NORML's Weekly Legislative Round Up

Statewide efforts to enact medical marijuana law reform still remain in play in nearly a dozen states.
Here are some highlights and ways that you can help.

New Jersey: Last Thursday, members of the state assembly Health and Senior Services Committee substituted, then approved, Assembly Bill 804: the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The bill will now go before the full Assembly.
However, as substituted by the Committee, neither qualified patients nor their caregivers would be authorized to grow cannabis medicinally under the law. Instead, patients will be required to obtain their medicine from yet to be established ‘nonprofit Alternative Treatment Centers.’ (Read all of the changes made to the measure here.)
A less restrictive version of this proposal, Senate Bill 119, was approved by the Senate in February. If the Assembly ultimately approves A 804, members of the Senate would have to approve the Assembly’s changes.
Further information about this effort, visit the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey or go here.
New York: Legislation (Assembly Bill 7542) to exempt qualified medical cannabis patients from state arrest and prosecution continues to move through the state Assembly. So far, members of the Committees on Health, Codes, and Ways and Means have all signed off on the proposal, which is now before the Assembly Committee on Rules. A companion bill, Senate Bill 4041-A, remains pending before the Senate Committee on Codes. If you live in New York, you can contact your elected officials and urge them to support this effort by going here or here.
Delaware: Last week, members of the Senate Health & Social Services Committee approved Senate Bill 94, an act that seeks to allow for the use of medical cannabis by state-authorized patients. The full Senate is expected to take action on the measure in the coming weeks. If you live in Delaware, please urge your state Senator to move expeditiously on SB 94 by going here.
Illinois: House lawmakers adjourned last week without taking a floor vote on Senate Bill 1381, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. However, this does not mean that SB 1382 is dead! House members may call the bill for a floor vote later this fall. If not, the bill will carry over to January 2010, where lawmakers will once again take up the measure. To get involved in this effort, please visit Illinois NORML or go here.
New Hampshire: If you live in New Hampshire and you have not yet contacted Governor John Lynch and urged him to protect patients who use marijuana medicinally, you can do so by going here or here. Gov. Lynch is the only hurdle that stands in the way of patients and their medicine in the Granite state, so make your voice heard now.

For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action page here.

0 thoughts

  1. Geez, what exactly do people think pot is or does that it’s treated like some highly toxic radioactive substance that can’t be let loose on the community without tough security measures in place? I guess the reefer madness myth still holds true.

  2. hopefully if/when the bill passes in NJ the law will have a review in a years time to let patients grow for themselves.

  3. Thanks for leaving Florida out again:
    [Editor’s note: The ‘puffmm’ effort is not a legislative endeavor, therefore, not surprisingly, there is no reference to it in the weekly legislative round-up.]

  4. We are not moving fast enough. We are not raising enough hell! Go to
    and tell them how you feel about going to jail, being on probation for a year paying every month, going to a forced rehab and paying ever visit, paying huge fines and losing you right to drive, vote, raise hell!!
    Why? so you lawmakers can continue to protect the major corporations profits and be paid millions for their vote to continue the war on US (drugs) and enslave Americans for profits…
    Cherokee Fred Jesus

  5. I’ll be glad when they try to pass medical marijuana laws here in Kentucky… I know we have Bret Guthrie’s support for marijuana legalization.

