NORML’s Weekly Legislative Update

Lawmakers around the country are debating a record number of marijuana law reform bills in 2010. NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up is 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.

California: Democrat Assemblyman Tom Ammiano reintroduced legislation on Thursday that seeks to legalize the production, distribution, and personal use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. Assembly Bill 2254, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act of 2010, would enact regulations governing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana for adults. The noncommercial cultivation of marijuana for personal use would not be subject to taxation under the proposal. In addition, AB 2254 would not alter existing legislation on the use of medicinal cannabis, nor would it impose new taxes or sanctions on the medical cultivation of cannabis.
In January, a previous version of this proposal (AB 390) was approved by the California Assembly, Committee on Public Safety. The vote was the first time since 1913 that lawmakers had called for the repeal of cannabis prohibition. Further votes on AB 390 did not take place because of calendar restraints. To learn more about AB 2254, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here or go to California NORML’s website here.
Washington: Senate lawmakers failed to act this week on Senate Bill 5615, which sought to reclassify minor marijuana possession offenses from a criminal misdemeanor to a fine-only civil infraction. Their inaction kills the bill for this legislative session.
In January, House lawmakers also rejected a proposal that sought to legalize and regulate marijuana production, sale, and use to those age 21 or older. Yet a January statewide poll of 500 adults found that a solid majority of Washington voters support legalizing marijuana. As a result, NORML Legal Committee member Douglas Hiatt, along with NORML Board Member Jeffrey Steinborn and others are petitioning to place the issue before state voters this November. To qualify for the ballot, organizers needs to turn in 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters to the Secretary of State’s Office on or before July 2. You can learn more about this effort here.
Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council’s Committee on Health will hold their first hearing on implementing the District’s new medical marijuana law on Tuesday, February 23. Council members will hear testimony regarding B 18-622, the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act 0f 2010, which seeks to implement local regulations regarding the medical use and distribution of medical marijuana to qualified patients. Representatives from NORML will be in attendance and testifying on behalf of the measure. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the Committee here. If you wish to attend this hearing, please go here.
New Hampshire: House lawmakers will be spending part of their summer debating the merits of regulating adult marijuana use. In January members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard testimony in favor of House Bill 1652, which sought to “allow [for] the purchase and use of marijuana by adults.” (Read NORML’s testimony to the Committee here.) On January 27, members of the Committee voted 16-2 on a motion to refer the bill to a special interim study committee. Members of the full House recently affirmed this amendment by a vote of 272 to 76, meaning that the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will study the bill more thoroughly this summer, and it will issue recommendations for the following legislative session by November.
Iowa: On Wednesday, February 17, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously in favor of reclassifying marijuana as a medicine under state law. (Note, this vote does not legalize the medical use of marijuana in Iowa.)
However, despite this latest decision from the Board, as well as a just-released statewide poll indicating that 64 percent of Iowans back legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, news reports indicate that lawmakers are not yet supportive of House File 2179, which seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of cannabis. If you live in Iowa, please take time to contact your lawmakers here.
For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here

0 thoughts

  1. i would really like to know what is going on with wisconsin. We are patiently waiting to hear something.

  2. Indiana is considering legalizing marijuana for medicinal and industrial purposes as well, look up Re-Legalize Indiana PAC

  3. I love the fact that it appears we are making headway in this battle. The only problem being that I don’t think we will be able to win. How do we expect them to legalize cannabis, or at least let people use it mecically without fear of imprisonment, when the FDA has just declared vitamin B6 a drug. The DEA will now have to enforce drug laws on vitamin manufacturers, health food stores, gyms, and anywhere else that might happen to carry these health supplements.
    The FDA is no more than a branch of major pharmaceutical companies. The federal government is giving sole purveyorship of vitamin B6 complexes to the Merk Pharmaceuticals company to use as their “latest” kidney drug. There are no other ingredients listed in the chemical formula but that of the B6 complex.
    The government keeps our attention focused on the cannabis war while they continue to strip freedoms and basic rights, like being healthy, from the common populace. When the government declares war on nutrition something is so terribly askew that we cannot even fathom it.

