NORML’s Legislative Round Up January 14th, 2016

map_leafThe momentum for marijuana law reform continues this week with new legislation introduced in Illinois and Virginia, updates on pending legislation in Alaska, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, and an exciting update from abroad! Keep reading below to find out about the latest legislative developments and what actions YOU can take to move forward in ending prohibition!


Germany introduced legislation this week to legalize medical marijuana use. The bill titled, “Cannabis as Medicine” permits doctor to prescribe cannabis for patients in a manner similar to other prescription medications.Additionally, under the proposed law, the cost of the medicine in certain cases would be covered by health insurance. Cannabis would be cultivated under a federal license and be dispensed in pharmacies.


Alaska: Lawmakers are setting a national precedent by regulating the adult use of cannabis in licensed, public facilities. No other state to date permits public cannabis consumption, which will remain subject to both state and local approval.medical_dispensary

Illinois: Companion legislation to House bill 4357 is pending in the Senate to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses in Illinois. This proposal largely mirrors legislation previously introduced in the spring of 2015 that was approved by members of both the House and Senate, but was ultimately vetoed by the Governor.

To contact your lawmakers in support of this legislation click here.

Patients and advocates in the state are also increasing pressure on state health officials to expand the list of qualifying conditions permitted under the state’s medical marijuana program.

Late last year, the state Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended letting people suffering from PTSD, chronic pain and autism, among other conditions, legally use medical cannabis. But the state Department of Public Health still must decide on whether or not to add any additional qualifying conditions.

Click here to sign a petition urging them to expand access to medical marijuana in the state!

Maryland: Maryland NORML and their associates in the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland need your help to override Governor Hogan’s veto of 2015 legislation (SB517) that sought to decriminalize the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.  Under this measure, the possession of paraphernalia specific to the use of marijuana would have no longer been classified as a criminal offense.  Click here to email your Representatives and urge them to override the Governor’s veto on this important legislation.

Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf again encouraged lawmakers to pass medical cannabis legislation. His staff has stated, “It was a top priority in 2015 for the governor and remains a top priority for 2016. We should not be denying a doctor recommended, scientifically proven treatment.”

Legislation is currently pending in the state to allow patients, including those with intractable pain, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and other qualifying conditions, access to certain cannabis-infused products, such as oils or pills.

Senators previously approved the legislation, but House members have continued to oppose it, adding more than 100 amendments to the bill — most of which seek to make it completely ineffective.

To learn more, click here.

Vermont: Senate Bill 241, sponsored by Senator Jeannette White and Senate Bill 95 , sponsored by Senator David Zuckerman, will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, January 19th. Both bills seek to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana by adults.legalization_poll

Statewide polling reports that 57 percent of Vermont voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana production and sales.

Democratic Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has expressed support for regulating cannabis, having stated , “My bias on legalization is toward legalization. Let’s remember, we have this conversation and we pretend that you can’t get marijuana now. In the real world, folks, if you want to get marijuana in Vermont, we’re in Lala Land if we’re pretending you can’t. The question is how do we move to a smarter approach that doesn’t promote addiction, that doesn’t promote abuse and really accepts the reality.”

Click here to contact your lawmakers and urge their support for legalization in Vermont!

Virginia: Two additional decriminalization bills were introduced this week in the Virginia General Assembly. House bill 997, introduced by Delegate Mark Levine and House bill 1074, introduced by Delegate Steve Heretick. Both measures seek to decriminalize the simple possession of marijuana.

This makes a total of three bills filed so far this legislative session that seek to eliminate criminal penalties for the simple possession of marijuana.

Click here to contact your lawmakers and urge their support for these common sense reforms!

Additional information for these and other pending legislative measures may 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!

9 thoughts

  1. It’s great to see so much of the country moving forward, or trying to move forward.

    I’m hoping 2016 will usher in good things.

  2. I’m in Maryland. I sent an email on the paraphernalia law to my Representative urging them to override Gov. Hogan’s veto.

    Keep an eye out here for contacting your state or national representatives. It can’t get any easier than NORML has made it here.

  3. Pennsylvania Republicans are the worst. That map of the U.S. in The Marijuana Revolution never once showed Pennsylvania as having made any kind of cannabis progress, and with good reason. There isn’t any. Harrisburg is a mess. Shootings in the triangle cities Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster every week, and the legislature can’t get an acceptable budget passes. It’s elephants against elephants.

    Pennsylvania needs the revenue. Just legalize it all: medical, adult recreational, industrial. It’s not just the money and the jobs. It’s the right thing to do. It’s been the right thing to, and it’s long overdue.

    Can you get other pro-legalization Republicans, even from other states, to bombard Pennsylvania Republicans with the information and talking points they need to legalize in Pennsylvania?

  4. Nice to see that the presidential candidates are not black and white on the issue of legalization. Makes me wonder whether their campaigns are getting money from those who stand to lose the most from legalization…namely, BIG PHARMA.

    I hope that for once, the people will actually be heard and obeyed on this matter. Weed is just better for all (except the pharmaceutical industry)across the board.

    1. You tube the last Democratic debate. Bernie Sanders received no rebuttal that his campaign is the only one not receiving campaign donations from Big Pharma. He also intends to do away with privatized pharmaceuticals and private insurance and pay for a one-payer system with a modest tax on Wall Street speculation and fairly taxed legal marijuana.

  5. If the real powers that be actually allow us to vote for Bernie Sanders I believe he can win.

    I do so hope we all get the chance. Considering that the word most people came up with to describe Hilary Clinton was “liar”, it seems incredible to me that she typically polls higher than Mr. Sanders.

    We should all do what we can to get Mr. Sanders elected. I believe he will finish what President Obama intended. Sadly for the black community, it will be a white person that finally gets this done; unless Obama gets on it with all his might…

Leave a Reply