Tax and Regulate

N.H.: Volunteer opportunities TOMORROW EVENING!

Phone banking and letter writing campaigns in support of HB 481 will commence tomorrow evening at the Americans for Prosperity offices in Manchester and Portsmouth.

The New Hampshire House has already voted 209-147 to pass HB 481, the bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults' use, but we need to continue building support and gaining votes in order to override an expected veto by Gov. Chris Sununu. The bill is currently being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee, and a second vote by the full House will happen before April 4. If it passes the House a second time, it will proceed to the Senate.

Americans for Prosperity has emerged this year as a strong supporter of HB 481. Tomorrow evening, they will be hosting phone banking and letter writing sessions at their offices in Manchester and Portsmouth. All supporters of HB 481 are welcome. Dinner will be provided for volunteers. For more details, and to RSVP on Facebook, click here.

WHAT: Phone banking and letter writing in support of HB 481

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 5 to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Offices of Americans for Prosperity in Manchester (340 Granite St. First Floor) and Portsmouth (767 Islington St. Second Floor)

If you haven't already done so, please take a few moments to find how your state representative(s) voted and send them a message to follow up. It's important that we thank representatives who voted in favor, and for those who did not, this is a critical opportunity to ask them why they voted no.

Please share this message with your family and friends!

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Tax and Regulate

Ct.: Legislative leaders unveil plans to end marijuana prohibition in 2019

If you live in Connecticut, please contact your state legislators today and urge them to support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis — public hearings will begin this Friday, March 22

Last week, after several weeks of working behind the scenes, legislative leaders announced their plan to pass bills that will legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in Connecticut. They also announced that committee hearings are scheduled to begin this Friday, March 22.

Contact your state legislators today and urge them to support the legalization bills!

Rep. Michael D'Agostino, co-chair of the General Law Committee, stressed that the introduction of draft legislation is only a first step, and that policy details would continue to be discussed and debated as bills are considered by committees. "This is the start of the process," he said. For example, he noted that home cultivation is not currently included in the bill, but the legislature may decide to include it as the process moves forward. More details are explained in this article.

You can also check out our summaries of the bills referred to the Judiciary Committee, along with the General Law bill. (The taxation piece, which will be in Finance, has not been introduced yet.)

If you're interested in testifying at a public hearing in the legislature, please contact me at msimon@mpp.org, and I will share more details.

After you email your state legislators, please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana!

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General

New Mexico Legislature sends marijuana decriminalization to governor's desk

If you live in New Mexico, contact the governor today in support of decriminalization!

Over the weekend, in the waning hours of the legislative session, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed SB 323, a bill that decriminalizes marijuana possession. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). Gov. Grisham is expected to sign the bill.

Contact Gov. Grisham now and ask that she sign the decriminalization bill.

SB 323 would remove the criminal penalties for possessing up to a half ounce of marijuana and instead institute a $50 fine. Currently, the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, if it's your first offense, is up to 15 days in jail and a maximum fine of $150. If it's your second offense with less than an ounce of marijuana, you could face up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Unfortunately, bills to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana did not make it out of committee in the Senate, after passing the House. Nonetheless, removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession is a great step towards more sane and compassionate marijuana policy. So, please contact the governor today and ask her to sign SB 323. Then, forward this email to friends and family and ask that they reach out to the governor, too. Together, we can bring more sensible marijuana laws to New Mexico.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey is close to legalizing marijuana and you can help

If you live in New Jersey, click here to email your lawmakers today.

As you may have heard, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced they have finally come to an agreement regarding the details of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. If leaders in the legislature believe they have the votes to pass the bill, they plan to hold a vote on March 25.

Click here to email your lawmakers in support of making marijuana legal.

The votes aren't there yet for the bill to pass. It's time to change that: Lawmakers need to hear from constituents who support replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.

The legalization bill would:

  • Allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana;
  • Set up a process for expungement for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses;
  • Establish a $42 tax per ounce on sales from cultivators; and
  • Incentivize towns to allow marijuana businesses through local taxes.

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees this Monday, March 18, where they will also hear bills on medical marijuana expansion.

Please email your elected officials to let them know you support ending marijuana prohibition. Then, forward this email to your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to New Jersey.

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Medical Marijuana

Florida: Legislation to repeal ban on smoking medical cannabis has reached Gov. DeSantis’ desk!

On Wednesday, the Florida House of Representatives sent a bill to allow patients to smoke medical cannabis to Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk. In February, Gov. DeSantis called on lawmakers to send him a bill that would repeal the ban, after a court ruling in 2018 deemed the ban unconstitutional. The bill passed the Senate last week by a vote of 38-0.

Repealing the smoking ban will allow patients and their doctors greater access to administer medical cannabis and to decide for themselves which mode of administration is most appropriate for them. The bill will take effect as soon as the governor signs it.

Additionally, the bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by their doctor and requires patients under the age of 18 to have a terminal condition and to get a second opinion from a pediatrician before smoking medical cannabis.

Patients and their allies in Florida have fought for years to establish a comprehensive system to create safe access to medical cannabis. Gov. DeSantis signing this much-needed legislation into law will mark a great victory for patients across the Sunshine State.

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Tax and Regulate

Colo.: Cannabis bill would allow on-site consumption areas for adults, but another presents risks

Mar 14, 2019 Kate Zawidzki

If you live in Colorado, click here to support the Hospitality Establishment bill and allow on-site consumption.

More than six years after Colorado voters legalized marijuana, many adults still have no place where they can consume cannabis. For the most part, private homes are the only option, leaving tourists and those who can't smoke or vape at home left out. Rep. Jonathan Singer's Hospitality Establishment bill would finally change that by allowing on-site cannabis consumption at regulated establishments.

