NORML’s Legislative Round Up September 2nd, 2016

thumbs_upIn this week’s Round Up we’ll update you regarding the status of a number of state and local ballot measures, and we’ll also highlight new legislation signed into law this week in Delaware. Plus we’ll give you the details on the latest Governor to endorse marijuana decriminalization. Keep reading below to get this week’s news in marijuana law reform!


Arizona: The Supreme Court this week rejected a lawsuit that sought to prohibit Proposition 205, the Arizona Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, from going before voters this November. The Act allows adults twenty-one years of age and older to possess and grow specified amounts of marijuana (up to one ounce of marijuana flower, up to five grams of marijuana concentrate, and/or the harvest from up to six plants). It creates a system for licensed businesses to produce and sell marijuana and establishes a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana.

Voters in four additional states, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada, will also be deciding on similar adult use initiatives on Election Day.

Arkansas: The Secretary of State’s office this week certified that a competing medical marijuana initiative, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, will also appear on the electoral ballot in November. Unlike Issue 7, The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, this second initiative does not include provisions allowing eligible patients to cultivate their own cannabis at home.

Statewide polling reports greater public support for the Medical Cannabis Act. Under state law, if voters approve both measures the one that receives the greatest number of votes will become law.

Voters in three additional states, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana, will decide on similar medical use measures in November. In Missouri, campaigners are litigating to ask the courts to review signature totals in the state’s second Congressional district.

Colorado: A municipal initiative effort that sought to permit for the adult use of marijuana in licensed establishments failed to qualify for the November ballot. The Responsible Use Denver initiative, backed by Denver NORML, needed 4,726 signatures to qualify for inclusion on November ballot. The campaign submitted more than 7,500 signatures, but just 2,987 were verified as eligible by the Denver Elections Division. The Campaign posted: “We are sad to report that our language did not make the November ballot. We plan to continue pushing the conversation with the city of Denver. Our opinion remains the same, that we have what we feel is the best solution for the city of Denver. Thank you to everyone that has supported us on this journey.” City officials did confirm that a separate municipal initiative seeking to establish a ‘Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program’ will appear on November’s ballot.

pills_v_potDelaware: Governor Jack Markell signed legislation into law this week permitting terminally ill patients to access medical cannabis. House Bill 400 (aka ‘Bob’s bill’) permits physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to terminally ill adults. It also permits those under 18 to access CBD products if they are suffering from “pain, anxiety, or depression” related to a terminal illness.

The new law takes effect at the end of November.

Oklahoma: State Question 788, a statewide initiative to establish a state-licensing system to permit eligible patients to possess and cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, is unlikely to appear on the 2016 electoral ballot. Although the Secretary of State has certified that initiative proponents collected sufficient signatures, proponents are now challenging the attorney general’s rewording of the ballot title. The legal challenge could force the issue to be decided in a special election. Updated information regarding this initiative campaign may be found on NORML’s 2016 initiatives page.

Pennsylvania: Governor Tom Wolf expressed support for marijuana decriminalization this week stating, “too many people are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carrying modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons, it’s destroying families, and it’s hurting our economy.”

Marijuana decriminalization legislation, House Bill 2076, is currently pending before members of the House Judiciary committee. The legislation would amend the state’s controlled substances act so that minor marijuana possession offenses are considered a non-criminal offense. Contact your state House members and urge them to support this common sense legislation. #TakeAction

Tennessee: Members of the Nashville Metro Council voted 32 to 4 to approve legislation to lessen local marijuana possession penalties. The proposal amends penalties for the possession of or exchanging of up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a $50 civil penalty or 10 hours of community service. The vote was the first of three the bill will receive; it is the first time a marijuana decriminalization measure was considered by the legislative body.

Under current state law, individuals convicted of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana face a misdemeanor charge that is punishable of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If you live in Nashville, consider contacting your Council member and urging them to support this common sense measure.

20 thoughts

  1. Tennessee’s new more lenient measure for less than one ounce is a bedbugstep, there needs to be a worldwide campaign for a total nonpenalty on carrying or delivering one gram or less (40 single tokes in a fdt1h).
    Meanwhile might Nashville and other venues consider specifying that the community service hours will consist of harvesting downed branches and scraplumber wastes plus attending creative reuse woodworking classes. This will prepare cannabis-interested citizens for work on lands soon to be hemplified after the next bedbugstep.

  2. why is there not a big push to take advantage of RIGHT TO FARM IN MISSOURI – i admit i do not know all the details but this seems like a very good opportunity to take advantage an get our way – a man in st luis recently beat a growing charge in st luis using RIGHT TO FARM as a defense – WE NEED FULL LEGALIZATION IN MISSOURRI

  3. I was JUST about to heckle the next blog; Where’s the Legislative Round Up? You do such a great job Danielle, with as many states moving in concert… or sometimes like band camp in training… you’ve got a tough job and do it well!! Thank you!!

