Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/18/2017

blogstickerWelcome to this week’s edition of the marijuana legislative roundup!

So here is a first: their is a Federal Cannabis Caucus!

In case you missed it, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis(D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws on Thursday, 2/16.

Our priority call to action at the federal level is for people to contact their Representatives and urge them to join the Caucus – so CLICK HERE to send a message right now!

Nationwide, the number of bills relating to marijuana now tops 1,200, ranging from technical tweaks to codes to a Rep in Washington actually trying to reinstate prohibition! (You’ll see that below, if you are a WA resident, we give you the option of sending him a message directly to voice your opposition to his ludicrous effort)

Below are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

Thanks for all you do and keep fighting,

Priority Alerts

Join The Caucus: With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

Click here to email your Member of Congress to urge them to join the newly formed Cannabis Caucus

Additionally, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

HR 975 states, ‘‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.’’

Click here to email your Congressional Representative to urge them to support this crucial legislation.

Legislation is pending in the Senate, SB 105, to reduce minor marijuana possession offenses.

The bill reduces penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana from a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine to no more than a $300 fine.

GA Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

New Mexico
Senate Bill 177 amends state law so that qualified patients may not be denied organ transplants. It also expands the pool of qualifying conditions for which a physician may legally recommend cannabis therapy, to include indications such as arthritis, neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, and post-traumatic stress. It also extends the validity of a physicians’ recommendation beyond one year, and fast-tracks the patient registration process, among other important changes.

Update: SB 177 has passed the Senate by a vote of 29-11 and now is in the House for consideration.

NM Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

New York
Legislation (A. 2142 and S. 3809) is before the Assembly and Senate to seal the records of those who have previously been convicted of the possession of marijuana in public view.

New York has historically had the highest marijuana-related arrest rate in the nation largely because of questionable arrests made under the ‘public view’ exception. These arrests primarily target African Americans and Hispanics, and have been roundly criticized by leading politicians and civil rights advocates.

Update: A. 2142 has passed the state Assembly by a vote of 95 to 38. The Senate has yet to take action on its companion bill, S. 3809.

NY Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

North Dakota
Senate legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2344, to significantly rewrite the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act.

Sixty-four percent of voters approved the law on Election Day. Lawmakers should respect the public’s will and implement this law as initiated.

Unfortunately, SB 2344 makes several unacceptable changes to the Act. Specifically, it eliminates provisions permitting specific patients the option to cultivate their own medicine, and reduces the quantity of medicine that patients may legally obtain. It also caps the number of medical cannabis cultivators and dispensaries to no more than four and eight, respectively.

Update: Members of the Senate Human Services Committee have recommended passage of Senate Bill 2344. In response to voters’ concerns, they have amended the language so that the definition of ‘usable marijuana’ includes herbal forms of the plant. However, there are still many other provisions that NORML finds troubling and that undermine voters’ intent. The North Dakota Democratic Party has also raised various concerns regarding SB 2344

ND Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to oppose this effort.

Legislation is pending before the Senate, SB 301, to prohibit employers from discriminating against adults who legally consume marijuana during non-work hours.

Senate Bill 301 states, “It is an unlawful employment practice for any employer to require, as a  condition of employment, that any employee or prospective employee refrain from using a substance that is lawful to use under the laws of this state during nonworking hours.”

Passage of this act would not prohibit employers from sanctioning employees who are under the influence at work.

Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to debate SB 301 on Tuesday, February 21.

OR Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Rhode Island
A coalition of Rhode Island lawmakers has reintroduced marijuana legalization legislation in the House, H. 5555: The Adult Use of Cannabis Act

The bill will allow adults 21 and older to possess cannabis and will establish a framework for businesses to cultivate and distribute marijuana. While the language is similar to that of previous bills that have failed to come to a vote, lawmakers this year believe that Rhode Island is ready to catch up to its northeast neighbors.

RI Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

South Carolina
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 212 and House Bill 3521, to establish a program to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical marijuana products.

Under this program, patients would be permitted to obtain up to two ounces of cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products, such as extracts or edibles, from a state-licensed dispensing facility.

