New Mexico: Legislation Before Governor to Expand Medical Cannabis Program

Update: Governor Susana Martinez vetoed HB 527 on April 7.
Update: SB 177 was tabled in lieu of HB 527. An amended version of HB 527 is now before the Governor, having passed the House by a vote of 45 to 16 and the Senate by a vote of 28 to 9.
Update: SB 177 has passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11 and now is in the House for consideration. 
An amended version of House Bill 527 amends state law so that qualified patients may not be denied organ transplants. It also expands the pool of qualifying conditions for which a physician may legally recommend cannabis therapy, to include indications such as Crohn’s disease, chronic pain, hepatitis C, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress, among other conditions. It also establishes reciprocity for non-residents.
An estimated 20,000 New Mexicans legally utilize medical marijuana under this state program.
Enter your information below below to contact Gov. Martinez and urge her to sign HB 527 into law. 

Nebraska: Lawmakers Move Medical Marijuana Bill

Update: The bill stalled on general file without reaching a formal vote of the Legislature.
Update: LB 622 has advanced out of committee by a vote of 6 – 1. 
LB622 will allow patients with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, opioid addictions and some types of cancer to obtain marijuana. Qualified patients would not be permitted to grow cannabis and would have to obtain non-smoked, cannabis-infused formulations from state-licensed providers. A version of this legislation debated last year was narrowly defeated by lawmakers.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Nebraska patients deserve these same protections. 
For more information, visit Omaha NORML to learn how you can help in your area.

Please enter your information below to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to support LB622.

Oregon: Legislation to End Workplace Discrimination Against Adult Marijuana Consumers Stalls Among Lawmakers

Update: The Oregon Register Guard reports that lawmakers will not take further action on SB 301 this legislative session, stating that the measure lacked support to pass a Senate floor vote. “Key backer Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Eugene Democrat, acknowledged … the demise of Senate Bill 301 in the face of virulent business opposition and skepticism among some other Senate Democrats,” the paper reported.

Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 301 with amendments on April 18 by a 3-2 vote.

Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee debated SB 301 on Tuesday, February 21.
Legislation is pending before the Senate, SB 301, to prohibit employers from discriminating against adults who legally consume marijuana during non-work hours.

Senate Bill 301 states, “It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to require, as a  condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using a substance that is lawful to use under the laws of this state during nonworking hours.”

Passage of this act would not prohibit employers from sanctioning employees who are under the influence at work.

Portland NORML’s Legislative Committee, in conjunction with the Oregon Chapter of the Employment Lawyers of America, worked on the drafting and filing of this important legislation. 
Changes in the legal status of marijuana has not been associated with any adverse changes in workplace safety. In fact, a pair of studies from 2016 find that legalization is associated with greater workforce participation and with fewer workplace absences. 

Those who consume alcohol or prescription drugs legally and responsibly while off the job do not suffer sanctions from their employers unless their work performance is adversely affected. Employers should treat Oregonians who consume cannabis legally while away from the workplace in a similar manner.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your elected officials to end workplace discrimination against marijuana consumers. 

New York: Support Legislation To Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Law

Update: Members of the Senate Health Committee killed SB 1087 on April 25.
Update: Notice of committee consideration was requested on 3/13.

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1087, to expand the state’s medical marijuana law by removing the existing prohibition on herbal cannabis preparations.

Under existing law, qualified patients are forbidden from obtaining whole-plant cannabis. Instead, they are required to access only cannabis-infused oral products such as oils, pills, or extracts prepared from the plant. “Smoking” or inhaling herbal cannabis is not defined as a “certified medical use.”

These restrictions unnecessarily limit patients’ choices and deny them the ability to obtain rapid relief from whole-plant cannabis in a manner that has long proven to be relatively safe and effective.

Senate Bill 1087 amends the law so that the possession and inhalation of herbal cannabis is no longer illegal.

Please enter your information below to write your state elected officials and urge them to make this common sense change to New York’s medical marijuana law.

Federal: Legislation Pending To Halt Forfeiture Actions Against Marijuana Facilities

Update: HR 331 was referred to committee.

