Tax and Regulate

NY: One week left to pass legalization!

Ask your lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senate Finance Chair Liz Krueger have introduced a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. But, there are just days left to get it passed this legislative session, which ends June 19.

Urge your legislators to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult-use this session!

The bill was introduced after months of debate between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature on how the state will approach legalization. Gov. Cuomo has said that he would sign the bill, but it does not yet have the 32 votes needed to pass the Senate.

The bill provides that an Office of Cannabis Management will be created and charged with regulating both adult-use and medical cannabis — which was adopted from Gov. Cuomo's earlier proposal. It would also expunge records of those previously convicted of possessing small amounts of cannabis, and 50 percent of the tax revenue would go toward establishing grants to fund programs serving communities that were disparately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

New Yorkers deserve a just, equitable cannabis policy. Contact your lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo today to get legalization across the finish line this session! Then, share the action link with other thoughtful New Yorkers, so that they, too, can raise their voices.

P.S. It saddens us to inform you that Doug Greene, a lifelong cannabis activist who worked tirelessly to reform cannabis policy in New York, passed away last week. His funeral service will be held on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 1:15 p.m. at Knollwood Park Cemetery — 57-80 Cooper Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 11385.

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Tax and Regulate

Help New York become the next state to legalize marijuana!

With the New York Legislature in the final weeks of its 2019 legislative session, we need you to take action NOW to help get the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act across the finish line.

Just last week, the Illinois Legislature passed a landmark cannabis regulation bill, and New York can do the same — if we can get lawmakers to act!

In fact, New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act closely mirrors the Illinois legislation — with far-reaching expungement provisions for prior convictions, funding for communities harmed by the war on drugs, social equity measures, and funding to ensure people from impacted communities are able to enter the cannabis industry.

This week, Assembly Majority Leader and bill sponsor Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she believes the Assembly support is there to pass the bill, and Gov. Cuomo signaled his continued support for legalization. But New York lawmakers MUST make passage a legislative priority, as the bill has to advance before the session ends on Wednesday, June 19.

The New York bill would not just ensure marijuana is legalized, but legalized the right way — rooted in racial, economic, and social justice.

Please take action to keep the pressure on Gov. Cuomo and New York lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization into law this year.

A big thanks goes to the Drug Policy Alliance for leading legalization efforts in New York. And thanks in advance for your help!

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Illinois Legislature legalizes marijuana for adults!

As we celebrate this history-making progress, make a contribution to MPP to help us support smooth implementation of the law.

Big news! Lawmakers in Springfield just approved legislation to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has championed legalization.

With the governor's signature, Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to approve legal sales through the state legislature rather than a ballot measure. Legal marijuana sales are scheduled to begin on January 1, 2020.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA) will legalize the possession and purchase of up to 30 grams of marijuana for adults and establish an inclusive, regulated market for cultivators, processors, retail stores, and testing labs.

Crafting a bill that could get past the finish line involved a long and difficult negotiation process. Although we weren't able to get everything we hoped to see (such as home cultivation and delivery for adults), the bill is an enormous step forward. It will help hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans and set a new standard for addressing the harms caused by decades of marijuana prohibition.

The CRTA includes far-reaching expungement provisions, funding for communities hard hit by the drug war, and assistance to business applicants operated by those harmed by prohibition or from areas of disproportionate impact. It also legalizes home cultivation for patients. Read a complete summary of the legislation here.

This victory is the result of a collective effort, and there are so many to thank for their support: MPP donors who made our years-long advocacy effort possible; legislative champions Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Sen. Heather Steans, Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and Rep. Jehan Gordon; Gov. Pritzker; our dedicated lobbyists Pete Baroni and Kareem Kenyatta; Sen. Steans' cannabis policy staffer Rose Ashby; Clergy for a New Drug Policy; and all the individuals and organizations who worked to move the legislation forward.

We wouldn't be able to do this work without the support of those who contribute. Please consider making a donation today to help us ensure Illinois' legalization law is implemented quickly and smoothly, and to help us roll back prohibition in other states.

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Tax and Regulate

Illinois: Make sure your legislators vote “yes” on legalization

If you live in Illinois, ask your lawmakers to end prohibition in the Land of Lincoln.

With only three days left until the legislature adjourns, the Illinois House and Senate could vote on legalizing marijuana any day. This would be the first time ever that a state legislature (as opposed to voters) legalized adult-use marijuana sales.

Make sure your legislators are on the right side of history. Write them 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.

Not only would Senate Bill 7 legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, it would create the best legalization law so far in terms of addressing the harms inflicted by cannabis prohibition. Senate Bill 7:

  • Includes robust expungement provisions to stop derailing dreams of those with past cannabis convictions;
  • Directs a significant amount of the tax revenue to communities that have been hard-hit by the drug war; and
  • Includes groundbreaking measures to ensure an inclusive, equitable industry. Equity applicants — those directly harmed by cannabis prohibition or from communities most harmed by it — will pay lower fees, be eligible for low-interest loans, and will get points on their applications.

Although the votes weren’t there to allow home cultivation for all adults, the bill also includes home cultivation for medical cannabis patients. Patients would also be exempt from all adult-use taxes.

In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Don’t let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your lawmakers today. Then, rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.

