have organized and struggled to come closer to Thomas Jefferson’s iconic aspiration, “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson legally grew cannabis. You should be able to as well.

Happy Fourth of July,
The NORML Team

Categories: Blog Feeds

Georgia PTSD and intractable pain patients may now enroll in low-THC oil program

MPP Blog - Tue, 07/03/2018 - 13:31

Georgians suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with intractable pain may begin signing up for the state’s low-THC oil program. A bill passed earlier this year, House Bill 65, went into effect on July 1, adding these two serious conditions.

Intractable pain is devastating and is often defined as constant and excruciating. Those who experience it sometimes turn to reliance on opioid medications. While low-THC oil may not replace opioids for these patients, many have found medical cannabis products can allow them to use fewer opioids by reducing pain levels, helping patients maintain appetite and serving as a sleep aid. It can be an important new tool in a treatment program.

Many who suffer from PTSD can also find relief through use of medical cannabis products. This debilitating disease can affect all aspects of a person’s life, and like intractable pain, pharmaceutical drugs used to treat the condition can themselves cause harm. Veterans and those experiencing PTSD deserve a safer alternative.

The state’s program has grown in recent years, but Georgia’s limited, low-THC approach remains flawed. While patients have some protections, there is no regulatory system behind production or sale, leaving access to cannabis in the shadows. We hope Georgia can improve its program when lawmakers reconvene in 2019.

While short of a complete solution, these changes are welcome.

The post Georgia PTSD and intractable pain patients may now enroll in low-THC oil program appeared first on MPP Blog.

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A NORML June in America

NORML Blog - Tue, 07/03/2018 - 09:42

Can you smell it? It’s the smell of victory!

At a time when news comes fast and furious, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all. So we’d like to take a moment to remind you of some of the amazing events that have transpired over just the past month.

June 16: The Texas GOP added marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis planks to their party’s platform.

June 19: A new nationwide poll reported that 68 percent of US voters back legalizing marijuana — the highest percentage of support ever recorded!

June 20: Canada became the second country in the world to formally approve adult marijuana use, production, and sales, and announced October 17, 2018 as the effective legalization date.

June 23: The Texas Democratic party added marijuana legalization as a plank to their party’s platform.

June 25: The FDA approved the first-ever plant-based marijuana medicine for the treatment of intractable pediatric epilepsy.

June 26: Oklahoma became the 31st state to legalize medical cannabis access, passing one of the most patient-centric medical marijuana programs ever.

June 27: The Senate’s leading Democrat introduced landmark legislation to deschedule cannabis and expunge past convictions.

Yes, indeed, we ARE winning — and with your continued support we are not going to get “tired of winning” any time soon.

When NORML was founded in 1970, the deck was stacked against us and only 12% of Americans supported reform. Now, the dominos are falling in our favor, one by one — one city and one state at a time. That is because good folks like you are stepping up, speaking out, and demanding to be heard. Together, we are effectively pushing statewide reforms through ballot boxes and legislatures from coast to coast and nearly every state in between. Thank you for pledging your support for the end of federal prohibition by continuing to be an active part of NORML and the marijuana law reform movement.

Are you tired of winning? I didn’t think so. Help us achieve even more important victories in the weeks and months ahead.

Chip in $25, $50 or $100 to keep NORML going strong or make a monthly pledge to marijuana reform now.
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NORML Chapter Newsletter

NORML Blog - Sun, 07/01/2018 - 10:14

Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Here’s a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

Arizona NORML Works to Reform Concentrate Law

“Cannabis will prevail,” said Mikel Weisser, director of Arizona NORML. “I cannot see us losing—it doesn’t seem like a logical conclusion.”

Read Tucson Weekly’s Concentrate Commotion: Arizona Appeals Court Deems Marijuana Extracts Illegal Under State Law

Follow Arizona NORML on Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Chicago NORML Activists Push for Equity in the Pot Business

Chicago NORML Founder and Executive Director Donte Townsend: “You gotta think about how many people are doing time right now for cannabis convictions,” he said. “And there’s businesses operating as they were, they just didn’t have the money to pay for it. Now some are in jail, and some are getting rich.”

