During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week on combating the opioid epidemic, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin made a comment that is a perfect example of the kind of entrenched ignorance that MPP has been battling for nearly 25 years. Referring to his home state of Illinois, which only days ago passed a landmark, MPP-backed bill to legalize cannabis for adult use, Sen. Durbin remarked that:
"We've had medical marijuana. I've been to one of those clinics. It was almost a laughing matter."
Really, Senator? Ready access to life-changing medical treatments is basically a joke to you?
- It's not a joke for parents who have to drive across state lines, risking their livelihood and their freedom, in order to procure the only medicine available that can successfully treat their child's multiple sclerosis symptoms — just because their state is run by people who share your outdated perspective on medical marijuana.
- It's not a joke to the veterans suffering from severe PTSD who can't get a prescription at their local VA hospital because the federal government inserts its prohibitionist restrictions between them and their physicians.
- And it's certainly no joke to the greater than 10 million people located in prohibition states who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, debilitating arthritis, anorexia, cerebral palsy, chronic pain, or the numerous other afflictions for which medical marijuana is an effective treatment.
To them, and to us, medical marijuana is no laughing matter at all. With your contribution today, we can continue to fight for life-saving access for medical cannabis patients.
Please help us send Senator Durbin a clear message that it's past time for attitudes like his to evolve, that the harm caused by failed prohibitionist policies is both ongoing and urgent, and that he should use his national profile to shine a light on the problem — not to belittle the issue.
Thank you for standing up for medical cannabis patients. Together we can overcome the ignorance and misinformation — and ensure a brighter future for those who are still being denied safe access to the medicine they need.
If you live in N.H., please attend the public hearing at 9:35 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23, and show your support for HB 481!
New Hampshire’s HB 481 has been scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 23, at 9:35 a.m. The bill would legalize possession and limited cultivation by adults 21 and older, and it would establish a system of regulated sales. You can read a summary of HB 481, as amended and passed by the House, here.
Members of the public are encouraged to testify at the public hearing or sign the committee’s sign-in sheet in support of HB 481. For more information on this hearing and how to make a positive impact, click here. For talking points, click here.
WHO: The Senate Judiciary Committee and members of the public
WHAT: Public hearing on HB 481, the bill to legalize and regulate cannabis for use by adults
WHEN: Tuesday, April 23, beginning at 9:35 a.m.
WHERE: Room 100 of the State House (107 N. Main Street, Concord)
If you haven’t yet contacted your state senator about this bill, it is very important that they hear from you. Please email your senator today!
Please share this message with your family and friends!
Legislative discussions on Gov. Raimondo's proposal to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adult use were front and center last week at the State House. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Article 20 of the governor's budget bill, which includes provisions to establish a regulatory system for adult-use marijuana sales. The House Finance Committee held its own hearing on the same legislation on Wednesday.
The original language of the proposal has been amended. To read an updated summary of Article 20, click here. Leaders of Regulate Rhode Island and the Marijuana Policy Project testified in support of the governor's plan, while highlighting serious concerns about some of its provisions. Overall, our priorities in advocating for amendments are:
- Ensuring the medical and adult-use markets are open, fair, and competitive;
- Protecting safe and affordable access for medical marijuana patients;
- Allowing adults to cultivate a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes; and
- Adding provisions to promote social equity, encourage diversity in the marketplace, and address the historical injustices of marijuana prohibition.
Our aim is to see Rhode Island pass the best legalization law possible this year. To do that, we're going to need your help, so please take action and send a message to your state legislators.
As you may have heard, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced they have finally come to an agreement regarding the details of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. If leaders in the legislature believe they have the votes to pass the bill, they plan to hold a vote on March 25.
The votes aren't there yet for the bill to pass. It's time to change that: Lawmakers need to hear from constituents who support replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.
The legalization bill would:
- Allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana;
- Set up a process for expungement for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses;
- Establish a $42 tax per ounce on sales from cultivators; and
- Incentivize towns to allow marijuana businesses through local taxes.
The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees this Monday, March 18, where they will also hear bills on medical marijuana expansion.
Please email your elected officials to let them know you support ending marijuana prohibition. Then, forward this email to your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to New Jersey.
Slowly but surely, the New Hampshire Senate appears to be evolving in support of marijuana policy reforms. After hearing compelling testimony from patients and medical providers, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted to pass two important bills that would improve the therapeutic cannabis program: HB 157, which would allow patients to qualify if they suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain, passed 4-1, and HB 160, which would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition, passed 5-0.
Unfortunately, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police persuaded Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley to offer a terrible amendment to the Senate Judiciary Committee on HB 640, the decriminalization bill. You can read more about that here.
Committees also heard testimony on HB 472, which would allow qualifying patients and caregivers to cultivate a limited supply of cannabis, and HB 215, which would create a study commission to consider legalization for adult use, though no action was taken on those bills.
(This event is free and open to the public.)
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Today, the Vermont Senate Appropriations Committee voted 4-3 to approve S. 241, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults and create a regulated and taxed system for marijuana production and sale. The bill has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Next, S. 241 will move to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate, which will probably happen later this week. If it passes there, it will go to the House of Representatives, and the committee process will begin anew after the legislature takes a break for Town Meeting Week (February 29 to March 4).
Last week, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell and two former attorneys general, Jerome Diamond and Kimberly Cheney, sent a letter to legislators encouraging them to move forward with the proposal to end prohibition and regulate marijuana.
Earlier today, Vermont Public Radio released the results of a new poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute that found 55% of Vermonters support passing a law to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 32% said they are opposed. The survey of 895 Vermonters was conducted February 3-17.
If you are a Vermont resident, please send them an email urging them to support S. 241.
Wednesday evening, the Delaware Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-2 to approve legislation that would stop the state’s ineffective and cruel practice of jailing individuals for possessing a small amount of marijuana — a substance that is safer than alcohol. The bill can now be voted on as early as tomorrow. Since the House has already approved the bill, a positive Senate vote will send it to the governor for final approval.
If you are a Delaware resident, please email your state senator today and encourage her or him to support this sensible proposal tomorrow.
Introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley, HB 39 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail. Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail. More than two-thirds of Delaware voters support this policy.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Alabama Legislature approved a bill — SB 326 — that would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program for Alabama’s seriously ill residents. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton, would allow qualified patients to possess and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana should their doctors recommend it. It would also create a system of registered medical marijuana providers to ensure patients have safe and reliable access. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
If you are an Alabama resident, please urge your senator to support SB 326!
This is the first time that the Alabama Senate has considered a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. With SB 326, Alabama has the opportunity to be the first southern state to join 23 other states and Washington, D.C. in allowing its seriously ill residents to access the medicine their doctors recommend.
Unfortunately, Sen. Jabo Waggoner, has vowed to kill the bill.
Once again, the medical marijuana bill authored by Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin cleared another legislative hurdle. The Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to refer the bill to the finance committee. The legislation has already been approved by the Senate health and government committees. As you may know, session time is running out, so, if you have not already done so, please find out if your lawmakers support medical marijuana.
Polling shows that a majority of Minnesotans, regardless of political affiliation, age, income, education, or region, support medical marijuana legislation. However, lawmakers tend to lag behind the public on sensible and compassionate marijuana policies, so if you are a Minnesota resident, please let your lawmakers know that their constituents support medical marijuana and they should, too.