Nevada: Bill to Amend Traffic Safety Laws Signed By Governor

Update: AB 135 was signed into law on May 23.
Legislation awaits action from Gov. Brian Sandoval to amend Nevada’s per se traffic safety laws for carboxy-THC.,

Assembly Bill 135 eliminates statutes criminalizing the operation of a motor vehicle if a driver has detectable levels of carboxy THC in his/her urine. Carboxy-THC is an non-psychoactive waste product of THC that may be present for days or even weeks post-abstinence. It’s presence in urine is not correlated with psychomotor impairment.

Unfortunately, however, AB 135 still maintains unscientific per se thresholds for THC (2ng/ml) and 11-hydroxy-THC (5ng/ml). NORML has previously lobbied against the imposition of these THC/blood limits in Nevada because these thresholds are not evidence based. No less than the United States Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) agrees, stating, “It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects. … It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone.” 

While passage of AB 135 is a step in the right direction, further legislation will continue to be necessary in order to amend Nevada’s traffic safety laws in a manner that no longer inadvertently criminalize responsible adult marijuana consumers. 

New Jersey: Tell Governor Christie Stop Opposing Marijuana Legalization

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently made public statements calling the notion of regulating adult marijuana use “beyond stupidity.”

Yet, according to a 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll, nearly six in ten New Jersey adults support “legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and over.” Similar percentages of voters through the country also endorse legalization.

That’s because the majority of Americans realize that the ongoing enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco. 

In truth, America’s real-world experiment with regulating marijuana has been a success. Thirty states, including New Jersey, now regulate the plant’s therapeutic use and eight states authorize its use and sale to all adults. These policy changes are not associated with increased marijuana use or access by adolescents or with adverse effects on traffic safety or in the workplace. Marijuana regulations are also associated with less opioid abuse and mortality. In jurisdictions where this retail market is taxed, revenue from marijuana sales has greatly exceeded initial expectations.

Help us educate the Governor and his staff to the facts on marijuana. Enter your information below to urge Gov. Christie to support legalization. 

Texas: Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Introduced

Update: The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Public Health approved HR 2107 on May 5 by a vote of 7-2. The bill will now be considered by the Calendars Committee to determine the date of the full House vote. 
Update: HB 2107 had a hearing on May 2 and after powerful targeted testimony, the number of cosponsors for the bill jumped from 5 to 75.
Update: A bipartisan House version of SB269 to legalize medical marijuana in the state of Texas has just been introduced by Representative Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, titled HB 2107,
State Senator Jose Menendez has filed Senate Bill 269, currently making its way through committee, to protect qualified patients who consume cannabis and to provide for the state-licensed production and distribution of the plant.
SB 269 authorizes the possession, production, and distribution of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products to qualified patients. Patients would receive cannabis through a network of private dispensaries and operators, similar to pharmacies, regulated under “strict guidelines” by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The state would use existing infrastructure and build upon the registry already established under the Compassionate Use Act, or SB 339, a 2015 bill Sen. Menendez co-authored and helped pass that lets patients with intractable epilepsy receive low-THC cannabis oil.
 
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Texas patients deserve these same protections.
 
Please enter your info below to contact your state elected officials and urge them to support this pending legislation. For more information please visit Texas NORML’s website or find your regional chapter here.

New York: Legislation To Add PTSD as a Qualifying Condition

Update: A. 7006 was approved by the Senate on June 20 by a vote of 50 to 13. The measure now awaits action from the Governor.
Update: Companion legislation, S. 5629 has passed the Senate Health Committee and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Update: A 7006 was referred to committee in the Senate.
Update: Governor Andrew Cuomo says that he is open to expanding the state’s medical cannabis program to include patients with PTSD.

Update: The New York Assembly passed A 7006 on May 2. The bill now awaits action by the Senate. 
Legislation is moving forward, A. 7006, to allow patients with post-traumatic stress eligible for medical cannabis therapy.
New York is one of the only states with a medical marijuana program that does not allow patients with PTSD access to medical cannabis.
Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your lawmakers to support this effort. 

Maine: Support Measure to Expedite Retail Cannabis Sales

Legislation is pending to expedite the retail sale of marijuana products to those over the age of 21.

LD 1448 and LD 1491 would permit licensed medical cannabis dispensaries the opportunity to “sell limited marijuana retail products to a person who is 21 years of age or older.”

A majority of voters in November approved an initiated measure to permit the possession, production, and retail sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products. However, emergency legislation signed into law in January delays the implementation of regulations overseeing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana until at least February 1, 2018.

