Tell Congress Not To Allow Trump To Roll Back Medical Marijuana Protections

Generic 18 February 2020 | 0 Comments

It’s been three years and counting but President Trump is once again threatening to derail the progress we’ve made in reforming marijuana laws across this country. The latest offense is his recently released 2021 federal budget proposes slashing all legal protection for state medical marijuana programs and potentially jeopardizing the patients that rely on them.

Because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, the DEA and other federal law enforcement would be able to use federal funds to shut down medical marijuana programs. We’ve largely been able to include an amendment to the annual federal budget that would prevent the Department of Justice to utilize any of their funds to go after medical marijuana programs, their compliant operators, and the patients that depend on those programs, but this new budget proposal puts all of that at risk.

Sign our petition to demand Congress protect state-legal medical marijuana programs.

We all know that patients are not criminals and that marijuana indisputably has medical value when it comes to treating a wide range of ailments, but Trump’s proposed federal budget would reprioritize law enforcement and prosecutors to target medical marijuana at the state level. 

Despite Trump mentioning during his campaign that he supported medical marijuana and a general states rights approach to cannabis policy, his presidency has consistently proven these words to ring hollow. 

Sign our petition, and make it crystal clear to our representatives that if they support this budget, we will not support them. 

The data speaks for itself. It is not an alternative fact that medical marijuana has been proven to provide important benefits. No patient should have to worry about losing access to cannabis treatment options. 

Thanks for being in the fight with us,

NORML

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Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/15/20

Generic 16 February 2020 | 0 Comments

Legalize marijuanaWelcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

The legalization effort in New Mexico was killed as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 to table the bill this week.

New Approach Montana, the campaign committee behind a marijuana legalization ballot initiative in the state, submitted a revised proposal to the Secretary of State’s office, removing provisions that address medical marijuana law changes.

One of two initiative petitions to put marijuana legalization on the ballot in Oklahoma was cleared for signature gathering.

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas said he will begin pardoning those who have received municipal violations for marijuana possession and those non-violent offenders who were convicted for having marijuana drug paraphernalia.

Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list, and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and U.S. Congress.

Your Highness,

Carly

Actions to Take

Federal

The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884 / S. 2227) is bipartisan legislation that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and enabling states to set their own policies.

Send a message to your representatives in support of ending the federal prohibition on marijuana

Alabama

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 165, to establish a medical marijuana access program for qualified patients with a physician’s recommendation to access medical marijuana from licensed retail outlets.

It would not allow patients to smoke herbal marijuana or vape, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges and patches. 

Update: SB 165 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 8:30am on 2/19/20 in Committee Room 325.

AL resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical marijuana access

Arizona

Legislation is pending, House Bill 2638, that would create an official policy for “deflection programs,” police protocols that allow officers to not arrest individuals for various minor offenses, including incidental marijuana possession—cannabis that turns up while a suspect is being searched for a different offense.

AZ resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of ending arrests

Hawaii

Senate Bill 2543 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder or a positive drug test for THC.

Update: SB 2543 was approved by the Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts on 2/11/20.

HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of employment protections

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2787, to regulate medical cannabis delivery services.

The bill allows the department of health to issue permits to medical cannabis dispensaries for the delivery of medical cannabis and cannabis products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers if certain conditions are met.

Update: SB 2787 was approved by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee on 2/13/20.

HI resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of delivery services

Illinois

Legislation is pending, House Bill 4706, to regulate public on-site marijuana consumption for adults.

The bill would allow counties and municipalities to issue licenses to businesses to permit the consumption of cannabis on the business’ premises.

IL resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of on-site consumption

Kentucky

Legislation is pending, House Bill 136, to permit physicians to authorize access to medical cannabis for any patient whom they believe would benefit from its therapeutic use.

Update: HB 136 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 2/12/20.

KY resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

Maryland

Legislation is pending, House Bill 550, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense, rather than the current threshold of ten grams.

Update: HB 550 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/11/20.

MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expanded decriminalization

Legislation is pending, House Bill 331 / Senate Bill 605, to allow registered medical cannabis patients to access their medicine while at school.

The bill requires the Department of Education and the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission jointly to develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to certain students during school hours and school-sponsored after-school activities.

House Bill 617 / Senate Bill 604 would also develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to students

Update: SB 604 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on 2/18/20 at 12pm. HB 331 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health and Government Operations on 2/19/20 at 1pm.

MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access in schools

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 179, to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland.

The measure prohibits a person from being denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis.

Update: SB 179 was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/10/20, and was then approved unanimously by the Senate on 2/14.

MD resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of 2nd amendment protections

New Hampshire

House Bill 1150 would establish reciprocity, which would allow qualifying patients from out-of-state to purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New Hampshire.

Update: HB 1150 is scheduled for an executive session in the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/18/20 at 1pm.

NH resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of reciprocity

Virginia

House Bill 972 is pending, reducing penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana to a civil violation — punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.

Similar legislation, SB 2, is pending in the Senate.

Update: HB 972 was approved by the House by a 64-34 vote on 2/10/20. SB 2 was approved by the Senate.

VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 608, to allow those with certain past cannabis convictions to get their records cleared.

The measure would allow those convicted of a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offense to petition the court to expunge their record if at least eight years has passed and the individual has no other convictions on their record.

Update: SB 608 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 2/10/20.

VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of expungement

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1015, to transform Virginia’s medical cannabis from an affirmative defense to prosecution to a permanent state-legal regulatory program.

Update: SB 1015 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 2/10/20.

VA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

Vermont

Lawmakers are considering senate-approved legislation, S. 54, to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

Update: S.54 was heard by the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees this week.

VT resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of retail sales

West Virginia

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 752, to expand access to medical marijuana in West Virginia.

The bill would:

  • Permit regulators to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states to allow out-of-state patients to use and transport medical marijuana while visiting West Virginia;
  • Allow physicians to authorize compassion certificates which would allow a patient or caregiver to  grow up to 12 mature flowering cannabis plants and up to 12 cannabis seedlings at any one time;
  • Increase the geographic locations of dispensaries and the forms of acceptable medical cannabis;
  • Allow accredited colleges, universities, or medical schools to be eligible to participate in marijuana research

Update: SB 752 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/17/20 at 3pm.

WV resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

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Preclinical study links human gene variant to THC reward in adolescent females

Did you know that? 15 February 2020 | 0 Comments

A common variation in a human gene that affects the brain’s reward processing circuit increases vulnerability to the rewarding effects of the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis in adolescent females, but not males, according to preclinical research. As adolescence represents a highly sensitive period of brain development with the highest risk for initiating cannabis use, these findings in mice have important implications for understanding the influence of genetics on cannabis dependence in humans.

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Virginia: Both Chambers Pass Decriminalization Legislation

Generic 13 February 2020 | 0 Comments

House and Senate lawmakers have passed legislation decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses.

House Bill 972, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 64 to 34, reduces penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana to a civil violation – punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record. Senate Bill 2, which passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 13, reduces penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine. It is anticipated that the two competing bills will be reconciled in conference committee.

Under current law, minor marijuana possession offenses are classified as criminal misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a criminal record, and the possible loss of driving privileges.

According to data from the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, more than 15,000 people were convicted for a first or second marijuana possession offense from July 2018 to June 2019.

Both the Governor and the Attorney General are on record in favor of decriminalization.

Senate lawmakers also passed separate legislation on Tuesday, SB 1015, by a unanimous vote. The measure states that no person may be arrested, prosecuted, or denied any right or privilege for participating in the state’s medical cannabis oil program. The program is expected to be operational and dispensing cannabis products to authorized patients by mid-year.

Commenting on the legislative activity, NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini, who also serves as the Executive Director of Virginia NORML, said: “This week, both the House and Senate voted in favor of decriminalizing personal possession of marijuana, and the Senate voted unanimously to legalize participation in Virginia’s medical cannabis program. Long overdue progress is finally being made in the General Assembly thanks to many years of dedicated advocacy by Virginia NORML members.”

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Ready to Lobby?

Generic 13 February 2020 | 0 Comments

2019 was a record year for marijuana reform, with more NORML chapters holding lobby days than ever before. With the 2020 legislative session already in full swing in many states, NORML chapters across the country are organizing lobby days to advocate for sensible reform policies in their state. Here’s what’s been scheduled so far, past and future (This post is constantly being updated in real time as more information becomes available):

Virginia 2020 Cannabis Lobby Day

On January 13, Virginia NORML, along with eight more regional NORML chapters will lobby state lawmakers in Richmond in support of decriminalizing minor marijuana possession. Please sign up in advance if you plan to attend! Meetings will begin at 9am.

