Yesterday, Gov. David Ige announced that he will allow a modest decriminalization bill, HB 1383, to become law. The bill will make possession of three grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $130 fine. Under current law, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The bill will take effect on January 11, 2020.
This bill will save some Hawaiians from traumatic arrests, possible jail time, and life-altering criminal records. However, it's an extremely timid step forward. Three grams is the smallest possession limit of any decriminalization or legalization state. Unfortunately, with such a low possession limit and steep fine, lives will continue to be needlessly derailed. And, decriminalization does nothing to control the illicit market.
A more sensible approach would be to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. Eleven states — including every state on the West Coast — have chosen this approach. Hawaii is lagging behind.
By legalizing taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older, Hawaii would dramatically reduce marijuana arrests, displace the illicit market, and ensure consumers have a safe, tested product.
Contact your lawmakers today! With your help, Hawaii can take a more sensible approach to marijuana
Recently, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring submitted an op-ed to the Daily Press urging the state to "decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, address past convictions and start moving toward legal and regulated adult-use." Shortly after, lawmakers from both parties, including Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R), also voiced support for decriminalization.
The 2019 legislative session adjourned on February 23. While both legalization and decriminalization bills were introduced this past session, those bills were defeated in committee. With increasing support from elected officials, the focus now shifts to 2020.
Virginia is lagging behind the rest of the country on marijuana policy. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. have stopped jailing their residents for possession of modest amounts of marijuana, and 11 of those states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for individuals over 21.
Polling has also shown that almost eight of 10 Virginia residents support replacing criminal convictions for simple marijuana possession with a fine, and 62 percent favor ending marijuana prohibition altogether.
It is past time Virginia reform its marijuana laws. Please contact your lawmakers today, and forward this message to your family and friends in Virginia.
Earlier today, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, ending marijuana prohibition in the country's sixth most populous state. This is a tremendous achievement and the first time marijuana sales have been legalized through a state's legislative process rather than a ballot initiative.
I'm proud to say that MPP's staff and lobbying team played a central role in this groundbreaking victory, and it's important to remember that we are only effective because people like you support our work. As we celebrate today, please make a contribution to help us legalize marijuana in more states and at the federal level.
Beginning January 1, 2020, individuals 21 and older in Illinois will be able to legally possess and consume cannabis. Retail marijuana sales are expected to begin at that time. Illinois' new legalization law is also significant because it contains some of the strongest language of any state around equity and social justice, including far-reaching expungement provisions and programs to help communities that have been most impacted by the war on drugs.
Today is another sign of our remarkable progress in recent years. But a majority of Americans still live in a jurisdiction where possessing marijuana is against the law. When you donate to MPP, you become part of a powerful movement that is not only changing laws, but changing lives.
Please don't sit on the sidelines. Join us in our mission of achieving a world with more humane and just marijuana policies.
Last Thursday, a bill that would allow Delaware patients to grow their own cannabis was introduced. The bill, HB 243, would allow registered medical cannabis patients to grow up to six mature cannabis plants in an enclosed facility.
For some patients, medical expenses and a reduced ability to work make the price of store-bought cannabis out of reach. This important improvement to the medical cannabis program would provide people who could benefit from medical cannabis with safe, legal access to the medicine they need.
In other encouraging news, the Senate has approved a bill (13-6) that would expand decimalization to those under 21 years of age. It now heads to the House for consideration. Under current law, those under 21 years old still face criminal penalties for marijuana possession. This bill would save young adults from life-altering criminal convictions, which can close the door on opportunities including jobs, housing, and higher education.
These pieces of legislation are important steps to improve Delaware's cannabis laws. Please also ask your representative to support HB 110 to end cannabis prohibition and replace it with a system where cannabis is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
After months of debate this legislative session on how the state will approach legalization, the legislature adjourned this week without reaching a conclusion.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger's Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was unable to gain enough support in the Senate to receive a vote before the legislature's deadline.
However, the legislature did approve improvements to New York's decriminalization cannabis policies.
Lawmakers passed legislation to fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.
It is unfortunate that despite the majority of New Yorkers supporting legalization, the legislature failed to act this session. It is past time to end cannabis prohibition in New York. Let your lawmakers know you want them to end prohibition and replace it with a system where marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
There are less than two weeks left in Delaware's legislative session to advance the legalization bill. The bill needs a three-fifths supermajority (25 votes) in the House to advance to the Senate, and several representatives have not yet taken a position on legalization. (The bill will pick up where it left off in 2020.)
Here's how you can take action and help advance HB 110:
1. Join us in solidarity at lobby day on Tuesday, June 25.
When: Tuesday, June 25, 12:00 p.m.
Where: Legislative Hall 411 Legislative Avenue, Dover, Delaware 19901 (meet us in the lobby)
Details on how to RSVP here.
2. Volunteer to help generate phone calls to legislators in key districts! We have a system that allows you to volunteer from home. Please email email@example.com for details on how to get started.
3. If you haven't done so already, contact your state rep now and urge them to vote YES on HB 110.
It is important legislators hear from as many of their constituents as possible. Join us for lobby day June 25 to help us send a strong message to the General Assembly to end cannabis prohibition in the First State!
Later this week, we have a chance to make a major breakthrough in reforming marijuana policy at the federal level. We need your help to make it happen.
The House is expected to vote on the McClintock-Blumenauer amendment, which would prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with the implementation of state laws that have legalized marijuana for adults. Since 2014, Congress has upheld a rule preventing federal interference in states' medical marijuana programs, but this goes further and includes adult-use legalization, too.
With Illinois' recent victory, 11 states have ended marijuana prohibition, and more than 25% of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction where marijuana is legal for adults. We must protect these state laws and prevent federal arrests for people operating legal marijuana businesses.
Your state senator could be the deciding vote to push legalization over the finish line. With the legislature adjourning tomorrow, it is very imperative they hear from you TODAY.
Please call your senator to ask them to vote to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. Our automated system makes it quick and easy — it'll look up your state senator when you type in your address and provide talking points.
It is important your senator hears from as many constituents as possible. If you're not comfortable calling, you can send an email here.
It's time to make history!
Last week, HB 110 — a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older — advanced to the full House of Representatives for a vote. The bill needs a three-fifths supermajority (25 votes) to advance to the Senate, and several representatives have not yet taken a position on legalization.
We need your help to advance HB 110! Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Volunteer to help generate phone calls to legislators in key districts! We have a system that allows you to volunteer from home. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to get started.
2. Encourage others to contact their state reps and urge them to vote YES on HB 110. Forward this message to your friends and family, and share the action link on social media.
There are just two weeks left before the legislature adjourns on June 30.
It is important representatives hear from as many of their constituents as possible. Supporters like you can help us send a strong message to the General Assembly to end cannabis prohibition in the First State!
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.
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.