  6. In a related subject. This e-mail was sent to me by Sen Kay Hagan, D-NC in response to one of NORML’s Action Alerts pertaining to Sen Webb’s, D-VA S-714 Crime Commissin bill:
    Dear Friend,
    Thank you for contacting me regarding the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. I greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.
    The National Criminal Justice Commission Act (S. 714) was introduced on March 26, 2009 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would create a blue-ribbon commission to conduct a comprehensive, 18-month review of the entire criminal justice system and make recommendations for reforms. I am glad to inform you that I am a cosponsor of this important legislation.
    I believe creating a commission to examine the criminal justice system is a critical step as we work toward comprehensive criminal justice reform. In fact, the International Association of Chiefs of Police called for a national commission to conduct a review of law enforcement and the administration of justice in our country in 2000, and I believe that fulfilling that request is long overdue. In 2007 alone, taxpayers paid more than $26,000 per inmate to incarcerate an offender for a year in North Carolina. Prison rolls are swelling, non-violent offenders are taking up beds that could otherwise be used for violent offenders, and our criminal justice system has become our nation’s de facto mental health system, as mentally ill inmates outnumber patients in mental health hospitals four-to-one. We need to take the necessary steps now to ensure that our criminal justice system is a place to help reform those who are incarcerated, not simply hold them until their sentences are finished and they are ready to go out and commit another crime. For these reasons I am a strong supporter and co-sponsor of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, and I will work diligently to pass this bill into law.
    Again, thank you for contacting my office. It is truly an honor to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, and I hope you will not hesitate to contact me in the future should you have any further questions or concerns.
    Kay R. Hagan
    United States Senator, North Carolina
    I’d like to urge anyone to get involved in this. Please contact your senators and ask them to support this bill!

  7. After reading this particular article, I focused in on ‘Alternative Treatment Centers…’ Everybody knows that Google is the de facto perferred Search Engine, and looking up ‘Alternative Treatment Centers,’ in Google brings up Rehab bullshit! Not Medical Marijuana approved treatment centers of America.
    It’s probably to late…but I wouldn’t call it that! Hopefully it gets thrown out and re-reviewed.

  8. Wow.
    In New Jersey it’s hard enough to just get some common sense in general. I’ve lived here all my life and I hate it here, after being out to the western side of the country. I grew see why we’re known for road rage, horrid broken english, and haven our heads up our ass with no common sense in sight.
    Pot is bigger than they think in New Jersey, Back when I was in the 3rd grade I was offered pot and never tried it till age 15. Not until high school was I offered alcohol, I think that proves my point right there.

  9. NEW YORK-
    Our state is pretty much done this year. although i still have hope, doubt is quickly clouding my mind due to the recent coup the republicans made in the state senate, reclaiming the majority. this, coming at a time where it is crucial for them to act(june) is likely now to be pushed forward another year. Another year!?- I just put a whole years worth of effort into this june, just to hear my senator (george d maziars) tell me just a week ago – “I don’t support the bill” with no back up reasoning or logic to follow. So I’m about 30% less hopeful of my state waking up to the call of equal patients rights, at least this june…

  10. Reefer madness is everywhere. I wish I could retire in some country with enough sense to legalize it. That’s all I’d want, really.

  11. This just in from CNN…
    Check CNN’s Anderson Cooper next week starting Monday, 6-15-09 at 10PM with a week long exposee on cannabis.
    While the recent reporting and debates on CNN leave a lot to be desired here is another chance to see how this cable news channel treats our issue. Lets hope that the anti-cannabis trend shown by CNN – especially during the “debate” between Allen St Pierre and a former advisor to Clinton and Bush recently – abates and gives way to fair and accurate discourse.

  12. There is not, nor has there ever been a “war” on drugs in this country. However, prohibitionists have waged and continue to wage a “war” on God’s will for American citizens to live in freedom with liberty as clearly acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States. The religious-inspired, moneyed, political and power elite who own and run this country have enslaved the vast majority of the population here. They continue to get away with it because most people are lazy and stupid, sheeple who do little more than complain some from time to time, but are forced to do what they are told or pay the consequences. The prohibitionists and their ilk do not want people to use cannabis because it is psychoactive, it is conducive to free thought. They do not want sheeple to think freely about anything. To retain their power, their foremost objective, prohibitionists need to be the influential source of what the majority of sheeple think, regardless of truth. This keeps prohibitionists and the government in charge, able to control and use the citizens of this country to the best advantage of our “leaders.” Alcohol is legal because it is psychodepressant, it is a central nerve system (brain) depressant, conducive to no thought (blackout). There is not so much as a warning lable on a bottle of high-proof rot gut, a substance so highly toxic the better part of a fifth will likely kill a person if it is consumed quickly in one setting. But there is a warning lable on the plastic bag I pick up my dry cleaning in! Prohibitionists continue to get away with their horrific crimes against humanity because they can, we let them. Prohibitionists continue to exploit the stupidity and laziness of the majority of sheeple in this country, and on this count, prohibitionists are absolutely correct.

