Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/5/19

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NORML's Legislative US MapWelcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), along with Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), have reintroduced The STATES Act of 2019. This Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the number of instances in which federal law enforcement agencies could carry out legal actions against state-licensed cannabis businesses or other related enterprises.

Governor Gary Herbert (R) of Utah signed legislation into law to allow those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions to have their records automatically expunged.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) of New Mexico signed cannabis decriminalization legislation into law. She also signed bills to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients while at school, and a broader medical expansion bill that adds several new qualifying conditions and patient protections.

Governor Jared Polis (D) of Colorado signed legislation into law to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Governor Leon Guerrero (D) of Guam signed cannabis legalization legislation into law.

Governor Janet Mills (D) of Maine signed legislation into law to allow the production and retail sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

Governors Doug Burgum (R) of North Dakota and Henry McMaster (R) of South Carolina signed industrial hemp production legislation into law.

An Arkansas House committee defeated a decriminalization bill this week to send it to study.

Six municipalities in Wisconsin voted on non-binding marijuana related ballot questions, with 5 out of 6 …

Cannabis in Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe and Lesotho Leading the Way

The African continent, we are often told, has great resources and economic potential, but is held back by lack of development and infrastructure. It’s certainly a sign of the times that we’re now hearing this line not only from the oil and mineral cartels, but the cannabis industry.

This familiar refrain is the central contention of The African Cannabis Report, newly released by UK-based international cannabis industry consultancy Prohibition Partners. As we’ve previously noted, the think-tank’s name is an ironic one; the company is dedicated to monitoring and encouraging the growth of the cannabis sector as it ascends in the emerging post-prohibition world.

Daragh Anglim writes in the introduction that Africa, blessed with favorable climatic conditions, is already estimated to produce at least 38,000 metric tons of cannabis per year, almost all of it for the illicit market. Marijuana remains illegal in most African countries, but economic factors are nonetheless propelling the illicit sector: “High unemployment rates and a global decline in demand for tobacco crops has hit these economies hard,” he observes. “However, the region has a wealth of experience in cannabis cultivation; despite its illegality, many agricultural workers have turned to cannabis farming as the only way to earn enough money to provide for the basic needs of their families.”

Anglim weighs the prospects for transition to a legal cannabis sector: “With affordable land, low-cost labor and an experienced agricultural workforce, Africa offers enormous opportunity …

Georgia: Lawmakers Advance Bill To Regulate Low-THC Oil Production

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House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, House Bill 324, to regulate the production and dispensing of low-THC oil extracts to qualified patients. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has stated that he intends to sign the bill into law.

The measure amends existing law to provide for the licensed in-state “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC. Under the law, low-THC formulations may include oils (in quantities not to exceed 20 fluid ounces), tinctures, or capsules, but may not include THC-infused foods. Commercial cultivation and production licenses may be provided to both private entities and universities. Qualified patients will be required to possess a state-issued registration card in order to legally access low-THC products.

The measure creates a ‘Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission’ to establish rules governing to licensed distribution of approved THC products.

The legislation resolves, “Low THC oil can offer significant medical benefits to patients.”

Under existing law, qualified patients are exempt from criminal prosecution for the possession of oil extracts containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than the amount of THC. Over 8,000 patients are currently registered with the state to possess medical cannabis products.

To learn more about this legislation or other pending reform efforts, visit NORML’s Legislative Action Center here.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/05/georgia-lawmakers-advance-bill-to-regulate-low-thc-oil-production/…

New Mexico: Governor Signs Law Decriminalizing Minor Marijuana Possession

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Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation into law decriminalizing the possession of personal use amounts of cannabis.

Senate Bill 323, which takes effect on July 1, 2019, reduces first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor — punishable by up to 15 days in jail — to a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses, or in situations where the defendant possesses greater amounts of marijuana, will remain punishable by the possibility of jail time.

Police in New Mexico made over 3,600 marijuana possession arrests in 2016.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized the adult possession and use of marijuana.



Source: https://blog.norml.org/2019/04/04/new-mexico-governor-signs-law-decriminalizing-minor-marijuana-possession/…

Guam Legalizes Marijuana Use By Adults

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Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed legislation today legalizing the personal possession of marijuana by adults, and establishing regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. Guam is a US territory with an estimated population of 165,000 people.

