NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over a dozen states, and progressive measures have been pre-filed in many more. Below is this week’s edition of 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.

Arizona: House Bill 2228, introduced in the legislature this week, amends state law so that the adult possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is reduced from a potential felony (punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine) to a “petty offense” punishable by a $100 fine. Passage of this measure would amend Arizona law from one of the strictest in the nation to one of the most lenient. The bill awaits action from the House Rules Committee, whose members may be contacted here. You can contact your own House member in support of HB 2228 via NORML’s ‘Take Action’ center here. Further information regarding statewide marijuana law reform efforts is available from Arizona NORML.
Oklahoma: Senators must assign SB 573, The “Compassionate Use Act of 2011,” to committee by the end of this week in order for lawmakers to act on it. If you reside in Oklahoma, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here to contact your state senator and urge him or her to take action on SB 573. After you have done so, please also contact the Senate leadership (Sen. Brian Bingman-Pro Tem and Sen. Mike Schulz-majority floor leader) and urge them to assign SB 573 to committee. Please leave a message stating: “The use of marijuana as medicine is a public health issue and is worthy of debate. Please assign Senate Bill 573, ‘Compassionate Use Act of 2011,’ to committee so that lawmakers have the opportunity to address the needs of Oklahoma’s patients.” For more information on this and other statewide marijuana law reform efforts in Oklahoma, please contact Oklahoma NORML. You can watch a recent interview with Oklahoma NORML director Norma Sapp discussing this measure on Fox News here.
California: Legislation that would make it unlawful “for an employer to discriminate against” persons who are authorized under state law to use medical marijuana is pending in the California Senate. Senate Bill 129 declares it unlawful under state law “for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s status as a qualified patient or a positive drug test for marijuana,” if the drug test result is indicative of previous, off-the-job marijuana use (e.g., a positive test for marijuana metabolites on a urine screen). The measure responds to a California Supreme Court ruling (Ross v. Ragingwire Telecom), which held that employers could fire employees for their off-the-job marijuana use — even if they were state-authorized patients who were not impaired at work. You can learn more about this measure and other pending marijuana law reform efforts in California at California NORML. If you live in California, you can urge your state Senator to support SB 129 by clicking here.
Maryland: Over 50 House Delegates and over 20 Senators have reintroduced legislation to regulate the limited use and distribution of medical marijuana by authorized patients. Last year the Senate overwhelmingly approved this measure, but it failed to gain support in the House. To be in contact with your state Senator and Delegate about these reforms, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action’ Center here.
Montana: House lawmakers are debating today House Bill 161, which seeks to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. More information on this hearing is available from our allies Patients & Families United here. Read NORML’s rebuttal to this draconian proposal here. If you live in Montana, please urge your lawmakers to oppose this effort by clicking here. You can also get involved by contacting Montana NORML here, or on Facebook here.

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

27 thoughts

  1. Maybe they should have people there in Arizona to vote on decrimezation marujuana like they voted on medical marijuana.Also when is Texas going to have it chance to shine?

  2. How about asking the people there in Arizone to vote on decrimzationing marijuana like they voted for medical marijuana.Also when Texas going to have it chance of glory?

  3. State Representative Doug Cox is a fool who don’t know sheet. I wanna see the actual study where Marijuana use at age 18 increases the likelihood of Schizophrenia 600 times. They must a done that study in Oklahoma at the Sheriffs office. Could it be the Alcohol or the Meth possibly? Or the beating they recieved on the side of the road for attempting to exercise their civil rights? These hillbilly politicians be runnin Oklahoma and they all be rich and be makin hella money off the prisons and drug interdiction task forces. Oklahoma is a wonderful state except for the Conservative Freakazoids.

  4. What about Texas????
    [Paul Armentano responds: What about Texas? To date, NORML constituents have generated approximately 1,000 letters to their state representatives in favor of HB 548. Have you?
    http://www.capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=22059736
    Bill To Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties Reintroduced In Texas
    Legislation seeking to reduce marijuana possession penalties has been reintroduced in the Texas House of Representatives. 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.]

  5. Where is North Carolina’s medical marijuana bill? What happened to it? A few lame duck politicians tried to push it through but weren’t re-elected and now we hear nothing about it?
    How do we get signatures and get it on the ballot? It’s about time North Carolina legalized medical marijuana!

  6. We got to keep the momentum going. Prohibition is more Dangerous to the public safty than the Substance it self. In the 1930’s people who didn’t perticularly like the consumption of alcohol agreed that prohibiting it was far worse. If they can see the light on that, we can to. What worked it the past, can wok today all we have to do is allow it.

  7. Why does the propagannd­a remain accepted by the Law?” This showed be asked until we get the answer. this propagannd­a for prohibitio­n of Cannabis is harmful to the welfare of our society. It endangers the society as a whole. It is destructiv­e to the relationsh­ip between citizens and law enforcemen­t. It interferes with …any kind of real mental health issue surround it’s use. The propagannd­a causes death to American Citizens without any due process and a denial of equal protection­. The sick have an absolute right to pursut happiness in the form of good health, cure from sickness and the present law violates that right. Sinces that is a constituti­onal right the law is unconstitu­tionally applied to cannabis and any citizens choosing to use for better health and to fight cancer. Can we have the debate NOW!

  8. I just took action on the Oklahoma Senate Bill. I also forwarded it to several people who i know will also take the time to contact the senators. Hey, if it can be done here in Oklahoma, perhaps the reddest state known to man ;), it can be done anywhere. Thanks NORML!