  13. It’s sad to never see anything from Texas. Although there is hope for this supremely conservative state. After being arrested for possession in a small town in rural Grimes county and waiting for 9 months to go to court where I expected to be put on probation and smacked with heavy fines, the judge had the incredible decency to drop my charge to paraphernalia. It seems like the only people who think weed continue to see weed as a blight upon mankind are the politicians. If we can make our representatives realize what a horrible injustice these laws are, then I am positive we can change these laws.

  14. Did you hear the new misleading ad put out by the Drug , Alcohol and tobacco Companies ? It starts out with a Mother asking her kid if he ever tried Pot ? First thing she says is Pot . Then she asks….cocaine ? Heroin ? Mexican speedballs ?
    What they are trying to do is to tie POT with hard drugs so , you the public will think marijuana is like heroin , cocaine , mexican speedballs , etc .
    This is another example of how they use deceptive and do misleading advertising to decieve the general public into believing Pot is like all other hard drugs .

  15. San Bernardino County, CA, will be issuing medical marijuana cards within 45 days. Yay!

  16. The end is coming. Despite past coverage by the media, I have high hopes for this Anderson Cooper CNN special. Thanks for the info. We need to do everything in our power to spread our opinions and information about marijuana. Reversing the misinformation and propaganda our government has put out for decades isn’t a quick process. Please visit my blog for my of my opinions regarding marijuana.

  17. ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We only need 200 votes to take over the number one spot in the actions section. Please go and vote we will be the number one issue every where you look. Tell your friends put up posters in your school spread the word we are going to END the war on US (drugs)..
    Perhaps then OUR REPRESENTATIVES will support us rather than consistently voting for what is best for big money and themselves (KICKBACKS I CALL IT BRIBERY!). End the tyranny stop the government from feeding on our young!! 20 million destroyed and jailed to date…..
    Old as dirt Cherokee Fred Jesus

  18. The great harry anslinger, a racist fool. The first official drug czar.
    He was of the great mind to make such comments such
    as with his great wisdom include such comments as,
    “Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with (white) female students, smoking [marijuana] and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result: pregnancy”[10][11]
    “Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of hemp. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis.”[12][11]
    Prohibitionist live in ignorance.
    Refuse to see the common man.
    And feel the need to create a
    cage for the cattle that
    is man. We need not look at
    but ourselves but to see that
    to be kept in a cage is wrong.
    Human beings should not
    be treated as cattle.
    This country is but a land of
    fools and greed.
    When will we truly be free?
    In some land of eternity

  19. You didnt mention that the amended New Jersey House medical bill changed by not only not allowing you grow your own but it now doesnt even cover severe or chronic pain. This bill makes little sense. A person who has multiple sclerosis can use marijuana for “pain” relief but if you have? pain that is not caused by a disease listed then you cant get it ? Pain is pain and marijuana relieves pain, so why does it matter what is causing the pain ? There is no compromising on logic and science !

  20. You didnt mention that the amended New Jersey House medical bill changed by not only not allowing you grow your own but it now doesnt even cover severe or chronic pain. This bill makes little sense. A person who has multiple sclerosis can use marijuana for “pain” relief but if you have? pain that is not caused by a disease listed then you cant get it ? Pain is pain and marijuana relieves pain, so why does it matter what is causing the pain ? There is no compromising on logic and science !
    ps. not sure why there is a ? in the middle of one of my sentences. its a glich in norml

  21. #19 matt the ninja
    you think texas is bad. wyoming is hands down, the worst state in the country when it comes to drugs. i got arrested passing through evastan, wy on the way to Salt Lake and got pulled over for speeding, smelled pot and arrest me for a .05 gram nug of cannabis. Not kidding, I was charged with 1/20th of a gram. Guess what my bail was ? $ 5,000. I spent a week in jail for a 1/20th a gram until I could bond out. This was like 7 yrs ago when I was to young to know anything, like Norml, so I got a public defender and he sucked. He told me the judge hates all drug users and I will probably get the max penalty if I didnt plead guilty( even though it was my first offence). People in jail and my public defender said it is not uncommon for people to litarly to go to jail for a year for possesion of less than an ounce. They said the only reason I didnt go to jail for .05 grams is because I didnt live in WY. If you smoke herb, never, never go to the hell hole known as the state of WY. They will never legalize or even decriminalize it.

