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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Update

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 4, 2010

    NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up is your one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country, along with tips for influencing the policies of your state.

    ** Remember: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and make the changes they want to see. We can’t do it without you.

    Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council voted unanimously today in favor of legislation (The Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act 0f 2010) to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in the District of Columbia. The Council had given preliminary approval for the measure in April.

    As approved, Health Department officials would regulate up to five facilities to dispense medical cannabis to authorized patients. Medical dispensaries would be limited to growing no more than 95 plants on site at any one time. Patients are expected to be able to obtain up to four ounces of dispensary-provided marijuana per month. Patients would not be permitted to privately cultivate their own supply of medicine. Low-income patients will be allowed to purchase medical marijuana at a greatly reduced cost under the plan.

    The bill now goes to Mayor Adrian Fenty for his signature. Congress will then have 30 working days to either approve or reject the measure.

    Additional information on this measure is available here and also from NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

    Pennsylvania: Democrat Sen. Daylin Leach held a press conference today to mark the introduction of Senate Bill 1350, The Compassionate Use Act, which seeks to make Pennsylvania the fifteenth state to legalize the physician-supervised use of marijuana.

    The bill is a companion bill to House Bill 1393, which awaits action by the House Health and Human Services Committee. (Read NORML’s testimony before the Committee here or watch video here.)

    The measures would allow state-authorized patients to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The measures also seek to allow for the state-licensed distribution and sale of medical marijuana by authorized ‘compassion centers.’ Nearly 60 percent of Pennsylvanians support the measure according to a December 2009 Quinnipiac University poll.

    To support this campaign, please contact Philly NORML or Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana, or visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    Illinois: House lawmakers may finally decide this week the fate of Senate Bill 1381, which seeks to regulate the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana. The measure was passed by the Senate in 2009 and is believed to be only one vote shy of majority support in the House. However, the 2009-2010 legislative session ends this Friday. If you live in Illinois, it is vital that you contact your House member today and urge him or her to end the prohibition of medical marijuana.

    Tennessee: Members of the House Committee on Health and Human Resources unanimously voted last week to establish a task force to study the issue of legalizing medical marijuana, and to report back to the legislature with recommendations. While this outcome is not ideal for seriously ill individuals who desire immediate legal protections, the members’ action is a significant step forward in the campaign to ultimately provide legal and safe access to medical cannabis for authorized Tennessee patients.

    NORML retained a state lobbyist this legislative session to represent the interests of our statewide affiliates, and to argue on behalf of legal access to medicinal cannabis. NORML and its affiliates will continue to actively lobby the legislature in 2011 and beyond in support of enacting common sense access and protections for Tennessee’s medical marijuana patient community.

    New Hampshire: Members of the Senate have rejected, on a voice vote, House-backed legislation (House Bill 1653) that sought to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses. The Senate vote came almost a month after House lawmakers overwhelmingly (214 to 137) voted in favor of the measure, which would have reduced the penalties on minor marijuana possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine to a nominal monetary penalty of no more than $200.00.

    Although some Senators acknowledged their private support for decriminalization (Read NORML’s testimony here), several committee members said the veto threat from Democrat Gov. John Lynchconvinced them that pursuing the bill was a fool’s errand.”

    Gov. Lynch last year vetoed legislation that sought to legalize the medical use of marijuana.

    To learn about pending legislation in additional states — and how you can get involved, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

    31 Responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Update”

    1. Mooky says:

      =/. That nieve, ignorant John Lynch.

      Cant teach an old dog new tricks I suppose. Luckily we cannabis folk are among the most patient.

      Delaying the inevitable is the current plan.

      Mr lynch will have a tough time with integrity vs despair as an old man. Oh well, all we can do is keep trying.

    2. Blackstone says:

      As a chronically ill Maryland resident who is forced to spend $335 a month on JUST my opioid pain medication, I’m hoping the new DC law will allow me access to another medication to aid in my recovery. Does anyone know if patients from Maryland and Virginia will be able to see a doctor who prescribes medical marijuana within DC and obtain a prescription?

      While I see this law as a great first step for the region, I feel that it doesn’t go nearly far enough in that patients should not be beholden to dispensaries and able to grow their own medicine. I do not have several hundred dollars to spend for pain medication, and marijuana should be a cheaper, more easily accessible substance but I worry that with such restrictions on dispensaries business motives will overtake compassionate care and prices will skyrocket.

