NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

Lots to report on this week, so let’s get right to it.
If you have not yet gotten active in your state, now is most definitely the time to start.
Here’s this week’s highlights of actions you can take right now to reform the laws in your state.
For a complete listing of statewide actions, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

Decriminalizing Marijuana: In a historic vote, members of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary last week approved Senate Bill 349, which as amended, would mandate that the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana by those over 18 years of age is punishable by a ticket — not criminal charges. The bill now awaits action from he full Senate. Show your support for this effort by logging on here or by getting in touch with Connecticut NORML here.
In Texas, members of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will hear testimony on Wednesday in favor of House Bill 902 — an act to reduce the penalties for the possession of up to ounce of marijuana to fine-only offense. The hearing is scheduled for 2pm in room E-2028 in the State Capitol Building. If you live in Texas you can write your representative in support of HB 902 by going here. You can also leave a message for the Committee by going here. Full details on attending this week’s hearing are available from Texas NORML here.
Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Minnesota lawmakers continue to show their support for making medical cannabis legal. Senate File 97 is now before the Senate floor, and the House companion bill is also gaining momentum. If you reside in Minnesota and want to see it become the fourteenth state to legalize the physician-supervised use of cannabis, please visit here to contact your elected officials and the Governor’s office.
In Alabama, members of the House Judiciary Committee are scheduled to hear testimony this Wednesday in favor House Bill 434, The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. If you live in Alabama you can contact your state officials here, and you can learn more about attending this week’s hearing from Alabamians for Compassionate Care here.
And since so many of you have asked: yes, medical marijuana legislation is coming to Pennsylvania. Over the past weeks, NORML state affiliates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have been working closely with Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia) to draft legislation legalizing the authorized use of medical cannabis. Representative Cohen’s bill is anticipated to be formally introduced before the legislature later this month, and mainstream media outlets are already opining for its passage. For more information, or to become involved in this effort, please visit here, or contact the good folks at Philly NORML.

UPDATE: Montana GOP Kills Marijuana Law Reform:
On March 23, members of the Montana House Judiciary Committee deadlocked 9 to 9 on House Bill 541, which sought to reclassify the possession of thirty grams or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction. Not one Republican voted in favor of the bill. An effort by supporters to raise the measure for reconsideration also failed.
Days later, members of the House Human Services Committee voted 8 to 8 on Friday, March 27, to table Senate Bill 326, which sought to expand Montana’s medical marijuana program. Once again, no Republicans endorsed the bill. A motion on the House floor to reconsider the bill failed 47 to 51.
More information on this disappointing news is available here. If you live in Montana, don’t just get angry — get involved!

To learn about additional pending legislation in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

0 thoughts

  1. What’s up with the TV ads I donated twice and the goal meter has not moved from $14,000 Does anyone know when the ads are starting???

  2. Every marijuana user must carry
    the 7 leaf cross on their back.
    And accept all persecution by this
    government, which denies a person
    freedom of life and liberty. I am
    ashamed to even live in this country,
    where we contain 5% of the population
    but 25% of the worlds prisoners.
    The 7 leaf cross, as in the holy
    leaf of cannabis is a great sign.
    Please accept the 7 leaf cross.
    And end the persecution.

  3. ROCK ON!!! Finally Texas is getting some relief! Me and my hippie friends in Austin are looking forward to this its about time!

  4. Really hoping Texas’ bill gets through!! Anyone have any idea on how it’s expected to do or how long it would be before decriminalization is in effect if all goes well?

  5. Thanks for what you’ve written Neil. I agree, we all must “bear the cross” of the 7 leaves.
    I was listening to Allen St. Pierre on the NORML PodCast this week, and he says we ALL need to get involved in our own liberation. Currently over 40% of Americans are in favor of Legalization and Taxation of Marijuana. Once the “tipping point” of 60% is reached, Marijuana WILL be legal. However, Allen states that it’s a 9 year trajectory for that to happen based on current events.
    My belief is that there are NOW ALREADY MORE than 60% of us in favor of legalization. We just need to “come out” without fear and speak the truth. We need to contribute to our own liberation with more than just our voices, but with our pocketbooks!
    It is estimated that there are over 20 MILLION regular Marijuana users in this country. Personally, I think there are MANY more. But if each of those 20 MILLION users each donated $10 to NORML, or any other organization committed to Marijuana Liberation, that our cause would be won.
    Allen admits that the $35 membership fee for NORML is a lot in these economic times. That may be so, but look at it another way. Is there something worth sacrificing? As for me, I’m an avid beer drinker since I can’t smoke Marijuana. (They test at work, and I don’t want to lose my job.) I’m willing to sacrifice the occasional beer to fund my membership. The occasional latte, the occasional “whatever it is,” to obtain my liberation.
    So how about it? Haven’t we lived in fear long enough? Our voices need to be heard. Please, give generously to NORLM for your LIBERATION!
    Johnny D

  6. umm … that would be NORML, rather than NORLM. My fingers have dyslexia. Not a good thing for an accountant to have …
    PLEASE CONTRIBUTE GENEROUSLY!

