Nevada: Governor Signs Bill Imposing New Marijuana-Related Taxes

Governor Brian Sandoval has signed legislation, Senate Bill 487, imposing new tax rates on marijuana-related business transactions.
The measure imposes an excise tax of 15 percent on wholesale cannabis sales to both medical and recreational facilities. The measure also imposes an additional ten percent retail sales tax on marijuana or marijuana-related products sold at retail (non-medical) facilities. Revenue from sales taxes will be earmarked to the state’s ‘rainy day’ reserve fund.
Full text of the law is here. 
While NORML generally does not oppose the imposition of reasonable taxation rates on retail cannabis sales, the organization opposes taxes on medical cannabis related transactions.

Medical Marijuana as an Alternative to Opioids

Update: On June 13, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said “I’ve talked to Chuck Rosenberg, the administrator of the DEA and we follow the law and the science. And from a legal and scientific perspective, marijuana is an unlawful drug. It’s properly scheduled under Schedule I. And therefore we have this conflict.” The Schedule I classification stipulates that “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” 
Friday, June 16, the Office of National Drug Control Policy held it’s first meeting of President Trump’s “Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.”

The Commission is tasked with making recommendations for improving the Federal response to opioid misuse and abuse.

Best evidence informs us that medical marijuana access is associated with reduced levels of opioid-related abuse, hospitalization, and mortality. For example, a widely publicized study in the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine reports that the enactment of medical marijuana legalization laws is associated with year-over-year reductions in opioid analgesic overdose mortality. Overall, researchers determined, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” A similar review by investigators at the RAND Corporation determined, “[S]tates permitting medical marijuana dispensaries experience a relative decrease in both opioid addictions and opioid overdose deaths compared to states that do not.”

Medical cannabis access is also associated with reduced prescription drug spending. Investigators at the University of Georgia assessed the relationship between medical marijuana legalization laws and physicians’ prescribing patterns in 17 states over a three-year period. Specifically, researchers assessed patients’ consumption of and spending on prescription drugs approved under Medicare Part D in nine domains: anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders, and spasticity.

Authors reported that prescription drug use fell significantly in seven of the nine domains assessed. “Ultimately, we estimated that nationally the Medicare program and its enrollees spent around $165.2 million less in 2013 as a result of changed prescribing behaviors induced by … jurisdictions that had legalized medical marijuana,” they concluded. A follow up study by this same team reported this year, “If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion.”

Nonetheless, this administration continues to express skepticism with regard to the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana. It’s time they learn the facts!

Send the pre-written letter below to the ONDCP Commission to educate them to the positive role that cannabis access plays in curtailing opioid abuse. You can also contact the commission at (202) 395-6709.

 

Nevada: Governor Signs Hemp Expansion Law

Governor Brian Sandoval has signed legislation, Senate Bill 396, expanding the state’s hemp law to permit broader commercial cultivation of the crop.

The new law permits regulators to license growers to engage in hemp cultivation and to produce edible products derived from hemp.

Under a 2015 law, hemp could only be produced as part of a university-sponsored pilot program.

Rhode Island: Legislation Pending To Increase Medical Cannabis Access

Update: On June 14, House leadership rejected an amendment to the budget to expand the total number of dispensaries.
Update: On May 18 the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended measure be held for further study, tabling it for this year.
SB 176 is currently pending in the Rhode Island Senate. It amends the state’s Medical Marijuana Act, which currently only permits three medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the entire state, to permit regulators to license up to six total dispensaries.
In recent years, the total number of registered medical cannabis patients in Rhode Island has nearly doubled to more than 17,000 people. It is necessary for regulators to license additional dispensaries in order to keep up with this increased demand.
You can contact your local officials in support of SB 176 by using the pre-written letter below.

California: Legislation To Bring Clarity And Protections For Marijuana Industry

Update: AB 1159 passed the Assembly on 5/15
AB 1159, would bring much-needed clarity to the medical and recreational cannabis industry and extend protections for individuals and businesses in their dealings with their legal advisors 
The current conflict between federal and California law regarding the legality of cannabis creates problems for businesses that are unlike any other industry. 
The fact that cannabis is illegal under federal law – combined with the failure of the current California law to distinguish between what is illegal under federal law in its statutory definition of an illegal contract – discourages clients from pursuing legitimate claims in court. 
Furthermore, the status quo does not provide appropriate protection for attorney-client privilege. 
Enter your information below to send a message to your elected officials in support of this effort. 
Be sure to visit http://www.canorml.org/ and follow California NORML on Facebook and Twitter. 

Illinois: Legislation Pending To Expand Industrial Hemp Cultivation

Update: SB 1294 passed the Illinois Senate on May 4 and is now pending in the House
Legislation is pending to regulate the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp.
The Industrial Hemp Act, SB 1294 seeks to license farmers to “grow, process, cultivate, harvest, process, possess, sell, or purchase industrial hemp or industrial hemp related products” for commercial purposes. It expands upon a 2014 law permitting hemp cultivation for agricultural and academic research.
Please use the prewritten letter below to urge lawmakers to support this legislation.

Nevada: Oppose The Proposed Tax on Medical Marijuana

Senate Bill 487 would increase the current excise tax on marijuana from two to ten percent of the sales price of the marijuana or product.
While NORML generally does not oppose the imposition of fair and reasonable sales taxes on the commercial sales of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do not support such excessive taxation on medical sales. Most other states that regulate medical cannabis sales do not impose such taxes and Nevada patients should not be forced to pay these excessive costs.
Enter your information below to contact your elected officials and urge them to oppose this measure.

Texas: Request To Establish An Interim Committee To Study The Feasibility Of Medical Cannabis

House Concurrent Resolution (HRC) 149 – Legislation proposed by Texas House Representative Eddie Lucio, III requests that the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives create a joint interim committee to study the feasibility of medical cannabis in Texas. While an HRC is not required to hold an interim committee study, passing this Concurrent Resolution will ensure that the study takes place. 
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Texas patients deserve these same protections. 
Please be sure to thank Rep. Lucio III on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit Texas 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 HCR 149.

Texas: Request To Establish An Interim Committee To Study The Feasibility Of Medical Cannabis

House Concurrent Resolution (HRC) 149 – Legislation proposed by Texas House Representative Eddie Lucio, III requests that the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives create a joint interim committee to study the feasibility of medical cannabis in Texas. While an HRC is not required to hold an interim committee study, passing this Concurrent Resolution will ensure that the study takes place. 
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Texas patients deserve these same protections. 
Please be sure to thank Rep. Lucio III on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit Texas 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 HCR 149.

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