Read more from the Chicago Sun Times!

Follow Chicago NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Indiana NORML Advocates for Medical Cannabis Legislation

“Things are evolving very quickly. The legislators, even the ones who are against it, know that they’re going to have to come around in the near future if they want to stay in office,” said David Phipps, a self-described “Hoosier advocate,” and member of Indiana NORML, a group pushing for medical marijuana legalization.

Read WIBC’s two-part interview: Medical Marijuana in Indiana: The Change in 2018 and The Summer of Medical Cannabis in Indiana?

Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Lehigh Valley NORML Wins in Bethlehem and Allentown

In Pennsylvania, the City Council of Bethlehem approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, while Mayor Ray O’Connell of Allentown signed a marijuana decriminalization ordinance into law.

Read more on the NORML Blog!

Follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today!

Oklahoma NORML Instrumental in Passage of Medical Marijuana Initiative

“We’re going to unbuckle the Bible belt,” Norma Sapp, state director of the Oklahoma chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, shouted to supporters of State Question 788, the medical marijuana issue that will be on the June 26 primary election ballot.

Read more from NewsOK!

Follow Oklahoma NORML on Facebook and become a member today!

Texas NORML Pushes for Marijuana Planks GOP Platform

In Texas, the state’s Republican Party approved four new planks to the party’s platform: endorsing marijuana decriminalization, expanded medical cannabis access, industrial hemp and federal rescheduling.

Read more on the NORML Blog!

Follow Texas NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

NORML Leaders in the Media

Scott Weldon, Executive Director, Lowcountry NORML

“As someone who has been working on this issue for several years now, I can assure you that state lawmakers want to know where their constituents stand with regard to supporting marijuana law reforms before they will have the confidence to take action. I’m certain the results from [Tuesday’s] election will be the catalyst for future conversation about this issue.”

Read more from the Charleston City Paper!

Follow Lowcountry NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Justin See, Board of Directors, Indiana NORML

“Given the exceptional limitations that researchers in the U.S. face when considering the prospect of conducting clinical trials using botanical cannabis, Governor Holcomb should take the lead from 29 states and the District of Columbia and become an advocate for allowing legal access for medical purposes.”

Read more from Indy Politics!

Follow Indiana NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today!

Jeff Reidy, Executive DIrector, Lehigh Valley NORML

“Public opinion and the power of the vote can persuade even the most stubborn of politicians. Our courts, city councils, DAs, and legislators are elected by the people, to work for the people. We should repeatedly remind them of their duties, especially when they stubbornly refuse.”

Read more from Lehigh Valley Live!

Follow Lehigh Valley NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter today!

Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director, Virginia NORML

“While the rest of the country is drastically decreasing their marijuana enforcement either because of decriminalization efforts at municipal or state levels or because of regulating use at the state level, Virginia is moving in the opposite direction,” Pedini said. “And that is not at all in context with what the overwhelming majority of Virginians want.”

Read more from RVA Magazine!

Follow Virginia NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please reach out to chapters@norml.org for help starting your own! For over 45 years NORML chapters have been leading marijuana law reform conversations and continue to be the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level.

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

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Legalization becomes reality in Vermont

MPP Blog - Sun, 07/01/2018 - 07:50

It’s a big day. July 1, 2018 will go down in Vermont’s history as the day the state officially stopped punishing adults for consuming marijuana.

Residents of Vermont are seeing the fruits of our movement’s tireless efforts to reform harmful and ill-conceived marijuana laws. Adults can now legally possess, consume, and grow limited amounts of marijuana. Read our summary of the law here.

MPP was a primary driving force behind this victory – and we’re currently on the front lines of legalizing marijuana in many other states, too.

