Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in over twenty 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.
Massachusetts: State lawmakers have reintroduced legislation, HB 1371, that seeks to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults. The measure has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. You can learn more about how to support this legislation by contacting MassCann, NORML’s Massachusetts affiliate here. You can also contact your House and Senate members and urge them to support legalization by going here.
Washington: On Tuesday, February 8, members of the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness heard testimony in favor of HB 1550, which allows for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products. You can view archived video from this hearing here. The Committee is anticipated to vote on this measure on Friday, February 18. Last year the members of this Committee rejected a similar measure by a 6 to 2 vote. Urge them this year to vote ‘yes.’ You may contact the members of this Committee here or contact your individual House member here.
Hawaii: Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary and Labor and members of the Senate Committee on Health on Friday, February 4 voted in favor of Senate Bill 1460, which reduces the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a civil violation punishable by a fine of not more than $100. You can read NORML’s testimony in support of the bill here. You can contact your state lawmakers in support of the measure here.
Maryland: Over 20 members of Maryland’s House of Delegates are backing legislation, HB 606, to reduce the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $1000 maximum fine) to a civil offense, punishable by a $100 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. House Bill 606 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, February 22nd at 1pm. You may contact the members of the Committee here. You can follow the progress of HB 606 on Facebook here. If you reside in Maryland, you can contact your Delegate in support of this legislation by clicking here.
Indiana: Members of the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters on Tuesday voted 5 to 3 in favor of Senate Bill 192, which calls for a legislative review to be conducted by the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee later this year. The measure now awaits action from the full Senate. You can contact your state Senator and urge him or her to endorse the measure by clicking here. Additional information on this and other marijuana law reform efforts in Indiana is available from Indiana NORML here or on Facebook here.
Montana: Bad news to report from Montana. On Thursday, February 10, members of House of Representatives voted 63 to 37 for HB 161, which would repeal the state’s existing medical cannabis law. The measure must be reapproved during a final House vote (third reading), which will likely take place imminently. If approved by the House, the measure then goes before the Senate. There has never been a single state medical marijuana law that has been repealed. Do not let Montana be the first. Please make sure that your state elected officials heard from you. You can contact him or her via the Montana NORML website here or via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. You can also visit Patients and Families United Facebook page here for up-to-date information on pending hearings and votes.
To be in contact with your state officials regarding these measures and other pending legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.