A Late Influx of Marijuana, Hemp, Forfeiture Reform Bills in 2015 Shakes the Status Quo!

A new year is right around the corner, and there are already many reasons to be optimistic. Substantive reforms are already being introduced that can reduce the prison population, provide sustainable jobs, and eliminate cruel policies that have turned the Land of the Free into a totalitarian police state. THESE BILLS CAN & WILL SUCCEED, but only if we make our voices count!

Here is the action that is already heating up for next year's legislative session:

MARIJUANA

FLORIDA MARIJUANA DECRIM: Two bills (SB616 and HB4021) introduced in the Florida legislature would remove cannabis from the state’s schedule of controlled substances, treating marijuana like any other plant under state law. These proposals would not only completely decriminalize marijuana in the Sunshine State, it would also take a big step toward thwarting federal cannabis prohibition in practice in Florida.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep and state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor these important bills now! You can find their information HERE.

FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR TERMINAL PATIENTS: Two bills (HB307 and SB460) recently filed in the Florida legislature would allow terminally ill patients access to medicinal marijuana, further blocking in effect federal prohibition of cannabis. The legislation expands on a recently passed “right to try” law that effectively thwarts in practice some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules that prevent terminally-ill patients from accessing experimental treatments.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep and state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor these important bills now! You can find their information HERE.

MICHIGAN MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION: A bill introduced in Michigan (HB4877) would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively blocking in practice the federal prohibition on the same. The bill would legalize and regulate the “cultivation, processing, testing, possession, and use of marihuana for nonmedical purposes… for use by individuals 21 years of age or older.”

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

ILLINOIS MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION: A bill introduced in Illinois (HB4276) would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively thwarting the federal prohibition on the same. The bill would legalize and regulate the "possessing, growing, processing, or transporting" of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

ASSET FORFEITURE

PENNSYLVANIA ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM: A bill under consideration in the Pennsylvania Senate (SB869) would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction in most cases. The legislation also takes on federal forfeiture programs by banning prosecutors from circumventing state laws by passing cases off to the feds. It would change current law so that a person must be convicted of a crime before his or her property could be forfeited. The forfeited assets would also be deposited into the state or county’s general fund, rather than left to law enforcement.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

OHIO ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM: A coalition of Ohio legislators introduced a bill (HB347) that would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. The legislation would completely eliminate civil asset forfeiture under state law and only allow forfeiture via criminal proceedings after prosecutors secure a criminal conviction. The bill also almost completely closes a loophole that allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government under its Equitable Sharing forfeiture program.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

INDUSTRIAL HEMP

FLORIDA INDUSTRIAL HEMP LEGALIZATION: A bill was recently filed (HB271) in the Florida State House to authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively thwarting in practice the federal prohibition on the same. The legislation would create the framework to effectuate a commercial hemp farming program in the state.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

NEW YORK INDUSTRIAL HEMP LEGALIZATION: A bill was recently introduced (A8334) in the New York Assembly that would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively thwarting in practice the federal prohibition on the same. The legislation would create the framework to effectuate a commercial hemp farming program in the state.

The legislation is currently active, and will be throughout 2016 as well. Contact your state rep, and urge them to co-sponsor this important bill now! You can find their information HERE.

PUSHING THESE BILLS TO VICTORY

Don't delay in making the calls, writing the emails and spreading the word about these important reform bills. TAKE. ACTION. NOW. Time is of the essence. We must unite around these intelligent, sensible reforms that can bring an end some of the worst abuses that plague our nation. We must peacefully stand against injustice while we still can. We must seize on this opportunity while it is still possible.

It begins with you. Call up your legislators and demand that they take action on marijuana, hemp and civil asset forfeiture. Even if you're not in one of the states listed here, make some calls. Spread the word. Send this around to your friends and family. The drug warriors in Washington D.C. are scrambling, but we must not take victory for granted. We must spur action through the state and local levels, where we can have the most immediate success.

We will only end the abuses of the federal drug war if we remain vigilant. Please do so because it's the only way we can regain and maintain Peace on our Streets.