NORML's Weekly Legislative Round Up

Each week, more states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start. Here’s this week’s latest summary of how you can get involved!

Illinois: On Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the Illinois legislature will hold hearings to discuss the need to legalize the medical use of cannabis under state law. Members of the House Human Services Committee will hear testimony in favor of House Bill 2514 at 8am in the Stratton Building, Room D-1. Later that afternoon, members of the Senate Public Health Committee are also scheduled to hear testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1381. You can contact your elected officials in support of these measures by going here, or by getting in touch with the good folks at Illinois NORML.
UPDATE!!! UPDATE!!! House Bill 2514 was voted out of Committee on a 4 to 3 vote. This marks the first time a House Committee has approved legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis. For more information, please visit here.
Maine: Members of the the Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony last week in favor of LD 250, which seeks to amend state law so that the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana would be classified as a civil violation. Predictably, local law enforcement are opposing this effort. That is why Maine legislators need to hear from you. Contact members of legislature here, and tell them to vote ‘yes’ on LD 250.
Texas: Anyone who follows the marijuana law reform issue knows that change in the Lone Star State is long overdue. That’s why it is important that members of the Texas cannabis community get behind House Bill 902, which would reduce minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only offense. Over 60,000 Texans are arrested for pot possession violations annually. Half of these defendants are under 25 years of age. It makes no sense to saddle these young people with a criminal arrest record or to put them in jail. Tell your representatives to support HB 902 by going here, and by becoming involved with Texas NORML.
Rhode Island: This Wednesday, March 4, both chambers of the legislature will hear testimony in favor of legislation to mandate the Department of Health to establish rules governing the licensing of non-profit compassion centers “to acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply, or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients.” To learn more about this effort, or to attend these hearings, please visit our allies at the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition.
New Hampshire: Next Monday, March 9, members of the House Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee will hear testimony at 10am in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to legalize the use of medical cannabis is New Hampshire. Two years ago the House narrowly rejected (186-177) a similar bill, so it vital that you contact your House members and urge them to support HB 648. You can write them here. And if you wish to attend next week’s hearing, our allies NH Compassion have all the information you need here.

To learn about additional pending legislation in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

0 thoughts

  1. I am really happy that some states are making progress, but i can’t feel really angry that my home state of Indiana wont listen to reason. If i get caught with cannabis i would go to jail longer than someone who beats someone up, or someone that drinks and drives. Knowing why it was made illegal just digs the knife in deeper. Can we throw some progress at Indiana please? I am not a criminal, i am a pot smoker.

  2. Boy o Boy: i wish Florida was on that list there the worst. but last night on Glen Beck,he spoke with the Pres. of Mexico. the both agree its time to visit and think a bought the issue.

  3. I live in tx hhope they get this passed.I have seen many people go to jail for a sack, kids going to jail having a record their future fucked up,but a kid in a car with alcohol gets a ticket?

  4. I would like to think we are making progress but, It’s the Depression making the progress for us. They simply can’t afford to oppress us anymore.
    So when you say your prayers tonight don’t forget to thank God for “The Greater Depression”.Better yet stop paying your mortgage & credit cards as deeper the depression goes the free-er we’ll all be.
    Ok you need somewhere to live but your house is worthless so stop paying. It will take at least a year for them throw you out. The whole time you’ll be banking all those mortgage payments wile setting your self free of Debt and government intrusion into your personal life. Same goes for your car stop paying, you’ll still get to drive it for 6 months or so and you won’t need to get the oil changed anymore. You can take all those payments and use them to buy a good used car.
    You’ll own the new car in stead of the bank owning you and you’ll be contributing to setting your self and the country free.
    GOD BLESS THE GREAT DEPRESSION 2!

  5. It’s true, there needs to be some talk of decriminalization here in Florida, and I know I’m not the best speller but I think you meant “think about the issue” Joe Joe, Do a little spell check bro, your watering down the pool when you sound ignorant.

