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NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — Vermont Approves Dispensaries, Connecticut One Vote Away From Decriminalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 6, 2011

    Connecticut: Immediate action is needed in the Nutmeg State. Members of the state Senate on Saturday narrowly approved legislation so that the adult possession of marijuana is reduced from a misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine) to an infraction, punishable by a fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. This measure would similarly reduce penalties on the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Your efforts have truly made a different in this battle, as the bill passed by a single vote — and only weeks earlier political pundits were calling the chances of this bill’s success to be slim and none.

    But we still have a tremendous amount of work before us. Senate Bill 1014 must still be approved by the House Floor by this coming Wednesday!  Whether the floor will take the time to act on it will be decided by House Speaker Chris Donovan (D-Meriden). Please take a moment to contact him directly, leaving a polite message for his staff urging him to schedule a floor vote for SB 1014. You can also contact your own individual House Representative via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    Separate legislation to approve the limited use of medical cannabis also awaits Senate floor action. Please contact the office of Sen. Don Williams, President Pro Tempore, and urge him to allow the 2011 medical marijuana bill to receive a floor vote. You can also contact your own individual Senator via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    Additional information regarding this effort is available by contacting: Erik A. Williams, Executive Director, CT NORML, ewilliams@campaignswon.com, 860.805.3243.

    Vermont: Democrat Gov. Peter Shumlin last week signed legislation into law allowing state-licensed facilities to dispense marijuana to medically authorized patients. Each dispensary will be licensed by the state Department of Public Safety and would be permitted to serve up to 1,000 registered patients. The Department is in the process of developing rules to carry out the new law. To date, only the states of Colorado, Maine, and New Mexico have state-licensed medical marijuana facilities up and running. Regulators in New Jersey and Rhode Island have selected applicants to operate similar state-licensed dispensaries, but neither state has allowed those applicants to open their planned facilities. Additionally, permits for licensed medical marijuana businesses are expected to be issued soon Delaware and in the District of Columbia.

    California: Members of the state Assembly last week narrowly rejected AB 1017, which sought to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana cultivation from a felony to an alternative misdemeanor. “The state legislature has once again demonstrated its incompetence when it comes to dealing with prison crowding,” commented California NORML Director Dale Gieringer, which backed the bill. “With California under court order to reduce its prison population, it is irresponsible to maintain present penalties for non-violent drug offenses. It makes no sense to keep marijuana growing a felony, when assault, battery, and petty theft are all misdemeanors. Legislators have once again caved in to to the state’s law enforcement establishment, which has a vested professional interest in maximizing drug crime.”

    Separate legislation, SB 129, which seeks to make it illegal for employers to discriminate against qualified medical cannabis patients in the workplace, has been held over to 2012.

    11 Responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — Vermont Approves Dispensaries, Connecticut One Vote Away From Decriminalization”

    1. The American Genesist says:

      “It makes no sense to keep marijuana growing a felony.”

      It makes perfectly good sense – if you’re a pharmaceutical company with the power to control government. It’s just one piece of the overall puzzle. “No home grow, leaving the whole plant material in schedule I, no organic seed, strict federal enforcement, and putting it in the hands of a global commission. It all makes sense – if you’re executing a global domination of cannabis.

    2. ConservativeChristian says:

      This is great news in Vermont.

      As for Arizona, here’s a lead for any newswriters out there: Ms. Brewer has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from the private prison company that runs AZ prisons. Her actions are consistent with her close ties to the private, for-profit prison industry (the people who want to lock up your kids so that they can keep on making a buck): Here’s some info from Wikipedia, and a link to the underlying story:

      “The Brewer administration has also been investigated by KPHO for hiring Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, as a policy advisor and communications director.[39] Although Coughlin continues work as both a lobbyist and policy advisor, Senseman no longer does work for CCA. CCA operates six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.[40] ”.
      Here’s the KPHO story, including a description of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from Corrections Corporation. http://www.kpho.com/news/24834877/detail.html
      So Ms. Brewer is working to keep marijuana illegal and is at the same time hiring staff from a very large, for-profit prison corporation and taking campaign money from them. The AZ campaign finance site is at http://www.azsos.gov/cfs/CampaignFinanceSearch.htm but it’s not working for me; can anybody go in and see how much Ms. Brewer has taken from the prison industry? Is that really the government that we want… run by the prison companies? Is there someone in AZ that could get this info into the public arena?

    3. Chris in WI says:

      I am actually really encouraged by all the legal action by states and the report from the world leaders the other day. I’m interested to see what the feeling is at NORML. Is excitement in the air? I would think any attention from lawmakers is positive, because it forces them to at least talk about it!