Upon signing the measure into law, the Governor announced: “We must regulate this illicit drug that is the most widely used drug in our society. We have to take it and control it, monitor its use and effects, benefit from its medicinal efforts, allow our people to live in a safer environment.”

The Cannabis Industry Act (Bill No. 32-35) permits those age 21 or older to legally possess and transfer up to one ounce of marijuana flower and/or eight grams of concentrated cannabis. The measure, which took immediate effect, also permits adults to privately cultivate up to six cannabis plants (no more than three mature) in an “enclosed, locked space.” Public consumption of cannabis will remain a violation of law.

The Act creates a new regulatory board to draft rules governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. The board has a one-year timeline to adopt rules necessary to permit for the operation of licensed cannabis establishments.

Lawmakers resolved that the policy change “enhances individual freedom, promotes the efficient use of law enforcement resources, [and] … enhances revenue for public purposes.”

Guam joins the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island as the second US territory to legislatively enact …

The STATES Act Reintroduced: Bipartisan Measure Limits Federal Government’s Ability To Interfere With State-Sanctioned Marijuana Business, Policies

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Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), along with Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), have reintroduced The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2019. This Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the number of instances in which federal law enforcement agencies could carry out legal actions against state-licensed cannabis businesses or other related enterprises.

“The majority of states now regulate either the medical use or the adult use of marijuana. It is time for the federal government to cease standing in the way of these voter-backed regulatory policies being implemented throughout the country,” said NORML Political Director Justin Strekal. “Ultimately, however, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act entirely in order to allow those in legal states to ultimately be free from undue federal discrimination and the fear of federal prosecution.”

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said: “Forty-seven states have legalized some form of cannabis and the majority of Americans support its legalization. Our outdated laws have ruined lives, devastated communities, and wasted resources for critical medical treatment and research. The STATES Act is the next logical step in a comprehensive blueprint for more rational federal cannabis policy. It’s time for Congress to catch up with the rest of America are and fix a badly broken system.”

Said Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH): “The current federal policy interferes with the ability of states to implement their own

Financial Forecast 2019: Can Cannabis Save the Beer Industry?

No one on Wall Street knows the burgeoning cannabis industry better than Vivien Azer, the managing director for consumer beverages, cannabis and tobacco at investment house Cowan and Company.

She often asks beer company CEOs about legal cannabis taking market share away from the most popular alcoholic beverage in America in states where pot is legal. Routinely, the executives dismiss any challenge from marijuana with the argument that people already get as much cannabis as they want on the black market, so any switch over to legal weed isn’t going to dent beer sales.

During a January 8 conference call, Azer said 2018 was the “worst year for beer sales in the near decade we’ve been covering the alcohol industry and we continue to believe that growing cannabis use is a factor.”

It’s all about re-engagement, a big trend for the current year and beyond. It goes like this: Once cannabis is legal, more people who may have dabbled with it in college or whenever will return to the green herb and hence drink less beer.

Lobbying in D.C. with Americans for Safe Access at the 2019 Unity Conference

The Americans for Safe Access 2019 Unity Conference, themed The Price of Being a Medical Cannabis Patient, featured over a hundred patients from all over America visiting their representatives in Congress and the Senate to promote the Medical Cannabis Control Act of 2019.

There are numerous legislative proposals in the current 116th Congress that seek to deschedule or reschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, but what happens after that? At least five federal agencies currently have juristiction when it comes to cannabis policy; The DOJ, the DEA, the FDA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and, the Department of Health and Human Services. What is going to happen when cannabis policy changes occur at the federal level? Which agency will have authority over medical cannabis policy? Will they all continue to play a role, as they have in the past?

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/lobbying_in_d_c_with_americans_for_safe_access_at_the_2019_unity_conference…

NORML’s 2020 Democratic Primary Marijuana Straw Poll

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The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary is already heating up and we wanted to reach out to our supporters to take an early straw poll of who they think voters who prioritize marijuana law reform should support in that primary. We will be taking many more in-depth looks at the 2020 race as it progresses, including potential primary challengers on the Republican side, but first we wanted to provide an overview of all the currently announced Democratic candidates, along with their record and policy statements when it comes to marijuana legalization. Please review the information below and then cast a vote in our 2020 Democratic Primary Straw Poll!

