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It’s been an incredible couple of weeks for cannabis policy reform, Kate!
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham just signed two bills that will end cannabis prohibition in the state! The first, HB 2, legalizes cannabis for adults, while companion legislation, SB 2, allows for automatic expungement of past cannabis convictions and pardons for those currently incarcerated for low-level marijuana offenses.
The state legislature passed the two measures during a special session called by the governor, who has been a vocal champion of cannabis policy reform. With Gov. Grisham’s signature, New Mexico is now the 18th state to legalize adult-use cannabis and the fifth to do so through the legislative process rather than by voter initiative.
The Cannabis Regulation Act (HB 2) legalizes, regulates, and taxes cannabis for adults 21 and older, allowing for personal possession of at least two ounces and home cultivation of six plants. You can read a summary of the new law here.
Congratulations to all of the lawmakers and advocates who made this victory possible!
New Mexico’s success comes on the heels of a win in Virginia, where just last Wednesday, the legislature gave final approval to Gov. Ralph Northam's requested amendments — to speed up legal possession and home cultivation to July 2021 (versus 2024) — to a legislatively passed legalization bill. On March 31, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also signed cannabis legalization into law. And, MPP’s work continues on legalization efforts that are still alive and well in the Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island state legislatures.
We’re up to 18 legalization states — and a record high of 68% of Americans support legal cannabis — so momentum is undeniably on our side. But there’s still work ahead, and each victory is hard-won. Make sure you sign up for our state-specific alerts and follow us on Facebook and Twitter so we can keep you informed about how you can help.
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With the legislature's approval of Gov. Northam’s amendments, Virginia becomes the 17th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Today, the Virginia Legislature gave final approval to Gov. Ralph Northam's amendments to the adult-use legalization bill, making Virginia the17th state—and the first in the South—to legalize cannabis! It is also the fourth state to pass legalization through its state legislature, as opposed to via voter referendum.
Per Gov. Northam's amendments, personal possession and cultivation of cannabis will now become legal for adults on July 1, 2021, and the state will begin laying the groundwork for the regulated market beginning this summer. You can read our summary of the legislation here.
As a 15-year Virginia resident, a 10-year MPP veteran, and a mother of three, I’m proud of the steps our state is taking to end the failed policy of prohibition and replace it with an equitable law allowing responsible adults to use cannabis. Legalization will bring about economic benefits for our state by creating new jobs and generating tax revenues; it will mean better public health and safety outcomes for our communities by limiting youth access and protecting adult consumers by giving them access to regulated products; and, perhaps most importantly, it will have a valuable impact on racial justice by ending the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws, allowing for automatic shielding of convictions, and addressing the disproportionate harm caused to Black and brown communities by decades of prohibition.
Several other states legislatures are seriously considering legalization this year. Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island’s legislatures all have ongoing, viable legalization efforts. Meanwhile, we anticipate New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign a legislatively approved legalization bill into law any moment now.
If you like what you see here, please consider making a donation to MPP today so we can continue fighting for new legalization laws and working to tweak existing ones.
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SB 646 would legalize cannabis for adults and create a medical cannabis program — write your elected officials and urge them to support the bill!
Now that the Virginia General Assembly has voted to legalize cannabis for adults, legislators in other southern states are taking notice and seeking to emulate Virginia’s success. Yesterday, North Carolina Sen. Jay Chaudhuri introduced SB 646, titled the Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act. The bill would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older. It would also create a medical cannabis program and provide for automatic expungement of past cannabis offenses.
You can read the full text of SB 646 here.
This bill would bring North Carolina’s cannabis policy out of the dark ages and into the 21st century. A poll conducted by Elon University in late January 2021 found that 54% of North Carolina residents support legalizing cannabis for use by adults, and 73% support making cannabis legal for medical use.
After you write your state legislators, please share this important news with your family and friends!
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Great news! Earlier today, the Judiciary Committee advanced an amended version of Gov. Lamont’s proposal to legalize cannabis for adults over the age of 21 in a 22-16 vote.
Please email your state lawmakers and ask them to support legalization.
Here are some key features of the bill, as amended:
It’s anticipated that the bill will now head to the Senate for a floor vote. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the bill makes its way through the legislative process. In the meantime, please spread the word by writing your legislators and urging them to support legislation to regulate and tax the sale of cannabis to adults in the 2021 session.
