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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 28, 2011

    Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over a dozen states, and progressive measures have been pre-filed in many more. Below is this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — activists’ one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country.

    ** A note to first time readers: 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 to make the changes they want to see.

    Washington: A coalition of House lawmakers have introduced legislation, House Bill 1550, to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults. “[T]he legislature intends to promote commerce and competition within Washington by eliminating penalties for the possession and consumption of cannabis, regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis by state government, and licensing cannabis growers,” it states. The measure has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. You can contact the Committee and your own House member in support of HB 1550 by visiting NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here.

    Massachusetts: Legislation that seeks to legalize the adult recreational use of cannabis will be introduced in the Massachusetts House imminently. Separate legislation to allow for the physician supervised use of medical marijuana has also been pre-filed and will be reintroduced in both chambers this legislative session. Further details about these efforts and how to support them is available from MassCann, the Massachusetts affiliate of NORML, here.

    Indiana: Senate Bill 192, which calls for a legislative review of state marijuana policies, is pending in the state Senate. Says the bill’s sponsor: “Every year, we spend countless dollars pursuing these non-violent offenders. This study would provide an assessment of the actual costs to our criminal justice system including the impact on law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing. It will also provide members of the public with the opportunity to voice their opinions on the state’s current policies and other options for regulating marijuana.” To contact your state Senator in support of SB 192, please click here.

    Oklahoma: State lawmakers for the first time will consider legislation that seeks to exempt qualified medical marijuana patients from statewide criminal penalties — penalties which are among the strictest in the nation. Senate Bill 573 seeks to create the “Compassionate Use Act of 2011” which states, “Oklahoma Statutes relating to the cultivation of marijuana shall not apply to a patient, or to a patient’s primary caregiver, who possesses or cultivates marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient upon the written or oral recommendation or approval of a physician.” To support this effort, please click here.

    Medical marijuana law reform bills were also introduced this week in Delaware, Idaho, and were pre-filed in Maryland. For more information on ways to supprt these proposals, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here.

    Montana: On Tuesday, members of the House Judiciary Committee tabled House Bill 33, which sought to improperly define marijuana consumers as “drugged drivers” even if they are neither under the influence nor impaired to drive. NORML thanks those of you who took the time to call and e-mail members of this Committee and urged them to reject this draconian proposal.

    To be in contact with your state officials regarding these and other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

    20 Responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up”

    1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bob Fartall, Jeffrey Levin, KushMonkey, CannabisSearch, Mary Jane and others. Mary Jane said: NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up: Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over a dozen states, and pro… http://bit.ly/dFhBQR […]

    2. Luke says:

      This is truly wonderful news. I guess the pres. saying it is a genuine topic of debate may have had an affect after all. However, I saw it says over a dozen states, but only a few of them are listed. Which others are there, and is there any news at all about Ohio?

      [Paul Armentano responds: Ohio’s medical marijuana bill has been pre-filed. The full list of states is here: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/?style=D.

    3. indiana pothead says:

      let me just say its 3:30 am in Indiana and i cant believe what i read we never have pot friendly legislation im going to get my mind right and come back to reread it

    4. Unjust says:

      At # 3 :

      Ya, the fact that Indiana is even thinking of changing the laws is huge. What does that say about our movement?

    5. Joel: the other Joel says:

      I’ve received a good reply from my Texas State Representative, and he is a Republican.

    6. Stompedonmyrights says:

      President Obama on Thursday called drug legalization “an entirely legitimate topic for debate,” but quickly added “I am not in favor of legalization.” my response is simply, Put Up or Shut Up Mr. President! The debate you claim is “an entirely legitimate topic for debate,” is long over due. We the People have been a…sking this Government to give us this debate and debate this issue like reasonable human beings. The government’s response has “shocked the sense of fair play,” they have openly lied and mis-informed the general public for since 1937. Mr. President we want this debate! We dare you to set this in motion and since you clearly stated, “not in favor of legalization”, you and your party should put up or shut up and defend Prohibition. We the People will bring it on, set the ground, we’ll debate who ever you send. All we ask is that it be live and transparent to the public.

    7. Montana Biotech is a THC testing and labeling lab in Montana.

      Check MBT out:
      http://greeneacrescaregiver.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/322/

    8. Luke says:

      Mr. Armentano,
      I appreciate the link, but it took me somewhere else. When I finally found the list, Ohio wasn’t on it. Is there a different link you may have been thinking of?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The link goes to the page where NORML lists all pending legislation that NORML is championing. Ohio’s bill, as I responded previously, has been pre-filed. That means that it has been written but not yet filed in the legislature. When it is, we will add an action alert re: it to NORML’s Take Action page.]

    9. mountainDude says:

      You missed one. Medical marijuana bill introduced into the Tennessee senate 1-27 SB0251 “Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act.”

      http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/billinfo/BillSummaryArchive.aspx?BillNumber=SB0251&ga=107

      [Paul Armentano responds: Yes, SB 251, “Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act,” was filed yesterday. This is the reintroduction of legislation championed by NORML last year. TN NORML last year retained a lobbyist to support this measure, which had numerous legislative hearings and passed out of multiple committees.]

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