Tag: 2016 Legislation

New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed for 2016

New Hampshire Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed for 2016

CONCORD, NH — A bill to allow adults 21 or older to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana in New Hampshire has been pre-filed for the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

House Bill 1610 is sponsored by Reps. Michael Sylvia (R-Belknap) and Robert Hull (R-Grafton).

If passed, the bill would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, grow up to six cannabis plants (three of which may be mature), and give up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult without financial compensation.

As written, the bill does not authorize retail marijuana sales, similar to a law passed in Washington DC in 2014.

Despite the lack of establishing a retail marijuana industry, this bill is an important piece of legislation in a state who’s motto is “Live Free or Die” but is the only New England state where simple possession of marijuana remains a crime.  Police in New Hampshire arrest some 2,900 individuals annually for simple marijuana possession offenses, according to NORML.

Possession of any amount of marijuana in New Hampshire is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.  Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana possession, replacing criminal penalties with a fine-only violation, have passed in the House but were defeated in the Senate, including measures in 2014 and 2015.

Recent polls have found strong support for legalizing marijuana in New Hampshire, including a July 2015 poll that found 60% of Granite State voters in favor of legalization.

New Hampshire residents are urged to contact their state representatives in advance of the 2016 legislative session and ask them to support this legislation. If you are a registered New Hampshire voter, you can contact your representatives via NORML’s website.

The full text of the bill can be found here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Cannabis Freedom Act Would be Good for Kentucky

Cannabis Freedom Act Would be Good for Kentucky

No one has adequately answered the question as to why cannabis is illegal. Not how it is illegal. But, why is it illegal.  We know how it is illegal. We were lied to. We were sold a bill of goods. We were bamboozled. That is a long interesting subject each should, of curiosity, research on their own.

Few believe that anyone should be incarcerated where the cannabis plant is involved. Most of my life we have expended tax dollars pursuing a ban on a plant.  Wasted dollars they were. We have exponentially increased the power and scope of our criminal justice system by strapping it with issues concerning a plant. While destroying families and individual careers in its waste. Removing children from their home, due to a parent’s marijuana charge, is unconscionable. Too many Kentuckians have had their lives stymied with criminal records as a result of nonviolent marijuana convictions. That is wrong.  It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis.

Colorado’s recent passage of a responsible adult marijuana use law has resulted in a 95 percent reduction in marijuana arrest rates and thereby unburdening the Colorado criminal justice system. Millions of dollars are forecast to be saved. The increase in Colorado’s tax revenue has been used for law enforcement programs, education concerns and drug rehabilitation. The savings and revenue increases in Kentucky would be enough to offset needed raises for our state troopers, correction officers and parole officers, while alleviating job pressures caused by laws vilifying a plant.  Maybe.  Certainly there will be many other ideas relating to other economic advantages when, as in Colorado, Kentucky benefits from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs,  a decrease in crime rates and double digit percent growth rates in tourism. 

We have allowed drug cartels mercenariness. That itself is enough to be opposed to prohibition. It is just so wrongheaded. This measure is an attempt to bring those illegalities to light and gain ground for freedom. 

We have obliterated the individual’s rights of choice and self-determination by clinging blindly to the bamboozlement concerning the benign and beneficial cannabis plant. 

Many choose to use marijuana as their opiates and analgesics. Who is to say the limits of freedom regarding the growing or consumption of a plant? Perhaps, freedom got lost in contrived fear and panic. Those that choose cannabis as medicine need not be criminal for attending to their personal health.   

Other states and other countries are moving ahead with propositions pertaining to responsible use and finding that the “HELLSCAPE” scenarios, as predicted by the prohibitionists, have not materialized.

It is abundantly clear to me that cannabis, while being much less harmful, should be treated the same as alcohol in our state. That is why I filed the Cannabis Freedom Act on Friday, Dec. 11. The Cannabis Freedom Act is an outline on how to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older in Kentucky. It is time for this discussion in our Commonwealth. 

This is a common sense proposal that moves Kentucky positively forward toward the inevitability of Cannabis Freedom.    

