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All State Governors

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Senate Bills

Daines/Merkley Veterans Equal Access Amendment

Permits physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. More info

Mikulski Amendment Protecting State Medical Marijuana Laws

Limits the Justice Department’s ability to take criminal action against state-licensed operations that are acting in full compliance with the medical marijuana laws of their states. More info

Merkley Marijuana Banking Amendment

Prohibits the US Treasury Department from using federal funds to take punitive actions against banks that provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses that are operating legally under state laws. More info

'N/A' means that the Senator did not have the opportunity to vote on this amendment.

Governors

  • Kristi Noem (R)

    South Dakota

    Took Office2019
    Term Expires2022
    NORML Grade: F

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    None

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    Governor Noem vetoed legislation that sought to license and regulate commercial hemp production in the state, opining, “There is no question in my mind that normalizing hemp, like legalizing medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to undermine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable.” (Link)

    Comments

    Governor Noem has historically opposed all efforts to liberalize marijuana laws in South Dakota, and she recently affirmed her opposition to a pair of 2020 ballot initiatives that seek to legalize and regulate medical cannabis and adult-use marijuana. (Link)

    Marijuana is “the gateway drug to getting people more addicted, getting into stronger drugs, then they end up committing crimes, and it just opens the door to bad habits and behaviors that aren’t going to be beneficial.” (Link)

    “Legalizing industrial hemp weakens drug laws. It hurts law enforcement. It’s a step backward.” (Link)

  • Bill Lee (R)

    Tennessee

    Took Office2019
    Term Expires2022
    NORML Grade: F

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    None

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    Governor Lee in 2019 reaffirmed his opposition to reducing criminal penalties for marijuana-related activities, stating, "I have said before and still believe that we should not decriminalize marijuana... I think that's not good for our state." (Link)
    He has failed to endorse legislative efforts to legalize medical cannabis access in Tennessee, instead stating that he prefers expanding the state’s CBD possession law. That law, enacted in 2014, only provides an affirmative defense from prosecution for patients with intractable seizures who obtain CBD extracts. (Link)

  • Greg Abbott (R)

    Texas

    Took Office2015
    Term Expires2022
    NORML Grade: D

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    Governor Abbott signed legislation into law, House Bill 3703, expanding the pool of patients eligible to participate in the state’s CBD access program. That program licenses providers to produce and dispense plant-derived CBD products. In October, however, the Texas Department of Public Safety abruptly ceased accepting licenses for those seeking to dispense CBD products to qualified patients. (Link)

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    Governor Abbott has expressed a willingness to consider legislation decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses, but has also publicly criticized efforts by some local District Attorneys to cease filing cannabis possession prosecutions. (Link)

  • Gary Herbert (R)

    Utah

    Took Office2009
    Term Expires2020
    NORML Grade: C-

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    Governor Herbert signed legislation in late 2019 facilitating the production and distribution of medical cannabis products to qualified patients by allowing these activities to be coordinated by private, rather than public, entities. The new legislation undid various changes initially made by the legislature earlier in the year, several of which were later deemed to be unworkable. Voters in 2018 approved medical cannabis access, but lawmakers eventually decided to replace the law with their own legislation. The Governor also signed separate legislation, House Bill 431, expunging certain low-level crimes, including misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses. (Link)

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    Governor Herbert said that federal lawmakers “ought to be ashamed” for failing to amend federal marijuana policies in a manner that comports with changing state laws regulating its medical or adult use. (Link)

  • Phil Scott (R)

    Vermont

    Took Office2017
    Term Expires2020
    NORML Grade: C

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    None

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    Governor Scott signed legislation in 2018 depenalizing minor marijuana possession and cultivation activities, but in 2019 he expressed opposition toward legislative efforts to expand the law to regulate commercial activities. While some lawmakers seeking to enact retail licensing legislation in 2020 have predicted that they may need to override the Governor’s veto in order to enact the new law, others have expressed beliefs that the Governor has softened his stance on the issue. (Link)

  • Ralph Northam (D)

    Virginia

    Took Office2018
    Term Expires2021
    NORML Grade: B+

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    Governor Northam signed several bills into law in 2019 specific to the state’s nascent medical cannabis access program. Among them, Senate Bill 1557 permits physician assistants and nurse practitioners to issue medical cannabis recommendations and Senate Bill 1632 permits for the use of certain cannabis formulations on school grounds. (Link)(Link)

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    The Governor emphasized the need to decriminalize marijuana in his 2019 State of the Commonwealth speech, stating: "Making simple possession of marijuana a civil penalty will ease overcrowding in our jails and prisons, and free up our law enforcement and court resources for offenses that are a true threat to public safety.” He has repeated the need to enact decriminalization and expungement legislation in the 2020 session. (Link)

    “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system, to make sure we’re treating people fairly--and using taxpayer dollars wisely. And it’s time to temper justice with mercy. This means decriminalizing marijuana possession--and clearing the records of people who’ve gotten in trouble for it.” (Link)

  • Jay Inslee (D)

    Washington

    Took Office2013
    Term Expires2020
    NORML Grade: A

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    Governor Inslee signed several marijuana-related bills in 2019. Specifically, Senate Bill 5605 facilitates the expungement of low-level marijuana convictions, House Bill 1094 streamlines the medical marijuana approval process, and House Bill 1095 permits qualified patients access to certain cannabis products while on school grounds. (Link)(Link)(Link)

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    During his campaign for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination, Gov. Inslee said “It’s time to legalize marijuana nationally.” (Link)

    “Friday we launched our Marijuana Justice Initiative, and today I signed the first set of pardons. This effort will help relieve the burden of misdemeanors for marijuana possession and allow people to move on with their lives.” (Link)

  • Jim Justice (R)

    West Virginia

    Took Office2017
    Term Expires2020
    NORML Grade: D

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    Governor Justice signed House Bill 2536, which encourages financial institutions to provide services to those involved in the state’s nascent medical cannabis program. That program, signed into law in 2017, is not yet operational. (Link)

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    The Governor vetoed legislation, House Bill 2079, that sought to allow dispensaries to vertically integrate their activities. Lawmakers ultimately passed another version of the bill during a special legislative session. (Link)

    Comments

    “I want everyone here to understand -- I am adamantly, adamantly, etched in stone, adamantly against recreational marijuana [legalization].” (Link)

  • Tony Evers (D)

    Wisconsin

    Took Office2019
    Term Expires2022
    NORML Grade: B+

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    None

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    In 2019, Gov. Evers introduced language in his state budget proposal that sought to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses and legalize medical cannabis access. Lawmakers failed to enact either proposal. (Link)

    “As a cancer survivor, I know the side effects of a major illness can make every task a struggle. People shouldn't be treated like criminals for accessing medicine that can change or maybe even save their lives.” (Link)

    “When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana…and elected officials can ignore those numbers without consequence, folks, something’s wrong.” (Link)

  • Mark Gordon (R)

    Wyoming

    Took Office2019
    Term Expires2022
    NORML Grade: F

    2019 Enacted Legislation

    None

    2019 Vetoed Legislation

    None

    Comments

    Governor Gordon has previously expressed his opposition to the legalization of marijuana for adult-use, and he has also expressed skepticism with regard to the use of medical cannabis. He did not make any prominent statements in 2019 to indicate that he has changed these positions. (Link)

This information is continually being updated. If you have an additional public comment that we do not have record of or any additional information please email politics@norml.org.