At the beginning of the 2019 legislative session, Senate President Mike Miller and the late House Speaker Michael Busch created a legislative work group to study how to best implement the legalization of marijuana.
The workgroup is supposed to issue its report by the end of the year, but its work is progressing slower than anticipated. The workgroup has held a few meetings in the summer and fall. Its next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 13.
We need to keep the pressure up to make sure legislators know voters want them to put an end to the disastrous policy of cannabis prohibition in 2020. Here's how you can get involved:
- Schedule a meeting with your legislators and let them know you want them to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult use in 2020. You can find out who represents you by clicking here. If you set up a meeting with your legislator(s), let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide you with tips and background materials. Please also let us know how it went after.
- Email your legislators today and ask them to support legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older.
- Write a 150-250 word letter-to-the-editor of a local or statewide paper, calling on the legislature to legalize and regulate cannabis in 2020. You can draw from points here.
- Encourage your friends and family in Maryland to contact and meet with their legislators. Forward this message to them, and share the action link on social media.
It is important legislators 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 2020!
Great news! Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf now supports legalizing cannabis for adults.
Gov. Wolf’s announcement comes on the heels of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s statewide listening tour to all 67 counties, where Fetterman found Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support legalization. You can read the tour report here.
Unfortunately, there’s also bad news: The Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Republican leaders derided Gov. Wolf’s support for legalization.
But now is not time to despair. The public at large is rapidly evolving on marijuana legalization, and so are legislators. Take a few minutes to email your state lawmakers. Our free software and editable draft letters make it a quick, simple process to make your voice heard.
Patients and their loved ones didn’t give up when House Speaker Mike Turzai (R) tried to slam the door shut on medical cannabis, and we can’t give up now because of his disdain for cannabis policy reform. If legislators don’t evolve by 2020, voters will have a chance to change who represents them in Harrisburg.
Please raise your voice. Then, spread the word to other Pennsylvanians so that they, too, can help bring humane cannabis policies to the Keystone State.
New Jersey legislators tabled the state's legalization bill in March, believing it lacked the votes needed to pass the Senate. But Senate President Stephen Sweeney recently gave the effort new hope when he expressed a willingness to try to pass legislation during the "lame duck" session in late 2019.
Securing the votes needed to pass the Senate will require all hands on deck — several lawmakers who are on the fence will need to come around. Please do your part. You can send your state legislators an email using our free software. Our pre-written, editable letters make it a quick and easy process.
We also encourage you to schedule a meeting with your state senator to discuss the issue in person. You can look up your state senator's phone number here. (Your state senator is your "upper chamber" member.) Let us know if you secure a meeting, and we can help prepare you.
Please also let us know if you have a special connection to the issue that could be influential. Are you a medical professional, clergy member, former or current law enforcement, or someone who was hurt by marijuana prohibition? Let us know.
And don't forget to reach out to your state senator, and to spread the word to other New Jerseyans. Together, we can end the disastrous policy of cannabis prohibition in the Garden State.
This fall, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler is leading "Be Heard on Cannabis" community conversations across Minnesota to explore how to replace cannabis prohibition with sensible regulation. At the end of the process, Rep. Winkler plans to introduce a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis in Minnesota and shepherd it through the House.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming dates, to take part and add your voice to the conversation on how to move forward.
St. Paul "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Thursday, October 10, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 Kent Street, Saint Paul, MN 55102
St. Cloud "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Saturday, October 12, 1:30 p.m.
Where: St. Cloud Public Library Mississippi Community Room, 1300 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Eden Prairie "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Monday, November 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Eden Prairie Community Center, Cambria Room, 16700 Valley View Road, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
Eagan "Be Heard on Cannabis" Community Conversation
When: Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Eagan Community Center, South Oaks Meeting Room, 1501 Central Parkway, Eagan, MN 55121
For a list of the hosts and panelists who will lead each community conversation, along with other cities "Be Heard on Cannabis" will visit, check out Rep. Winkler's Be Heard on Cannabis webpage.
Don't miss your chance to let your elected officials know it's time to stop punishing Minnesotans for a substance that's safer than alcohol. You may want to consider making a pitch for an inclusive, diverse industry, for allowing home cultivation, and for expunging past convictions.
Even if you're not able to make it, you can still make your voice heard. Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman has an online survey you can complete here. Finally, please spread the word by email or social media to help grow the chorus for reform.
The House and Senate will need to work together to get this done — please contact your representatives and senators today!
Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont held a press conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the two governors announced that they would work together with other governors in the region to end marijuana prohibition. Gov. Lamont said he would ask the Connecticut Legislature to pass a bill legalizing and regulating cannabis when it convenes in January.
This is a promising development, but we know that Gov. Lamont can't make it happen by himself — the House and Senate will have to cooperate to make legalization a reality. Please email your elected officials right now and urge them to support ending marijuana prohibition in 2020!
In other positive news, the Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians recommended that chronic pain and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome be added as qualifying conditions for patients 18 and older. Unfortunately, it could take up to a year before the additions are enacted, and the recommended requirements for a chronic pain diagnosis are far more restrictive than in most other states: doctors would have to document a chronic pain period of six months or more, an underlying condition causing the pain, and that other treatments have failed.