Tell your Representatives and Senators in Frankfort to support the Cannabis Freedom Act, to help grow our economy and restore fairness to our justice system. You can leave a message for your legislator at the Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181 or for citizens with hearing impairments at the TTY Message Line at (800) 896-0305. For additional information, go to the LRC website at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Kentucky Marijuana Legalization Bill Pre-filed for 2016

Kentucky Marijuana Legalization Bill Pre-filed for 2016

“It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis,” says bill sponsor Perry B. Clark

FRANKFORT, KY — In preparation for the upcoming 2016 legislative session, a Kentucky state senator has pre-filed a bill that would legalize  marijuana in the Bluegrass State for adults 21 and older.

Kentucky State Senator Perry B. Clark (D-Louisville), a longtime proponent of marijuana law reform, announced Friday that he has pre-filed the Cannabis Freedom Act for consideration when lawmakers convene in January.

“Too many Kentuckians have had their lives stymied with criminal records as a result of nonviolent marijuana convictions. That is wrong,” Clark says. “It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis.”

The bill would replace Kentucky’s current laws banning the possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis with a regulatory framework designed to promote public safety and responsible marijuana consumption by adults 21 and older.

“It is abundantly clear to me that cannabis, while being much less harmful, should be treated the same as alcohol,” Clark said in a statement Friday. “The Cannabis Freedom Act is an outline on how to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older in Kentucky. It is time for this discussion in our Commonwealth.”

If passed, Clark’s proposal would allow adults 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to five cannabis plants for personal use.

Retail sales would be regulated three-tier licensing system which separates cannabis cultivators, processors and retailers independently to “prevent monopolization and vertical integration,” Clark says.

Tax revenue from legal cannabis sales would benefit Kentucky’s public schools and provide scholarships to Kentucky students enrolled in state colleges and universities.  Revenue would also be used to fund “evidence-based substance abuse treatment programs, provide grants to local law enforcement agencies to purchase protective equipment and would provide additional revenue to the general fund,” according to the press release.

Under Clark’s proposal, public consumption of marijuana would remain illegal, with those caught smoking marijuana in public subject to a $100 fine.  The bill would maximize penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana at $250 and a $500 fine for illegal growing marijuana on a property without the property owner’s permission.

“This is a common sense proposal that moves Kentucky positively forward,” Clark added.

Under current Kentucky law, possession of up to eight ounces is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $250 and up to 45 days in jail.  According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), approximately 7,000 arrests are made each year in Kentucky for minor marijuana possession offenses.

Last year, Sen. Clark introduced legislation that would have made the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana a civil violation, punishable by a fine of no more than $75.   The bill failed to advance during the short 30-day session.  In even numbered years, Kentucky’s legislative session last 60 days.

Kentucky’s 2016 legislative session begins January 5.

The text of the bill can be found here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Filed in Illinois, Faith Leaders Voice Support

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Filed in Illinois, Faith Leaders Voice Support

Illinois faith leaders call for swift action on HB 4357, which includes provisions agreed upon by Gov. Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly

CHICAGO, IL — Rep. Kelly Cassidy announced Thursday that she is introducing new legislation for 2016 that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of a personal amount of marijuana in Illinois.

House Bill 4357 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine. Adults would no longer face time in jail, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record.

The proposal largely mirrors legislation previously introduced by Rep. Cassidy that was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23, as well the amendments proposed by Gov. Bruce Rauner when he vetoed the bill and returned it to the legislature on August 14.

“This is a reasonable proposal that is long overdue,” Rep. Cassidy said. “It needs to happen, and I am hopeful that we can make it happen quickly since it’s already such familiar territory for legislators and the governor.”

Members of the Illinois faith community joined Rep. Cassidy at the news conference to voice support for the bill. More than 50 clergy from around the state have signed a Religious Declaration of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, which includes support for civil rather than criminal sanctions for marijuana possession.

“When members of our communities are saddled with criminal records for possession, it hurts future job, housing, and educational prospects. Individuals become ‘marked for life,’” said Rev. Alexander E. Sharp, executive director of Clergy for a New Drug Policy. “We know from experience here and across the country that harsh marijuana penalties don’t deter use — they just hurt our communities when individuals’ lives are harmed from life-altering criminal records.”

