NORML’s Legislative Round Up May 13th, 2016

legalization_pollThis week we’ll give you updates on legislation in Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Ohio. Plus we have exciting ballot initiative news out of California and Missouri! Keep reading below to get the latest in marijuana law reform this week.

California: Proponents of the marijuana legalization ballot initiative, the AUMA (Adult Use of Marijuana Act), announced announced at a press conference that they have gathered more than 600,000 signatures from registered voters. This total is far more than the required number of 365,880 signatures needed in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The Board of Directors of NORML has endorsed the measure, which permits adults to legally grow (up to six plants) and possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce of flower and/or up to eight grams of concentrate) while also licensing commercial cannabis production and retail sales.

Florida: Members of the Orlando City Council voted  4 to 3 this week in favor of a new municipal ordinance giving police the option to cite, rather than arrest, minor marijuana possession offenders. Under the ordinance, which takes effect on October 1, 2016, first-time and second-time possession offenses involving up to 20 grams of cannabis may be punished by a fine of no more than $200 – no arrest and no criminal record. Under state law, similar offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Similar local measures have been recently approved in several other Florida cities and counties, including Tampa, Miami-Dade county, Palm Beach county, and Volusia county.

Louisiana: Members of the House of Representatives have approved senate legislation, Senate Bill 271, 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. Senate Bill 271 seeks to change the language of existing law so that physicians may ‘recommend’ rather than prescribe cannabis therapy. The measure also expands the pool of conditions eligible for cannabis therapy to include Crohn’s disease, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders. The bill will now return to the Senate for concurrence. Governor John Bel Edwards has expressed support for the medical marijuana expansion measure, stating that he wants a ‘meaningful’ bill that will ‘actually work.’ #TakeAction

namlogoblueMissouri: Representatives of New Approach Missouri, the group pushing for a statewide medical marijuana ballot question this November, announced earlier this week they have turned in just under 250,000 signatures to the state for certification — well over the 167,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot. The measure, which NORML has endorsed, would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to patients at their discretion, and would also permit qualified patients to cultivate marijuana or obtain it from licensed dispensaries.

New Hampshire: Members of the House approved an amended, Senate-backed sentencing reform bill, Senate Bill 498, in a 298-58 vote on Wednesday, May 11th. The amended language would make first-time marijuana possession offenses a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. The civil penalty would be limited to a fine only: no arrest, prosecution, or criminal record. Subsequent offenses would continue to be classified as misdemeanors. The legislation now returns to the Senate for concurrence. Members of the Senate have previously rejected decriminalization for several years running. #TakeAction

Ohio: House lawmakers approved revised legislation, House bill 523, to establish guidelines for those who may qualify to use medical marijuana and how it may legally be consumed, in a 71-26 vote on May 10th. The revisions outline 20 ailments for which cannabis may be recommended, including epilepsy, AIDS, and intractable pain. However, the revised language prohibits the consumption of medicinal cannabis via smoking. Such restrictions exist in three other states: Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania. The measure will now be considered by members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday, May 17th. #TakeAction

A separate, more comprehensive medical marijuana measure is likely to appear on the 2016 ballot initiative. Proponents of the initiative, the Marijuana Policy Project, must collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The MPP-backed measure would permit qualified patients to cultivate their own medicine and/or obtain cannabis from licensed dispensaries. You can read a summary of the measure here.

lobby_day_2016We are ten days out from NORML’s 2016 Conference and Congressional Lobby Day and we are excited to share with you the full itinerary! Have you registered to attend? We have some fun events planned and it would be a shame for you to miss out!

16 thoughts

  1. I’m very pleased to see that medical marijuana will likely be on the ballot in Missouri (over the obstructionism they can surely expect.) Missouri is due some good karma right about now! This will save patients lives; further, it will remove a big stick from the hands of racist law enforcement!
    Right On New Approach Missouri!

  2. Ohio say whaaaa?? To have a medical cannabis bill that doesn’t allow smoking? that sucks.

    1. The important thing is that you can buy it legally then they can’t really check if you smoke or eat or whatever.

      1. As an Ohio resident, I hope their effort fails. This would be better. The Legislatures proposal would keep it a crime to grow your own medicine. Raw bud form would remain illegal. What’s happening here is that Ohio legislators are attempting to over regulate as a knee jerk reaction to try and stop the inevitable free market legalization favored by a majority of Ohio/American citizens.

