Category: Senate

Federal Lawmakers to Vote on Industrial Hemp Amendment to Farm Bill

Senator Ron Wyden has introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 3240, the Senate version of this year’s federal farm bill, that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. The amendment language mimics the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013,” which remains pending as stand-alone legislation in both the House and Senate but has yet to receive a […]

New York: The Hempire State?

Marijuana law reform is gaining some serious momentum in New York as we approach the end of this year’s legislative session. Recent polling data released by Siena Research Institute revealed that 82% of New Yorkers support the medical use of marijuana. Fortunately for New York lawmakers, they can take action to address this issue that’s supported by an overwhelming majority of their constituents. Medical marijuana legislation is currently pending in both Houses of the New York Legislature and these measures have been gaining substantial political support. This legislation is expected […]

Kentucky Industrial Hemp Legislation Becomes Law Without Governor’s Signature

On Friday, April 5th, Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky stated that he will let Kentucky’s industrial hemp measure become law without his signature. Gov. Beshear had expressed concerns that marijuana growers could hide their illegal growing operations with hemp plants. Despite his concerns, he allowed the measure to become law without his signature and did not veto the legislation. House and Senate lawmakers passed an amended version of Senate Bill 50, “An Act relating to industrial hemp”, in March during the final hours of the 2013 legislative session. Noting that […]

Kentucky: House and Senate Lawmakers Pass Industrial Hemp Legislation

House and Senate lawmakers yesterday passed an amended version of Senate Bill 50, “An Act relating to industrial hemp.” The floor votes took place with only hours to go before the close of the 2013 legislative session. Proponents of the measure acknowledged that “public pressure to pass the bill helped achieve the last-minute deal.” The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that […]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Takes Dig at Pro-Legalization Senate Candidate Dan Winslow

At a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston this past weekend, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) took a jab at pro-legalization Republican State Representative Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk), who is currently vying for the Republican nomination for Senate in Massachusetts’s upcoming special election. Addressing the crowd, Senator Warren said, “I advise everyone to pay very close attention to Dan Winslow’s platform. He has a 100 percent ranking from the gun lobby and he’s for the legalization of marijuana. He wants us armed and stoned.” According to statements received by VoteSmart, Rep. […]

PA State Senator Daylin Leach Formally Introduces Marijuana Legalization Bill Today in Harrisburg

Today, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach will formally introduce a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania. “This past November, the people of Washington State and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana,” said Leach. “It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition, and ending a policy that has been destructive, costly and anti-scientific.” “NORML applauds Senator Leach for taking this important step forward to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in his state. Pennsylvania has long been considered a bellwether state that […]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: Hemp Production Would Be a Positive Development

In a statement published Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a previously outspoken opponent of marijuana law reform, did something surprising. He came out in support of allowing the production of industrial hemp. “I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” McConnell’s statement read, “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic […]

Senator Leahy: After Spending Billions on the War on Drugs…Well, We’ve Lost

The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the most senior member of the Senate, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) again spoke out against the War on Drugs today during a briefing on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s upcoming agenda. “The fact that so many people, especially young people, go to prison for a relatively minor thing, a drug offense. And then you ask, why can’t they get jobs afterward? Why do they have problems from then on? I think we have spent tens of billions, hundreds of billions of dollars on […]

New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

The New Jersey General Assembly this evening voted 44-30 in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of approximately one-half ounce of marijuana. Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee had previously approved the measure by a unanimous vote. Presently, the possession of this amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. A conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years, the loss of driving privileges, and other […]