Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers this week have agreed on final language for the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp. These provisions amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no longer classified as a schedule I controlled substance.
At the state level, Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee will hold a series of public meetings to receive public input ahead of finalizing its report. Details can be found here.
Four New York Assembly committees will hold another joint hearing on marijuana legalization next Monday December 3 on Long Island. Details can be found here.
Alaska regulators will hold a public hearing and meetings from December 19-21 to consider on-site marijuana consumption and other cannabis issues. Details can be found here.
Michigan’s State Board of Canvassers certified election results on Monday, setting up marijuana legalization to go into effect next week on December 6. Separately, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules approved permanent medical marijuana licensing regulations which allow home delivery.
Connecticut Democratic lawmakers are including marijuana legalization in a list of so-called “Big Five” issues they plan to prioritize in 2019.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) says “the …
Eaze’s “Chief Cannabis Evangelist,” Jason Pinsky (Photo by Tommy Quicksilver)
If you’ve ever ordered a car from Uber or a book from Amazon, navigating your delivery of a pack of Lowell Smokes from Eaze is a no-brainer for anyone with a smartphone, as I found out recently.
Just go to Eaze.com, set up a user name and password, take a photo of your California driver’s license (or registered ID) to prove you’re 21, submit credit card information and you’re off to the races.
The Eaze menu is clean and uncluttered, with a wide variety of flower, pre-rolls, tinctures and oils, all from least expensive to most, left to right. Like any other commerce site, you add items to your cart, then check out. Any purchase over $50 has no delivery fee; anything less carries a charge of $5.
The prices are competitive with licensed brick-and-mortar dispensaries, though the addition of the required 9.5% sales and statewide 15% excise taxes pushes the total of my two Biscotti Singoli hash-infused pre-rolls ($40) and one LoudPack Kosher Kush preroll ($12) to $69.86 with the $17.86 surcharge.
Washington, DC: House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to a reconciled version of H.R. 2: The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill), which includes provisions lifting the federal prohibition of industrial hemp.
“For the first time in nearly a hundred years, commercial hemp production will no longer be federally prohibited in the United States,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “This represents a significant and long overdue shift in US policy. Nonetheless, future regulatory efforts will still be required to address emerging consumer issues when it comes to the commercial sale and marketing of certain hemp-derived products, particularly so-called hemp-derived CBD extracts. For years, many of the producers of these products have navigated in a grey area of the law — manufacturing products of variable and sometimes questionable quality and safety. Now it is time for lawmakers to craft simple benchmark safety and quality standards for hemp-derived CBD in order to increase consumer satisfaction and confidence as this nascent industry transitions into a legal marketplace.”
The hemp-specific provisions – which Senate Majority Speaker Mitch McConnell (R-KY) included in the Senate version of the bill, but were absent from the House version – amend federal regulations to further expand and facilitate state-licensed hemp production, research, and commerce. The language also for the first time amends the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 so that industrial hemp plants containing no more than 0.3 percent THC are no …
The full New Jersey legislature will take up legalization of adult use of cannabis in the Garden State in the coming weeks after measures passed in two committees in a widely covered joint hearing of the House and Senate on Nov. 26.
While more work needs to be done, advocates took a breather from pondering the challenges ahead and issued upbeat statements. “This was a historic vote,” Kate Bell, general counsel of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) tells Freedom Leaf. “It’s the first time it’s gotten this far in New Jersey.”
In a hearing attending by hundreds of spectators, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S-2703 (sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari) by a 7-2 vote with four abstentions. The Assembly Appropriations Committee cleared A-4497 (sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano) cleared by a 6-1 vote with two abstentions.
New Jersey appears poised to become the first state legislature to allow retail sales of cannabis to adults.
The measures next go to the full chambers for debate and a vote. Lawmakers meet in their first full session on December 17, but it’s unclear whether the bills will come up for a vote then. Unlike other states, the New Jersey legislature meets year-round, which means the bill won’t languish for months before it gets taken up by lawmakers.
Lawmakers are planning to convene a special session beginning on Monday, December 3 to debate replacing Proposition 2: The Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
Yet, the reason a majority of Utah voters decided in favor of Prop. 2 was precisely because many of these same lawmakers, year after year, failed to adequately address this issue in a manner that provided adequate access to those patients who could benefit from it. Do you trust them to do the right thing now?
