NORML's Weekly Legislative Round Up

Over the past 24 hours, several state legislatures have taken steps to enact medical marijuana legislation or improve upon existing law. Here is a summary of this latest progress.

New Hampshire: The Senate voted 14 to 10 today in favor of HB 648, which would allow qualified patients to possess up to two ounces of cannabis and/or six plants for medical purposes. Because the Senate made minor amendments to the proposal, it must be re-approved by the House before going to Gov. John Lynch – who has expressed reservations about the measure. Starting tomorrow, our allies NH Compassion will begin airing television ads asking for the Governor to support HB 648. If you live in New Hampshire, you can write or call Gov. Lynch here.
Minnesota: Also today, members of the State Senate gave preliminary approval to Senate File 97, an act to exempt qualified medical cannabis patients from state arrest and prosecution. The Senate is expected to give final passage to the bill imminently. A companion bill, House File 292, is also expected to be before the House floor shortly. If you live in Minnesota, please support this campaign by contacting your state representative and especially Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Additional information is available from Minnesota Cares here.
Rhode Island: Members of the Rhode Island Senate voted 35 to 2 today in favor of SB 185, an act to allow for the distribution of medical cannabis by state-licensed compassion centers. A companion bill, HB 5359, is pending in the House and is expected to be voted on shortly. UPDATE! Today the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee voted 8-0 in favor of HB 5359. The bill now goes to the House floor. If you live in Rhode Island, please contact your House member and urge him or her to follow the Senate’s lead and support HB 5359. Even if the both chambers ultimately approve this effort, it is likely that the legislature will need to override the Governor’s veto before this measure can become state law. That means that every vote counts. For more information about this campaign, please visit the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition here.
Pennsylvania: Finally, NORML is thrilled to announce that Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia), along with six co-sponsors, introduced legislation today to make Pennsylvania the fourteenth state to legalize the physician-supervised use of cannabis. As introduced — House Bill 1393, The Barry Busch Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of 2009 — would allow state-authorized patients to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The measure also seeks to allow for the state-licensed distribution and sale of medical marijuana by authorized ‘compassion centers. For several months, Philly NORML has worked behind the scenes with Rep. Cohen’s staff to draft this important legislation, which you can read about here. If you live in Pennsylvania, you can support this effort by going here.

To learn about additional medical marijuana law reform legislation in Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas, please visit NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page here.

0 thoughts

  1. We are slowly chipping away at full legalization. One medical bill at a time. The future seems bright, for cannabis users anyway. The day is coming, most people I speak to about it never believe it’ll happen, but I know if they took a different attitude toward the issue it could definitely happen. I still don’t smoke because I’m in the Military, but the smokers I do know automatically write off legalization as a pipe dream. I can’t figure out why, for the life of me. I guess you have to go back to the old cliche’ “If don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything”.

  2. If MN and IL pass, this will surely give Wisconsin an even greater chance of getting a medical marijuana bill in place sooner rather than later.

  3. Man, every week I read these and I never see Florida mentioned. Our state needs to do something about these terribly backwards cannabis laws.

  4. What about CA’s AB 390?
    I’m not from there but i consider that bill to be the most important one of them all (along with MA’s bill).
    Sure Medical law is good, but wouldn’t that mean if all 50 states did favor that, it would be treated only as a medicine rather than using it to relax from a hard day of work?
    And wouldn’t it also mean that MJ will still be illegal and that the war on drugs will still continue to drain our tax dollars due to supply and demand for the people who smoke it recreationally?
    I want an answer from NORML about this or anyone in here who can give me an answer to my questions.

  5. Thank you Pa. I am suffering from early stages of arthritis.Hope to be able to treat this potentially crippling infliction.

  6. We have got to have one coming for VIRGINIA next year!!!!!come on virginians step up and let our voices be heard!!! I hear everybody else doing something….why cant we be next!!!!

  7. May 2, 2009 Liberate Marijuana…..join us as we march for the reform of marijuana in DC at noon north side of the white house!!!