  22. Why cant we ask the important question? What does this administration expect to spend to stamp out the drug problem? Continue with the classification of weed as a harmful, deadly drug or separate it from crack,meth, pill poppers. What type of approach will change all the past attempts to keep people from trying this drug and liking it? Maybe that is why weed is different from other drugs. Successful responsible adults would have no problem turning on a friend to a good buzz. No one looks at someone addicted to meth and says yeah you can still function and be successful while enjoying a little bud.
    War on Drugs has not wiped out the people who enjoy a little weed. We have continued to smoke thru fear of jail and losing our jobs. Now they want to try treatment? Uhh weed isnt addictive. What type of treatment do you give someone doing something they enjoy and dont want to quit?
    We need a Weed-Aid. Have some musicians agree to a “i-tunes” type of site charging $.50 per song and pay for some lobbyists. Contribute to any politician that will author any bills to legalize weed. List all polictians that vote for or against and list all parties that attempt to prevent a vote.

  23. Who is Normal going to have on AC 360 next week. This is going to be really important because it sounds like cannabis is going to be featured all next week long. Normal needs to have Paul Armentano and Russ Belville because they seem to follow cannabis more everyday, more informed and seem to know how to rebutle every point from the prohibitions. Im tired of Dr.Miron, LEAP, MPP just say the samething over and over and letting the lies go unanswered. You cant let them get away with all the lies show after show. Stronger pot, gateway theory, addiction, cancer, schizophrenia, legalization leads to more use, all have been scientifically debunked and need to be shown debunked on live TV, by recalling exact scientific studies, science journals and proof to debunk these prohibition agruements. Dont let the lies continue to go unanswered, dont let us down Norml !

  24. NEXT WEEK ON CNN AC360: ‘America’s High’
    Can the U.S. afford to make pot legal? Can we afford not to? We’re keeping them honest on both sides of the argument. All next week, 10 ET

  25. Check out what is starting in California-A ballot initiative to take the legalization issue directly to the voters since our elected “leaders” do not have the stones to do what is right.
    They are contemplating an internet fund-raising drive, similar to what Obama used. This may prove to be the way to get this done, given the nature of the legislative process.

  26. Anderson Cooper is beginning to break away from the rest of the field as the most fairly balanced reporter on TV. I look forward to watching his chow next week.

  27. im lookin forward to the cnn stuff. still, im nervous as hell. i hope that they giv us fairness. im tired to my soul that our harmless green friend gets so much bad reps. Im been smokin for 15 years now and i have a hot wife, three kids, and an above average iq. Pot has only helped me and my wife. There truly is ZERO negative aspects to my beloved herb.

  28. lord have mercy. I’m kind of tired of hearing all this medical marijuana baloney. Yeah, it’s a great step in a positive direction, nut I think that the cannabis community would get a lot more respect if we just beat it over the gov’s head to just legalize and regulate it. let’s be honest, that’s what we really want. All this crap about medicine is just a game of semantics which plays into the spiel of what’s socially acceptable and what’s not. guess what happens if cannabis goes medical…the fed can classify possesion by non-perscribed people a FELONY. cannabis needs to be accessible by ALL responsible people over the age of 21 to alleviate stigmas and reduce criminal justice’s role in regulation of the substance. So… keep pushing for medical cannabis. when push comes to shove, we’re the ones who’ll get shoved.

  29. OMG IM HELLA PISSED. Have any of you guys heard about that 72 year old woman gettin taserd by a cop in texas. she was pulled over for speeding. The fucking inbred pig said quote: she was being physically non compliant. Im physically naseous. I hope that fucking pig chokes on his donut and dies screaming for his mom. And for any pigs trolling this site i hope you fucking choke to you oppresive bastards. To all pieces of shit cops i pray and hope for nothing but bad things. It wont stand forever. Every case of cop brutality and oppresion will accumalate in the collective consciences of the ppl of this country. Nothing lasts forever.