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Tax and Regulate

N.H.: Senate presses “pause” on legalization

HB 481 won’t receive a committee vote until December, but we’re still working to pass bills to allow home cultivation and enable annulments for past convictions — contact your senator about the annulment bill today!

On Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously decided to postpone action on the legalization bill until later this year. Three of the five senators on the committee said they wanted to spend more time working on HB 481 and understanding the details before bringing it to a vote in the full Senate, so it’s clear that this is only a temporary setback. The committee will vote on the bill before the end of 2019, and it will come before the Senate in January 2020.

We are now turning our attention to two critical bills that need our help to get across the finish line. One very important bill, HB 399, would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It has already passed the House in a voice vote, and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. However, the committee vote was only 3-2 (Senators Shannon Chandley and Sharon Carson voted no), so victory remains far from certain.

No Granite Stater should have to be burdened with a criminal record for having possessed small amounts of cannabis prior to decriminalization. Please email your state senator today!

Meanwhile, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill will receive a final vote in the House on May 23, and we expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin. After that, it will proceed to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. Call Gov. Sununu’s office today and urge him to support HB 364!

Please share these important updates with your friends and family!

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Tax and Regulate

25 days to legalize marijuana in Illinois!

If you live in Illinois, contact your state legislators today to tell them it’s time for smart, equitable cannabis policies in Illinois!

After years of committee hearings, town halls, and stakeholder meetings, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy have crafted a thoughtful proposal to end cannabis prohibition in Illinois! SB 7 would set the gold standard for smart, equitable cannabis policy. It includes secure home cultivation, robust expungement, community reinvestment, and ensures the benefits of the new industry go to those who suffered from the war on cannabis.

Now, we need all hands on deck to get the bill past the finish line before the legislature adjourns on May 31.

Email your state legislators TODAY to make sure they know their constituents want them to vote “yes” to legalize marijuana for adults' use. Our free, automated system makes it quick and easy to make your voice heard.

Then, spread the news on social media to rally other thoughtful Illinoisans to action.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana is a priority of Gov. J.B. Pritzker. But we know passage can’t be taken for granted. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Write your state legislators today, and spread the word.

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Tax and Regulate||General

Senate bill would protect Alaskans with cannabis convictions

If you live in Alaska, click here to support Senate Bill 8 to stop derailing lives for old cannabis convictions.

This year, Alaska lawmakers have a chance to stop derailing lives for some old cannabis convictions. Criminal records can make it difficult to get a job, housing, or further one's education. It's outrageous that Alaskans are still haunted by records for conduct that is now legal.

Follow this link to send an email message to your lawmakers in support of Sen. Tom Begich's sensible measure, SB 8.

SB 8 would prohibit the state from disclosing records of marijuana possession cases involving personal-use amounts of cannabis before voters legalized adult-use marijuana in 2014.

Following decades of marijuana prohibition, many find themselves limited by criminal histories that remain frozen in time, even as states continue to update cannabis laws. SB 8 would help protect individuals who got in trouble when laws were different.

Under the current proposal, the protection would apply for those who were not charged with any other type of offense and would be limited to marijuana cases involving less than an ounce. The text of the measure is available online here.

As the failure of marijuana prohibition is left behind, we shouldn't also leave behind those who were exposed to the criminal justice system for choosing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Click here to express your support for SB 8.

And please forward this message to those who also support this important protection!

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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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Tax and Regulate

Maryland: Marijuana legalization bills have been introduced!

If you live in Maryland, contact your lawmakers today and ask them to support HB0656 and SB0771.

This week, lawmakers introduced legislation to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older! Earlier this year, 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. 

Delegate Eric Luedtke and Senator Will Smith have introduced a pair of bills, HB0656 and SB0771, to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older and automatically expunge convictions for possession and cultivation that would become legal under the bill. You can read a summary of the bill here

Meanwhile, Delegate David Moon has introduced a constitutional amendment bill, HB0632, to legalize marijuana for adults’ use, which would require voter approval in 2020.

Email your state legislators today to urge them to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older!

The majority of Marylanders support ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. It is time for Marylanders to pressure the General Assembly to end marijuana prohibition and expunge records for past convictions.

Please contact your lawmakers today. Then, forward this message to your friends and family in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!

 

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Prohibition

Maine: Ask your lawmakers to seal and erase past marijuana convictions

If you live in Maine, click here to reach out to your lawmakers today.

Aside from implementing Maine's new adult-use marijuana law, there are other marijuana policy bills being heard in Augusta. Four Maine legislators, from both parties, have introduced bills that would help Mainers with past marijuana convictions. You can read more the bills and sponsors here.

Earlier this month, the Portland Press Herald published an editorial in favor of these reforms, saying: "Times change, and laws need to change with them. Maine voted to put the old marijuana laws behind us, and lawmakers should complete the process."

The bills would either seal past convictions or permanently erase them from their records. The language for these bills is not available yet, butgenerally adults who have convictions on their records for crimes that are no longer illegal — home cultivation and personal possession — may apply for their records to be sealed or expunged. Please ask your lawmakers to support this commonsense criminal justice reform.

As an aside, I hope to see you at next week's Cannabis Industry Mixer in Portland on Thursday, February 7. You can see the details and get your free tickets here. See you then!

 

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