NORML’s Legislative Round Up April 22nd, 2016

We’ve got federal news for you and an encouraging announcement out of Canada this week. Plus we’ll update you on pending state legislation across the country. Keep reading below to get the latest in marijuana law reform!


Canada: The country’s health minister announced this week that federal legislation to legalize marijuana for adult use will be introduced in spring of 2017. Speaking at a special session before the UN, the minister said, “”We will work with law enforcement partners to encourage appropriate and proportionate criminal justice measures. We know it is impossible to arrest our way out of this problem.”


NORML Board member Evan Nison appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday to ask Hillary Clinton her thoughts on legalization. Check out the clip here:

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Members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee once again voted in favor of the Mikulski medical marijuana amendment. The provision prohibits the Justice Department, including the DEA, from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Members of the Senate and House approved similar language last year.

A bipartisan group of 26 Senators and Representatives signed a letter last week urging President Obama to remove federal barriers that limit clinical cannabis research.

“Twenty-three states have passed laws establishing medical cannabis programs and an additional seventeen have passed laws regarding the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD), a compound derived from cannabis,” the Senators and Representatives wrote in the letter. “Despite these developments, researchers, doctors, and patients in these forty states are still subject to federal barriers impeding innovation and medical research. Until we have comprehensive scientific research on the medical risks and benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, we will continue to debate this issue on the basis of outdated ideology instead of modern science.”


Florida: Members of the Orlando City Council voted 4-3 in favor of an ordinance to give local police the option of citing, rather than arresting, marijuana possession offenders. The second reading for the measure will be May 8th. If you live in Orlando, contact your City Commissioner and urge their support for this common sense proposal!

Louisiana: Members of the Senate this week decided in favor of legislation, SB 271 to amend the state’s dormant medical marijuana law. Despite vocal opposition from law enforcement groups, members of the Senate voted 21 to 16 in favor of the measure on Wednesday, April 20th. The bill now awaits action from members of the House.

Ohio: Senate lawmakers have approved legislation, Senate Bill 204, so that drug offenses are no longer punishable by a mandatory loss of one’s driver’s license. Under existing law, any drug conviction carries a mandatory driver’s license suspension of at least six months, even in cases where the possession offense did not take place in a vehicle. Senate Bill 204 would make such suspensions discretionary rather than mandatory. With no public opposition, the bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. #TakeAction

New Hampshire: For the seventh year in a row, members of the Senate Judiciary committee voted to kill marijuana decriminalization. House Bill 1631 sought to amend state law so that offenses involving the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana would be classified as a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense — no arrest, and no criminal record. New Hampshire remains the last state in New England that has not decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Washington D.C.: D.C. Council voted to permanently ban the creation of private clubs for marijuana consumption in the district this week. The legislation, approved in a 7-6 vote, modifies DC’s laws to add private-membership organizations to the list of public venues, and makes permanent a temporary ban the Council implemented in February when a few clubs sprouted up. The vote came just hours before a Council created “task-force” on marijuana clubs was scheduled to hold its first meeting.

On Wednesday, NORML released our 2016 Congressional Scorecard. An all encompassing database that assigns a letter grade, ‘A’ through ‘F’, to members of Congress based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records. Be sure to check out what grade your federally elected officials received and share the Scorecard with friends and family so they become engaged voters too!

23 thoughts

  1. I apologize for being off-topic. Can someone direct me to a compiled index of credible research documents that supports cannabis legalization and debunks or counters the misrepresentations we’ve all been living with for the past 50 years? Io think this would be a tremendous resource for all to reference in our advocacy of legalization If I were better organized, I would have been cataloging the info as it was presented. I’d never make it as a librarian.

    1. There’s a green menu at the top of this page. You’ll find a lot of info and links right on this site.

  2. Great, Orlando; Disneyworld finally found a way for Daddy to tolerate the two hour wait on the Dumbo ride! It’s like “What? No jail time? I was actually contemplating whether jail was BETTER than waiting in the Dumbo line! Daddy’s getting STONED! It’s worth the fine! (Ok, I’ll use a f^€*ing vaporizer…)

    And speaking of Dumbo lines, Hillary, we got yer evidence right here! Pick a page and start reading!