  7. So Connecticut wants to reduce the penalties for people over 18? Great! But the (legislative) penalties for people under 18 will still be astronomical, from a young persons perspective. (Currently $1000 fine, 1 year incarceration)
    I applaud Connecticut’s efforts, but think about it for a second… just sayin’.

  8. Damn, I read art 902 for Texas, to lower penalty to $500 fine, and I have to have been busted after sept. 2009 to only receive the fine. I was arrested in sept. ’08 and am still waiting to go before a judge and apparently, I would still be processed according to the rules of the previous law. This means that I have the max of 180 days and prison and a $2000 fine, and that I will probably be on probation for a year, and have to do well over 200 hours of community service.
    Not to mention the fact that my whole college career has been focused on the goal of going to China to study abroad, I’ve taken 3 semesters of Chinese, and I might not even be able to go to China now, due to criminal background check, or some such bs.
    Please, PLEASE, Texans, vote on this, and I might have a chance to avoid a harsh penalty on this bullcrap.
    I also wanted to say that I got the dankest quarter of shoreline confiscated and losing that bud was worse than 12 hours in jail. It’s dank aroma is what got me busted in the first place. Not only did it stink up my car and the cop’s car, it stunk up the entire police station. I think it may have been the best weed this podunk ass grimes county jail had ever seen. The cop actually told me he was impressed and made fun of this other guy he busted for having weak shit, and the other two joked about smoking my stuff. Cops aren’t really that bad, if you are just polite and whatnot. Haha, but I digress.

  9. I live in Northern California and have my State Cannabis Card. On Christmas Eve of 07 i was returning home from a dispensary holding 3 1/2 oz of medical marijuana when I got pulled over. The cop wrote me a receipt for the amount of marijuana I had and took it, however, I stuck to the rule book and did exactly what i was supposed to. (ex. Must be in trunk, Must be going from dispensary to home.) I fought the case in court and got the charges dropped but I never got my medicine back. Just a little heads up that Federal Law overrides State Law so be careful and out there and remember, this country is crooked. MOVE TO Britsh Columbia! -T_Blunt

  10. sad news from montana…vote those republicans out, they’re the prohibition party for sure…thanks for the link #3, i’m here in north fl and will be signing it and sending a donation! thank you!

  11. In Wisconsin you can eat all the cheese you want and die from a heart attack, but you better not smoke any weed!

  12. For everyone waiting to HEAR about your own state’s marijuana Bills, all you have to do is call your legislators to get the info. and find out exactly where the Bill is standing at present.
    (# 13) I only have one concern about waiting nine more years for reform. The world is suppose to end December 21, 2012, according to the Myan Calendar.

  13. How do lawmakers know what to vote on? What do they really care about? The truth is they don’t care. Most will do what the people want of them, we just have to let them know. Call them, email, go to there office and let them know how you feel.
    They will keep track of what side people are on by there phone calls and emails. As long as we keep on them, they will vote the way we want.
    If you are reading this you can help. Take some time to send a email to your lawmaker. Then give them a call, you wont have to talk to them, just leave a message. Tell them this is a make or break issue for you and your VOTE depends on there vote.
    Next go tell people that you know all about our effort. Have them contact law makers as well. If they keep hearing from us and new people, every time they look in there inbox, they will have to act.
    Gen 1:29 And God said, “See, I have geven you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth.

  14. Damn… Not one republican voted for it. I thought republicans were supposed to be about states rights, small federal government? I guess Ron Paul’s the only true republican left…

  15. New York can really use legalized marijuana! Who the hell doesn’t smoke in NY? 😉
    Our war on marijuana is embarrassing and absurd, it has got to end fast- 40 years is too much!

  16. I just wish they’d pass the damn law across the country already. I need work badly, and I’d be more than happy to sign right up with a company that sells or distributes Cannabis legally.
    I can’t afford to join NORML because I have no money, and I can’t even smoke right now for the same reason. I would if I could, but rent, food and bills trump one of the few things that actually give me joy anymore.

  17. It’s a shame that so many of “us” Americans resent and distrust our Gov’t………But, I guess they(the Gov’t.) don’t care about how “WE” the people view our government. It’s funny(but not really) how our leaders have let greed trump over reason………….

