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!
Kentucky: Okay, first the bad news. Kentucky legislators are trying to misuse the state’s traffic safety laws to target adults who use marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own home. It’s up to us to stop them. Senate Bill 5, an act to criminalize anyone who operates a motor vehicle with any detectable level of marijuana in their blood, was previously approved by the state Senate, but had stalled in the House.
However, on Tuesday, March 10, proponents attached SB 5 as an amendment to House Bill 369. Because HB 369 already overwhelmingly passed the House, the amended version may enjoy enough support to pass the Senate. That is, unless you write and call your legislators today and urge them to oppose HB 369, Senate Floor Amendment 1. You can contact them here.
Montana: In more positive news, On Tuesday, March 10, members of the House Judiciary Committee Testimony in support of HB 541, which seeks to reclassify the possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction payable by a $100 fine. NORML submitted testimony in support of the bill, which you can read here. You can also watch excerpts of the hearing here. Our friends at Montana Patients and Families United inform us that a Committee vote is expected within the next few days, so if you live in Montana please go here to urge your elected officials to vote ‘yes’ on HB 541.
Connecticut: Senate Bill 349, an act to reclassify the possession of minor amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction, just got a needed boost of support. According to a just-published 2009 Quinnipiac University poll, 58 percent of Connecticut voters believe that minor marijuana offenders should face a fine in lieu of a criminal arrest. Currently, SB 349 is before the Joint Committee on Judiciary, which has yet to schedule a hearing. Tell the Committee and your elected officials to support SB 349 by going here.
Maryland: On Tuesday, March 24, members of the Maryland House Judiciary will hear testimony in support of House Bill 1339, an act to create a legislative task to “study and recommend whether purchasing marijuana with a recommendation from a health care provider should be (state) law.” You can contact your elected officials and urge them to support House Bill 1339 here, and you can learn more about this effort at the Maryland chapter of Americans for Safe Access.
To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here. March 11, 2009