  8. What is the purpose of the war on cannabis?
    It is proven to have clear medical benefits,
    yet the war continues.
    This plant has been around for thousands of years,
    and the medical usage of this plant has
    been known for as long as human beings have used
    any plant for agriculture. It is a shame
    when we deny who we are by being
    who we are not. Or by living a life which
    George bush and his regime claimed to be
    suitable, as in torture. When you deny people
    their rights and freedom as a human being,
    i think that in essence mother earth
    will strike back. ANd that is what i think
    will happen with marijuana.
    God Put this plant here, he gave us this
    plant. Shiva is seen holding the pipe of
    ganja, and to deny that, or
    persecute that is a great injustice
    to everyone and everything.

  9. It would be nice if Indiana legislators start enacting marijuana legislation in our state. By the time that happens I will be 80 years old. Next month I will be 56, it seems like the older i get, time is going by quicker. Time is on my side but it is’nt. Been tokin for about 38 years and still going strong. My biggest wish is MARIJUANA LEGALIZED in the real near future. We older tokers DON’T BURN OUT WE JUST FADE AWAY AND RUST NEVER SLEEPS. 420 ALL THE WAY!

  10. Things are moving in the right direction…
    Have the T.V. adds helped NORML get more members or money? These are the things that will help us move up to the same status as the NRA or PETA.

  11. one by one the cookies are crumbling.
    we are reaching critical mass levels here so that med marijuana needs to be legalized nationally…at the same time it is legalized for recreational use.
    try and tax it if you must but legalize both cannabis and hemp within the first term obama.

  12. come on NY!!! I wrote to paterson on this a few times and now just sent letters to my two local reps to vote on this. I have severe pain from ankylosing spondylitis and would love to be able to get MM to help me out since the pain killers and muscle relaxants aren’t working that well. I’m tired of living like this and am getting desperate. 🙁

  13. what the heck just legalize it already!! its too easy to get anyhow!! The fact of the matter is, teens can buy and consume marijuana faster and quicker than they can alcohol and this is just pretty funny!! i laugh at prohibition and every one that supports it, they’er actually funny because they believe they make a difference, thats hilarious, hahahahahah

  14. RE: Comment #7, at the request of the sponsor, AB 390 will be held over until 2010. The Assembly will take up the issue then.

  15. yes we need florida to get on-board with this, i heard somewhere that florida was trying to get signatures to get this done. alsoi am uneasy with the fact that everyoneisgoing for just the medical aspect, i believe that if it is made legal for medical then lagalizing will be stuck in somesort of limbo where it will become a felony to posess any amount of it if you do not have a prescription for it just as vicodin and xanax and such. if it were to play out like that then the prison population will not change except maybe for the worse and then it will be another 70 years till we can finally get it legalized. we definitely need for california to fully legalize it or this will happen, and then we will think we have won but we will really be giving them the tools to send people away for much longer for a much smaller amount.

  16. also i have discovered a law that says if more than half of the states adopt a law (i believe it was half but might have been 2/3)then the federal government must adopt the same law period. i have not been able to find thislaw again as i have no clue where i had found itbut if this is the case then we do not have too many more states to go untill we will have accomplished this for medical. if anyone else knows of this law then please post it so that i can find it again.

  17. the problem with allowing the gov to tax and regulate is the fact that the more control we give them the more they are going to take. what happened to freedom, of choice to make a good or bad decision. its mine to make. dont threaten me with an offense if i am not hurting another. stay out of our life i dont need a nanny or you to tell me i cant do because it might not be good for my health. its my health, they dont mind if i die of a legal drug they say is going to help and then it kills us. just as long as they get their money. peace stop all government interference in our life, its almost to late.

  18. Is it just me but in what polls have there ever been 80% of the American people agree on anything?
    Wake up Washington….

  19. new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york neww york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york new york !

  20. NORML, Please help Missouri to push through HB 277
    I, along with thousands of others in Missouri, need my medication. I suffer from interstitial cystitis, a chronic and painful kidney and bladder disease for which there is no cure. I take Gabapentin, which does nothing useful but increases the frequency of my migraines. I cannot take the Vicodin or Percocet because I have to work for a living and my job does not include napping in the corner.
    House Speaker Ron Richard is dragging his feet to assign this bill to its FIRST committee, even though they read it twice in January. It’s stalled.