  30. Today June 11, 2009 the new Democrat and one of the many co-sponsors of Jim Webb’s (D-VA) Senate Bill 714 chaired a sub committee hearing to discuss Senator Webb’s bill. Let it be said that the sub committee seems eager and very supportive of this bill. The bill would create a commission somewhat similar to the Shaffer Commission of 1972, albeit with emphasis on how we as a Nation deal with crime. Of that the failed drug war is a very big part.
    Senator Specter introduced the bill and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) also supports the bill. I was a bit puzzled when he mentioned alternate systems to prisons, but he would not elaborate. I wonder what his thoughts are on alternative systems for cannabis users.
    Chief Bratton from Los Angeles stated that the focus when reforming our criminal justice system needs to be in prevention. So far no complaints, but how far are you willing to go to prevent crime? Chief Bratton also mentioned that human behavior needs to be influenced by police. Well, I’d rather it wouldn’t be, since unless I break the law, police has neither right nor business interfering with my life. Strangely, Chief Bratton mentioned that we got it right in the 90’s. While that may be true, it is also true that drug arrests saw a steep increase in the 90’s. 1990 saw about 300,000 cannabis arrests and 1999 just under 700,000 cannabis arrests. As far as pot is concerned we didn’t get it right in the 90’s! Chief Bratton mentioned “fractured” drug policy but didn’t expand. He did however make a valid point that we can’t arrest ourselves out of the problem. It will be interesting to see if the commission when formed will make the distinction between cannabis which is less addictive than that double espresso you get a Starbuck’s and the truly dangerous stuff like heroin.
    Next on the panel was Professor Ogletree and he started out by calling an end to the term “war on crime”. I couldn’t agree more and while we are at it, lets retire all the other wars while we are at it. War has never been the answer and that holds true when talking about anything from the war on obesity to the war on crime. Professor Ogletree hit the nail on the head when he mentioned how unsuccessful we are at this war and how much it had cost. He also mentioned that we had not looked at alternatives. Another thing he mentioned was an anecdote about a judge who on his own started to impose the same penalties for powder and rock cocaine, as making a distinction between the two is discriminatory. We need to be smart on crime and no more children left behind bars were a couple of other noteworthy mentions.
    Brian Walsh from the Heritage Foundation was also on hand, but he stressed at the outset that he was there on his own behalf and not representing the heritage foundation. Mr. Walsh stressed that what we need is principled non-partisan crime reform and that too often the mere mention of crime reform has been interpreted as soft on crime. This feeling of not wanting to appear soft on crime could become a roadblock to a more diversified panel. He also mentioned States’ Rights and their needs would have to be considered by the panel and that Washington can’t adequately address each State’s needs. A reduction in incarceration numbers is also advisable according to Mr. Walsh. As far as drug policy is concerned Mr. Walsh made the assertion that incarceration and recidivism to drug abuse are co-related. His call for full attention to the drug problem makes sense only if all sides are represented and special interests take a back seat to us, the people. Laws need to be re-written that now cause people to be incarcerated for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time or for infractions where the person never intended to break the law.
    Last on the panel is Pat Nolan , President of the Prison Fellowship . Pat served on the California Legislature until he got busted for a campaign violation and did 29 months in prison. His stint in prison showed Pat that most often the overcrowded prisons make an inmate more dangerous when he gets out then when he (or she) entered the “correctional” facility. Over crowded prisons lead to violence and rape as well as diseases and the mere warehousing of inmates without focus on re-integration into society only lead to more recidivism. The current annual price tag for housing prisoners is $ 68 billion and is the fastest growing of many State budgets! At $ 30,000.00 per inmate per year we are not getting enough bang for our buck when we consider the recidivism rate we currently experience. Another travesty are the “mercy bookings” by police when dealing with mentally ill people. These people belong in a medical facility, not the prison system
    After these introductions, Senator Specter asked Chief Bratton on how crime prevention works. Chief Bratton wants to accomplish this based on timely intelligence so as to cover areas where crime is to occur more quickly. Relentless follow up of former suspects and the attitude that; Crime won’t go away, so we wont, and; we (the police) control behavior and change behavior. Incarceration is important but crime prevention is more important. Now the scary part comes… Chief Bratton said that in a few years we’d be able to not only prevent but also predict crime in the near future. Wow! Where is this dude going?!
    Senator Specter than asked Professor Ogletree about the tremendous cost to the public for recidivism as well as the cost for treatment and how to sell the program to the public. To this Prof. Ogletree responded that re-integration into society is the tough part with too much ‘not in my back yard’ ism and the key here is to work with the public prior to release of a prisoner and to lay the ground work. The easier it is for some one just out of prison to get a decent job, the less chance of recidivism. That one during these tough times is going to be hard, as well as convincing the public of this. Specter than asked about the underlying causes to crime and Professor Ogletree mentioned an important part that’s missing in our society is a system of mentors for many of the kids and that needs to change. Also, too many kids are suspended or expulsed from schools and when they are unsupervised are prone to get into trouble.
    After that Minnesota’s single Senator, Amy Klobuchar got into the mix. I got the distinct impression that she likes most of the system and from the ones on the sub-committee appears at this time least likely to embrace many changes, especially when it comes to jail time.
    That’s about the gist of today’s sub committee meeting and it looks like a good start. I wonder who will present our side? I hope to see some folks from MPP , LEAP and NORML to be on the commission, but I’m not holding my breath. This commission will be sitting for 18 months and even if approved and signed into law this year, we’ll have to wait until sometime in the middle of 2011 before much gets done. 2011 will also be the beginning of Obama’s run for a second term, so any of the changes proposed may have to wait as they could easily and most likely will be exploited during the campaign for 2012. If past campaigns and run’s for office are any indication, that part could get ugly. We need to stay plugged in and see where this goes.