Update: Testimony was taken on S. 212 before the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee on February 16. Among those testifying in favor of the bill included former US Attorney for the District of South Carolina Bill Nettles. Members of the subcommittee have yet to vote on the bill.

Additionally, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMasters says he opposes legalizing marijuana, calling it a “bad idea.”

SC Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, are sponsoring the legislature’s most concerted effort to legalize medical use of marijuana.

Under present law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $250 fine.

TN Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Washington state Representative Sherry Appleton has introduced legislation that is currently in committee, HB 1092: The Adult Home Grow & Criminal Reduction Bill, to allow adults the option to legally cultivate personal use amounts of marijuana in a private residence.

Update: Members of the House Committee on Commerce and Gamine have passed a substitute version of HB 1212 to permit the cultivation of up to six plants and/or 24 ounces of usable marijuana harvested from those plants. The bill is now before the House Committee on Rules and the House Committee on Finance.

WA Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Additional Actions To Take

Legislation is pending before lawmakers, SB 155, to establish regulations governing a comprehensive medical marijuana program.

SB 155 would permit qualified patients to grow their own medical marijuana or to obtain it from a licensed dispensary, while also educating physicians who seek to recommend cannabis therapy.

Update: SB 155 has a hearing scheduled for 10:30am on Monday, February 20.

KS Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

HB 1185 and SB 928 are pending in the Maryland House and Senate. These measures seek to legalize and regulate the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

Under these proposals, adults would be permitted to possess and grow limited quantities of cannabis. The measures would also regulate and license a commercial and retail marijuana market.

Update: Committee members in the Senate will hear testimony on March 2nd at 1pm. Committee members in the House will hear testimony on March 7th at 1pm.

MD Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Additionally, Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 974, that prohibits individuals from operating a motor vehicle if they have any “detectable level” of THC or its inert metabolite THC-COOH present in their blood. Members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear testimony on this bill on March 2nd at 1pm.

MD Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to oppose this effort.

HF 927, to permit the adult use, cultivation, production, and retail sale of marijuana has been introduced in the Minnesota legislature.

Deputy Minority Leader, State Rep. Jon Applebaum has announced his intent to sponsor the measure in a press release. The bill would allow those age 21 or older to legally possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use and establish regulations governing its commercial production and retail sale.

MN Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

South Dakota
More than a dozen lawmakers are backing legislation, Senate Bill 129, to eradicate the state’s marijuana possession by ingestion law.

Under the law, one can be charged with a felony drug offense if their past use of a marijuana shows up on a blood or urine test. In the case of cannabis, byproducts of THC may be detectable for several weeks after one has ceased using it.

Update: Members of the Senate Judiciary will hear testimony on SB 129 on Tuesday, February 21.

SD Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Senator David Marsden has introduced a bill to re-approve a previously passed act that will regulate the instate production of cannabis oil for the treatment of intractable epilepsy.

SB 1027 ensures that patients suffering from the debilitating condition will not have to break federal law to import cannabis oil from out of state.

Update: SB1027 has been passed unanimously by both the House (99-0) and Senate (38-0) and now heads to the Governor to be signed into law or vetoed. WSLS reports “It’s unclear if the governor will sign the bill into law.”

VA Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

Legislation is pending, House Bill 2096, that seeks to repeal “all laws legalizing the use, possession, sale, or production of marijuana and marijuana-related products.”

While we do not anticipate this measure gaining traction, please let your lawmakers — and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brad Klippert — know that you oppose this effort.

WA Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to oppose this effort.

Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) introduced a pair of bills seeking to provide qualified patients with legal access to medical cannabis. The first bill establishes a statewide medical marijuana program, while the second bill would poll voters’ attitudes on the issue in the form of a nonbinding statewide referendum.

WI Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support this effort.

As passed by the House by a 56 to 2 vote, HB 197 reduces existing marijuana possession penalties from up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine to no more than 20 days in jail and a $200 fine for first-time offenders. Repeat offenders would face stricter penalties under the proposal.

But proposed changes by the Senate would eliminate these penalty reductions.

WY Resident? Click here to tell your elected officials to support reducing penalties.

