NORML’s Legislative Round Up June 24th, 2016

ballot_box_leafThis has been an exceptionally busy week at the state and federal level for marijuana law reform. Keep reading to get the latest news and to find out how you can #TakeAction.


A bipartisan coalition of House and Senate lawmakers have proposed legislation, the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016, to expedite clinical investigations into the safety and efficacy of cannabis. Passage of the measures — House Bill 5549 and Senate Bill 3077 — would expedite federal reviews of clinical protocols involving cannabis, provide greater access to scientists who wish to study the drug, and mandate an FDA review of the relevant science. #TakeAction


Arkansas: Representatives of the group Arkansas for Compassionate Care turned in over 100,000 signatures from registered voters this week in hopes of qualifying the 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act for the November ballot. The proposed initiative establishes a statewide program for the licensed production, analytic testing, and distribution of medicinal cannabis. Under the program, patients diagnosed by a physician with one of over 50 qualifying conditions – including ADHD, intractable pain, migraine, or post-traumatic stress – may obtain cannabis from one of up to 38 licensed non-profit care centers. Qualified patients who do not have a center operating in their vicinity will be permitted to cultivate their own medicine at home.

In 2012, 51 percent of voters narrowly rejected a similar statewide initiative, known as Measure 5. However, recent polling shows that support has increased dramatically since then, with 84 percent of registered Arkansas voters agreeing that “adults should be legally allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes.”

For more information on the campaign, please visit Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

California: Both the American Civil Liberties Union of California and the California Democratic Party have publicly endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). The initiative, which is expected to appear on the November ballot, 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. The measure prohibits localities from taking actions to infringe upon adults’ ability to possession and cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes.

oil_bottlesDelaware: House lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved legislation, SB 181, to permit designated caregivers to possess and administer non-smoked medical marijuana formulations (e.g. oils/extracts) to qualifying patients “in a school bus and on the grounds or property of the preschool, or primary or secondary school in which a minor qualifying patient is enrolled.” Senate lawmakers previously approved the bill on June 9th.

Gov. Jack Markell, D-Delaware, is expected to sign the legislation into law. The measure will take effect upon the Governor’s signature. To date, two other states — Colorado and New Jersey — impose similar legislation.

Florida: Elected officials of yet another Florida county have voted to provide local law enforcement with the option to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana possession offenders. Osceola County commissioners passed the ordinance on Tuesday. The new ordinance is similar to those recently passed in Orlando, Tampa, Volusia County, Palm Beach County, Broward County, West Palm Beach, Key West, Hallandale, Miami Beach and Miami-Dade county.

New Jersey: Legislation to add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions eligible for medical marijuana is moving forward through state legislature.

Members of the Assembly approved the legislation in a 56 to 13 vote on June 16th. On the same day, members of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved an identical measure, Senate Bill 2345, in a 6 to 3 vote. Thirteen states already allow PTSD patients to access medical marijuana including Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
The measure now awaits a vote by the full Senate. #TakeAction

New York: Legislation has been approved to facilitate the processing and sale of hemp and locally produced hemp products. The measures, A 9310 and S 6960, expand upon New York’s existing hemp research program to permit for the sale, distribution, transportation and processing of industrial hemp and products derived from such hemp. Under existing law, licensed farmers are only permitted to engage in the cultivation of hemp for research purposes as part of an academic program.

Both chambers have approved the legislation so now it awaits a signature from Governor Andrew Cuomo.#TakeAction

Rhode Island: House and Senate lawmakers approved House Bill 7142, legislation to permit post-traumatic stress patients to be eligible for medical cannabis treatment and to accelerate access to those patients in hospice care. Members of both chambers overwhelmingly approved the measure. It now heads to the desk of Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo.#TakeAction

