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.

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.

Iowa: Governor Signs Measure Expanding CBD Access

Update: Governor Branstad signed HF 524 into law on May 12. You can add his statement here. HF 524 repeals and replaces the state’s more restrictive 2014 CBD exemption law, which was set to expire later this year.
Update: Governor Branstad said it is “likely” that he will sign HF 524 into law on April 24.
Update: In a last minute deal by Iowa state lawmakers, both chambers passed an amended version of HF 524 on the final day of the legislative session. The measure expands the state’s existing CBD exemption law, which was set to sunset this year, and expands it. Specifically, HF 524 permits patients with various qualifying conditions, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS and HIV, Crohn’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, to possess CBD with up to 3% THC. The bill also seeks to establish regulations for the manufacturing and dispensing of CBD products within the state.  The bill now goes to Governor Terry Branstad (R) for his signature or veto.
Update: SB 506 passed the Senate by a vote of 45-5 on April 17. This bill would recognize cannabis as medicine by moving it from Schedule I to Schedule II. The bill subsequently allows for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, amnong others with medical cannabis.  It also establishes a medical advisory board to recommend additional uses, and allows for up to four manufacturers and 12 dispensaries in the state. Herbal cannabis and home cultivation would still be illegal. 
Update: Senate Study Bill 1190, labeled The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act, was approved Wednesday morning, April 12 on a 3-0 subcommittee vote and it cleared Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday afternoon. Sen. Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, said the bill could be approved by the full Senate as early as Monday, which would send the measure to the House for consideration.
Update: With only days to go in the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers have introduced Senate Study Bill 1190 to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Please use the pre-written letter below to urge swift action on this measure.
Update: Committee reported to recommend amendment and passage of House Study Bill 164.
Update: House Study Bill 132 is dead for this year’s session.
Update: House Study Bill 132 has passed out of the Public Safety Subcommittee and now awaits action by members of the full Committee.
Legislation is pending in the House, HF 199, to establish a statewide medical marijuana program. Under HF 199, qualified patients with intractable pain and other conditions would be able to obtain cannabis from state-licensed facilities. Similar legislation is also pending in the Senate, SF 205. A third effort, led by Republicans, Senate Study Bill 1176 is also pending.
A more narrow version of this program is proposed by separate legislation, HF 198.
While the program proposed by the measures is a fairly narrow one, it is far superior to the state’s existing CBD-specific law, which only applies to patients with intractable epilepsy and fails to provide an in-state supply source for CBD-related medicine. (Separate legislation, House Study Bill 132 is now pending to amend this law so that CBD-dominant strains may be grown in state under a state license.) This law will sunset later this year unless extended by the legislature. House Study Bill 164 would extend the lifespan of this program indefinitely. 
Please use the prewritten letter below to urge your elected officials to support this effort.

North Dakota: Governor Signs Senate Measure Amending Voter-Initiated Medical Marijuana Law

Update: Governor Doug Burgum signed SB 2344 on April 18. You can read the full text of the measure here.
Update: Members of the House and Senate have reconciled SB 2344. The measure now awaits action from Gov. Doug Burgum, who intends to sign it into law. The measure allows only two state-licensed manufacturing facilities and up to eight dispensaries statewide (These facilities are anticipated to be operational within 12 to 18 months after law’s passage). It removes provisions in Measure 5 permitting patients who do not reside near a dispensary to cultivate their own cannabis. Amendments that sought to prohibit smoking herbal formulations of cannabis were not included in the final version of SB 2344, although qualified patients under the age of 19 will now be mandated only to consume cannabis in ways other than smoking.
Update: The bill passed through the Senate with the required majority. It will now go through a conference committee of three senators and three house members to negotiate the final details.
Update: SB 2344 cleared a House committee on April 3 with additional changes including the removal of the prohibition of herbal cannabis and a reduction of the annual patient application fee from $200 to $50. The bill will now go to a vote in the full House and requires a 2/3rds majority due to the fact that it changes a voter-passed initative. If passed in the House, the two versions of the bill will have to go through reconciliation.
Update: SB 2344 passed the Senate by a vote of 40-6, exceeding the two-thirds majority needed for amending the ballot measure. The bill now awaits further action by the House.
Update: Members of the Senate Human Services Committee have recommended passage of Senate Bill 2344. In response to voters’ concerns, they have amended the language so that the definition of ‘usable marijuana’ includes herbal forms of the plant but only in cases where such a formulation has been explicitly recommended by a physician. The amended language also removes provisions that would have allowed patients to petition the state to expand the list of qualifying conditions. NORML believes that these changes, as well as many others, undermine voters’ intent. The North Dakota Democratic Party has also raised various concerns regarding SB 2344. The measure now awaits action by the full Senate.
Senate legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2344, to significantly rewrite the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act.

