NORML’s Legislative Round Up April 14th, 2016

thumbs_upThere is long awaited news from Pennsylvania, as the Keystone State is poised to become the 24th state to permit medical cannabis access and separate legislative efforts continue to move forward around the country. Keep reading below to get this week’s latest in marijuana law reform!


The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment today, for the second year in a row, to expand medical marijuana access to United States veterans.

The amendment, sponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) from spending money to enforce a policy that prohibits the department’s physicians from filling out medical marijuana recommendation forms in states where the drug is legal. It will be attached to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.

The bipartisan vote was 20 to 10, marking a slight improvement from last year’s 18-12 vote. Though a majority of the Senate passed the amendment in 2015, it was ultimately defeated in conference with the House.


Alabama: Legislation to protect qualified patients eligible for CBD therapy is gaining traction in the legislature. Both the House and Senate are considering similar proposals to expand patient access. While existing state law permits qualified patients to use CBD if they are part of state-sponsored clinical trial, these proposed measures would legally protect qualified patients who possess the substance outside of a clinical trial environment. #TakeAction

Florida: Another municipality in Florida is considering decriminalizing offenses involving the possession of small amounts of marijuana. On Monday, Orlando’s City Council will review an ordinance to make possession of 20 grams (about two-thirds of an ounce) or less a violation of city code, punishable by a fine of $50 for first-time offenders. Tampa and Volusia County both approved similar ordinances last month. NORML first reported this trend of Florida cities and counties adopting decriminalization policies last August.

If you live in Orlando, you can contact your City Council member to urge their support for this measure here.

Louisiana: House and Senate legislation is pending to fix and expand the state’s dormant medical marijuana law. Existing law only permits for the patients’ use of medical marijuana in instances where the plant is ‘prescribed.’ However, under federal law, physicians cannot legally ‘prescribe’ cannabis or any schedule I substance. House Bill 1112 addresses these problems by: permitting physicians to recommend rather than ‘prescribe’ cannabis therapy; by licensing facilities to produce and dispense the product; and by expanding the pool of eligible patients to include ailments like cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and intractable pain. Law enforcement groups have voiced disapproval of the proposed change, so it is important that lawmakers hear from you. #TakeAction

Maryland: Governor Larry Hogan has signed legislation to permit the Department of Agriculture to authorize institutions of higher education to cultivate industrial hemp for academic research purposes. Members of the Senate voted 45 to zero in favor of the bill. House members voted 136 to zero in favor of the measure. Maryland is the 26th state to enact legislation recognizing hemp as a agricultural commodity.

State lawmakers have also approved legislation to expand the pool of medical professionals who can provide written recommendations for marijuana to qualifying patients. Under the proposal, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, among other medical professionals, who are in good standing with the state will be permitted to provide written certifications to qualifying patients. The legislation awaits action from Governor Larry Hogan. #TakeAction

Oregon: Governor Kate Brown has signed legislation into law that seeks to encourage financial institutions to engage in financial relationships with state-compliant marijuana businesses. The emergency legislation, House Bill 4094, “exempts financial institutions that provide financial services to marijuana related businesses, researchers and laboratories from any criminal law of this state.” The law took effect upon signing.

pills_v_potPennsylvania: House and Senate lawmakers have given final approval to legislation, Senate Bill 3, to permit the production and use of medical marijuana products to qualified patients. Members of the Senate initially approved the measure in 2015. House leadership delayed acting on the bill for several months until finally passing an amended version of SB 3 in March. Senate and House members voted this week in favor of a concurrent version of the proposal. Once signed into law, Pennsylvania will become the 24th state to permit the use of physician-recommended cannabis.

South Carolina: Members of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee have defeated SB 672, the Medical Marijuana Program Act. However, identical legislation, H. 4037, remains pending in the House. The legislation would allow the use of medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions; it also permits a registered patient or caregiver to possess up to, “two one-ounce packages of marijuana in leaf form, one ounce of cannabis oil concentrate, or eight ounces of diluted cannabis oil.” #TakeAction

Vermont: Members of the House Judiciary moved away from Senate-backed legislation, S. 241, to regulate the adult use, production, and sale of cannabis. On Friday, April 8, members of the Committee voted 6 to 5 on an amended version of S. 241 to establish a study commission to evaluate the matter of legalization. The vote came after members of the committee narrowly rejected an effort to amend the bill in a manner that would expand the state’s existing decriminalization laws.