Days like these are powerful reminders of what we can achieve together. Many of you have made one-time contributions in the past and others make monthly donations. Thank you. You are part of these victories, too. We are only able to do this work because thousands of allies across the country support our work.

MPP has big plans to continue changing marijuana laws around the country in the next two years. Through the dedicated work of our teams throughout the country, we could see up to eight more states legalize by mid-2020. But what we can achieve is limited by our funding. Our success depends on you.

Together, we are bringing the era of marijuana prohibition to an end. Let’s keep going.

The post Legalization becomes reality in Vermont appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/29/18

NORML Blog - Fri, 06/29/2018 - 09:26

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

The US Senate has been busy this week talking about marijuana policy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), just introduced legislation called 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.

The full Senate voted to legalize hemp as part of the Farm Bill by a 86-11 vote. The Senate also earlier this week approved a funding bill that contains a provision allowing Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to military veterans.

At the state level, Oklahoma became the 31st state to legalize medical marijuana, after voters decided to enact State Question 788, that permits doctors to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patients who will benefit from it. But Gov. Mary Fallin (R) issued a statement shortly after the result was called indicating that she plans to work with lawmakers to scale back the measure.

A majority of the Delaware House of Representatives voted to approve a marijuana legalization bill, but it did not get the 60% supermajority support needed to advance the bill to the Senate, killing it for the year.

Massachusetts regulators approved an equity plan to ensure participation in the marijuana industry by communities that have been targeted by the war on drugs. They also voted to prioritize consideration of cannabis testing lab license applications.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) said he will veto a bill to allow medical cannabis to treat opioid addiction, substance use and withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a bill approving a medical cannabis research program.

At a more local level, Sacramento County, California’s district attorney has been moving to dismiss old marijuana convictions, Jacksonville, Arkansas police will no longer arrest people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, and Las Vegas, Nevada officials are considering allowing marijuana consumption lounges.

Following are the bills from around the country 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

End Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, 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 e-mail your senators and urge them to support this important legislation

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Senate Bill 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.

Update: The Board of Education wants SB 20-62 amended to ban cannabis on campuses and from public school system buildings and to exempt the agency from discriminating against employees who consume marijuana.

CNMI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization and regulation

New York

A. 9016 and S. 7564 seek to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

Update: The Republican Caucus pushed A. 9016/S. 7564 off the table and merged it with A. 11011b / S. 8987a which passed both chambers of the legislature on 6/20. The bills now await action from Governor Cuomo.

NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

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.

Update: AB 1793 was heard by the Senate Public Safety Committee on 6/26, and then approved by a 5-1 vote. The bill now awaits action in the Appropriations Committee.

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

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 Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a vote of 8-1, and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of helping needy patients

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

Update: SB 1127 will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on 7/3.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of patient access to medical cannabis in schools

That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

Categories: Blog Feeds

Vermont: Law Legalizing Adult Marijuana Use Takes Effect Sunday, July 1

NORML Blog - Fri, 06/29/2018 - 07:00

Adults in Vermont will be able to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis legally under state law, beginning this Sunday, July 1.

Vermont joins Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in legalizing the adult possession and use of marijuana. It is the first state to enact legalization via an act of the legislature rather than by the passage of a voter initiative.

“The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Vermont lawmakers and Gov. Scott are to be recognized for responding to the will of the voters, rather than choosing to ignore them.”

He added: “Vermont is leading by example. Lawmakers in other states would be wise to follow.”

The new law, which Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed in January, legalizes activities by adults specific to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and with regard to the private cultivation of six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest. The measure also imposes new civil penalties for consuming cannabis while driving, and imposes additional penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle impaired with a minor in the vehicle. (Read a summary of the new law here.)

“This is a libertarian approach,” Gov. Scott said prior to signing the bill into law. “I know there are diverse opinions … as to whether we should move forward, but I still firmly believe that what you do in your own home should be your business, as long as it doesn’t affect someone else.”

