Officials in the Village of Oswego, Illinois recently passed an ordinance that allows local law enforcement to issue tickets and fines to anyone found with small amounts of marijuana or certain drug paraphernalia. For example, if a person is in possession of drug paraphernalia and is convicted of possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana, the charge for the paraphernalia is now considered a civil law violation, punishable by a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $200.
Marijuana-related offenses became civil violations after the Illinois state legislature voted to amended the Cannabis Control Act in 2016, but it is up to local governments to amend their local marijuana laws to reflect the change at the state level.
“Oswego’s fines will begin at $100 for the first offense and $150 and $250 for second and third offenses. There is a maximum $750 penalty for repeat violators,” said Oswego Police Chief Jeff Burgner.
The City of Yorkville adopted a similar ordinance in October.
Read more here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-oswego-marijuana-st-0105-20170104-story.html
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.
Each week, more states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start. Here’s this week’s latest summary of how you can get involved!
Illinois: On Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the Illinois legislature will hold hearings to discuss the need to legalize the medical use of cannabis under state law. Members of the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony in favor of House Bill 2514 at 8am in the Stratton Building, Room D-1. Later that afternoon, members of the Senate Public Health Committee are also scheduled to hear testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1381. You can contact your elected officials in support of these measures by going here, or by getting in touch with the good folks at Illinois NORML.
UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! House Bill 2514 was voted out of Committee on a 4 to 3 vote. This marks the first time a House Committee has approved legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis. For more information, please visit here.
Maine: Members of the the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony last week in favor of LD 250, which seeks to amend state law so that the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana would be classified as a civil violation. Predictably, local law enforcement are opposing this effort. That is why Maine legislators need to hear from you. Contact members of legislature here, and tell them to vote ‘yes’ on LD 250.
Texas: Anyone who follows the marijuana law reform issue knows that change in the Lone Star State is long overdue. That’s why it is important that members of the Texas cannabis community get behind House Bill 902, which would reduce minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only offense. Over 60,000 Texans are arrested for pot possession violations annually. Half of these defendants are under 25 years of age. It makes no sense to saddle these young people with a criminal arrest record or to put them in jail. Tell your representatives to support HB 902 by going here, and by becoming involved with Texas NORML.
Rhode Island: This Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the legislature will hear testimony in favor of legislation to mandate the Department of Health to establish rules governing the licensing of non-profit compassion centers “to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients.” To learn more about this effort, or to attend these hearings, please visit our allies at the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition.
New Hampshire: Next Monday, March 9, members of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee will hear testimony at 10am in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis is New Hampshire. Two years ago the House narrowly rejected (186-177) a similar bill, so it vital that you contact your House members and urge them to support HB 648. You can write them here. And if you wish to attend next week’s hearing, our allies NH Compassion have all the information you need here.
To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.
Illinois’ Senate Public Health Committee will hold a hearing this Wednesday, March 5, on Senate Bill 2865 — which seeks to legalize medical cannabis. If you live in Illinois, please take a moment to support this effort. (more…)