Below is this week’s summary of pending state legislation and tips to help you become involved in changing the laws in your state.
New Hampshire: House Bill 1623, which would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, was passed by the House on March 18. The Senate Judiciary Committee will now hold an important hearing on this bill at 3:00 PM on April 22. All supporters are encouraged to attend. Additionally, our allies at NH Common Sense are now encouraging supporters to contact Governor John Lynch directly and urge him to rethink his assertion that he will veto HB 1623 if it reaches his desk. New Hampshire supporters are strongly encouraged to urge their Representatives and the Governor to support these bills via NORML’s online advocacy system.
Minnesota: Minnesota’s House Ways and Means Committee has approved Senate File 345, along with its companion bill, House File 655. From Ways and Means, it now goes to a House floor vote, and if passed there, the Governor’s desk. This legislation would ensure that medical marijuana patients in Minnesota would no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from state law enforcement. However, Governor Pawlenty has indicated that he is inclined to veto this bill if it gets to his desk. Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to urge their Representatives and the Governor to support these bills via NORML’s online advocacy system.
California: In an important victory for medical marijuana patients, the California Assembly Judiciary committee approved Assembly Bill 2279, sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno. This bill would protect Prop 215 patients from employment discrimination, most notably via urine testing. (The bill does not protect workers in safety-sensitive jobs, including law enforcement). The measure was approved on a party-line vote with 6 Democrats in favor, 3 Republicans opposed, and one Democrat abstaining. NORML will continue to update you on the progress of this important bill.
Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Senate Committee on Health and Human Services unanimously approved Senate Bill 2623 on Wednesday, April 9. SB 2693 would set up a dispensary system for Rhode Island’s state-qualified medical cannabis patients, and will now go before the Senate floor. Rhode Islanders are strongly encouraged to write their Senate and House members in support of this measure and its companion bill, House Bill 7888, through NORML’s online advocacy system.