Sixty-four percent of voters approved the law on Election Day. Lawmakers should respect the public’s will and implement this law as initiated.
Unfortunately, SB 2344 makes several unacceptable changes to the Act. Specifically, it eliminates provisions permitting specific patients the option to cultivate their own medicine, and reduces the quantity of medicine that patients may legally obtain. It also caps the number of medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries to no more than four and eight, respectively.

Separate legislation, SB 2514, to delay the implementation of the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act to a date to be chosen by the legislature has already been signed into law.

Lawmakers’ decision to seemingly disregard the will of their constituents is both arrogant and troubling. Whether or not one supports marijuana law reform, one should find legislators’ attitudes and actions an affront to the democratic process. Americans have been told time and time again that ‘elections have consequences.’  There should not be a ‘marijuana exception’ to this longstanding principle.

Voters made their opinions on marijuana policy clear at the ballot box in November. Lawmakers in these jurisdictions have a responsibility to abide by the will of the people and to do so in a timely manner. Please urge them to do so by rejecting SB 2344.

Bill Seeks to Reschedule Marijuana Under the CSA

Update: An additional bill which would reschedule marijuana to a Schedule III drug, HR 2020. 
Legislation is pending in the US House, HR 715, to amend the Controlled Substances Act so that marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and so that cannabidiol (CBD) is excluded from the federal definition of cannabis.

Cannabidiol is a non-mood altering constituent in the marijuana plant that possesses a variety of therapeutic effects, particularly anti-seizure properties. Over a dozen states recognize by statute that CBD is safe and therapeutically effective.

Further, the cannabis plant’s schedule I classification has long been inconsistent with the available evidence. Most recently, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a comprehensive report acknowledging that “conclusive or substantial evidence” exists for cannabis’ efficacy in patients suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. This finding is incompatible with the plant’s Schedule I status, which opines that it possess “no accepted medical use in the United States.” Twenty-nine states now permit physicians to authorize marijuana therapy to qualified patients.

While simply rescheduling marijuana under federal law, rather than descheduling it entirely, will not end federal prohibition, it will bring about some needed changes in law. At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana ‘lacks accepted medical use.’ It would also likely permit banks and other financial institutions to work with state-compliant marijuana-related businesses, and permit employers in the cannabis industry to take tax deductions similar to those enjoyed by other businesses. Rescheduling would also likely bring some level of relief to federal employees subject to random workplace drug testing for off-the-job cannabis consumption.

Other provisions in the measure seek to remove federal regulations restricting cannabis research and seek to limit federal interference in state-authorized medical marijuana programs.

For these reasons, we urge your support for HR 715 while also recognizing that ultimately cannabis must be removed from the Controlled Substances Act altogether. Passage of HR 715 is a first step in this process.

Kansas: Support Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Reform

Update: Members of the Committee on Federal and State Affairs decided on March 10 to move forward with substitute language which only permits physicians to recommend “non-intoxicating cannabinoid medicines.” Based on these changes, NORML is now of the belief that HB 2152 is a better alternative for patients.
Update: A hearing was held to debate and discuss SB 155 on February 20.
Legislation is pending before lawmakers, SB 155, to establish regulations governing a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

SB 155 would permit qualified patients to grow their own medical marijuana or to obtain it from a licensed dispensary, while also educating physicians who seek to recommend cannabis therapy.

Kansas is one of fewer than a dozen US states that has taken no action to reform its medical marijuana laws. Please urge your House and Senate lawmakers to support these comprehensive legislation.

Additional information is available from http://www.bleedingks.org.
A separate, more narrow measure — SB 178 — is also pending. You can read the full text of the measure here.

