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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 27, 2011

    Immediate action is needed in the following states:

    Hawaii: Hawaii’s decade-plus medical marijuana law is under fire. The chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Josh Green (District 3, West Hawaii), is pushing for additional amendments to SB 1458 (which NORML already opposed) that would eliminate chronic pain, nausea, and Crohn’s disease as qualifying conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program. Lawmakers will decide on these draconian proposals this Thursday. Our allies at the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii are encouraging advocates to contact Sen. Green and urge him to withdraw his amendments. Please contact the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii for further information on how you can take action to preserve Hawaii’s medical cannabis law.

    Illinois: Members of the House of Representatives are anticipated to vote next week on House Bill 30, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. In the previous session, similar legislation was approved by the Senate but was narrowly defeated by the House. You can contact your member of the House regarding HB 30 via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. You can further support this effort by contacting Illinois NORML.

    Montana: Montana’s patients are once again in legal jeopardy. House and Senate lawmakers this week approved Senate Bill 423, which seeks to severely curtail the number of state-authorized patients who have legal access to medical cannabis. According to a recent summary in The Billings Gazette: “The latest version of SB423 seeks to greatly limit the number of people licensed to use medical marijuana, now at 28,300, with backers hoping to bring that number fewer than 2,000. SB423 first would repeal the current law and shut down medical pot growing and dispensing operations on July 1.”

    Our allies Patients and Families United have accurately labeled SB 423 “Repeal in Disguise.” It would “require the Board of Medical Examiners to review the practices of any physician who recommends marijuana for more than 15 patients in 12 months. Furthermore, the bill would require the physician to pay the cost of the board’s review.” Montana NORML has an action alert here urging the Gov. Brian Schweitzer to veto or amend SB 423 here. Montana activists may also wish to leave a message for the Governor urging him to stand up for Montana’s patients by rejecting SB 423. Call to leave your message here: 406-444-3111.

    Pennsylvania: Legislation to allow for the physician supervised use of marijuana has been re-introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate. Senate Bill 1003 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.’ For more information, or to become involved in this campaign, please contact Philly NORML or Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana.

    Washington: Lawmakers in both chambers have approved an amended version of Senate Bill 5073, which seeks to provide state licensing to medical marijuana producers and dispensaries in order to assure that qualified patients “will have access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of medical quality cannabis.” The proposed law does not amend patients’ existing rights to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana for medical purposes and cultivate up to 15 cannabis plants. The measure now awaits action from Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has expressed concerns regarding the measure and has threatened to veto it. Washington advocates may contact the Governor’s office and leave her a message in support of this bill by calling 360-902-4111 or via email here. Additional information and up-to-date information regarding this measure is available from the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here, or by contacting Washington NORML here or visiting them on Facebook here.

    For a listing of all of the pending marijuana law reform proposals that NORML is tracking, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. (For a map of pending legislation, please visit here.)

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

    1. Donna says:

      Paul,

      There never seems to be an update on New Yorks legislation, why is this the case? So many other state appear more engadged for better or worse. Plus,the Norml chapter out this way has not updated their webpage in a dogs age……boring.

      Donna

      [Paul Armentano responds: Senate Leadership has not been supportive of recent legislation so it has not moved out of committee.]

    2. THCommonsense says:

      lets go New york !!!!!

    3. Elijah Yockye says:

      Washington’s bill takes away rights, not adds them. If you are not on their LIST you are not protected. Also you must give up your second amendment right to bear arms. Washington needs a better medical marijuana system. There are many problems with this bill and it will hurt the medical comunity, this bill is not the solution

      [Paul Armentano responds: The registry is voluntary. Those who do not participate in the registry possess an affirmative defense, which is what all patients in Washington state possess now. Those who are signed up with the registry are exempt from arrest, which is an added level of legal protection than what they have now. See http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2011-12/Pdf/Amendments/House/5073-S2.E%20AMH%20ENGR%20H2509.E.pdf: “(a) Qualifying patients and designated providers complying with the terms of this act and registering with the department of health will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution, other criminal sanctions, or civil consequences based solely on their medical use of cannabis.”]

    4. TheOracle says:

      Hey there, Pennsylvania! It’s money and jobs you didn’t have before. You have to balance your budget. You could save your public education and government services, plus make jobs instantly. Taxable jobs. Jobs that get people off the unemployment roles, and keep them out of prison. Really easy. You’ll probably have enough left over to clean up pollution from your Marcellus shale gas extraction since Pennsylvania is not taxing it, and not raising the sales or other taxes at all. Pennsylvania might as well let people who actually want to pay taxes on marijuana have their way. That is, unless Pennsylvania has found another group to use as a cash cow. Well, Harrisburg?

    5. joc says:

      Any idea when we might see votes on decrim in VT, CT, and RI? Are they dead/alive?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The decrim measures in CT and RI are pending and moving forward. Please see: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/?style=D for details.]

    6. The American Genesist says:

      “LET IT BE DONE!”
      “If you don’t love America – you can kiss my ass.”

      Nobody said you have to like the assholes running it. They ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of lizards. You just can’t blame “the country – the free ground you walk on” – because of government’s legion of idiots with their heads caught in their placentas. They’ve hung on to their bullshit too long – now their embarrassing themselves. The whole bunch of them have been on the take for a long time. It’s time to take the take away – pull their plug. It matters not what we replace the “prohibitionist” with, as long as the prohib is down the road, and long gone replaced. – without honor. They deserve no favorable recognition.

    7. The American Genesist says:

      To our Montana Brethren,

      What part of “NO” don’t these Montana legislators understand. How many times do you have to tell them “No.” They’re like little kids up “in your face” until you cave in. Well! this is all against the will of the people, and the sovereign laws of the state of Montana. They’re violating the laws they’re sworn to uphold. Here we go again – stay focused – keep the pressure on –
      prepare for 2012 now.

      Have a great CDXX Communion

    8. Anonymous says:

      All these appeals, problems………but, California keeps on trucking .Some people say we’re ahead of the times by 20 years . I’d say 100 years .

    9. M.Sebastian Patrick says:

      This is why it is so important for the states to push forward with marijuana decrim./regulation-so that NO patients are denied or harassed for the theraputic agent they seek. The marijuana plant itself is not a medicinal drug:rather it contains useful theraputic compounds. And until we free the plant from the politics; science will not be able to move forward to isolate these compounds and create the drugs that will literally help millions. After all-it’s not as if many of the drugs we take today are derived from plants: oh wait-they are.

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