Sunday, May 9, 2021

Carly Wolf NORML State Policies Coordinator

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Mississippi: Lawmakers Advance Alternative Medical Marijuana Proposal

A three-fifths majority of the Mississippi state Senate approved Senate Bill 2765, which seeks to implement a statewide medical cannabis access program in lieu of the program initially approved by voters on Election Day. That program (Initiative 65) is being legally challenged before the state Supreme Court and would be nullified if the litigation is successful. Senate Bill 2765 would only take effect if the Supreme Court strikes down Initiative 65. Seventy-three percent of voters decided in favor of I-65 in November. Senate Bill 2765 is similar to I-65 in some ways. It permits qualified patients to access up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis per 14 day period, the same possession limits outlined in the voter-approved measure. The bill also includes broad student, housing, and parental protections for patients, and would tax medical cannabis sales at seven percent. Lawmakers previously tried and failed to persuade voters to adopt a legislatively-backed medical cannabis program, Measure 65A. Voters in November rejected that proposal in favor of Measure 65. The ongoing legal dispute over Measure 65 is the result of a challenge filed by representatives of the city of Madison – including the town’s Mayor. The suit argues that the legislature’s failure to update guidelines for petitioners should invalidate the initiative vote. Specifically, state statutes call for petitioners to gather an equal percentage of signatures from five congressional districts.  However, following redistricting in 2000, there are only four congressional districts in the state. Lawmakers since that time have failed to update the statute. Nonetheless, litigants have not similarly challenged the validity of a separate initiative that also appeared on the 2020 ballot or the validity of prior ballot measures, despite the fact that petitioners for those initiatives acted no differently than did those who advocated for the marijuana measure. Separate lawsuits in Montana and South Dakota are also seeking to overturn marijuana legalization election outcomes in those states. South Dakota’s litigation was filed at the behest of the state’s Republic Governor, Kristi Noem. On Monday, a South Dakota Circuit Court Judge sided with the Governor’s office and determined that the election result should be nullified. That decision is expected to be appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. Opponents of a 2020 Nebraska medical marijuana ballot initiative succeeded in removing the measure from the ballot before Nebraskans had the opportunity to cast their vote.

Wisconsin: Governor Evers Includes Marijuana Legalization in State Budget Proposal

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) on Sunday announced his intention to include the legalization of adult use marijuana in his forthcoming 2021-2023 budget proposal, which will...

Weekly Legislative Roundup 2/5/21

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! At the federal level this week, Senators Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement declaring their intention to release a draft discussion bill outlining how best to legalize and regulate cannabis and cannabis commerce in a post-prohibition America.

Weekly Legislative Roundup 1/15/21

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup! At the state level, several governors and top state legislative leaders have been calling for significant marijuana...

Governors Speak Out in Favor of Marijuana Legalization Nation-wide

Many 2021 state legislative sessions are already in full swing, as several states are poised to enact significant reform in the year ahead. Several Governors and...

Weekly Legislative Roundup 1/8/21

Welcome to the first Weekly Legislative Roundup of 2021! Week one of the 2021 legislative sessions has come to a close, as several states...

New Jersey: Lawmakers Advance Legislation Imposing Penalties for Underage Marijuana Use

Two separate state Assembly and Senate legislative committees approved companion legislation yesterday to impose civil fines for those under 21 who are caught with marijuana. A5211/S3320 would impose...

Illinois: Governor Vacates Half a Million Past Marijuana Convictions

Democratic Governor JB Pritzker of Illinois last week issued over 500,000 expungements and pardons for individuals with past, low-level marijuana convictions. “Statewide, Illinoisans hold hundreds...

States to Watch in 2021: Texas

In advance of the 2021 legislative sessions, NORML will be providing a more detailed break down of legislative efforts in various states across the...

North Dakota: Gov. Burgum Issues Additional Pardons for Low-Level Marijuana Offenses

On November 9, Republican Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota approved an additional 24 pardons which were recommended by the state’s Pardon Advisory Board. According...

New Jersey: Senate Lawmakers Approve Legislation to End Low-Level Marijuana Arrests

Members of the New Jersey Senate approved legislation that would end the practice of arresting adults in the Garden State for low-level marijuana offenses. A1897...

New Jersey Lawmakers Vote to Advance Legislation to Implement Marijuana Legalization

Members of two separate legislative committees today voted to advance enabling legislation to implement Question 1, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters on November...

2020 Ballot Initiative Effective Dates

Voters in five states approved six separate ballot measures legalizing the use and distribution of marijuana for either medical or adult-use purposes. Below you...

New Jersey: #TurnthePage

Voters across the Garden State have already begun to cast their votes for Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Amendment. Here’s a quick and important tip...

Mississippi: A guide to filling out your ballot this election

As a Mississippi voter, you have the opportunity to cast your vote to legalize medical marijuana access this election. Because there are two separate proposals...

New Jersey: Lawmakers Approve Telemedicine for Medical Cannabis Authorizations

Members of the New Jersey state Assembly approved legislation to allow physicians to authorize the use of medical marijuana via telemedicine for those with...

Michigan: Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Expungement Legislation

Members of the Michigan state House and Senate have approved legislation to allow for the courts to “set aside” certain past marijuana convictions. House Bill...

Vermont: Lawmakers Send Marijuana Retail Sales Bill, Automatic Expungement Measure to Governor’s Desk

Members of the Vermont state Senate approved a pair of marijuana law reform measures this morning, sending both to the desk of Governor Phil...

Vermont: Lawmakers Finalize Marijuana Retail Sales Legislation

Members of a bicameral conference committee have finalized an agreement on Senate Bill 54, legislation regulating the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana...

Vermont: Lawmakers Approve Automatic Expungement and Expanded Possession Limits

Members of the Vermont House of Representatives preliminarily approved legislation to facilitate the automatic expungement of many past, low-level marijuana possession convictions.  Those convicted of...

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