The Senators

Amy Klobuchar

Current Office: Senator from Minnesota
2018 NORML Congressional Scorecard Grade: B
Co-Sponsored Legislation: STATES Act (2017-2018)

Summary: During her tenure in Congress, Senator Klobuchar did not sponsor her own marijuana law reform legislation and did not seem to make changing marijuana laws a priority. Senator Klobuchar did sponsor both the STATES Act and the MEDS Act in the last Congress, but has yet to sponsor any legislation that would deschedule marijuana at the federal level. She remained generally opposed to legalization, while supporting states having the right to reform their own policies, until she clarified her stance as being in support of it after announcing her 2020 presidential campaign.

Quote: “I support the legalization of marijuana and believe that states should have the right to determine the best approach

Freedom Leaf’s 2nd-Quarter 2019 Events Schedule

April

3/31-4/2 ICBC Berlin, Germany
4/1-2 Cannatech Tel Aviv, Israel
4/1-3 Cannabis Conference, Las Vegas, NV
4/4 Women Grow NYC, NY
4/4 Women Grow Philadelphia, PA
4/4-7 The Cannabis Expo, Capetown, South Africa
4/5 Women Grow Washington, DC
4/5-7 Hash Bash Cup, Ann Arbor, MI
4/6 48th Hash Bash, Ann Arbor, MI
4/6 More Than Just Green: The Color of Cannabis, Philadelphia, PA
4/8-10 Cannabis Science Conference East, Baltimore, MD
4/9 The Revel: Cannabis & Licensing, New York, NY
4/10 NJCBA: Beyond Cannabis 101, Rahway, NJ
4/10 Tom Tom Festival: The Future of Cannabis, Charlottesville, VA
4/11 Women Grow Phoenix, AZ
4/11 Women Grow Las Vegas, NV
4/11-13 Patients Out of Time: 13th Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, Tampa. FL
4/14 Cannamaste: A Canna-Spirituality Gathering, Oakland, CA
4/17 Cannabis Dealmakers Summit, San Diego, CA
4/17-18 Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, Toronto, ON
4/18-19 CannaCon, Oklahoma City, OK
4/18-20 420 Music & Arts Festival Calgary, AB
4/18-21 Freedom to Grow Conference, Dallas, TX
4/18-23 Baked on the Beach, Negril, Jamaica
4/19-21 Sweetwater 420 Fest, Atlanta, GA
4/20 National Cannabis Festival, Washington, DC
4/20 Kaya Fest, Bayfront Park, Miami
4/20 Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival, Scranton, PA
4/20 Mile High 420 Festival Denver, CO
4/20 420 Hippie Hill San Francisco, CA
4/20 420 Vancouver, BC
4/20 420 Toronto, ON
4/20 Boise

New York Governor Cuomo Leaves Marijuana Legalization Out of State Budget

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By: Jason Klimek, Esq., Legal Advisor to Roc NORML, and Mary Kruger, Start SMART NY Coalition Member and Executive Director of Roc NORML

Sixty-five percent of New York residents support the legalization of cannabis. Democrats control the Governor’s office as well as majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate for the first time in a decade. After repeated calls over by politicians to pass adult-use as part of New York’s budget, New Yorkers are waking up on April 1st to find out that they’ve been the subject of, what looks like, an April Fool’s Day prank, several months in the making. Cannabis legalization was not included in the 2019 – 2020 New York State Budget.

Both the legislature and the Governor’s office, after hearing New Yorkers’ opinions, have repeatedly stated cannabis legislation must address social justice concerns and avoid creating a cannabis economy that will allow large businesses to thrive to the detriment of small business. Focusing on social justice and small business will allow those communities that have been devastated by the failed war on drugs to participate in the cannabis economy and attempt to right the wrongs of the past. The longer New York waits, the less likely those goals will come to fruition. In the meantime, communities will continue to see their members arrested, prosecuted and jailed for cannabis-related offenses.

