Originally published at blog.NORML.org
The elephant in the room is pretty simple. If you haven’t seen it yet, this week White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer opened the door to a federal crackdown in the states that have legalized adult-use marijuana. You can read more about it HERE.
To date, there have been 1,322 pieces of legislation introduced nationwide – this week’s action ranges from the elected officials in North Dakota seeking to overturn the will of their voters to officials in California seeking to turn themselves into a “Sanctuary State” when it comes to marijuana.
Below are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act 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 at the federal level.
Thanks for all you do and keep fighting,
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.’’
Join The Caucus: With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
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.
Senator Liz Krueger (D) has introduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which is making its way through the New York General Legislature.
The act legalizes possession and cultivation, and would establish a market for legal marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Update: The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, State Senate Bill S3040, has been referred to the Finance Committee.
Rep. John Autry has filed comprehensive legislation to legalize patients use of and access to medical marijuana.
HB 185, the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, permits qualified patients to possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis or grow their own personal supply. Separate provisions in the Act license and regulate the dispensing of cannabis from state-licensed facilities.
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.
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.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 212 and House Bill 3521, to establish a program to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical marijuana products.
Under this program, patients would be permitted to obtain up to two ounces of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products, such as extracts or edibles, from a state-licensed dispensing facility.
Update: Members of the House subcommittee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs voted 3-0 on February 21 to report HB 3521 for consideration before the full Committee
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.”
Update: SB 95 passed in the Senate on February 21.
Legislation has been introduced for the 2017 legislative session to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
House Bill 81, filed by Representative Joe Moody and cosponsored by Representative Jason Isaac, seeks to amend state law so that possessing up to one ounce of marijuana is a civil violation, punishable by a fine – no arrest, no jail, and no criminal record. Under current state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
According to the ACLU, Texas arrests over 70,000 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses — the second highest total in the nation, at the cost of over 250 million dollars per year.
Update: House Bill 81 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee.
Additional Actions To Take
House Bill 1580 imposes a special eight percent statewide tax upon medical marijuana sales. This tax would be in addition to the imposition of existing state and local taxes.
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 Arkansas patients should not be forced to pay these excessive costs.
Arizona Representative Mark Cardenas has introduced legislation, House Bill 2002, which is making its way through committee, to defelonize minor marijuana possession offenses.
Arizona’s penalties pertaining to the possession and/or sale of cannabis are among the toughest in the nation. Under present law, marijuana possession is classified as a felony, punishable by up to two years in jail. Annually, an estimated 20,000 Arizonans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 1578, to try and limit potential federal interference in the state’s marijuana regulatory laws.
The bill states, “This bill would prohibit a state or local agency, as defined, from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”
Colorado State Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Dan Pabon have introduced legislation that is headed to the Senate Business, Labor and Technology committee on Tuesday, March 1, 2017. SB 184: The Private Marijuana Clubs and Public Use Bill, will provide Colorado municipalities with the regulatory framework needed to allow responsible adults the option to socially consume marijuana in a private club away from the general public.
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.
Update: A hearing was held to debate and discuss SB 55 on February 20.
Legislation filed by Senator Perry Clark of Louisville, SB 57, seeks to establish a statewide, comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Senate Bill 57, The Cannabis Compassion Act, establishes regulations overseeing the establishment of state-licensed dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients. It also permits patients to home cultivate their own supply of medical cannabis.
Update: SB 57 was referred to committee.
Legislation is pending in the state Senate, SB 233, that seeks to legalize and regulate the adult possession, use, and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana (up to three mature plants and the harvest yielded from them and/or one ounce).
The measure also would establish a commission to establish guidelines governing the eventual regulation of a commercial cannabis retail market.
Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee debated Senate Bill 233 on February 21.
Additionally, multiple bills are pending before lawmakers to expand the pool of patients eligible to qualify for medical marijuana therapy.
In particular, these measures would permit patients with conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress to obtain legal access to marijuana.
Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee voted to pass bills that would add chronic pain and PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. The bills passed by 12-6 and 9-8 margins respectively.
Several pieces of legislation are pending to amend marijuana possession penalties.
HB 831 and SB 1116 seek to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Update: HB 831 and SB 1116 have both been referred to committees.
State Senators Adam Ebbin (D), Bill Stanley (R) and Delegate Les Adams (R) have introduced SB 1091 and HB 2051 respectively, legislation that would remove the mandatory driver’s license suspension currently imposed for those with a marijuana possession conviction.
Under current law, any drug conviction, regardless of whether or not a motor vehicle was involved, results in an automatic suspension of the individual’s driving privileges for 6 months.
Update: SB 1091 and HB 2051 have both passed the full Senate and the House of Delegates. It now awaits the Governor’s signature or veto.
A coalition of Senate lawmakers have introduced legislation, SB 386, which seeks to establish the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act — a state-sponsored program that will permit qualified patients to obtain medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
Passage of the bill establishes a commission tasked with developing “policies, procedures, guidelines, and regulations to implement programs to make medical cannabis available to qualifying patients in a safe and effective manner.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved HB 197, however the scope of the bill has been narrowed enough that NORML now opposes this legislation. HB 197 now only covers the possession of marijuana infused products weighing up to three grams. Due to the changes, Wyoming NORML has also withdrawn support of the bill. Frank Latta, Executive Director of WY NORML, stated, “A lot of us worked for several years to reach a compromise we could live with,” but that the Senate changes are too much to tolerate.