    2. This is where it may help to clarify the function of the flexdrawtube one-heater. This can be any $10-50 one-heater you bought on line, one that looks like a pen or a joint or a $igarette, with (1) a cupshaped #40 screen in its 7/32=5.5mm-, 6.0mm- or 1/4″=6.3mm-diameter crater, and (2) 11-22 inches of hookahhose (could be pvc) attached to its Butt End– so that the one-heater during use is far enough from your eyes that you can see what you are doing as you execute the easy-learn Vapetoke Procedure.

      Ohio law enforcement could agree to define this one-heater as a Vaping rather than $moking utensil– but cut a lot of slack at first if new users $moke with it (light everything up at once, puff, drag or bogart up to 700C1200F like they were used to doing with a Joint etc.)– giving them time to learn and CONVERT over to the Vapetoke technique as in our official doggerel:

      Hold flametip low,
      suck smooth, slow,
      don’t start glow
      till after 19
      seconds or so.

      A typewriterkeyboardgenerated diagram of one-heater screen placement can be seen in the free wiki article, “12 Easy Ways to Make Vape Toke Utensils from $1.29 Worth of Junk Left Behind in Your Garage by the Previous God.”

  3. I’m also pleased to see the progress in Missouri. I told my cousins and Uncles last year how fortunate they are to live in a state that has voter initiatives.
    Here in Texas we initiated the marijuana march in Austin with the clap of thunder and pouring rain. Turn out was still good thanks to Texas NORML executive director Jax Finkle unifying all the chapters to show up in Austin.
    My shoes were so wet I ended up buying a pair of dress shoes just to get home dry. (Who is the sick p.o.s. paying $500 for a pair of flip flops? Who cares who Valentino is?) Anyway…
    Were waiting on a response from the Republican convention to fond out if whole plant medical cannabis will get included on the state platform. We can only hope, because primaries showed Liberal Progressives in Texas proved that young poor people still don’t vote.
    Good news is that marijuana activists do turn out… even in the pouring rain. Even Libertarians and Liberal Progressives have to negotiate a strategy and join forces…

      1. Activism pays off in Republican Texas;

        Look what marijuana activists were able to get on the Republican platform in Texas;
        Saturday: Results were announced! Plank #165 passed by 78% (6501 For / 1804 Against)! Here is the exact verbiage of the new plank:
        “Compassionate Use Act – We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”

        Additionally, a Hemp plank passed by 71% (5800 For / 2385 against) that reads as follows:
        “Hemp Cultivation- We support legislation allowing for industrial hemp cultivation in Texas.”

        This is a big step to prepare for November and January… Time to call your Congressman; If you live in Texas and your representative is Republican let them know what we (and they) stand for!!!

      2. Thanks for the information Julian. I live in Texas and suffering from a very painful for my fibromyalgia, and for various reasons I cannot take any types of pain pills.I wish we could organized in such a way that we could force our legislators to give us the right to have voter initiative to amend state law and the state constitution.

      3. John,
        I hope you are receiving the treatment you need. While smoking helps a lot, rubbing cannabis concentrate onto your specific pains works wonders. Just keep in mind concentrates are a felony possession offense in the state of Texas. (I know, total hypocrisy to “compassionate ” use).
        But every wave starts from a ripple which starts from a drop; Sometimes we have to get active with the zanyist laws to get to the initiatives we need…

  4. I guess something is better than nothing, but New Hampshire is still way behind every other state in New England. Making just the first offense a fine when every other surrounding state has it decriminalized? Pathetic.

  5. Louisiana’s Senate has approved the bill listed above, and the governor says he’ll sign it. This is great, and hopefully it gives momentum to the Arkansas ballot initiative.

  6. I truly with that the government of Kansas. The state I live would get a bill passed that would at least allow us to vie for contracts for medical marijuana dispensaries in other state.s etc. So we don’t miss out on the this birthing market. And end the budget problems. It seam our Kansas state government would rather cut school’s and education then take a look at states like Colorado, California. etc. That are funding there schools. Roadways there unemployment rate is way down .All in part the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana. All because of there out dated views. About marijuana. I can tell you this much marijuana is not near as bad for people as alcohol. And tobacco. Anyway thats my opinion. And that of many others. We need to get it across to our Kansas legislators know that now is the time all the people of Kansas to get our fair share of this birthing new industry. Before the market gets saturated.

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