Under current Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; and possession of more than 10 grams up to 30 grams is a class 4 felony punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,500 fine. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have removed the threat of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

“It accomplishes little, if anything, to arrest nearly 50,000 individuals for low-level marijuana use in Illinois each year,” said Rev. Myron McCoy, senior minister at the Chicago Temple of the First United Methodist Church. “Our current law wastes public funds and impedes the futures of our young people. We can do better as a society and as a state.”

More than 100 Illinois communities have already removed criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession.

“Our current law is particularly hard on communities of color, and this bill helps bring standards that can apply to all residents of our state,” said Rev. Jason Coulter, pastor of Ravenswood United Church of Christ. “Not only does this bill free up law enforcement to address serious crime, it helps ensure fairness in how the law affects lives regardless of where people live and how they look.”

More information on the bill is available from the Assembly’s website.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

The 8 States That Should Legalize Marijuana in 2016

The 8 States That Should Legalize Marijuana in 2016

Beginning in 2012, four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana. By this time next year, that number could well double, and then some. National polls now consistently show majorities in favor legalization, with a recent Gallup poll having 58% support—tied for the highest level in the poll’s history.

That doesn’t mean legalization is inevitable in any given state, as the case of Ohio earlier this month demonstrated. There, an initiative led by non-movement investors who sought monopolistic control of commercial pot cultivation got trounced despite spending millions of dollars.

But the Ohio result was probably a fluke, a convergence of a number of factors, including tone-deaf initiative organizers, a flawed initiative, a widely criticized mascot, and the fact that it was an off-off-year election with low voter turnout. There is no reason to believe that legalization initiatives likely next year in other states will be defeated just because the Ohio effort went down in flames.

At this point, it looks like there are six states likely to legalize weed through the initiative process next year, with those efforts at varying stages, and a couple more that could do it through the legislative process.

Here they are:

INITIATIVE STATES

ALREADY ON THE BALLOT

Nevada 

The legalization initiative from the Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol qualified for the ballot last December. That means that by the time Election Day 2016 arrives, organizers will have had nearly two years to make their case to voters. Under state law, the legislature could have acted on the petitions and legalized weed, but it declined to do so, so now it goes direct to the voters. There are no recent state polls on legalization, but it had 54% support in 2013, and there is no reason to think it has declined since then.

PETITION DRIVES WELL ADVANCED

Arizona

The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona announced last week that it had already collected 100,000 signatures for its legalization initiative. It needs to collect 150,000 valid signatures by next July to qualify for the ballot, appears well on the way to doing so, and says it is aiming for 230,000 raw signatures to have a healthy cushion. A June poll had support at 53%.

Maine

Once there were two competing initiative campaigns in the state, but now there is only one. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has quit signature gathering for its legalization initiative and joined forces with Legalize Maine in support of its slightly looser legalization initiative. Both campaigns had gathered about 40,000 raw signatures each before coalescing. The Legalize Maine campaign will need 61,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, and it has until February 1 to get them.  That seems eminently doable, and if it makes the ballot, it should win: A poll in April had support for legalization at a whopping 65%.

Massachusetts

Unlike Maine, the Marijuana Policy Project has so far been unable to form a united front with local activists, so there are two ongoing legalization campaigns. The MPP-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and its legalization initiative is vying with the homegrown Bay State Repeal and its legalization initiative. As in Maine, the local initiative is slightly looser. Earlier this month, the Campaign said it has already collected 100,000 signatures. It only needs 64,750 valid signatures to qualify, so it already has a nice cushion and the rest of this month to gather more. It’s not known how advanced the Bay State Repeal signature drive is, but it already looks like at least one legalization initiative will be on the ballot next year. Under state law, if an initiative has enough signatures, the legislature can then move to enact it. If the legislature doesn’t act, the campaign must then gather an additional 10,800 signatures to put it before the voters. One recent poll had support for legalization at only 41%, but it had a small sample size and large margin of error. Polls from 2014 had legalization winning by anywhere from six to 13 points, and the voters previously supported medical marijuana and decriminalization initiatives with a 63% vote.