    Sigh… “more research”? Really? “How marijuana mixes with prescription meds”… Does she even care how two-faced and out of touch she sounds with what even non-consumers already know? That the reason Americans are switching to whole plant cannabis is because prescription meds are KILLING us? Pull yer head outta Big Pharma’s butt Hillary, it’s gotta stink in there!
    (Please landslide Bernie into office California… I think I’m going to have to be stoned before I’m forced to vote for Hillary! Help! Somebody get me off the Dumbo ride!!!)

    1. Yeah, that clip of Hillary was painful to watch. Watch her struggle to contain her contempt! She seems to begrudge even the few crumbs she was obliged to throw Evan Nison.

      She wants to “wait” and see how Colorado turns out? WTF? Hop on a goddamn plane, fly to Colorado, and look around!! What’s to wait for, the sky to fall in?

      Ew! Cringeworthy.

  3. Some one should ask Hilary just exactly what kind of evidence she is looking for. She specifically asked for evidence of how cannabis interacts with other medication – well there are thousands of MMJ patients across America who can tell her it has no detrimental side effects on any medication they take.
    I live in the UK and people here are still convinced that cannabis causes mental illness so that is justification to persecute users and criminalise it’s production and distribution just in case it might be bad. I just point them to all those dispensary patients across all those states with a MMJ program. Cannabis is not causing these people any problems whatsoever. At the very worst it does nothing to help them or makes them feel a bit uncomfortable. If there was harm being done people would file law suits against doctors and dispensaries but I have heard of no such case being taken up (I am sure we would be told about it by the prohibitionists if it happens!)

  4. DC

    I am diggin’ the article at High Times about DC Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ). The door is opening to a more sophisticated way of getting full legalization. Don’t screw it up.

    Other pro-legalization groups aren’t invited to the same meeting. Not surprising. They don’t approve of each other’s tactics and verbally squabble. Invite them to separate meetings. Interrogate them in separate meetings with Administration. Fewer numbers are easier to avoid argument and too many cooks. In practical terms you will hear all the brain trusts separately for the same length meetings rather than giving them all together only one meeting where the time constraints would undoubtedly result in their voices not being full heard.

    Well, one of the things you can bring up is getting the DC Council to move forward with the task force. You know they’re afraid about the feds swooping in and making a huge mess, so call off the dawgz somehow.“bud-summit”

  5. So much BS. Especially NH voting against decriminalization 7 years in a row, what a joke.

    1. Here is a direct link to the MAPS website if anyone wishes to offer support:

      We’ll be watching a movie documentary one day about the history that is being made this year. Godspeed to these researchers. It was Dr. Sue Sisley who said to us at the Southwest Cannabis Convention and Expo a couple of months ago that “if we include causes of death for veterans with opiate overdose as suicide, the number of veteran suicides is closer to 50 a day.”
      Thank you Dr. Sisley, to the state of Colorado, and to all the medical institutions involved in this research, and whoever made the decision in the DEA to authorize this research, I never thought I’d say this to the DEA but thank you for finally standing up for our veterans. Lord knows I won’t stop calling, writing and visiting my Congressman, but it tears me up every time I have to beg some Congressional staffer to stop letting our veterans die alone, forcefed opiates, without our support. Whole plant cannabis, not opiates, is going to change this PTSDisorder into PTSGrowth, and we need nurse practitioners like Heather Manus delivering this medicine to the homes of our veterans, a.s.a.p.

      1. That is good news indeed, Julian.

        Thanks for posting. I had forgotten about this MAPS organization.

        I had real problems as a young man, and I had used the early work of John C. Lilly (the dolphin/LSD-in-a-sensual-deprivation-tank-guy and Timothy Leary, who need no introduction to ‘look within’. They both eventually made fools of themselves, but in retrospect they’re very early work was invaluable to me. Essentially, I used a combination of LSD and Transcendental Meditation to take my own mind apart and put it back together.

        There is a strong possibility that without them I would have eventually killed myself.

        I learned to read body language thanks to their work.

        I learned to ‘merge’ with existence itself. I’m not a big fan of deities, so as I approach the end of my life, this ability is precious to me.

