NORML’s Legislative Round Up September 30, 2016

take_actionNORML released our updated and revised 2016 Congressional Scorecard this week in conjunction with National Voter Registration Day. The Scorecard is an all-encompassing database that assigns a letter grade ‘A’ through ‘F’ to members of Congress based on their marijuana-related comments and voting records.

With the 2016 presidential election drawing closer and statewide marijuana initiatives qualified for the ballot in nine states, we need YOU to make it out to the polls to support ending cannabis prohibition. Double-check your status as a voter and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Take a look at how we graded your members of Congress and bring that information with you to the polls on Election Day!

Federal: Members of Congress have approved a short-term spending bill that keeps in place existing provisions protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, 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.” Federal lawmakers will revisit the FY 2017 spending appropriation after the Election.


California: On Tuesday, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the nation’s largest state organization of nurses, announced that it has endorsed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

Deborah Burger, President of the California Nurses Association/NNU said, “California Nurses believe strongly that the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana has ruined generations of lives, wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer of dollars and failed to protect the public health and safety. California needs a new approach and Proposition 64 is carefully crafted to strictly regulate adult-use marijuana while funding critical youth programs and safeguarding children, workers and local communities.”
Proposition 64 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 possess and cultivate cannabis for non-commercial purposes. The initiative language specifies that it is not intended to “repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt … laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.”

The California Nurses Association joins the ACLU of California, the California Democratic Party, the California Medical Association, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the California NAACP, the California League of Conservative Voters, Equality California, the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and NORML in its support for Proposition 64.

Maine: Polling data compiled by the University of New Hampshire finds that likely voters support Question 1, the Marijuana Legalization Act, by a margin of 53 percent to 38 percent.

If enacted by voters in November, Question 1 would allow adults to legally possess up to two and one-half ounces of marijuana and to cultivate marijuana (up to six mature plants and the entire yields of said plants) for their own personal use. The measure would also establish licensing for the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis. Retail sales of cannabis would be subject to a ten percent sales tax. Non-commercial transactions and/or retail sales involving medical cannabis would not be subject to taxation.

Massachusetts: A new WBZ-TV/UMass Amherst poll finds that a majority of voters back Question 4: The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. The measure leads in the poll by a 53 percent to 40 percent margin.

If enacted, Question 4 allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside of their residences and up to 10 ounces of marijuana in an enclosed, locked space within their residences, which mimics the current in-residence allowance established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for medical marijuana patients. It allows adults 21 years of age and older to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown.

Tennessee: Members of the Memphis City Council are following in the footsteps of the Nashville Metro Council by approving a local ordinance to provide local police the discretion to issue $50 citations for those who possess up to a half-ounce of marijuana. Under state law, the possession of small amounts of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a criminal record. Council members approved the ordinance last week in it’s second reading, with the third and final reading taking place October 4th. If you live in Memphis, consider contacting your member of City Council to urge their support for this common sense measure.

10 thoughts

  1. U.S. Representative Roger Williams

    Dear Mr. Stinnett,

    Thank you for contacting me about the use and legalization of marijuana. I appreciate your input on this issue.

    Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which prohibits its possession, usage, purchase, sale, and cultivation. The Controlled Substances Act, as well as several Supreme Court rulings, authorizes the federal government to enforce drug laws and prosecute people for the cultivation and distribution of illicit drugs.

    As recently as August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has denied various petitions to re-schedule Marijuana, working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to declare that it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. In addition, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.

    I believe that drugs like marijuana often create crime, cripple communities, and strain family relationships. As new legislation is proposed in the House regarding the possession and use of marijuana, I will continue to support the enforcement of current federal law under the Controlled Substances Act.

    Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please be sure to sign up for my email newsletter ( to keep informed on what I am doing on behalf of Texans here in Washington.


    Roger Williams
    Member of Congress
    Please do not reply to this email. The mailbox is unattended.

    1. My goodness, what a slap in the face! Makes you mad, doesn’t it? The nerve of some of these so-called “representatives!”

      We’re not asking you, we’re telling you, Rep Roger Williams!

    2. Jack,

      I give you credit for contacting Williams. He seems to be a typical eyes wide shut type, the type who will never view the subject objectively, who obviously loves his donations from Pharma and others. The only hope with this rabid prohibitionist, as I see it, is to vote his ass outta office.

  2. Re. Tennessee: the Memphis City Council approves $50 citations for possessing a half-ounce: if after #16 sifting that yielded 450 single tokes @ 25 mg each it would be like minimally an 11-cent tax on each toke. A good faith small-L-smelly libertarian at this point would urge Nash and Memph to amend by adding a one-gram (40 tokes) total-leniency feature (including instructing every cop on how to recognize one gram or less quantity in a mini-canister of up to 1.5-inch diameter).

  3. Just heard the news that the DEA is postponing its classification of Kratom into schedule 1. That was after hearing the news this morning that they did classify it. Maybe all the letters we sent to our Senator through the DPA helped?
    Between what Insys, the producers in fentanyl, the opiate synthetic 50 times stronger than heroin just donated in Arizona to try and stop legalization, the continuing reports that opiate use is down in states that have legalized marijuana, and now the public outcry that whole plant Kratom helps some people reduce their opiate addiction, the DEA have revealed who they work for (Big Pharma) and against (The American people).
    Congress, the scorecard is out there. Elections are next month. There are 60 Americans a day dying from opiate overdose. The DEA is a threat to National security. Better move quick! Less than 40 days left!

  4. State Rep. William Lamberth is threatening to introduce legislation that would withhold state highway funds from Nashville or Memphis if they adopt what he calls “pretend marijuana decriminalization” measures.

  5. Assuming I’m just assuming the Red state Republican majority congress approved the short-term spending bill protecting people from prosecution by the Department of Justice, or the FBI because of the election more than after the election. You know the majority of congress both house and senate do not approve of drug use in any form.
    So I know they were hoping for someone to run for president who they thought was tougher than Donald Trump like Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush, but these people really are very lucky to get elected. These people get paid $15,000 dollars a month, all of them, and to get elected they are always promising to clean up government which would be their pay and benefits which is an extra $100,000 a year, but it never happens when they get elected they just harp on the poorer. And it continues on down the line in every government job all of them, federal, state, or local, that is police, school teachers, postal workers, city workers, military, all get a benefit package of about a quarter a million dollars paid in full at age 62, even if they are a city street sweeper, and benefit for them ranges up to $100,000 a year also. Regular jobs do none of this.
    To get elected to congress all you have to be is the right age nothing else, so they are working the emotions of the religious crowd to get elected otherwise people would be standing outside a dullards house like mine to make me their leader.

    1. I heard Obama on the radio a couple days ago responding to an issue concerning the congress and Obama said the congress was on vacation for like four weeks I think Obama said and he said they will be back two weeks and go back on vacation.

    2. TT,

      I’ve read or heard somewhere that something like 90% of them are millionaires. Too many of them certainly cast their votes like millionaires, hell bent on changing the laws for their own benefit, and not giving a crap about the rest of us. Red state Republicans like Roger Williams, see the first post on this page, certainly fit the bill. Greedy assholes.

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