Michigan

Another state with two competing campaigns, and the one that looks the iffiest in terms of qualifying for the ballot. Some 252,000 valid voter signatures are needed to qualify, and neither campaign is there yet. Backed by Republican business interests, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition said it had collected 200,000 signatures for its legalization initiative by the end of October before making a “strategic decision” to temporarily suspend petitioning. It has until the end of January to come up with more. Meanwhile, state activists have created the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MI Legalize) and are signature gathering around their own legalization initiative. Last week, they said they were 90,000 signatures short—although it that is just raw numbers, they will need substantially more to have a comfortable cushion—and they have until the end of December to get them. Both campaigns have money in the bank and are paying signature-gatherers.

STILL IN A CONFUSED MUDDLE

California

California should have been an almost sure there next year, and probably still is, but it is getting late in the game, and the evident divisions among legalization proponents are starting to make for some worried wondering. There are no fewer than 18 legalization initiatives in play (some various versions of the same initiative), most of which have little to no chance of coming up with the 365,000 signatures needed to qualify. State activists organized as the California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (ReformCA) thought they had the support of national reform organizations and associated pots of money for their initiative, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. Instead, groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project and the Drug Policy Alliance seem to be throwing their support to an initiative sponsored by tech billionaire Sean Parker. Neither the latest version of the ReformCA initiative nor the Sean Parker initiative has been cleared for signature gathering. Both initiatives now face a ticking clock. Campaigns have six months to get those necessary signatures, but the real hard deadline is June 30. Initiatives must have been cleared for the ballot by then in order to make the November ballot. The Parker initiative will likely have the financial support to do an expedited signature-gathering campaign; whether ReformCA will remains to be seen. While the state-level polling is good—a June poll had support at a record 54%–this late disarray doesn’t bode well.

LEGISLATIVE STATES

Rhode Island

This year, the legislature took up a legalization bill only to see it held for further study by the Judiciary Committees in both chambers. Next year, it could actually move, and it would if the legislature listens to the voters. In an April poll, 57% said they would support a bill to tax and regulate marijuana.

Vermont

This is probably the best bet for the first state to legalize pot through the legislative process. The groundwork has been being laid for years, it has the support of key state political figures, including Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and House Speaker Shap Smith (D), and legislative hearings on how—not whether—to legalize next year are already underway. The legislature failed to move legalization bills this year, but the stage is set for 2016.


This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Wyoming Considers Making a Pound of Marijuana Edibles a Felony

Wyoming Considers Making a Pound of Marijuana Edibles a Felony

CHEYENNE, WY — A panel of Wyoming lawmakers is backing a bill that would make it a felony to possess a pound or more of marijuana-infused edibles as the state grapples with the legalization of recreational pot for adults by neighboring Colorado.

The draft bill that passed the Wyoming legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in a 7-6 vote would also make it a misdemeanor to possess such items as marijuana-infused brownies, candy and other goodies weighing less than a pound.

The proposal, to be introduced in the Wyoming legislature at a budget session in February, was crafted in response to the dismissal by at least two state judges of cases tied to pot edibles, said state Senator Michael Von Flatern (R-Gillette), a committee member.

The judges found that while state law makes it a felony to have three ounces of the leafy form of pot, it does not specifically criminalize marijuana-laced edibles.

It is the latest response by Wyoming lawmakers to challenges they say stem from Colorado’s legalization of recreational pot for adults, some of whom carry weed to Wyoming, particularly in the southeast corner where an interstate highway connects the capital of Cheyenne to Denver.

“We’re dealing with a new reality and trying to adapt laws to what we see happening,” said Von Flatern. The Republican from Gillette voted in favor of the measure.

Von Flatern said the committee was divided over how one could measure the concentration of the psychoactive component in marijuana, THC, in edible products.

Concerns were raised, he said, over whether someone caught with a pot brownie or cake weighing more than one pound could potentially possess an item with less THC than a person found with candy that could weigh less but be more potent.

“We realize it’s somewhat arbitrary, but we needed to take a stab at it,” the state senator said.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.