Weekly Legislative Update 2/2/2018

Welcome to the first NORML Legislative Roundup of 2018!

First, I’d like to highlight a key development at the federal level pertaining to established medical marijuana businesses and consumers.

The protections for lawful medical marijuana patients and businesses from the Department of Justice provided by the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer budget amendment was temporarily extended through February 8th and we are working to ensure that it will be a part of any budget deal for the rest of the fiscal year. In the last week alone, NORML members sent thousands of messages to members of Congress and we plan to keep the pressure up. If you have not already, send a letter to your elected officials in support of extending these important protections.

At the state level, Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey signed an executive order calling on regulators to conduct a review of the state’s eight year old medical marijuana program; and a Virginia House bill to expand the state’s limited medical CBD law was approved unanimously by the full House.

Additionally, at the state level, several marijuana-related bills are already dead for this session. These include two Virginia bills to decriminalize marijuana possession, as well as four Mississippi bills: one to decriminalize possession, two related to medical marijuana, and the last to regulate adult use marijuana.

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 together we will win,

Priority Alerts


End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

New Mexico

Democratic state Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino pre-filed legislation, SJR 4, to legalize, tax, and regulate adult use marijuana in New Mexico.

Update: The Senate Rules Committee voted four to three to approve SJR 4 today. If approved by lawmakers, voters would then be asked whether they want the state to legalize marijuana on this year’s November ballot.

NM resident? Click here to email your elected officials telling them it’s time to legalize marijuana


Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HF 927 and SF 1320, to legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for those 21 and older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale.

MN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization


Legislation is pending, SB 1027, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

If passed, SB 1027 would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense. Under current law, the possession of more than ten grams of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the decriminalization law


Senator Siobhan S. Dunnavant (R-12) introduced SB 726 to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law. Delegate Benjamin Cline (R-24) has introduced companion bill, HB 1251.

The measures would permit doctors to recommend CBD and THC-A oils to any patient they believe would benefit. Under present law, only a neurologist may recommend cannabis oils, and only for patients with intractable epilepsy.

Update: SB 726 has reported out of committee and is awaiting a floor vote. House Bill 1251 was approved by the House today with a vote of 98 to zero.

VA resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to leave it up to the medical professionals


Legislation is pending, SF 280 and SF 432, to amend marijuana possession penalties for first-time offenders.

Senate File 280 and SF 432 reduce criminal penalties for possession of 5 grams of marijuana or less from a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000, to a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and/or a $625 fine.

Update: SF 432 was approved on a voice vote by the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits action on the Senate floor, and SF 280 has cleared a Republican-led subcommittee in the Senate.

IA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reducing possession penalties for first time offenders

Additional Actions to Take

New York

Legislation is pending in both chambers, A. 9016 and S. 7564 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the state’s medical marijuana program


Legislation is pending, HB 1893, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

Update: HB 1893 was heard by HHS yesterday in the House.

HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana expansion


Democratic state Senator Anthony Williams has introduced Senate Resolution 258 to amend the Controlled Substances Act so that marijuana is no longer classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

If passed, this resolution would urge Congress to take action to amend federal law so that states could regulate cannabis absent undue federal interference.

Update: A state Senate committee has unanimously approved the resolution to urge Congress to reevaluate marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance and recognize marijuana’s medical purposes.

PA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of descheduling marijuana from the CSA


Legislation is pending, House Bill 2144, to make Arizona a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ for licensed marijuana operators.

With US Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recently rescinded federal guidance memos protecting state-licensed, marijuana-related activity, passage of this legislation is more crucial than ever.

If passed, this bill would prevent the state from providing federal agents with the names, addresses and/or other related information pertaining to businesses that have been issued permits to grow, distribute and sell marijuana.

AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana protections

Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

0 thoughts

  1. Please provide update on the introduced Federal legislation. Urging your representatives to support a particular bill is meaningless unless they will actually get a chance to vote
    on it. Which committee(s0 is it assigned to?

    1. I often fall and recently have fallen for your same concern… however a letter from a voting constituent is “meaningless” and gets spammed if you are not contacting the representatives and Senators of your state and federal districts. The prescripted letters on the http://www.norml.org/act tab are designed to align us with the Reps and Senators in our district.
      Now tell that to the district around Dallas where Pete Sessions, the Keebler’s gatekeeper of Prohibition, is finally facing a Democratic challenger… and in a district won by Hillary? Interesting…

      1. Marijuana legalization reduces the harm associated with racial discrimination in marijuana arrest rates.

      2. Is there any legslation on the ACT tab of this webpage you will endorse? Or do you suggest that if the odds of passing a bill are bad we shouldnt set the standard at all? If that was the case Colorado never would have started their initiative.
        Click here:

        I’m sure you’ll find something with odds of squeezing through this Republican Congress. Like renewing the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the spending bill before the 8th!

