Maryland: Marijuana Legalization Pending

Update: Committee members in the Senate will hear testimony on March 2nd at 1pm. Committee members in the House will hear testimony on March 7th at 1pm. 
Update: A new Goucher poll cites that 58% of Marylanders support marijuana legalization and only 36% oppose it. 
HB 1185 and SB 928 are pending in the Maryland House and Senate. These measures seek to legalize and regulate the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.Under these proposals, adults would be permitted to possess and grow limited quantities of cannabis. The measures would also regulate and license a commercial and retail marijuana market.
The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post, 63% of Maryland registered voters support the legalization of marijuana for personal use. 
Please enter your information below and urge your lawmakers to support this important legislative effort.

Virginia: Juvenile Expungement Bill Fails In House Committee

UPDATE: SB 796 has passed the Senate but was tabled on February 15 on a voice vote by the House Courts of Justice, Subcommittee on Criminal Law. The measure will not be considered further this session.

Sen. Ryan McDougle has introduced SB 796, which creates a expungement by petition process for individuals under 21 who are convicted of marijuana possession, underage alcohol possession, or use of a false ID.

McDougle’s bill would protect Virginia citizens from lifelong ramifications that can come from the punishments for juvenile possession or other minor crimes. Saddling teens with a criminal record can make getting a job near-impossible and is an unfair burden to place on an individual.

Juvenile expungement is not a perfect solution by any means, but it does provide some layer of protection for those under 21.

For more information, contact Virginia NORML to see how you can help in your area.

Enter your information below and urge your lawmakers to support juvenile expungement.

South Dakota: Two Bills Pertaining to Medical Marijuana Pending

Update: Governor Dennis Daugaard signed legislation March 27, Senate Bill 95, excluding cannabidiol (CBD) from the legal definition of marijuana.
The measure reclassifies CBD under state law as a schedule IV controlled substance. You can read the full text here.
The measure does not establish rules regarding the use of CBD by qualified patients.
Update: Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee removed the FDA provision from SB 95 and passed it 7 to 3 on March 2.
Update: SB 95 passed in the Senate on February 21, and was first read in the House and referred to committee on February 23.
Update: SB 95 was amended by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee so that it will only be excluded from the definition of marijuana once it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This amendment essentially makes this bill moot.
Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 157 by a vote of 7 to 3 on February 14.

Two bills are pending in South Dakota that provide various protections for medical marijuana users in South Dakota. SB 95 and SB 157 do not establish a South Dakota program, but protect those individuals who are prescribed medical marijuana in another state.

SB 95 removes cannabidiol from schedule I and places it in schedule IV. Furthermore, it excludes cannabidiol entirely from the definition of marijuana.

SB 157 protects patients that possess marijuana while they have a valid medical card from another state. The measure “covers patients who have moved to Colorado… or another legal state and done their due diligence for being prescribed medical marijuana.”

Although neither bill is perfect, both are a step in the right direction and would provide protection to thousands of patients in South Dakota.

Enter your information below to contact your elected officials and urge them to protect patients’ access to medical marijuana and cannabidiol.

Tennessee: Legislation Pending to Establish a Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Program

Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary have failed to take any further action regrading SB 860. No further movement is expected on either bill this legislative session.
Update: The House version of the bill has been tabled for the 2017 legislative session.
Update: SB 860 was placed on the calendar of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee for March 14 and HB 673 was deferred in Senate Judiciary Committee to March 28.
Update: SB 1119 and SB 673 were debated by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 7.
Update: HB 860 and SB 673 have been introduced to the House and Senate, respectively, and referred to committees.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, are sponsoring the legislature’s most concerted effort to legalize medical use of marijuana. 
Under present law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $250 fine. 
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Data from other states finds that the enactment of medical marijuana access is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse and mortality, and does not negatively impact workplace safety, teen use, or motor vehicle safety.
Please contact your elected officials and urge them to move forward with this effort. 

Wisconsin: Legislation Introduced To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Update: The second bill, Assembly Bill 75, was referred to committee.
Update: The first bill, Senate Bill 38, was referred to committee.
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) introduced a pair of bills seeking to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical cannabis. The first bill establishes a statewide medical marijuana program, while the second bill would poll voters’ attitudes on the issue in the form of a non-binding statewide referendum.

Speaking at a news conference, Sen. Erpenbach said that the passage of his legislation will put patients “in a situation where they don’t have to break the law anymore.” 

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge lawmakers to move forward with permitting patients legal access to cannabis therapy.

