Below is this week’s summary of pending state legislation and tips to help you become involved in changing the laws in your state.
Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Senate approved Senate Bill 2693 on May 15 in a 29-6 vote. A companion bill to this important measure, which seeks to create a dispensary system for Rhode Island’s state-qualified medical cannabis patients, awaits action by the Rhode Island House of Representatives. According to a new poll, nearly 70 percent of state voters support enacting a medical cannabis distribution system. Rhode Islanders are encouraged to write their state Representatives in support of this effort via NORML’s online advocacy system. To hear an interview with RIPAC‘s Jesse Stout about this measure, check out NORML’s Daily Audio Stash here.
California: In an important victory for medical marijuana patients, the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment has approved Assembly Bill 2279 in a 6-2 vote. The measure will now go to the Assembly floor. If passed, AB 2279 would protect patients from employment discrimination on the basis of their state-licensed medical cannabis use in off-work hours. Californians are strongly encouraged to contact their Assemblymembers via NORML’s online advocacy system.
California: Voters in Northern California’s Mendocino County will decide next month whether or not to repeal an eight-year old county law (The Personal Use of Marijuana Initiative, also known as Measure G) which legalized the possession and use of up to 25 marijuana plants. Measure B, a Mendocino County-wide ballot initiative, seeks to overturn the measure. To learn more about efforts opposing Measure B, please visit CANORML or No on B. You can also listen to California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer discuss this and other statewide campaigns on NORML’s Daily Audio Stash by clicking here.
Illinois: Senate Bill 2865, which seeks to allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis for qualified patients, continues to await 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 Senators in support of SB 2865 through NORML’s online advocacy system. To listen to Illinois NORML’s Daniel Linn discuss this effort, please click here.
Minnesota: Medical cannabis legislation is anticipated to go before the full House for a floor vote imminently. Passage of 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. You can also listen to IDFI Executive Director Charles Thomas discuss this effort on NORML’s Daily Audio Stash here.