25 thoughts

  1. Texas:
    Senate bill 269 has reached the Senate Health Committee. Contact Senate Health Committee Chairman Sen. Shwertner here:


    Senate Bill 170 to decriminalize marijuana in the State of Texas has also reached committee:


    Key points for Crminal Justice Committee Chairman Whitmire:
    1). This will create jobs by keeping productive nonviolent Texans in the workforce.
    2). Allow law enforcement to focus on real crimes like rape and murder
    3). Dont forget to mention SB 380 to eliminate asset forfeitures without due process:


    In case you missed it;

    The Houston Chronicle reports that District Attorney Kim Ogg is set to decriminalize marijuana in the city of Houston beginning March 1st with NO charges whatsoever for up to 4oz. of marijuana!


    People will be required to take a four hour drug class.
    But it’s better than Harris County Jail!

    This is while HB81 is being debated on the House floor to decriminalize marijuana in the state of Texas, filed by Rep. Joe Moody D-El Paso and co-sponsored by Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs.

    More than 12,000 people are arrested for minor marijuana possession in Harris County each year. The new rules are set to save the county $10million a year in law enforcement and prosecutorial charges alone.
    According to the ACLU, 70,000 Texans are arrested for marijuana possession each year. The state would save $250 million dollars per year decriminalizing marijuana.

  2. I keep getting “no targets found” every time I try to send an email to my representatives. Anyone else having this problem?

  3. Who’s stopping Washington and the states from reinstating prohibition once the War on Drugs officially ends? Here in Glasgow, KY we have been wet off and on when it comes to alcohol prohibition or legalization. We shouldn’t rely solely on Ballot Initiatives, especially since prohibition can start right back up for Marijuana, as Glasgow went dry after a few peaceful years of being wet with alcohol…

  4. Ya know what would really help!? A change in perception. Every time there is a “smoke out” “demonstration” or any type of civil display for the support of legalization the camera’s/press always seem to focus on a bunch of loons attending such activities. Very-Very rarely is there an attendee that can cohesively construct a sentence that would cause a pause in the perception in the oppositions position.

    You all know I’m an advocate for legalization (not medical-No Commercialization!)but the spokes people scare the shit out of me.

    1. Donna,
      By making such comments, you yourself are promoting the negative stereotypes which prohibitionists use to characterize people who use cannabis. Why be so judgemental? Why be so “prohibitionist?” If you’re in favor of legalization, as you say you are, then why do you carry water for the enemy?

      1. Hi Mark,

        No Mark I am brave enough to turn the microscope upon myself and address issues that may give fuel to the opposition. One must recognize the obvious connections that devalue a cause.
        Have a great day Mark.

      2. I agree with Donna. Every time I see that happen I think about the people I know that smoke and are everyday people, and why aren’t they showing people that the majority, rather than minority, would identify with. People like people like themselves. Look at the current climate of populism.

    2. “Not medical; no commercialization”

      Well then Donna just what are you for? Are you sure youre on the right blog?

    3. Same “syndrome” that got the Trump team “elected”: the media zeroed in on the kind of spokesmouths Donna is speaking of. Ignoring other presentations less extreme, more rational.
      Similar situation with (cannabis article) visuals: except for leaves ‘n’ buds, the most frequent top picture has been of a h-ot b-urning o-verdose m-onoxide p-uffjoint (or some stooge $mokin’ one), kids looking on while Mom reads “about cannabis issues” would never learn anything about microdosage utensils (Flexdrawtube Oneheater).
      (Well, that could kill the nicotine $igarette industry. Every joint and every picture of a joint is a $igarette advertisement helping save fossil fuel jobs.)

      1. I use a “bullet” stye sneak-a-toke, with a screen and some bubble hash, myself. There’s no useless paper to smoke and make me cough, and with the bubble hash, it’s mostly vapor anyway, there’s very little wasted smoke/vapor, and very little ash to clean out, if any.

        Not so dissimilar to your setup, in a way!

    4. No she’s right,, but that’s just the way news works,, it’s showbiz… You cover a smoke out,, you film tattoos, Harley’s, teenagers dressed in 60’s clothes, people with their pet python (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those), but most of the people there don’t look any different than the people you see at work,,,you don’t shoot the middle aged tailgater’s and their $100,000 RV’s.
      You film a gun show,, you shoot in front of the booth with the confederate flags..
      That’s just the way TV works..
      And I think I understand the no medical no commercial… that would be the ideal,, everyone just growing their own or else buying local at the farmers market,, just like tomatoes,, but no big business… no state control,,, and medical wouldn’t matter because it would be completely legal anyway..

