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NORMLIZE CONGRESS: Marijuana Law Reform Heating Up in 2013

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 7, 2013

    The votes this past November in Colorado and Washington to regulate marijuana for adults have sparked a fire of change that seems to be spreading across the country. This month, both state and federal legislatures will return to work to kick off the 2013 legislative session and it is already shaping up to be one of the busiest in recent memory for marijuana reformers. Bills are already slated to be introduced in states such as Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Texas – with many more to be introduced in the coming weeks. It is very likely that on top of federal legislation coming down the pipeline, nearly two dozen marijuana reform measures will also be introduced across the country in various states. NORML will be providing you with Action Alerts as new bills are introduced, easily allowing you to contact your elected officials and ask them to support these important reform measures.

    2013 is going to be one active year in the world of marijuana law, below you can read the summaries of the first 5 bills that were prefiled for introduction. Residents of these states can click on the “Write Your Officials!” link and easily send a pre-written letter of support to their state Senator or Representative. You can also click here to download our NORMLIZE CONGRESS graphic and share with your friends and family and encourage them to speak out against our country’s draconic marijuana policies.

    Alabama – Medical Marijuana

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Rep. Patricia Todd (Jefferson) has pre-filed legislation, House Bill 2: The Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients Rights Act, to be debated by lawmakers this spring.

    This measure seeks to enact statewide legal protections for qualified patients who are authorized by their physician to engage in cannabis therapy. The proposal seeks to establish a network of state-regulated not-for-profit dispensaries and delivery services to provide cannabis to patients. Qualified patients would also be able to grow specified quantities of cannabis in private.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Indiana – Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

    Summary: Two separate pieces of legislation that seek to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties are expected to be debated during the 2013 legislative session.

    State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) has announced that she will reintroduce legislation to reduce penalties for the adult possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana to a fine-only, non-criminal violation.

    Separately, Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) has announced he intends to introduce legislation in 2013 that would make the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana by adults a non-criminal offense. Senator Steele, who chairs the Senate committee on corrections, criminal and civil matters, told the Associated Press that he intends to include the marijuana provision in a bill that revamps the Indiana criminal code to align charges and sentencing in proportion to the offenses.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Iowa – Medical Marijuana Measures

    Summary:Two separate pieces of legislation that seek to allow the physician supervised use of cannabis are expected to be introduced during the 2013 legislative session.

    State Sen. Joe Bolkham has announced that he will introduce legislation, SF 266, to allow for Iowa patients with qualifying conditions to access and use cannabis for medical purposes with a doctor’s recommendation. Rep. Bruce Hunter also declared his intention to introduce a similar measure, HF 2270, in the General Assembly. These proposals would allow for Iowans with qualifying conditions to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana, which can be cultivated from a private grow of no more than six plants, or purchased from a state approved dispensary.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Kentucky – Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Act

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Sen. Perry Clark (Louisville) has pre-filed legislation, the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act, to be debated by lawmakers this spring.

    The proposal seeks to establish a network of state-regulated dispensaries where qualified patients could obtain cannabis if and when the substance is authorized by their physician. Qualified patients would also be able to grow specified quantities of cannabis in private. The measure bears its name after longtime Kentucky attorney and cannabis advocate Gatewood Galbriath, who passed away last year.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Maine – Tax and Regulate

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to make Maine the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Representative Diane Russell of Portland has pre-filed legislation to be debated by lawmakers this spring. Her proposed measure would legalize the sale of as much as 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana per week to people 21 or older at licensed retail locations. The law would also permit for the cultivation of the plant in private settings.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    New Hampshire – Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again before state lawmakers. Republican Rep. Kyle Tasker has pre-filed legislation to amend marijuana possession penalties for up to one ounce of marijuana.

    Under present law, the possession of one ounce of cannabis or less is classified as a criminal misdemeanor publishable by up to one-year in jail and a $2,000 fine. This proposal seeks to make minor marijuana offenses a fine-only, non-criminal infraction. Doing so would significantly reduce state prosecutorial costs and allow law enforcement resources to be refocused on other, more serious criminal offenses.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    New Hampshire – Medical Marijuana

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. A coalition of some dozen state lawmakers have pre-filed legislation that seeks to make New Hampshire the 19th state since 1996 to allow for the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Rhode Island – Tax and Regulate

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to make Rhode Island the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana is pending before state lawmakers. House Judiciary chairperson Edith Ajello has pre-filed legislation to be debated by lawmakers this spring. States Rep. Ajello: “I want to see the criminal element out of this. I think that legalizing and taxing it just as we did with alcohol prohibition is the way to do it.”

