January 2012 marks the beginning of a new legislative session in all 50 states. Already, marijuana law reform legislation is pending (or has been pre-filed) in over a dozen states. To keep up to date with what’s pending, and how you can support marijuana-friendly reform measures in your state, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
Below is this week’s edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — where we spotlight specific examples of pending marijuana law reform legislation from 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. Get active; get NORML!
ALABAMA: The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act (HB 25) which seeks to enact legal protections for authorized medical marijuana patients, has been marked for reintroduction in the Alabama Legislature for the session starting on February 7th. It is currently assigned to the House Committee on Health. A separate medical cannabis bill, House Bill 66, has also been prefiled in the House and is also before to the House Committee on Health, while a third measure that seeks to reduce penalties on adult cannabis possession is anticipated to be introduced shortly. You can learn more about these efforts via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
INDIANA: Senate lawmakers heard testimony on Tuesday, January 24, in favor of legislation, SB 347, to decriminalize marijuana possession penalties in Indiana. Lawmakers on Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters did not vote on the measure. Therefore, there is still time for constituents to contact their Senate members and encourage them to support marijuana law reform. You can do so via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here. A separate House measure, HB 1370, that seeks to legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, is pending before the House Committee on Public Policy.
KANSAS: House Bill 2330, which seeks to enact legal protections for authorized medical marijuana patients, was heard by the House Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday, January 24th. You can read media coverage of the hearing here and here. You can track the progress of this measure and contact your state elected officials regarding HB 2330 here.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Members of the House Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony on Thursday, January 25, in favor of House Bill 1705, which seeks to allow adults age 21 or over to use marijuana legally in their home. The measure also seeks to establish a regulated cannabis market governing the wholesale production and sale of marijuana. Non-commercial transactions involving less than one ounce of cannabis would not be subject to state taxation or regulation under the measure. You can watch clips from the hearing here and you can contact your elected officials in support of the measure here.
The House Criminal Justice Committee is also scheduled to hear testimony this Thursday in favor of separate legislation, HB 1526, which seeks reduce the penalties on minor marijuana possession offenses (up to one ounce) from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine to a nominal monetary penalty of no more than $100.00. To contact your House representative regarding HB 1526, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.
VIRGINIA: Legislation seeking to establish a joint study committee to investigate the fiscal impact of regulating the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 and over is anticipated to be heard by the Virginia House Committee on Rules as soon as this Thursday. You can read NORML’s published op/eds in support of this measure here and here. To learn more about House Joint Resolution 140, please visit Virginia NORML or contact your state officials here.