NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up

Marijuana law reform legislation is pending in nearly 30 states this 2012 legislative session. Is your state among them? Find out here.

More importantly, have you taken the time to call or write your state elected officials this year and urged them to support these pending reforms? If not, NORML has provided you with all of the tools to do so via our capwiz ‘Take Action Center’ here. (FYI: NORML’s capwiz page is specific to legislation only, not ballot initiative efforts. A summary pending 2012 ballot initiative campaigns may be found at NORML’s Legalize It 2012 page on Facebook here or on the NORML blog 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!

California: Democrat Assemblywoman Norma Torres is sponsoring legislation, AB 2552, that seeks to criminalize anyone who operates a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of marijuana or its metabolites in their system, regardless of whether their psychomotor performance is demonstrably impaired. NORML is opposing this measure, which has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. More information about this legislation is available from California NORML or via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

Connecticut: Legislation that seeks to allow for the limited legalization of medical marijuana by qualified patients is moving forward in the Connecticut state legislature. On Wednesday, March 21, members of the Judiciary Committee voted 35 to 8 in favor of the measure, Raised Bill 5389. NORML thanks all of you who contacted your elected officials ahead of this important vote.

The Committee vote follows on the heels of the release of a statewide Quinnipiac University Poll of over 1,600 residents which reported that 68 percent of voters endorse the measure. According to the poll, “there is no gender, partisan, income, age or education group opposed” to legalizing marijuana as a physician-recommended therapy.

To receive future e-mail updates on the progress of this legislation and what you can do to assure its passage, please contact Erik Williams, Connecticut NORML Executive Director, here.

New Hampshire: Members of the Senate Committee on Health voted 5-0 last week in favor of Senate Bill 409, which allows for the limited legalization of medical marijuana by qualified patients, on March 23rd. SB 409 now awaits a vote on the Senate floor, which may come as soon as this week. [UPDATE!] On Wednesday, March 27th, members of the Republican-led New Hampshire State Senate voted 13-11 in favor of Senate Bill 409. You can watch lawmakers reaction to the vote here. As amended, qualified patients would be able to possess up to four cannabis plants and/or six ounces of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. SB 409 now awaits action from the House of Representatives, House Health and Human Services Committee. To become involved in the statewide campaign effort in favor of SB 409, contact NH Compassion here or visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

Rhode Island: Legislation seeking to reduce marijuana possession penalties has been reintroduced in both chambers of the Rhode Island legislature. House Bill 7092 and its companion legislation Senate Bill 2253 amend state law so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by an individual 18 or older is reduced from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense, punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record. A recent statewide poll, conducted in January by the Public Policy Polling Firm, shows that 65 percent of Rhode Island’s residents approve of this change.

On Tuesday, March 27, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony in favor of the measure. Last week, members of the House Judiciary Committee held similar hearings. NORML submitted written testimony in favor of the measure to the Committee.

Separate legislation to regulate the adult sale and use of marijuana is also pending in both chambers, and will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow.

Additional information about these measures is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

[UPDATE] Tennessee: The House version of legislation, the “Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act”, that seeks to allow for the use of medical marijuana passed out of Committee on Tuesday, March 27. The bill now goes to the full House Health and Human Resources Committee, which will hear the measure on Wednesday, April 4, at 1:30pm. In past years, similar legislation has gained significant legislative support. NORML had previously retained a state lobbyist to work on behalf of the medicinal cannabis issue in the state legislature, and many Tennessee lawmakers have expressed support authorizing patients’ access to marijuana therapy. Now lawmakers need to hear from you. You can contact your lawmakers about this legislation via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

29 thoughts

  1. When is it that Indiana is gonna pass for medical marijuana? How close are we? Isn’t it time already for all states to have medical marijuana? In the name of Jesus Christ and God. Ugh.

  2. what about georgia i have never heard of talk leglaztion even though we have the least harsh laws of all the southern states

  3. New Hampshire SB409 just passed in the Senate, 13-11, but did not receive a veto-proof majority.

  4. I just received this from my State Senator Stephen Saland. 3/22/2012 41st District in New York.

    “I conceptually support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes only”

    I have been waiting for this for many years. Mr Saland is one of those always standing in the way. Now there has to be some movement in New York.

  5. A friend of mine believes other issues are being kept in the forefront in the news and other venues. I got an email from VP Joe Biden asking me what “issues are important to you”. And it was multiple choice mostly consisting of Gender Equality? Gay Rights? Environmental Concerns?, ect; but nothing about legization of marijuana, which is the most important thing we can do to fix our broken government.

    How about getting rid of the War on Drugs, which was only put in place as an end run around of Civil Rights? One law working to right the harms caused by another law is inflicting on us is a very foolish way to govern. As a result we have people in jail who don’t belong there! Why are we trying to emulate communist Russia?

  6. pconk- I’ve e-mailed our reps for YEARS (I have 3 medical conditions that would qualify me for medical marijuana) and Saland has always told me only if they can figure out how to distribute it at pharmacies. Has he changed his mind now?? Do you really think he’ll vote yes?

  7. This is what I got from the president last week

    “Thank you for writing. President Obama has heard from many Americans concerning the legalization of marijuana, and we appreciate hearing from you.

    The President is committed to creating the most open and transparent Government in American history, and values your input. To learn about the Administration’s drug control policy, please visit: Given your interest in this matter, you may also be interested in reading an official White House response to a petition on this issue.

