Coming To A State House Near You: Legal Cannabis?

January 2010 is off to a ‘smoking’ start. Lawmakers in three key states — New Jersey, California, and Washington — are taking action this week on legislative measures that seek to significantly amend, or end, marijuana prohibition. Here’s a quick look at the week ahead.

Monday: [UPDATE 3!!! The New Jersey State Assembly and Senate have approved the “New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” (A804/S119).  Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign the legislation into law this week. The measure is expected to take effect in six months, at which time New Jersey will become the 14th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Major thanks go out to Ken Wolski and Jim Miller of Coalition for Medical Marijuana — New Jersey, and to NORML New Jersey‘s Chris Goldstein. Without their efforts it is unlikely that this victory would be upon us today.] Tuesday: [UPDATE!!! I have just returned from Sacramento and wanted to confirm to folks that AB 390 did pass out of Committee by a 4-3 vote. A google news search under the key words “marijuana” and “California” with yield plenty of media coverage, with much more to come.] Members of the California Assembly, Public Safety Committee will vote on Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, which seeks to regulate and control the production, distribution, and personal use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. This vote will mark the first time since 1913, when California became one of the first states in the nation to enact cannabis prohibition, that lawmakers have reassessed this failed policy. (See my op/ed in today’s Sacramento Bee here.) A press conference is anticipated to take place immediately following the vote. You can read NORML’s prepared testimony here and here, and you can voice your support for this effort by going here.
Wednesday: Washington state House lawmakers will hear testimony at 1:30pm in favor of a pair of bills seeking to significantly reduce state marijuana penalties. Members of the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness will debate two pending proposals, House Bill 1177 and House Bill 2401. House Bill 1177 seeks to reclassify the possession of forty grams or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a class 2 civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine. House Bill 2401 seeks to “remove all existing civil and criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana.” This will be the first time state lawmakers have ever debated regulating marijuana production, distribution, and use by adults.
NORML representatives will be testifying in Olympia on Wednesday (Read testimony here.), and NORML Advisory Board member Rick Steves will also be hosting a public forum on the topic at Olympia’s Capitol Theater on Tuesday evening. If you live in Washington, you can urge the Committee to vote ‘yes’ on one or both of these measures by going here and here.

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

0 thoughts

  1. It would be nice to be able to vaporize cannabis in Virginia, would help me get back to a healthy weight. Now that my cancer is in the past.

  2. I almost want to cry. I never thought this would start in my life time. I’ve been doing my part since 2003 and I am glad that we have gotten this far. Way to go CALI…come on MI!!!

  3. Go California!!! I hope it gets heard by the committee and passed, it would be one of the first states to defeat prohibition. -.-
    Does any one know if there is even a medical bill for Texas and if there is how did it do?

  4. I have watched the News and look at the News web sites, all void of the historical events, shame on those refusing to report important news like this, only in American can the truth be withheld for so damm long.
    Kansas Legislators still hold to the lies as fact and therefore Kansas will be the 50th State in the Union to remove it’s head from it’s ASS.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Virtually every network and mainstream news outlet, including CNN and the New York Times, is carrying this story.]

  5. WTG Norml! 2010 is off to a good start. I am impressed. Now if only the Texas legislature would wake up and join the next century, doubtful, but one can hope.

  6. wow, way to go nj, and im going to court in the morning for posession, i hope its not jail time, im only 19 and im in school.

  7. Shawn, please keep us posted. Are you home, or in the pokey? What was the outcome of your hearing?
    Way to go, NORML!
    I am broke, or else I would be donating all kinds of money. However, I e-mail legislators and keep myself up to date on progress, and let everyone I talk to know the facts. Just let me know what else I can do to further our worthy cause.
    My in-laws were over a couple of months ago. My FIL was talking to me about nascar stuff, and a news story about a dispensary came on CNN. He mostly ignored it, but then they started talking about all the wonderful foods you can make with the herb. His head spun toward the TV, and he said, “You can EAT it?!” I said, “Of course. You don’t have to smoke it in order to get the medical benefits from it. You know it’s proven to work for migraines REALLY well.” He sat there for a good 10 minutes or so, listening to all the wonderful medical uses there are for the plant. He was fascinated by it all. He takes this medicine for migraines, and he absolutely HATES his meds. They effect his sense of taste and smell, and makes everything he eats taste like rust and ash.
    I told my wife, as soon as MMJ comes to Ohio, he needs to get on the program. He’s a heavily avid cook, so I know he could pull off some exquisite stuff with it.
    On a side note – my wife is all scared over a drug test she has to take tomorrow. It is a pre employment screening, and she smoked not too long ago. She smoked about 3-4 times a week for about 2 months, and quit on new years day. She mostly smoked for her headaches. She keeps saying things like, “If I fail this, I’ll know I’m a loser,” and “I blew a perfect job for doing something stupid. I’m stupid, stupid, stupid!” I keep telling her she has it backwards. I keep telling her she has committed no crime, because prohibition is the crime. I keep telling her she has done nothing wrong, but she won’t listen. I told her if she fails it, something better will come along. I said, “Screw these stupid laws, and screw employers who sniff through our bladders.” Hopefully she comes around to feeling better – I think she already has started to tell you the truth.

  8. Great news in CA and NJ ! Whats happening in IL ? Anyone know the chances of IL’s MMJ bill SB 1381 passing the house ? The bill already passed the senate and Gov Qinn hinted he would sigh it. Come on IL, lets get this accomplished.

  9. The bill in illinois won’t reach Gov Quinn’s desk until he has 60 identified supporters in the house, and the pro-pot residents in illinois need to SPEAK UP to make this happen.
    please join me in e-mailing our representatives to vote YES when the bill comes their way.

  10. Why can’t it be explain to the young people that if we don’t fix this problem know that their future is going to be affected in a lot of ways.We all have lived in the prohibition era and we all have been indoctrinated by the LIES that our Government has told us.Big Corporations are the Main Obstacle.Their Lies need to stop and the Fear that they spread are dividing this Country.The Law want be able to still your possessions that’s why Law Enforcement are against this.We have all the information and it’s the Truth.We need to let them know that the BLOOD of those that DIE in this so Call War on Drugs is going to be on them.Shame on Our Government and the People that want even Look at the Truth of this WAR on Drugs.I rebuke those that are in Leadership from the Crown of their Head to the Souls of their feet.Cowards that’s what they are.

  11. Make marijuana legal and stop all this bs. It is sicking the way this goverment treats mj users medically or otherwise.Don’t you the goverment have something more important to do??Catch pervert, rapists are alot more important than pot. Marijuana is not going to hurt you. Cannabis users are not crimmals like this goverment, makes it out to be. This goverment ahould mine there own business and NOT mine.


  13. The government should legalize it nation-wide for medical use at least, since 28% of the states have legalized it for medical use… It’s a start towards legal world-wide recreational use. Peace, keep spreading the truth.

  14. Will it ever be legalized in Texas.
    Iv’e been waiting for so longgg.
    any one have any info for legalizing it in texas?

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