  4. Pity Washington legislators failed to take action on reducing cannabis penalties. There is some serious discord between lawmakers and the public.
    However, Washington’s inaction pales in comparison to the momentum that the movement is garnering. Gotta hand it to Iowa again for taking the lead once again on progressive policies! Hopefully Iowa will serve as an example for the rest of the Midwest states….now to wait until Tim Pawlenty is out of office
    Hoo rah!

  5. What’s the deal with NY Medical Marijuana. I thought I heard that it was still in the senate; passed the house and is just waiting. Is the the bill from last year still viable or does it have to be introduced again?

  6. I simply cannot see why Washington is having such a hard time passing this law. I really wish someone would go to the prohibitionists and ask “do you believe in God” and if they say yes, say “so when it comes to marijuana, you are essentially saying God made a mistake?”

  7. Kinda wish Michigan would show up there again soon. I don’t have a chronic disorder so I’m still considered a drug fiend 🙁

  8. This is a hugmugus step for Iowa but theres still a humgugus waaay to go for Full legalization, move some people around in the gov’s office or rid them period an we should be ok.An to # 6 i feel the same if OUR gov expects us to even believe in our so called god then why isnt this plant legal as it states in the bible about all seeds shall be used idk some shit like tht. Dont get me wrong i strongly believe i God but its hippocritic

  9. it is time for the politicians in washington and every single stae in the union own up to the realities as they pertain to the use of cannabis and the massive amounts of needless harm that has and continued to be inflicted upon normally law-abiding citizens of the country.the prohibition asit stands currently is nothing less than an cottage industry for unbriddled bureaucratic corruption.the time has arrived for that to come t an end.

  10. Oregon: Initiative-28: Medical Cannabis Supply System at
    OCTA – Oregon Cannabis Tax Act: Legalize and regulate cannabis and hemp at
    More info and videos at

  11. It is almost comical how the house can always sidestep and “look more closely” or take it up in November. Norml why dont you stop promising people a unicorn because right now people own nothing more than a pig. All these legislative roundups are not doing anything but telling people there is no hope. If it is going to happen it will be the people growing tired…
    [Editor’s note: Unicorns? Promises? Pig? Maybe you’re new to cannabis reform, but this is the most productive time ever with numerous states debating and passing cannabis law reforms. Buck up! There is more hope now than ever for reforms.]

  12. God does not make mistakes! men following their own agenda’s do. Most of our senate and congress have been in power for 20 plus years, and you’ll still see the best commercials, and you’ll still see those same men, following their own agenda’s be re-elected. if you want to see real change, pray to the God who never sleeps, and don’t vote for anyone who’s been in office, bought and paid for by big business. it should be a national mantra, don’t vote for the incumbent, just pray more.

  13. Does the country not clearly see that all of the “trouble” being made in this war is caused by the prohibitionists. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  14. Read about Florida’s Drug Czar on NORML website. So indicative of all the political problems that make drug war possible. How can otherwise intelligent people make such sweeping, flawed statements “there are no medical professionals who acknowledge the medical benefits of marajuana…” (forgive paraphrase) without challenge. If it was illegal for Bill Clinton to lie to congress, isn’t this man breaking the law, lying to the public? At the very least he should loose his job for his lies.

  15. The Mid-Atlantic and SE states seem to be void of any legislation on decriminalization and/or Medical Marijuana laws – Kentucky doesn’t even have a NORML chapter. Southeastern KY is literally 30 to 40 yrs in the past, with “good ol’ boys” and prohibitionists against any thought of such legislation. Kentucky also does NOT have a “medical necessity” law at all. Seems to me that as a 100% total & permanently disabled person, with many chronic medical conditions involving pain, appetite, anxiety disorders, etc – I FEEL DISCRIMINATED AGAINST because 16 states have the medical marijuana laws, but even though I would be eligible to be in such a prograqm I CANNOT participate. Do American’s with Disabilities Act advocates see that I should be protected by the ADA as federal government decisions affect the ADA and Med Marijuana rights?? Kentucky legislators are not even considering that Kentucky could use the revenues from the program that could help KY’s struggling economy, with the poorest, most disabled residents right here in SE Kentucky that could use some enhancements by state officials to ease some of these situatuations. (Calif revenues, past 5 yrs, was $14 billion from their program). Thanks for any comments!

