Cannabis Reform Legislative Round Up

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Cannabis Reform Legislative Round Up

By Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

plantcannabisPlenty of marijuana law reform legislation was introduced in state legislatures across the country this week! We have news out of Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Hampshire, Utah and Washington. Plus some news from abroad! Keep reading below to get the latest news in marijuana law reform from this week.


Chile: A medical marijuana farm in the country was officially “inaugurated” this week, signifying a growing approval of medical marijuana use in the region. The farm is the largest medical marijuana plantation in Latin America and will provide medicine to about 4,000 patients in the country.

Delta Extrax

Israel: The Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee held a joint session with the Anti-Drug and Alcohol Committee to discuss reform of the country’s medical marijuana regulations. Currently only a small number of doctors can prescribe the medicine and there is a shortage of supply so officials are looking to expand physician privileges to prescribe cannabis.

“People are dying and suffering [from lack of the drug],” they said. “We have heard grandiose promises, but so far there are no answers. There is plenty of bureaucracy that doesn’t know how to deal with individual cases.

Mexico:  After a series of public debates and bipartisan support, a bill to allow the importation of medical marijuana products is expected to pass by May.

“The bill, proposed by Institutional Revolutionary Party Senator Cristina Diaz, aims to change Mexican laws to allow the import of medical marijuana products to help the roughly 5,000 medical patients currently without access to such drugs.”


Georgia: A newly introduced Senate Resolution seeks to place a constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot to regulate adult marijuana use.

SR6 would allow voters to decide if they wish to regulate the commercial cultivation, processing, and retail of marijuana to adults over the age of 21. You can read the full text of this proposal here. To contact your lawmakers and urge their support for the measure, click here.

Kansas: Senate lawmakers are considering legislation, HB 2049, to amend various penalties and regulations specific to marijuana possession and use.

House Bill 2049 seeks to a) establish a statewide research program to oversee the production of industrial hemp, b) authorize the limited use of cannabidiol for therapeutic purposes, and c) reduce criminal penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses from a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year incarceration and a $2,500 fine) to a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine).

Click here to learn more and urge your lawmakers to support this legislation.

Maryland: January 21, members of the Maryland House and Senate voted to override a 2015 veto and to decriminalize the possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

Members of the House decided 86 to 55 in favor of overriding the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 517. Members of the Senate decided 29 to 17 to enact the legislation.

Senate Bill 517 amends existing criminal penalties regarding the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia from a misdemeanor, punishable by possible jail time, to a civil violation. However, amended language also includes a provision establishing a civil fine of up to $500 for offenses involving the use of marijuana in public. NORML and our affiliates will be working in the future to amend this penalty.

New Hampshire: This week public testimony was heard on the three pending legalization measures in the House of Representatives.legalization_poll

On January 27th, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will be voting on the  three separate bills that would legalize various amounts of marijuana.

HB 1610, HB 1675, and HB 1694 all seek to permit the personal cultivation and commercial retail sale of marijuana in the state.

For more information or to urge your lawmakers to support legalization in New Hampshire, click here.

House bill 1631, legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, is also pending in the House of Representatives.

Last year, similar legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the House in a 297-67 vote, but was tabled in the Senate. Click here for more information!

Utah: SB 73, the Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Sen. Mark Madsen, was introduced this week and seeks to amend state law to permit for the state-licensed cultivation of cannabis, including strains with higher THC content, for the manufacturing of medicinal products and/or herbal preparations.

Under a 2014 law, qualifying patients are permitted to possess cannabis extracts that contain more than 15 percent CBD and no more than 0.3 percent THC. However, the law provides no legal supply source for these products and, as a result, it has largely failed to meet the needs of patients.

Competing legislation seeks to only permit the use of CBD in pill or oil form and prohibits any form of THC.

Click here to contact your lawmakers and urge them to support SB 73!

Washington: Newly introduced legislation, HB 2629, The Adult Home Grow & Criminal Reduction Bill would permit adults to grow a limited number of marijuana plants for personal use.

Similar legislation (SB 6083) was heard last year in a special legislative session.

Click here to urge your lawmakers in Washington to support these measures.


Additional information for these and other pending legislative measures may be found at our #TakeAction Center!

** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and to make the changes they want to see. Get active; get NORML!

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  • Johnny
    February 3, 2016

    Cannabis Law Reform Information from the UK

    Our Guide to Cannabis Law Reform


    This guide explains the law relating to cannabis, the growing and possession of cannabis and provides a brief summary and links to the groups who are actively seeking a change in the law.

    Cannabis – The Law
    The Government insist that they have no intention of changing the laws surrounding activities relating to cannabis and continue to reinforce their non-scientific, non-evidence based policy. Their official line is “cannabis is a very harmful, very dangerous drug that can cause huge mental health problems and addiction” along with “cannabis has no medicinal benefits in herbal form”. Their reason for classifying cannabis as a “controlled” substance they say, is to protect people from themselves.

