NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up
Each week, more states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start. Here’s this week’s latest summary of how you can get involved!
Illinois: On Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the Illinois legislature will hold hearings to discuss the need to legalize the medical use of cannabis under state law. Members of the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony in favor of House Bill 2514 at 8am in the Stratton Building, Room D-1. Later that afternoon, members of the Senate Public Health Committee are also scheduled to hear testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1381. You can contact your elected officials in support of these measures by going here, or by getting in touch with the good folks at Illinois NORML.
UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! House Bill 2514 was voted out of Committee on a 4 to 3 vote. This marks the first time a House Committee has approved legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis. For more information, please visit here.
Maine: Members of the the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony last week in favor of LD 250, which seeks to amend state law so that the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana would be classified as a civil violation. Predictably, local law enforcement are opposing this effort. That is why Maine legislators need to hear from you. Contact members of legislature here, and tell them to vote ‘yes’ on LD 250.
Texas: Anyone who follows the marijuana law reform issue knows that change in the Lone Star State is long overdue. That’s why it is important that members of the Texas cannabis community get behind House Bill 902, which would reduce minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only offense. Over 60,000 Texans are arrested for pot possession violations annually. Half of these defendants are under 25 years of age. It makes no sense to saddle these young people with a criminal arrest record or to put them in jail. Tell your representatives to support HB 902 by going here, and by becoming involved with Texas NORML.
Rhode Island: This Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the legislature will hear testimony in favor of legislation to mandate the Department of Health to establish rules governing the licensing of non-profit compassion centers “to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients.” To learn more about this effort, or to attend these hearings, please visit our allies at the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition.
New Hampshire: Next Monday, March 9, members of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee will hear testimony at 10am in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis is New Hampshire. Two years ago the House narrowly rejected (186-177) a similar bill, so it vital that you contact your House members and urge them to support HB 648. You can write them here. And if you wish to attend next week’s hearing, our allies NH Compassion have all the information you need here.
To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here. March 2, 2009