NORML's Weekly Legislative Round Up

It’s January and once again it’s time for NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — activists’ one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country.
** 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 to make the changes they want to see.

Virginia: House Bill 1443 eliminates criminal misdemeanor penalties and convictions for minor marijuana possession offenders. You can contact your state officials in support of this measure here. Virginia NORML is also co-sponsoring a Lobby Day at the State Capitol in support of this effort on Monday, January 17, 2011. To learn more about this event or to attend, please write: Sabrina@norml.org. [UPDATE! HB 1443 is scheduled to be heard by the House Courts of Justice, Criminal Subcommittee this Monday afternoon. This hearing coincides with Virginia NORML’s Lobby Day at the Capitol. Please join with fellow Virginia marijuana law reform activists in Richmond and show your support for this important legislation.]
Washington: Senate Bill 5073 and House Bill 1100 seek to provide state licensing to medical marijuana producers and dispensaries in order to assure that qualified patients “will have access to an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of medical quality cannabis.” The proposed laws do not amend patients’ existing rights to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana for medical purposes and cultivate up to 15 cannabis plants. The proposals also expand legal protections for patients and producers of cannabis-based medical products by redefining legal cannabis to include “products that contain cannabis or cannabis extracts … “including, but not limited to, edible products, tinctures, and lotions.” SB 5073 has been assigned to the Committee on Health & Long-Term Care and as been scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, January 20th at 1:30pm in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the Cherberg Building. You can learn more about these proposals at NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here.
Montana: Montana lawmakers are considering dozens of proposals this session to curtail or repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. Montana NORML, our allies Patients & Families United, and various other local groups have formed a coalition to halt these legislative efforts and to protect patients rights. Please visit Patients and Families United on Facebook here for up-to-date information on pending hearings and votes. You can also e-mail your members of the state House and Senate urging them not to repeal Montana’s medical cannabis law by clicking here.
Texas: House Bill 548 amends Texas law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is reduced from a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine) to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and no criminal record. You can show your support for this measure by visiting here or by becoming involved with Texas NORML here. You can follow the progress of this measure online here and also on the Facebook page for Texas NORML here.

To be in contact with your state officials regarding these and other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

25 thoughts

  1. Alright go Texas, i was down there in 08 n when i was there u went to, if i remember right prison for a joint , i think a minimum of 5 yrs too ,Go Texas an hopefully all other states follow

  2. NYC is stuck in the mud with regards to Medical Marijuana. The NYC chapters web site has not been updated in months.
    Do any of you wonderful do-gooders at NORML proper have any insight into NYC goings on? Or if the chapter is even functioning anylonger?
    Thanks Paul…….

  3. Connecticut has a medical marijuana bill right now too, as well as a bill to decrease the school zone area for pot possession and sales.
    HB-5139 in our House of reps is the bill title AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA.
    I cant find the school zone bill at the moment.
    In an act of hypocrisy we have also imposed to lift the Sunday liquor ban.
    [Paul Armentano responds: NORML has been in touch with the bill sponsor in Connecticut and are assisting in these efforts.]

  4. well its great to see that some states are tying to pass bills to improve the status of marijuana im really surprised that one of those states happens to be texas ! by any chance does anyone know about ohio ? i havent herd anything and havent been able to find anything

  5. It is important that history be learned if we wish to regain our stolen liberty. A Constructive Fraud was place upon us, it has harmed us, it has endangered our nation. It is harmful to the welfare of the nation to have this prohibition. Our founding fathers knew these bullies were going to show up, they always do. Time to Nullify the Prohibition Laws and put an end to the tyrants rule, time for the Rule of Law.
    Liberty CAN NOT be taken, it is surrendered, I ask you folks NOW, in this moment to peacefully take back your liberty. It is simply, Be At Your Liberty for it lies in your hearts and not in the Law of the Land, not in the Legislators, nor in any of the Courts. Liberty lies is in our actions and can only be maintained by our acting upon it. Without liberty we are a Nation of sheep being lead to slaugther for the profit of the few.

  6. The list of States to change their way of thinking grow each day. The people of America grow more wise to the Constructive Fraud each day. A light is being cast upon cannabis and the government can not hide the facts any longer. The government is out of time, we have the high ground, we have the true facts, we have medical evidence that the Government deprived us of, we have the evidence of their Constructive Fraud placed upon us to aborgate our natural rights to use this plant called cannabis or hemp. Do Not Let Up! Keep Pushing the lies into the light for all to see! Stay UNITED in this cause and we will win that liberty that was stolen from us so long ago.
    REMEMBER: You are NOT a Criminal because you didn’t go along with the Constructive Fraud on cannabis, you, me US!, have been the victims of a huge Fraud that has caused us, the Nation great harm.