  9. How about getting the people of Texas to vote of it like you guys manage to get Califonia and other states to do so.I heard that 80% of the popolution htere in Texas support medical marijuana.Get the people there to vote on it.

  10. How about letting the people in Texas to vote on the issue?I heard that 80% there support medical marijuana so how about getting the people there chance to vote on the matter?I bet it would pass.
    [Paul Armentano responds: Only select states allow for the ballot initiative process to take place. Texas is NOT such a state. <http://www.iandrinstitute.org/statewide_i%26r.htm> That means that the ONLY way to change law in Texas is via the legislative process, and that means getting in touch with and getting your state representatives to support these type of reform bills.]

  11. So I contact my state senator here in georgia about decriminalization and this is the response I get:
    “Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding legalizing marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you.
    According to research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use has negative effects on the cardiovascular system, the lungs, the brain, and even social behavior. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to organs throughout the body, including the brain. Studies have indicated that a user’s risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana. Marijuana use also has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Furthermore, marijuana use has also been linked to social disorders such as depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances.
    At a time when illegal drug use is a major problem for many Americans, legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to young people across our nation that marijuana is not harmful. I do not believe marijuana should be legalized.”
    …so there are many things in that response that piss me off like the fact that young people don’t need a “message” about pot, go to your local high school and you will find a plethora of drugs.

  12. I say it is time to hang AG Eric Holder USA, let us find John Ashcroft and hang him also, how far can we go into this filthy pile of disgrace.
    If I had the power I Pray the whole Bush Family dissolves into ‘nothingness” some call it Hell, others call it Eternity.

  13. @ #12
    Im sorry you got such a poor response, but its a common one. Your senator does not seem like the type of person to change his or her mind based on the ignorant comments. I would say vote and hope for the best, but the sad truth is that whoever runs against him/her will probably feel the same way. Stay strong and never forget what is the actual truth about cannabis. Did you happend to reply and call out that those findings are lies and that numerous studies show the contrary?

  14. WOW! Opponents in Montana just won’t give up!
    They need a reality check to say the very least (not that it would do any good). By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the essay pertaining to this issue in Montana.
    I simply cannot believe opponents still try to get away with such laughable and FALSE propaganda.
    It will truly be a crying shame if opponents succeed in repealing Montana’s Medical Marijuana Act (AKA the will of the voters).

  15. When everybody is tested and the failures must pay the penalties who is there to judge ;
    When every creature/organism is inspected you can see me lifting my good hand and making my Cross
    The hounds are howling

  16. Friends,
    I just created a petition entitled Petition for a National Debate between Cannabis Prohibitionist and Anti-Cannabis Probitionist, because I care deeply about this very important issue.
    I’m trying to collect 100 signatures, and I could really use your help.
    To read more about what I’m trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/petition-for-a-national-debate-between-cannabis-prohibitionist-and-anti-cannabis-probitionist?share_id=LdACdpYCmK&pe=pce
    It’ll just take a minute!
    Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

  17. From: Senator Vicki Schmidt
    To: Anthony Buckland
    Sent: Sat, February 5, 2011 7:30:56 PM
    Subject: Re: Vicki’s Voice Newsletter
    Anthony:
    …I always appreciate the information you send me. Obviously I am not in a position to further the change of the federal laws.
    As far as Kansas goes, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this issue.
    Again, thank you for taking time to correspond with me.
    Vicki Schmidt
    Kansas Senator
    Assistant Majority Leader
    vicki.schmidt@me.com
    Here is the position of this leader in Kansas, I say remember this when you vote next, those who can’t do right nedd not be re-elected. It simple. Vote!

  18. 20 Luke
    Do you want to fire those politicians who use, vote for legalization, and can’t pass a drug test for metabolites? A good deal of Presidents would hit the bricks and down the road they would go. It would probably look like the Pide Piper leading half of D.C. out of town.
    Manny
    San Diego Colony

  19. Here is the typical brush off you get when attempting to communicate with the Kansas Legislators; It is clear she just does give a dam about how cannabis may stop cancer and prevent death in humans, no she “swamped with other legislative priorities”.
    Anthony:
    Thanks for your email. I have the papers at work that Dr. Voth has authored and many more. I am swamped with other legislative priorities right now, and do not anticipate this measure coming before the Kansas Senate this year.
    Thanks for your time.
    Sincerely,
    Vicki
    Vicki Schmidt
    Kansas Senator
    Assistant Majority Leader
    vicki.schmidt@me.com

  20. Hey people of California I have perfect idea for you.If the leaders there won`t vote on it,or don`t accept the bill which would ban discrimination against those who use medical marijuana than I suggested to you that you put this issue on the ballot like you have with other matters.Since california is ballot state i thought maybe it would be good idea.

  21. Some would say we are already debating the cannabis issue. We are already going over the facts and discussing them. This is true only to a degree but we the citizens can not stop the death, the 900,000 plus arrest this year unless we pull this horrid falsehood completely out from the darkness and into the light of day. The government will never be properly confronted and made accountable unless we get a forum, a National Debate, a transparent public debate between those who continue to write, arrest, enforce, and refuse to yield their point of view over the will of the people, the Prohibitionist and those who claim that the actions of the government violates some if not all the basic concepts of liberty, justice, freedom, due process, and equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution. Further that the Anti-Prohibitionist claim that the 1937 & 1970 US Congresses did not have the right or privilege to abrogate the rights of the people because no threat to the Nation’s welfare & safety existed for them to act on. Signing the petition put the cannabis issue back into the President lap. The Government has no real evidence, it is a fraud, fables and myths. But by signing you the American people are saying Shut up! or Put Up!

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