Over 20 percent of the US population now resides in jurisdictions where adult marijuana use is legal under state law. To date, the enactment of these policies has not been associated with any significant upticks in either crime, adolescent marijuana use, or motor vehicle accidents. Earlier this month, Canada’s Parliament passed legislation legalizing the use, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana by those age 18 and older. That new law takes effect on October 17, 2018.

According to nationwide polling data published last week, 68 percent of US voters – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – support legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana by adults. That percentage is the highest level of support ever reported in a nationwide scientific poll.

Categories: Blog Feeds

Don’t miss the MPP and NJCIA Golf Tournament in New Jersey on July 15

MPP Blog - Thu, 06/28/2018 - 11:47

In partnership with the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association (NJCIA), the Marijuana Policy Project is bringing supporters together for a friendly golf competition at the Linwood Country Club in New Jersey as we ramp up legalization efforts statewide. Please join us just across the bay from Atlantic City as we bring policymakers, politicians, cannabis industry experts, and friends together for a round of golf followed by a cocktail reception on Sunday, July 15.

We are grateful to Gov. Phil Murphy for his commitment to ending marijuana prohibition in New Jersey. As a trusted leader in marijuana policy reform, MPP has worked on the front lines of changing marijuana policies and laws, both federal and state, for 23 years. Our event partner, the NJCIA, is the state’s largest nonprofit trade organization dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis through sensible policies that optimize the responsible growth and development of New Jersey’s cannabis industry.

FORMAT OF PLAY:
Better ball scramble

SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY:
1 p.m.: Afternoon Shotgun Start FOR GOLFERS ONLY
5-8 p.m.: Cocktail Reception and BBQ, Awards Ceremony and Program

REGISTRATION INFORMATION:
Individual Golfer: $350 per person
Foursome: $1,400 per foursome
Cocktail Reception and BBQ ONLY: $125 per person

For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, please contact Dara Servis of the NJCIA at dservis@newjerseycia.org.

Registration fee for golfers includes food and beverages during the day and also includes the cocktail reception and barbecue at the al fresco bar and dining patio overlooking the course. Menus are created by the same legendary team behind the acclaimed Dock’s Oyster House, Knife and Fork Inn, and Harry’s Oyster Bar in Atlantic City.

LODGING INFORMATION:
Bally’s Casino in Atlantic City
Number to call for room registration: (888) 516-2215
Group Name: NJCIA Room Block
Group Code: SB07NJ8 Bally’s
For online booking, use this link.

 

This event will sell out, so register today!

The post Don’t miss the MPP and NJCIA Golf Tournament in New Jersey on July 15 appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Delaware House majority votes to legalize cannabis, but bill fails

MPP Blog - Thu, 06/28/2018 - 11:36

On the evening of June 27, the Delaware House of Representatives voted 21-15 (with five not voting) to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults. This was only the third time that the majority of a state legislative chamber voted to legalize and regulate marijuana!

Unfortunately, however, a majority was not enough. A three-fifths supermajority — 25 votes — is required for any Delaware bill that includes taxes and fees.

While we are disappointed that this will not be the year Delaware legalizes marijuana, together we’ve made tremendous progress. This is an election year, and we’ll be putting together a candidate questionnaire and voter guide, so stay tuned! Helping elect allies is an important way to make sure prohibition ends sooner rather than later in Delaware.

If you are a resident of Delaware …

Please take a moment to email your state representative to thank them if they voted “yes” or to politely express disappointment if they didn’t. (Many voters and lawmakers alike evolve on the issue, and it’s crucial that we don’t alienate lawmakers.) Once you type in your contact information, a draft email will appear based on how your representative voted.

You may also want to send a note of gratitude to the remarkable legislative champions, Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, to thank them for their relentless work. They are both retiring from the legislature, and they championed both medical cannabis and decriminalization, too.

In other news, a bill to make it easier to expunge marijuana possession convictions passed the Senate in May and is on the House floor now. Please also call your representative to ask them to vote “yes” on SB 197 so that Delaware will stop derailing dreams for conduct that is decriminalized.