  2. Thanks Carly!
    Glad to see the Updates up before midterm primaries.


    While the relatively short legislative session begins in January of 2019 for Texas, Primaries begin March 2nd for early voting and end March 6th. Voter Registration ends on Monday in Texas so PLEASE get those voter registration cards from the Post Office ready for that 18 year old nephew that likes to talk politics at the Superbowl but doesn’t vote. Don’t vote? Don’t complain!

    Here is Texas NORML’s new voter guide;


    Theres still work to do. I couldnt even find the phone numbers for any of the Republican state Rep candidates in my district so that means we have to show up to forums and debates and ask about marijuana policy.

    I’m meeting with my Republican state representative Jason Isaac tomorrow morning who is running for federal representative and I’m meeting with Democratic Federal Representative Beto Orourke on Monday who is running to replace (God willing) Ted Cruz for the Federal Senator.

    I’m getting used to wearing a NORML tee under a matching suit. It works for some reason.

    Let’s DO this Texas! Legalize one Rep at a time.

    1. Good news!

      Representative Jason Isaac pledged to continue to support states rights on marijuana policy at the federal level. Looking at the math and polling from Lamar Smith’s District 21, Isaac is in the best position to replace this House seat. I was able to educate him on federal scheduling and sent him some details on NORML’s position to deschedule, not reschedule marijuana at the federal level. Jason expressed interest in attending the upcoming candidate forum hosted by Texas NORML this Wednesday at the Cantina on 6th Street.

      When all the Democrats in our districts are fighting over who is the best marijuana reformer but our Republican marijuana reforming allies are surrounded by prohibitionists or simply with misinformed candidates we need to throw our votes and support behind the Republican marijuana reformer during the primaries …even if we vote for the Democrat during the general election.

      This is how we plant the seeds to reform marijana law. Face to face with our families in a small town cafe, BEFORE we elect our candidates.

      It takes a special brand of patience and spirit to get passed the Trumpish bumper stickers and isignias to look at a Reps’ policies and record and deal with the human being, not the label. ESPECIALLY during this volatile political climate were enduring.

      What this strategy of working with both sides does is makes our worst case scenario to transition from a two-faced prohibitionist rattlesnake like Lamar Smith to a passionate Republican marijuana reformer in the House like Jason Isaac. Now THAT is what I call marijuana reform.

      Now Monday it’s off to meet with Texas Democratic candidate for Senate Beto Orourke! (I think it’s time for me to buy a new suit and NORML tee… they’re going to start noticing it’s the same one!)

      1. Thanks for the great information and updates Julian. And, as always, thanks for your invaluable efforts.

      2. I’ve been searching all day and his stance is under no conditions would he legalize.

  3. In other news from Texas a 6-year-old with epilepsy becomes the first medical marijuana patient under the Compassionate Use Act yesterday:


    And we’re still waiting for the DA’s office from Bexar County (San Antonio) to release the rules on their website for the new cite and release program. The Texas Tribune reported Wednesday that Bexar County law enforcement will issue deferred classes in stead of an arrest record, similar to what Harris County implemented in Houston under DA Kim Ogg. Prior to these counties decriminalizing, Texas arrests about 70,000 people each year for small possessions of marijuana.

  4. What an excellent update! I live in Oregon, but am more than willing to spread the appropriate information to those less fortunate.

  5. Three years ago there was a vote on medicalmarijuana.the people here in south Carolina voted 67% said yes they are calling it the compassionate care act but nothing has happened?
    Why is it illegal? Did they forget probation?
    What happens to life liberty the pursuit of happiness

  6. Clicked and sent. I think if we could put it to a vote here in NM, it’d pass, as a healthy percentage of voters here want pot legalized. Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino was the one who pushed similar legislation last year. I attempted to call his office at that time but could not find a working phone number–I’ll try again soon.

  7. Good news from many states, from some, not so good. However, about time for Arizona and Pennsylvania (who else was thinking about the fame the Super Bowl win would bring either state and hopefully shed some light on said states as legalization progresses?). Good also in New Mexico, even though it is so stupid that apparently some officials STILL do not see the inevitable future and voted against it. New Mexico is still moving way too slowly, although this is good news. Minnesota, frankly, is a state which should have been on board with legalization a long time ago! Hawaii, New York, others, good news. Maryland needs to just outright legalize and look to Vermont and the others as an example of the inevitable. Arizona, too, has to realize by now they are clearly behind. Arizona is probably dying to legalize by now. Have to run, as I am still working on getting another laptop and on a family member computer right now, lol. Good to hear despite the dead bills, stay vigilant, hope Sessions and the DOJ are too distracted right now with the Nunes matter, etc. Stay vigilant every single day especially business days for Sessions, but hopefully he realizes the enormous pressure and criticism he is going to receive if he takes any further action. Perhaps he realizes that doing so would make him look like an old FOOL. Bring unwanted heat to him and the Department.

    Later, and keep on truckin’, lol. Write your Congress folks.

    All aboard…..legalization knockin’ at the door….


