Vermont Governor Phil Scott Signs H. 511 Legalizing Marijuana For Adult Use

VERMONT:  On January 22nd, 2018 Governor Phil Scott signed H. 511, An act relating to eliminating penalties for possession of limited amounts of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older, into law.

Read his full message to the General Assembly below:

“Today, with mixed emotions, I have signed H. 511.

“As I said when I vetoed S. 22 in May, I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.  In this context, it is very important to understand what H. 511 does and does not do.

“While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce, and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, marijuana remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited.  Also, consumption of marijuana in public places is prohibited.  Consumption of marijuana by operators and passengers in a motor vehicle is prohibited.  Schools, employers, municipalities and landlords are also empowered to adopt policies and ordinances further restricting the cultivation and use.

“In addition, when we negotiated a compromise prior to the veto session in June, I insisted the legislation also include:

  • Stronger criminal and civil penalties for selling to or enabling the consumption of marijuana by someone under 21;
  • Criminal penalties for using marijuana in a motor vehicle with a child present;
  • Criminal penalties for using or growing marijuana at facilities serving children.
  • Clear legal liability of the consequences of making marijuana available to minors.
  • Strict penalties for possession of marijuana by those convicted of felony sale of marijuana, selling a regulated drug to minors, or on school grounds;
  • Stronger penalties and fines for open containers in a motor vehicle; and
  • Marijuana in excess of the permitted limit remains contraband and subject to seizure and forfeiture.

“H. 511 included these additional protections.

“My S.22 veto message also plainly expressed my reservations about a commercial system which depends on profit motive and market driven demand for its growth.  I look forward to the Marijuana Advisory Commission addressing the need to develop comprehensive education, prevention and highway safety strategies. To be very direct:  There must be comprehensive and convincing plans completed in these areas before I will begin to consider the wisdom of implementing a commercial “tax and regulate” system for an adult marijuana market. It is important for the General Assembly to know that – until we have a workable plan to address each of these concerns – I will veto any additional effort along these lines, which manages to reach my desk.

“More importantly, as I noted in my State of the State address, I ask the General Assembly to now turn its efforts to addressing more significant issues faced by Vermonters in their daily lives.”

Click here to view the letter sent to the General Assembly.

Colorado Has Backed Off Plans For Marijuana Clubs

By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press

COLORADO: Colorado lawmakers have backed off plans to regulate marijuana clubs, saying the state would invite a federal crackdown by approving Amsterdam-style pot clubs.

The state House voted Thursday to amend a bill that would have set rules for how private pot clubs could work.

It was a dramatic reversal. Bring-your-own pot clubs had bipartisan support in the Legislature, and the measure had already cleared the GOP Senate.

But lawmakers bowed to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who repeatedly warned lawmakers that he would veto a club measure if it allowed indoor pot-smoking. The governor also warned that clubs, and a separate proposal to allow pot delivery, might invite intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Given the uncertainty in Washington, this is not the time to be . trying to carve off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana,” Hickenlooper told The Denver Post last month.

Sponsors of the club bill said that they had little choice but to back off, leaving Colorado with its current spotty club landscape.

Colorado already has about 30 private pot clubs, according to legislative analysts, but they operate under a patchwork of local regulations and are sometimes raided by law enforcement.

Clubs in Colorado frequently operate in a similar manner to pot clubs in states where pot isn’t legal, with small groups meeting up to smoke in a secret location members sometimes call “Dave’s House,” a reference to an old Cheech and Chong skit.

The House amendment passed Thursday effectively removes club regulations, and the remaining bits of the bill are relatively minor. The bill could face yet more changes before a final vote. Lawmakers who bemoaned the club bill’s demise cited U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has hinted that states violating federal drug law won’t be tolerated.

“I’d like to see (a club bill) that goes much further, and that does a lot more, but in a year with Jeff Sessions, a small first step is better than no step at all,” Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer said.

Not everyone agreed with the change, saying Colorado is wimping out by backing off.