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On March 25, the Vermont Senate passed S. 25, a bill that would strengthen the social equity provisions in Vermont’s cannabis legalization law. The bill would require the Cannabis Control Board to reduce or eliminate licensing fees for social equity applicants, which are defined as “individuals from communities that historically have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition or individuals directly and personally impacted by cannabis prohibition.”
It would also create a Cannabis Business Development Fund to assist these applicants.
Additionally, the bill would incentivize municipalities to vote on whether to approve retail sales by March 2023; if they fail to hold a vote, they will be considered to have opted into allowing retail sales.
Write your representatives today and urge them to support improving Vermont’s cannabis regulation policies!
In other news, Gov. Phil Scott finally appointed three members to the Cannabis Control Board, more than two and a half months after his deadline to do so. If they are confirmed by the Senate, they will begin working to establish regulations for Vermont’s adult-use cannabis market. Retail sales are expected to begin in the fall of 2022.
After you write your representatives, please share this message with your family and friends.
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Yesterday, the New Mexico House and Senate passed a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older during a special session called for that purpose by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. When she signs the bill, New Mexico will become the 17th state to legalize adult-use cannabis and the fourth to do so through the legislative process rather than by voter initiative.
You can read a summary of the final bill, HB 2, here.
Thanks to all who contacted their legislators and urged them to support this important reform!
In addition to legalizing personal possession of at least two ounces of cannabis, HB 2 will also allow home cultivation of six mature plants. A companion bill — SB 2 — would provide for automatic expungement.
Congratulations to all of the lawmakers and advocates who made this victory possible, including our allies at the Drug Policy Alliance.
Please share this excellent news with your family and friends!
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The governor’s proposed amendments would also speed up expungements and sealing of criminal records; urge lawmakers to support the amendments!
As expected, Gov. Ralph Northam has asked the Virginia General Assembly to amend the adult-use legalization bill so possession and home cultivation will become legal on July 1, 2021 instead of waiting until 2024. The governor also requested other changes, including an amendment that would expedite the process of expunging and sealing criminal records, beginning as soon as state agencies are able to do so. Legislators will meet to consider these changes beginning on April 7.
Unfortunately, Gov. Northam did not request an amendment to the provision that would criminalize bringing small amounts of cannabis into Virginia. We will continue to raise awareness about this problem with the law and work to get it changed in 2022.
In other positive news, Gov. Northam signed HB 1862, a bill that will protect medical cannabis patients from being disciplined or fired by their employers for using cannabis away from work.
After you email your elected officials, please share this news with your family and friends!
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MPP and local advocates have been working for years to pass a law to legalize cannabis for adults in Rhode Island. With your help, we have a real chance of getting it done this legislative session.
Top political leaders, including Gov. McKee and the Senate Majority Leader, have introduced legislation to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis. You can read more details and find summaries of each bill here.
It is critical that your elected officials hear from you. Please take a minute right now to contact your state representative and senator by using our online action tool.
Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees will hold a joint hearing on both legalization proposals. You can find more information, including how to make your voice heard and provide testimony, here. The event will be streamed live on the General Assembly’s Capitol TV service.
While we are hopeful that this will be the year, lawmakers will not act on legalization unless they hear from enough constituents. Please contact them today.
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New York just legalized adult-use cannabis!
Last night, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) received final approval from state legislators, and earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially signed the legislation into law, making New York the 16th state to end cannabis prohibition and the third to adopt a legalization policy via its state legislature.
Under the legislation, adults over 21 may possess up to three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrate, plus adults can grow a maximum of three mature plants and three immature plants once regulations are adopted. Legal possession of up to three ounces is effective immediately. Additionally, the law includes provisions for automatic expungement, community reinvestment, and measures to ensure the industry includes communities that have been disproportionately targeted by cannabis enforcement. Our summary of the MRTA is available here.
We expect this to be a record-breaking year for legalization in state legislatures. Until today, only two state legislatures had ever passed cannabis legalization — Illinois and Vermont, both efforts led by MPP. Now, we may see two legislatures pass legalization this WEEK alone.
Adding New York to the list, 38% of Americans now live in a legalization state. But, that means 62% do not, despite more than two-thirds of Americans supporting legalization. We need your help to change that, so please support our work to pass more bills through state legislatures by making a donation today.
Congratulations to the Empire State on this huge victory, and kudos to all the advocates who worked to make it possible!