Tax and Regulate

N.H.: Key House committee passes legalization bill!

We will need two-thirds majorities to overcome Gov. Sununu's veto threat. If you live in New Hampshire, call your state representatives today!

New Hampshire's legalization bill, HB 481, passed the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee today in a 10-9 vote. Although the House of Representatives has voted to pass legalization bills on two previous occasions (2014 and 2018), this is the first time any New Hampshire legislative committee has ever recommended in favor of legalization.

Next, the bill will be scheduled for a vote in the full House of Representatives. Please call your state representative(s) today and encourage them to support HB 481, the bill to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis.

You can read a summary of the bill here, and talking points, poll numbers, studies, and other resources in support of HB 481 are available on this page.

If you are able to speak with legislators and learn where they stand, it would be very helpful if you could share the details with me via email.

After you call your state legislators, please forward this message to your family and friends!

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Tax and Regulate

Md.: Details on legalization work group announced; bill hearings scheduled!

If you live in Maryland, sontact your lawmakers today and ask them to support HB 656 and SB 771.

Yesterday, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller created a work group to study legalizing marijuana for adult use. The work group, which was announced in December, will be analyzing legalization-related topics such as the impact on the criminal justice system, how to promote participation by small, minority-owed and woman-owned businesses, public health effects, and how the state should license and tax the industry. The group's report is due by December 31, 2019.

Please ask your state delegate(s) and senator to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older!

In other news, the hearings for the bills to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use this session have been scheduled. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear Sen. Will Smith's SB 771 on Tuesday, February 26 at 12:00 p.m. Del. Eric Luedtke's twin bill, HB 656, will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. You can find a summary of the bills here. The House Judiciary Committee will also hear Del. David Moon's constitutional amendment bill to legalize marijuana for adult use on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m.

Note that many bills are on the committees' agendas, so the cannabis bills may not be heard until several hours later.

You can voice your support by providing written or oral testimony at the hearings! We particularly encourage testimony from supportive law enforcement, clergy, substance abuse and medical professionals, educators, and those who have been harmed by marijuana prohibition.

You can find details on how to provide testimony for the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee here and for the House Judiciary Committee here. If you provide oral testimony, you will be limited to three minutes. Please be polite and respectful, dress in business or business casual attire, and avoid repeating points that have already been made.

Please show your support at the upcoming bill hearings, contact your lawmakers, and spread the word to your friends and family in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!

 

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Medical Marijuana

Wisconsin Gov. Evers proposing decrim, medical cannabis as part of his budget

If you live in Wisconsin, let your state lawmakers know it's time for humane marijuana policies.

Wisconsin is rapidly becoming an island of backwards marijuana laws.

Minnesota and Illinois have both decriminalized marijuana and legalized medical cannabis. Meanwhile, in November, Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for adults.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) has a bold vision to improve Wisconsin's marijuana laws. His budget, which will be released in late February, will propose decriminalization and expungement, along with a comprehensive medical cannabis program.

But Gov. Evers can't fix Wisconsin's outdated marijuana laws on his own. His proposal would have to pass the legislature, where Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) is opposed. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) has said he is "open to medical marijuana when it is prescribed by a doctor," but that Evers' proposal goes too far.

That's where you come in: Write your assemblymember and senator to ask them to support Evers' proposal and to push for it to get a vote.

Then, share this message with friends and family so that they, too, can speak up for commonsense cannabis policies.

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General

Idaho: Marijuana decriminalization and hemp legalization bills introduced in the state legislature

Idaho continues to lag behind other states on marijuana policy reform — it is the only remaining state in the country that does not acknowledge any form of medical marijuana under state law. However, lawmakers this year have proposed two bills to move the state in the right direction.

Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) is cosponsoring legislation with Rep. Bryan Zollinger (R-Idaho Falls) to replace penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses involving half an ounce or less with a civil infraction and fine of $250 or eight hours of community service. Currently, possession of three ounces or less is a misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in prison.

Reps. Caroline Nilsson Troy (R-Genesee) and Dorothy Moon (R-Stanley) have introduced a bill that would legalize hemp. Sen. Abby Lee (R-Fruitland) is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate. The move comes on the heels of passage of the most recent Farm Bill at the federal level, which removed hemp from Schedule I status and removes barriers to research and development of the crop. But despite the change in federal law, hemp remains classified as marijuana in Idaho. State police recently seized nearly 7,000 pounds of hemp from a truck driver traveling from Oregon to Colorado. The trucker now faces felony trafficking charges.

