NORML’s Legislative Round Up September 16th, 2016

In this week’s Legislative Round Up you’ll learn about a national call to action to renew federal legislation protecting hundreds of thousands of patients and providers. In other news, the marijuana movement received support from two leading national veterans groups and several important bills were signed into law at the state level. Keep reading for the latest news in marijuana law reform.


take_actionA federal provision limiting the Justice Department from prosecuting state-authorized medical marijuana patients and providers is set to expire at the end of this month. The provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Please visit our #TakeAction Center to contact your federally elected officials and urge them to move quickly to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment and to keep these important patient protections in place.

In other news of national significance, members of the American Legion passed a resolution to promote research on marijuana’s potential use for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Additionally, the group called for marijuana to be removed from it’s current Schedule I classification within the Controlled Substances Act. A second veterans group, The American Veterans (AMVETS), also recently resolved that marijuana should be made available to veterans within the VA healthcare system in every state where it is legal.


Delaware: Governor Jack Markell has signed legislation, SB 181, into law permitting 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 ground or property of the preschool, or primary, or secondary school in which a minor qualifying patient is enrolled.”

The measure takes immediate effect. To date, two other states — Colorado and New Jersey — impose similar legislation.

Florida: Another local municipality, New Port Richey, has approved marijuana decriminalization legislation. In a 3-2 vote, the council approved an ordinance providing police the discretion to issue a $155 civil citation in lieu of making a criminal arrest in cases involving less than 20 grams of marijuana. The New Port Richey vote mimics those of nearby municipalities Orlando and Tampa, which passed similar ordinances earlier this year and a wave of South Florida municipalities that passed similar ordinances last year. Under state law, simple marijuana possession is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

thumbs_upMichigan: Lawmakers gave final approval this week to a package of bills, HB 4209/4210, HB 4827, SB 141, and SB 1014, to regulate the retail sale of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products. The legislation licenses and regulates above-ground, safe access facilities where state-qualified patients may legally obtain medical marijuana, provides qualified patients for the first time with legal protections for their possession and use of non-smoked cannabis derived topicals and edibles, as well as cannabis-based extract products, and establishes regulations tracking the production and sale of medical marijuana products. The measures, which lawmakers had debated for the past two years, now await action by the Governor. #TakeAction

New Jersey: On September 14th, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation, A 457, into law that adds PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions eligible for medical marijuana therapy. More than a dozen states permit medical marijuana access for PTSD treatment. A retrospective review of PTSD patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction CAPS (Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale) symptom scores following cannabis therapy.

The new law took immediate effect.

Tennessee: Last week the Nashville Metro Council advanced legislation providing police the option to cite rather than arrest minor marijuana offenders. Those cited would face only a $50 fine (or ten hours of community service.) Under state law, such offenses are punishable by up to one-year in prison. A final vote on the ordinance is scheduled for September 20. If you live in Nashville, consider contacting your member of the Metro Council and voicing your support for this common sense reform.

19 thoughts

  1. NJ Gov Chris Christie signed another medical marijuana bill!! The man who thinks recreational use should all be shut down, and who believes marijuana is a gateway drug!

    But it wasn’t long ago, he signed a different bill allowing legal, minor, medical marijuana patients to use cannabis on school grounds! That one really surprised me.

    But, while he talks like a hardcore prohibitionist, he also says he’s for limited medical use; so I guess that’s consistent. Credit where credit is due. Thanks, Governor! (Can’t believe I said that!)

    Now please, stay reasonable like that about marijuana in general, and about drugs in general, okay, Governor?

    1. See what happens when you get between Christi and his food? Thank the mmj activists who brought their epileptic daughter into a diner to shame him at his own bridgegate games.

      I have a grandmother with mild but growing dimentia in NJ. Were waiting for the expanded medical marijuana law on alzheimers to pass to see if she qualifies. Fortunately for NJ the Dep of Health can bypass Christi if the legislation has already passed the state. Maybe Christi knew he would look stupid for blocking something he couldn’t stop if he wanted to. Wish Texas had that problem!

