NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

As I wrote on NORML’s blog yesterday, let the White House laugh for now but the public knows that the marijuana law reform issue is no laughing matter.
More states are moving forward to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, and this week has been especially busy.
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!

Taxing & Regulating Marijuana: As we noted previously this week, a pair of bills — House Bill 2929 and Senate Bill 1801 — seeking to “tax and regulate the cannabis industry” have been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. You can show your support for these measures here.
In California, next Tuesday’s scheduled hearing before the Public Safety Committee on Assembly Bill 390: The Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act, has been postponed. However, this is a good news! Members of the Committee on Public Safety and Health were anticipated to vote on AB 390 immediately following next week’s hearing. While it is impossible to know how the Committee would have voted, all early indications were that several powerful members of the Committee were expected to oppose the bill. We now have additional time to lobby the Public Safety Committee and the Assembly to support AB 390, which you can do here and here.
Decriminalizing Marijuana: Members of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary heard testimony this week from NORML and others in favor of Senate Bill 349, which seeks to reclassify the possession of minor amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction. This measure is backed by a solid majority of state voters, and you can urge the Judiciary Committee to support this effort here.
Members of the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee also heard testimony in favor of a similar bill, Senate Bill 320. You can read about the hearing here, and voice your support by going here.
Finally in Montana, members of the House Judiciary Committee deadlocked in a 9 to 9 vote this week on House Bill 541, which seeks to reclassify the possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction. This action does not kill HB 541, as the Committee can reconsider the issue if just one member is persuaded to change their vote. Help them do so by going here.
Legalizing Medical Marijuana: In arguably the biggest legislative news of the week, members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted Wednesday 234 to 138 in favor of House Bill 648, which seeks to authorize the physician supervised use of marijuana. The vote marked the first time that either chamber of the legislature had voted in favor of the medicinal use of cannabis. You can learn more about this effort by going here and here.
In other progress, legislative committees in Illinois and Minnesota also approved medical marijuana bills this week. Key hearings and committee votes are also scheduled in the coming days in Montana and Alabama. You can learn how to support these and other statewide medical cannabis efforts at NORML’s Take Action Center here.

To learn about additional pending legislation in Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Washington, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

0 thoughts

  1. I realize that most support for re-legalizing cannabis is from those on the left. You will need to convince at least some on the right to change their mind on this issue. I don’t use any illegal drugs. None.
    Here are some tips from a Conservative who only recently changed his mind. And it was due to the current war on our southern border.
    When you create your fliers or publicly march, speak to politicians, or to the press, avoid any partisanship. Stay on message. Saying or displaying a Bush-bashing sign is not going to help the cause. The cause needs voters on both sides of this issue.
    When Obama mocked the question of ending prohibition he demonstrated that the general public’s perception of people who want to use cannabis are ‘pot heads’. They are lazy and probably commit crimes. I don’t believe that stereotype, but millions of people do. Prove them wrong.
    If you are going to be seen in public to stand up for this issue then look your best. Leave your pot leaf shirt at home. That will only further the stereotype. The people that I would be inclined to listen to (as a Conservative) are those that look and dress like my office workers or my next door neighbors. I believe that the more you look like a professional business person the greater audience you will have.
    My words may not be accepted by all, and I my only goal here is to help you succeed in ending prohibition. When you are in public, you gotta play the game. After the laws are changed, you can do whatever you want.
    I hope the laws change soon. Momentum is on your/my side.

  2. Token Conservative #53 is from the hip with no lip. regarding being in the public eye that would take some public event relevent to ending cannabis prohibition and i am unaware of any that have been proposed other than recommendations made in the NORML posts by posters. I think i’ll wait for a public event before i trim my beard and coverup my harley tatoos with a long sleeve shirt.

  3. ALL-Caps EMPHASIS and BULLET-ization in #53 Token Conservative’s post IS mine:
    *****
    #53 Token Conservative Says:
    March 30th, 2009 at 3:44 pm
    *. . . If you are going to be seen in public to stand up for this issue then LOOK YOUR BEST.
    Leave your pot leaf shirt at home. That will only further the stereotype.
    * The people that I would be inclined to listen to (as a Conservative) are those
    that look and dress like my office workers or my next door neighbors.
    * I believe that the more you look like a professional business person
    the greater audience you will have.
    My words may not be accepted by all,
    and
    I my only goal here is to help you SUCCEED in ENDING PROHIBITION.
    * When you are in public, you gotta play the game.
    After the laws are changed,
    you can do whatever you want.
    – – –
    #54 watcher Says:
    March 31st, 2009 at 1:05 am
    Token Conservative #53 is from the hip with no lip.
    regarding being in the public eye . . .
    – –
    RE:
    #54 watcher,
    I agree!
    RE:
    #53 Token Conservative,
    – – A practical example of improving one’s PUBLIC APPEARENCE,
    (As shown in one of the NORML 2008-09 Ad Contest video-ENTRIES):

  4. FYI, I have no intentions of trying to get people worked up. No intention all.
    To #55, that was a good video.
    To #56, the more support we can get on the right, the quicker prohibition can end.