No bill to legalize medical marijuana has been introduced this year. Use our email tool to contact your state legislators and urge them to support the creation of a compassionate medical marijuana program. Newly-elected Gov. Brad Little recently opened the door to potentially supporting some kind of medical marijuana law.

Please get involved and contact your elected officials. Marijuana prohibition has failed in Idaho, and it's time to enact reform.

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Tax and Regulate

Michigan: The fight for marijuana policy reform moves to the local level

After Prop 1's victory last November, we celebrated the end of marijuana prohibition in Michigan. But the effort to move marijuana policy reform forward isn't over. The frontlines have now shifted to cities and towns, where many municipalities are imposing bans on marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.

It's not only about holding the line. Local activism opens up the possibility of more progress, too. Organizers in Ann Arbor, for example, are working to put a social use initiative on the ballot in 2020.

We encourage supporters of sensible marijuana policies in Michigan to get involved in political spaces at the local level in two main ways:

  • Get to know your city council members and attend local meetings. Express your views on how you think legal marijuana could benefit your community — just remember to always be respectful.

  • Help organize a local petition effort to repeal bans on marijuana businesses. Prop 1 allows residents to place certain marijuana policy questions on the ballot, provided they collect enough signatures, equal to 5% of the number of votes cast for governor. Click here to see a map of cities and towns where bans have already been enacted or are pending.

In some communities, bans on marijuana businesses are being imposed despite the fact that a majority of residents voted for Prop 1. We cannot sit on the sidelines while the will of the voters is ignored by city officials.

Let's bring our movement for sensible marijuana policies to the local level in 2019!

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Medical Marijuana

Ark.: Medical marijuana patient cards went into effect last week

Although medical marijuana is not yet available for Arkansas patients, patient ID cards went into effect on February 15, 2019. The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission began mailing out ID cards to qualifying patients, and over 7,000 patient ID cards have been approved.

Patients who have a qualifying medical condition and a physician's written certification can apply online.

Recently, the Medical Marijuana Commission awarded licenses to 32 retail medical marijuana dispensaries and five medical marijuana cultivators. Cultivators are expected to have product available for dispensaries by April. Hopefully, Arkansas patients will not have to wait much longer for relief approved by voters over two years ago.

Despite the progress achieved so far for patients, Arkansas still has some of harshest marijuana laws in the country. Possessing marijuana should not be punishable by jail time, and other states – including Mississippi, North Carolina, and Missouri – have decriminalized marijuana. Ask your legislators to impose a civil fine on marijuana possession. Together, we can bring marijuana policy reform to Arkansas.

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Tax and Regulate

Penn.: More stops announced for legalization listening tour

Online comments are being accepted now, too.

At Lt. Gov. John Fetterman's first stops on his marijuana legalization listening tour, supporters made a passionate case to end marijuana prohibition. They also outnumbered opponents.

Let's keep up the momentum.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has also begun accepting online input on whether the state should legalize marijuana for adults' use. Submit your thoughts here.

You can let the governor know the reasons why you support making marijuana legal, and make a pitch for an inclusive, diverse industry. Let him know if it's important to you that legalization include expunging past convictions.

Please also make a plan to attend one of the lieutenant governor's stops on his listening tour, which will include all 67 counties. Here are his upcoming stops:

Erie
Tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jefferson Educational Society
3207 State Street

Warren
Tomorrow, Saturday, February 16, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Warren Public Library, Slater Room
205 Market Street

Washington (Washington County)
Monday, February 18, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
59 E. Strawberry Avenue

Waynesburg (Greene County)
Tuesday, February 19, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
51 W. College Street, Waynesburg

New Bloomfield (Perry County)
Wednesday, February 20, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
New Bloomfield VFW
71 Soule Road
(This is in lieu of a stop this past Tuesday that was postponed due to winter weather.)

Dubois (Clearfield County)
Thursday, February 21, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Penn State Dubois Auditorium
1 College Place

Port Royal (Juniata County)
Sunday, February 24, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Friendship Fire Co. No. 1
212 W. Fourth St.

Johnstown (Cambria County)
Tuesday, February 26, 6:00. to 7:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
101 Community College Way

Meadville (Crawford County)
Wednesday, February 27, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Allegheny College
549 Park Avenue

Consider arriving early: The Mechanicsburg stop was standing-room-only, and some people were turned away because the space was at capacity.

