The New Hampshire legislative session has begun, and several bills to improve the therapeutic cannabis program have already been scheduled for public hearings on Tuesday afternoon, January 15. There will also be a hearing Tuesday afternoon on a bill that would enable annulment of criminal convictions for possessing three quarters of an ounce or less of marijuana.
The public is welcome to attend these hearings. For each bill, there will be a sign-in sheet where people can register their support or opposition. Any member of the public can also sign up to testify — please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to testify so we can coordinate.
WHAT and WHEN: Public hearings on these bills in the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs, on Tuesday, January 15:
1:00 p.m. — HB 335, relative to therapeutic cannabis dispensary locations
1:30 p.m. — HB 174, relative to alternative treatment center licenses
2:00 p.m. — HB 364, permitting qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use
2:30 p.m. — HB 366, adding opioid addiction, misuse, and abuse to qualifying medical conditions undertherapeutic use of cannabis
Public hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, on Tuesday, January 15:
2:30 p.m. — HB 399, relative toannulment of arrests or convictions for possession of a certain quantity of marijuana
WHERE: Legislative Office Building, 33 N State St., Concord. The medical cannabis bills will be heard in Room 303, and the annulment bill will be heard in Room 204.
In other news, the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript will be hosting a public discussion about legalization on Tuesday evening. Here are the details:
WHAT: Community Conversations, a discussion series that is free and open to the public. This week's program will focus on cannabis legalization and feature panelists from both sides of the debate.
WHERE: Monadnock Center for History and Culture, 19 Grove St., Peterborough
WHEN: 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 15
We expect that the legalization bill will be introduced very soon. Please share this message with your family and friends, and stay tuned for updates!
Yesterday, Councilman David Grosso introduced a bill to tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older in the District of Columbia! Provisions in the bill also include establishing an automatic expungement program for individuals with past marijuana convictions.
While Initiative 71 legalized the possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older, Congress has blocked the District from taxing and regulating sales. But, with change in congressional leadership, Councilman Grosso said the prospects of passing legalization legislation are stronger. Mayor Muriel Bowser has also been vocal about her plans to tax and regulate marijuana in the District.
With no lawful place to purchase non-medical cannabis, D.C. has seen a proliferation of "grey market" operators and a significant increase in arrests for the distribution of marijuana. Regulating and taxing the marijuana market will put the market in the hands of licensed businesses, leading to safer outcomes for consumers and the community, while bringing millions of dollars in tax revenue and hundreds of jobs to the District.
It's important your councilmembers hear from as many constituents as possible. Please contact them today! Then, forward this message to your family and friends in D.C.
The Maryland General Assembly convenes today, and discussion of legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana in the state has already begun. Just last week, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller announced plans to create a work group to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana.
Prohibition sends an incredible number of people through the criminal justice system, and the collateral consequences can have life-altering effects. Baltimore Fishbowl recently reported that post-decriminalization there is still a huge racial disparity in Baltimoreans being arrested for marijuana.
By legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana with measures to expunge records, the number of marijuana-related arrests will be reduced, and those harmed by prohibition in the past can move on with their lives. It will also free up resources so police can focus on more serious crimes.
It is important your lawmakers hear from as many constituents as possible. Please contact your lawmakers today. Then, forward this message to your family and friends in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition in 2019!
Historic vote! New Jersey Senate and Assembly Committees advance bills to legalize and regulate marijuana
If you live in New Jersey, please ask your lawmakers to vote to end marijuana prohibition.
Today, November 26, New Jersey’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee voted in favor of S2703 and A4497, which would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and over. Please click here to thank lawmakers who voted yes or ask your lawmakers to do so when the bill comes to up for a vote of the whole chamber. If New Jersey passes a bill this year, it will make history as the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana through the legislature (as opposed to a ballot initiative).
This is not the end of the debate; even some of the lawmakers who abstained or voted no indicated they might reconsider, and some of those who voted yes said they still wanted to see additional changes to the bill. It’s critical that your lawmakers continue to hear from you. If you have a moment after you send an email, please consider calling your lawmakers as well. Their phone numbers are listed here.
In other good news, the Assembly also voted to advance an expungement bill that would make it easier for people to clear their records, which MPP also supported.
Now that Vermont’s marijuana legalization law has taken effect, the state’s attorney (prosecutor) for Addison County has announced that two expungement clinics will be held to assist Vermonters with having their records cleared of misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Volunteers will assist people who have been convicted of marijuana possession in Addison County with filling out expungement petitions on Friday, October 12 and Sunday, October 28.
WHAT: Addison County Expungement Clinic
WHERE: Probate Court Room, Addison County Court House, 7 Mahady Ct., Middlebury
WHEN: Friday, October 12, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
WHAT: Addison County Expungement Clinic
WHERE: Middlebury College Kirk Alumni Center, 217 Golf Course Rd., Middlebury
WHEN: Sunday, October 28, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.
A fee may be required. Financial assistance may be available. Click here for more details on the process.
If you have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession in another Vermont county, you may wish to call and ask what it would take to have your record expunged. You can find phone numbers for all of Vermont’s state’s attorneys’ offices here.