Beyond the possibility that New York may see unified control disappear in upcoming elections, if New …

Announcing the 2019 NORML Conference & Lobby Day

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We have never been at a more critical time in the nationwide movement to end federal marijuana prohibition. This September, we invite you to join NORML members from across America to learn effective strategies, hear the latest scientific and political advancements, and meet in person with influential members of Congress. With over 65% percent of the American public in support of marijuana legalization, and three-quarters of voters supporting states’ rights to enact their own marijuana policies, the time to act is now.

Get Tickets

 

 

Jax Finkel, executive director of Texas NORML, presents at the 2018 NORML Conference

Sunday, September 8: NORML Leadership Summit

Earn your NORML Leadership Certification! Take a deep dive into grassroots organizing at the NORML Leadership Summit. Those who complete the one-day course receive access to exclusive educational materials that will be used to duplicate trainings across the country. Participants will be awarded certificates and NORML Leadership lapel pins to recognize their accomplishment. Training modules include: chapter organization, effective messaging strategies, lobbying to win, event planning and execution, and more.

Cynthia Ferguson receives NORML's 2018 Pauline Sabin award

Welcome Reception & Vanguard Awards

Mix and mingle with fellow conference attendees and celebrate the achievements of NORML Chapters, Leaders and Members from across the country at the Welcome Reception & Vanguard Awards.

 

NORML Conference attendeesMonday, September 9: NORML Conference

Conference programming will include expert panels, policy debates, and energizing speakers covering a wide range of marijuana policy-related topics.

 

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard meets with NORML Congressional Lobby Day attendees Tuesday, September 10: NORML Congressional Lobby Day

Head to Capitol Hill with NORML where Lobby Day participants will meet with Congressional …

NORML Chapter Newsletter – March 2019

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Everyday NORML Chapters from around the country invest countless hours in advocating for meaningful marijuana law reforms on the local, state and federal level! Below is a brief rundown of some of their most recent accomplishments.

NORML Chapters are Leading the Way All Around the Country

Only three months into the 2019 legislative session, with 45 NORML Lobby Days on the books, legalization proposals are swiftly moving forward in states across the country. Irrespective of geographic location or political ideology, lawmakers everywhere are beginning to realize that now is the time to take action on marijuana law reform.

Read more from NORML.org!

Follow NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Chicago NORML Continues Push for Diversity in Cannabis Industry

“Chicago NORML, the Hyde Park-based branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, conducts classes to help underserved groups learn more about marijuana-related jobs.”

Read more from Herald- Mail Media!

Follow Chicago NORML on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and become a member today!

Colorado NORML Announces Endorsement for Denver Mayoral Election

“We caught up with Calderón shortly after her endorsement by the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to learn more about her thoughts on the cannabis industry, social pot consumption and more.”

Read more from the Westword!

Follow Colorado NORML on Facebook and Twitter and become a member today

Weekly Legislative Roundup 3/29

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

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee has passed The Safe Banking Act, HR 1595 out of committee this week. It now awaits consideration by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

Guam became the first US territory to send a bill legalizing the adult-use of marijuana to the governor’s desk in 2019. The bill awaits action by Governor Lou Leon Guerrero (D).

Governor Jim Justice (R) of West Virginia signed legislation into law that allows financial institutions to provide banking services related to the state’s medical marijuana program.

Governor Gary Herbert (R) of Utah signed legislation into law that strengthens protections for medical cannabis patients and further improves upon the state’s new medical cannabis access program.

New Jersey tabled a scheduled vote to pass adult-use marijuana legalization after falling just a few votes short of the threshold needed to pass. Legalization legislation now awaits another floor date while advocates in New Jersey gain the necessary support to pass it.

In Texas, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence passed a marijuana decriminalization bill out of committee this week. The bill would make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable by a fine with no jail time and no marks would be added to a person’s criminal record.

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

Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey Goes Back to Drawing Board

The effort to to legalize marijuana in New Jersey ground to a halt March 25 when Senate President Stephen Sweeney decided there wasn’t enough votes to pass Senate Bill 2703.

“It’s really more of a pause than a defeat,” says William Caruso, a lawyer at Archer & Greiner PC and a member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, who helped craft the state’s medical program. “It was the first time ever a bill on adult-use cannabis came within one or two votes in the Senate of becoming a law. The goal now is to figure out where they’re short. There’s a break now for the Legislature to work on the budget and legalization will be back on the agenda in May and June.”

