NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 2, 2011

    Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over a dozen states, and progressive measures have been pre-filed in many more. Below is this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — activists’ one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country.

    ** 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 to make the changes they want to see.

    Arizona: House Bill 2228, introduced in the legislature this week, amends state law so that the adult possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is reduced from a potential felony (punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine) to a “petty offense” punishable by a $100 fine. Passage of this measure would amend Arizona law from one of the strictest in the nation to one of the most lenient. The bill awaits action from the House Rules Committee, whose members may be contacted here. You can contact your own House member in support of HB 2228 via NORML’s ‘Take Action’ center here. Further information regarding statewide marijuana law reform efforts is available from Arizona NORML.

    Oklahoma: Senators must assign SB 573, The “Compassionate Use Act of 2011,” to committee by the end of this week in order for lawmakers to act on it. If you reside in Oklahoma, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here to contact your state senator and urge him or her to take action on SB 573. After you have done so, please also contact the Senate leadership (Sen. Brian Bingman-Pro Tem and Sen. Mike Schulz-majority floor leader) and urge them to assign SB 573 to committee. Please leave a message stating: “The use of marijuana as medicine is a public health issue and is worthy of debate. Please assign Senate Bill 573, ‘Compassionate Use Act of 2011,’ to committee so that lawmakers have the opportunity to address the needs of Oklahoma’s patients.” For more information on this and other statewide marijuana law reform efforts in Oklahoma, please contact Oklahoma NORML. You can watch a recent interview with Oklahoma NORML director Norma Sapp discussing this measure on Fox News here.

    California: Legislation that would make it unlawful “for an employer to discriminate against” persons who are authorized under state law to use medical marijuana is pending in the California Senate. Senate Bill 129 declares it unlawful under state law “for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s status as a qualified patient or a positive drug test for marijuana,” if the drug test result is indicative of previous, off-the-job marijuana use (e.g., a positive test for marijuana metabolites on a urine screen). The measure responds to a California Supreme Court ruling (Ross v. Ragingwire Telecom), which held that employers could fire employees for their off-the-job marijuana use — even if they were state-authorized patients who were not impaired at work. You can learn more about this measure and other pending marijuana law reform efforts in California at California NORML. If you live in California, you can urge your state Senator to support SB 129 by clicking here.

    Maryland: Over 50 House Delegates and over 20 Senators have reintroduced legislation to regulate the limited use and distribution of medical marijuana by authorized patients. Last year the Senate overwhelmingly approved this measure, but it failed to gain support in the House. To be in contact with your state Senator and Delegate about these reforms, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.

    Montana: House lawmakers are debating today House Bill 161, which seeks to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. More information on this hearing is available from our allies Patients & Families United here. Read NORML’s rebuttal to this draconian proposal here. If you live in Montana, please urge your lawmakers to oppose this effort by clicking here. You can also get involved by contacting Montana NORML here, or on Facebook here.

    To be in contact with your state officials regarding these measures and other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

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

    1. Anonymous says:

      Maybe they should have people there in Arizona to vote on decrimezation marujuana like they voted on medical marijuana.Also when is Texas going to have it chance to shine?

    2. dillon says:

      How about asking the people there in Arizone to vote on decrimzationing marijuana like they voted for medical marijuana.Also when Texas going to have it chance of glory?

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    4. pissedoffveteran says:

      State Representative Doug Cox is a fool who don’t know sheet. I wanna see the actual study where Marijuana use at age 18 increases the likelihood of Schizophrenia 600 times. They must a done that study in Oklahoma at the Sheriffs office. Could it be the Alcohol or the Meth possibly? Or the beating they recieved on the side of the road for attempting to exercise their civil rights? These hillbilly politicians be runnin Oklahoma and they all be rich and be makin hella money off the prisons and drug interdiction task forces. Oklahoma is a wonderful state except for the Conservative Freakazoids.

    5. Anonymous says:

      What about Texas????

      [Paul Armentano responds: What about Texas? To date, NORML constituents have generated approximately 1,000 letters to their state representatives in favor of HB 548. Have you?


      Bill To Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties Reintroduced In Texas

      Legislation seeking to reduce marijuana possession penalties has been reintroduced in the Texas House of Representatives. House Bill 548 amends Texas law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is reduced from a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine) to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and no criminal record.]

    6. barnacle bill says:

      Where is North Carolina’s medical marijuana bill? What happened to it? A few lame duck politicians tried to push it through but weren’t re-elected and now we hear nothing about it?

      How do we get signatures and get it on the ballot? It’s about time North Carolina legalized medical marijuana!

    7. AfraidinCt. says:

      We got to keep the momentum going. Prohibition is more Dangerous to the public safty than the Substance it self. In the 1930’s people who didn’t perticularly like the consumption of alcohol agreed that prohibiting it was far worse. If they can see the light on that, we can to. What worked it the past, can wok today all we have to do is allow it.

    8. Stompedonmyrights says:

      Why does the propagannd­a remain accepted by the Law?” This showed be asked until we get the answer. this propagannd­a for prohibitio­n of Cannabis is harmful to the welfare of our society. It endangers the society as a whole. It is destructiv­e to the relationsh­ip between citizens and law enforcemen­t. It interferes with …any kind of real mental health issue surround it’s use. The propagannd­a causes death to American Citizens without any due process and a denial of equal protection­. The sick have an absolute right to pursut happiness in the form of good health, cure from sickness and the present law violates that right. Sinces that is a constituti­onal right the law is unconstitu­tionally applied to cannabis and any citizens choosing to use for better health and to fight cancer. Can we have the debate NOW!

    9. Z32_FTW says:

      I just took action on the Oklahoma Senate Bill. I also forwarded it to several people who i know will also take the time to contact the senators. Hey, if it can be done here in Oklahoma, perhaps the reddest state known to man ;), it can be done anywhere. Thanks NORML!

    10. dillon says:

      How about getting the people of Texas to vote of it like you guys manage to get Califonia and other states to do so.I heard that 80% of the popolution htere in Texas support medical marijuana.Get the people there to vote on it.