This is a great opportunity to build momentum for commonsense, humane marijuana laws. Don't miss your chance to let the governor and lieutenant governor 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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Medical Marijuana

Make this the year Tennessee legalizes medical cannabis!

If you live in Tennessee, write your lawmakers to ask them to support the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act.

Two-thirds of Americans now live in states with compassionate laws that allow the medical use of marijuana. Meanwhile, Tennessee patients are stuck with the cruel choice of forgoing a medicine that could bring them relief, uprooting from their home state, or breaking the law to ease their suffering.

Ask your state lawmakers to make this the year that Tennessee joins 32 compassionate states.

Last week, Republican lawmakers introduced twin bills that would finally allow medical cannabis in the Volunteer State. Sen. Janice Bowling and Rep. Ron Travis' Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act would provide relief to patients with around 20 medical conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, seizures, spasms, opioid addiction, and PTSD.

Unfortunately, Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he wants to "explore alternatives before we go there."

You can call Gov. Lee at 615-741-2001 or send him a tweet to respectfully let him know that patients have explored alternatives, but that medical cannabis simply works for some patients where other medicines do not. You can let him know cannabis is far safer than prescription painkillers. While 16,000 Americans die each year from opiates, none have died of a cannabis overdose.

Let your governor know Tennessee patients deserve the same medical freedom patients have in 32 other states.

And don't forget to write your lawmakers. Finally, please spread the word to other Tennesseans, so that they, too, can raise their voices for sensible and humane cannabis policies.

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Tax and Regulate

Penn. lt. governor's legalization listening tour kicks off today

If you live in Pennsylvania, write your state lawmakers to ask them to support regulating — not prohibiting — cannabis for adults' use.

In the past two months, the conversation about whether Pennsylvania should legalize and regulate marijuana for adults has picked up steam.

In December, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said the state should take a "serious and honest look" at legalization. Then, in January, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced a statewide listening tour on legalization that begins today in Harrisburg.

The first stops on his tour are:

Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Tonight, Monday, February 11, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg, 3301 N. Front Street

Newport, Perry County
Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Newport Public Library, 316 N. 4th Street

Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
Wednesday, February 13, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
American Legion Post 109, 224 W. Main Street

Erie
Saturday, February 16, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jefferson Educational Society, 3207 State Street

Warren
Saturday, February 16, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Warren Public Library, Slater Room

Stay tuned for more stops: The lieutenant governor plans to visit all 67 counties on his tour. You can also check out stops on his Facebook page.

Before you attend, check out our background materials — such as the top 10 reasons to regulate cannabis and a snapshot of how things are going in Colorado and Washington six years into legalization. You can draw from our materials as you make the case for a more humane approach to cannabis.

In other exciting news, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) and 26 cosponsors introduced a bill to relegate cannabis prohibition to the dustbin of history. Change will not happen overnight, given the opposition of legislative leaders. But with time and effort, we can end prohibition in the Keystone State.

So make your voice heard: Write your lawmakers in support of legalizing and regulating cannabis, and plan to speak out during the statewide listening tour. And don't forget to spread the word to other thoughtful Pennsylvanians.

Sincerely,

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Tax and Regulate

Minnesota: Join us for a forum on legalization in St. Paul on Tuesday evening

This coming Tuesday, February 12, please join Minnesota Political Director Jason Tarasek, Rep. Mike Freiberg, Sen. Michell Benson, and Ken Winters for a forum on marijuana policy, which follows a discussion on tax reform. The forum is hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.

What: A forum on tax legislation and marijuana legalization, hosted by the Mitchell Hamline School of Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice.
When: Tuesday, February 12, tax discussion begins at 6:30 p.m., marijuana discussion begins around 7:45 p.m.
Where: Mitchell Hamline School of Law auditorium, 875 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

The event will also be streamed online here: https://mitchellhamline.zoom.us/j/725771811?status=success

Rep. Freiberg recently introduced legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana in Minnesota. The companion bill in the Minnesota Senate is authored by Sen. Melisa Franzen and Sen. Scott Jensen, a Republican who is also a physician. Although Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) supports legalization and House leadership (DFL) is very open to it, the Senate leader, Paul Gazelka (R), is opposed. It is far from certain that the legislation will pass this year, but it's crucial lawmakers hear that this is an issue voters care about.

If you haven't already, please write your legislators to let them know it's past time Minnesota stop the failed and destructive war on marijuana.

We hope to see you on Tuesday! Please spread the word so others can join us!

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