In a recent appearance on WPRI’s Newsmakers, Gov. Raimondo indicated that she will reintroduce a plan to legalize marijuana for adults in her budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session, which begins in early January.
Pointing to the General Assembly’s recent decision to add six new compassion centers, she said, “Last year we made a step forward with more medical [marijuana], and I think the next logical step is adult use.” She also referenced recent conversations with the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut, indicating that pressure from neighboring states makes legalization more likely in Rhode Island.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts saw nearly half a billion dollars in retail sales at legal marijuana businesses over the past year, which equates to roughly $67 million in new tax revenue for the state. This figure exceeds previous projections from officials.
In other news, the Department of Business Regulation recently proposed new regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program, including a plan to implement a lottery system for awarding new compassion center licenses to qualified applicants. The public comment period for these rules will extend until December 21, and the department will hold a hearing on December 6. More details can be found here.
Though it is difficult to predict whether Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio will have the appetite for legalization in 2020, the pressure to act continues to mount.
Stay tuned for more updates and calls to action soon.
Lawmakers make major improvements to cannabis policy in 2019.
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed into law three notable bills to improve cannabis policies this year. Here is a quick overview and why they are so important:
AB 132 prohibits most employers from denying applicants a job if cannabis shows up on a pre-employment drug test. This bill addresses a big concern — cannabis use can be detected for weeks after ingestion, meaning drug screens in no way correlate with impairment. So far, states have been generally unwilling to change employment standards, even when cannabis use is legal outside work hours. This bill is a major development for Nevadans, and MPP wants to see other states take notice.
SB 430 was signed into law last week and expands the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. The bill adds forms of autism, anxiety, and chronic pain — in addition to severe pain, which was already included. A key addition were those individuals who are "dependent upon or addicted to opioids," making medical cannabis an alternative to anyone at risk while taking prescription narcotic medication. This is part of a trend we see around the country, and it's great to see Nevada added to the list of states offering this important alternative.
AB 192 allows individuals to have their past convictions sealed if the conduct — such as marijuana possession — has been legalized or decriminalized. While this is not as expansive as completely removing the conviction, sealing can significantly reduce the stigma and collateral consequences lingering from the failed war on cannabis.
MPP is proud to have led Nevada's legalization initiative in 2016 and important improvements to the medical cannabis law in 2013. Today, lawmakers are making sensible improvements to those programs, and more importantly, the medical and adult-use programs continue to serve the state and its residents.
The Illinois Senate just voted (38-17) to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use! Now the bill moves to the House, which could vote at any time. There's no time to waste: the legislature adjourns on Friday.
Make sure your state rep is on the right side of history. Send an email or make a phone call today!
State lawmakers really do listen to voters, and just a handful of calls and emails per district can make all the difference. The vote is expected to be close.
In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Efforts also stalled in New York and Connecticut.
Don't let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your state rep today. You could also look them up on social media and politely ask them to stand up for justice there. And don't forget to rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.
Good news! With Gov. Doug Burgum’s signature on House Bill 1050, we’ve reached a milestone: half the states in the country have eliminated jail time penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana!
It is encouraging to see lawmakers in a conservative state like North Dakota acknowledge and rectify the injustice of jailing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Politicians can no longer ignore public support for marijuana policy reform, which is growing quickly in every part of the country.
North Dakota’s new law goes into effect on August 1 of this year. It reclassifies possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana as an infraction punishable by no jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000 for adults 21 and older. Previously, it was a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail in addition to a fine. The bill also reclassifies penalties for possession offenses involving amounts greater than a half ounce, and it calls on the Legislative Assembly to study adult-use legalization. A more detailed summary of HB 1050 is available here.
The compromise bill sent to Gov. Burgum by the legislature is far from ideal, but it is a substantial step in the right direction. We must keep pushing forward. Support our efforts to enact sensible marijuana laws around the country by becoming a contributor today!
