NORML’s Legislative Round Up June 10th, 2016

More Governors signed marijuana related legislation into law this week, and once again members of the US Senate have said ‘yes’ to marijuana law reform. Keep reading to get the latest news and to learn what you can do to take action.


substitutionMembers of the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee took action this week, approving 18 to 11, an amendment to further protect doctors and patients who use medical cannabis in accordance with state laws.

The amendment reads, “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this title shall be used in a manner that would interfere with the ability of a provider to recommend medicinal marijuana in accordance with State law, or of a patient to participate in a medicinal marijuana program consistent with such State law.”

This vote marks the third time in recent weeks that members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations committee have approved marijuana related amendments. Members also recently voted to expand military veterans’ access to medical cannabis and to bar the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.


California: Legislation NORML opposes is moving forward in the state legislature and we need you to #TakeAction to prevent it from becoming law. Members of the state Assembly voted 60 to 12 on June 2nd in favor of Assembly Bill 2243, legislation seeking to impose a new $9.75/ounce tax on the cultivation of medical-only marijuana. Similarly, members of the state Senate voted 27 to 10 on June 1st in favor of Senate Bill 987, legislation seeking to impose a special 15 percent statewide tax upon medical marijuana sales. This tax would be in addition to the imposition of existing state and local taxes.

Assembly Bill 2243 will now be considered by members of the Senate and Senate Bill 987 will now be considered by members of the Assembly.

While NORML generally does not oppose the imposition of fair and reasonable sales taxes on the commercial sales of cannabis for recreational purposes, we do not support such excessive taxation on medical sales. #TakeAction

Colorado: On Monday, June 6th, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1373 into law. This legislation permits qualified patients access to medical cannabis formulations while on school grounds. Under the measure, a primary caregiver may administer non-inhalable formulations of medical cannabis to a qualifying patient while that patient is on the grounds of a pre-school, primary, or secondary school in which the student is enrolled. Medical marijuana patients may not be denied eligibility to attend school because of their cannabis use. The measure took effect upon the Governor’s signature.

pills_v_potNew York: Advocates are making a final push to pass legislation to significantly expand the state’s current medical marijuana program before the legislative ends on June 16th. New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014, however the law is one of the most restrictive in the country. Currently, 11 separate bills are pending before the legislature to improve and expand the state’s nascent program. #TakeAction

Ohio: Governor John Kasich signed legislation into law this week establishing regulations for the licensed production and dispensing of medical cannabis formulations to qualified patients. House Bill 523 authorizes the use of various forms of cannabis preparations for the physician-authorized treatment of a number of qualifying conditions. For a full list, click here. Ohio is the 26th state to enact statutory language permitting the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana.

Maryland: Governor Larry Hogan has signed legislation, House Bill 104, expanding the pool of medical professionals who can provide written recommendations for marijuana to qualifying patients. Passage of this legislation allows nurse midwives and nurse practitioners, among other medical professionals, who are in good standing with the state to provide written certifications to qualifying patients. The legislation takes effect June 1st, 2017.

Michigan: House-backed legislation to expand Michigan’s existing medical marijuana law is expected to be voted on imminently by members of the Senate Judiciary committee. House Bill 4209 would license and regulate above-ground, safe access facilities for state-qualified patients seeking medical marijuana. House Bill 4210 would provide qualified patients legal protections for their use of non-smoked cannabis derived topicals and edibles, as well as cannabis-based extract products. Lawmakers also passed a third bill, HB 4827, which seeks to establish regulations tracking the production and sale of medical marijuana products. Tell the Senate that it is high time to act upon these common sense measures! #TakeAction

Vermont: Governor Peter Shumlin has signed legislation into law expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

Senate Bill 14 includes various patient-friendly provisions: It permits patients with glaucoma and ‘chronic pain’ and/or those in hospice care to be eligible for cannabis therapy; it eliminates the requirement that patients must have previously tried other conventional treatments “without success” prior to being eligible for medical cannabis; it amends existing doctor/patient relationship requirements in a manner that expedites certain patients eligibility to receive cannabis treatment; and it authorizes naturopaths to make medicinal cannabis recommendations.