Passage of these measures would allow dispensaries to engage in marijuana sales ahead of this date.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge lawmakers to move forward with LD 1448/LD 1491.

Colorado: Patients May Use Medical Cannabis While Awaiting Trial

Legislation was signed into law that permits registered medical cannabis patients to legally use marijuana while on bond in a criminal case.

Senate Bill 17 states, “[T]he court shall not require as a condition of any bond that [s] person … with a valid registry identification card … abstain from the use of medical marijuana.” You can read the full text of the new law here.

Existing law permits qualified patients to engage in cannabis therapy while probation, but only in circumstances where a judge does not object to it. 

The new law takes effect on August 9, 2017.

Follow Colorado NORML, Denver NORML, and Southern Colorado NORML. 

California: Oppose Legislation To Ban Vaping In Public Housing

Update: The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee voted in favor of AB 62 by a vote of 7-0 on April 27 and now heads to the full Assembly. 
Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood, AB 62, would ban smoking and vaping of tobacco, cannabis, and other medicinal herbs in public housing. 
Cal NORML opposes the bill on the grounds that it bans cannabis as well as tobacco, making it impossible for medical cannabis patients to inhale their medicine legally. Unlike cannabis users, tobacco smokers are allowed to smoke openly in public, where use of cannabis is banned under Prop 64. There is no reason to think that cannabis poses the same second-hand exposure risks as tobacco.
Other opponents of AB 62 include the ACLU, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. They argue against the inclusion of electronic cigarettes for reasons including the increased the risk of eviction and therefore homelessness among public housing residents.
Federal rules already prohibit smoking in public housing, but do not include e-cigarettes. This is because there is no evidence that e-cigs pose a significant public health hazard, as they effectively eliminate harmful second-hand smoke toxins. 
Meanwhile, NORML continues to hear from seriously ill people thoughout the country who are being evicted for smoking or vaping medical cannabis. Californian patients deserve to be able to consume their medicine.
Enter your information below to send a message to your state lawmakers urging them to oppose AB 62. 

Federal: Remove Restrictions on CBD

Update: HR 2273 and S. 1008 were referred to committees in their respective chambers.
A bipartisan coalition of legislators has introduced HR 2273 to legalize the therapeutic use of cannabidiol (CBD).
Senate companion legislation, S. 1008, is also pending before lawmakers.

The bill amends the US Controlled Substances Act to exclude CBD and CBD-rich cannabis plants from the federal definition of marijuana. Under the present definition, all of the organic cannabinoids in the plant are classified as Schedule I controlled substances.

Cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and clinical studies have determined it to be safe and well-tolerated in human subjects. The director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, acknowledges that CBD is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.” Many patients now utilize CBD, primarily for its anti-convulsant effects.

Seventeen states now acknowledge the therapeutic use of CBD by statute. However, because CBD products and high CBD-bearing remain illegal federally, patients typically lack a consistent, high-quality legal, in-state supply source for this medicine. 

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge lawmakers to take action on HR 2237.

Support The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act)

Update: A hearing was held for S. 1152 on June 8th.
Update: A bipartisan group of 9 Senators introduced a Senate version of the SAFE Banking Act (S. 1152) on May 18.
A bipartisan coalition of more than two dozen co-sponsors have introduced legislation in Congress, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 2215, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

If enacted, banks would no longer face the threat of federal sanction for working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.

Currently, hundreds of licensed and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. Congress must move to change federal policy so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities.

“With the majority of states now allowing for some form of recreational or medical marijuana, we have reached a tipping point on this issue and it’s time for Congress to act,” says Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.. “Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels.”

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your member of Congress to support The SAFE Banking Act.

Vermont: Measure to Expand State’s Medical Cannabis Program Signed By Governor

Update: Governor Phil Scott signed SB 17 into law on June 9. It takes effect July 1, 2017. 
Update: Lawmakers sent SB 16 to the Governor on June 2.
Update: Members of the House gave preliminary approval SB 16 on May 1. Once a final vote is recorded, the measure will be transmitted to the Governor’s office.
Update: Members of the House Human Services Committee voted 10-0 in favor of SB 16 on April 27.

Update: Members of the Senate approved the bill on February 17. It now awaits action from the House.

Legislation is pending, SB 16, to expand the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy.

If approved, SB 16 would permit physicians for the first time to recommend medical marijuana to patients with post-traumatic stress, Crohn’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease. The measure also allows physicians to immediately issue medical cannabis recommendations for patients suffering from cancer, a terminal illness, or under hospice care supervision.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your lawmakers to pass SB 16.

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