If the legislature does its job next year, adult-use legalization could be a reality by the time these conditions are added. After you write your legislators, please "like" our coalition on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and share this message with your family and friends!
Effective advocacy costs money, so please also consider supporting our efforts with a donation.
We have big news to share: Just now, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the SAFE Banking Act (H.R. 1595) in a 321-103 floor vote! Today’s vote was historic, as the SAFE Banking Act is the first standalone cannabis bill to ever receive a full vote in Congress.
This legislation would prevent federal financial regulators from punishing financial institutions that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses. Currently, most banks are unwilling to work with the cannabis industry because they fear federal prosecution. A version of this legislation has been introduced in the Senate (S. 1200) and currently has 33 cosponsors.
As more states implement and expand cannabis-related programs, Congressional action is urgently needed to provide clear banking policies, which would reduce the illicit market, promote public health and safety, increase consumer safety standards, ensure broader patient access, help with business transparency and compliance, and reduce safety risks associated with running high-volume, cash-only businesses.
It is also important to recognize that the SAFE Banking Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President, would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry. Many states that have legalized cannabis for adults have launched efforts to ensure that there are economic opportunities for communities of color that have been most severely impacted by marijuana prohibition. Access to capital remains an obstacle to this goal, and the SAFE Banking Act would help to address this problem.
MPP is proud to support this legislation, and we’d like to thank all of our allies who worked so hard to get this bill to a House floor vote. We’d also like to thank you, our supporters, for reaching out to your representatives on behalf of the SAFE Banking Act.
Onward to the Senate!
Exciting news! A newly formed political campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has launched an effort to pass two marijuana reform ballot initiatives in South Dakota next year.
Yes, you read that right: South Dakota.
The first ballot initiative, a proposed constitutional amendment, would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older and direct the legislature to enact laws regulating the cultivation and sale of hemp. The second ballot initiative, a proposed statutory amendment, would establish a medical marijuana law for qualifying patients.
The 2020 campaign, supported by MPP, must collect 33,921 signatures from voters by November 3 of this year to qualify the constitutional initiative for the 2020 ballot. The statutory initiative will require 16,961 voter signatures to qualify.
Leading politicians in the state have consistently opposed marijuana policy reform, and Gov. Kristi Noem even opposes the legalization of industrial hemp. This campaign will give the voters of South Dakota the opportunity to decide these issues at the ballot box.
We will keep you informed of major developments. You also can follow the campaign and support them by signing up for email alerts on their website.
The conversation about legalizing cannabis is picking up in the North Star State! House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler will be sponsoring legislation to legalize cannabis for adults and aims for it to pass the House of Representatives in 2020.
Before crafting the legislation, Rep. Winkler will be leading "Be Heard on Cannabis," a listening tour throughout the state where Minnesotans can weigh in on the issue this fall. Don't miss this opportunity to voice your support for sensible cannabis policy and to make your priorities heard.
Here are the upcoming known tour dates so far:
When: Saturday, September 21, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Teatro in the Zeitgeist Arts Building, 222 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN 5580
Who: Hosted by Rep. Winkler, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections Paul Schnell, Rep. Olson, and Rep. Schultz
When: Wednesday, September 25, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411
Who: Hosted by Rep. Winkler, Sen. Hayden, Sen. Champion, Sen. Dziedzic, Sen. Hawj, Rep. Dehn, and Rep. Lee with special guest Dr. Raj Sethuraju, Associate Professor at Metro State University
When: Saturday, October 12, 1:30 p.m.
Where: St. Cloud Public Library, Mississippi Community Room, 1300 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Who: Hosted by Rep. Winkler, Sen. Hayden, and Rep. Wolgamott with special guest Jeremy Sankey, founder of Minnesota Veterans for Cannabis
You can also click here to take a survey to share your thoughts, sign up for updates, and learn more about "Be Heard on Cannabis."
In other encouraging news, Gov. Walz is asking his agencies to prepare for legalization. Still, the measure could face a hurdle in the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, "it's dead as far as I'm concerned in the Senate for next year." Even passing the House in 2020 would represent tremendous progress, moving Minnesota leaps and bounds closer to the end of cannabis prohibition.
It's important lawmakers hear from supporters like you. Please consider attending a listening session near you, and email your lawmakers today. Then, share this message with your friends and family in Minnesota.
On July 31, Gov. John Carney signed a bill into law that expands decriminalization for cannabis possession of one ounce or less to those under 21. The law became effective upon the governor's signature.
This important legislation will save young adults from life-altering criminal convictions, which can close the door on opportunities including jobs, housing, and higher education. For more information on Delaware's decriminalization law, check out our summary here.
In other news, the adult-use legalization bill, HB 110, will pick up where it left off in the House Appropriations Committee in 2020. You can read our summary of HB 110 here.
Today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed A08420 into law, which will fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. The law will take effect in 30 days.
This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. It also reduces the penalty for possessing about an ounce of cannabis from a $100 fine to a $50 fine. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.
While this improved decriminalization law is an important step forward, there is still work to be done to improve New York's marijuana laws. Unfortunately, the legislature failed to pass a legalization measure before the session adjourned.
The majority of New Yorkers support legalization. Let your lawmakers know you want them to pass legislation to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult use in 2020.