      As a chronically ill patient who was well on his way toward becoming a practicing physician before degenerative illness and disability, I am always careful to only imbibe substances of purity. If I was legally able to grow my own medical marijuana, I would without a doubt do so organically, likely exceeding USDA Organic requirements. I’m worried that the incredible demand placed on dispensaries will compel them to grow conventionally as it is easier and cheaper to do so, though nearly all marijuana-cultivation experts know it makes poorer quality cannabis. Do you think dispensaries will offer strains available that are grown organically?

      I can only hope that my state of Maryland answers DC’s progress in kind with a law that creates even greater freedom of choice for medical marijuana patents.

    3. 1justin says:

      what about North Carolina? I saw on MPP’s site where we have finally got out health committee review, and I think it passed, like last month. Nothing yet here though.

      [Paul Armentano responds: HB 1380, introduced last year, has not received a vote in Committee.]

    4. Lea says:

      It is simply mind boggling how one state differs from another when it comes to medical marijuana. Furthermore, it is truly mind boggling that hoops still have to be jumped through to get legislation done.

      How is it that politicians do not understand that if they did indeed support Legalization OR Medical marijuana that they’d be elected OR re elected in a heart beat? Are they so stupid, so lame, that they don’t realize the cat is out of the bag in terms of cannabis lies?

    5. Theo says:

      Lea made an interesting point: ” Are they so stupid, so lame, that they don’t realize the cat is out of the bag in terms of cannabis lies?”
      I believe they assume very few voters visit this or similar sites. I would like to see a login on this site and how many people actually log in here daily. An email address and zip code is all you’d need to join NORML as a registered reader.

    6. Mike says:

      Had trouble using the auto send feature. It could not determine my rep. here in Illinois. My reps email address is lisadugan@sbcglobal.net.

    7. Pain-fully Stressed says:

      come on New york ! get with it ! contact your reps!

    8. Parker says:

      I’m another patient who would like to know if residents of Virginia and Maryland could see a physician in Washington D.C. for a prescription of cannabis at a D.C dispensary. My thinking is only D.C. residents will have legal access however I’d like to know for certain.

      Thanks.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Only residents of the District will qualify for authorization. An amendment to allow MD and VA residents to qualify was rejected by the City council. A similar law to DC’s is pending in Maryland.]

    9. meman says:

      You guys forgot Rhode Island.. they’re discussing legalization or decriminalization.. (or neither)..

      http://www.projo.com/news/content/marijuana_hearing_05-05-10_O7IBP9O_v24.436e524.html

      [Paul Armentano responds: We are tracking progress in Rhode Island. You can support both bills clicking on the Rhode Island alerts in NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center.]

    10. Rebl with a Cause says:

      Come November – Steve Cooley – the Los Angeles District Attorney (with backing from the California Narcotics Officers Assoc.) is running for California Attorney General. What a joke! We’re ready to throw his arss out as the L.A. D.A. The thought of him attaining any office higher than dog catcher [if that] is ???, well use [your own] imagination. Personally, I find it ludicrous! The boy made his own bed by attacking [LEGAL] medical dispensaries in L.A. – and – he can lie in it. I wish th boy no ill will, only an equal amount of compassion he has shown for Qualified 11362.5 Patients; that being…zero! I can find no sound reason to put the fox in charge of the hen house. That goes for any politician that opposes the will of the people. Political carpetbaggers can go take a aeronautical intercourse in a motivating french pastry.

    11. wash-voter says:

      No votes for those who think we can afford to lock up or kill everyone who likes the freedom to choose. Like Lynch here who wants to throw even more money into the big blue hole trying to force people into his version of freedom. Strange to see how violently they believe that 1930’s propaganda. They don’t even know they were brainwashed. They don’t think they will be held accountable on judgement day for their war crimes against their own people?

    12. Wilson says:

      Go tn! I hope the bill does not pass as it is far to tight grip. I was hoping something more liberal, but we are in the bible belt.

      Progress is being made! If it fails maybe the next bill will be more liberal.

    13. Mitchell says:

      Hell Yeah for PA hope that bill passes

    14. Josh says:

      Any news in Missouri? I know they had a commitee meeting or something but i never heard how that went.

    15. Lea says:

      Thank you for the acknowledgment Theo.

