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All State Governors

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Senate Bills

Daines/Merkley Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Permits physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. More info

Mikulski Amendment Protecting State Medical Marijuana Laws

Limits the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed operations that are acting in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states. More info

Merkley Marijuana Banking Amendment

Prohibits the US Treasury Department from using federal funds to take punitive actions against banks that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws. More info

'N/A' means that the Senator did not have the opportunity to vote on this amendment.

Governors

  • David Ige (D)

    Hawaii

    Took OfficeDecember 1, 2014
    Seat Up2018
    NORML Grade: B

    Enacted Legislation

    House Bill 321: Establishes a system of medical dispensaries for the state's nearly 14,000 medical marijuana patients. Under the law, qualified patients may obtain up to four ounces of cannabis or cannabis-infused products, such as oils, tinctures, or lozenges, from a licensed provider every 15 days. (2015) (Link)
    House Bill 2707: Expanded the pool of practitioners who may legally recommend cannabis therapy to include advanced nurse practitioners. Separate provisions in the bill removed the prohibition on Sunday dispensary sales and on the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia by qualified patients. (2016) (Link)

    Comments

    "I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana." (Link)

  • Butch Otter (R)

    Idaho

    Took OfficeJanuary 1, 2007
    Seat Up2019 (retiring)
    NORML Grade: F

    Vetoed Bills

    Senate Bill 1146a: Sought to allow parents of Idaho children with an intractable form of epilepsy to treat their children with cannabidiol. (2015) (Link)

    Comments

    "Of course I sympathize with the heartbreaking dilemma facing some families trying to cope with the debilitating impacts of disease…but there are too many questions about the bill, including from law enforcement and my administration's Office of Drug Policy, which raised concerns that the bill would open the door to legalizing medical marijuana. It ignores ongoing scientific testing on alternative treatments," Otter wrote in his veto message. "It asks us to trust but not to verify. It asks us to legalize the limited use of cannabidiol oil, contrary to federal law. And it asks us to look past the potential for misuse and abuse with criminal intent. As an alternative to this legislation, I soon will issue an Executive Order authorizing the Department of Health & Welfare to study, and implement as it deems appropriate, an expanded access program for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children. That program has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration." (Link)
    Governor Otter did eventually issue an executive order permitting a small number of children to participate in a clinical trial using the pharmaceutical CBD product Epidiolex. (Link)

  • Bruce Rauner (R)

    Illinois

    Took OfficeJanuary 12, 2015
    Seat Up2019
    NORML Grade: B-

    Enacted Legislation

    Senate Bill 2228: Reduced the penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (formerly punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine) to a civil fine of no more than $200 - no arrest and no criminal record. It also decriminalized related offenses involving the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. (2016) (Link)
    Senate Bill 10: Extended the state's medical cannabis program to 2020; added post-traumatic stress and any terminal illness as qualifying medical conditions; extended the lifespan of state-issued registry cards from one year to three years in duration; amended the requirement that physicians must explicitly recommend cannabis therapy. (2016) (Link)

    Vetoed Bills

    House Bill 218: Sought to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amount of marijuana. (2015) (Link)

    Comments

    When Rauner vetoed last year's legislation, he said in a letter to lawmakers that the existing penalties for petty marijuana offenses are "too severe" and that "criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources." He wrote that he supported "the fundamental purposes" of the measure, which he later approved in 2016. (Link)

  • Mike Pence (R)

    Indiana

    Took OfficeJanuary 14, 2013
    Seat Up2017 (running for Vice Preside
    NORML Grade: F

    Comments

    Legislation was introduced to overhaul Indiana's criminal code in 2013. The bill originally included a clause to lower marijuana possession charges. Pence, however, refused to accept the lowered penalties, and demanded that legislators bump cannabis possession back up to a Class B misdemeanor before signing the measure into law. Pence said at a press conference, "I think we need to focus on reducing crime, not reducing penalties." (Link)
    Pence has taken a tough-on-crime agenda for much of his political career. But his approach began to shift in the fall of 2015 when he created a task force to investigate alternative ways to combat drug use."We simply cannot arrest our way out of the problem," Pence said. "We have to recognize that we also have to address the root causes of addiction and focus on treatment." (Link)

  • Terry Branstad (R)

    Iowa

    Took OfficeJanuary 14, 2011
    Seat Up2019
    NORML Grade: D

    Comments

    In 2014, Governor Branstad signed into law Senate File 2360, a bill to allow cannabidiol for patients suffering from severe epileptic seizures. This law has proved unworkable and the governor has refused to consider legislation to expand it. "No. I don't think it would be good public policy for the state of Iowa" to legalize recreational marijuana," Branstad said. "So when people want to know what my opinion is, that is what my opinion is. Obviously, individual legislators have their own opinions on various subjects." (Link)

  • Sam Brownback (R)

    Kansas

    Took OfficeJanuary 10, 2011
    Seat Up2019 (term limits)
    NORML Grade: C-

    Enacted Legislation

    House Bill 2462: Reduced criminal penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses from a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year incarceration and a $2,500 fine) to a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine). A second conviction is no longer classified as a felony offense. (2016) (Link)