Proposition 2 assures that those patients with qualified debilitating conditions who need medical cannabis have access to lab-tested products via a tightly regulated system of licensed, above-ground state-licensed facilities. Rather than amending this voter-initiated proposition – and removing many of its key provisions (such as enabling patients’ rights to home cultivation) – politicians should respect the will of the electorate and move swiftly to enact medical cannabis access in a manner that comports with both the spirit of the law and the letter of law.
Don’t let politicians rewrite Prop. 2 in a way that serves the best interest of bureaucrats rather than patients. Thirty-three states now regulate medical cannabis access, and many of these programs were similarly enacted via voter-initiated measures. Utah patients should not be forced to wait any longer for safe, above-ground medical cannabis access.
Click here to tell your state lawmakers to move expeditiously to enact Proposition 2 in the manner that voters intended
Thanks to all the work we have done together, our issue of ending marijuana prohibition is no longer a regional one confined to deep blue states on the West Coast or the Northeast, we have gone nationwide. Voters increasingly agree with us that legalization is an important issue of civil liberties, personal freedom, racial justice, and sound economics. We are winning this fight, but that is no reason to relent in our struggle, we must double down and end this war on cannabis once and for all.
This #GivingTuesday can you chip in to help us keep the fight going? We have ten states (plus DC) that have legalized marijuana for adult use and are looking at more potentially joining that list in 2019, but we need the resources to help get those states across the finish line.
Donate today through Facebook and Paypal/Facebook will match your donation, doubling your impact! (If you don’t use Facebook you can donate directly to NORML here)
Together, we have already accomplished so much. When we stand shoulder to shoulder and fight with one voice against these unjust laws, we will cross that final finish line. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana nationwide.
Thank you very much.
NORML Executive Director
Today’s the day to give!
We need your help to raise $25,000 that will make advancing common-sense federal marijuana legislation in 2019 possible.
The best referral we can get is from supporters like you. In addition to your donation today, could you also post this on your social pages? As the day goes on, we’ll keep you updated on the progress toward our goal and give special thanks to our supporters. Stay tuned!
It’s time to #LegalizeAmerica.
Update: Two years after Massachusetts voters approved Question 4 legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana, two stores opened on Nov. 20 – Cultivate in Leicester and New England Treatment Access (NETA) in Northampton. At Cultivate, pot patrons paid from $19 to $420 for flower products.
In Northampton, Mayor David Narcewicz was first on line at NETA; he purchased an infused chocolate bar for $20. “It’s just a historic moment for the commonwealth and for the city,” he crowed. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Back in June, the Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), tasked by the legislature and governor to draft and implement the establishment of a retail cannabis industry, publicly indicated that their self-directed date to open non-medical cannabis retail outlets, July 1, would not be realized.
The Commission’s intent was to avoid mistake-laden employee background checks, consumer chaos and confusion and product inventory problems that occurred in the six previous states that created commercial cannabis markets (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada and California).
Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! I hope everyone had a happy and festive Turkey Day!
In the U.S. Senate this week, it was announced that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chair of the Judiciary Committee and long-time prohibitionist, is stepping down from his position. As Chairmain, he refused to hold any hearings or votes on marijuana related legislation.
At the state level, Michigan’s new legalization law goes into effect on December 6, which is when adults can start legally possessing and growing marijuana for personal use.
Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana sales began this past Tuesday.
Connecticut Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D) said that legalizing marijuana is one of his “priorities” in 2019. The Senate president said it would be “pointless” to keep cannabis illegal when neighboring states are ending prohibition. Lawmakers from both parties say legalization is likely in 2019.
Vermont’s Senate president said he expects a bill legalizing marijuana sales to be finalized by early January.
At a more local level, Washington, D.C.’s attorney general said he supports legalizing marijuana sales if a congressional block is removed.
The Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor announced that her office will stop prosecuting most marijuana possession cases. Kalamazoo County, Michigan’s prosecutor is also dismissing marijuana cases.
The Door County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal to place marijuana advisory questions on the April 2019 ballot.
Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for …
MJBizCon broke cannabis conference records last week with 27,600 attendees (up 51% from last year) and 1,027 companies (up 38% from last year) exhibiting on the Las Vegas Convention Center floor.
Freedom Leaf had a large booth that housed our affiliated companies: Hempology, Irie CBD, AccuVape, Plants to Paper and Leafceuitcals Europe.