    Thank you, again, for writing.”

  8. We still have many folks that would rather believe the old gorilla tactic that Cannabis will destroy and kill you.We need to get these dumbarses out of office. Obama is/will be/was a waste of time. How many people are dying out there and yet believe that Cannabis is the devil’s weed. We need to somehow change this view. I know many seniors that are now willing to try as a last measure to save themselves but unfortunately there are many others who still believe in this mish mash of BS. I shall continue to educate those poor lost souls to let them know Cannabis was once on the Medical list of approved medicines but because we as Americans chose to hate another person because they were black, Spanish, NON White they were arrested.
    We need to educate those that are not in the know. My father, and I am 40 now was 100% against Cannabis yet having a stroke and using this great medication neither he nor the rest of my family have had anything bad to say about Cannabis they call it A MIRACLE. I call it just a medicine on Roids that can clear just about any disease.

  9. •35 percent of all car accident fatalities are alcohol related – A total of 806 fatal car accidents occurred in Michigan in 2009. Of those fatal crashes, 277 (34.4 percent) were alcohol-related.
    •299 alcohol-related car accident deaths – A total of 299 people died in Michigan alcohol-related fatal crashes in 2009.
    •Car accidents involving drinking are worse – Crashes involving drinking tend to be more serious than non-drinking crashes. Oh by the way , it costs me 1300/yr for plpd car insurance. The drunk baby-raper who gets to keep his job pays half that for full coverage,because he got to keep his career via passing his marijuana piss test. Thus concluding our country is controlled by drunken baby-rapers. I cannot wait till the end when jesus will send all the alcoholics baby-rapers to hell where they belong.
    This is enough reason to make alcohol a felony to use around children. What these stats don`t show is how many children are molested and abused by drunks every year. And how much tax-money do we invest on the war on drunken baby-rapers? 0 compared to the trillions of dollars spent on the war against growing marijuana. After 30 years of this hypocrite bullshit alcohol should be illegal to use around children. And drunk driving is attempted murder.
    WELCOME TO THE WAR ON DRUGS!!!! Where insane people drink wine and molest children and take your money to destroy a plant species from the face of the earth. Global warming won`t be a problem once all the marijuana is destroyed. Have a beer,somewine or whiskey perhaps, enjoy your civil freedom to drink around babies. And if those babies get molested ,never fear the war on drugs will make sure those molested children will grow up to be drunk driving idiots.

  10. I think it time for ALL users to demand to be arrested and prosecuted for possession,NO BAIL. If Everyone did this the countries courts couldn’t handle the volume and maybe it would draw enough attention that the world could see how ridicules these laws are. If the country had to take care of us for a day this could all end. I’ll take my wheel chair and let the state feed and house me for a few days


    What a great weekend for a resurrection! Let’s keep fighting all! Now is the time to call, write and/or email our elected officials (again and again and again) to keep pushing (begging) for approval of the Tennessee Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act (SB 0251/HB 0294).

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Bernie Ellis
    Date: Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 3:27 PM
    Subject: The TN Safe Access bill lives on!! Hearing set for Senate Health committee!!
    Cc: tracevu

    To all:

    I spoke at length this morning with Senator Beverly Marrero about some
    exciting and unexpected news about the Safe Access to Medical Cannabis
    bill here in Tennessee. After Wednesday’s hearings, we all thought
    that the process was over with for this year. However, the Senate
    rules stipulate that any bill that comes out of the Senate Government
    Operations committee is entitled to a hearing by the next committee in
    line for consideration of the bill. For our bill, that is the Senate
    Health committee.

    That committee had supposedly wrapped up business for the year.
    However, the Health committee chairman (Senator Rusty Crow) has agreed
    to reconvene the committee to hear testimony on our bill the week
    after next. Senator Marrero believes that Chairman Crow will give us
    significant time to present our case, unlike the hearings on
    Wednesday. I have asked for 30 minutes to allow 2-3 patients, one
    physician, one spokesman for similar efforts in Colorado and me to
    present our case, not only to additional legislators but (once again)
    to the Tennessee citizenry. The opportunity to receive another
    high-profile hearing as a platform through which to promote the Safe
    Access program again this year is very much appreciated.

    I will be meeting with Senator Marrero on Monday afternoon to discuss
    our game plan re: this new hearing. If you can help with this effort,
    please let me know. In particular, get the word out (to activists, the
    media and others) that our bill lives on to fight for science, common
    sense and compassion another day. As soon as we know that specific day
    (and time and place), we will get back in touch.

    I want to thank all of you for your contributuions so far. Spread the
    word far and wide that we will be heard once again — and that Safe
    Access will be a reality once day in Tennessee …. if we never stop
    fighting for it.

    Bernie Ellis, MA, MPH
    Principal Consultant
    TN Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act
    1Like · · Unfollow Post · Share
    Linda Siler likes this.
    Ricky Seymour It’s my opinion prayers had a lot with this Bill being revived just when we thought it had died, LOL! That’s got to put a smile on my Tennessee face! Game is………back on! = )

  12. 12 oz is what a norml pot smoker smokes in a year, the same weight as one can of beer, and the single beer is more toxic then the years supply of the worlds number one natural resource criminally mislabeled and misrepresented in our so called legal system

    NOthing more then legal fraud, hidden greed enforcing legalized terrorism upon non violent tax paying voters.

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