    2. Scratch the word “minor.” I think the word I was looking for was “students.” But “legal MMJ patients” is correct and sufficient.

  2. Thanks for keeping everybody updated and I appreciate y’all making it easy to contact my elected officials. The more our officials hear from us, the more they’ll see where society is headed.

  3. By the way, I took action with NORML’s #TAKEACTION feature above, and sent the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment letter to DeGette, Bennett, and Gardner, for my specific Colorado voting district.

    I respectfully urge everyone else to do the same; it couldn’t be quicker or easier, and there is strength in numbers, so c’mon, let’s pile on!

  4. Dear Danielle Keane,
    It’s very sad to see that you are unaware of what happened in Arkansas this week regarding medical marijuana.
    Google search Arkansas marijuana and see what I’m talking about.
    Yes on 7!

  5. I am a partner in a law firm in Oshkosh specializing in criminal defense. I would like to get involved in lobbying for the legalization of marijuana. Please send me information of contact me at (920) 231-5050 or via email at website address above.


      “The 2016 NORML Key West Legal Seminar will held at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa in Key West, FL on Thursday, December 8; Friday, December 9; and Saturday, December 10.

      The hotel is holding a block of reduced rate rooms for NORML legal seminar attendees. To make your reservations, please call 305-296-4600 and mention the “NORML LEGAL SEMINAR”. We usually sell out our block of rooms, so please try to make your reservations early.

      If you join the NORML Legal Committee, you’ll also qualify for a $100 reduction in registration fees for the annual Key West and Aspen legal seminars. Please consider joining the NLC and becoming part of our growing network of NORML attorneys.”

      “If our national office can ever assist you with legal issues or referrals to research or other lawyers, please call our legal counsel, Keith Stroup, at 202-483-5500.”

  6. President Obama said it would be a “personal insult” to his legacy if black voters don’t back Clinton. I would like for him to know that I consider this “choom gang’ member to be a failure for the millions of good Americans that choose to use cannabis. In most states you still get in big trouble if you get caught and it’s outrageous.

    I really really wish I could find a reason to vote for Hillary. I don’t relish the thought of a Trump presidency! However, with Hillary promising to move cannabis to schedule 2 (which Obama should have done 8 years ago at a minimum), I am choosing to vote for Gary Johnson; even if it helps Trump – Screw It!!!

    There are still about 50 days until the presidential election and if either President Obama or Hillary Clinton do more to further the legalization cause, then it would be my pleasure to vote for Hillary. I will not accept crumbs when a full piece of cake is on the horizon which is all I have seen them offer thus far.

    Hillary needs to look at the thousands of studies that have already been done here and in other countries on cannabis. Does she really need to spend another billion dollars on more studies, for years, while people who choose to use cannabis get persecuted? If so, she will not get my vote!

    1. Hmmm… let’s see, should I vote for the lady that compromises and shows a track record she will listen and a capacity to accept when she’s wrong?
      Or the orange oompa loompa that reads racist rhetoric right out of Harry Anslinger’s playbook?
      Or maybe I should vote for “Gary Johnson, even if it helps Trump… Screw it.”??! Are you listening to yourself write?
      Gary Johnson… or any third party in our two party system… has about as much chance at winning the election as Trump has of telling the truth… Consecutively!
      I like Gary, but he has no climate strategy and besides, the libertarians got taken over by crazies and nut jobs a long time ago. And the sane ones are talking about abolishing the department of education! No offense, but youre voting for the zombie apocalypse.

      President Barack Obama has done more for marijuana legalization than any other president since George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. He could have sued Colorado and Washington and ended it all but instead he wrote memos to the DOJ to stay out of the way of state marijuana legalization. Furthermore, any executive action under this Congress would have resulted in court, just like his immigration amnesty to students. Like they say in Latin America, “mucho ayuda que no disturbe.”

      1. “No offense, but youre voting for the zombie apocalypse.”

        You’re right! It’s not too late for President Obama or Hillary Clinton to at least try to end the idiotic prejudicial laws regarding marijuana and get the vote of people like me who have lived large portions of their lives being considered criminals for absolutely no reason beyond their stupid archaic anti-marijuana laws.

