Tax and Regulate

BREAKING: House Judiciary Committee passes federal cannabis legalization bill

Urge your U.S. Representative to support the MORE Act on the House floor!

Just moments ago, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee passed the most far-reaching cannabis legalization bill that has ever received a committee vote in Congress. The bill will now be sent to the full House of Representatives. This is a historic moment in our decades-long campaign to end cannabis prohibition at the federal level.

Sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act is a comprehensive approach to fixing our nation’s broken cannabis laws. In addition to federally decriminalizing and descheduling cannabis (thus allowing states to set their own policies), the MORE Act contains strong social equity provisions with an emphasis on restorative justice for communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition. Here are a few things the legislation would do:

  • remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act;
  • require federal courts to expunge prior cannabis-related convictions and provide for resentencing;
  • provide grants and funding to communities most harmed by the war on cannabis — including by assessing a five percent federal tax on cannabis sales, with revenue used to fund programs such as job training, legal aid for those affected by prohibition, and small business loans for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals;
  • lift barriers to licensing and employment in the cannabis industry;
  • block federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances due to cannabis use;
  • protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis; and
  • allow VA physicians to recommend medical cannabis to veterans.

We have two requests:

  1. Contact your representative in support of the MORE Act — help build support for this legislation.
  2. Donate to MPP — provide us with the resources to maintain pressure on Congress to enact landmark federal cannabis reform.

Let’s put an end to cannabis prohibition — with justice for all.

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Medical Marijuana

Alabama Senate approves medical marijuana bill

If you live in Alabams, contact your House representative today!

Last week, the Alabama Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. SB 236 would allow qualifying patients 19 and older to possess and purchase medical marijuana from authorized dispensaries.

Several conditions would qualify for medical marijuana treatment, including PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, autism, and epilepsy.

The bill will likely move to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. Please contact your representative in the House in support of medical marijuana in Alabama today. Then, get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family or by sharing the action link on social media.

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Medical Marijuana

Ky.: Patients' lives hang in balance as end of legislative session approaches

If you live in Kentucky, call House Speaker Osborne and urge him to schedule a vote on HB 136 as soon as possible!

This is the last week of Kentucky's legislative session, and the House of Representatives still hasn't scheduled a vote on the medical cannabis bill, HB 136. The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill last week in a 16-1 vote. It is critical that the House pass the bill right away so the Senate will have time to act on it before the session ends.

Please call House Speaker David Osborne's office right now at 502-564-4334 and urge him to schedule a vote on HB 136 as soon as possible!

You can also communicate with Speaker Osborne (@reposborne) on Twitter — tell him patients can't afford to continue waiting for safe, legal access to medical cannabis!

After you call Speaker Osborne's office and send him a Tweet in support of HB 136, please share this message with your friends and family!


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Tax and Regulate

Md.: Details on legalization work group announced; bill hearings scheduled!

If you live in Maryland, sontact your lawmakers today and ask them to support HB 656 and SB 771.

Yesterday, House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller created a work group to study legalizing marijuana for adult use. The work group, which was announced in December, will be analyzing legalization-related topics such as the impact on the criminal justice system, how to promote participation by small, minority-owed and woman-owned businesses, public health effects, and how the state should license and tax the industry. The group's report is due by December 31, 2019.

Please ask your state delegate(s) and senator to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older!

In other news, the hearings for the bills to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use this session have been scheduled. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear Sen. Will Smith's SB 771 on Tuesday, February 26 at 12:00 p.m. Del. Eric Luedtke's twin bill, HB 656, will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. You can find a summary of the bills here. The House Judiciary Committee will also hear Del. David Moon's constitutional amendment bill to legalize marijuana for adult use on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m.

Note that many bills are on the committees' agendas, so the cannabis bills may not be heard until several hours later.

You can voice your support by providing written or oral testimony at the hearings! We particularly encourage testimony from supportive law enforcement, clergy, substance abuse and medical professionals, educators, and those who have been harmed by marijuana prohibition.

You can find details on how to provide testimony for the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee here and for the House Judiciary Committee here. If you provide oral testimony, you will be limited to three minutes. Please be polite and respectful, dress in business or business casual attire, and avoid repeating points that have already been made.

Please show your support at the upcoming bill hearings, contact your lawmakers, and spread the word to your friends and family in Maryland. Together, we can end prohibition!


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Bills to Improve Maryland Decriminalization Law Stuck in Committee With Deadline Approaching

Maryland has decriminalized the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana. But 10 grams is a lower threshold than the vast majority of states that have eliminated jail time for cannabis possession, many of which use one ounce as the cutoff. As a result, in 2016 at least 4,300 people were criminally prosecuted for cannabis possession in Maryland. SB 127 would raise the threshold to one ounce.