  6. “6. Mark Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 8:41 am
    We REALLY need legalisation here in PA.”
    Fuckin A you do. I’ve been here for the past four years, and came from California. What a fuckin mistake! Possession cost me $2,500 total up here. And from what I’ve seen from around where I live these people will never start getting into the legislative process. I hope where you like is different mark, but in my area no one does anything(except the old people) and that’s why it is the way it is. So I’ll be leaving shortly back to CA and I’d suggest you do something of the sort too. Mark my words Pennsylvania WILL be the last state to decriminalize!

  7. This is all great news again this week, but I am still awaiting movement information to acknowledge what’s going on with the two/three Connecticut bills that are floating around. I did my part by educating everyone I know on the matter and sent emails to public officials but I guess good ‘ole CT might just need a bigger push? Anyone have more insight on the “hold-up” on our pending legislation? I’ve learned a great deal about our legal system from just being aware of marijuana reform movements and that’s something I’m happy to admit, but this stalling status has me scratching my head.

  8. 13. Josh:
    Yea man I hear you. Been here 12 years and the only good connections I had were in Maryland (he’s gone) and New York (very expensive and hard to hook up). Plus getting busted in Jersey on the way home cost me $3000.00. I’m too old to be dodging cops, and any weed you get here is dirt mexican shit.
    I went to a NORML meeting in Philly a month ago and these guys are still buying dime bags off the street and calling ME an asshole for not finding a decent connection. Like a dime bag of the street qualifies as a good connection……
    This state really sucks. I am seriously considering going to Oaksterdam Univ. and relocating there to cash in on the the day that Cali becomes the first to legalize.

  9. Oklahoma and Marijuana are going NO WHERE….Oklahoma will be the last state to even think about Marijuana reform. So, GO TEXAS, I live 120 miles from Texas and can’t wait to move. I’m 36 and have never been in trouble with the law. So i’ll take my family and my tax dollars and go to Texas and never look back. I have wrote and have sent e-mail to those in-charge of our(or their State) and they wrote me back, laughing in my face and telling me that Marijuana reform is the last thing they are even thinking about. Dam Bible-belt Rep-Party, you can kiss my, well you get the picture.

  10. It is unbelievable that pot is not legal, they have liquour legal, legalize drugs you get from a doctor, and also legalized homosexaulity. Maybe they need to to smoke a joint and lighten up. these things previously mentioned are alot worse on the body than pot.

  11. It’s very sad to see Kansas making no progress AT ALL. I’ve emailed my representative and she is not a supporter of reform. Kansas needs reform!

  12. I second Kada’s motion for change in Indiana. I’ve wrote so many public officials. I might as well be talking to John Ashcroft. My job has recently started random drug testing as well! It’s the best kind too.. the kind where your boss grabs you by the belt with no notice and escorts you to the nurse’s office.. do not pass go, do not go to your desk or locker. Something HAS to happen.

  13. Get caught with 20+g in Florida- Felony, huge fine, your driver’s license gets suspended for two years.WTF nothing gets done in this state, while the country starts to move forward with marijuana law reform people like me stuck in florida have to settle for punishments 4 times harsher then the federal law. S#@t ruins your life.

  14. I was just thinking that I don’t see why the penalty for selling marijuana should be any more severe than the penalty for possessing marijuana, seeing as how those who are selling it are the ones doing all of the work and that both parties rely on one another, equally, for there to be business made.

  15. Demand Justice for Federal Marijuana Prisoners
    Harold Baranoff Marijuana Prisoner of War
    Marijuana is essential medicine. It is a lifeline form many people with serious chronic conditions. Marijuana relieves pain, stimulates appetites and reduces nausea. 13 states clearly recognize marijuana as medicine, but the Federal law remains intact. As a result of this tangle of legal jurisdiction, supplies of medical marijuana remain dependant on an underground network of growers and suppliers.
    The Bush years were a particularly dark time for patients dependant on these precarious links providing marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Agency ran roughshod over state law, raiding, seizing property, and prosecuting suppliers where the states had more reasonable approaches and they used the full weight of Federal law where state laws were far more lenient.
    The tactic of the DEA was to “Federalize” marijuana cases that had no business in Federal Court. Many small-time growers and small-time traffickers found themselves entangled in the Federal system. Because Federal law does not recognize medical marijuana, those charged by the DEA, or Drug Task Force agents, were not even able to raise the issue of medical marijuana in their own defense. Instead of probation or short sentences that would have resulted from the states handling these cases, the unlucky suppliers were saddled with extended stays in Federal Prisons as a result of Federal Guidelines and Mandatory Minimums.
    The Obama Administration has agreed to reverse the Bush policy concerning medical marijuana. This means an end to the DEA raids of marijuana suppliers in the 13 states that recognize marijuana as medicine. This is an important step in the right direction. But, for thousands of people currently held captive in Federal Prisons this news is bittersweet.
    Justice demands a system-wide re-evaluation for Federal Marijuana Prisoners. Too much suffering has resulted from long prison sentences. Reductions of these sentences would help right this tremendous injustice. It’s time to bring the prisoners home to their families.