House and Senate lawmakers also approved legislation to create the “Hemp Growth Act “. This measure will classify hemp as an agricultural product that may be legally produced, possessed, and commercially distributed. The Department of Business Regulation will be responsible for establishing rules and regulations for the licensing and regulation of hemp growers and processors. The Department is also authorized to certify any higher educational institution in Rhode Island to grow or handle or assist in growing or handling industrial hemp for the purpose of agricultural or academic research. The legislation now awaits action from Governor Gina Raimondo. If signed, the law will take effect January 1, 2017.#TakeAction

11 thoughts

  1. As the anticipation for the DEA to reschedule deepens in response to the two (or three) petitions to do just that… Re (not De) schedule marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, I must admit I was somewhat surprised to see what Bill Maher had to say, calling on President Obama to “at least reschedule where I can pick up my pot at Costco.”

    Well, that and surprised by the appearance on Bill’s show by Xuihtexcatl Martinez (between my Mexican wife and I we believe his name is pronounced “Shiu-tes-CAL) the 16 year old of Aztec heritage who claimed climate change as the defining issue for his generation. Thats funny because I would have assumed legalizing marijuana was, at it affects every other political and economic aspect of our daily lives including climate change. But thats just me in my marijuana bubble, floating to the top of a bong and off into some part of the world where the air is still clean.

    Hell I think ol Shiu is right; (damn, did I look that effeminate when I had long black hair like his? I thought Bill had a trangender youth on the show! It doesnt help Aztec warriors had pigtails; I guess he’s better off buying boxes of conditioner from Costco. Sorry, Im getting sidetracked…) So Shiu is right; climate change is the defining issue and legalizing cannabis is the solution!
    But someone tell Bill Im still on the fence about buying weed out of Costco… I’ll be damned if I have to pay fifty bucks to get some stupid Costco ID before I can partake of the sacred herb. Relax, Bill; I know you were just bating the president to do something crazy like senioritis just to piss off some Republicans. So what are you waiting for Barry? Go piss off some Republicans! By the time it gets to the Supreme Court Hillary will be nominating our next justice, Washmoney Shultz wont be the DNC chair anymore and legalizing marijuana will be on the official Democratic Party platform. Now light that up in your Shiu and smoke it!

  2. I witnessed DEA GREEN HARVEST RAIDS ON MAUI!!!! Helicopters flew low over neighborhoods and DEA agents, and Maui police officers, in black SUV’s swarmed around the island, swooping in on unregistered, and registered medical marijuana patients, to check and see if these severely ill patients were in compliance with the law.

    The intimidating, low flying helicopters are upsetting people, animals, and especially our Veterans with PTSD.

    Drug War agents are waging a war against seriously ill citizens, who consume various cannabis remedies to improve their health. Many of our disabled Veterans consume cannabis to decrease their dependence on prescriptions. Marijuana is safe and effective medicine.

    On the other hand, the CDC reports that “excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths and 2.5 million years of potential life lost EACH YEAR in the United States from 2006 – 2010,” and that,

    “Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999, and so have sales of these prescription drugs. From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids, and opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014.

    Is this Drug War against marijuana, and these DEA RAIDS, about our health or $$$’s !!! Dollars for helicopters, and big Black SUV’s, and prisons for profit, federal funding, confiscation of property, etc, etc, etc …

    How can we get legislation to end this madness, and legalize marijuana?

    Watch my I witness video on Youtube: DRUG WAR – MAUI – 2016

  3. Which will you agree is safer, cost efficient,more of a security risk?, Cultivating Marijuana, Or Extracting Marijuana making wax?

  4. I’m surprised how calmly the Drug Warriors are taking medical cannabis on school grounds. I was bracing for waves of total hysteria about saving the children, or whatever; but it’s always nice to see when politicians have sudden fits of reasonableness, whatever their actual motives may be.

    Because, of course, Saving the Kids is the whole point of their medications (from their and their families’ perspective, not Big Pharma’s.) That certainly shouldn’t prevent them from receiving an education. (When that “education” includes Drug War propagada, the value of that education is called into question; but that’s another topic.)

    Even Chris Christie signed one! Still can’t get over that. But he’d sure as hell throw ’em in the slammer if he could.