Please click here to send a message to your House member in support of hospitality establishments.

While Colorado allows adults and patients to consume cannabis, consumption is prohibited in public. Unlike alcohol, businesses may not allow on-site use except in rare instances, leaving tourists who purchase cannabis in a catch-22. This makes cannabis consumers second-class status compared with alcohol consumers. HB 1230 would allow facilities like hotels to designate areas for cannabis consumption. Other businesses could be authorized to sell small amounts of cannabis for consumption on-site. It's a commonsense solution to a long-running challenge in Colorado.

Unfortunately, another bill could severely limit in-home use for many adults and patients. HB 1076 would define using a cannabis vaporizer — including pens — as "smoking," subjecting vaping to all the restrictions on indoor tobacco smoking. Thousands of Coloradans who live in public housing could be prohibited from using vaporizers in their own residences. The bill is expected to pass the House this week, but these limits should be reconsidered in the Senate. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to stop this overreach.

In the meantime, please take a moment to send a message to your lawmaker in support of HB 1230, and forward this message to friends, family, and supporters!

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Medical Marijuana

Utah lawmakers approve bill to make minor changes to medical marijuana law

Legislators in Utah have passed legislation, SB 161, that would implement technical fixes to Utah's newly adopted medical marijuana law. The bill now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Changes include elimination of language that could be used to discriminate against parents who are medical marijuana patients and extending protections to family members of patients who are assisting their loved one with accessing medicine. You can read details about the legislation by visiting the website of our local ally, the Libertas Institute.

In the compromise reached before passage of Prop 2 last year, all parties agreed to wait until 2020 before proposing and adopting major policy changes to the Utah Medical Cannabis Act.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Thank you.

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Medical Marijuana

Nebraska: Help us fight back against Gov. Ricketts and his anti-medical marijuana allies

Support the 2020 ballot campaign and take action by contacting your state senator!

Last week in an email to Nebraskan Republicans, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced that he is "partnering with Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Nebraska to ensure all Nebraskans understand the risks of marijuana." As one would expect, the message was full of untrue statements, including the claim that marijuana causes IQ loss, which has been thoroughly debunked by recent scientific studies.

Gov. Ricketts and his allies have demonstrated a total lack of compassion for the thousands of patients and families suffering in Nebraska. Instead of engaging in dialogue about how to create a functional medical marijuana program, they are digging in their heels and spreading falsehoods.

To take on Gov. Ricketts and his anti-marijuana lobbyist friends, we have a two-pronged strategy. But we need you in this fight with us.

First, we're working to build support behind the medical marijuana bill in the state legislature. Take a minute right now to contact your state senators and urge them to support Sen. Wishart's proposal.

And to create further pressure, we're supporting Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws, which recently submitted a 2020 constitutional ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana. Please make a donation to ensure the campaign has the resources to put the proposal on the ballot.

Gov. Ricketts and his prohibitionist allies are determined to keep medical marijuana illegal. But with your help, we can prevail.

Thank you.

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Prohibition

Hawaii House approves restrictive decriminalization bill

Mar 13, 2019 Kate Zawidzki

Aloha State, decriminalization, Hawaii, HI

If you live in Hawaii, ask your senator to fix HB 1383 and decriminalize marijuana this year!

Last week, the Hawaii House of Representatives amended and approved a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the Aloha State. It now heads to the Senate.

Unfortunately, however, the bill only decriminalizes up to three grams, which would be the smallest amount of any decriminalization — or legalization — state. Under HB 1383, the penalty would be a steep $200 civil fine, rather than jail time. A $200 fine can be hardship for low-income residents.

Contact your senator today and ask them to support decriminalization, but to work to amend HB 1383 to increase the possession amount and reduce the fine.

By passing a sensible decriminalization law this year, Hawaii would free up law enforcement resources to focus on more serious crimes and avoid branding Hawaiians with a criminal record for a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Please contact your senator today! You can also find some background materials on decriminalization here. Together, we can bring smarter marijuana policy to Hawaii.

 

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Tax and Regulate

Lancaster, York, Huntingdon, and Butler Counties, PA listening tour stops added

Lt. governor's marijuana legalization listening tour will visit York, Huntingdon, Slippery Rock, and New Bloomfield in the coming week.

Over the next week, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman will be hearing constituents' views on marijuana legalization in Lancaster, York, Huntingdon, Butler, and Perry Counties. If you live in any of those counties, try to stop by to make your voice heard.

Here are upcoming stops:

Lancaster (Lancaster County)
Monday, March 18, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Millersville University, The Ware Center
42 N. Prince Street

York (York County)
Tuesday, March 19, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
York College of Pennsylvania, DeMeester Recital Hall
441 Country Club Road

Huntingdon (Huntingdon County)
Wednesday, March 20, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Juniata College Brumbaugh Academic Center, Alumni Hall
1700 Moore Street

Slippery Rock (Butler County)
Thursday, March 21, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Slippery Rock University, McKay Education Building Auditorium
1 Morrow Way

New Bloomfield (Perry County)
Monday, March 25, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
New Bloomfield VFW
71 Soule Road

Consider arriving early: In some cases, crowds have been standing-room only.

When deciding what you'd like to say, feel free to draw from our document on the Top 10 reasons to end marijuana prohibition or other materials. You may want to consider making a pitch for an inclusive, diverse industry, for allowing home cultivation, and for expunging past convictions.

Even if you're not up for speaking in public, you can still make your voice heard. Fetterman has been asking for a show of hands for supporters and opponents, and the governor's office is soliciting feedback on the issue online.

This is a great opportunity to build momentum for commonsense, humane marijuana laws. Don't miss your chance to let your elected officials know it's time to stop branding Pennsylvanians criminals for a substance that's safer than alcohol. And please spread the word to help grow the chorus for reform.

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