Following the successful three-day event, the organizers announced that next year’s MJBizCon in Las Vegas will expand to five days and move to December 9-13. “The City of Las Vegas and Clark County have officially proclaimed the debut of ‘MJBizCon Week’ surrounding the annual MJBizCon Conference & Expo beginning in 2019,” they stated.
Like SXSW – the music, film and interactive festival in Austin in March – MJBizCon Vegas will become a weeklong event with many nightly parties worth attending. This year’s best parties included Willie’s Reserve, High Times Biz Bash (featuring a performance by 2 Chainz at Brooklyn Bowl), Grasslands and Cannabis Wonderland.
Citizens of the Bay State have much to be thankful for this week.
On November 20th, just two days before Thanksgiving, adults over the age of 21 were able to legally purchase marijuana in the state of Massachusettes.
Massachusetts was the first state to implement anti-marijuana laws on April 29th, 1911.
“This signal to open retail marijuana establishments marks a major milestone for voters who approved legal, adult-use cannabis in our state,” Commission Chairman Steven J. Hoffman told Cannabis Now. “To get here, licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety as this new industry gets up and running. As patrons look forward to visiting Massachusetts stores, we hope they will do their part by first familiarizing themselves with the law and understanding what is required of responsible consumers.”
On the very same day, Representative Joe Kennedy III, a longtime marijuana prohibitionist, published an essay that documented his evolution of thinking when it comes to cannabis and his new position of supporting reform.
Kennedy writes, “Given the rapid pace of state-level legalization and liberalization, I believe we must implement strong, clear, and fair federal guidelines. To do that requires us to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize it at the federal level.”
We have much to be thankful for this year. Lawmakers in 22 states have passed legislation to advance cannabis reform, Vermont became the first state to end marijuana prohibition legislatively, the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth became the first US territory to pass a regulated marijuana marketplace, and four states approved voter-initiated ballot measures that legalized adult use (Michigan) and medical marijuana (Oklahoma, Utah, and Missouri).
Additionally, polling data continues to show improved gains in public support for legalization nationwide, with most recent polls revealing that majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support ending our failed prohibition.
This progress did not come out of nowhere, nor did it come overnight. Our successes are a result of years of diligent organizing and difficult conversations with our fellow citizens about the role of government, law enforcement, and civil liberties in our daily lives.
We need to make sure that we take every opportunity available to further advance the cannabis conversation. The upcoming holidays provide an ideal venue for these conversations.
Look, we know that political arguments are going to happen at the Thanksgiving dinner table, so why not make it about marijuana? While many Americans disagree about other key issues facing our country, there is so much common ground between those who identify as conservatives, liberals, independents, and everyone in-between when it comes to marijuana policy.
So use us as a resource – NORML.org has Factsheets, Talking Points, and you can …
Two years after suing to keep medical marijuana off the ballot, on Tuesday, Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney, announced that her office will stop prosecuting most marijuana possession cases. In June of this year, the St. Louis City Prosecuting Attorney, Kim Gardner, took similar action on simple possession cases of up to 100 grams.
This development follows the November 6 landslide victory of Amendment 2, a state Constitutional amendment, which legalized access to medical marijuana for Missouri patients in a form similar to laws already passed in 31 other states. Missouri voters supported this measure by 66% statewide. Amendment 2 received more yes votes than any of the other issues on that ballot and any candidates on that ballot.
Approximately 75% of the voters in Jackson County endorsed Amendment 2. In April of 2017, Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved passage of a city ordinance reducing punishment for possession of marijuana to a $25 fine. That initiative, placed on the ballot by members of NORML KC, also received support from 75% of the voters, despite the campaign having almost no money and being opposed by The Kansas City Star and at least one former prosecuting attorney on the Kansas City Council.
The decision by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker to cease prosecuting most marijuana possession cases is all the more interesting when one considers the fact that only two years ago, Ms. Peters Baker joined …
One of the US Senate’s leading marijuana prohibitionists, Iowa Republican Charles Grassley (IA), will no longer be heading the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 116th Congress.
Representative Grassley announced today that he is stepping down as Chair of the Committee. As Chair, Grassley refused to hold any hearings or votes on marijuana-related legislation, including bipartisan legislative efforts like the STATES Act. Virtually all Senate legislation specific to marijuana policy must pass through the Judiciary Committee.
Representative Grassley received a D- grade on NORML’s 2018 Congressional Scorecard.
Next in line to Chair the Committee is Republican Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who received a C grade from NORML.
