U.S. Legislative Round Up July 15th, 2016

By Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director

Members of Congress this week heard testimony on the state of marijuana research, and leading members of the US map_leafSenate introduced legislation to potentially reclassify CBD. A medical marijuana initiative in Montana qualified for the November ballot and Governors in three states signed marijuana related bills into law. Keep reading below to get this week’s latest marijuana news and to find out how you can #TakeAction.

Federal:

On Wednesday, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, chaired by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) held a hearing titled, “Researching Marijuana’s Potential Medical Benefits and Risks”. Testimony was provided by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who are co-sponsors of the CARERS Act, as well as by officials from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While several witnesses were asked by the committee whether or not they expected to the DEA to reschedule cannabis, none provided a direct answer. An archive of the hearing is available online here.

Read moreU.S. Legislative Round Up July 15th, 2016

Medical Cannabis Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot in Montana

montanaA bill to expand access to medical cannabis by reversing unreasonable restrictions will be voted on this November after proponents submitted thousands more signatures than necessary to put it to a vote.

In 2004 Montana voters legalized medical cannabis with 64% in support. This law was subsequently dismantled through legislative and legal action, leaving the current law just a shadow of what it once was. A new restriction going into effect on August 31st would limit medical cannabis providers to just three patients, which will lead to the closure of all currently operating medical cannabis cooperatives.

Initiative 182 would reverse these restrictions, which would greatly expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

Read moreMedical Cannabis Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot in Montana

Montana Cannabis Legalization Initiative Gains Approval from State

montanaMontana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch has given approval to the cannabis legalization measure Initiative 178, giving advocates the green light to begin gathering signatures in an attempt to put the initiative to a vote of the people.

Supporters must now collect signatures from at least 5% of registered voters in each of the state’s 34 House districts; these equals a minimum of 24,175 signatures, which would place the initiative on the 2016 general election ballot.

Read moreMontana Cannabis Legalization Initiative Gains Approval from State

Wisconsin Indian Tribe Votes 677 to 499 to Legalize Cannabis

Menominee-SPECMembers of the Menominee Indian tribe, located in Wisconsin, voted 677 to 499 earlier this week to legalize recreational cannabis. Members also voted to legalize medical cannabis, 899 to 275.

“This is new ground,” says Gary Besaw, Menominee chairman. “We have to start looking at developing best practices and draft ordinances to maximize the benefits we believe are possible and minimize the consequences we believe also are possible.”

Read moreWisconsin Indian Tribe Votes 677 to 499 to Legalize Cannabis

Initiative to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Filed in Montana

cannabisbudAn initiative to legalize recreational cannabis has been filed with Montana’s Secretary of State, the first step in putting the proposal on next year’s general election ballot.

Ballot Issue 7 was filed by Anthony Varriana, head of the new organization Cycling for a Sensible Drug Policy, which is promoting the effort.

If placed on the ballot and passed into law, the initiative would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, in addition to legalizing cannabis retail outlets.

Read moreInitiative to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Filed in Montana

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Takes Effect in Montana, New Mexico

A conviction is now required in New Mexico and Montana before assets can be seized.
A conviction is now required in New Mexico and Montana before assets can be seized.

Laws reforming Montana and New Mexico’s civil asset forfeiture laws have officially taken effect.

Montana’s new law requires a criminal conviction before civil asset forfeiture can proceed, a drastic change from prior law which allows police to confiscate and obtain funding from assets seized, even if the individual has yet to be charged with a crime.

New Mexico’s new law goes even further, abolishing civil asset forfeiture for police altogether, requiring that all seizures go into the general fund.

Read moreCivil Asset Forfeiture Reform Takes Effect in Montana, New Mexico

Montana Governor Signs Bill to Require Conviction for Civil Asset Forfeiture

Montanajustice24 Governor Steve Bullock has signed House Bill 463 into law, a proposal to drastically overhaul the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

Civil asset forfeiture is a tool used by police where they seize property suspected of being related to some form of criminal activity. The primary point of contention with this policy is that police can seizure the property without first obtaining a conviction, or even charging someone with a crime. Police can then use the seized property to turn a profit, which goes directly to the police department.

Read moreMontana Governor Signs Bill to Require Conviction for Civil Asset Forfeiture

Montana Legislature Votes to Require Conviction for Asset Forfeiture

By Scott Shackford, Reason.com

Anothermontana state legislature has massively voted in favor of reforming their asset forfeiture laws to require criminal conviction. Today Montana’s House of Representatives joined the state’s Senate in passing some major updates to its asset forfeiture laws to make it harder to take the property of its citizens—particularly the innocent ones. Only eight representatives and one senator voted against the changes. The bill is now on its way to the governor to sign (reformers hope).

Read moreMontana Legislature Votes to Require Conviction for Asset Forfeiture

Montana Judge Blocks Medical Cannabis Restrictions

By Phillip Smith, StoptheDrugWar.org

A state district court judge last Friday dealt a hard blow to provisions of a restrictive state medical marijuana law passed by the Republican-dominated legislature seven years after Big Skymedcan voters approved a more open initiative allowing for medicinal use and a wide open dispensary scene.

District Judge James Reynolds in Helena permanently enjoined the implementation of certain key provisions in the law. Those provisions have never actually taken effect because Reynolds blocked them with a temporary injunction back in 2011.

Read moreMontana Judge Blocks Medical Cannabis Restrictions