  21. been thru… wFri Apr 30 2009 11:33
    3 years ago i was sitting at home…. minding my own business never been in trouble with the law in my life…. When a banging on my front door happened…I opened the door and had a gun stuck to my face asking for some girl i have never heard of….. in front of my 2 kids 3 and 5….I told them i did not know who they were looking for and they were at the wrong place..And i asked them if they would leave nicely cause the guns was scaring me and my kids to death and law was running all around my house with guns out screaming out at each other were at the right place surounding my house..I asked them to leave again they were at the wrong place…They continued to run around my house thru the woods around the back of my house they were everywhere…I have never seen anything so unprofessionaly the HENDERSONVILLE N.C. SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT…..THEY ARE A JOKE!!!!!!!! in case they did not know they make devices called gps….So again i told them that just me and my family lives here and have for 2 years…they said they had a felony warrant for this girl that i do not even know….so they continued to surrounded my house remember with guns pulled out…. scared me and my kids to death…well for years i have used medical marijuana for 3 virtibrates growed together in my back since birth…Because i did not want to chance the addiction to pain killers…. so behind my house i had 12 plants for personal use that were only 6 inches tall at the time..So of course they see them them…Remember they are at the wrong address…But all a sudden im now in trouble…Next thing u know the drug detectives of the county now show up…and the tearing apart my house begins searching everything even my kids rooms which really pissed me off ..Im not that kind of person… I told them it was my pot… showed them my crooked back and that was what it was used for….And that i did not sell pot….So they took my plants and left did not charge me till 2 weeks later…They the detectives then questioned me and my wife separately…. They told me if i would go make 3 buys in the amount of pounds this would all go away well i do not buy pot i told them that plus put my family in danger even if i knew where to buy some at in that amount…i asked them if they were crazy im growing weed in my own back yard why would i buy any common sense ya’ll…So the detectives then said if i did not sign and write out that all plants were mine they ..Would then charge my wife with the same charges and i would have to hire 2 attorneys because of conflict of interest and it would cost me double in money..kinda unfair i thought…I told them all they done was contribute to the so called drug war because i did not buy pot i growed my own.. And all they had done was make me go out and buy some which then just put money in the hands of criminals ….Or the so called drug war…They then went silent they had no answer for that…. the value of the pot found in my house was valued at 10 dollars they said….. and for the 12 plants in the back that were 6 inches tall they valued the at 60,000 which i would have to pay taxes on…I was then charged with maintaining a dwelling felony… manufacturing marijuana felony… and whatever the charge was for my pipe and rolling papers another felony……Now the sad part of this is my kids are scared of the police after this if they got lost they would not try to get help from them since they seen them hold a gun to daddys face…and both my boys have their lifetime hunting liense. remember they were at the wrong address….Which after 1 hr these keystone cops figured out they were at the wrong address and told me they were sorry… after court and thousands of dollars later i was convicted with manufacturing a felony..And was sentenced to 18 months probation and 1 hell of a fine plus 2500 dollars attorntey fees…….And of course with that kind of charge i lost my job for life..And it is very hard to get a good job it will affect me for the rest of my life..Also there went my hunting rights with a gun anyway…and the law was 2 miles from the house they thought they were at how unprofessional is that… i quit using medical marijuana went to the doctor and now am fighting the addiction the oxycodone pain killers….which a can hardly even afford for my back pain!!!!!…..i thought we had rights against these type of things but due to the good faith law we don,t….if they think they are at the right house in good faith they can do this to everybody…..Also after some reseach this is happening in this county qite a bit…i wish there was something a could do to change this but i have found out the the law can do whatever they want when they 37 years old and now for the first time in my life i now have a record…..How unprofessional the law was being 2 miles from the house the they were supposed to be at…. Good job HENDERSONVILLE N.C.. P.D…. u have scared my kids to death of law enforcement….. and ruined my life and got me hooked on pain killers now….But im trying to get off the pain killers and go back to medical marijuana since it is not addicting….ya’ll are the most unprofessional P.D. i have ever heard of….Oh yes and of course never broke any laws in my life been in any kind of trouble and so i completed my probation…With no problem…..If anybody knows how to help me with this felony please do or my rights….please make it legal cause this oxycodone addiction is the hardest thing i have ever done wish me luck…. thank,s …