“It only makes sense to allow people to have a place to where they can (smoke marijuana) where it’s controlled and confined,” said Republican Sen. Tim Neville, who sponsored a separate club bill that failed because it would have allowed clubs to sell the marijuana people would smoke, similar to a bar selling alcohol.

“We have legalized marijuana. Where do we want people to use it if not at home? On the street?”

The Colorado bill would have made it the first state to regulate clubs statewide

Alaska pot regulators decided earlier this month to delay action on a measure to allow on-site pot consumption at marijuana dispensaries, or “tasting rooms.”

Ballot measures approved by voters last year in California, Maine and the city of Denver would allow either on-site pot consumption or so-called “social use” clubs, but regulations for how those clubs would work haven’t been settled.

Senate Leaders: Vermont Pot Bill Unlikely To Pass

By Associated Press 

VERMONT: Top Senate lawmakers in Vermont say passing a marijuana legalization bill is becoming exceedingly unlikely.

The Vermont House is still debating their version of a legalization bill, which would simply legalize personal cannabis use, possession and cultivation. There are just over three weeks to go in the lawmaking session and Senate lawmakers expected the bill to get to them weeks ago.

Senate leaders also say the House bill would continue to allow for a black market, and they favor a law that would tax and regulate sales of the plant. A Senate measure in 2016 that proposed a legal marijuana market died in the House last year.

Vermont’s constitution disallows referendums, thwarting another avenue to legalize marijuana as other states have done.

 

Marijuana ‘Gifts’ Legal As Maine Works Out Licensing Rules

By The Associated Press 

MAINE:  A Biddeford business owner hoping to start selling pot next year is giving his products away for free for now.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Jack Sargent of the Biddeford-based Cannabis Shack is accepting donations for shipping and handling while waiting for the state to issue retail licenses.  It’s legal to accept free gifts of pot and some say the limbo before the opening of retail stores is pushing otherwise law-abiding citizens into an underground market.

Some states have cracked down on such practices. The voter-approved law legalizing marijuana took effect in January.  Adults can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow their own plants.  But no one can legally sell pot as Maine works through the extensive process of regulating the sale of marijuana.

OLCC Updates Cities/Counties Prohibiting Licensed Recreational Marijuana Facilities

OREGON: The following cities or counties have prohibited the establishment of Licensed Recreational Marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers, and/or retailers.

The cities or counties listed below have:

  • Provided the OLCC with a copy of their ordinance, per Chapter475B.
  • Signed and returned the official “Local Option Opt‐Out” form which can be found at www.marijuana.oregon.gov.
  • Have put or will be putting the opt-out measure to a vote at the next general election (ifapplicable).
Affected City/County Producer Prohibited (Y/N) Processor Prohibited (Y/N) Wholesale Prohibited (Y/N) Retail Prohibited (Y/N) To Be Put On 2018 General Election (Y/N)
Adrian Y Y Y Y N
Athena Y Y Y Y N
Aumsville Y Y Y Y N
Baker City Y Y Y Y N
Baker County Y Y Y Y N
Boardman Y Y Y Y N
Burns Y Y Y Y N
Canby Y Y Y Y N
Canyon City Y Y Y Y N
Canyonville Y Y Y Y N
Central Point Y Y Y Y N
Coburg Y Y Y Y N
Cove Y Y Y Y N
Creswell Y Y Y Y N
Crook County Y Y Y Y N
Culver Y Y Y Y Y
Dayville Y Y Y Y N
Douglas County Y Y Y Y N
Eagle Point Y Y Y Y N
Elgin Y Y Y Y N
Enterprise Y Y Y Y N
Fairview Y Y Y Y N

 

