With just a short time left in this year’s legislative session, we need everyone who supports medical marijuana policy reform to make their voices heard.
Sen. Wishart’s bill to establish a medical marijuana program in Nebraska has advanced through the Judiciary Committee and will be the subject of a floor debate next week. We need as many state senators as possible to step up and call for passage of this compassionate medical marijuana law.
Don’t sit on the sidelines. Make sure your state senator hears from you.
Judiciary Committee votes to end marijuana prohibition — contact legislators today!
We’re excited to announce that two co-directors have joined our team to lead the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana: Kebra Smith-Bolden and Adam Wood. You can read more about them here. They have already begun working to expand and activate our coalition as we rally support for efforts to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis, with a focus on equity and social justice.
There is a very real opportunity for the legislature to pass a legalization bill during this year’s session, which is scheduled to end on June 6, but nothing is guaranteed. With Kebra and Adam at the helm, we can make sure the opportunity is not lost this year in Hartford!
Please stay tuned for ways to help. We’re going to need all hands on deck to pass this historic reform.
We’ve already made huge progress with the legislature in 2019. Today, the Joint Committee on Judiciary took an important step forward when it voted to pass SB 1085, a bill that would legalize possession of cannabis for adults 21 and older and expunge records for past marijuana possession convictions. A separate bill that would regulate the production and sale of cannabis for adult use, HB 7371, has already been approved by the General Law Committee. Links to summaries of these bills are available here.
Please email your elected officials and urge them to support the bills to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis!
Finally, we’d like to thank Sam Tracy for all his hard work building the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana and advocating for sensible marijuana policies in Connecticut. Thank you, Sam!
Please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join our coalition!
After holding a public hearing on Friday, the General Law Committee voted today to pass HB 7371, the bill that would legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in Connecticut. Although the bill still needs some work, this is an important step forward for our efforts.
MPP testified in support of this bill at the public hearing on Friday and suggested several improvements, including adjustments to improve social equity provisions and the addition of home cultivation and micro-businesses. You can read a summary here. Although the bill has received approval from this committee, legislative leaders have made it clear that the legislature will continue to work on the policy details in the coming weeks and months.
Another bill to legalize possession of cannabis, which also received a public hearing on Friday in the Judiciary Committee, has not yet received a vote. You can read a summary of cannabis bills referred to the Judiciary Committee here. (The bill that would tax cannabis has not yet been introduced.)
After you email your state legislators in support of these bills, please share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to join the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana!
If you live in Connecticut, please contact your state legislators today and urge them to support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis — public hearings will begin this Friday, March 22
Last week, after several weeks of working behind the scenes, legislative leaders announced their plan to pass bills that will legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis in Connecticut. They also announced that committee hearings are scheduled to begin this Friday, March 22.
Rep. Michael D'Agostino, co-chair of the General Law Committee, stressed that the introduction of draft legislation is only a first step, and that policy details would continue to be discussed and debated as bills are considered by committees. "This is the start of the process," he said. For example, he noted that home cultivation is not currently included in the bill, but the legislature may decide to include it as the process moves forward. More details are explained in this article.
If you're interested in testifying at a public hearing in the legislature, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will share more details.
Monday is a crucial deadline for marijuana policy reform bills in Maryland. HB 1264, which would let Marylanders vote on regulating marijuana for adults, needs to move out of the House Judiciary Committee by then to stay alive this year. HB 602, a bill that would protect the rights of Maryland’s medical cannabis patients, must be voted on by the Senate in order to “cross over” to the House of Delegates and move forward during this session.
If approved by 60% of both chambers of the Maryland Legislature, HB 1264 would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2018 ballot that would make possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 years of age and older and require the state to establish regulations and taxation for a legal cannabis market, as well as to ensure diversity in the cannabis industry.
HB 602 would ensure that patients don't lose their Second Amendment rights under state law simply because medical cannabis helps them with their serious illness. Regardless of what you think about Maryland’s gun laws, no patient should have to lose any of their legal rights because of their status as a patient. This is of particular concern to veterans, who may be dissuaded from trying medical cannabis — a much safer alternative to the opioids they are frequently prescribed for pain or PTSD — because they don’t want to lose these rights.
The Marijuana Policy Project announced Wednesday that it is endorsing Del. David Moon for the Maryland Senate in District 20. The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is expected to appoint a successor to Sen. Jamie Raskin, who is running for Congress.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates, David Moon has been an impassioned leader and a continuous advocate for marijuana policy reform, including acting as an important sponsor of legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. While some Democratic members of the House were joining their Republican counterparts in co-sponsoring bills to recriminalize smoking in public, which would have continued the racially disparate enforcement of the criminal law against people of color, Del. Moon was trying to move Maryland’s policy forward.
For example, he introduced a bill to help victims of prohibition expunge past convictions for marijuana possession. This is especially important because African Americans in Maryland have historically been 2.9 times more likely to be arrested for possession despite very similar usage rates. Thus, Black Marylanders are more likely to be burdened with a criminal record that can derail their ability to get a job and cause other collateral consequences — an issue that was not addressed in the decriminalization bill.
Delegate Moon is as impassioned about bridge-building as he is about policy solutions. He regularly crosses the aisle to discuss key civil liberties and decriminalization issues with conservative colleagues from across the state.
Last week, some observers appeared to give up on Vermont legalization bill S. 241 after it was gutted by the House Judiciary Committee. Not so fast! Today, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to amend S. 241 and restore core legalization provisions. The bill would not only legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older, but it would also allow personal cultivation of up to two plants. Next, the bill is expected to be considered by the Appropriations Committee.
In order to legally cultivate two plants, a person would be required to purchase a permit from the Department of Health for $125. Permits would be good for one year, and information on permit-holders would have to be kept confidential by the department (no fishing expeditions by law enforcement would be allowed).
We will continue advocating for a regulated market approach, but we are very pleased with this development, and we will continue to push for improvements as the process continues.
If you are a Vermont resident, please contact your lawmakers and tell them to support this measure.
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee neutered two marijuana policy reform bills. Instead of considering the proposed policies on their merits, the committee completely amended the content of the bills to create a task force to study the issues. The two bills, SB 364 and HB 880, formerly would have respectively decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and regulated marijuana similarly to alcohol.
The decriminalization bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Zirkin, has passed the Senate two years in a row with overwhelming bipartisan support — most recently, last month, in a 36-8 vote.
The Committee acted two days after D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed into law the most lenient decriminalization law in the country, and the same day as a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 76% of Americans don't think people should be jailed for simple possession.