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SB 5615

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 26, 2010

    It’s January 2010, and that means it is time once again for NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — your one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country, along with tips for influencing the policies of your state.

    ** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and make the changes they want to see. We can’t do it without you.

    Virginia: Members of the Virginia House Courts of Justice, Criminal Subcommittee are scheduled to hear testimony on Wednesday in favor of House Bill 1134, which seeks to dramatically reduce the state’s marijuana possession and cultivation penalties. Representatives from NORML’s national staff and state affiliate will be in attendance and testifying in support of this measure. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the subcommittee here; NORML’s letter in yesterday’s Washington Post appears here.

    Virginia residents are urged to contact their House delegates today. If your delegate is one of the members of the House Courts of Justice, Criminal Subcommittee, then it is especially important that he or she hears from you today. Phone and e-mail contact information for these members is available here. A pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your Virginia state House member when you go here. Finally, those seeking to attend Wednesday’s hearing in Richmond should contact Sabrina at Virginia NORML at: sabrina@norml.org for further information. You can also track the legislative progress of this effort on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/vanorml.

    New Hampshire: Lawmakers on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held hearings last week on two pending proposals, HB 1652 (legalization) and HB 1653 (decriminalization). You can read NORML’s written testimony in favor of these measures here, and you can voice your support for these efforts here. You can also watch video highlights (and lowlights) from last week’s hearing, care of our friends at New Hampshire Common Sense, by clicking here.

    Colorado: Members of the Colorado Senate, Health and Human Services Committee are scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday morning regarding proposed state regulations to Colorado’s medical marijuana law. You can read more about these controversial guidelines here, here and here, and you can contact members of the Committee here.

    Washington: House Committee lawmakers rejected a pair of marijuana law reform proposals last week that sought to remove criminal penalties for the adult, personal use of marijuana. You can see how House members voted here. A Senate companion bill to decriminalize marijuana possession, SB 5615, still awaits floor action and can be supported by going here.

    For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    [UPDATE!!! For folks interested in the progress of New York’s pending medical marijuana legislation, there’s this report from today’s New York Times.]

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 24, 2009

    Wow, things are really heating up! If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start. State legislatures around the country are taking significant strides to reform their marijuana laws, and here’s how you can help!

    California: On Monday, state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced AB 390, The Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act — the first bill ever in legislature to legalize and regulate the commercial production and sale of marijuana in California. You can see local, network, and national media coverage of this effort here, here, and here. If you live in California, please go here to contact your state assemblyman and urge him or her to support AB 390.

    New Jersey: Lawmakers took a major step on Monday toward making New Jersey the fourteenth state to legalize the medical use of cannabis. Senators voted 22 to 16 in favor of Senate Bill 119, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. But this battle is only half over. Members of the New Jersey Assembly must also vote on this issue. If you reside in New Jersey, please take a moment to contact your members of the state assembly and urge them to support companion bill, A804. You can further support this effort by contacting the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey or NORML New Jersey.

    **Note: Additional information and interviews regarding these breaking events in California and New Jersey are available here on the NORML Daily Audio Stash podcast.

    Montana: Ready for even more good news? Senate lawmakers in Montana today voted 28 to 22 in favor of SB 326, which seeks to expand the state’s medical marijuana laws. As introduced, SB 326 (1) Expands the number of qualifying conditions for which marijuana may be legally recommended; (2) Increases the amount of marijuana a patient may legally possess; and (3) Prohibits employers and landlords from discriminating against medicinal marijuana patients solely because of their medical status. NORML thanks all of you who took the time to support this important measure, which now moves to the House for consideration. For more information about this and other statewide marijuana law reform efforts in Montana, please contact Montana Patients and Families United or Montana NORML.

    Washington: Finally, last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 5615, which seeks to reduce the penalty for minor marijuana possession offenses to a civil fine of no more than $100. You can listen to audio from the hearing and vote here. This proposal now goes before the Senate Rules Committee, which must take action on the bill to put it before the full Senate. Tell them to do so by going here.

    To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.