  16. The most ridiculous thing I saw came out of my home state of MN. HF 2997 seeks to make legal the PRODUCTION of medical marijuana for export to legal medical marijuana states, while simultaneously affording NO legal protections to patients within our own state!!! Absolutely the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen.
    When politicians show their true motives like this (Money, money, and more money,) it makes the whole situation all the more sickening.

    Oh snap, Ron Paul won the CPAC straw poll. Still not viable, right NORML?
    [Editor’s note: 1) This is a pro-cannabis law reform organization and webpage, not a Republican party rah-rah club…. 2) Who cares if Ron Paul won a meaningless straw poll at a right wing political convention? How did the last winners of these pointless straw polls at CPAC do in the GOP primaries? Answer: They didn’t capture the GOP nomination.
    With only 25% of CPAC participants voting and almost 50% of the votes being cast by students…clearly the CPAC straw poll is not an accurate indicator of viable presidential timber.
    CPAC Straw Poll: Ron Paul Wins. CPAC Winner Rarely Get the Eventual GOP Nomination
    Posted by Erick Erickson
    Saturday, February 20th at 5:46PM EST
    For three straight years Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll — 2007, 2008, and 2009. In the key year of 2008, despite his win, John McCain was the nominee.
    This year, Ron Paul breaks Mitt Romney’s winning streak. Clearly Romney realized he was not getting a good return on his investment of organizing voters to vote — a regular phenomenon among potential candidates.
    2,395 CPAC registrants voted in the CPAC poll. It’s the largest number of votes in CPAC straw polling history, but but less than 25% of the total turnout at CPAC.
    48% of the votes cast were from students. 32% were from paying non-student individuals.
    31% voted for Ron Paul. The crowd booed when it was announced.
    22% voted for Mitt Romney.
    7% voted for Sarah Palin.
    6% for Tim Pawlenty
    5% for Mike Pence
    4% for Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich
    2% for the actual 2012 GOP nominee, Mitch Daniels.
    We can thank Ron Paul for showing just how worthless straw polls are.

  18. Since marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I drug by Congress(with no medical value) how can Congress turn around and approve legistlation that allows medical marijuana use in DC? If federal law always trumps state law, and DC is governed solely by Congress how can marijuana remain as a Schedule 1 drug – having no medical value? Seems you could argue that Congress’s last act in DC changed the Schedule to anything but Schedule 1 by default.

  19. “Maybe you’re new to cannabis reform, but this is the most productive time ever with numerous states debating and passing cannabis law reforms.”
    Just as it is considered a success to just discuss marijuana reform, it is a success that people are discussing liberty candidates in the mainstream. Liberty candidates want to end the drug war, let drug use be a personal decision, and MOST IMPORTANTLY reform government so our personal liberties are not infringed on again in the future.
    Vote liberty candidates in 2010!!!
    [Editor’s note: Liberty candidates? In the mainstream media? You must be watching too much Fox News….
    Unless one lives in Ron Paul’s congressional district or lives in his son Rand’s state of KY, who’re the specific so-called liberty candidates that cannabis law reformers are supposed to support?]