Affected City/County Producer Prohibited (Y/N) Processor Prohibited (Y/N) Wholesale Prohibited (Y/N) Retail Prohibited (Y/N) To Be Put On 2018 General Election (Y/N)
Gaston Y Y Y Y N
Grant County Y Y Y Y N
Grass Valley Y Y Y Y N
Haines Y Y Y Y Y
Halfway Y Y Y Y N
Halsey Y Y Y Y N
Harney County Y Y Y Y N
Harrisburg Y Y Y Y N
Heppner Y Y Y Y N
Hermiston Y Y Y Y N
Ione Y Y Y Y N
Irrigon Y Y Y Y N
Island City Y Y Y Y N
Jacksonville Y Y Y Y N
Jefferson County Y Y Y Y N
John Day Y Y Y Y N
Jordan Valley Y Y Y Y N
Joseph Y Y Y Y N
Junction City Y Y Y Y N
Klamath County Y Y Y Y N
Klamath Falls Y Y Y Y N
LaGrande Y Y Y Y N
Lake County Y Y Y Y N
Lake Oswego Y Y Y Y N
Lexington Y Y Y Y N
Long Creek Y Y Y Y N
Lostine Y Y Y Y N
Lyons Y Y Y Y N
Malheur County Y Y Y Y N
Marion County Y Y Y Y N
Maupin Y Y Y Y N
Merrill Y Y Y Y N
Mill City Y Y Y Y N
Millersburg Y Y Y Y N
Milton-Freewater Y Y Y Y N
Monument Y Y Y Y N
Moro Y Y Y Y N
Morrow County Y Y Y Y N
Mount Angel Y Y Y Y N

 

Affected City/County Producer Prohibited (Y/N) Processor Prohibited (Y/N) Wholesale Prohibited (Y/N) Retail Prohibited (Y/N) To Be Put On 2018 General Election (Y/N)
Mount Vernon Y Y Y Y N
North Powder Y Y Y Y N
Nyssa Y Y Y Y N
Ontario Y Y Y Y N
Prairie City Y Y Y Y N
Richland Y Y Y Y N
Rufus Y Y Y Y N
Sandy Y Y Y Y N
Scott Mills Y Y Y Y N
Shady Cove Y Y Y Y N
Shaniko Y Y Y Y N
Sherman County Y Y Y Y N
Sherwood Y Y Y Y N
Spray Y Y Y Y N
Sublimity Y Y Y Y N
Summerville Y Y Y Y N
Sutherlin Y Y Y Y N
Ukiah Y Y Y Y N
Umatilla Y Y Y Y N
Umatilla County Y Y Y Y N
Union Y Y Y Y N
Union County Y Y Y Y N
Vale Y Y Y Y N
Wallowa Y Y Y Y N
Wallowa County Y Y Y Y N
Wasco City Y Y Y Y N
West Linn Y Y Y Y N
Wilsonville Y Y Y Y N
Wheeler County Y Y Y Y N

 

Cities Counties Total
No Voter Referral 73 16 89
2018 Voter Referral 2 0 2
Total 75 16 91

Contact the individual city or county directly for a copy of their local ordinance or for the text of the measure (if applicable).

If you are aware of any discrepancies contact us at marijuana@oregon.gov.

The most recent addition is highlighted for your convenience.

Washington LCB Notice of Rule Making – Pre-proposal – #17-04: Producer Tier Structure

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has entered into the initial stage of rulemaking (CR 101) to consider rule changes in Chapter 314-55 related to the producer tier structure and potentially allowing producers to hold an interest in more than one license. The CR 101 is the initial notification of potential rule making and no rule language is offered at this stage of the process. The CR 101 and an explanatory statement for this rule making accompany this notice.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board encourages you to give input on the subject of these potential changes.  Following the comment period, the agency will send out and publish the proposed rules, establish a comment period on the proposed rules, and hold a public hearing before the rules are adopted.

This notice can be found at lcb.wa.gov/laws/laws-and-rules under Proposed Rules.

 

NORML Responds: White House Threatens To Crack Down On Legal Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration will step up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana. “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, and added that the exact policy is “a question for the Department of Justice.”

The Department of Justice is lead by Jeff Sessions, a renowned ardent marijuana prohibitionist.