  7. Reminder to Texans…this same type of bill was addressed already, I believe 2008, and instead the decision was made to leave the decision of whether to arrest or not to the police officer. Basically that means they can focus on the disadvantaged without having to arrest those with power or maybe even their own friends. Point is, they chose to make the law less equal. Let your representatives know it should fairly apply to everyone regardless, and then add your preference.
    [Paul Armentano responds: ‘this same type of bill was addressed already … and instead the decision was made to leave the decision of whether to arrest or not to the police officer.’ You are correct and we highlight this point in our sample letter to Texas legislators:
    “In 2007, Gov. Rick Perry signed similar legislation (HB 2391) granting police the option to issue a summons in lieu of an arrest in certain minor marijuana possession cases. The goal of this legislation was to reallocate criminal justice resources away from minor marijuana offenders and toward the enforcement and prosecution of more serious crimes. However, to date, most counties have yet to voluntarily adopt these reforms. Marijuana arrests, mostly possession arrests, now comprise over half of all arrests in Texas. According to 2009 state arrest data, more than 97 percent of all Texas marijuana arrests — over 77,000 people — are for possession only. Passage of HB 548 would spare criminal convictions for these tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding individuals, and would allow law enforcement officials to reallocate resources toward targeting and prosecuting more serious criminal activity.”
    Contact them here: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=22059736.%5D

  8. Oh my gosh, I missed the chance to contact my state official (I live in VA). Is there anything else I can do? When will we hear how the vote turned out?
    [Paul Armentano responds: This bill will be heard on Monday. Why not contact your elected official today? Or Monday morning? Or contact the Chair of the Committee? Or join VA NORML in its Lobby Day in Richmond on Monday. All of the tools you need to take any of these actions, which you still have time to do, can be found here: http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=20808521 ]

  9. We need to stand up and speak out, not only the pot smokers, but the innocent just as much!!!!! Go to topix.com and vote on the Should Marijuana be legalized debate, in your local area. You can vote only once, and its USA wide. Lets boost the numbers so high, that President Obama HAS TO LISTEN!
    Currently, my city is leading the comments….. here is a link….
    http://www.topix.com/issue/marijuana/dyersburg-tn/
    WE CAN SPEAK OUT ABOUT THESE HORRORS AND UNJUSTICES THROUGH FORUM TOPIX!!! ITS TIME TO STAND UP, AS A COUNTRY, AND SAY NO MORE!!!!!
    SO far….. 48,269 people support legalization, and only 11,539 oppose. With 6,916 cities reporting.

  10. @ Paul Armentano. Thank you for providing additional information to my comment, but when I went to the added link it said the alert ID was invalid.

  11. As a Maryland would-be Medical Cannabis patient, I’d like to ask that NORML post information on the Maryland 2011 legislature to help galvanize and direct activists. It is my understanding that due to the pair of bills passing in the 2010 session, Maryland must provide final vote and implementation of MMJ this session!
    Of course, such important issues such as patient self-grow, dispensary regulations, legal protections for patients and other issues are still open for debate, and there are powers that wish Maryland’s laws to be as draconian and unhelpful as that of the District!
    Thanks!
    [Paul Armentano responds: Last year’s medical marijuana proposal did NOT pass, and will be reintroduced this year.]

  12. This is more a question than a comment. I am a firm believer in the KISS philosophy: “keep it simple, stupid” and through all my research and readings on this issue of legalization, not once have I read anything about advocates attacking the FDA on the Scheduling of marijuana. Weed is a Schedule I drug and it shouldn’t be so. Mountains of research now is available to show that marijuana does indeed have beneficial uses, yet the Schedule I stigma prevails. Has a challenge ever been made to the FDA to re-classify marijuana as a lessor drug, say like alcohol and caffiene? Common sense would indicate that if we could change the Scheduling of marijuana, then perhaps politicians may be more receptive to debate and action. Just a thought….
    [Paul Armentano responds: The FDA is not an agency involved in the Scheduling process. Congress can reschedule a substance via legislation, or the DEA can be petitioned to do so. NORML is a co-petitioner in this effort. FYI: Alcohol and caffeine are not scheduled under the CSA]

  13. You are all at your Liberty PROVIDED you have paid all the proper service fees, State & Federal taxes and any licencing fees related to that liberty you so much want to enjoy. You Shall Be Arrested if you freely engage in any Liberty that you have not paid the proper service fees, taxes, or licencing fees associated with that Liberty. We are all welcome to this American Nightmare so that a few elite groups may profit

  14. I am agreeing that marijuana should be legalized for medical use and I do use it for that purpose. For me it is not recreational any longer, it provides me relief from for my many psychological disorders, assist in my pain management, especially for the nerve damage received from a helicopter crash while in the military.
    I would like to get some input on what impact a civil law suit against state governments might have. It is primarily the states’ option to allow medical marijuana use. It is the states in general who are discriminating against those of us that would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Could a civil suit filed against a state for discrimination be viable. Fourteen other states have adopted medical marijuana use, so it seems to me that it is now the state in question that is being discriminatory toward us that would benefit. If other states have adopted the use, are we being discrimanated against due to the fact that they are denying us the same right and privileges to use medical cannabis? Are they saying that we should have to move from our selected home state in order to benefit from what is an acceptable practice in other states? We are after all being prevented from doing what others (thousands even millions) are allowed to do only because we choose to live where we live. We are being deprived of something that could medically benefit us.
    I request that anyone, especially civil rights attorneys and or activist contact me with any information in regards to this being a discrimination matter. Thank You
    Email: brpreston58@gmail.com

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