"Marijuana prohibition applies to everyone, including the sick and dying. Of all the negative consequences of prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of seriously ill patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use. Until Congress is persuaded to amend federal law legalizing prescriptive access to marijuana, states have an obligation to protect patients seeking relief with medical cannabis from arrest and prosecution under state law. Basic compassion and common sense demand that we allow America's seriously ill citizens to use whatever medication is safe and effective to alleviate their pain and suffering." - Keith Stroup, Esq., Founder, NORML
Statewide Action Alerts:
Legalization Measure Introduced to Legislature
New York state Senator Liz Krueger plans a new push in favor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) (Senate Bill S3040B), legislation to legalize the adult possession, use, and sale of marijuana in New York.
According to a recent poll by Emerson College, 62% of New Yorkers support the outright legalization of marijuana for adults 21 and over.
Over the past twenty years, many New Yorkers have been negatively affected by the harms of prohibition in New York. With people of color accounting for nearly 85% of those arrested annually, the MRTA directs the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana to these communities. Because structural racism is ingrained in marijuana prohibition, it’s important that the MRTA both ends marijuana prohibition and promotes racial justice.
Significant steps are taken in the amended MRTA to ensure racial justice and a small business-friendly industry, including:
● Creating a micro-licensing structure, similar to New York’s rapidly growing craft wine and beer industry, which allows small-scale production and sale plus delivery to reduce barriers to entry for people with less access to capital and traditional avenues of financing.
● Establishing the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, which will invest in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war through job training, economic empowerment, and youth development programming.
● Ensuring diversity in New York’s marijuana industry by removing barriers to access like capital requirements and building inclusivity by allowing licensing to people with prior drug convictions. Only people with business-related convictions (such as fraud or tax evasion) will be explicitly barred from receiving licenses.
National Action Alerts:
Federal: The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 Introduced
Update: S. 1689 was referred to committee on 8/1
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced comprehensive marijuana reform legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017.
The bill, S. 1689, would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparitiesin state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.
Update: Indicating to reporters that a federal crackdown is forthcoming, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said "I'm definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana," he said. "States they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not."
Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), along with six other Republicans and six Democrats, has reintroduced bipartisan legislation, ‘The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,’ to prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.
With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition. The continued criminalization of adult marijuana use is out-of-step with the views of adults throughout America, 93% of whom support medical marijuana (Quinnipiac, 2017) and 60 percent of whom endorse the outright legalization of recreational cannabis (Gallup, 2016).
The leadership displayed by Representatives Rohrabacher, Blumenauer, Polis, and Young is a testament to this growing public consensus. The official establishment of this Caucus represents our growing, bipartisan support in Congress.