“If the Trump administration goes through with a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana they will be taking billions of dollars away from state sanctioned businesses and putting that money back into the hands of drug cartels. This action will lead to swift backlash from the 71% of Americans that think marijuana policy should be dictated by the states and is a foolish and reckless direction to take our country. Sad.” said Erik Altieri, Executive Director of NORML.

The Press Secretary’s comments are similar to those made by Sen. Sessions during his vetting process when he made clear that any use of marijuana remains against federal law and that “it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

“Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions both hold views that are out of step with mainstream America and they are in conflict with the laws regarding marijuana in over half of the states in this country,” said Justin Strekal, Political Director of NORML. “The fact that President Trump would allow his Attorney General to pursue a path that is so politically unpopular and contrary to will of numerous states is absurd.”

Ultimately, patients and others in legal jurisdictions will only truly be safe from federal prosecution when and if members of Congress elect to amend federal marijuana laws in a manner that comports with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status. Congressional passage of HR 975, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ which NORML supports and/or re-authorization of the Rohrabacher-Farr (now to be introduced as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) amendment would be steps in the right direction to protect patients and others in legal states from undue federal interference.

If federal politicians were truly listening to the will of the electorate, they would move forward to enact these changes, which are strongly in line with voters’ sentiments. According to national polling data released today, 71 percent of voters — including majorities of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — say that they “oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.”

In short, undermining voters’ wishes and state laws in this regard not only defies common sense, it is also bad politics — particularly for an administration that is defining itself as populist in nature.

For more information, please contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at justin@norml.org

Four Things You Can Do To Help Legalize Home Growing In Washington

By Bailey Hirschburg, Legislative Associate, Washington NORML PAC

House Bill 1212, in the Washington state house, would legalize personal cultivation of up to six marijuana plants, keep as much as 24 harvested ounces in the home. It defelonizes sharing or gifting of marijuana up to one ounce, and allows patients/adults to have their harvested marijuana tested in professional laboratories. Despite a unanimous committee vote of “do pass” in the house, progress has stalled because of lack of a companion bill in the state senate.

With the help of grassroots activists, calls from constituents, and supporter engagement from emails, Washington’s state house is, for the moment, saturated. But the senate has had less marijuana legislation, and less engagement. Four things you can do to help:

image21.) Call the right Senators

Email is alright, but they get a lot. Calls get more notice. Start with your senator, find them here:

BONUS if your state senator is any of the following, if not, leave a message for them anyway.

State Senate Leadership

  • Majority Leader: Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9th District, (360) 786-7620
  • Majority Caucus Chair: Sen. Randi Becker, R-2nd District, (360) 786-7602
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Joe Fain, R-47th District, (360) 786-7692
  • Minority Leader: Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-34th District, (360) 786-7667
  • Minority Floor Leader: Sen. Marko Liias, D-21st District, (360) 786-7640
  • Minority Caucus Chair: Sen. John McCoy D-38th District, (360) 786-7674

 Commerce, Gaming & Sports Committee(Deals with marijuana legislation)

  • Committee Chairman: Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-6th District, (360) 786-7610
  • Vice Chairman: Sen. John Braun, R-20th District, (360) 786-7638
  • Ranking Minority Member: Sen. Karen Keiser, D-33rd District, (360) 786-7664

2.) Call Senator Ann Rivers, R-18th District, (360) 786-7634

Every lawmaker I’ve talked to says some version of “Any Senator can sponsor home grow, if you want it to pass, you need Senator Rivers.”  Rivers was at the center of the 2015 changes to the state’s medical marijuana laws, which were divisive then and haven’t gotten much better. She took a lot of flack for that law, but she’s still the senate republicans cannabis head honcho. If you want it to pass, you need Senator Rivers.

3.) Be nice to staff, and they’ll give your message extra volume

Whatever the senators politics, they believe in them enough to hustle. You’ll be speaking to them through their staff aide. This person is both busy, and has a better relationship with the senator than you. Be to the point, remind them what bill it is, and say thanks. The call doesn’t need to last long, someone else may be calling to support!