    Now Im going to hit some kush and try and heal from the Denver news… (Lord knows my pocket needs to heal from so much traveling… Better luck next year). 🙂

  4. What happened in Denver is a huge loss. This is extremely irritating a loss…..we had better get more states on board this November. Enough is ENOUGH with these initiatives failing to make the ballot. Sick of it. More states MUST legalize in November, it is the only way this is going to work and legalization is going to survive, the movement is still extremely fragile with only four states and the capital.

  5. Cannabis in licensed establishments is clearly the future and these delays are extremely annoying. Hope it is passed at least by next year….very, very unfortunate, I thought it would make it to the ballot.

  6. Good news in Montana, however, despite the recent 3 person limit medical rollbacks. A bigger victory was scored however as Zabawa’s proposed anti-marijuana bill will NOT make it to the ballot, a big sigh of relief.

  7. I gave what little spare time I had to collecting signatures for the Denver NORML initiative, so must I admit to some disappointment. But my efforts pale in comparison to the work that Jordan Person and her Denver NORML crew put in. I saw them with my own eyes, out working in the 90-plus degree heat on this thing.

    Yet I am relieved that the alternate initiative, the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, made it onto the ballot. We’re all on the same side here; they were only “competing” initiatives in the sense that they represent different models for instituting cannabis clubs.

    Which model is better? Not sure.

    Thing is, we should have had cannabis clubs already. In fact, they sprang up after immediately after legalization; and the citizens love them! But they keep being raided and/or banned locally. I don’t understand the hostility and intransigence of the Denver City Council, or any of the other parties throwing up these obstacles, and so I wouldn’t know how to go about the strategic task of pushing through or around these legal and financial and political obstacles. These are the things that are fucking things up for the cannabis clubs. Not everybody in Colorado is “down!” For many, it’s more like “clown!”

    Further, these complications make the precise end result difficult to envision, making it even harder to say which model is ultimately better. I guess I’m just out of my political league here. I’ll just have to wait and see.

    But regardless, we’ll have to go with the one we can get; and so, under the circumstances, I say, let’s all get behind the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program!

    1. I have summarized the NORML Congressional Scorecard for Kansas here, for your convenience.

      These individuals are prime examples of the problems we face in Congress. That’s why NORML actually needs YOUR help, to send them an email, since you are an actual constituent there in Kansas. (But, NORML can help with the email, you can do that with their website, also. It’s easy.)

      With all due respect to Kansas, this is a fairly hostile group of politicians! There is only one passing grade in the whole class! They desperately need to be educated, maybe by you!!!

      Kansas Scorecard:
      Pat Roberts (R): “B”
      Jerry Moran (R): “D”

      Tim Huelskamp (R): “D”
      Lynn Jenkins (R): “D”
      Kevin Yoder (R): “D”
      Mike Pompeo (R): “D”

      For more details, go to:
      NORML congressional scorecard

  8. I’m always optimistic toward ballot initiatives, but Arkansas has competing medical initiatives. It will split the vote and both will likely fail.

    1. According to our polling there is majority support for both, you can vote for both, which is what will most likely happen, the AMMA has no outreach, not even a facebook page, it is an attempt sabotage by a few wealthy people to monopolize on cannabis in the state.

    2. The medical cannabis initiative is the best one and appears popular enough to pass. We feel good about it even though there has been a suit filed by the “Baptists” aka prohibitionists to get it knocked off the ballot. The will of the people be damned… Help us out with a few dollars if you can. Lawyers aren’t cheap.

      1. Sorry, I mean the steps are short– even shorter than the bedbugs.

        If being in too damned big a hurry (above) I confused anyone, a fdt1h (40 Vapetokes per gram) is a flexdrawtube oneheater. Urge legislators to respect responsible microusage (25 mg per toke) and corresponding microutensil possession. Penalty-free by Januar-y!

  9. Arkansas will not succeed in passing MMJ in 2016 because of mass confusion and a lack of support. Having 2 different MMJ measures to vote for will divide the Pro-MMJ votes in half and will be crushed by the Conservative Christians that allowed Gay marriage to pass in Arkansas, but REFUSE to allow sick and dying Arkansans’ (Cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, PTSD, etc.) from obtaining safe and legal medical access to Cannabis. Estimate the potential amount of medical cardholders applicants in this poor state to maybe 5-10k; These pro-MMJ votes will easily be crushed by the uneducated Conservative Christian majority here who (just like in 2014) continue to deny sick patients medical access to Cannabis because of THEIR own misunderstanding about the medical use of Cannabis and ineptitude. It isn’t surprising in the least that the 49th Poorest State in the USA will continue to profiteer, fine, jail, and harass their own citizens rather than following the example that California set nearly 20 years ago.

  10. Eventually I believe it will be fully legal. It’s actually a joke that it is not. Classified as a hallucinogen is an even bigger joke. These lawmakers are making decisions on something they know little to nothing about. It’s obvious by their comments and stance. It is NOT addictive unlike alcohol or tobacco. It does not make you hallucinate either. I smoked for 30 years and never hallucinated once and stopped because of work restrictions. There were no withdrawals. It was actually pretty easy to stop. I wish I could say the same for cigarettes. Heck, I think more people have died from Pokemon Go than from smoking weed. Get with it you politicians. These archaic laws are clogging up the judicial and prison system.

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