Earlier this week, the Texas Legislature adjourned after its 140-day legislative session. This year's session brought successes and setbacks. Prohibitionists went to great lengths to keep the status quo and some of their reefer madness unfortunately worked.
Industrial Hemp Legalization – HB 1325 legalizes industrial hemp in Texas and establishes a regulatory structure so that Texans may soon start growing hemp.
Limited Low-THC Medical Cannabis Expansion – HB 3703 removes the two-physician requirement for a medical marijuana card and expands the qualifying conditions to include: epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. It does not change the 0.5% THC cap. HB 3703 is currently on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.
What Fell Short:
Marijuana Decriminalization – HB 63, which would have replaced possible jail time with a fine, passed in the Texas House but stalled in the Texas Senate after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it his mission to kill the bill.
Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Expansion – HB 1365 would have expanded qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, increased the number of dispensaries, and established a research review board that could allow different amounts of cannabinoids. This bill passed in the Texas House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature won't be back in session until 2021. That means two more years of patients suffering and needless arrests. We want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make progress, including Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Support for marijuana reform is at an all-time high so let's keep our chins up and keep pushing. Together, we can change marijuana laws in Texas.
This Monday, January 28, AL.com will be moderating a marijuana law panel in Birmingham. The event will be an educational forum for policymakers to discuss Alabama’s marijuana laws. If you are interested in going, please RSVP as space is limited.
Here are the details for the forum:
What: Alabama marijuana law panel
When: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on January 28, 2019
Where: Harbert Center, 2019 4th Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35203
A report put out by two of the participants, Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, highlights the fiscal and social costs of prohibition. Enforcing these failed marijuana laws costs the state millions of dollars and needlessly harms thousands of Alabamans. Please write your legislators, asking them to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession. Then, share the action with your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to Alabama.
Kentucky’s legislative session begins today, and marijuana policy reforms are already among the top issues being discussed in Frankfort. Lawmakers have indicated that they will soon be introducing several marijuana policy bills, including a medical cannabis bill, a decriminalization bill, and an adult-use legalization bill.
Although we support all of these bills, we believe the bill that has the strongest chance of passing in 2019 is the medical cannabis bill that will soon be introduced by Republican Reps. Jason Nemes and Diane St. Onge. A few months ago, Rep. Nemes confidently predicted that it would pass the legislature in 2019. However, we know that the effort will face strong opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Damon Thayer recently said, “I don't see the votes for medical marijuana yet.”
In order for this bill to pass, legislators will need to hear an outpouring of support from their constituents. After you write your elected officials, please share this message with your friends and family!
Local voters approve 13 medical marijuana and seven legalization measures; ask legislators to listen.
Great news! On Election Day, around a million Wisconsin voters approved advisory questions on their ballots calling for more humane marijuana laws.
More than half of the state’s population saw cannabis-related measures on their ballots, and every single one of the measures passed. Medical cannabis questions received between 67% and 89% in the 11 counties and two cities where they appeared. Adult-use questions garnered between 60% and 76% of the vote.
As the Wisconsin State-Journal’s analysis shows, the measures easily passed in jurisdictions that voted for the Republican and the Democrat for the gubernatorial race.
Congratulations to all the advocates and voters who were involved!
In other encouraging news, voters elected a new governor — Tony Evers — who supports medical marijuana and would like to put the question of legalization to voters. (In Wisconsin, voters can’t place questions on the statewide ballot themselves; only state lawmakers can refer questions to them.)
Meanwhile, in neighboring Michigan, voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Despite all this encouraging news, however, challenges remain. Popular support for medical marijuana has been strong for many years, but thus far Wisconsin’s lawmakers have refused to act.
Let your state legislators know you want the legislature to finally listen to voters on medical cannabis when they convene for the 2019 legislative session. It’s past time Wisconsin roll back its cruel and wasteful war on marijuana.
Over the years, our movement has made significant progress through the ballot box. This year will be no different. Be part of the wave of change today and go vote!
Voters are weighing in on adult-use legalization initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota and medical marijuana measures in Utah and Missouri. Some residents of Ohio and Wisconsin, too, have a chance to voice their support for local measures ending punitive marijuana policies. Go here for information about this year’s ballot questions.
