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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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

New Mexico Senate passes decriminalization!

If you live in New Mexico, contact your lawmakers today in support of marijuana decriminalization and legalization bills!

Yesterday, the New Mexico Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 323, a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana. However, there is no guarantee that the House will schedule a vote on the bill.

Reach out to your lawmakers today in support of both marijuana decriminalization and legalization in New Mexico.

Marijuana decriminalization will allow for law enforcement to better prioritize their resources. It also means that otherwise law-abiding adults won't face jail time and criminal records for using a substance safer than alcohol. Last year, over 2,000 marijuana possession cases were filed in the New Mexico courts!

While decriminalization is a step in the right direction, ultimately, marijuana should be legalized for adults and taxed and regulated like alcohol. There are two legalization bills being considered, HB 356 and SB 577. The House bill, HB 356, received favorable votes out of committee and is currently on the floor calendar and may be voted on soon.

Please contact your lawmakers, urging them to support both the decriminalization bill and taxing and regulating marijuana.

Together, we can end harsh penalties for marijuana possession and finally make marijuana legal in New Mexico.

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Medical Marijuana||General

Oklahoma Legislature considering marijuana policy changes

If you live in Oklahoma, ask your legislators to support reducing the penalty for possessing marijuana to a simple fine.

Three bills that would change Oklahoma's marijuana policies are advancing in the legislature.

HB 2614 would reduce the penalty for simple possession of cannabis to a fine of up to $400. Under Oklahoma's voter-enacted medical cannabis law, anyone possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis that can "state a medical condition" is subject to a misdemeanor fine of up to $400. HB 2614 would apply even to those who cannot "state a medical condition."

Ask your lawmakers to support this modest bill. The current penalty for marijuana possession is up to a year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.

The second bill is the "unity" medical cannabis bill, HB 2612. That bill passed the House yesterday and now heads to the Senate. While some changes it proposes, such as providing for lab testing, are beneficial, others would whittle away at patient protections.

Under HB 2612, landlords could prohibit patients who are renters from vaporizing cannabis at home. It would also reduce employment protections by carving out exceptions for broadly defined "safety sensitive positions" that include driving, firefighting, and caring for children or patients. You can read our letter to sponsors here.

Finally, SB 1030, as modified by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis to up to a $400 civil fine. However, it would also add extremely broad exclusions for "safety sensitive positions," which would essentially nullify the medical cannabis employment protections. The exceptions include handling or preparing food, driving, firefighting, and caring for children or patients.

If you want to weigh in on HB 2612 or SB 1030 with your state senator, you can look them up here. You can give your state senator (the third category to appear after you fill in your address) a polite call to urge that HB 2612 and SB 1030 be amended to restore patient protections.

Finally, please share this message with other compassionate Oklahomans.

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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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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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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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Oklahoma: Put decriminalizing cannabis on the legislature’s agenda

If you're an Oklahoma resident, ask your state lawmakers to stop criminalizing cannabis consumers.

Yesterday, the Oklahoma Legislature kicked off the first day of its 2019 legislative session. Let your lawmakers know it's time for Oklahoma to stop arresting and jailing cannabis consumers.

In September, the Oklahoma City Council reduced the penalty for simple possession of cannabis to a civil fine, after the reform was recommended by Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty.

Ask your legislators to take this modest but important reform to the state level.

Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. Let your lawmakers know there are better uses of jail space and law enforcement's time. It's time to stop derailing lives over a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Please take action and spread the word.

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Medical Marijuana

Texas: Register for Marijuana Policy Lobby Day

Click here to register for Texas Marijuana Policy Lobby Day.

Texas' short legislative session has begun, and over a dozen bills have already been filed to change the state's marijuana policies. A lot of progress has been made since the last time the Texas Legislature was in session, and now is the time to reach out to your lawmakers.

For added impact, talk to your lawmakers in person. Our allies at Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy will be holding a lobby day on Thursday, February 7. The day will start with a legislative advocacy training and then teams will break off to reach out to their specific lawmakers. The two big priorities for this session are decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and expanding access to medical marijuana.

Be sure to dress professionally and be courteous. If you need help with transportation, DFW NORML and Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition are sponsoring buses from Fort Worth and Houston.

So please, do your best to make it to Austin next Thursday, and be sure bring friends and family. Whether or not you can make it, please use our action form to send a quick email to ask your lawmakers to replace arrests and jail time with a modest fine for marijuana possession. Or, you can ask them to support comprehensive medical cannabis legislation.

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Baltimore City State's Attorney will no longer prosecute marijuana possession!

If you live in Maryland, contact your legislators today and encourage them to pass a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in 2019!

Today, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office would no longer prosecute marijuana possession, regardless of the amount. In Baltimore City, arrests for marijuana possession — almost entirely and disproportionately African American Baltimoreans — have continued even post-decriminalization in 2014.

It is time for the rest of the state of Maryland to follow the lead of State's Attorney Mosby and consider a safer and more just approach to marijuana.

Ask your lawmakers to support ending marijuana prohibition for adults in 2019 and ensure that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records.

The time is now for Marylanders to pressure the General Assembly to end marijuana prohibition in the state of Maryland for adults 21 and older, with provisions to expunge records.

Please contact your lawmakers today, and join us in Annapolis February 5 for our Maryland 2019 Cannabis Legalization Lobby Day. Then, forward this message to your networks in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!

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