      Steve Cooley is a fool, surely hope the good folks of California rake him over the coals and send him out to sea.

    16. mtlasagna says:

      the drug policy people of hawaii are nice people but they’ve been preaching optimistic poo poo for much too long.

      med mj licensees are placed under the state’s narcotic enforcement division which is but one of the many ways cannabis users are treated with intimidation and contempt.

      guv lingle sold out a long time ago to the neocons, hopelessly thick and into playing dress up. abercrombie was once a user maybe …..

      we need to get ned in a public dialog. cannabis advocates are avoided like the old time kalaupapa lepers. ned will not talk to us unless they have no choice (whatever that means).

      c’mon norml use your juice.

    17. maryjanesuncle says:

      Columbia Mo SWAT Raid 2/11/2010. Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present..on you tube..made me ill

    18. Ted strictland can suck my balls says:

      its great to see that all the states well not all but a majority is tryign to make a change in terms of medical marijuana and the reformal of laws but i hate ohio ecause our governer is an asshole who denied many people of the medicine they need so now we continue to pay high prices for some pill that costs pennies to make mak thank you America !

    19. REBEL WITH A CAUSE says:

      There’s an old adage,
      “Nothing happens [unless] you make it happen.”
      Fortunately…[we can]…make anything happen.
      Did we not make it happen with H.S. 11362.5 and S.B. 420?
      The [only] thing is, you have to “MAKE THE EFFORT.”
      You say…”YOU WANT IT”…OK…make the effort. Let your elected representatives know, in no uncertain terms that your vote [will] be denied any politician that denies your will as a citizen; that it’s [not] a matter of how popular or good they are – but – whether they’re going to say “YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND.”

      Just watch the results of the mid-terms – and – you’ll understand in [full detail] what I’m talkin’ about. Frankly, the last thing in the world I’d want to be [right now] is a politician – any politician. Just watch the heads roll in November, the month of the guillotine.

      I’m a full blooded native Californian, born before penicillin was a wonder drug -and -I will defend my [country] against [all enemies], foreign and [domestic]. One might say I’m a whistling hot tea pot.

    20. Tihkal says:

      Legalize Medical Cannabis in Illinois NOW!

      Call everyone in the IL House Assembely and explain how if they vote NO on SB 1381 then they loose your support and vote in november. Especially call Rep. Jack Franks, one of the lone dems who is on the fence. Jack Franks # are (217) 782-1717 or (815) 334-0063.

      We are so close in IL if you get involved we can overturn tyranny in IL and re-legalizing freedom, medicine, and nature. Lets do this !!!

      to look up SB 1381’s current status at ilga.gov

    21. ckdk30 says:

      LAND OF THE FREE MY ASS

    22. Gabe says:

      I just saw the SWAT team video and almost cried. I am so ashamed to be an American. So much talk in the news about “terrorists” and this is exactly what I saw. A bunch of terrorists breaking into a peaceful family’s home, murdering their pet, and traumatizing their kids. This is not to be believed. And those ignorant police officers probably went home without an iota of shame or doubt. What a worthless war we are fighting. A war on our own people. A war that we (the taxpayers) are financing. And meanwhile the entire gulf coast has been poisoned by the real criminals: The oil companies and our ‘elected’ officials in their pockets killing all wildlife, heating our globe, and invading other countries for their oil– all with a free pass. They drink their champagne and screw their wh0res, while I get thrown in jail for lighting up a joint. God Bless America.

    23. matthew says:

      Ive had enough of this bullshit, the government needs to stay out of our lives, I am sooooo worried its only going to get much worse :(

    24. matthew says:

      I also think if we stop the drug war , we can slow down if not stop the NWO plans for the USA and the world!
      Infowars.com know the truth. Norml great job as always!!!

    25. Steven Stroud says:

      Quit purchasing China made products and do away with corporatism. Only then, can you start fighting the good fight!!!

    26. bighare1 says:

      You Missouri punk pig dirt bag scoundrels!!!

    27. bighare1 says:

      You low life government scumbags!!!
      Does anyone else have a comment about low-life government scumbags?!?!Feel free to comment here:

    28. Anonymous says:

      Im so glad the cops around me have gotten sick of doing the paperwork/ procedure when they get someone for simple possession. As long as they dont think you are dealing they just take your bag and make you step on your piece. people around me are starting to realize that people who smoke weed can still be respectable members of society.

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