    Movies go for your emotions… remember “Breakfast Club”, and the Weed in the high school student’s hallway locker? He was a troublemaker and a rebel, every prohibitionist’s nightmare. But if you were to extend the plotline, he certainly had legitimate medical need, being tortured, burned and beaten by his father.

    Today, a doctor would recommend it as a safe and effective tool to assist in emotional management.

    It’s just a movie, but movies are designed to refect our fears and pleasures. We will have “made it” when people look back at that movie and can’t understand why it spent so much time and footage on something as NORML as marijuana.

  5. Big Pharma profits funds the DEA alongside the intitutionalized budgetary inhancements extorted from anyone with the wherewithall determined to be available. This might have something to do with growing discontent and disrespect for LEOs.

  6. Huiiii! Maine gets Yes on 1 for the November ballot!! Talk about instant gratification post-donation!

    And incidentally, I guess I could show more maturity than 16-year-old Hui and stop saying disparaging things about the eco-crusader’s masculinity. He is a considerably bright and brave young man and we need more young people like him. Its frightening to be a teenager and speak publically. Hell, its frightening just being a teenager.
    At an age when hormones are growing out of balance, high school football can leave one permanently out of balance, and the list of illness from man made chemicals and stress stacks up insurmountably we need marijuana available to our children as a safe, effective whole plant alternative to the opiates and so-called “attention deficit” pills that weve aloud as a society into our schools by psychologal boards and councilors backed by Big Pharma. I didnt start smoking marijuana until I was 18. But clearly if a child suffers from epilepsy, chrine’s disease or even clinical depression, we need a list of whole plant therapies, not just cannabis, that children can grow in public gardens so they can get the vital natural agrarian education we need that bonds us to the sustainability of our earth and resurrects the human spirit and identity. Even inner cities can promote gardening classes using very little space, composting the same resources out of the school cafeteria, (except for those corn dogs… I dont know what those things are made of but my 1st grader could grow something healthier than that)!

  7. RE; the legal hemp states;

    all you need,
    in order to qualify as ‘hemp’,
    is LOW T.H.C. …

    the states that allow ‘hemp’,

    COULD grow the variety,
    known as ‘CHAROLETTES’S WEB’,
    (which is high in C.B.D.,)
    and sell the otherwise useless, flowering tops,
    and make some extra profit,
    AND, help many people !!!

  8. Hey,

    I wanted to communicate with NORML.

    I just got an email from Representative Andy Harris MD and rigid prohibitionist.

    It includes the following:

    “It has been a busy week in Washington, with the introduction of my Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 and the announcement that I will be hosting a constituent town hall on the Lower Eastern Shore next week.

    Thank you for your continued energy and enthusiasm, as reflected in your letters and Facebook posts. If you haven’t already, LIKE my Facebook page. You can also follow me on Twitter @RepAndyHarrisMD.

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Congress!”

    He went on:

    “This week, I introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 in the House of Representatives. While I oppose legalization of recreational marijuana use, this bill heeds the calls of the medical research community to address the burdensome processes that currently impede legitimate medical research on marijuana. As a physician who has conducted NIH sponsored research, I can’t stress enough how critical this legislation is to the scientific community. Our drug policy was never intended to act as an impediment to conducting legitimate medical research. We need empirical scientific evidence to clearly determine whether marijuana has medicinal benefits and, if so, how it would be used most effectively. This legislation is crucial to that effort because it removes the unnecessary administrative barriers that deter qualified researchers from rigorously studying medical marijuana.”

    He’s an MD, so the Hypocritical oath should guide his just actions as The Golden Rule should guide our daily actions of even a for an atheist like me.

    He’s asking for comments. Please encourage people to respond and NOT to troll the guy.

    My recreational use tends to blur into my use for medical purposes. The simplistic either/or 0/1 model doesn’t reflect the real world accurately enough to be of use to science and humanity.

    [Paul Armentano responds: You can read NORML’s legislative action alert in support of the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 here:

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