  22. greenbuds i had almost the exact same thing happen to me before except i had no children at the time and the pot wasnt mine, it was a guys who i let stay the night since his girlfriend and him were fighting. we were not there at the time when they raided and i watched them from behind a fence. they charged me with manufacturing and i too am screwed for life. the only thing you can do is wait 7 years and have your felony expunged from your record. unfortunately for me i have also aquired a second felony because i did not return a couple movies to a video store before i moved out the state of montana and the store owner said they were worth over 200 dollars a piece because they were new releases. sounds stupid i know but it really is true and i didnt even keep them, the people where i was staying at the time were supposed to return them. we live in a police country where everyone fears the police and they overstep their bounds every inch of the way. due to this war on drugs we have lost soooo many rights and we are tired of this and i believe we need to all stand up. when the people fear their government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty!

  23. We need to fight for Medical Marijuana for NSAID intolerant people!!!!!
    NORML– you NEVER EVER REPLY TO MY E-MAILS, so I am saying this here:
    A person who can’t take aspirin or ibuproferin based medications, should NOT be limited to dangerous and addictive narcotics (oxy) or ineffective synthetics (darvocet) to combat pain.

  24. Collectively add up all the pain from each person jailed for simple possession of marijuana. A book author or movie producer could be rich over night with the right slant, createing something we haven’t seen or considered like, “The Human Factor.” If you have no heart or compassionate feelings for others, this won’t appeal to you at all. On the other hand, this could start an uprising like nothing we’ve seen in the past. Make no mistake in understanding that if you smoke pot, it’s because the police let you and that’s the truth. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that your secret use of marijuana is safe.
    We’ve evolved from a super secret sub-culture to an above average activist status for MJ. The 1960’s would have been successful in MJ reform if they’d been better organized and funded. Today, NORML and a half dozen National Organizations, are what was missing during the 1960’s. Now that we’ve corrected our mistakes from the past. Politicians are the only wall between reform of MJ laws and freedom.
    Hell, if the system doesn’t work any better than it’s doing right now for many issues, what’s the sense in keeping it in place. Or should we just remove the ass holes that are in office? History has shown that when political leaders are out of touch with it’s people, the people take action in the most extreme ways especially when citizens lives are destroyed by corrupt, out dated laws.

  25. Mr. R. D. Seymour
    Being wise starts with educational reading, that’s why our numbers are growing. How can we expect anyone to vote for and support marijuana issues without a complete understanding of medicinal and personal use of marijuana.
    1. ” Medical Marijuana Activist Community Empowerment Resources.” Joining forces to be affective & knowledgable Activist for the medicine that cures cancer, etc.
    2. “To Our Last Breath-Medical Marijuana For The Cure.” A what we have to do book till our State approves medicinal uses for marijuana.
    These books are FREE from the author!

  26. To all my Texans this is it people! If HB 902 and HB 164 don’t get attention before June 1st, it will be 2011 before we have another chance. for more info

  27. Texas: Is there a companion bill for HB164 or HB902 yet? I read that if no one offers a companion bill it will die in committee. Could someone please explain why we need this in the first place?

  28. Cannabis re-legalization depends on votes and money. “Big Brother” is becoming more afraid and things will definitely get worse before they get better. This is more tragic because this issue could be totally resolved with a simple reading of the Constitution.

  29. Legalizing for Medical reasons is just the right thing to do. Unfortunately, as a society many have been conditioned to believe that marijuana is evil. People see the images of staged actors playing stoned on anti-drug commercials and it doesn’t help that they’re all teens. Teens should not drink, sign contracts, be in charge of important things or smoke. Since everyone sees this and only this side, they become conditioned to believe it is harmful, that it is a gateway drug, people will die, etc, etc, etc. The first time I smoked I was convinced that I felt nothing, why? My expectations were built up, I was waiting to feel like I was floating, I expected to see things etc. My preconceived notions and trumped up expectations were greater than the actual effect. For those who say I will never try it, don’t. Just don’t force your sense of justice and morality, based on notions and misinformation down everyone’s throat. Everyone in this country has the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. For many, the right to Life is challenged and during life’s hardest times (as those with illness) sometimes Marijuana can give you a little happiness and can help make life better.
    P.S. Not all Marijuana users are teens, rappers, thugs, or morons, just the ones on TV. Many are respectable professionals and you might be surprised to find out how many of us there are.

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