Smoke ’em If You Got ’em: #AZLeg Considers 15 Marijuana Bills

medical marijuanaFive Arizona Legislators have proposed 15 different bills to regulate … or deregulate… the use of cannabis in Arizona, and there could be more.

Senator David Farnsworth and Rep. Vince Leach want more regulation of small businesses in the cannabis industry and increased law enforcement against citizens who use a plant that never killed anyone. (The specter of the Nanny State rises again in the text of these regulation bills.)

Reps. Mark Cadenas and Pamela Powers Hannley (me) want decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana and want to make medical marijuana cards more affordable.

Senator Sonny Borrelli is bringing back industrial hemp bill, which passed with flying colors in 2017, only to be vetoed by Governor Ducey.

Two of Leach’s bills will be heard in committee this week– HB2064 in Commerce and HB2067 in Health. Details on all 15 below.

Anti-Cannabis Bills

Leach

HB2064: medical marijuana; packaging;labeling. HB2064 goes after the evil THC gummy bears. Republicans are afraid that irresponsible parents will leave THC gummy bears on the kitchen table where children can get them. I think the gun on the kitchen table is more dangerous than the cannabis. Parents should keep all harmful drugs and objects out of their children’s reach. This is another Nanny State law.)

HB2067 dictates felony charges for certification clinics that certify someone for a medical marijuana card who is not eligible. This bill is particularly bad because it says if a MMJ certification doctor breaks any law while certifying someone form medical marijuana, the doctor would be charged with a felony. If this is interpreted in include federal law (under which marijuana use is illegal), this could shut down the whole medical marijuana program.

HB2063 makes any active or inactive cannabis metabolites grounds for a DUI conviction. Cannabis metabolites can stay in your body for days; the presence of metatolites in the blood stream doesn’t constitute impairment. Inactive metatolites are inactive.

 

HB2068 revokes a patient’s medical marijuana card if they get a DUI.

HB2066 spends the millions of dollars in excess medical marijuana card fees on law enforcement. This doesn’t comply with the Citizens’ Initiative that created the MMJ card.

HB2284 blocks citizens’ initiatives that challenge legislation and requires monthly campaign finance reports. This sounds like unnecessary paperwork; it would burden everyone who wants to do a Citizen’s Initiative.

D.Farnsworth

SB1061  further regulates medical marijuana dispensaries.

SB1060 adds even more regulation onto medical marijuana dispensaries and felony charges for noncompliance. I thought the Republicans liked deregulation— not unnecessary regulation. Reality check: Marijuana is a plant that never killed anyone.

SCR1002 requires voters to re-vote on all citizens initiatives. This is a waste of time and money.

SB1032 would ban outdoor advertising medical marijuana. This is likely against the First Amendment.

 

Pro-Cannabis Bills

Cardenas

HB2144 protects Arizona’s medical marijuana program from Department of Justice interference.

HB2014 defelonizes possession of up to one once of marijuana. Now possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony. This is an excessive sentence for using plant that never killed anyone.

HB2147 would reduce the fee for a MMJ card to $15. Arizona has the most expensive medical marijuana card in the country. The state has stockpiled more than $35 million in excess fess that are just sitting in the state coffers unspent. The Citizens’ Initiative that created the program states that the card fee shouldn’t be more than it costs to run the program. The state is currently out of compliance with the law.

Powers Hannley

HB2199 would reduce the fee for a MMJ card to $50.

HB2100 extends the MMJ card renewal time period to five years. Now all patients have to reapply for the cards annually and to go to the certification doctor every year. As a result, renewal is approximately $200 annually.

HB2147, HB2199 and HB2100 would make the medical marijuana cards more accessible to people. Arizona has a medical marijuana card for rich folks; people who can’t afford a card are pushed to street deals. Since possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony, pushing poor folks to the streets for pot just feeds the prison system.

Hemp

Borrelli

SB1098 legalizes industrial hemp production in Arizona. #RopeNotDope was Borrelli’s slogan in 2017.

I thought Arizona was a “business-friendly” state. Why do Republicans want to oppress the cannabis and industrial hemp. These are two popular, safe products that people want to buy.

 

8 responses to “Smoke ’em If You Got ’em: #AZLeg Considers 15 Marijuana Bills

  1. “Why do Republicans want to oppress the cannabis and industrial hemp. These are two popular, safe products that people want to buy.”

    Check the contributions being received from alcohol and tobacco lobbyists, and you’ll find your answer in a great many cases.

    • And then there’s all that employment that has been generated by the criminalizing marijuana. It would be incalculable.

      My friend’s kid (18 yr old male) was arrested in Florida during a traffic stop for possessing a small amount of marijuana. He was allowed to participate in some program because he had no prior arrests, and his record would be expunged.