Oklahoma: Legislation Pending To Establish a Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Program

Legislation is pending in the House, HB 1877, The Medical Marijuana Act of 2017.

Passage of the Act would regulate state-licensed dispensaries to provide up to two and one-half ounces of marijuana to qualifying patients. 

Separate provisions protect the rights of patients from civil sanctions, stating: “An employer shall not discriminate against an individual in hiring, termination or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an individual, based upon the past or present status of the individual as a qualifying patient or designated caregiver; A person otherwise entitled to custody of, or visitation or parenting time with, a minor shall not be denied custody, visitation or parenting time solely for conduct allowed under this act.”

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

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge lawmakers to move forward with this important legislation. 

For additional information on statewide reform efforts, please follow Oklahoma NORML director Norma Sapp on Facebook here.

Federal: Bipartisan Leaders Reintroduce the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act

Update: (2/27) Indicating to reporters that a federal crackdown is forthcoming, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said “I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” he said. “States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.” 
Update: (2/23) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against marijuana. “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, and added that the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”
Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

HR 975 states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

Passage of this Act would halt federal officials from prosecuting individuals and businesses for violating the Controlled Substances Act in the 29 states that permit either the medical or adult use and distribution of marijuana. According to national polling, 71 percent of voters believe that the federal government should respect these laws and not interfere with them. 

With the recent confirmation of militant marijuana prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to the position of US Attorney General, passage of this Act is necessary to ensure that medical marijuana patients and others are protected from undue federal interference. 

Please enter your information below to contact your House member and urge them to support this crucial pending legislation.

Georgia: Legislation Pending to Reduce Minor Marijuana Possession Offenses

Update: SB 105 failed to pass the Rules committee and will not be heard for further consideration.
Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Monday, February 27, to move forward with SB 105.
Legislation is pending in the Senate, SB 105, to reduce minor marijuana possession offenses.

The bill reduces penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana from a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine to no more than a $300 fine. 

“SB 105 fits squarely with Georgia’s criminal justice reform efforts,” the sponsor stated in a press release. “Georgia has made great strides, but there is still much room to improve in the way that we treat drug offenses. This bill does not impair public safety, but will save many Georgians from having their lives destroyed from a felony conviction. It is my sincere hope that SB 105 can receive bipartisan support and will become law in Georgia.”

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your lawmakers to support this common sense sentencing reform effort.

Additional information on state reform efforts is available from Peachtree NORML here.

Minnesota: Marijuana Legalization Measures Introduced

HF 927, to permit the adult use, cultivation, production, and retail sale of marijuana has been introduced in the Minnesota House. SF 1320 is pending in the Senate.

Deputy Minority Leader, State Rep. Jon Applebaum said in support of his House bill, “The world is changing, and Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana. Other states’ successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, have validated the need for a statewide conversation on legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana.”

“Ultimately, I envision a billion dollar ‘Made in Minnesota’ marijuana economy, where the products are grown by Minnesota farmers, distributed by Minnesota companies, and sold by Minnesota small business owners,” he added. “Ideally, all tax proceeds would be directed towards funding Minnesota’s public schools and would result in lower taxes for Minnesota families.”

Please urge your lawmakers to support this important legislative effort.

For more information about statewide marijuana law reform efforts, please follow Minnesota NORML on Facebook here.

Arizona: Governor Vetoes Legislation Permitting Commerce In Industrial Hemp

Update: Governor Doug Ducey vetoed the measure on May 22. He said that he did so because lawmakers failed to include adequate funding to make the proposed program operational. 

Update: House members approved the measure by a vote of 53 to 2 on May 9.
Update: House members on May 8 gave preliminary approval to a slightly amended version of SB 1337.
Update: Members of the House Standing Committee and the House Appropriations Committee both passed SB 1337 by votes of 7 to 1 and 12 to 1 respectively.
Update: SB 1337 passed in the Senate with a vote of 26-4 and is being transmitted to the House.
Update: Senate Bill 1337 was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 10 to zero vote, and by the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee by a 6 to 1 vote. 
Legislation is pending, SB 1337, to permit for the licensed production of industrial hemp.

The proposal redefines hemp as a legal agricultural product and finds, “[T]he development and use of industrial hemp can improve the economy.”

It adds, “The purpose of the [legislation] is to promote the economy and agriculture in this state by allowing the development and regulation of industrial hemp.”

Arizona is one of the only states that fails to recognize hemp as an agricultural commodity rather than as a controlled substance.

Please use the prewritten letter below to urge lawmakers to support this legislation.

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