Delaware Citizens’ Cannabis Lobby Day XXV

On January 16, join Delaware NORML at 10:30am at the 2nd Floor Senate Hearing Room – Legislative Hall in Dover. We need the 61% of Delawareans who support legalization to stand with us to end cannabis prohibition in the 1st State. Delaware doesn’t have voter initiative like the other states, so citizen lobbying is the ONLY way to legalize cannabis in Delaware.

Florida NORML Lobby Days

On January 16, Florida NORML chapters will head to Tallahassee (Florida Capitol, Third Floor Rotunda) to lobby for marijuana legalization to include home cultivation, cafes, cultivation centers, and fair and equitable business entrance fees. Reciprocity and expansion of the medical marijuana program are also priorities for 2020.

NORML Women of WA 4th Annual Lobby Day

on January 20, Join NORML Women of Washington for our 4th Annual Lobby Day, at the State Capitol in Olympia at 9am. Meet up with amazing, passionate women from across the state and engage directly in democracy. Please sign up in advance so your meetings can be scheduled for you.

KY4MM & KY NORML 2020 Lobby Days

On January 22 and 23, join Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana and Kentucky NORML members at our Cannabis Lobby Days in Frankfort, KY to advocate for our comprehensive cannabis reform and forge a unified front with the to show the legislators there that action on reform must take place.

During KY4MM and KY NORML Cannabis Lobby Days, members, advocates, patients, veterans, the sick and the healthy from across our Commonwealth descend on Kentucky’s Capitol to tell their stories and advocate for much needed reforms. Never been a citizen lobbyist before? We make it easy by offering training sessions before the event and on-site.

2020 #MarijuanaJustice Lobby Days

On January 28, The Start SMART New York Campaign, which includes several NORML chapters across the state, will host the first of a number of lobby days before the budget vote in Albany. Please save the following dates if you want to join the campaign up in Albany: February 12th, March 24th.

Maryland Cannabis Policy Lobby Day

On February 4, join Maryland NORML in Annapolis to lobby for cannabis legalization in Annapolis! Other priorities include expanding the decriminalization threshold and allowing medical cannabis access for patients at school.

We STILL have work to do in Springfield – Lobby Day 2020

On February 4, join Chicago NORML in Springfield to expand upon the tremendous gains from cannabis legalization in Illinois. The bus to Springfield leaves Chicago at approximately 6am and will return at 7pm. Lunch is included. Save your seat now!

Patients First: Rallying to Fix Medical Marijuana in PA

On February 5, Lehigh Valley NORML’s fourth MMJ Patients’ Rights Protest will take place in Harrisburg. For this protest we will assemble inside the Capitol Rotunda for a Rally and Lobbying efforts. This will be the next effort, fighting for patients’ rights. They intend to introduce the Patients’ Bill of Rights, and its Legislative supporters.

Lobby Day HB 1089 Employee Lawful Off-duty Activity

On February 19, join Colorado NORML in lobbing for a bill to prohibit an employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law, such as cannabis consumption.

Memphis NORML Lobby Day

On February 25, join Memphis NORML in Nashville to lobby for sensible marijuana reform in Tennessee. Let your lawmakers know its time to #FreeThePlant and let us have our medicine! We will be standing outside with signs, as well as, making meetings with our representatives.

Missouri NORML Lobby Day

On February 26, join Missouri NORML in Jefferson City at 11:00 AM, in a room in the Capitol (to be determined). We will be briefed on pending bills & meet with some legislators. We will lobby until 3:00 PM. We will meet afterwards at Arri’s Pizza, across the street, shortly after 3:00 PM to review our work & eat/drink.

Wyoming NORML Lobby Day 2020

On February 28, join Wyoming NORML in showing support for cannabis law reform by meeting your representatives in Cheyenne at the newly remodeled capitol building!

Delaware Citizens’ Cannabis Lobby Day XXVI

On March 17, join Delaware NORML to help legalize cannabis for all adults 21 and older. Orientation begins at 10:30am at Legislative Hall, 411 Legislative Ave. Dover, Delaware 19901.

Cal NORML / ASA Lobby Day

On May 4, California NORML chapters, along with Americans for Safe Access will lobby for cannabis reform at the Capitol Event Center in Sacramento.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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