“As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham will have to make a choice when it comes to marijuana,” NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal said. “Will he continue to perpetuate the failed policy of federal criminalization which resulted in over 659,000 Americans being handcuffed in 2017 alone, or will he be open to reform in a way that reflects the rapidly evolving nature of cannabis policy in the majority of states?”
Representative Grassley’s decision to step down follows the retirement of House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and the failed re-election bid of House Rules Chair Pete Sessions (R-TX) – both of whom similarly used their powers as Chair to stifle any legislative debate on marijuana policy.
Canadian police have not seen a spike in cannabis-impaired driving one month since legalization, but there needs to be more awareness of laws around storing marijuana in vehicles and passengers smoking weed, law enforcement officials say. The Canadian Press canvassed police forces and provincial and territorial Crowns across the country and while some said it was too early to provide data, others said initial numbers and anecdotal impressions suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise.…
Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a “guarantee” that hemp legalization will be in the finalized Farm Bill. “If there’s a Farm Bill, it’ll be in there, I guarantee that,” he told reporters.
Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) has introduced a series of bills aimed at addressing the therapeutic use of marijuana among veterans.
Incoming U.S. House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) says he will allow floor debates and votes on marijuana amendments, “unlike his predecessors.”
At the state level, Utah lawmakers are expected to consider a compromise medical cannabis bill during a special session beginning December 3.
New Jersey’s Assembly speaker and Senate president said they expect committee votes on legalizing marijuana by the end of this month. The Republican Assembly leader said legalization is “inevitable.” And a key state senator who was once opposed to ending prohibition is now expressing support.
A spokesperson for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the governor plans to “introduce a formal comprehensive [marijuana legalization] proposal during the 2019 legislative session.” A New York senator said she believes Cuomo and lawmakers will legalize marijuana in the state via the 2019 budget.
It’s possible that Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales could begin on Sunday. The state’s top regulator said sales will likely start in “a week plus or minus maybe a couple of days longer than that.”
The Vermont marijuana legalization study …
On Tuesday, November 6th, Indiana voters took their final opportunity to vote in the 2018 midterm election. While Indiana did not have the opportunity to vote directly on cannabis propositions as in other states, there were numerous candidates on the ballot supportive of reforming our cannabis laws. Many of them did not win their races, but this election was not without wins for cannabis reform in Indiana. Here are some highlights and some races we’re still watching:
JD Ford: State Senate District 29
During the 2018 session, state senator Mike Delph (R) voted against legalizing CBD products in Indiana, an issue widely supported by Hoosiers. JD Ford (D), on the other hand, actively campaigned on the issue of cannabis. “I believe that it is time to work with law enforcement agencies, healthcare groups, and other stakeholders to legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis,” Ford told us in response to one of our candidate survey questions. Delph responded to the same question about decriminalization by stating that, “This is not our most pressing area of criminal law. From a practical standpoint, we really need the federal government to address its position before we can meaningfully do so at the state level.”
JD Ford won his race and will be a new voice for reforming our cannabis laws in the Indiana Senate, where the sentiment on cannabis legislation is thought to be more even more hostile …
Members of the Nevada NORML chapters, alongside representatives from Denver NORML, Arizona NORML and the National NORML Board of Directors, participated in Las Vegas’ first Business-to-Consumer Cannabis conference this weekend at the Rio Hotel & Casino.
The Herban Expo opened its doors Friday as a free convention available to the public. While there are a vast array of emerging expos and shows within the cannabis space, Herban Expo’s unique focus on consumers and free entry certainly set it apart. With nearly 50 vendors from across Nevada regions and nationwide, the show floor remained a steady source of valuable education and networking all weekend.
It was a great honor that Las Vegas NORML was asked to organize the panels and educational content, for all three days on the main stage. The Las Vegas NORML stage ended up featuring almost 30 panels and presentations, composed of over 60 experts! The feedback from attendees regarding their experiences were overwhelmingly positive. Topics of panels included, “CannaParents”, Criminal Justice Reform, Cannabis is Medicine, Social Use Lounges, How to Start a Cannabis Support Business, and more.
As part of NORML’s call to action over the weekend, members from the various chapters led efforts to collect letters to Congress in support of marijuana reform. Though the goal for the weekend was 500, nearly 600 letters were signed to demonstrate support for the STATES Act, SAFE Banking Act, the Marijuana Data Collection Act and expansion for Veterans’ Access! …