NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 16, 2011

    Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over twenty 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.

    Massachusetts: State lawmakers have reintroduced legislation, HB 1371, that seeks to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults. The measure has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. You can learn more about how to support this legislation by contacting MassCann, NORML’s Massachusetts affiliate here. You can also contact your House and Senate members and urge them to support legalization by going here.

    Washington: On Tuesday, February 8, members of the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness heard testimony in favor of HB 1550, which allows for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products. You can view archived video from this hearing here. The Committee is anticipated to vote on this measure on Friday, February 18. Last year the members of this Committee rejected a similar measure by a 6 to 2 vote. Urge them this year to vote ‘yes.’ You may contact the members of this Committee here or contact your individual House member here.

    Hawaii: Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary and Labor and members of the Senate Committee on Health on Friday, February 4 voted in favor of Senate Bill 1460, which reduces the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a civil violation punishable by a fine of not more than $100. You can read NORML’s testimony in support of the bill here. You can contact your state lawmakers in support of the measure here.

    Maryland: Over 20 members of Maryland’s House of Delegates are backing legislation, HB 606, to reduce the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $1000 maximum fine) to a civil offense, punishable by a $100 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. House Bill 606 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 22nd at 1pm. You may contact the members of the Committee here. You can follow the progress of HB 606 on Facebook here. If you reside in Maryland, you can contact your Delegate in support of this legislation by clicking here.

    Indiana: Members of the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters on Tuesday voted 5 to 3 in favor of Senate Bill 192, which calls for a legislative review to be conducted by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee later this year. The measure now awaits action from the full Senate. You can contact your state Senator and urge him or her to endorse the measure by clicking here. Additional information on this and other marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana is available from Indiana NORML here or on Facebook here.

    Montana: Bad news to report from Montana. On Thursday, February 10, members of House of Representatives voted 63 to 37 for HB 161, which would repeal the state’s existing medical cannabis law. The measure must be reapproved during a final House vote (third reading), which will likely take place imminently. If approved by the House, the measure then goes before the Senate. There has never been a single state medical marijuana law that has been repealed. Do not let Montana be the first. Please make sure that your state elected officials heard from you. You can contact him or her via the Montana NORML website here or via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. You can also visit Patients and Families United Facebook page here for up-to-date information on pending hearings and votes.

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

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

    1. Andrew says:

      Its wonderful to see these things goin on in so many states. Be it possitive or negative. But its so discouraging to sit back and look at the big picture. It looks very bleak. But the future has yet to be written so maybe it’ll happen one day.

    2. CDA says:

      Guess nothing’s happening in Texas 🙁

    3. Anonymous says:

      ……………and just how many years now have we heard the same ole’ thing or another similar promise ?

      Yawn……….I’m getting sleepy .

    4. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Montana may have a State republican goon squad that bullies around the members within their party. Like the congress during George W Bush first term. That is not democracy.

    5. Brandon says:

      Go ahead Montana! Repeal that law the voters chose to enact with 62% voting YES. From now on it’ll be the repeal of the prohibition of personal use, and the establishment of legal retail taxation and sales. C’mon! Please think forward. This isn’t 1970.

    6. enso_boy says:

      Well, it looks like the Anti’s are in full swing here in the state of Montana: Quote, Billings Gazette, 2/16/2011: HELENA — A Billings group is launching a $20,000 weeklong, statewide television advertising campaign to ask Montanans to urge their state senators and Gov. Brian Schweitzer to support repealing Montana’s 2004 law legalizing medical marijuana.

      The ad will be taped Thursday and will begin running on Tuesday. It will feature some kids talking about marijuana getting into schools.

      Cherrie Brady of Billings heads the group Safe Community, Safe Kids, which is running the advertising campaign.

      Brady said the theme of the TV ad is that “our kids are in trouble and that medical marijuana has penetrated the schools.”

      “Schools are pretty much under a gag order,” she added. “We’re hoping to expose a little of what’s going on in schools.”

      Brady said school officials have told her privately that there’s so much excess medical marijuana in Montana that kids are selling it all over schools and that some kids are prostituting themselves to obtain it. Law enforcement officials have told her that they can’t police the use of marijuana in the schools because it’s often consumed in brownies and candy, she said.

      “It’s crossing boundaries,” she said. “It’s not just the bad kids. They have star athletes (using marijuana too).”

      The House, on a preliminary 63-37 vote last week, passed House Bill 161, by Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, which would repeal the state’s voter-passed medical marijuana law. It is expected to face a final House vote soon before heading to the Senate.

      The article is here http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_f60c2380-4a87-55d7-9ffe-bccd719a40d0.html

      with more ‘Reefer Madness’ lies and propaganda for your reading pleasure…

    7. Stompedonmyrights says:

      Rep. Finney has done a great job at introduced HB 2330 The Cannabis Compassionate Care Act. If you saw what happened last year with HB 2610 then you know the chairperson.Her contact information is Rep. Brenda Landwehr- 785-296-7683 or email @ brenda.landwehr@house.ks.gov.Message: I would like for Rep. Landwehr to support a hearing on HB 2330 the cannabis compassionate care act as soon as possible!


    8. Stompedonmyrights says:

      NORML you oleft Kansas out again. How will we change the law in Kansas if NORML will not support us like you have with other states.

      [Paul Armentano: NORML is working directly with Rep. Finney re: the Compassion & Care Act. NORML is promoting HB 2330, just like we are promoting dozens of bills. See our alert here:


    9. Nick says:

      I wanted to share an excerpt from an email that I received today from Mr. Seitz, a senator in Ohio, with some good news! (I did not post the complete email because I did not receive permission to do so). Ohio is currently looking for ways to save money by reducing imprisonment for non-violent offenders. Here is what he wrote to me:

      “…Under SB 10, first time F-4 or F-5 nonviolent drug offenders will now be unable to be sentenced to prison, but rather will be subject to intensive probation for 3 years and sent to prison only for violating the terms of the probation. Also under SB 10, the mandatory drug penalties on marijuana were reduced….”

      This proposal is currently in the Criminal Justice committee.