SB 128 would address the problem that people in possession of less than 10 grams are still being criminalized in some jurisdictions by being charged with “possession with intent to distribute” — a felony — based on very limited evidence (like having their cannabis in more than one baggie). In order to address this overcharging, SB 128 would create a legal presumption that people who have less than the amount decriminalized should not be charged with possession with intent to distribute.

Both of these bills are sitting in the House Judiciary Committee, and with the legislative session ending Monday night, lawmakers need to hear from you to ensure the bills get a vote.

If you are a Maryland resident, please ask your delegates to make sure SB 127 and SB 128 pass this year.

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Medical Marijuana

Support Growing for Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

There has been a tremendous groundswell of support for medical cannabis in Kentucky this year, and the legislature is finally beginning to listen. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee began considering testimony in support of HB 166, a bill that would make Kentucky the 30th state to pass an effective medical cannabis law. A similar bill, SB 118, has already generated quite a bit of discussion in the Senate.

Patients who are struggling with serious medical conditions in Kentucky have already waited far too long for legal protections and safe, legal access to cannabis. The current legislative session is scheduled to end in mid-April, so it’s time for representatives and senators to demonstrate strong leadership on the issue.

If you are a Kentucky resident, please email your representatives and senators right now and urge them to support medical cannabis legislation in 2018.

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Tax and Regulate

Supporters of Rhode Island Legalization Urge Legislators to Act on Bill

On Tuesday, Regulate Rhode Island and allies made a strong case to the House Judiciary Committee to vote on H 5555, the legislation to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. Click below to watch testimony from:

If you are a Rhode Island resident, please call your representative in the General Assembly, and tell them to ask House leadership to allow a vote on legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana this year.

The Speaker of the House, Nick Mattiello, has the ultimate say on whether the bill will move forward in the House this year. He needs to hear from his members in the House that this is a priority for them.

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Key Committee Approves Marijuana Possession Bill in Vermont

The Vermont House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to approve H. 170, a bill that would eliminate penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and a small number of plants. Additionally, an independent poll commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project and conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 57% of Vermonters support H. 170.

As amended by the committee, H. 170 would eliminate penalties for adults 21 and older who possess one ounce or less of marijuana, two mature plants, and four immature plants — as well as the marijuana produced by those plants, if stored properly in accordance with the law. Possession of between one and two ounces would become a civil violation punishable by a fine.

“Today’s vote shows just how far this issue has advanced in just this past year,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a press release. “Most Vermonters agree it makes no sense to continue punishing adults for consuming a less harmful substance than alcohol — especially now that it is legal for adults in Massachusetts and Maine. Vermonters are ready to close the book on marijuana prohibition.”

If you are a Vermont resident, it is critically important that you call or email your representatives today and urge them to vote YES on H. 170.


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Vermont House Vote Expected on Bill Legalizing Possession and Cultivation

The Vermont House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on H. 170, a bill that would eliminate penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and a small number of plants. The bill is expected to pass the House Judiciary Committee next week, and then it will likely advance to the House floor, where the vote is expected to be close.

Please call or email your representatives today, and urge them to vote YES on H. 170.

As amended by the committee, H. 170 would eliminate penalties for adults 21 and older who possess one ounce or less of marijuana, two mature plants, and four immature plants — as well as the marijuana produced by those plants, if stored properly in accordance with the law. Possession of between one and two ounces would become a civil violation punishable by a fine.

This is a modest reform, but it would be an important step for the state to stop treating adults’ marijuana possession as a problem for the criminal justice system.

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Medical Marijuana

Michigan Official Rejects Autism as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

On Thursday, a Michigan official denied an application to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state.

Detroit Free Press reports:

The decision followed three years of efforts by parents of autistic children, their lawyers and supporters to have Michigan become the first state to specify that marijuana could be used to treat autism.

Mike Zimmer, appointed in December as director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — LARAlara — said he was concerned that an approval would apply not just to serious cases of autism but to all cases. And he said that parents applying to use medical pot would need the approval of two medical doctors, yet there was no requirement that either doctor be experienced in treating autism.


No state specifically allows medical cannabis for autism, although California and Washington, D.C., allow using the drug for any condition that a medical doctor believes it may help, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group that favors legalizing marijuana.


A bill that would broaden Michigan’s medical marijuana act to allow other forms of medical pot — House Bill 4210, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto — has been in the House Judiciary Committee since February, after a similar bill failed to pass last year.

While this is disappointing, it does provide a road map of sorts for a successful application next time. Hopefully, autism sufferers will soon be able to access medical marijuana in Michigan.

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