  16. I hear everyone’s pain cause i too live in the Bible belt. Arkansas will also be among the last to legalize.Yes,I wrote and e-mailed my state rep only to get a letter back basically blowing me off,in which, the only thing that accomplished for my representative was pissing me off.He has not heard the last of me! Instead,I’m just getting warmed up. Now, he’s going to hear from me and all my friends and their friends and their friends…..well you get the picture. My best advice to the rest of you is to do the same and flood their mailroom until they are overwhelmed with letters for legalization. Get everyone you know that smokes or tokes and all their friends too and have them all write or e-mail at the same time and send them a letter once a week until all the reps for all the states get tired of seeing your letters and e-mails.If nothing else, we can make their lives miserable as well.Peace to all……

  17. Whaoo ! Illinois moving towards science and liberty. Its about time, considering Illinois technically legalized medical use in 1978 but never implemented the law.

  18. #34 Harley Says:
    March 6th, 2009 at 10:32 am
    I hear everyone’s pain cause i too live in the Bible belt…..
    RE: Harley,
    My thoughts on the ‘so-called’ Bible-Belt:
    – – How can anyone who claims that they’re a ‘Bible Believer’,
    yet supports continuing cannabis-prohibition really claim to believe
    in the entirety of their scriptures?
    – – Erradicating cannabis plants is
    essentially destroying one of the Creator’s finest provisions,
    depriving both wildlife, (nature / animals), and humans
    of its basic benefits as food and medicine.
    – – Rather than being truly ‘righteous’ / ‘godly’,
    they’re actually serving as poor stewards of God’s creation,
    more closely resembling witch-hunters / destroying-angels,
    than being the saints they claim to be.

  19. Read the other blog post on the NORML home page “US CO: When Cops Are Thieves”. This is a great example of why Marijuana will probably never be legal. Easily the most unfair aspect of the drug war is asset forfeture, yet here are 2 young, post baby boomer, in every other way progressive Democrats SPONSORING a bill to re-legalize police banditry. Rep. Joe Rice, D-Glendale, and in the Senate by Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Boulder. I visited both their websites and found myself approving of their stand on almost every issue, only to remember that they are both DRUG WAR FASCISTS. REPEAT: 2 Very progressive legislators in one of the more progressive states in the Union see absolutly no political risk in sponsoring a law that gives any law enforcement agency the “right” to STEAL anything they want based upon their own good faith imagination. I wonder how many Colorado voters who worked so hard for Amendment 20 in 2000 also pulled the lever for these two. This is what happens when you “agree to disagree on some issues while working together on others”. Gee I wonder how the NRA and the AARP would react. Ooops I forgot, those are SUCCSESSFUL organizations. If these two dissed either the NRA or AARP for much less than this demagogary, They wouldn’t get elected president of the glee club. GUN OWNERS AND SENIORS DEMAND, POT SMOKERS BEG.

  20. i would like to know how a company that is catholic based religon can do a random drug test and fire you if traces of marijuana are found. my question comes from the bible. when god finished creating the earth, he said, all is good. so if this company was to fire me then what their saying is god created something bad. is this being a hypocrite, i believe so, they do not have to test for this, they can test me all they want for anything else cause they’ll never find nothing. now the government, they claim seperation of church and state, however, on our currrency we have IN GOD WE TRUST, did god not put hemp into this world and why does the govt. not trust god “hypocrite” but we should trust the govt. i pray and hope that this country of ours will get off its stupid ideology of pot being the devil. we shall rise and reclaim what is a true gift from god.

