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.
Massachusetts: On Tuesday, March 2, members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hear testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1801, which seeks to legally regulate the commercial production and distribution of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age. The hearing is scheduled for 1:00pm in room A-1 of the Massachusetts State House. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the Committee here. You can also watch video of NORML representatives previously testifying in favor of this measure before lawmakers here. For information on attending next week’s hearing please visit here, or to contact the Committee, please go here.
Washington, DC: Members of the DC City Council’s Committee on Health this week held their first hearing on implementing the District’s new medical marijuana law. Council members heard several hours of 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 testified on behalf of the measure, which is expected to be enacted by the Council by May of this year. If approved by the Council, Congress has 30 days to either approve or reject the measure. More information about this measure is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
South Dakota: Representatives of the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion this week turned in nearly twice the required number of signatures necessary to place a medical marijuana legalization initiative on the November 2010 statewide ballot. You can read the text of the measure here, or become involved in the campaign by going here. NORML will begin reporting more in depth about this effort once the measure has been certified by the state to appear on the 2010 ballot.
Hawaii: Members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations heard testimony today in favor of SB 2450, which seeks to reduce minor marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1000 fine, to a civil infraction punishable by a fine only. You can read NORML’s written testimony in support of the measure, which is co-sponsored by 19 of Hawaii’s 25 Senators, here.
Maryland: On Friday, February 26, at 1:00pm the House Committee of Health and Government Operations and the House Committee of the Judiciary will jointly hear testimony regarding several legislative proposals that seek to legalize the use, production, and distribution of medical marijuana. NORML representatives will be in attendance and testifying at tomorrow’s hearing.
New York: On Tuesday, members of the Senate Health Committee passed S. 4041, which seeks to allow state-qualified patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana for therapeutic purposes. To learn more about S. 4041 and/or its Assembly companion bill, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.