  31. This didnt mention that the amended New Jersey House medical bill changed by not only not allowing you grow your own but it now doesnt even cover severe or chronic pain. This bill makes little sense. A person who has multiple sclerosis can use marijuana for “pain” relief but if you have pain that is not caused by a disease listed then you cant get it ? Pain is pain and marijuana relieves pain, so why does it matter what is causing the pain ? There is no compromising on logic and science !
    IL senate medical bill better not be dead ! But knowing this state, the house will drag their feet and postpone. We need to educate the house this summer and keep them talking about it. My friends mom is dying of cancer right know and doesnt have another year to wait to get her medicine.

  32. Dam rite #38 tonE. i like hearin about the medical stuff too. sick ppl need relief. but like you said that dont help the rec users too much. Its a plant and we r bein infringed on by bein restricted.

  33. Well here it is,will the people push back when we are pushed to the edge by the government? When you are looking over the edge will you push back?

  34. I know when AC360 is on Monday I will be saying something that will help out our cause and also know that their will be a lot of people who should be on their from MPP and NORML who are not afraid to fight for the cause of right which is our cause. I urge every one to get involved and let our voices be heard and with a whole week of coverage well we have the spot lite now what we need to do is all in our power and see results they may not listen to one of us but thousands to million of us they have no choice but to listen after all it is showing them enough is enough and we wont stand for our rights being violated. Together we shall make a diference….. So prepare what to say and lets put action through the press to take back our god given right…. Look forward to seeing every one there and giving them good reasons why marijuana should be legalized and taxed … Also lets help try to keep everything real and do not let them lie to the public when in a battle credibility is what counts as well as numbers……
    See you all on the battle field this week coming up…

  35. #10 Michael Simpson Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 2:12 am
    After reading this particular article, I focused in on ‘Alternative Treatment Centers…’ Everybody knows that Google is the de facto perferred Search Engine, and looking up ‘Alternative Treatment Centers,’ in Google brings up Rehab bullshit! Not Medical Marijuana approved treatment centers of America.
    It’s probably to late…but I wouldn’t call it that! Hopefully it gets thrown out and re-reviewed.
    “Treatment” implies “drug TREATMENT”,
    Try “alternative MEDICINE” as google search-term

  36. How about some Ohio coverage? The state law in Ohio is pretty lenient (under 1 oz = a 100 dollar ticket). But Cincinnati city regulation is overboard compared to the rest of the state. Can we please have some links to bitch to the Cinci city council or some valid articles based on this?

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