  • Matt Bevin (R)

    Kentucky

    Took OfficeDecember 8, 2015
    Seat Up2019
    NORML Grade: B-

    Comments

    As a gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin acknowledged, "there is unequivocal medical evidence" that medical marijuana is beneficial. But he remains adamantly opposed to getting behind any legislation aimed at allowing marijuana to be grown, sold and used for recreational purposes. (Link)
    "If regulated and dispensed and prescribed in the same way as prescription drugs, then I would have no problem with marijuana being used for medical purposes," said Bevin. (Link)

  • John Bel Edwards (D)

    Louisiana

    Took OfficeJanuary 11, 2016
    Seat Up2020
    NORML Grade: B-

    Enacted Legislation

    House Bill 149: Reduced penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana from up to six-months in jail to no more than 15 days in jail. Second offenses were reduced from up to five years imprisonment to no more than six-months in jail. Third offenses are reduced from up to 20 years imprisonment to no more than two years in prison. (2015) (Link)
    Senate Bill 143: Establishes rules regarding the dispensing of cannabis pills or oil products via pharmacies and seeks to establish a single, state-licensed marijuana production facility for the state. (2015) (Link)
    Senate Bill 271: Permits physicians to 'recommend' rather than 'prescribe' medical cannabis therapy and also expands the pool of conditions eligible for cannabis therapy. (2016) (Link)

    Comments

    "I personally know too many individuals and really particularly children who are suffering from medical conditions, and traditional medicines are not providing relief," Edwards said. "I quite frankly think the state ought not be between the doctor and the parents when it comes to what might be best for those children." He added that he does not want a situation where parents feel they must move out of Louisiana in order to get access to medical marijuana. "The state of Louisiana should not interpose itself between doctors and patients when the doctors believe they have a patient who will benefit from medical marijuana. It simply is unacceptable to tell parents of kids that if they want to make them available to the kids the medicine recommended by their doctors to achieve some better quality of life -- some reduction in pain -- that they should have to move." (Link)
    "I am not willing to make this unavailable -- continue to make this unavailable to people with medical conditions such as those currently in the bill simply because I'm fearful that at some point it might lead to creep," Edwards said. "There's no way while I'm governor, and I suspect thereafter, that we're going to be legalizing recreational use of marijuana." (Link)

  • Paul LePage (R)

    Maine

    Took OfficeJanuary 5, 2011
    Seat Up2019 (term limits)
    NORML Grade: D+

    Enacted Legislation

    Legislative Document 4: Seeks to permit licensed hemp cultivation by removing a legislative requirement, enacted by state lawmakers in 2009, that mandated the federal government to reclassify hemp prior to the state's issuance of cultivation permits. (2015) (Link)
    Legislative Document 726: Permits qualified patients to use medical marijuana while admitted in Maine hospitals. (2016) (Link)

    Comments

    In 2014, Governor LePage signed into law LD 1739, legislation that expands the pool of those who can legally advise patients on the use of medicinal marijuana from physicians to 'medical providers' - a classification that includes certified nurse practitioners.
    Governor LePage passionately opposes Question 1, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana, stating: "Question 1 is not just bad for me, it can be deadly. Marijuana kills people on the highways. Traffic deaths in CO have increased dramatically. Marijuana is three times stronger than it was in the 1980's. People addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Heroin is already killing seven Mainers a week. We do not need to legalize another drug that could lead to more deaths. THC levels in marijuana snacks are so high they could kill children and pets. Pot snacks like cookies, candy, gummy bears and soda. Children can't tell if there is weed in these snacks. People will smoke marijuana in pot stores right next to schools, daycare centers, and churches. They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs. Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana. Before you vote, please educate yourself on this dangerous issue." (Link)
    The governor said medical marijuana is nuanced enough to pass constitutional muster, but legalizing marijuana for recreational use would put Maine into conflict with federal law. (Link)

  • Larry Hogan (R)

    Maryland

    Took OfficeJanuary 21, 2015
    Seat Up2019
    NORML Grade: B-

    Enacted Legislation

    House Bill 443: Permits the Department of Agriculture to authorize institutions of higher education to cultivate industrial hemp for academic research purposes. (2016) (Link)
    House Bill 104: Allows nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, among other medical professionals, who are in good standing with the state to provide written certifications to qualifying patients. (2016) (Link)

    Vetoed Bills

    Senate Bill 517: Sought to depenalize marijuana paraphernalia offenses. (2015) (Link) Lawmakers overturned the governor's veto in 2016.

    Comments

    "If Senate Bill 517 became law, State and local law enforcement would be left with no authority to make a traffic stop if they see someone smoking marijuana while driving. Based upon this uncertainty, the Maryland State's Attorney's Association, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, and the Maryland Sheriffs' Association have requested a veto of Senate Bill 517. For these reasons I have vetoed Senate Bill 517." (Link)

This information is continually being updated. If you have an additional public comment that we do not have record of or any additional information please email politics@norml.org.