The post Delaware House majority votes to legalize cannabis, but bill fails appeared first on MPP Blog.

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Senate Democratic Leader Introduces Far-Reaching Marijuana Descheduling Bill

NORML Blog - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:34

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Tim Kaine, and Tammy Duckworth, just introduced legislation, 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.  

Passage of descheduling legislation is necessary to resolve the existing and ever-growing state/federal divide over marijuana policy. Thirty-one states regulate medical marijuana use and nine states regulate the plant’s use, production, and sale for all adults.

Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” and 73% support expunging the records of those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses. according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress.

Click here to send a message to your Senators and encourage their support for the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. 

Commenting on the bill’s introduction, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is comprehensive legislation that would end our nation’s failed 80-year prohibition of marijuana and allow states to implement reforms free from the threat of federal interference.”

“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expungement the criminal records of individuals for marijuana possession cannot be overstated. Millions of individuals have suffered from the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal prohibition, making it harder for them to find a job, obtain housing, and access higher education.”

“This bill is a welcomed shift of policy from Democratic party leadership. At a time when 68 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, including outright majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent), it is time for ending federal prohibition to become a truly bipartisan issue.”

Senator Schumer said upon the bill’s introduction:

“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” said Senator Schumer. “The new Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is about giving states the freedom to be the laboratories that they should be and giving Americans – especially women and minority business owners as well as those convicted of simple possession of marijuana intended for personal use- the opportunity to succeed in today’s economy. This legislation is simply the right thing to do and I am hopeful that the balanced approach it takes can earn bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.”

Click here to send a message to your Senators and encourage their support for the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act. 

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Compassion wins: Oklahoma legalizes medical marijuana!

MPP Blog - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:24

Mark another victory down for 2018. Oklahoma just became the 30th state to approve medical marijuana, as voters approved SQ 788 57% to 43%!

Despite an advertising blitz from opponents in the final days before the election, the Yes on 788 team emerged victorious. Thanks to the campaign’s efforts — and the voters of Oklahoma — tens of thousands of patients will soon be able to safely access medical marijuana with approval from their doctor.

The passage of State Question 788 highlights the strength and diversity of public support for laws allowing the medical use of marijuana. It is noteworthy that this measure passed in such a red state during a primary election, when voter turnout tends to be older and more conservative than during a general election.

Oklahoma lawmakers now plan to pass legislation to implement State Question 788. Read a summary of SQ 788 here.

The win in Oklahoma shows that our movement for sensible and compassionate marijuana policies is growing stronger and stronger. Later this year, voters in Utah and Michigan will also have an opportunity to approve legalization initiatives. Please consider supporting these important efforts:

>> Donate to the Utah medical marijuana campaign.

>> Donate to the Michigan legalization campaign.

The post Compassion wins: Oklahoma legalizes medical marijuana! appeared first on MPP Blog.

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This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

DrugWarRant - Wed, 06/27/2018 - 10:22

Under the leadership of Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title, Massachusetts has revealed the “nation’s first statewide “social equity” program to help minorities and people convicted of drug offenses work in the legal marijuana industry.”

Massachusetts crafts ‘social equity’ program to help minorities and drug offenders enter marijuana industry

Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The commission is already giving priority in review of licensing applications to “economic empowerment” applicants who come from areas and groups that have been overly affected by marijuana arrests. […]

There are four tracks in the program: one for owners/entrepreneurs; one for management and executive level careers; one for entry level jobs or people looking to re-enter society after incarceration; and one for people with existing skills that can be transferred to the cannabis business. The final track has separate categories for professional skills like law or accounting and trade skills, like drivers, plumbers or electricians. It is also designed to help inventors of cannabis accessories.

Each track will offer training on industry-specific challenges and skills.

This is impressive work. It’s so much harder to do it this way, but represents a desire to not just legalize, but partially make up for the decades of damage from marijuana prohibition.

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