NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 18, 2009

    As I’ve written previously, more states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. This week has been no exception.

    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!

    California: California’s first-ever marijuana legalization bill, Assembly Bill 390: The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, is tentatively scheduled for a hearing before the Committee on Public Safety and Health on Tuesday, March 31. The Committee is expected to vote on this proposal immediately following the hearing so it is vital that you contact your elected officials, and the members of the Public Safety Committee in particular, and urge them to support AB 390. Contact information for the Committee is available here. You may also send letters in support of this measure to your state assemblyman here. For additional information on this hearing, or if you are interested in attending, please contact California NORML.

    New Hampshire: Earlier today, members of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee voted 13 to 7 in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis in New Hampshire. The bill will now go before the full House with an “ought to pass” recommendation. Two years ago the House narrowly rejected a similar bill by a margin of 186 to 177. If you live in New Hampshire, now is the time to contact your House members and urge them to support HB 648. You can write them here. Our allies NH Compassion have any additional information you may need here.

    Montana: On Friday, March 20, members of the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony in support of Senate Bill 326, an act to provide greater access to medical marijuana for state-authorized patients. If approved, this proposal would: (1) Expand the number of qualifying conditions for which marijuana may be legally recommended; (2) Increase the amount of marijuana a patient may legally possess; (3) Prohibit employers and landlords from discriminating against medicinal marijuana patients solely because of their medical status. Thanks in large part to your support, the Senate previously voted 28 to 22 in favor of this measure. Please assure that the House does likewise. You can contact your representatives here. Local allies Montana Patients and Families United will be meeting with witnesses and attendees prior to the hearing. You may contact them here.

    Kentucky: Finally, we have good news to report from Kentucky. Last week we asked for your help to kill an amendment that sought to criminalize anyone who operates a motor vehicle with any detectable level of marijuana in their blood. Many of you responded and as a result, the provision was withdrawn. While we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, it’s now looking far less likely that lawmakers will prevail in their attempt to misuse the state’s traffic safety laws to target marijuana consumers.

    To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

    31 responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up”

    1. David says:

      Still waiting on Wisconsin.

    2. marton says:

      sent the email just now!

    3. Dave says:

      I’m glad to see this progess all over the country,well most of the country, but we really need some help down here in Florida, we are still the most backwards state in the nation when it comes to marijuana policy. Our NORML chapter here at UCF is working hard but theres only so much we can do…we need as much help as we can get!!!

    4. Brian R. says:

      Where are all the activists in Arizona? We have some of the worst drug laws in the nation.

      Having any THC in your system is currently grounds for a DUI. If stopping this from happening in KY is such a priority, why is there no reform talk here?

    5. Mike says:

      Please support Bill 390. Send in letters, Make calls, Anything. The time to legalize Marijuana is now!

    6. Bradson says:

      “The noncommercial cultivation of marijuana for personal use – defined as ten plants or fewer – would not be subject to taxation under the proposal.”

      This is the part I like best. It’s so rational and fair that I’m amazed it’s in the bill. This means that anyone with a yard can have free weed for themselves and give away the overflow. It may kill the retail market, however. It’s hard to compete with “free”.

    7. Mark says:

      Where are all the activists in PA????

      Only 10 people at the state’s largest city NORML meeting is not very encouraging.

    8. bhones says:

      North Carolina ASA chapter is almost ready to submit a bill for medical cannabis. I CAN’T WAIT!!!

    9. Tom ________ says:

      Change is coming, yes, but there is no panacea, this will be and has been a gradual battle.

      As much as Id love to see President Obama or the new Drug Czar repeal prohibition its not going to happen that way, and honestly I think it would be wrong if it did.

      Change will come when the majority calls for it, change will come when you and I stand up and say its time. We have already begun this process but I have a feeling we are not completely there yet- we have many voices, but fewer who let their names be known.

      How will I know when prohibition is in its last throws of life? When each and everyone of us is willing to sign our first and last names in support of this issue.

    10. Jeff P. says:

      What the heck is going on in Wisconsin???? I had heard talk of Medical Marijuana legislation coming up this year. But to date, I have not heard another word. We don’t even have a NORML chapter in Milwaukee!! I’ve emailed, called and written my state representatives and senator. He’s the only one who actually corresponded with me via snail mail, (Senator James Sullivan). He’s supportive of Medical Marijuana, and would vote in favor of…..so why doesn’t he get the ball rolling?? I’m 55 years old, have been smoking pot for 37 years, (the past 5 years have been for medicinal purposes). I’ve been denied SSDI, unable to work, living off of my retirement fund, and probably don’t have a heck of a lot of time left. But Damn it. I ain’t leaving here until I can smoke and grow my own medicine!

      Come on Wisconsin!! Let’s get something going before I find myself moving to a “friendlier” state.

      Peace & Pot