      But what do you guys think?

    4. Anonymous says:

      What do you think: 1 on 1 with Obama and Congress with a representative from Norml. You know we would win once the average American knew the “REAL” truth behind Marijuana regardless of what companies hands are in the governments pockets. Power in numbers my friends. Once the general public is informed, we have control. VIVA LA RESISTANCE

    5. Anonymous says:

      The Republicans shut Gary Johnson out of the New Hampshire debates. We all know why. In 2008 the Dems allowed Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich (both MJ legalizers) in. So much for the big tent. Of course Ron Paul will be there to talk about legalizing Heroin right after he explains how we wronged Osama bin Laden. Yeah, that’s gonna make us look real good. I can understand why someone would refuse to vote for any Democrat. No joke, they’re a joke. But when you vote Republican, you vote against Marijuana. I sinceary hope that someday that is no longer true and salute those of you working to make that day happen.

    6. maxwood says:

      Bravo to Genesist and Christian for pointing up the pHARMa and PIGS (that stands for Prison Industrial Government Syndrome) lobbying problems.

      Is it true (as I have seen stated) that some (mainly Black?) prisoners are forced to do various labor assignments for 12 cents an hour?

      (You’d think it was in the public interest to pay them well if they do the assigned work correctly because– when they get out, totally broke and needing money, the temptation to turn to crime would be immense, no?

      I’d like to add a National issue here– John
      Boehner is said to have an “advisory council” on which sit John H. Fish, Vice President for Legislative Affairs at R. J. Reynolds (and formerly a Congressional Aide to Rep. Boehner himself) and a man named Gates from Philip Morris. Boehner himself was listed (I think at least a year ago) as having received $340,000 from the tobacco industry, but don’t you think they pay Gates and Fish ten times that in salary for the DELICATE task of schmoozing with the Congressman and his staff, implanting the pro-tobacco line, etc.?

      Oh, yeah, what do you think they “counsel” John to do about cannabis legalization? Remember, if it was legal to own and serve tokes of cannabis anyway you want, who would roll up a hot burning THC-destroying joint (easy to hide)? Cannabis users might switch to one-hitter and vaporizer– FOLLOWED BY THE NICOTINE ADDICTS deserting the high-profit health-destroying overdose delivery system known as a $igarette.

      Now let’s lobby John and Barack to “have a toke” (they would look nice on a two-stemmed utensil drawing together) and work out a Deal to “bail out” R. J. Reynolds and Philip Morris and the other Deathification Megacorps (on agreement not to make $igarettes any more), retrain all the tobacco workers to plant trees instead, eliminating an industry which now has at least as much dog in the fight to suppress cannabis as Prison and pHARMa. (Anyone who wants to smoke tobacco should be free to raise their own, right along with the cannabis, the catnip, the oregano or whatever.)

    7. Rattlesnake says:

      Dear, Conservative Christian ,

      The prisons already are too full . In fact out here in, California we are letting loose of 35,000 prisoners to alleviate jail overcrowding and to take a bite out of the deficit . You don’t make sense . They could get all the prisoners they want by locking up illegal immigrants without arresting cannabis consumers and the prisons would be bursting at the seams . So, your statement doesn’t make sense . What does make sense is that she is recieving tons of money from the pharmaceutical and alcohol corporations . If you took the time to look you’d find a ton of candidates get money from these corporations including, Arnold Swarzenegger to name a few .The money hungry republicans recieve the most money from these firms . Do a little homework before you make another silly statement ………OK ?

    8. Little Gypsy says:

      Marijuana will become legal when everybody comes out of the closet. I know jobs, reputation, status, privacy…are important. But think about it….the only way evil triumphs is for good people to do NOTHING when they see it. I propose that people that use cannabis are not criminals. They may be kicking back and not helping their fellow man but they are not CRIMINALS. That is until Johnny Law catches them with some marijuana. Then it boils down to how much money they have. If you have the money …lesser charges…better attorneys, ect. If you are poor or black, Hispanic, then you are shit out of luck.

    9. The American Genesist says:

      My Evil Brother’s Secret.

      “The secret is to pit one against the other – divide and conquer.”

      Prohib v. reformist – religious v. non-religious – Republican v. Democrat – old v. youth – whatever v. whatever. Objective: “Avoid, at all cost, confrontation about the same damned thing. There’s two things one should never argue about – that’s right you’ve got it – politics and religion. Let’s keep our eye on the prize – with the eye of the tiger. In the end – we will “all” enjoy a “toke and a joke” on those who are hell bent on relieving us of our freedom. Stand as one continually.

      Have a great CDXX Communion.

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