Members of the Senate previously voted 17 to 12 in favor of the legislation in its original form, and it continues to be backed by Gov. Shumlin, state Attorney General William Sorrell, and a majority of Vermonters. It is vital that members of both the House and Senate continue hear from you in support of S. 241 so that lawmakers will be persuaded to once again amend this bill in a manner that seeks to regulate the adult use, production, and sale of cannabis. #TakeAction

21 thoughts

  1. I registered as a faux Republican and just voted in the early voting place located 1/2 a block from my home.

    I voted against Rep. Andy Harris MD and for Smigiel.

    I voted against Trump. This meant I voted for Cruz, who actually scares me. If Trump is not the nominee, I believe his colossal ego will drive him to a 3rd party candidacy and assure victory for the Democrats.

    The wrong guy in the White House could undo all the progress on reform that NORML has fought for decades to achieve.

    1. why? why would you vote for cruz if you want marijuana legal? BERNIE SANDERS is our best shot at legalizing marijuana

      1. I voted in the Republican primary. I mainly wanted to vote against the local Representative Andy Harris.

        I voted against Trump who seems like a spoiled child to me. Voting for Cruz was a way of doing that.

        In the November election I’ll be voting for Clinton or Sanders, because I don’t believe they will undo the gains made on reform.

      2. You do realize popular vote doesn’t elect an official? I never understood ignorance

      3. I realize no such thing. This kind of reasoning is among the reasons marijuana is STILL illegal in the 21st century.

      4. are you kidding me? because you want weed legailzed you will vote for Hilary? are you f’ing kidding me? do your research because by saying youd vote her in, i know you havent. She will destroy our country from the inside, i mean she wrote her senior essay on the TOPIC!!!!!! do be a retard… research your candidates…Hilary is a criminal and a thorn in Americas side..if u vote her in please leave me country that i fought so hard for because your undoing what i did and helping to destroy it….

        [Editor’s note: That’s some mighty fine political discourse…Not. Sure, Hilary Clinton has been planning to destroy the country from the inside…and that she is a criminal…and that she has been planning all this since college speaks to the pronounced dumbing down of politics in America.

        None of the current candidates for president are criminals. None seek to destroy the country.

        Get real.]

      5. response to Editor’s note: man i respect your answer and what yall do fighting for people like me i really do and im sure it is not her plan to destroy but she IS corrupt she left people to die in benghazi the amount of money she takes is a crime against our political system ( wich i admit i do not know much about ) the crime bill that the clintons faught for imprisoned unjustly people on OUR side – i believe if Bernie is not nominated independent libertarian i dont know i honestly dont know who that is i remember judge gray i dont know but i disagree i believe hillery IS A CRIMINAL and it should be anyone but clintons or bushes ever again – again thanks for what you do mad respect i just disagree i believe hillery clinton is very much a criminal

        [Editor’s note: Benghazi? 1994 Crime Bill (Um…Mrs. Clinton was not an elected official, she was an unelected figurehead)? You may believe and/or hope that Mrs. Clinton is a criminal, but, where is the conviction or even indictment of such for Benghazi, or, email server?

        There is none.

        Definition of a ‘criminal’ is someone who has been arrested, prosecuted and found guilty by judge or jury of breaking the law. Self-evidently Clinton is not a criminal until such ACTUALLY happens (i.e., Clinton has never even been interviewed by FBI re the email server and the wildly politically-motivated Benghazi committee–which has taken up more time and energy than, for example, the investigations into the shooting of JFK, Watergate and 911 Commission–has to date turned up zilch)…otherwise, talk of such is just rank speculation…and not invited on a politically neutral webpage about cannabis legalization. Debates about whether or not this politician or that politician is a ‘criminal’ is best left for webpages like Breitbart or Moveon, etc…]

    2. Excellent Work, voting for Smigiel to replace Harris! The importance and significance of that cannot be overstated!

    1. I believe the site is the Texas norml

      [Editor’s note: TX NORML is found at]

    2. Hi Donna,
      Texas NORML is gearing up for lobbying during the next Texas legislative session in January-March of next year, 2017. Texas Norml meets the first Wednesday of every month at 8pm at the Flamingo Cantina on 6th street in Austin. Were in cooperation with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy to get the CBD law that passed last year functional and expanded to meet the needs of all kinds of seizures, not just those with intractable or severe epilepsy. We also need to change the language in the bill from “prescribes” to recommends… Unless we can deschedule marijuana Federally, whichever happens sooner (State laws generally become the catalyst for changing Federal law… Hey, at least our state legislature admits marijuana is medicine! Were out of the first ugly step of denial!)