        If they aren’t willing to do more to change this, then again I say screw it and I just don’t care anymore.

        Remember the old saying: “Give me liberty or give me death”? To me, liberty means having the right to grow and use marijuana; among other obvious things.

      2. Are you serious about voting for Hillary and talking about trump being a liar. Hillary is the biggest liar probably ever. If you call one a liar just at least admit the other is a liar too. If her lips are moving you can bet it’s going to be a big fat lie. “I didn’t send classified emails, I only used one device”. Yeah right.

      3. Death is not a good thing to ask for. You may have given up hope, don’t screw the rest of us, too!

      4. Judy,
        Congress is more important than the presidency right now in regards to marijuana policy.

        Google your reps to the scorecard while you vote this November. I had another post I don’t know what happened to where I go in more depth about the difference between Hillary, the illusion of third parties and our favorite, orange whiny little b!+€h, Drumph von douche-bag senior.
        The main jist of it is at least Hillary pays the people that work for her! She doesn’t go on to sue the people who contract for her so they are muzzled by disclosure and legal fees. She can be too loyal (Washmoney $hultz)… So WE have to MAKE her represent us. She listens. She at least shows some capacity she can be lobbied into reason.
        With Drumph there is no reason. He’ll just rape the economy, buy a new hotel with a golf course and blame the subsequent recession on the Mexicans. And the wall? It will end in miserable litigation just like when Governor Bush used imminent domain to take private Texas citizens land because there exists no Federal easement along the Texas border. A wall would only empower traffickers as the fees for illegal human and drug trafficking would increase. Not a good navigator for drug policy, let alone any US policy.

      5. As if to prove my point;

        There Drumph-Anslinger goes, blaming our socioeconomic inequality on drugs again. Then fanning the flames of anger by promoting Guiliani’s stop and frisk policies that created massive disproportionate incarceration among non-white American citizens.
        In the helicopter above Tulsa the other day, the words from the pilot in the video were, “That’s a bad dude. He’s definitely on something.”
        What kind of culture in law enforcement has the Controlled Substances Act fostered when the murder of a an unarmed black man who had his hands up until he was tazed and shot is justified because “He looks like he’s definitely on something.”? And at what point should Trump get prosecuted as a presidential candidate who is fanning the flames of racism and hatred during a drug war that demonizes any non-white citizen through the systematic profiteering of prohibition? There are Sherriff’s Associations using our tax dollars to keep prohibition in place, while unarmed black men are being shot all over public media and now Trump wants to conjure up Nixon’s “Drugs; Public Enemy #1” slogan?
        In the upcoming debates, this is Hillary’s chance to correct her old “superpredator” comments and direct them to the bad laws that enable murderers and rapists to become law enforcers. Asset forfeitures, disproportionate fines and fees on minorities of lesser income to line city budgets… And the false candidates who blame the drugs for the bad laws need to be revealed for what they are. Prohibition Predators. Even if they’re orange.
        (Like Trump in a black church; Hey, where’s my orange guy at? THERE he is!”)

  7. I am sick and tired of watching cannabis and its users crawl an inch at a time from the shadows….while the elected servants pretend to know what they are talking about GOOD PEOPLE are going to jail and worse,truly sick people are not allowed to make their own medical choices for a better quality of life….all the while pres. Obama makes jokes about being high …..the Dems nor the Repubs are going to change anything in any area of these policies . why????? are we and NORML not at the very least helping Gov. Gary Johnson get some name recognition and maybe even a place on a debate stage?????

  8. We the people stand united and demand our universal right to live unmolested is reaffirmed by everyone everywhere. The violation of this right and others will not be tolerated by the intelligent and courageous youth maturing now. No individual or collective has legitimate authority to deny anyone from trying to preserve life. No one can claim to be a leader while simultaneously failing to recognize the people’s natural rights. If the “governed” have no provision to opt out, they find themselves in forced bondage, aka SLAVERY. How much longer will society bear this yoke of oppression?

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