One indisputable fact is that big-money interests have now surfaced in a number of states, seeking to influence the type of legalization adopted in specific states, and to profit from the legal marijuana market. We should not be surprised that the economic appeal of legalizing marijuana would attract the attention of people with resources.
Understandably, some activists who have worked long and hard to help bring us to this point, are concerned about the entry of big money into the political equation. They fear the legalization movement has been hijacked by those seeking to profit from legal marijuana.
Of course, big money has been a major factor in the legalization movement as far back as 1996, when the California medical marijuana initiative was bailed-out with money provided by a handful of rich philanthropists, led by George Soros and the late Peter Lewis, who have been major funders supporting many of the statewide initiatives passed since, including both the Colorado and Washington state full legalization initiatives, and more recently the Oregon legalization initiative.
To Read the Balance of this Column, Please Go To Marijuana.com.
At post time, there are 31 states that currently have pending marijuana law reform legislation. These measures deal with a wide array of topics including decriminalization, record expungement, medical access, and full legalization. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most active legislative sessions on record for the marijuana legalization movement, but these bills won’t pass themselves. It is absolutely crucial that you, the stakeholders and voters, get engaged in the process and apply pressure to your state lawmakers to urge them to support these measures.
Reaching out to your state officials is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse using NORML’s Take Action Center. Simply consult the landing page to see if your state has pending legislation, click on that legislation, enter your zip code, and a pre-written email will be sent on your behalf. Once you have taken this initial step, we strongly encourage you to follow up by contacting your lawmakers directly and speaking to them on the phone. If politicians don’t hear from their constituents on these pieces of legislation, they remain unlikely to support them when they are called for a vote. Click HERE to see the full list of pending legislation. Recent additions include:
- Vermont: Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Senate
- Tennessee: Measures Introduced To Depenalize Minor Marijuana Offenses
- Maryland: Lawmakers to Consider Measure to Vacate Past Marijuana Convictions
- New Mexico: Senate Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill
- Hawaii: Provide Safe Access to Medical Marijuana
- New Hampshire: Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
Don’t forget to check out the full listing here and check back frequently as new alerts are added and old ones are updated with the most recent information.
Together, we can make the country a little more NORML. Together, we WILL legalize marijuana nationwide.
NORML will be holding its 2015 Legislative Fly-In in Washington, DC, on May 21 and 22, to lobby Congress on a number of pieces of pending legislation of interest to marijuana users. Please hold those dates and make plans now to join us this year. Registration for the Fly-In, along with the agenda for the two-days, is now available on the NORML website.
An empowering experience
For those who may not have previously taken the time to actually lobby your state or federal elected officials, I think you will find it an exhilarating and empowering experience.
To finish this column, please go to Marijuana.com.
The last few weeks have brought a number of policy announcements from the Obama administration — incremental changes, admittedly, but positive steps nonetheless — that appear to set the stage for a more realistic federal marijuana policy looking forward. Once again we are reminded of the important role of the current administration in the gradual ending of “reefer madness” as the guiding principle of our federal marijuana policy.
To read the balance of this column, please go to Marijuana.com.
As we get further into 2015, state legislatures are convening all around the country and the issue of marijuana law reform is a hot topic in many of them. From full legalization to decriminalization to medical use, marijuana is being debated in state houses across the nation. A key component of making these reform efforts successful is the mobilization of citizens like yourself. Only so much can be done by top down lobbying and lawmakers often base their votes off of the will of their constituents.
To make this process as pain-free as possible, NORML has collected all of the currently pending legislation and provided tools for constituents to contact their elected officials in our Take Action Center. Bills currently pending in 2015 include:
- Federal: Members Of Congress Move To Exclude Hemp From the Controlled Substances Act
- Arizona: Measure Introduced To Defelonize Marijuana Penalties
- New York: Measure Introduced To Legalize Cannabis Commerce
- Delaware: Lawmakers To Debate Marijuana Decriminalization Measure
- New Mexico: Senate Lawmakers to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana
- Kentucky: Medical Cannabis Legislation Filed In Both Chambers
- And many more!
You can view the full list of pending legislation here. This list is continually updated as new measures are introduced so be sure to keep checking back to see what legislation will be debated in your state this year. Be sure you take a moment of your time to use these action alerts to quickly and easily contact lawmakers in support of pending legislation in your state and share them with your friends and family!
Help us keep the GRASS in GRASSROOTS and together we will legalize marijuana nationwide.