Voters in states without marijuana-related ballot initiatives can play a huge role in changing marijuana laws, too.Visit MPP’s website to find out where candidates stand on marijuana policy in every gubernatorial race, along with in-depth state legislative voter guides for nine states. Roughly half the country lacks a ballot initiative process. The only way we can change marijuana laws in those states is to support thoughtful elected officials and oppose those who aren’t.
If you haven’t voted yet, make a plan right now. Look up your polling location and set a time to go. Spread the word on social media and urge your friends to vote, too!
There’s too much at stake to sit it out.
Do you know where your candidates stand on marijuana policy?
Pennsylvania’s General Election Day is set for Tuesday, November 6. If you are registered to vote, find your polling location here, and please be sure to go cast your ballot!
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy: Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who signed the state’s medical marijuana legislation, is supportive of statewide decriminalization. He has said Pennsylvania is not yet ready to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults’ use. Scott Wagner (R) is opposed to legalization and regulation and believes marijuana is a gateway to other drugs.
You can find more information on Pennsylvania’s current marijuana policies here.
Please forward this message to your network in Pennsylvania, and don’t forget to get out and vote!
For supporters of sensible marijuana policies, the choice for governor couldn’t be more clear.
Georgia’s general election is coming up on Tuesday, November 6, and there is national attention on Georgia’s choices for governor. Before you vote, we want to let you know about the stark differences between the candidates’ stances on marijuana policy reform.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) opposes in-state cultivation of medical marijuana, even though thousands of medical cannabis patients in Georgia lack reasonable access to the low-THC oils they are allowed to possess. Kemp would perpetuate the harmful contradiction in the state program, treating seriously ill patients like second class citizens. Turning to adult-use, his website says he “is not in the camp of being pro-recreational marijuana.” MPP gives Brian Kemp an F for failing the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
Stacey Abrams, former House minority leader, has been clear in her support improving state cannabis laws. Not only does she support in-state cultivation and oversight in a well-regulated program, she also supports removing criminal penalties for possession as Atlanta did last year, and will even consider ending marijuana prohibition once the other reforms are made. In stark contrast to her opponent, MPP rates Stacey Abrams with an A for the support she offers for sensible cannabis policy.
You can find a summary of Georgia’s current low-THC law, Haleigh’s Hope Act, here.
For more information on early voting and Election Day voting, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open, check out the state’s elections website here.
Please forward this to your network, and be sure to get out and vote!
Democrat Ned Lamont strongly supports ending marijuana prohibition, while Republican Bob Stefanowski says the issue shouldn’t be a priority.
The Connecticut general election will take place next Tuesday, November 6. If you’re not sure how or where to vote, please visit the Secretary of State’s website for more information.
Voters who care about marijuana policy reform should know that there is a very clear contrast between the candidates for governor:
- Democratic candidate Ned Lamont strongly supports legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. “It’s an idea whose time has come, and I’m going to push it in the first year,” he said.
- Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski does not currently support legalization. “Maybe at some point we should look at legalizing marijuana … but we’ve got so many fundamental problems in this state… Let’s fix the economy first,” he said.
Please share this information with your friends and family and remind them to vote on Tuesday, November 6!
Do you know where your candidates stand on marijuana policy?
New Mexico’s General Election Day is less than one week away, and early voting has already begun! If you are registered to vote, you may cast your ballot early through Saturday, November 3.
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has said she would support legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use under certain circumstances, while Steve Pearce (R) remains unsupportive. Both candidates are supportive of New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.
Check out the state’s website here for more voting information, including where you can cast your ballot. You can find more information on current marijuana policy in New Mexico here.
Please forward this to your family and friends, and be sure to get out and vote!
Wisconsin’s General Election Day is less than two weeks away! If you are not yet registered to vote, you can register at your polling location on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.
Almost three million voters will have the opportunity to directly weigh in on marijuana policies in Wisconsin through ballot measures on Election Day. Results could build significant momentum for statewide marijuana policy reform. Check out the confirmed list of questions by jurisdiction here.
In addition, here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy: Tony Evers (D) supports medical marijuana, and letting voters decide on legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, while Gov. Scott Walker (R) remains opposed to both.
For more information on voting, including where to cast your ballot, early voting, and voter registration, check out the state’s website here. You can find more information on Wisconsin’s current marijuana policies here.
Please forward this message to your network, and be sure to get out and vote!