NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up


Marijuana law reform is a growing topic of discussion at the state and federal level. Below is this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — a new post we’ll be sharing regularly where we spotlight pending marijuana law reform legislation from around the country.

To support the measures below, please use our #TakeAction Center to contact your state and federal elected officials! A full list and summary of pending legislation is available here. Summaries of the dozens of marijuana law reform bills approved this year is also available here.

New Federal Bills Introduced:

Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) have introduced HR 3518, to eliminate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. The DEA program distributes funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of locating and destroying marijuana cultivation sites. In 2014, the federal government spent an estimated $18 million on the program to destroy 4.3 million plants, mostly in California.

Congresswoman Diana Degette (D-CO) has reintroduced legislation, H.R. 3629, the Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2015, to amend the Controlled Substances Act in a manner that allows marijuana-related businesses and consumers in states that have legalized marijuana to be safe from federal interference. Fifty-nine percent of Americans agree that the government  “should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that allow [its] use,” yet the federal government continues to prosecute businesses and individuals in states that regulate marijuana for medical and personal use.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced the Fair Access to Education Act of 2015 to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to restore federal financial aid eligibility to minor marijuana offenders. This measure would “exclude marijuana-related offenses from the drug-related offenses that result in students being barred from receiving Federal educational loans, grants, and work assistance, and for other purposes.”

State Legislative Developments:

South Carolina: Members of the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee have unanimously passed SB 672, the Medical Marijuana Program Act. Senators Tom Davis (R-46) and Brad Hutto (D-40) introduced SB 672, the Medical Marijuana Program Act, earlier this year after lawmakers tabled previous medical marijuana legislation. The Medical Marijuana Program Act allows the use of medical marijuana for an extensive list of conditions and “any other medical condition…that the department determines, upon the written request of a provider who furnishes a medical recommendation to the department, is severely debilitating or terminal.” SB 672 will be considered by the full Senate Medical Affairs committee early next year.

Florida: House Bill 4021 was introduced by Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda. This bill removes cannabis from the Florida state schedule of controlled substances and removes all state criminal and civil penalties associated with the substance. Such a change is supported by Florida voters, 55 percent of whom support allowing adults “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” according to 2015 survey data published by Quinnipiac University. And in recent months, numerous cities and counties, like Miami-Dade County, have amended their local laws to stop arresting minor marijuana offenders.

Additional information for all of these measures and more can be found at our #TakeAction Center!

** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and to make the changes they want to see. Get active; get NORML!

3 thoughts

  1. We are living in interesting times indeed when you see that kind of legislation being introduced at the federal level.

    Beware the election of 2016. The wrong zealot in the White House could undo all the reform we’ve seen the folks at NORML help bring about over decades of effort. Just sayin….

  2. Thank you Dianne,
    for reminding me why I still focus attentively at the Federal level as much as I do at the state level:

    “Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) have introduced HR 3518, to eliminate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.”

    Bad Federal Grants are the root of American Evil.

  3. Re HR3518 to eradicate eradication, believe it or not, those eradication bureaucrats have tought they were doing something good. They think “marijuana” causes a mental illness in certain others which consists of being a different kind of person than themselves. Cure the mental illness by reducing access to cannabis, right?

    Well, actually who it’s good for is the AN$TO Addictive Nicotine $igarette Tobacco Oligopoly, because

    (a) reducing the supply of cannabis bwd increases its price,

    (b) making it presently usually over 10 (ten) times as expensive as the tobacco in commercial $igarettes. I.e. an ounce of riefer may cost $200, while two Packs of .7-g $igarettes (28 grams) cost $20 in a high tax state.

    C. Therefore a kid needing to $moke something right now to appear groan-up may make rash choice to settle for the Affordable Addictable on limited money.

    d. Anyone notice that many kids who got hooked age 15 in 1985 on $igs in China are now starting to die off, and last week new prediction has 2 MILLION Nicotine $igarette premature deaths a year in single country of China by 2030. Cannabis to the rescue, anyone?

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