  5. Don’t dismiss #53, as he makes a valid point. Cannabis use has for the longest time been stereotyped. Up in Smoke, while it is a great flick, we all don’t look like Cheech and Chong, but are very often labelled as such. Media is a big money game, and appearance does matter. Due to the mis-perceptions by the brain washed masses on BOTH sides of the isle, a clean appearance makes a lot more sense than looking like the survivior of a 48 hour bong-a-thon. That does not at all mean a hair cut, shave and three piece suit. I have been to a number of events and often the media pick the weirdest looking guy and a business suit type for interviews to give the appearance of being un-biased. Remember the media panders to special interests. If you are interviewed by the media, be careful, as most of what you say maybe taken and quoted out of context. It is very hard to control your own message when you are interviewed by media, especially when – and thats 99% of the time – your interview gets reviewed, cut, edited and often quoted out of context. Appearance does matter to them, not that it does in reality. But as long as the book gets judged by the cover, that cover ought not be dog-eared.
    And no, I am not a closet conservative or liberal in any accepted sense, I consider myself a liberal socialist more along Bernie Sanders way of thinking.

  6. Can NORML Please Alert the General Public to FLORIDA’s new Medical Marijuana initiative. Information can be found at http://www.pfmm.org/
    FLORIDIANS NEED A HAND IN BEING INFORMED ABOUT THIS MEASURE. Can NORML help get the word out?

  7. Connecticut’s bill has made it through the first round with far less molestation than other states (1/2 ounce, $250 fine), and it won’t matter anyway because Rell is almost certainly going to veto it.

  8. Is there anyone out there who is working in Pennsylvania on law reform. I never hear anything coming from PA. Probably not a good sign but I will continue to hope for the best!!

  9. Anyone from Missouri???? The state is dragging its feet on getting HB277 reviewed by the health and human services committee. We can’t vote on this initiative until this happens. Please contact all of your state and local reps/sens and ask them what the problem is???? Ask them what is really important to them!!! Is it the needs of the people of Missouri or the profit margins of the big business pharmacuetical companies that poison people with hydros and percocets who are in need of pain relief. I would much rather go into my backyard and pluck me or my family some pain relief than to pump them full of addictive chemicals. Lets all make Missouri the 14th medical marijuana state on the map.

  10. I just got an important e-mail from NORML about HB277(medical marijuana) in Missouri!!! It reads as follows……..April 8, 2009
    To NORML Members and Supporters in Missouri
    RE: Time to Contact Missouri House Speaker about Medical Marijuana
    Dear Friends:
    A bill to establish legal access to medical marijuana with the approval of
    a doctor for patients in Missouri is now pending in the Missouri House of
    Representatives. The Missouri legislature adjourns for the year on May
    15. It is therefore critical at this time that we make our best effort to
    move this bill forward.
    The speaker of the Missouri House, Representative Ron Richard, is
    single-handedly stopping this bill from having any opportunity for a
    hearing in committee or any further debate. It is the job of the Speaker
    to assign bills to Committees for hearing. By refusing to assign this
    bill, (and others he happens to dislike) to a Committee, he can
    effectively kill legislation.
    This week, and during the next few weeks, we are urging NORML members and
    supporters throughout our state to call Speaker Ron Richard at his office
    in Jefferson City at 573-751-2173 to urge the Speaker to assign House Bill
    277 to a Committee for a hearing. Please do that right away!
    We have managed to tie up the phones in the Speaker’s office on the days
    when we have organized phone calls recently. We are definitely getting
    his attention.
    The legislature is in session from noon on Monday through noon on
    Thursday. Please call his office during that time and let him know that,
    as a Missouri citizen, you want him to do his job and get this bill
    assigned to a Committee immediately.
    His staff has been attempting to distract some of our callers by asking
    them to instead contact the Governor or certain other legislators. Do not
    be deceived. Only one individual has the power to move this bill forward
    and that is Speaker Ron Richard.
    If you are asked any questions to which you do not know the answer, tell
    them you will call them back when you have a chance to check on that
    matter. The bottom line is to make sure that they know that you know that
    Ron Richard is the man responsible for preventing this bill from receiving
    a fair hearing and for prolonging needless suffering of thousands of
    Missouri citizens who could be receiving the same relief which patients in
    13 other states now do.
    Please contact me to let me know what response you receive, if any, from
    the staff members you speak to. Thank you very much for making this
    effort which will lay the foundation for eventual passage of medical
    marijuana legislation in our state!
    Sincerely,
    Dan Viets, Attorney and Counselor
    Missouri NORML Coordinator

  11. THANKS 53 TOKEN CONSERVATIVE FOR THE COMMONALITY AND GOOD ADVICE. MOST OF MY POSTS PAINT REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES AS THE ENEMY OF REFORM, BUT YOUR WORDS ARE SOLID. REAL REFORM WON’T HAPPEN UNTIL WE LEARN HOW POLITICS WORKS IN THE USA. WE HAVE A LONG LONG WAY TO GO. AGAIN NORML WOULD DO WELL TO STUDY THE TACTICS OF SUCCESSFUL GROUPS LIKE THE NRA AND AARP.

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