  18. Crossing my fingers here in Alabama. Just seeing all of these states at least trying to reform laws is very exciting and encouraging.

  19. This was written by Charley Reese. It’s called 545 People.
    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered if both Democrats and Republicans are against deficits WHY do we have them? Have you ever wondered if all politicians are against inflation and high tax rates Why do we have them?
    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The house of representatives do. You and I don’t write tax code congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy congress does.You and I don’t control monetary policy the federal reserve does.
    One hundred senators , 435 representatives, The President and nine Supreme court justices 545 human beings out of 300 milion are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague us.
    If the tax code is unfair it is because they want it that way.
    If the budget is in the red it is because they want it that way. If the Army and the Navy are in Iraq it is because they want them there.
    ( this is my thought) If marijauna and other drugs are prohibited it is because they want it that way. The people of this country do not control this country. 545 people control 300 million of us because we let them.
    I think you get Charley Reese’s point.
    I am part of the baby boom generation and I think it is time that we let our elected officials know that we expect them to act on the issues in a way that is consistent with the peoples wants,needs and demands. If we don’t like what they are doing we should vote them out of office!!!!

  20. I just emailed my state represnative in Texas. I am sorry to inform everyone that he will not support the new bill to change the law to a fine only offense.

  21. So what happened with marylands hearing? Norml just like totally forgot all about us or something:( the hearing was on march 24 so its been a while there should be some type of info on what happened

  22. I agree with #3 and #12 we finally got something going in Florida and so far I have seen NORML TALK about it only once and I don’t know if their helping out in anyway. Florida is one of, if not thee most backwards state when it comes to marijuana and I think NORML needs to realize how important a state like this could be in turning the tide.

  23. I live in NJ and I talked to someone who works closely with Governor Corzine and knows what is going on in the State Senate etc. He says that the head of the Senate will not even introduce the bill, which would legalize medical marijuana, for a vote on the floor. He’s just going to let it die without any vote. If it was brought to a vote it would pass for sure. It’s just unfair and unAmerican.

  24. It’s sad that the majority of these elected officials will only support legislation that will ensure the security of their on agendas. When they campaign or “whore” themselves to the public for votes they “promise” to fight for the people, to listen to what the people want and do the best to get that done. Very few if any politicians have the balls to actually stand up or put forth legislation the is consistent with these promises. Congressman Ron Paul, is one of only a handful of politicians who I actually believe does his best to accomplish what the people he was elected to represent ask of him. I am neither Dem or Republican but my views tend to fall more on the liberal side. That being said, Ron Paul is one hell of a Senator. I am very optimistic seeing the legislation that seems to be piling on for medical marijuana and decriminlization. The next step LEGALIZATION. We can do it California…I think the reason that we do not see pro-legalization is the same reason politicians won’t vote for decriminalization, the almighty dollar! If networks started airing pro-cannibus commercials what kind of backlash, negative publicity, boycotting and other nonsense would they be bombarded with from the uninformed. It’s almost like the system is set up for us to fail. That will not stop us. Freedom will prevail!!

  25. just 1 question. why do all these states vote on MMJ, then the congress ignores states vote and says no in fed area?seems to me that they ignore the will of the people.
    well..maybe they can ignore the will now but lets see them ignore the Tar and feather that is stuk to them.ill personally assist. If they don’t wake up to the fact they are keeping the safest medicine away from sick people.
    GOD? well if he put it here he put it here for us to enjoy and self medicate.

  26. Are you feeling hopeless about your state legalizing marijuana? The only answer is to join forces with National Organizations like NORML and protest. Vote your current politicians out next election and show this ahead of time by petition if you want to make a statement. Or, you can give up entirely, just like politicians want. Don’t blame NORML, join forces with NORML and fight! “Damn it, you will try or you will suffer even longer!”

  27. Florida needs to get its self together! Miami’s got some of the best weed in the world, we all need to enjoy it!
    Criminalizing it hasn’t done anything but increase black market crime and created a hatred for authority among the youth.

  28. In my home town I was horrified to read that a man was sentanced to 2 years of hard labor for his second offense of possesion of marijuanna…. This deeply bothers me as well as it should everyone else in the nation. Why is this NON- violent offender being locked up with the people who are threats to norml citizens?

  29. ALSO: I wrote Bobby J. (Gov of La) a 3 page email asking 1 question, “Why have there been no open minded and intelligent discussions on marijuana laws and possibly reform?” 5 weeks ago. I gave my email address, telephone number, and home address and I have yet to recieve any reply…

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