      I looked at his case online and counted 21 court actions.

      Just think about all the marijuana related law enforcement over the last century and think about how much employment that has generated.

      That’s the real problem, IMO.

      • Yeah, I realized after I had left to go run some errands that I forgot to add private-prison lobby (and for-profit policing) to that mix; that’s definitely a large part of it too, particularly in Arizona.

        • Yep. For that source of employment and revenue to go away overnight would be devastating for those who benefit from it.

          Of course, it would create employment and revenue sources in other sectors of the economy but that doesn’t help the current beneficiaries in the criminal justice system when those opportunities shift to healthcare, for example.

          People get mighty nasty when you f*** with their rice bowl.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Yeah, the war on drugs is about racism. It started in the 1920’s about the same time the Klan was on the rise nationwide, the sales pitch was black folks would smoke jazz cigarettes and rape white wimmins, and Nixon’s people freely admit now that they’re ramping up the war was about the blacks.

            The only reason you hear about the opioid epidemic now is because it’s killing white folks in the burbs.

            Racism in Arizona, who woulda’ thought?

  2. Robert Francis

    With regard to SB 1098, Borrelli’s Bill, If they don’t already know there is a source of hemp that has been engineered to have Zero THC in it. This comes from a company in Buffalo New York that has also created a Very low Nicotine tobacco plant as well, (as in non-addictive levels of nicotine) they specialize in modifying plants the old fashion way no GMO. The company is “22nd Century group”, their ticker symbol is XXII. Google it. An up and coming new company that is sparking interest.

    The purpose of the ZERO THC is to provide for industrial Hemp cultivation. This strain is less that a year old and is already being pioneered domestically. Oh the stuff you can make from this renewable plant is numbers into the thousands. Arizona agriculture should get into it, I for one think it could be very profitable.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    The vast majority of people who try drugs give them up by about age twenty-four. A better job, a kid, some other life change moves them into a different direction.

    If people have a problem with drugs, it’s not going to be with weed, not by a long shot. It’s anything in white power form, prescription drugs, and the big one, booze.

    If someone is having a problem with coke/crack/meth/heroin or scotch and vodka, it’s a medical issue.

    It costs about three grand to treat a drug abuser and thirty grand a year to jail them.

    So which makes more sense? Sending someone to jail or prison for a year, or five years, for something they were more than likely to give up anyway, and spend thirty grand for one year, or one hundred and fifty grand for five years, to lock them up, away from their families and the people who may need them for support?

    Or treating the problem? Even if they fail rehab a few times, it’s still cheaper, and more humane, to treat drug abuse as a medical problem.

    The war on drugs ruins lives, it’s racist for the most part, and stupid on the whole.

  4. Slightly OT but worth noting, via Howie Klein’s Down With Tyranny blog:

    Republicans Are Starting To Get Marijuana Campaign Money While Establishment Dems Sleep

    Last summer we met Jasper Ward and his dad, former Kentucky congressman Mike Ward. Since then Jasper and Mike have been helping progressive candidates around the country– like Kendra Fershee in West Virginia and Dan Canon in Indiana– with marijuana legalization messaging. Yesterday Jasper noted that “Democrats are missing a huge opportunity to be strong on an issue that not only is good policy, not only is popular with voters, but also is good politics. Republicans will never legalize nationwide, and are trying to take us back a generation now.”

    “snip”

    Early yesterday morning, Trevor Hughes, writing for USA Today reported that marijuana money increasingly flowing to Republican lawmakers. Under the out-of-step leadership of expired-date Democrats like Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn and Crowley, Democrats are ignoring an important issue in an important and vibrant industry with a huge base of support. They are… old and in the way.

    Mike is describing the geriatric Democratic leadership, not cutting edge progressive candidates and not tuned-in leaders. Last week, for example, Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland and Berkley in Congress and Ro Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley, introduced the Marijuana Justice Act to, in Lee’s words, “reverse decades of failed drug policies that have caused irreparable damage to communities of color. Senator Cory Booker is the leading the same charge in the Senate. This is the most ambitious marijuana bill to be introduced in Congress– and for good reason. For far too long, our country’s drug laws have failed communities of color, torn families apart, wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, and have yet to keep us safe. The time has come for Congress to step up and have the courage to do what Jeff Sessions is not, which is to take a close look at this issue and pass legislation to fix our country’s drug laws. Right now, arrests for marijuana account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States. Under our current drug laws, police have arrested more Americans in possession of marijuana than all violent crimes combined, and most of those arrests fall disproportionately on people of color. The Marijuana Justice Act reverses these trends by:

    For the rest: https://tinyurl.com/yd2vo6de

    For Democrats to leave this issue off the table is the worst kind of political malpractice. Seems the Democratic Establishment could use a large injection of fresh Progressive blood.