  21. S#!T I’M FROM LOS ANGELES CA.. SEE OUT HEAR IT’$ HARD IN WEED ISINT MACCING NO!!!!!! BEATER BUT SHIT WHER I LEAVE IT’S BRAZE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. IM FROM JS.CA..ALL WE DO IS GET MONEY AND SMOKE UP..WE STAY GETTING MONEY STAY ACKTIVE..BLACK STONES JUNGLES..BABY STONES UP..JAYS UP 2 MA DAYS UP..40K 30K 60K 18K EK…

  23. I firmly believe that the Almighty gave us marijuana for medicines, textiles, foods, and pleasure.The lawyers and politicians take it away for one simple reason. It cannot be controlled, anyone could grow it. they would have no taxation accountability. we called them revenuers when it was moonshine, and when it was tobacco, the lobbyists were able to limit the common farmer to a tobacco base allotment. he was only allowed to grow so much, or face the loss of his income. In WV the older generation would understand the principle, if propaganda hadn’t been allowed to demonize weed. the concept of it being a medicine, or less harmful than cigarettes, or just a relaxing pleasure, or being useful in clothing, or food hasn’t been in the educational process. the alcohol,pharmacy, and tobacco lobby has made sure of that.true, we are considered a bible belt state, and i’ve read the bible for 43 years, but erasing what government propaganda has done to vilify cannabis will be just as difficult as it is to convince someone that all they have to do is learn that they can cry Father. As far as hypocrisy goes, the responses that i’ve had returned from my elected representative congressman rahall is his belief that marijuana is a gateway drug, a response that shows his uneducated stance, in the face of numerous committees that contradict his view, while his own arrest for drunk driving was largely swept under the rug of the good ol boy in power lobby. God gave us marijuana for good, men take it away for their own power.

  24. Man what is hard for me is how they say this is a free country, I don’t get pot prohibition at all, I don’t know how they can look into your house with infrared, or drug test you on your job when you haven’t given them a blatant reason. Marijuana isn’t addicting at all, doesn’t destroy your mind or body, safer than alchohol and tobacco. Freedoms in this country have slowly diminished and will continue, it’s all about the money I guess, that’s why they fine you when you speed instead of just taking your license away for a week, that’d work. If they tried to drug test me at work I’d refuse on principle. The laws ruin lives, a very ignorant/inadequate society.

  25. Look at gun laws, handguns are for killin, no other way to look at it. They have handguns legal yet the majority of states just let offenders carry them. I say if you want them legal, everybody carries them, or take them all away, then at least there will be less of them for the offenders to get ahold of and will diminish over time. We have people that have always obeyed the law for the most part running our country, went to college and read books and partied there asses off then got married, had kids now need income, none of these people have any experience in life only the classroom and marriage, never came home with a hurting back or hands from a hard days work that would build any type of character.

  26. Free country, free to go to work and pay taxes if you can find a job that will pay the bills, give you a nice vacation once a year, or the ability to save at least 100,000 every five or six years for retirement, free to watch the rich on T.V. while they make the rules to protect their positions in the system. I make $30 an hour in wisconsin and I’m single no kids and I don’t know how anybody else can survive without this kind of pay, because I’ve always been an avid saver and I’m just doing O.K.,, middle class,, I’m really watching to see what Robin Hood is gonna do in the White House,, God Bless Obama

  27. “# leroy Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 10:27 am
    I live in tx hhope they get this passed.I have seen many people go to jail for a sack, kids going to jail having a record their future fucked up,but a kid in a car with alcohol gets a ticket?”
    Dude, that is seriously messed up…. like Darwin awards kinda messed up.

  28. While some aspects of Maine’s LD 250 are good (lowering possession of under 4 oz as a civil offense), the law seems to be making it a Class E offense to possess anything from 4 to 8 oz, whereas the old Class E offense limit was 1 lb or 16 oz.

  29. i have hep c if not 4 smoken weed i would not eat are sleep with out man made drugs that heart my liver more then the weed ………..letts get real look at the taxes and jobs it would bring and dont for get the hemp plant we can make all most eny thing out of that the war on drugs is wrong we need schooling and treatment not maken a avarge man to school to learn how to do bad stuff

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