Legislation is pending before Congress, HR 331, to halt the federal government from taking civil forfeiture action against properties involved in state-sanctioned, medical marijuana-related conduct.

If approved, it would “amend the Controlled Substances Act … to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by state law.”

In the past, federal officials have sought to close dispensaries by threatening property owners with civil forfeiture proceedings. Under these proceedings, property may be seized if there exist evidence that it was involved in activities that violate federal law, regardless of whether those activities are licit under state law.

Presently, the Justice Department is barred from taking such actions because of the passage of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment. However, that protection will expire on April 28, 2017 unless renewed by Congress.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge House lawmakers to take action on HR 331.

Indiana: Pending Legislation Seeks to Provide Medical Marijuana Access

Update: Lawmakers failed to take action on SB 255 during the 2017 legislative session, instead moving forward with a far more limited CBD-exemption bill.

A Senate lawmaker has reintroduced legislation, SB 255, to regulate marijuana access to qualified patients.

The measure, sponsored by Democrat Sen. Karen Tallian, establishes a statewide medical marijuana program to permit qualified patients — including patients with arthritis, migraine, PTSD, and seizures — to legally obtain cannabis products and to engage in cannabis therapy.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Indiana patients deserve these same protections.

For more information, please contact Indiana NORML here or visit their Facebook page here.

Additional information regarding statewide efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana is available from Hoosier Veterans for Medical Cannabis, which may be contacted via Facebook here. On Sunday, January 15, the American Legion of Indiana passed a resolution calling on state lawmakers to provide medical marijuana access.

Please enter your information below to contact your state Senator and urge them to support this pending legislation.

New York: Legislation Pending to Eliminate ‘Public View’ Marijuana Possession Arrests

Update: The 2017 legislative session came to a close with lawmakers taking no further action on SB 482 and AB 332.
Update: SB 482 and AB 332 have both been referred to committees.
Legislation has been filed for the 2017 legislative session to eliminate the ‘public view’ loophole exception in New York state’s marijuana law. Abuse of this provision has led to hundreds of thousands of needless marijuana arrests in recent years, primarily in New York City, despite the possession of the plant being decriminalized in the state since 1977. 

Under current law, private possession of marijuana is punishable by nothing more than a simple citation and fine. By contrast, the possession of small amounts of marijuana in a manner that is “open to public view” is classified as a criminal misdemeanor. This loophole has often been used to continue arresting a disproportionate number of minorities, largely as a result of ‘stop and frisk’ policies. Promises from law enforcement in recent years to correct this abuse have not come to fruition. 

Senate bill 482 seeks to address this loophole by striking the ‘open to public view’ language from the statute for instances involving the possession of 15 grams or less or marijuana. Assembly Bill 332  also seeks to amend state law by explicitly stating that a person may not be charged with possession ‘open to public view’ if he/she has been compelled to do so by a law enforcement officer.

New York had the highest marijuana-related arrest rate in the nation in 2013, largely because of arrests made under the ‘public view’ exception. Over 80 percent of those arrested were either Black or Hispanic. Between 2015 and 2016, marijuana possession arrests in New York City rose ten percent. Ninety-six percent of those arrested were charged under the public view provision. Eight-five percent of those arrested were either Black or Hispanic.

Minor marijuana possession violators, many of them young, first-time offenders, do not deserve this punishment.

Enter your information below to contact your New York state elected officials and urge them to support this common sense measure.

Virginia: Governor to Act on Legislation to Amend Driver’s License Suspension Policy For Drug Offenders

Update: The Governor signed both bills, effective 7/1/2017.
Update: SB 1091 and HB 2051 have both passed the full Senate and the House of Delegates. The measure now awaits action from the Governor. A spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he will sign the bill.
State Senators Adam Ebbin (D), Bill Stanley (R) and Delegate Les Adams (R) have introduced SB 1091 and HB 2051 respectively, legislation that would remove the mandatory driver’s license suspension currently imposed for those with a marijuana possession conviction.
Under current law, any drug conviction, regardless of whether or not a motor vehicle was involved, results in an automatic suspension of the individual’s driving privileges for 6 months.
These pieces of legislation remove the mandatory suspension for adults, leaving it up to the judiciary’s discretion to determine the most appropriate enforcement action. Juveniles will still face an automatic license suspension for any drug related conviction. 
Email your Virginia state Senator and Delegate to support these bills by inputting your information code below.