The measure had support in the Assembly, but would have fallen a few votes short in the Senate.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY: “History is often a bumpy road of fits and starts and setbacks. But eventually, barriers do fall.”

The effort made history as the first time adult-use legislation nearly reached the floor of the State House, but legalization is taking much longer than the 100 days that Gov. Phil Murphy targeted when he took office in late 2017.

Marijuana Banking Passes Critical Committee

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In the first of what is anticipated to be multiple Congressional votes to address the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana, the House Financial Services Committee will today voted to advance The SAFE Banking Act, HR 1595, 45-15.

Currently, thousands of state-licensed and regulated businesses lack access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes because federal law discourages financial institutions from engaging in such partnerships. This ongoing federal prohibition forces this newly emerging billion-dollar industry operates largely on a cash-only basis — an environment that makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. It also places the safety and welfare of these business’ customers at risk, as they must carry significant amounts of cash on their persons in order to make legal purchases at retail facilities.

NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:

“This is a positive step forward to address an untenable tension between state-legal cannabis marketplaces and federal marijuana prohibition. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. In order to best support the states that have had the good judgment to license and regulate businesses to produce, manufacture, or distribute cannabis, it is critical that Congress address the lack of basic banking services and amend federal law accordingly and the SAFE Banking Act is one pathway to address this situation.”

“Ultimately, …

Texas Police Chiefs Association Hold Marijuana Press Conference

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Fellow Texans,

Today, I attended a press conference held by the Texas Police Chiefs Association (TPCA) at the Texas State Capitol. They discussed “the myths vs. the facts as they pertain to marijuana sales, production, distribution, possession, usage along with its long-term effects as well as impact on quality of life for all citizens.” While there, I was able to livestream the press conference and ask the Chiefs three questions regarding medical marijuana. (Watch here.) After the press, I was able to talk with Chief Dye for about 15 minutes on policy and real-world implications. I appreciate him taking the time to talk about this and hope he will be open to more conversations in the future.

These are the people advocating for the status quo in our state.

Please support our efforts at the Capitol!

It was disappointing to see Law Enforcement advocating for policy that continues to saddle Texans with criminal records and all those collateral consequences as well as putting fear ahead of regulated patient access to medical marijuana. It is past time for us to update our statues to be inline with both the Republican and Democratic platforms.

Please take action and let your legislators know that you support common sense policy!

Support Medical Marijuana in the Senate and in the House.

Support Penalty Reduction in the House and in the Senate.

Sign this petition to Lt Gov Patrick.

Here are

Texas: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Advances Out Of Key Committee

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Rep. Joe Moody’s bill to reduce penalties for low-level marijuana possession has passed out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee with a bipartisan vote of 5-2!

If HB 63 passes the House and Senate, Texans would no longer face jail time or the collateral consequences that come along with a criminal drug conviction!

The policy proposed by this bill is in line with the Republican and Democratic Platforms as well as numerous other states. Such a change will save taxpayers money and allow police and the courts to re-prioritize their resources toward addressing more serious crimes. Minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.

Texans, please ask your representative to co-author HB 63.

The next step for the bill will for it to be referred to the Calendars Committee, which Rep. Moody sits on as Vice-Chair. We will keep you updated with strategic actions and bill movement updates.

The bill was amended by the committee and now allows an individual to receive two civil penalties ($250 fine) before facing Class C Misdemeanor charges for subsequent offenses. Even after three or more charges, though, Rep. Moody’s bill institutes an automatic deferral, allowing the individual to avoid a permanent criminal record. This is a vast improvement from current law, which penalizes even small amounts with an arrest, up to 180 days in jail, …

David Malmo-Levine: Cannabis Legalization in Canada is Truly Reefer Madness 2.0

The lies about pot never stopped—they just got more sophisticated! “With millions of stressed-out teens smoking pot, some parents are apt to attribute their children’s problems to marijuana’s malevolent influence. The adult temptation to blame the weed is reinforced by public officials who continually inflate the dangers and deny the benefits of cannabis. But U.S. authorities have long since forfeited any claim to credibility with respect to marijuana.” – Smoke Signals, Martin A. Lee, 2012…

Source: https://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2019/03/25/david-malmo-levine-cannabis-legalization-in-canada-is-truly-reefer-madness-2-0/…