  20. “1) This is a pro-cannabis law reform organization and webpage, not a Republican party rah-rah club….”
    LOL!! I looked back at NORML blog posts from 2008. How come you didn’t stop the Democratic party rah-rah club asking people to vote for Obama???
    Lighten up NORML national editors. My school’s NORML chapter works directly and plans events with our Campaign for Liberty chapter. We don’t agree on everything, but we work together for a common goal. I support them, but I never understand NORML national’s intolerance for discussing particular candidates, but it is ok to support Democrat-party candidates.
    [Editor’s note: You can be as partisan as you like at the local level and work with whomever you please. However, at the national level, NORML is non-partisan (and non-delusional about third party politics in America).]

  21. Here is the letter I sent to each member in the Health and Human Services Committee to support Kansas House Bill 2610. I am willing to give this process a chance and I am willing to put an effort forward to changing this foolish law in Kansas. If you live in Kansas and read this please send something like this to your State Congress person and lets push this into the light of day.
    February 22, 2010
    Dear Kansas Legislative Body of the Committee on Health and Human Services;
    My conviction in the care of the sick compels me to emailing your office this Monday morning to urge you to support Kansas House of Representatives Bill Number 2610 now in your Committee on Health and Human Services. As a long time Kansas citizen, a parent, a former Kansas fire chief honored by our 2005 State Congress, and a person who has personally held their dying child in her last moments of life, and from a family who has had to walk the road of cancer, high medical bills, loss of the family health insurance, unemployment, and bankruptcy I respectfully request, no I respectfully demand that you take a few moments today to seriously review House Bill No. 2610, which seeks to legalizes or allow Medical use of Cannabis to those whom could benefit from it’s properties. I most respectfully demand that you take a moment this morning and look at the reasoning behind the legislation of the other fourteen states who have already past Medical Cannabis legislation. It is important that your committee become aware of the fact that the majority of Kansans support and want this legislation enacted. It is equally important that this committee educate itself on the latest medical research developments on cannabis and act in a manner that is supportive of their constituents. Shall the fine State of Kansas be the 50th or the 15th State in the Union to see the sanity in acting with compassion towards the sick? I would like you and your committee to consider for a moment what this legislation could do for our State’s revenue and how it could aid in our State’s budget shortage by enacting such legislation. If enacted, it could reduce pressure on our state budget by reducing the number of people who are incarcerated for the use of cannabis, reduce the drain and case load on our judicial system by reduces cannabis prosecutions, free up law enforcement resources used to suppress unlawful cannabis activities, create new Kansas jobs within Kansas Department Health Environment as well as the private sector. There by creating a new collectable tax revenue from the Medical Cannabis process. Please take historical note that long before cannabis was outlawed in the 1930s it was used by practicing medical doctors as a traditional medicine that benefitted their patients. In fact counsel for the AMA appearing in the hearings of the 1930s pleaded with our 63rd United States Congress not to make Cannabis illegal and remove it from their grasp. That in doing so Congress would slow the medical profession from being able to fully discovery the full medical potential of Cannabis in the treatment of the sick. Now many years have past since this law was enacted, we as a society are more educated today than ever before and the medical profession still see the value of Cannabis in treating the sick. In 2008 alone some 2800 medical papers were written and published worldwide on the beneficial property of Cannabis making it a very valuable tool for aiding the sick. Fourteen state legislative bodies have study this issue of Cannabis and have found that the sciences is sound and most importantly the majority of their constituents want medical cannabis made available to those who can benefit from it. Kansas is no different, the vast majority of Kansans believe in compassion care for the sick and will show up in force to see that this legislation is given proper attention by those elected to our state congress. Those of us who support compassion care of our sick by supporting this House Bill 2610 will be watchful of how our State Congress deals with this important health issue.

  22. Here’s a snippet from the article that mentions reclassifying marijuana as medicine. States have their own Schedules, that often mirror the Schedule of the feds. So does that mean that Iowa or California or whoever have moved cannabis out of State Schedule I into 3 or whatever?
    Also, now that the Prez got the Debt Commission back on, somebody in NORML, MPP, DPA and other reform groups ought to make sure that cannabis legalization, regulation, taxation, you know, makes it into the Commission’s official recommendations.
    Iowa: On Wednesday, February 17, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously in favor of reclassifying marijuana as a medicine under state law. (Note, this vote does not legalize the medical use of marijuana in Iowa.)