    1. Matt,

      Here in New Mexico it’s the same old problem: Republicans voting against legalization (along with a few conservative Dems). Our legalization problems here will be greatly alleviated when our Republican Governor, Susanna Martinez, is out of office, which she will be at the end of this year (her 8 years in office being up).

      The Democratic front-runner for Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is far more sympathetic to our cause.

  8. There is a civil war occuring within our own military over synthetic CBD and whole plant hemp, bringing new meaning to the popular app game Plants v. Zombies. But where’s the canna-app for continuing cannibis education?

    There are casualties; soldiers suffering from seizures that could be treated by whole plant cannabis are now hearing military authorities tell them hemp is “safe but illegal.”

    Worse, those given harmful and mislabeled synthetic CBD oils are suffering dangerous and adverse effects, causing 9 soldiers to recently be hospitalized.

    The incredible irony over the military’s ban on whole plant hemp is our military historically relied on hemp to win all of the wars we ever fought since the Revolution:


    It was war efforts like the Hemp for Victory campaign that made hemp profitable during WWII and heavily cultivated even after it had been deceptively banned under the racist Marijuana Stamp Act of 1937.

    Of course, today demand is surging for hemp for health products and medicine. But doctors are under siege from the archaic and lethal CSAct propped up by synthetic pharmaceuticals that cant profit from poisons if Americans figure out how different strains of cannabis work:


    Then there is Koch Industries, the fossil fuel predator dinosaur of timber and petroleum patents for everything from petroleum based stainmaster carpets to synthetic fertilizers made from natural gas at Koch refineries in Chorpus Christi, TX that lose value under a legal domestic hemp industry. But who really knows we are eating natural gas biproducts in our lettuce or ham and beef?


    1. The most important part of the cannabis learning curve legally and medically (that I somehow managed to leave out) is that doctors, particularly in low THC programs like here in Texas, need to understand that some if not most patients suffering from epilepsy or a variety of other neurodegenerative diseases NEED more THC dosage in their whole plant strain.
      Synthesizing cannabinoids is bad for our health. And trying different strains of cannabis for different ailments is infinitely safer and more effective than experimenting with lethal prescription synthetics. We in the marijuana community already know this but medical schools are still prohibiting the science of the endocannabinoid system and the botanics of whole plant synergy. Thats why we need an app to create a public canniversity out of our NORML library. If we want to cure the patients, first we have to cure our doctors from synthetic propaganda.

  9. And thats really all it comes down to: the learning curve. Who knows whats in our food and medicine unless we grow it ourselves? Why can’t our military grow hemp in Afghanistan instead of poppy? Or protect schools and hospitals fueled and built with hemp instead of blocking the Taliban while the poppy is harvested by our DOJ?

    Despite the civil hemp war we are in, the Green Age of enlightenment is dawning. Cannabis itself… both hemp and marijuana… reminds us that “organic” plants are… well… plants… not patently unhealthy, synthetic pharmaceuticals. Cannabis inspires us to buy a $40 battery powered drip irrigator on a timer and grow an herb garden.

    So let’s give our doctors the email to our Patient Outreach coordinators from our local NORML chapters. Let’s provide the time and space to place the endocannabinoid system and basic civics into our education systems.

    Because the future I see is school children growing hemp at a public school garden to harvest for their themselves and stock the cafeteria with homegrown food and the nurses office with home grown medicine.

    The future I see has our nation’s military defending the building schools and hospitals with hemp and marijuana, not poppy or corrupt double agents.

    How’s that for continuing education? Who can help us build a NORML app and build a free public canniversity based on small donations?

  10. Federal: Do we know if any of the desired resolutions or bills are in the Senate’s bi-partisan product announced today (2/7/18)

    1. Not yet Ken. The Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendments will have to be negotiated in the House and Senate conference committee. The House Chair of the Rules Committee, Pete Sessions, R-TX has been busy blocking marijuana amendments from Polis-McClintock to Rohrabacher-Blumenauer. The Senate has always included the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment as a rider in its appropriations bill. Which means that it’s entirely up to who ever is on the conference committee to force the House along. I’ve been told by Congressional staffers that the conference committee would be made up of the ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. That would be:

      Committee on Ways and Means Members, 2017-2018
      Democratic members (16) Republican members (24)
      • Richard Neal (Massachusetts) Ranking Member • •Kevin Brady (Texas) Chairman
      • Sander Levin (Michigan)
      • Sam Johnson (Texas)
      • John Lewis (Georgia)
      • Devin Nunes (California)

      Democrats John Lewis and Richard Neal the only members that I know would vote yes:

      The best we can do is click on the http://www.norml.org/act tab and contact our own representatives in our own voting districts. Then watch Kevin Brady and Pete Sessions get voted out of Congress this November, which is quite a real possibility.

      Even if the Rohrabacher Blumenauer amendment is allowed to expire, I believe it would only serve more as a catalyst for marijuana legalization.

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