Stay up to date with this and other NORML activities by following Virginia NORML on Facebook.

Missouri: Multiple Medical Marijuana Bills Pending

Update: The Missouri legislature is adjourned and the bill will not recieve further consideration this year.
Update: A hearing was held on 4/26 for SB 56.
Two separate legislative proposals are pending to allow qualified patients to obtain and legally consume marijuana.

The preferable of the two bills, Senate Bill 56, permits the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to “grant licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of marijuana for medical use.” Importantly, it authorizes qualified patients and caregivers the opportunity to cultivate their own cannabis at home. This option ensures that patients will have an uninterrupted supply of medical cannabis if there is a delay in the establishment of state licensed dispensaries or if they do not reside near such a facility. 

Separate legislation, Senate Bill 153, is also pending. However, this legislation significantly limits patients’ options to self-medicate in the manner that they believe is best. For example, it does not allow patients to cultivate their own supply of medicine, and it also places potential restrictions on how patients may consume their medicine. 

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Missouri patients deserve these same protections.

Statewide polling data compiled in 2016 determined that 62 percent of voters support regulating medical marijuana access. In September, Secretary of State Jason Kander called on lawmakers to move swiftly to legalize medical cannabis, stating, “The Missouri General Assembly should pass legislation to allow medical marijuana so Missouri families that could greatly benefit from it don’t have to watch their loved ones continue suffering.” If lawmakers fail to act this year, advocates are anticipated to place the measure on the 2018 ballot.

Please enter your zip code below to contact your state elected officials and urge them to support Senate Bill 56. For more information please visit Missouri NORML’s page.

South Carolina: Compassionate Care Medical Marijuana Act Introduced

Update: SB 212 and HB 3521 failed to receive action before the legislative crossover dates, and are dead for this legislative session.
Update: Members of the House subcommittee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs voted 3-0 on February 21 to report HB 3521 for consideration before the full Committee
Update: Testimony was taken on S. 212 before the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee on February 16. Among those testifying in favor of the bill included former US Attorney for the District of South Carolina Bill Nettles. 
Update: The Charleston Post and Courier has endorsed the S.C. Compassionate Care Act.
Update: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMasters says he opposes legalizing marijuana, calling it a “bad idea.”
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 212 and House Bill 3521, to establish a program to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical marijuana products.

Under this program, patients would be permitted to obtain up to two ounces of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products, such as extracts or edibles, from a state-licensed dispensing facility. 

Patients must be diagnosed with one of the following debilitating conditions to qualify for access: “cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease, neural-tube defects, or the treatment of these conditions; or a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; neurological disorders; or severe and persistent muscle spasms including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.” The measure also restricts patients from smoking cannabis, but does not prohibit vaporization. 

While NORML believes that such restrictions on smoking are unnecessary, we also are doubtful that such prohibitions can feasibly be enforced. Further, this legislation is more expansive than the state’s existing CBD-specific law, which only applies to patients with intractable epilepsy and has failed to provide needed relief to the patient community. Ultimately, we would like to see this measure amended to include patients’ right to home grow.

The Senate bill appears to have broad legislative support. According to this news story, correspondents were unable to find any lawmakers to go on record in opposition to the bill.

A separate, broader measure is pending in the House. House Bill 3128, the Put Patients First Act, permits qualified patients to engage in cannabis therapy and to obtain cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. Under this act, qualifying patients may possess “up to two ounces of a usable form of marijuana.” They also have the option of cultivating their own cannabis at home.

A second, more narrow bill, House Bill 3162, seeks to provide medical marijuana access for certain military veterans. It allows those who were discharged in honorable fashion and later diagnosed with PTSD “to possess twenty-eight grams or one ounce or less of marijuana or ten grams or less of hashish.”

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. South Carolina patients deserve these same protections.

Please enter your information below to contact your state elected officials and urge them to support medical marijuana access in South Carolina.

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