NORML’s Weekly Legislative Update

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 19, 2010

    Lawmakers around the country are debating a record number of marijuana law reform bills in 2010. NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up is 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.

    California: Democrat Assemblyman Tom Ammiano reintroduced legislation on Thursday that seeks to legalize the production, distribution, and personal use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. Assembly Bill 2254, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act of 2010, would enact regulations governing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana for adults. The noncommercial cultivation of marijuana for personal use would not be subject to taxation under the proposal. In addition, AB 2254 would not alter existing legislation on the use of medicinal cannabis, nor would it impose new taxes or sanctions on the medical cultivation of cannabis.

    In January, a previous version of this proposal (AB 390) was approved by the California Assembly, Committee on Public Safety. The vote was the first time since 1913 that lawmakers had called for the repeal of cannabis prohibition. Further votes on AB 390 did not take place because of calendar restraints. To learn more about AB 2254, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here or go to California NORML’s website here.

    Washington: Senate lawmakers failed to act this week on Senate Bill 5615, which sought to reclassify minor marijuana possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor to a fine-only civil infraction. Their inaction kills the bill for this legislative session.

    In January, House lawmakers also rejected a proposal that sought to legalize and regulate marijuana production, sale, and use to those age 21 or older. Yet a January statewide poll of 500 adults found that a solid majority of Washington voters support legalizing marijuana. As a result, NORML Legal Committee member Douglas Hiatt, along with NORML Board Member Jeffrey Steinborn and others are petitioning to place the issue before state voters this November. To qualify for the ballot, organizers needs to turn in 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters to the Secretary of State’s Office on or before July 2. You can learn more about this effort here.

    Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council’s Committee on Health will hold their first hearing on implementing the District’s new medical marijuana law on Tuesday, February 23. Council members will hear testimony regarding B 18-622, the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act 0f 2010, which seeks to implement local regulations regarding the medical use and distribution of medical marijuana to qualified patients. Representatives from NORML will be in attendance and testifying on behalf of the measure. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the Committee here. If you wish to attend this hearing, please go here.

    New Hampshire: House lawmakers will be spending part of their summer debating the merits of regulating adult marijuana use. In January members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony in favor of House Bill 1652, which sought to “allow [for] the purchase and use of marijuana by adults.” (Read NORML’s testimony to the Committee here.) On January 27, members of the Committee voted 16-2 on a motion to refer the bill to a special interim study committee. Members of the full House recently affirmed this amendment by a vote of 272 to 76, meaning that the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will study the bill more thoroughly this summer, and it will issue recommendations for the following legislative session by November.

    Iowa: On Wednesday, February 17, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously in favor of reclassifying marijuana as a medicine under state law. (Note, this vote does not legalize the medical use of marijuana in Iowa.)

    However, despite this latest decision from the Board, as well as a just-released statewide poll indicating that 64 percent of Iowans back legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, news reports indicate that lawmakers are not yet supportive of House File 2179, which seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of cannabis. If you live in Iowa, please take time to contact your lawmakers here.

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

    35 responses to “NORML’s Weekly Legislative Update”

    1. jennifer says:

      i would really like to know what is going on with wisconsin. We are patiently waiting to hear something.

    2. Donald says:

      Indiana is considering legalizing marijuana for medicinal and industrial purposes as well, look up Re-Legalize Indiana PAC

    3. Cheebs1 says:

      I love the fact that it appears we are making headway in this battle. The only problem being that I don’t think we will be able to win. How do we expect them to legalize cannabis, or at least let people use it mecically without fear of imprisonment, when the FDA has just declared vitamin B6 a drug. The DEA will now have to enforce drug laws on vitamin manufacturers, health food stores, gyms, and anywhere else that might happen to carry these health supplements.

      The FDA is no more than a branch of major pharmaceutical companies. The federal government is giving sole purveyorship of vitamin B6 complexes to the Merk Pharmaceuticals company to use as their “latest” kidney drug. There are no other ingredients listed in the chemical formula but that of the B6 complex.

      The government keeps our attention focused on the cannabis war while they continue to strip freedoms and basic rights, like being healthy, from the common populace. When the government declares war on nutrition something is so terribly askew that we cannot even fathom it.

    4. weedpolitik says:

      Pity Washington legislators failed to take action on reducing cannabis penalties. There is some serious discord between lawmakers and the public.

      However, Washington’s inaction pales in comparison to the momentum that the movement is garnering. Gotta hand it to Iowa again for taking the lead once again on progressive policies! Hopefully Iowa will serve as an example for the rest of the Midwest states….now to wait until Tim Pawlenty is out of office

      Hoo rah!

    5. Sean says:

      What’s the deal with NY Medical Marijuana. I thought I heard that it was still in the senate; passed the house and is just waiting. Is the the bill from last year still viable or does it have to be introduced again?

    6. Alex says:

      I simply cannot see why Washington is having such a hard time passing this law. I really wish someone would go to the prohibitionists and ask “do you believe in God” and if they say yes, say “so when it comes to marijuana, you are essentially saying God made a mistake?”

    7. EZ-E says:

      Kinda wish Michigan would show up there again soon. I don’t have a chronic disorder so I’m still considered a drug fiend 🙁

    8. ckdk30 says:

      This is a hugmugus step for Iowa but theres still a humgugus waaay to go for Full legalization, move some people around in the gov’s office or rid them period an we should be ok.An to # 6 i feel the same if OUR gov expects us to even believe in our so called god then why isnt this plant legal as it states in the bible about all seeds shall be used idk some shit like tht. Dont get me wrong i strongly believe i God but its hippocritic

    9. james hay says:

      it is time for the politicians in washington and every single stae in the union own up to the realities as they pertain to the use of cannabis and the massive amounts of needless harm that has and continued to be inflicted upon normally law-abiding citizens of the country.the prohibition asit stands currently is nothing less than an cottage industry for unbriddled bureaucratic corruption.the time has arrived for that to come t an end.

    10. CannabisTV says:

      Oregon: Initiative-28: Medical Cannabis Supply System at

      OCTA – Oregon Cannabis Tax Act: Legalize and regulate cannabis and hemp at OCTA2010.org

      More info and videos at CannabisTV.org