New Hampshire: Marijuana Legalization Legislation Pending Before House Lawmakers

Update: HB 656 has been “retained in committee” and will not receive further consideration.
Legislation is making its way through the New Hampshire House, HB 656, to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use.
Members of the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety heard testimony regarding the bill on Wednesday, February 2, at 2pm. 

Police in New Hampshire arrest some 2,900 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses. The continued criminalization of adult marijuana use is out-of-step with the views of New Hampshire adults, 62 percent of whom now endorse legalizing and regulating cannabis, according to a 2016 WMUR Granite State Poll.

Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for state lawmakers to acknowledge this reality. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and it is time for lawmakers to seriously consider common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production.

In addition to the legislation in the House, Senator Jeff Woodburn announced his plans to introduce a bill that includes a firm date to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in New Hampshire. Although a legalization bill has passed through the House in the past, the Senate has met stiff resistance and Woodburn’s powerful backing of a bill is a boost that New Hampshire will join the states who are already benefiting from legalization.

Enter your information below to contact your House Representative and urge them to support this legislation. 

Arkansas: Oppose The Legislation To Indefinitely Delay Medical Marijuana Implementation

Update: Senate Bill 238 has been tabled and will not receive further action this session.
Senate legislation is pending, SB 238, to indefinitely halt the enactment of the state’s voter-initiated medical marijuana law. 

Specifically, the measure states that Arkansas patients may not legally access medical marijuana until the substance has been federally legalized. 

This arrogant piece of legislation is a direct attempt to undermine an election outcome. Fifty-three percent of voters decided in November in favor of Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment. State lawmakers have responsibility to abide by the will of the people, to do so in a timely manner, and to not let patients needlessly suffer.

Please use the pre-written letter below to tell your lawmakers to reject SB 238 and other legislative efforts to undermine the will of the people.

Arkansas: Governor Signs Legislation Limiting Medical Cannabis Smoking

Update: A modified version of HB 1400 was signed into law. Act 740 prohibits the smoking of marijuana in any place where smoking tobacco is prohibited, in the presence of a child under age 14 or a pregnant woman, in a motor vehicle, and in a place where it could affect a person not authorized to use marijuana. It also bans anyone under age 21 from smoking medical marijuana. You can read the Act here.
Update: HB 1400 passed the House and Senate and is being transmitted to the Governor.
Update: Senate members voted 15 to 10 on March 6 to reject SB 357. Although the sponsor has indicated his intent to bring the issue up again, this Senate vote represents a significant victory for patients and voters.
Update: SB 357 was returned by the committee with recommendation that it Do Pass.
Update: House Bill 1400 has been filed and referred to committee.
Update: The Senate version of this bill, SB 357, has passed Committee and now awaits action on the Senate floor.
Legislative efforts are pending to amend the state’s voter-initiated medical marijuana law in a manner that would restrict qualified patients from smoking herbal preparations of the plant. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson indicates that he favors the plan. 

NORML opposes this effort to fundamentally change the law for the following reasons.

The inhalation of herbal cannabis is associated with the rapid onset of drug effect while the oral consumption of other preparations, such as oils, extracts, or pills, is associated with significantly delayed onset. For patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms, such as those suffering from severe nausea, seizures, or spasms, inhaling herbal cannabis is the fastest and most effective route of administration. Inhaling cannabis also permits patients to better regulate their dose.

Further, the effects of orally ingested cannabis are far less predictable in comparison to inhaled cannabis. This is because there exists far greater variability in the ways that marijuana is metabolized when it is consumed orally — meaning that patients may experience disparate and even dysphoric effects from dose to dose, even in instances where the dose is standardized. 

Finally, many alternative forms of cannabis delivery, like lozenges and tinctures, have not been subject to clinical testing for safety and efficacy. By contrast, hundreds of controlled trials exist regarding subjects’ inhalation of cannabis. For instance, an exhaustive report released by the National Academies of Sciences in January determined  that there is “conclusive” evidence that the use of whole-plant cannabis is “effective for the treatment of chronic pain.”

Please use the pre-written letter below to inform lawmakers and the Governor that these proposed 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.

1 207 208 209 210 211
Right Menu Icon