    Cannabis is a Class B Drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Although it is given the title of a “controlled drug” there is actually very little control that anyone has over it as the commercial market is predominantly run by organised crime and completely unregulated. There is no control over who produces it, who sells it, who it is sold to, or even that the quality of the product is safe to consume.

    Cannabis Seeds
    In the UK, it is actually legal to own cannabis seeds, such as the ones available on this website, but it is illegal to grow or attempt to grow the cannabis plant from these seeds unless you have a licence from the Home Office.

    Cultivation of Cannabis
    Cultivation is the tending of plants, i.e. watering, feeding, nurturing etc.
    It is unlawful to cultivate any part of a cannabis plant. It is not an offence to supply or possess cannabis seeds, but any action which germinates or cultivates them is an offence.
    A person can only be charged with cultivation or production, rather than both offences together.
    The reason that an individual would be charged with production instead of cultivation is because production is classed as a ‘trafficking’ offence; which allows the authorities to order a POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) hearing.
    POCA provides the courts with scope to confiscate the proceeds of a crime where a defendant is shown to have benefited from their criminal conduct.

    Possession of cannabis
    If caught in possession of cannabis, as well as considering arrest and confiscating the drug, police are likely to:
    1. Give a cannabis warning for a first offence of possession – this is a written warning that does not show up on the PCN and should not show on CRB checks often carried out by employers.
    2. Give a Penalty Notice for Disorder – this is an on-the-spot fine of £80 for a second offence. You must pay this within 14 days or face going to court.
    3. Make an arrest if it is the third offence of having been caught with cannabis – this could lead to conviction in court and a criminal record.

    Penalties for Drug Possession and Dealing
    The penalties depend on which drug and the amount you have, and whether you are also dealing or producing the drug. The most severe penalty can be an unlimited fine and life in prison.

    Active Groups seeking a change in the law

    CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform
    CLEAR is the UK’s largest membership based cannabis policy group. They campaign for medicinal cannabis on prescription and regulated access for adults.

    UKCIA is one of the oldest cannabis law reform websites in the UK. It was set up in 1995 right at the dawn of the internet by the remaining members of the original LCC, the old “Legalise Cannabis Campaign”. The idea was to put the knowledge and experience gained in running the LCC online for people to use.

    Transform is a charitable think tank that campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs both in the UK and internationally. Prohibition cannot be judged a success on any front. Handing control of the drug trade to organised criminals has had disastrous consequences across the globe. Transform works to get drugs under control by advocating for strict regulation of all aspects of the trade.

    The Beckley Foundation
    The Beckley Foundation is a charitable trust that promotes health-oriented, cost-effective, harm-reductive drug policy reform. It is dedicated to improving national and global drug policies through research.

    Drugwise is an online drug information service aiming to provide evidence-based drug information, policy and reports. There are many robust international and internationally-relevant national reports and reviews in all these areas. The problem is that they are not all in one place.
    This is why Drugwise have created I-Know, the international knowledge hub which over time will build up a library of information, policy and practice material.

    Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law. The organisation, founded in 1967, is an independent and registered charity. They provide free non-judgmental, specialist advice and information to the public and professionals on issues related to drug use and to drug laws.
    Release has an excellent section on Drugs and the Law

    Drug Policy Reform
    The Drug Policy Reform is an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the UK parliament that is composed of politicians from all political parties.
    The APPG for Drug Policy Reform began in January 2011 with the position of the Group being:-

    • That the global war on drugs has failed
    • That we will work for drug policy reform
    • That the Group will draw upon available evidence and experience in order to inform our recommendations

    The UKCSC is an NGO platform founded in 2011 by citizens throughout the United Kingdom affected by and/or concerned by the current national and international war on people who use certain drugs, particularly cannabis. UKCSC unites the representatives of individual CSC’s in the UK, health workers, industry professionals, experts, entrepreneurs and activists from across not only the UK but Europe and the rest of the world.

    FRANK is a UK government information website which helps you find out everything you might want to know about drugs.

    Mr Richard Branson
    British entrepreneur Richard Branson has released what he says is an embargoed report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that will “call on governments around the world to decriminalize drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs,” Branson wrote on his blog.


    Medical Marijuana
    Medical Marijuana is the UK’s most comprehensive online source for news, information, research, personal testaments and discussion on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, and cannabis extracts.

    Cannabis is not recognised as having any therapeutic value under the law in England and Wales, and a person can commit any range of offences including possession and supply.

  • Napasechnik
    June 21, 2017

    Soon it will legalize in all states, you can take a screenshot 🙂

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