Unlike alcohol and other legal products, Colorado prohibits patients and adult consumers from having cannabis delivered. Sure, delivery exists, but it’s unregulated and unsafe for everyone involved.
But a bill to fix that is on the move. HB 1234 — which would allow safe, regulated delivery — has passed out of the House and is starting to make its way through the state Senate.
Many medical cannabis patients have significant mobility limitations. Driving to the store is impossible for some due to their medical condition. Far more dangerous prescriptions can be delivered in the mail, but cannabis delivery remains illicit and in the shadows. Starting next year, medical cannabis deliveries would be allowed.
Beginning in 2021, HB 1234 would allow all adults 21 and older the benefits of cannabis delivery. This can provide safe, regulated access to adults and bring cannabis consumers closer to equal footing with alcohol consumers.
HB 1234 can pass this year, but it’s crucial that senators hear from supportive constituents. Take a few moments to send your senator a note using our free online tool, then share this message with friends and family in Colorado.
Patients who feel strongly about home cultivation are encouraged to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m.
Since 2009, the New Hampshire House has passed numerous bills that would allow patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis. These bills have all failed to pass the Senate, but there are good reasons to believe this year might be different. Tomorrow afternoon, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill.
Here are the details:
WHAT: Public hearing on HB 364, a bill that would allow patients and caregivers to grow a limited supply of cannabis (three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings per patient)
WHERE: Room 101, Legislative Office Building, 33 North State Street, Concord
WHEN: Scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 (but may begin a bit later, since other bills are also on the agenda)
This is an important opportunity for patients to testify in support of improving the medical cannabis law. If you've never testified before, or if you have any questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
Additionally, our allies at Americans for Prosperity will be hosting another phone banking and letter writing session in support of HB 481, the adult-use legalization bill, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at their offices in Manchester (340 Granite Street, First Floor) and Portsmouth (767 Islington Street, Second Floor). All legalization supporters are welcome. Dinner will be provided for volunteers. For more details, and to RSVP on Facebook, click here.
Please share this message with your family and friends!
We are now less than one week away from our lobby day event! The time is now to pressure the General Assembly to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. If you haven't already, be sure to register today, and join us in Annapolis.
What: Maryland 2019 Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day
When: Tuesday, February 5 (7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
Where: House Building Room 170, Annapolis, Maryland
Prior to meeting with your elected officials, we will provide you with an information package including appointment times and locations and suggested talking points.
It is important your lawmakers hear from as many constituents as possible. Help us send a strong message to the General Assembly to end prohibition by joining us in solidarity. Also be sure to share this message — or the Facebook event — with your friends and family in Maryland.
See you in Annapolis next week! Together, we can end prohibition.
West Virginia's 2019 legislative session began yesterday, and several bills are expected to be introduced in the coming days to reform marijuana laws, including a bill to improve the medical cannabis law, a decriminalization bill, and an adult-use legalization bill.
Legislative leaders have already begun discussing possible reforms, including ways of addressing the banking issue that has prevented rollout of the medical cannabis program, but we must help convince legislators that there is an urgent need to take action.
After you write your legislators, please forward this message to your family and friends!
Kentucky’s legislative session begins today, and marijuana policy reforms are already among the top issues being discussed in Frankfort. Lawmakers have indicated that they will soon be introducing several marijuana policy bills, including a medical cannabis bill, a decriminalization bill, and an adult-use legalization bill.
Although we support all of these bills, we believe the bill that has the strongest chance of passing in 2019 is the medical cannabis bill that will soon be introduced by Republican Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Onge. A few months ago, Rep. Nemes confidently predicted that it would pass the legislature in 2019. However, we know that the effort will face strong opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Damon Thayer recently said, “I don't see the votes for medical marijuana yet.”
In order for this bill to pass, legislators will need to hear an outpouring of support from their constituents. After you write your elected officials, please share this message with your friends and family!