    Write Your Elected Officials

    Texas – Lower Possession Penalties

    Summary: Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again pending before state lawmakers. State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has prefiled legislation, House Bill 184, to amend minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only, Class C misdemeanor.

    Under present law, the possession of one ounce of cannabis or less is classified as a Class B criminal misdemeanor publishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Passage of HB 184 would reduce these penalties to a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time.

    Write Your Elected Officials

    100 Responses to “NORMLIZE CONGRESS: Marijuana Law Reform Heating Up in 2013”

    1. bill says:

      fucking florida

    2. Anonymous says:

      Florida will be last

    3. Bevph says:

      When will all states acknowledge our desire to freely pursue our choice for relaxation & pain relief beyond pain pills, pain shots or alcohol? When will FL offer medical marijuana?

    4. John says:

      From dispensaries, police and correctional officer unions, textile industries, medical corporations, oil companies to our own government “NO ONE WANTS FULL LEGALIZATION” except for the common people and great activist organizations like NORML. Why? Because they all profit from marijuana being illegal. Growing marijuana unlimitedly for yourself by everyone regardless of your situation is the biggest threat to the medical industry because of marijuana’s many medical uses, we would save billions in federal and state policing organizations in the failed war on drugs, textile and oil companies can be easily substituted for hemp products that currently import because we are the only country in the world that still prohibits it. Finally, the government has so much money that they will loose that it is causing all sorts of officials to become immoral and corrupt. The only way to fight it all is through a major grass roots civil rights movement and I am proud to say that I am already a part of it. Who’s with me!

    5. TheOracle says:

      I was looking for updates on NORML’s State Info pages about Colorado and Washington, but it looks like things haven’t been worked out that far at the state level.

      If I were a staffer looking for a quick overview, your state info pages are the perfect place to duplicate the results in other states.

      Pennsylvania is so backward. James Carville described the state this way: Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.

      It looks like Pennsylvania will be the last fuckin’ state to make any progress on legalizing either medical marijuana or legalizing recreational use and industrial hemp cultivation. Remember, we’re the state that produced Rick “Assholish Homosexual Marriage Leads to Beastality” Santorum, who suggested that soon people would be able to marry animals and other fucked up shit like that. We’re the state that produced Jerry “Child Molester” Sandusky, who didn’t want to frequent any of the gay bars in State College for the hot, of-age university students. Noooo, they weren’t good enough. And, Pennsylvania produced Tom “Color Code Threat Level” Ridge, dick of a former Republican governor so that we know the color that represents how much terrorists our out to get us. And now, Pennsylvania has Tom Corbett for its governor, Peter Principle at its worst, another right-wing fanatic Republican when it comes to keeping cannabis completely prohibited, yet while he was AG the Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar went missing under mysterious circumstances while the Jerry Sandusky investigation was going on. (Centre County is where State College, Pennsylvania is located.)

      Next time you think of completely dumb-ass Americans, think of Pennsylvania. Don’t think of the stereotypical dumb southerner, because they’re really pretty smart. Look past the accent and you’ll find they’re really smart. Next time you think of corruption, don’t think of some fat old southern sheriff and a Boss Hogg type like from the Dukes of Hazard and other shows and movies. Think of Pennsylvania and Tom Corbett and the rest of the prohibitionist idiots in the state who are fucking things up for the intelligent and compassionate people who live here, and can’t move.

      [Paul Armentano responds: Summaries of Colorado and Washington’s state laws are here: http://norml.org/aboutmarijuana/item/states-that-have-legalized?category_id=1583.

    6. Anonymous says:

      tell congress to legalize it tax it and let the people deside if they want cannabis for injurys over pain killers perks oxys anything like that thats way worse for your health or over any other meds for illness because it dosent kill you like every thing eles does i think enough is enough all these messed up people in congress really need to look at the facts and come back to reality and stop thinking we have the perfect drug system because we dont people die every day from it everyday when it could be prevented

    7. michael says:

      Whats with WI or are they all to drunk and bloated on brats?

    8. steve says:

      when it says write your cogressmen this site will not come up to let the government here my letter. hey norml,did they threaten you guys?

    9. bill waffel says:

      What about TN medical bill that was put off after coming out of the public health commitee.

    10. Chandler says:

      Texas refrains because a lot of people here are still in the D.A.R.E. mindset of the early 90s. As a Texan living in a very conservative area, I would challenge that it will take action at the federal level before progress can be made at the state level. And yes, that’s very backward logic, but we have a very backward populous.

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