South Dakota

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 30, 2009

    Marijuana law reform bills are now pending in nearly a dozen states. Here is this week’s summary of pending state legislative activity and tips on how you can become involved in changing the marijuana laws in your area.

    Connecticut: Legislators introduced a bill this week to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. Senate Bill 349 would amend Connecticut law so that adults who possess one ounce of marijuana or less will be issued tickets and assessed a nominal fine in lieu of criminal charges (up to one-year in jail, under current law). In the House, lawmakers will consider HB 5175, which seeks to legalize the medical use of cannabis. (The legislature passed a similar measure in 2007, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Jodi Rell.) Both bills are now before the Joint Judiciary Committee. Please show your support for these efforts here.

    Montana: Legislators tabled a pair of bills this week pertaining to the state’s medical marijuana patient registry. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today killed SB 212, a measure that NORML strongly opposed. However, in the House, members of the Human Services Committee deadlocked on House Bill 73, which would have allowed patients greater access to medical cannabis. A separate, more comprehensive measure to expand Montana’s medical marijuana program is expected to be introduced imminently.

    New Hampshire: House Bill 648, an act to legalize the medical use of marijuana, is now before the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee. A similar bill was narrowly rejected (186-177) by the House in 2007. For more information on this measure, please visit NHCompassion.org or click here.

    South Dakota: Lawmakers will hold hearings next week on a pair of bills to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail. House Bill 1127, an act “to provide safe legal access to medical marijuana for certain qualified persons,” will be heard by the House Health and Human Services Committee at 7:45am on Tuesday, February 3. The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony regarding a separate medical marijuana bill on Wednesday. To attend these hearings or to learn more about how you can support these efforts, please visit South Dakota NORML/South Dakotans for Safe Access or go here.

    To learn about additional pending legislation in Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Action Alerts page here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 10, 2008


    In mid-March the Reason Foundation published a report entitled ‘Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition’. The report updates the precarious hemp industry in the United States and its continued struggles under absurdly strict federal laws that are meant to control the psychoactive strain of the plant, usually described as ‘marijuana’.

    Hemp is legal for farmers to grow in virtually all countries where marijuana is still illegal (i.e, Canada, France, Great Britain, Switzerland, China, Romania, etc…), and to help highlight the non-sensible government policy Native Americans on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota will soon build a home constructed of hemp in conjunction with the 2008 Hemp Hoe Down.

    “There are numerous environmental advantages to hemp,” said Skaidra Smith-Heisters, a policy analyst at Reason Foundation and author of the report. “Hemp often requires less energy to manufacture into products. It is less toxic to process. And it is easier to recycle and more biodegradable than most competing crops and products. Unfortunately, we won’t realize the full economic and environmental benefits of hemp until the crop is legal in the United States.”

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