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.
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!
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 Evers can't fix Wisconsin's outdated marijuana laws on his own.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.
Then, share this message with friends and family so that they, too, can speak up for commonsense cannabis policies.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 email@example.com 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!