  2. Im so glad that there are so many weekly advances in cannabis legalization I’ve only dreamed about as a kid growing up, like growing hemp in the countryside of Maryland, or allowing nurse practitioners to bring medicinal weed to a sick veteran to said countryside… And we all jam out on some stage all prepped and ready in the middle of some hemp field…
    No seriously; All mindblowing advances that are going to restore the spirit of our ancestors into our lands.
    Especially because the bull$#!+ the Vermont House just pulled is REALLY disappointing. Appoint a committee to “research legalization?” What is that? “Hey, Robert, James, Mike; You three are goin to Denver; Pack some extra food, you’re gonna be soooo stoned after trying every strain.”
    I mean WHAT is there to research that Colorado isn’t already DOING? With hemp, I get it, we need to see what strains grow well where, but Vermont is ALREADY GROWING hemp! F*€*! It’s just so frustrating… This year, Vermont was going to be the first legislatively fully legalized state of all time. Who knows, maybe they still will. Ok, I’ll stay positive.

    Ok, back to my highschool fantasy of getting lost in a hemp field somewhere in upstate Maryland with Felicia Felatio… Ahhh… That’s better…

  3. Louisiana: “Law enforcement groups have expressed disapproval” of adjustments to House Bill 1112.

    Not surprising that in states where $lavery reigned for centuries and cops were trained to watch for “insolence” or “rebellion” as signs of impending violations of some Owner’s property rights– i.e. run away and not be their $lave any more– and certain shapes and features of the eyes, nose and mouth especially on African-descended males came to be allowed to be interpreted as expressions of said insolence or rebellion; and officers were graded and promoted and higher-paid on the basis of scoring preventive captures of would-be “violators” on any pretext– not surprising that since Anslitler possession, delivery or use of cannabis has in such states been such a pretext for self-serving action by a cop who, well, has to make a living.

    1. Back in the day when reefer madness was in full bloom, and public support for legalization was very low, the refrain from Law Enforcement was “We don’t make the laws, we just enforce them.” You don’t hear them spouting that crap much anymore, do you?

      Now that marijuana legalization is putting their gravy-train, free money ride on the line, they got a very definite opinion about it, don’t they?

      “Law enforcement groups have expressed disapproval.” Well boo fucking hoo!!

  4. So the wise and grateful lawmakers in Columbis say they are fastraking a MMJ bill through to be approved by August.
    Wow they ain’t wasting time anymore.
    You people at Normal are moving a mountains. Thanks for being normal.

  5. Last I heard, from the MPP website, Vermont revived s.241 in the Judiciary committee and it should be on its way to the ways and means committee. Is this true?

    Also, Arizona has 200,000 signatures to qualify for their voter initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol on the November ballot.

    And just today the newly formed Doctors for Cannabis Regulation announced their founding just a week before the UNGASS meeting this month! One of our NORML board members, Dr. Lester Grinspoon is a founding member.

    What a great week for marijuana legalization!

  6. Thank God Orlando is picking up on the marijuana tourism bandwagon! I think Disney finally figured out how to make “It’s a Small World” tolerable! If I gotta pay $1,500 to stay at some Disney hotel, screw the giraffes, daddy’s gonna take the fine for possession when they catch me on the balcony in the morning lightin up a fat one;
    “I didn’t feed that giraffe any marijuana, it pursued ME officer!”
    “What about MY consumer protections? That frikin giraffe has a four-foot tongue! It swiped my girl-scout-cookie-blueberry-trainwreck right through the balcony rails!”
    Aahh… The problems of the beautiful future…

  7. I just read the news about united Nations about legalizing marijuana worldwide. Is NORML involved, helping with the efforts? They are holding a meeting on 4/20 sounds inviting to me that they chose the dates that included 4/20. Normal should be there! Even if it is just outside peacefully rallying. I want to be involved! I will speak about how marijuana has been helpful with my chronic pain from migraines and fibromyalgia, PTSD, seizures, tremors! This is soooo huge! I also am a nurse and have seen improvement in patients on marinol.

    [Editor’s note: NORML is among the many non-profit drug policy reform organizations involved in lobbying the UNGASS meeting in NYC this week.]

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