      1. True, and I agree with all of that.

        But these people we’re talking about — pot leaf tattoos at the 420 rally, and confederate flags at the gun show — these people are all expressing themselves. They are displaying these symbols deliberately, often proudly, regardless of whether others find them admirable or repugnant.

        I have my views on those groups, like anyone else. I find one admirable, the other repugnant. But: That’s our freedom of speech! I don’t think we should be telling people they can’t or shouldn’t be doing that.

        But some marijuana activists have made the personal decision to cut their hair and put on a suit, in order to better promote their cause. I think that’s a personal choice.

        Some activists never had to go through all that, because they just came up well-groomed, for some reason! (Hey, to each their own.)
        Such people would be natural spokespeople for the cause in situations requiring formal-wear and etiquette and shit. Probably, there is some young preppie guy or gal, smoking up in their dorm-room right now, who’s going to be really fantastic at that.

        And as far as “No medical, no commercial”, grow it like tomatoes — again, yes of course I agree that would be ideal. But that’s just not realistic in America. Harm Reduction is where it’s at, I’m convinced. Legalization models like Colorado and other states are clearly a superior situation than the prohibition that existed prior to that, and so to oppose these legalization efforts on the basis that they don’t go far enough is counterproductive.

      2. I think right now we need to focus on the “Respect States” Act. If it passes, the Federal war is pretty much over.. If it doesn’t we’re back the Reagan years, and all those state actions won’t matter very much.
        Curiously I still haven’t seen a listing of the six republicans and six democrats who sponsored the bill..
        First the bill has to “get out of committee”, where’s the listing of the members of said committee, that’s who we need to be flooding with calls.

        [Paul Armentano responds: All of the information you are seeking is linked from our legislative alert here: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19997

        Cosponsor Date Cosponsored
        Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Pocan, Mark [D-WI-2]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Yoho, Ted S. [R-FL-3]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. McClintock, Tom [R-CA-4]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA-50]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Polis, Jared [D-CO-2]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Amash, Justin [R-MI-3]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Massie, Thomas [R-KY-4]* 02/07/2017
        Rep. Coffman, Mike [R-CO-6] 02/16/2017
        Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large] 02/16/2017

        The bill is before House – Judiciary; Energy and Commerce.]

      3. I just contacted my Reps! The salsalab software seems to be working again. Thanks, NORML, for the convenient tool for expressing my views to my elected representatives!

      4. I hate much of the press in this country. Whenever there are protests in Albuquerque, the local news stations love to search out some young relatively clueless person and put that on their broadcasts. And they of course love to show the local businesses that are inconvenienced by the protests.

        It is those kind of tactics that allows Trump to look credible when he criticize the press. The irony of his complaints, however, is that it was some of the very news stations that he loves to criticize–CNN and MSNBC–that essentially got him elected with their 24/7 coverage of him during the elections. (It would’ve been nice if those same “liberal” stations would’ve given Bernie 1/100th of the coverage.)

  5. The best thing that could happen to Pennsylvania is Trump blows some wind into the sails of legalization.

    I am not impugning the writer; it’s a great article. It illustrates how shitty the law is. You are not allowed to possess the bud so no matter if you got your MMJ card the cops can still bust you. Sell-out to prohibitionist law enforcement. You are forced to buy their MMJ cartridges to vaporize, or the street. It’s a sell-out to BIG WEED. What’s going to be cheaper, their cartridges or the bud? $50 for a 250mg cartridge.



    1. I don’t think Trump was ever impressed by the money in the legal marijuana industry. He’s got Exxon in his pocket now — we’re small potatoes to him.

      I’m going to repost something an anonymous commentator posted earlier, because I think it makes the point well (disregard the “insane” remark, I’m not sure who he was talking to there.) As follows:

      “Your industry is small by any metric of American capitalism,” said John Hudak of the Brookings Institution. “You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”

      1. I do think Trump will try to shakedown the cannabis industry, both legal and underground, for his own personal gain. That much seems a very safe bet.

