Below is this week’s summary of pending state legislation and tips to help you become involved in changing the laws in your state.
Illinois: Senate Bill 2865, which seeks to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis for qualified patients, awaits action by the full Senate. This bill was recently amended to address concerns voiced by some of the Illinois law enforcement community. Illinois NORML supporters are urged to contact their state senator in support of SB 2865 through NORML’s online advocacy system.
Minnesota: Medical cannabis legislation is anticipated to go before the full House for a floor vote imminently, and if approved there, to 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 intends to veto this bill if it gets to his desk. You can view an ad urging Governor Pawlenty to rethink his position here. Minnesotans are strongly encouraged to urge their Representatives and the Governor to support these bills via NORML’s online advocacy system.
Hawaii: House Bill 2675, which would establish a legislative medical marijuana task force in Hawaii, is now before the governor. If signed into law, this task force would examine issues regarding adequate supplies of medical marijuana for qualified patients, distinguishing between mature and immature plants under current law, the feasibility of constructing secure growing facilities for medical marijuana patients to use to produce their medicine, and study inter-island travel issues related to medical marijuana. Hawaiian supporters can email their state senators via NORML’s online advocacy system.
Vermont: The Vermont Senate is expected to vote on House Bill 267, which would define industrial hemp as an “agricultural product” and establish regulations for its production by state-licensed farmers. If approved, Vermont will join more than a dozen states that have enacted laws or resolutions endorsing the study and/or production of industrial hemp. Vermont NORML supporters are strongly encouraged to send their state senator a prewritten letter urging passage of HB 267 via NORML’s online advocacy system.
New Hampshire: NORML is disheartened to announce that the New Hampshire Senate has defeated House Bill 1623, which would have decriminalized minor marijuana possession, in a voice vote this week. The Senate vote, which was not unexpected, followed weeks of veto threats from Governor John Lynch. The measure had previously passed the House by a vote of 193 to 141. NORML would like to take this time to thank NORML supporters who contacted their House Representatives in support of HB 1623. Your efforts made a huge difference in persuading the House to pass this vital piece of legislation. To remain involved in cannabis law reform efforts in New Hampshire, please visit: http://nhcommonsense.org.