The changes impacting patients’ eligibility took effect upon signing. Other changes in the law take effect on July 1, 2016. Full text of the new law is online here.

8 thoughts

  1. I think I may see an actual trend here: with Ohio’s new medical marijuana law by executive action, and with Louisiana’s recent addition to the list of medical marijuana states by legislative action, and now movement in Michigan’s legislature, where legislators have been fairly hostile overall, this may be an actual trend. Is it possible? Could it be that SOME state legislators are MAYBE JUST MAYBE starting to get the message that they better get with the times, or find a new line of work? Something other than pretending to be “Representative” of their constituents.

    1. Legislators don’t generally “figure” anything out while in office, Mark, that’s a rare internal rebellion. We have to elect into office the champions of better marijuana reform, which means donating to candidates who take no big business donations like to run against prohibitionists like Debbie Washmoney Shultz who take money from private prisons, invest in big pharmaceuticals and launder money through campaigns and off shore accounts to take out Progressive candidates like Sanders even though she’s supposed to be an arbitrary chair of the DNC. (Excuse the rant).
      I don’t know where you got Ohio as an executive action… Much like Pennsylvania they were a legislative action (signed by the governor, as always). The “trend” you speak of is that state legislatures are battling smoked marijuana in order to maintain jailtime and fines since concentrates are harder to make or obtain than dried, combustible herb. It’s a new tactic; rather than take voter-initiatives head on like Ohio or vote on grass-roots legislation that may include less profitable smoking of weed or big pharma’s biggest fear, home-grown, Big Pharma is trying their hand at a quasi-prohibition where only very limited, licenced and semi-prohibited forms of cannabis can be consumed, allowing for the limited suppliers of these concentrates, oils and permitted medicines to hike the price and turn a profit, for however long that lasts. Then watch the Sherriff Associations and prison union lobbies crack down on smokers and homegrowers. If we can just get the police to stop arresting people for small possessions, it’s a start in the right direction. And as our NORML directors point out, it’s not even clear how Ohio will enforce the cannabis patients who are smoking their stash.

      1. What we are observing is no sudden “change of heart” by legislature, so much as a desperate gamble by an emerging pharmaceuticaly backed marijuana industry to deter the legality of smoking or home-growing marijuana for as long as profitably possible. Good luck with that. Just keep admitting marijuana is medicine, state legislatures… We’ll be taking score and waiting for November.

      2. I’ll take that as a “Yes”, that you see it as a trend as well, and not as fluke occurrences.

        My concern is for those states without citizen ballot initiatives. Up till now, state legislators have been adamantly opposed to any form of legalization. While I agree this is likely a change in tactic rather than a change in heart, it still represents a sign of hope for those states without citizen ballot initiatives — if the trend is solid.

        Call it a case of doing the right thing as a last resort! When absolutely forced to do so.

        And if all that is true, then it represents a huge step forward, as I see it.

      3. Yes, its a trend. 🙂 Sorry, it takes me a while to get to the point, but it looks like were on the same page now.

  2. Hogan in Maryland has done little more than lip service to people who desperately need safe access.He needs to do more than sign a bill for goods that are not available!

  3. Any Governor who doesn’t recognize the fact that legalizing cannabis can and will provide a tax windfall for thier State ought to go back to school and do their homework. This year we could be on the verge of leagalizing cannabis. The tax sum alone could be as high as $49 billion per year. If Governor’s are truly prudent they may even be re-elected.

  4. Yeah I’ve seen my doctor in Maryland but now I have to wait till April to upload my info yeah I know it’s almost July were relying on legal protections from this program and apparently these sanctioned doctors notes arnt worth anything until uploaded and accepted by the sanctioning committee

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