        How he will go about that is harder to predict, because it would require a lot more technical and financial information about the all of the various options for screwing us that are available to Trump, and that is information I don’t pretend to have.

        However, I will say this much: Trump isn’t impressed by the money in the industry; and I estimate the chances are at near zero that the white supremacist movement now occupying the White House will give up their favorite Jim Crow cudgel: marijuana prohibition. They want to round up lots of brown people, for no legitimate reason. And Marijuana Prohibition is exactly how they do that. Why would they ever give that up without a fight?

        Nor can I imagine Trump ever being honest about his true agenda, either. That’s why I expect simultaneous raids on dispensaries and grow-ops in all legal states.

        I would very much like to be mistaken about all that, however. Can we arrange that?

      2. Consider the following hypothetical: if most dispensary and grow-op business owners are white, and if, just hypothetically, Trump allows these businesses to continue to exist, but doubles-down on marijuana prohibition everywhere else, specifically, urban “sanctuary cities” and other largely non-white parts of the country… would this mean Trump “supports” marijuana legalization?

        I think not. If, on the exceedingly slim chance that Sessions allows the legal marijuana industry to continue to exist unscathed, Trump supporters will try to do as they are already trying to do: cast Trump as a “legalizer.”

        But before anything else, first check to see if the racial disparity in marijuana arrest rates is going up, or going down. If it is not going down, then marijuana prohibition is still in full effect, and Trump is still a prohibitionist, not a legalizer. Call “Bullshit” at that point in time.

      3. Follow the reasoning here: Trump now says he is going to pay for “The Wall” with money obtained from forfeitures. They’re saying these forfeitures will target Mexican drug cartels. (Of course, your money is just as good as the Mexicans, Sessions is tolerant like that!)

        The Madman figures he gets his wall, such as the phony thing will be, and he gets to say that he “made” Mexico pay for it, which is more bullshit — and completely consistent with Trump behavior.

        But hold on: His “Wall” now depends on funding from Mexican drug cartels. But Mexican drug cartels depend on drug prohibition. Without it, there is no smuggling, and therefore, no cash/drugs/cars/house available for Sessions to enact forfeiture proceeding against.

        Therefore: Trump will shut down marijuana legalization in order to promote the drug war which enriches both Law Enforcement, the Mexican drug cartels, and of course, himself. Through forfeiture, he funds “The Wall” and gets to claim that he made Mexico pay for it.

        Sure, all this is crazy, destructive, and won’t work; but the point is, TRUMP THINKS IT WILL, AND PLANS ON DOING IT! That’s our problem, specifically.

        Unless I’m wrong about all this. Is this all just a bad dream? I’m ready to wake up now.

    2. It could revert to same old same old. I can’t read Mr. Trump’s thoughts. If he genuinely is concerned about the safety of the American people then there is no sense in forcing legal cannabis back into the illegal market, giving your nemesis, the (Mexican) cartels more money to buy U.S. guns. Holy shit, this wall and its staffing need a sustainable revenue source in dollars. The common people want jobs, and most of them are not suitable to work as border agents. If he genuinely is concerned about safety, the there’s the safety of the consumers because it’s tested for pesticides and shit and not just potency. He keeps saying he wants to do something to help people of color. Well, for one thing he can just free the weed, you know, legalize it so that the power establishment stops going after folks for weed seed to sale. How is he going to stay high in the polls by pulling unpopular shit like taking away the freedom of legal weed?

      1. I think the answer to your question may have been addressed by an anonymous commentator on this blog who, right after the election, was reviewing how pro-pot Republican voters keep voting in the most anti-pot Republican politicians.

        That commentator’s conclusion was: “Democratic politicians have little to gain by being pro-legalization, and Republican politicians have little to lose by being anti-legalization.”

        This is the result of the way people vote!

        There are signs, from the “Indivisible” town hall meetings going on during the congressional recess, that Republican voters may be now starting to wake up: they realize now that they are about to get screwed by the repeal of Obamacare, which many of them depend on. Those Republican voters look pissed to me! And they are yelling at Republican politicians! So, hope can come from the most surprising places.

Leave a Reply