Below is this week’s summary of pending state legislation and tips to help you become involved in changing the laws in your state.
California: A statewide sentencing reform measure, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act (NORA), has qualified to appear on the November 2008 ballot. If enacted, the proposal would amend the penalty for marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction — similar to a traffic ticket. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, which is backing the measure, “This single change will protect some 40,000 people a year convicted of simple marijuana possession from the serious and life-long collateral consequences of a criminal record.” You can learn more about NORA by clicking here.
California: Via: California NORML — Senate Resolution SJR 20, which seeks to halt federal law enforcement from prosecuting state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients and dispensaries, is expected to be voted on by the full Senate imminently. Californians may contact their state Senator via NORML’s online advocacy system here.
New York: The state Assembly passed legislation this week, A 4867B, which seeks to allow qualified patients to grow and possess medical cannabis under a doctor’s supervision. The proposal is now before the Senate Rules Committee which, unfortunately, has only hours to act on the bill before the legislature adjourns for the year. For further information on how you can become involved in this effort, please click here.
Florida: Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation into law this week enhancing criminal penalties for marijuana cultivation. As enacted, House Bill 173 (The Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act), allows judges to sentence those who cultivate more than 25 plants in their home to up to 15 years in jail (or up to 30 years in jail if a child is present.) NORML podcaster Russ Belville examines the obvious futility and unintended consequences of this new law here.