Marijuana and Hemp Legalization: Status Report for 6/29/15

Hard work pays off, drug reformers! We are moving forward against senseless federal policy faster than ever before. Federal prohibition is being subverted by the states more than ever before - with more states joining the fun with each passing week. This is a revolution, and we are the tip of the spear. Cannabis and hemp freedom are clearly on the horizon.

Although it wasn't good news for marijuana and hemp legislation over this past month, the positive overwhelmed the negative as a whole. The dominoes continue to fall in our favor. The powers-that-be want us to think that we are weak and powerless. That could not be further from the truth. We are rising, and the prohibitionists are falling. We just have to put our feet on the gas pedal to ensure that we hammer the final nails into the coffin of the failed drug war.

DEVELOPMENTS

Connecticut Victory! - Hemp Farming Officially Legalized in the Constitution State

A bill to remove the ban on industrial hemp farming in the state, setting the stage to effectively block in practice the federal prohibition on the same, became Connecticut law without a signature from the Governor. The door is opened for a full-scale commercial hemp market to develop in the state because it is now treated like any other crop for farming. Any mention of industrial hemp from the part of the criminal code that classifies marijuana as a banned controlled substance was removed as well!

Delaware Victory! - Marijuana Now Officially Decriminalized in the First State

A Delaware bill to eliminate the possibility of arrest and criminal prosecution for low-level cannabis possession was signed into law! The Delaware state code is now altered to make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense. Individuals guilty of possession are mandated to pay a $100 fine. Criminal penalties still apply to those possessing more than an ounce of marijuana, and in certain aggravating circumstances. Still, this is a great step in the right direction that will keep many non-violent offenders out of the system and free up criminal justice resources for real crimes.

Maine Victory! - Industrial hemp legalized in the Pine Tree State despite Governor's veto

This new law removes a previously enacted requirement that industrial hemp licensing was contingent on approval by the Federal Government. It expressly authorizes individuals and businesses to engage in the farming, production and commerce of hemp in the state. Clearly more concerned about protecting the power of the federal government than the economic well-being of his citizens, Gov. LePage vetoed the bill. However, the House and Senate chose to override the veto. This victory is especially sweet as it shows that we can be effective in promoting peace and prosperity whether mainstream politicians approve or not.

Rhode Island Progress! - State House passes bill to legalize industrial hemp farming

House Bill 6177 (H6177) creates the framework to allow the growth and sale of hemp as an agricultural product. The legislation would require hemp farmers to register with the division of agriculture, and would give the Department of Health regulatory power over sales, storage and growth of hemp products. By a 59-11 vote, the Rhode Island state House approved this bill. It will have to pass in the state Senate before it can be put on the Governor's desk. Further action is not expected to be taken on the bill until after the summer.

Maine Defeat! - State Senate kills legislation to expand access to medical marijuana

Unfortunately, it's not all good news on the reform front. A bill that would have relaxed medical marijuana laws failed in the Maine state Senate. It would have removed "any limitation on the type of medical conditions for which patients may be certified by their physicians to engage in the medical use of marijuana.” The state House approved the bill, but the state Senate rejected the bill by a 16-19 vote. Unfortunately, Maine missed a golden opportunity to make medical marijuana more accessible to patients and hasten the end of the federal drug war.

To Maine residents: Call your state senators and let them know that they have shirked their duties, and implore them to act next year to relax marijuana restrictions in the state - or face the electoral consequences!

A SPECIAL THANKS TO YOU

We are demonstrating that people-powered politics can work. None of these bills have billionaire backers. As a matter of fact, there are immensely powerful institutional forces working every step of the way against these bills. However, they are losing. We are winning. And the reason why is: YOU!

People like you talking to your friends, sharing blogs via e-mails and social media, calling your state legislators, going door-to-door, staging protests, writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers, and so forth, are making all the difference in saving this country. Working through the state legislatures, far away from the corrupt Washington D.C. atmosphere, can yield amazing gains. We are just beginning to see the benefit, and it is amazing to think about the potential our movement has. We have the potential to not only end the drug war but turn America from a police state into a bastion of freedom, tolerance and hope.

We can put the power back in the hands of the people if we do the work necessary to restore justice and freedom. The time is now. The power is in our hands. We are on the cusp of something amazing. Will you stand with us? Your action can put us over the top. Together, we can achieve peace in our streets.