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: The California Senate this week approved SJR 20, which seeks to halt federal law enforcement from prosecuting state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients and dispensaries. The measure passed by a vote of 24 to 15, and now goes to the state Assembly — where a similar proposal, AB 2743, was recently withdrawn from consideration.
Michigan: A statewide ballot measure seeking to legalize the possession and use of medical cannabis has been authorized to appear on the November ballot. According to a spring 2008 poll, two-thirds of Michigan voters back the measure. If passed, Michigan would become the thirteenth state since 1996 to enact legislation protecting medical cannabis patients from arrest and state criminal prosecution, and the ninth to do so via ballot initiative. For more information on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, please visit here.
Massachusetts: Election officials on Wednesday certified for the November ballot a statewide initiative seeking to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. Since 2002, more than 480,000 voters in 127 Massachusetts communities have endorsed non-binding resolutions to liberalize local pot policies. More information on the initiative is available from the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy.
Rhode Island: Governor Don Carcieri — a longtime opponent of medical marijuana — vetoed legislation this week that sought to establish a legislative commission to study ways to better provide medical cannabis to state-qualified patients. Since the measure received strong support from both the House and Senate, it is possible that legislators may elect to override the Governor’s veto. For more information, please visit the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition here.