Weekly Legislative Update 6/17/17

revolutionbumperWelcome to this week’s edition of the NORML legislative roundup!

At the Federal level, the biggest news this week was two-fold. First, in a letter made public by Tom Angell of Marijuana Moment, it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a private message to Congressional leadership requesting that they lift restrictions on the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute medical marijuana in states that have legalized. This would overturn years of precedent and could result in the shutdown of lawful state medical programs, depriving patients of the ability to make healthcare decisions with their doctor. This revelation came the day before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before Congress and stated “The question of whether it’s legal under federal law is resolved because Congress has passed a law — it’s illegal. Scientists have found that there’s no accepted medical use for it.”

Which rolls us right into the second biggest Federal development: the reintroduction of the CARERS Act, which would codify protections for lawful state medical programs. Passage of CARERS 2017 would exempt from federal prosecution those who are engaged in the “production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing, recommending use, or delivery of medical marijuana” in instances where these activities comport with state law.

At the state level, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed HB 157 into law on June 16. The law adds “moderate to severe chronic pain” as a qualifying illness for medical cannabis. The new law takes effect in 60 days.

Following 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) earlier this year formed the 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 Congressional Cannabis Caucus

Protecting Patients: Legislation has been reintroduced in the Senate, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2017, to strengthen protections for those compliant with their state’s medical marijuana laws and to impose various changes to federal law.

Passage of CARERS 2017 exempts from federal prosecution those who are engaged in the “production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, laboratory testing, recommending use, or delivery of medical marijuana” in instances where these activities comport with state law. Separate provisions in Act exclude cannabdiol from the federal definition of marijuana, permit VA doctors to authorize medical cannabis access to qualified patients, and remove undue federal barriers to clinical trial research to better assess the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.

Click here to send a message to your Senators urging them to support and possible co-sponsor the CARERS Act of 2017

Legislation (LD 764) is before Gov. Paul LePage that will prohibit medical cannabis patients from being denied organ transplants.

The measure “prohibits a transplant evaluator from determining a qualifying patient to be unsuitable to receive an anatomical gift solely because the qualifying patient uses medical marijuana.”

ME resident? Click here to send a message to Gov. LePage urging him to sign the bill. 

Members of the House put forward amendments to The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act. Among proposed changes to the law would more than double taxes on retail cannabis sales, from 12 percent to as much as 28 percent, strip local control away from municipal voters and unilaterally give local government officials the power to decide whether or not to ban marijuana facilities in their communities, and restrict the kinds of marijuana edibles products that may be sold and purchased by adults.

MA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers telling them to enact Question 4 as passed in a timely manner. 


12 thoughts

  1. Republicans are actively working overtime to take away your Healthcare. Do you think their knowing about the medical benefits of cannabis would alter their agenda in any way?

    Fuck no. Their Healthcare plan for you: “Drop dead.”

    You can support marijuana legalization. Or, you can be a Republican. But you can’t do both.

    A voter who says they support marijuana legalization, but who still votes Republican, is either a liar, or a sucker, or both.

  2. New Jersey, how are the authorities going to know I saved an empty container previously bought at the state monopoly and keep filling it up with stuff I can grow at home anyway, despite their stupid little plan? Duh! Might as well allow home grow.


    One major point of contention among legalization advocates is that Scutari’s bill doesn’t include provisions for home cultivation.

    ?Legalizing the possession of one ounce of marijuana flower, seven ounces of concentrate, 16 ounces of medicated edibles, and 72 ounces of infused liquid for adults over 21 years of age. The possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis would be instantly decriminalized regardless of the official implementation date of legalization in New Jersey.
    ?Replacing the current sales tax levied on medical marijuana sales with one on transactions of the recreational variety. The initial tax rate would be set at seven percent the inaugural year of legalization, rising to 10 percent in year two. The tax would increase by five percent each year until it maxes out at 25 percent.
    ?Allowing those with prior charges for marijuana possession to expunge their criminal record.
    ?The establishment of a Marijuana Enforcement Division within the Attorney General’s Office to oversee the state’s legal cannabis market.


  3. The details on Pennsylvania’s retarded shitty medical marijuana system are emerging. You still can’t legally grow your own or buy the bud to vape–or smoke.

    Here are the lucky bastards who got a Pennsylvania grower & processer permit:


    Lehigh University has a test plot of hemp, and Dr. Sisley’s BioGreens cannabis company has a partnership with the University.



  4. The CARERS act will move cannabis from Schedule I to II.



    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML similarly supports descheduling, not rescheduling: http://blog.norml.org/2016/04/06/it-is-time-to-deschedule-not-reschedule-cannabis/. The 2017 version of CARERS no longer includes language regarding rescheduling cannabis.]

    1. Thank you for clearing that up Paul. I was confused about that as well. We’re going to have to get the bullhorn out so more activists are aware and help push the Carers Act. It has an even better chance at passing than protecting states rights in this wannabe Congress.

  5. If anyone is wondering how Republican prohibitionists keep winning after the most expensive slight defeat in Georgia:


    “We had Mark Swedlund, a database expert whose clients include eBay and American Express, look at the data from Georgia and Virginia, and he was shocked by Crosscheck’s “childish methodology.” He added, “God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name is Joseph or Jose. You’re probably suspected of voting in 27 states.”

    It was written long before these elections:


    Progressive Democratic marijuana reformers will not begin winning seats back from Congress until the next census in 2020. This means we have to get in our reps faces and shame them into voting for marijuana reform.


  6. Justin:
    I am not in the habit of posting anything on this site from an MPP blog, but this needs to get out to Vermonters in a hurry:


    The Vermont House Republican Caucus are trying to hold up a revised bill to be the first legislatively enacted marijuana reform in the nation. PLEASE! If you are from Vermont, click on the link and contact you House Representatives!
    The Governor is on board with these revisions. TODAY IS THE LAST DAY!

    Get in the State Capitol and Get in your REPS FACE!

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