  23. To my fellow citizens of Kansas please gather close and read my words.
    One of our House of Representative has acted with uncommon bravery and introduced a comprehensive medical use of Cannabis legislation into the Committee on Health and Human Services of our Kansas State Congress. It is HB 2610, House Bill 2610 which will allow the medical use of Cannabis. Now I know those of you who live in Kansas under the oppressive foolish cannabis laws have been waiting and often jealous of other folks who live in states where the laws are more realistic, well kinda, anyway we have a crack in the door, this legislative crack doesn’t show itself everyday in Kansas so we must unit and push upon this crack with all our educated might. If there was ever a time for all us Kansan email and send letters requesting our jurisdiction’s legislator(s) support this HB 2610.
    I know I have talked about other approaches to changing the law in this State. Jury Nullification just to name one, but we would be so damm foolish as to pass up this opportunity presenting itself in our State Congress. So I call on all you Kansan who have waited for so long for this opportunity to force this crack further. I am like most of you, want the just thing right now, today, hell yesterday, and this medical use of cannabis is just a small baby step but better to make this small baby step into the light than stay in darkness. Look at this legislation as a baby step and help our congress make it happen. You and I know there will be a later, there will be a reckoning not to far off in the future. By supporting this bill HB 2610 we can bring about this baby step which will one day lead us to walk and run.
    It is time to step up to the plate, time to be counted.

  24. I don’t understand how this legal process works. I try looking it up but can’t find much. When will California’s bill be voted on? Before or after the November initative?
    [Editor’s note: Legislation in CA may or may not come up again in 2010, however all registered voters there will be able to vote on a legalization initiative in November.
    This legalization initiative in CA is arguably the most import project this year for reformers, consumers and personal freedom advocates. If the voters from the most populated and economically powerful state in the union pass TaxCannabis2010, it might well be the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States.]

  25. Wisconsin medical marijuana it will never happen because there are too many leaders with no balls.
    Its all about money.

  26. Michigan law doesn’t protect legal users from employment drug tests.We are moving forward with legalizing it but no protection for legal users as yet. I seen a statistic that 63% of jobs are drug tested. That means that there are alot of people that can be approved but still can’t use. So what good is legalizing without protection except for those not working. Make sure these are in your laws.

  27. on the next election i think we all need to let the candidates know that we are only voting for the president who promises legalization…regardless of whether that is what we do, all of those snakes running for office will try to play to public opinion and if everyone wants it, then sooner or later they will follow. Look at ron paul, he had so much support and i think when other politicians realize how much support is out there then they will try to hop on the band wagon

  28. I was just informed by my Dr. today that I can’t smoke anymore, or he will have to take me off of the percodan that he has presrcibed for me, The funny thing is that I’ve been trying to get him to take me off of them months ago, and he refuses.When I take them for my chronic back pain, they wig me out, and they make me really nauseated, that’s one of the reasons I smoke, and because of the pain.My Dr. informs me that” smoking is illegal “, and my reply to him was ” not to God it’s not “, and he couldn’t say anything to that. I also told him that when all is said and done, God is the only one I have to answer to.So I told him that I will no longer be seeing him, and canceled my next appt.What a bunch of MORON’s, the way our Government is handeling these type of things, leads me to believe that our elected officials think that they are better than God, and the reason I say that is because, God is all compassionate, loving and caring, where does that put our Government? I’ll tell you where, you see before you a group of individuals that sit around and dictate policy that concerns our health, all I can say is that I’m glad I’m not in their shoes when it comes time to meet our maker, Good luck with that.

  29. We were considering moving out of California to another state. When I looked at states like Washington, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas and saw the long prison sentences and huge fines imposed for possession of just a little bit of marijuana, I was glad we were in California. There may be a push for decriminalization and legalization, but there are certainly some insane laws in other parts of the country.

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