We are very grateful to the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office, Vermont Legal Aid, the Center for Justice Reform at Vermont Law School, and the Pennywise Foundation for sponsoring these clinics. Thanks also to drug policy reform advocate Dave Silberman for working to make this happen.
Please share this news with your family and friends!
The drum beat for sensible marijuana policy is picking up in Pennsylvania!
Last Monday, Rep. Jake Wheatley introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older. This bill would also expunge the records of people who have been convicted of certain cannabis offenses.
If you are a Pennsylvania resident, email your state legislators today urging them to support HB 2600!
Ending marijuana prohibition would let adults make their own decisions about a substance that is safer than alcohol. Earlier this year, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a report estimating that legalization could generate more than $580 million in tax revenue for the state.
In other exciting news, on Tuesday Lancaster City Council decriminalized simple possession and use of marijuana! Possession of marijuana or related paraphernalia will be now be classified as a summary offense – carrying a fine or community service – rather than a misdemeanor.
Please spread the word so that together, we can end prohibition in the Keystone State.
While the new bill to legalize and regulate marijuana has not yet been revealed to the public, lawmakers and the Murphy administration are reportedly close to reaching a deal. However, it is not yet clear what the legislature intends to do to help people who are still suffering from the collateral consequences of a prior marijuana conviction.
If you’re a New Jersey resident, please ask your lawmakers to support not only ending marijuana prohibition for adults moving forward, but also ensuring that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records and move on with their lives.
New Jersey has been hotly debating the best way to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis since Gov. Phil Murphy made that an important part of his campaign in 2017. MPP continues to advocate for adopting the best practices of other states to ensure that legalization allows opportunities for people impacted by marijuana prohibition and small businesses, and we’re encouraged that these ideas are reportedly being included in the legislation.
However, we want to continue fighting to include criminal justice reform as well. If you live in New Jersey, please help by asking your legislators to include strong expungement provisions now.
Last Wednesday, Gov. John Carney signed into law a bill that allows hundreds of Delawareans to clear their records of marijuana possession convictions!
The new law applies to individuals who have a single conviction on their record. (A second conviction, whether it’s marijuana-related or otherwise, would disqualify the individual.) Delaware decriminalized simple possession of marijuana back in 2015, but records from old marijuana charges can shut the door on opportunities.
Now, individuals with a single conviction for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana automatically qualify to clear their record. To receive an expungement, individuals first request their certified records from the State Bureau of Identification. Then, they pay a fee and fill out a form to apply for mandatory expungement. The expungement forms are on the Courts website, under the Superior Court heading, and are listed by county.
Primary Election Day is Thursday!
In other news, Delaware’s Primary Election Day is coming up this Thursday, September 6. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Only registered Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates, and only registered Republicans can vote on the Republican ticket. You can find your polling place and read your sample ballot here.
Our allies at the Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network have put together a comprehensive voter guide with the results of their candidate surveys and incumbents’ voting records. If you’re a Delaware resident, check it out, share it on social media, and don’t forget to vote if you’re able to!
AB 1793 would make expungement automatic for cannabis-related convictions that today are no longer considered crimes. It passed the Assembly in May, the Senate earlier today, and it’s now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk! If you live in California, let Gov. Brown know it’s time to repair the harm caused by outdated marijuana-war policy. Californians shouldn’t be branded with a scarlet letter for conduct that is now legal.
Meanwhile, SB 829 would waive cultivation fees for donations medical cannabis businesses make to low- or no-income patients. This bill passed the Senate on May 17 followed by three Assembly committees after that. Now it faces an Assembly floor vote. If you’re a Californian and you haven’t already, use this link to send a message to your Assemblymember in support.
Finally, it’s not too late to comment on proposed agency rules for cannabis businesses. For the proposed text, summaries, and contact info for submitting comments, visit the state’s website. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 27.
On the evening of June 27, the Delaware House of Representatives voted 21-15 (with five not voting) to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults. This was only the third time that the majority of a state legislative chamber voted to legalize and regulate marijuana!
Unfortunately, however, a majority was not enough. A three-fifths supermajority — 25 votes — is required for any Delaware bill that includes taxes and fees.
While we are disappointed that this will not be the year Delaware legalizes marijuana, together we’ve made tremendous progress. This is an election year, and we’ll be putting together a candidate questionnaire and voter guide, so stay tuned! Helping elect allies is an important way to make sure prohibition ends sooner rather than later in Delaware.
If you are a resident of Delaware ...
Please take a moment to email your state representative to thank them if they voted “yes” or to politely express disappointment if they didn’t. (Many voters and lawmakers alike evolve on the issue, and it’s crucial that we don’t alienate lawmakers.) Once you type in your contact information, a draft email will appear based on how your representative voted.
You may also want to send a note of gratitude to the remarkable legislative champions, Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, to thank them for their relentless work. They are both retiring from the legislature, and they championed both medical cannabis and decriminalization, too.
In other news, a bill to make it easier to expunge marijuana possession convictions passed the Senate in May and is on the House floor now. Please also call your representative to ask them to vote “yes” on SB 197 so that Delaware will stop derailing dreams for conduct that is decriminalized.