It’s January 2010, and that means it is time once again for NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — your one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country, along with tips for influencing the policies of your state.
** A note to first time readers: NORML can not introduce legislation in your state. Nor can any other non-profit advocacy organization. Only your state representatives, or in some cases an individual constituent (by way of their representative; this is known as introducing legislation ‘by request’) can do so. NORML can — and does — work closely with like-minded politicians and citizens to reform marijuana laws, and lobbies on behalf of these efforts. But ultimately the most effective way — and the only way — to successfully achieve statewide marijuana law reform is for local stakeholders and citizens to become involved in the political process and make the changes they want to see. We can’t do it without you.
Washington: Lawmakers on the House House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness will vote on Wednesday, January 20, at 1:30pm on 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 criminal 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 voted on regulating marijuana production, distribution, and use by adults. If you reside in Washington, please contact your House member and urge him or her to support one or both of these measures by going here and here. You can also call the Committee and leave a polite, concise message voicing your support for marijuana law reform at: (360) 786-7131 or toll free at: 1-800-562-6000. You can watched archived footage of Wednesday’s hearing on these measures here.
New Hampshire: Lawmakers on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold hearings on Wednesday, January 20, beginning at 1:00pm on two pending proposals, HB 1652 and HB 1653. House Bill 1652 “allows [for] the purchase and use of marijuana by adults (age 21 or older), regulates the purchase and use of marijuana, and imposes taxes on the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana.” Personal possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and/or non-commercial cultivation of up to three marijuana plants would not be subject to tax and regulation under this act. House Bill 1653 seeks to reduce minor marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor to a fine-only offense. If you live in New Hampshire, please contact your House members and urge them to support one or both of these measures by going here and here. You can also call the Committee directly by going here.
Virginia: Lawmakers this week pre-filed legislation, House Bill 1134, seeking to dramatically reduce the state’s marijuana possession and cultivation penalties. You can read all of the bill’s proposed changes here and here. You can contact your state lawmakers in favor of this common sense proposal by going here.
Tennessee: Lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a pair of bills — Senate Bill 2511 and House Bill 2562, the Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act — seeking to establish a statewide production and distribution program for qualified medical marijuana patients. NORML has retained a state lobbyist to represent the interests of our statewide affiliates as this bill moves forward in the 2010 legislative session. To learn more about this effort, please visit here.
Wisconsin: Members of Madison NORML and IMMLY are organizing a Medical Marijuana Lobby Day in support of AB554/SB368 the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act. The program will take place on Wednesday, January 20. It will run from 12 to 1pm at the state Capitol, in the first floor rotunda. More information on this event is online here. You can also voice your support for the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act by going here.
For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.