Please call your state senator first, and ask that they get back to you about sponsoring the senate companion to SHB1212. Then, let other senators you contact know you’ve already called as a constituent, and are calling them as a senate leader.

For the Commerce, Gaming, and Sports Committee members or Sen. Ann Rivers let them know you’re calling because of their leadership on marijuana issues.

4.) Make the right argument.

The common arguments in favor of SHB1212 have been its benefits to medical patients and the fact that other legal marijuana states have it. Those are good points, but there’s another argument few people make. From Washington’s State Constitution:

“SECTION 7 INVASION OF PRIVATE AFFAIRS OR HOME PROHIBITED. No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.”

The state constitution is what lawmakers swore to uphold. Maybe Washington used to have a legitimate interest in busting people for a few plants. But in 2017, if you’re not dealing, trafficking, driving, or endangering kids, then it’s not the state’s business if you want to grow your own.

Call the right senators, stay courteous with staff, and argue the constitution. A few steps can make all the difference in legalizing home growing this year.

Maine: Voter-Initiated Changes In Law Eliminate Marijuana Possession Penalties

MAINE:  Maine became the eighth state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis.

Language in Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, specific to the private possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults, took effect on Monday. Maine voters narrowly passed Question 1 on Election Day.

The new law permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or the harvest from up to six mature plants.

Public use of marijuana is a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

In response to voters’ approval of Question 1, Maine lawmakers passed separate legislation last week, LD 88, also permitting adults to possess up to five grams of marijuana concentrates. However, other provisions in the measure delay the implementation of retail marijuana sales until at least February 1, 2018. It also prohibits the possession of “edible retail marijuana products” until this date.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption and/or sale of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

“Not for Kids” Deadline Approaches For Washington Edibles

WASHINGTON: The “Not for Kids” warning symbol will be required to be placed on all packages of marijuana products meant to be eaten or swallowed effective February 14, 2017. The Board recognizes that changing packaging requires time which is why the effective date was extended to 90 days after adoption in mid-February; enforcement of the new requirement will commence at the same time. For your convenience the basic requirements are listed below as well as links to the rules and additional information.

Note: We have received questions about what constitutes a “principal display panel.” The term was included for those packages that do not have a “front” to the packaging, such as a round container or other similar packaging. The principal display panel is what is presented to the consumer under conditions of retail sale. For example, what the consumer will view when the product is displayed on a shelf or case. The principal display panel is not on the back of the package.

1.   The warning symbol cannot be any smaller than three-fourths inch in height by one-half inch in width. It must be of a size so as to be legible, readily visible by the consumer, and effective to alert consumers and children that the product is not for kids.

2.   The warning symbol must be placed on the “principal display panel” or front of the package.

a.    “Principal display panel” is defined as  the portion(s) of the surface of the immediate container, or of any outer container or wrapping, which bear(s) the labeling designed to be most prominently displayed, shown, presented, or examined under conditions of retail sale.

b.    “Immediate container” means the external container holding the marijuana product.

3.    The symbol can be placed on the package/label in threeways:

a.    The digital image can be incorporated onto labels for marijuana edible products;

b.    The digital image may be downloaded and used to print stickers for placement on the front of marijuana edible products; or

c.    Licensees may choose to purchase stickers of the “Not for Kids” warning symbol for placement on the front of marijuana edible products.

4.   The symbol or stickers cannot cover or obscure any other information required to be on packages or labels for marijuana products.

5.   The symbol is trademarked and cannot be changed in any way other than for sizing purposes, except that a licensee must use a black border around the edges of the white background of the warning symbol image when the label or packaging is also white to ensure visibility of the warning symbol.

A digital image of the warning symbol can be found at the Washington Poison Center’s website and additional information is available on the WSLCB website. You can view the rules as adopted by the Board on the WSLCB’s Recently Adopted Rules webpage

The new section appears in the Legislature’s website under WAC 314-55-106. The Legislature’s website contains the most current information and versions of all laws and rules in the state.