        I learned to lucid dream. That’s a dream where you know you’re dreaming. Man, is it neat.

        If you don’t know what I’m talking, no one ever really does.

      2. Yes, I do know what you mean (remembering dreams, not the dolphins and LSD 🙂 ) …but it’s usually a rare Sunday morning when I get to sleep in late, and its usually interrupted by my kids playing over the cereal.
        Ive written before about how despite having access to marijuana all my life, I did not begin smoking until I was 18, the year I became morbidly depressed, and marijuana and some good friends snapped me out of my depression.
        I was suffering from separation from family, the need to pick a career in order to give myself permission to have a relationship, and perhaps worse, an unconquerable guilt from a list of traumatic family events I had little to no control over that depressed people seem so willing to blame themselves for.
        I was living in a recurring nightmare, wide awake, unable to cure the pain, and unwilling to play around with prozac (Really? Horny when you’re NOT supposed to be and NOT horny when you ARE supposed to? THAT could have lead my life down a different direction. Good thing I read the fine print!)
        What marijuana did for me is it made me revisit the nightmare feeling relaxed, objective and willing to accept the tragedies of life with humor and only perceptible anger reserved for more clinical judgement. Yes, there can be anxiety for first time users as they breach the walls we create in our subconscious, but this is only a temporary part of the healing process. Marijuana helped me bravely “look within” and determine WHERE the pain was coming from, and SOLVE the problems… a problem people who take opiates say they failed to do.

  6. I love the clip of Evan asking the secratary about her views on Marijuana. Who else but NORML would send a professional looking young man to ask a presidential candidate about marijuana? Very well done, glad to see this issue brought into the light of a presidential campaign.

  7. Re. the Senators and Representatives who signed a letter urging Obama to remove federal barriers that limit clinical cannabis research”: It’s a nice gesture, but folks, Obama ain’t gonna do it, he ain’t gonna be “the one who made pot legal” in any way because he’s a chickensh*t. He’s already clearly put the onus on congress, but congress is chickensh*t too. It’s just a game of hot potato and Obama’s just counting the days until he’s gone so no one will ever be able to blame him in history and say “that damn black president, it’s all his fault that pot’s legal now.” Congress really should be able to get it all done, but since they’re mostly a bunch of morons, the president really should step up, step in, LEAD, and get on the right side of history. Here’s a great article from a great source re. why we are where we are:

  8. It appears the Canadians are timidly waiting for the US elections before deciding what to do about federal adult use legalization? Really takes that long to prepare all the hoops to jump through?

    1. Here is Canada’s health minister at UNGASS;

      This was about as much as we could expect from the shifting debate on international drug policy; What an incredible show from Canada. The petitions follow, but I wasn’t expecting an all out petition on treaties so I wasn’t disappointed. However, I was disappointed that Busta Rymes and Mary J Blige didn’t hit the stage and drop some jaws with songs like “Gimme some more… Yo Mary where the weed at? Gimme some more…” Or perhaps a duo like when Busta sang “what’s it gonna be” with Janet Jackson.” (Sorry, guess I read too deep into the list of invited guests at UNGASS and got disappointed…)

  9. Poor Hillary! You’ve got to make cannabis legal first so patients who are medicating with it without their doctors’ knowledge can actually have that discussion with their doctor IF there are any side effects from using it along with (other) prescription drugs.

    Way to go, Hillary. More research, yeah more research as in if you become more pro-legalization is it gonna get you more votes or less votes?! Just moving it out of Schedule I is okay if you’re PANDERING TO BIG PHARMA, but I want cannabis removed altogether from any kind of Schedule. There is ample evidence already, just effing actually sit down and read it for yourself sometime soon! People’s lives hang in the balance. Don’t stretch out prohibition any longer. It’s simply unnecessary to prolong people’s suffering and cure what you can with it right now. Why wait?! If Big Pharma comes up with something better or that treats this and that, fantastic, but again why wait until then?!

    Barry, what are you doing to move legalization forward at the international level? Just push that key domino to set the path to legalization in motion so that even if the next president does absolutely nothing pro-legalization that legalization is irreversible.

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