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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 2, 2011

    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.)

    Hawaii: House and Senate lawmakers could not come to agreement on Senate Bill 1458 before Friday’s legislative deadline, killing the measure for this year. As amended, the measure sought to restrict patients’ access to medical marijuana and would have imposed an exorbitant tax on the sale of medical cannabis via a single, state-licensed dispensary. As a result, NORML and our local allies The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii had withdrawn its support for the measure. NORML and DPFHI will continue to partner in our efforts to work with legislators to enact sensible marijuana law reform in 2012.

    Maine: Members of the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will hear public testimony on Tuesday, May 10, in support of LD 1453, which seeks to regulate the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age. You can support this effort via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here, and you can watch a recent press conference in support of the measure here.

    Montana: On Friday, April 29, Gov. Brian Schwietzer announced that he intends to allow SB 423 to become law absent his signature. Senate Bill 423 repeals the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law on July 1, 2011 and replaces it with entirely new provisions created by the legislature. The stated intent of this measure is to reduce the number of state-licensed medical cannabis patients from an estimated 28,000 today to less than 2,000.

    Among the most serious changes in law:

    * Chronic pain patients will face more stringent requirements to qualify under the law, and in some cases may require a recommendation from two separate physicians;

    * Patients found guilty of marijuana DUI will have their medical marijuana privileges revoked; Advising physicians will be reported to the Board of Medical Examiners if they recommend for more than 25 patients per year.

    * Physician will be responsible for the costs of this investigation;

    *Caregivers may accept no monetary compensation for providing cannabis to qualified patients.

    A full summary of SB 423’s provisions is available here.

    Montana NORML is still encouraging advocates to pressure the Governor to change his mind and veto SB 423. You can contact the Governor’s office and leave a message at: 406-444-3111. Montana NORML is also contemplating the possibility of taking legal action and/or initiating a citizens’ referendum to delay or block the implementation of this law. For more information on these efforts, please contact Montana NORML here (or on Facebook here or contact Patients and Families United here.

    Washington: Democrat Gov. Chris Gregoire on Friday vetoed sections of Senate Bill 5073, which sought to license and regulate the dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified persons, and would have enacted additional legal protections for patients who voluntarily participated in a statewide registry. In her veto statement, Gov. Gregoire alleged that the licensing and registry provisions “would open public employees to federal prosecution.”

    Governor Gregoire did sign into law provisions in the measure reaffirming that qualified patients and their caregivers possess an ‘affirmative defense’ against state prosecution (Section 402 and 406). She also codified provisions of the measure that extend legal protections to patients or caregivers who participate in a ‘collective garden.’ A summary of the sections of SB 5073 that were approved, as well as a summary of sections that were vetoed, is available here and here. Additional information is available from the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) here or via Washington NORML here.

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

    1. The American Genesist says:

      Here’s a question you can ask anyone opposed to repeal of prohibition:

      “Would you rather 1. allow someone to smoke a joint and not go to jail, or 2. would you rather support them in prison at $54,000.00 per year – provided they don’t have medical issues which increase the tab by $14,000.00 per year.

      Require an answer [then] be silent.

    2. I understand Gov. Gregoire’s concerns, but sometimes you have to take risks, even if it would mean legal troubles from the federal government. Marijuana is still being treated like a scapegoat, but hopefully the government will protect our rights!

    3. JamesT says:

      Chris Gregoire you are a coward. You lost my vote!
      James- Shoreline,WA

    4. Donna says:

      Medical Marijuana is lame.

      Studies show that 89% of “Medical Marijuana” patients are between the ages of 18 and 27 years old…really.
      When have the youth of this great country become so slight so dependant.
      If you want to smoke then smoke! Dont hide behind some bogus transparent facade. Face life head on and not head high.

      [Paul Armentano responds: “Studies show that 89% of “Medical Marijuana” patients are between the ages of 18 and 27 years old…really” Please cite these studies; I’m all ears — really.]

    5. Despite rough start with SB 423, which calls for cruel and unjust laws to be enacted, May is going to be a good month for medical marijuana advocates, and 2011 a great year. We’ve experienced a few road bumps on our way to to the decriminalization of cannabis, and will experience more before reaching our goal. Speak out against SB 423!

    6. TomT says:

      I fvcking hate NY, nobody ever move to this state unless you like getting raped with taxes and considered a criminal for smoking a plant. NY is a false “decrim” state, they’ll still throw your ass in jail and take away your financial aid for school if they nail you for pot…and trust me these incompetent NY cops only care about pot.

    7. disabledvet says:

      complete legalization, both industrial and medical, by ballot initiatives, will be the only end to the matter. or spend years and billions of your tax dollars for lawyers and politicians following their own agenda’s and the agenda of big oil, big pharmacy, big alcohol, big cotton, big lumber, and even bigger government. that’s the answer. which propaganda is it that you still believe? it’s your choice, either rally the majority or suffer the agenda’s of lawyers. it’s your tax dollars and their propaganda.

    8. Cory says:

      is ohio makign any progress…..

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