NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up
As I’ve written previously, more states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. This week has been no exception.
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!
California: California’s first-ever marijuana legalization bill, Assembly Bill 390: The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, is tentatively scheduled for a hearing before the Committee on Public Safety and Health on Tuesday, March 31. The Committee is expected to vote on this proposal immediately following the hearing so it is vital that you contact your elected officials, and the members of the Public Safety Committee in particular, and urge them to support AB 390. Contact information for the Committee is available here. You may also send letters in support of this measure to your state assemblyman here. For additional information on this hearing, or if you are interested in attending, please contact California NORML.
New Hampshire: Earlier today, members of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee voted 13 to 7 in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis in New Hampshire. The bill will now go before the full House with an “ought to pass” recommendation. Two years ago the House narrowly rejected a similar bill by a margin of 186 to 177. If you live in New Hampshire, now is the time to contact your House members and urge them to support HB 648. You can write them here. Our allies NH Compassion have any additional information you may need here.
Montana: On Friday, March 20, members of the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony in support of Senate Bill 326, an act to provide greater access to medical marijuana for state-authorized patients. If approved, this proposal would: (1) Expand the number of qualifying conditions for which marijuana may be legally recommended; (2) Increase the amount of marijuana a patient may legally possess; (3) Prohibit employers and landlords from discriminating against medicinal marijuana patients solely because of their medical status. Thanks in large part to your support, the Senate previously voted 28 to 22 in favor of this measure. Please assure that the House does likewise. You can contact your representatives here. Local allies Montana Patients and Families United will be meeting with witnesses and attendees prior to the hearing. You may contact them here.
Kentucky: Finally, we have good news to report from Kentucky. Last week we asked for your help to kill an amendment that sought to criminalize anyone who operates a motor vehicle with any detectable level of marijuana in their blood. Many of you responded and as a result, the provision was withdrawn. While we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, it’s now looking far less likely that lawmakers will prevail in their attempt to misuse the state’s traffic safety laws to target marijuana consumers.
To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here. March 18, 2009