NORMLIZE CONGRESS: Marijuana Law Reform Heating Up in 2013

The votes this past November in Colorado and Washington to regulate marijuana for adults have sparked a fire of change that seems to be spreading across the country. This month, both state and federal legislatures will return to work to kick off the 2013 legislative session and it is already shaping up to be one of the busiest in recent memory for marijuana reformers. Bills are already slated to be introduced in states such as Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Texas – with many more to be introduced in the coming weeks. It is very likely that on top of federal legislation coming down the pipeline, nearly two dozen marijuana reform measures will also be introduced across the country in various states. NORML will be providing you with Action Alerts as new bills are introduced, easily allowing you to contact your elected officials and ask them to support these important reform measures.

2013 is going to be one active year in the world of marijuana law, below you can read the summaries of the first 5 bills that were prefiled for introduction. Residents of these states can click on the “Write Your Officials!” link and easily send a pre-written letter of support to their state Senator or Representative. You can also click here to download our NORMLIZE CONGRESS graphic and share with your friends and family and encourage them to speak out against our country’s draconic marijuana policies.

Alabama – Medical Marijuana

Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Rep. Patricia Todd (Jefferson) has pre-filed legislation, House Bill 2: The Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients Rights Act, to be debated by lawmakers this spring.

This measure seeks to enact statewide legal protections for qualified patients who are authorized by their physician to engage in cannabis therapy. The proposal seeks to establish a network of state-regulated not-for-profit dispensaries and delivery services to provide cannabis to patients. Qualified patients would also be able to grow specified quantities of cannabis in private.

Write Your Elected Officials

Indiana – Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Summary: Two separate pieces of legislation that seek to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties are expected to be debated during the 2013 legislative session.

State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) has announced that she will reintroduce legislation to reduce penalties for the adult possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana to a fine-only, non-criminal violation.

Separately, Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) has announced he intends to introduce legislation in 2013 that would make the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana by adults a non-criminal offense. Senator Steele, who chairs the Senate committee on corrections, criminal and civil matters, told the Associated Press that he intends to include the marijuana provision in a bill that revamps the Indiana criminal code to align charges and sentencing in proportion to the offenses.

Write Your Elected Officials

Iowa – Medical Marijuana Measures

Summary:Two separate pieces of legislation that seek to allow the physician supervised use of cannabis are expected to be introduced during the 2013 legislative session.

State Sen. Joe Bolkham has announced that he will introduce legislation, SF 266, to allow for Iowa patients with qualifying conditions to access and use cannabis for medical purposes with a doctor’s recommendation. Rep. Bruce Hunter also declared his intention to introduce a similar measure, HF 2270, in the General Assembly. These proposals would allow for Iowans with qualifying conditions to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana, which can be cultivated from a private grow of no more than six plants, or purchased from a state approved dispensary.

Write Your Elected Officials

Kentucky – Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Act

Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Sen. Perry Clark (Louisville) has pre-filed legislation, the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act, to be debated by lawmakers this spring.

The proposal seeks to establish a network of state-regulated dispensaries where qualified patients could obtain cannabis if and when the substance is authorized by their physician. Qualified patients would also be able to grow specified quantities of cannabis in private. The measure bears its name after longtime Kentucky attorney and cannabis advocate Gatewood Galbriath, who passed away last year.

Write Your Elected Officials

Maine – Tax and Regulate

Summary: Legislation that seeks to make Maine the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana is pending before state lawmakers. Democrat Representative Diane Russell of Portland has pre-filed legislation to be debated by lawmakers this spring. Her proposed measure would legalize the sale of as much as 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana per week to people 21 or older at licensed retail locations. The law would also permit for the cultivation of the plant in private settings.

Write Your Elected Officials

New Hampshire – Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Summary: Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again before state lawmakers. Republican Rep. Kyle Tasker has pre-filed legislation to amend marijuana possession penalties for up to one ounce of marijuana.

Under present law, the possession of one ounce of cannabis or less is classified as a criminal misdemeanor publishable by up to one-year in jail and a $2,000 fine. This proposal seeks to make minor marijuana offenses a fine-only, non-criminal infraction. Doing so would significantly reduce state prosecutorial costs and allow law enforcement resources to be refocused on other, more serious criminal offenses.

Write Your Elected Officials

New Hampshire – Medical Marijuana

Summary: Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis is pending before state lawmakers. A coalition of some dozen state lawmakers have pre-filed legislation that seeks to make New Hampshire the 19th state since 1996 to allow for the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Write Your Elected Officials

Rhode Island – Tax and Regulate

Summary: Legislation that seeks to make Rhode Island the third state to legalize and regulate the adult use of marijuana is pending before state lawmakers. House Judiciary chairperson Edith Ajello has pre-filed legislation to be debated by lawmakers this spring. States Rep. Ajello: “I want to see the criminal element out of this. I think that legalizing and taxing it just as we did with alcohol prohibition is the way to do it.”

Write Your Elected Officials

Texas – Lower Possession Penalties

Summary: Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties is once again pending before state lawmakers. State Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has prefiled legislation, House Bill 184, to amend minor marijuana possession penalties to a fine-only, Class C misdemeanor.

Under present law, the possession of one ounce of cannabis or less is classified as a Class B criminal misdemeanor publishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Passage of HB 184 would reduce these penalties to a maximum fine of $500 and no jail time.

Write Your Elected Officials

100 thoughts

  1. We need to speed this process up!!!
    We are intelligent, peaceful, MASSIVE; Let’s stop letting these TYRANTS tell us we can’t ingest weeds that would just grow in any damb mud hole if you let them, ALL THE WHILE

  2. We need to speed this process up!!!
    We are intelligent, peaceful, MASSIVE; Let’s stop letting these TYRANTS tell us we can’t ingest weeds that would just grow in any damb mud hole if you let them, ALL THE WHILE People are dying every blessed half hour from prescription, nasty, pills. Enough of their delays!!!!

  3. What the hell happened to NJ? The law that was passed in 2010 is still complete BS. Can we push for Tax & Regulate? The Medical Marijuana thing is a complete joke here!

  4. …yea…about florida…how many of you folks have written our pill supporting governor and gotten blown off right to the federal doorstep ? and for those who havent…why not? i understand that you must be careful about certain others finding out about your consumption of illegal herb. but, their is nothing wrong with consuming cannabis!! a part of it is how you conduct yourself!! i have lived a respectable lifestyle and, many were shocked at my job when they began hair testing. it was a way for me to stand up for whats right so i was tested dirty. because i was a long time employee,i was spared a firing and sent to ‘rehab’ and 30 days off without pay. my counselor was way more concerned about my feelings about alcohol then herb. that was because their is alcoholism in my family, a damm serious disease. it made me proud that i made the right decision to consume cannabis rather then the personal destruction from alcohol. now, i write letters, i post usefull information at work that people can learn from and i make damm sure it comes across in a respectable manner. when people see that respectable folk are consuming cannabis,they tend to look further to find the truth.i still am uncomfortable with my family knowing about this until i can get them to see the good in cannabis.but , at least i am trying!! come on people…get up and show people the good in cannabis…..peace to you all…

  5. I am very grateful to all who have tirelessly worked to get Cannabis legalized, with many victories in medical and decriminalization laws passed. I agree that some states will remain far behind the movement, such as Florida and others. I hope everyone that is bichin signed the petition to attorney general Pam Bondi to get Cannabis off of its current schedule 1 status. I am dismayed that we have only one day left and the White House petition to get Joe Biden to shut his mouth is lacking some 4000 signatures. Does anyone know why some of these petitions do not get the signatures with so many of us on the same page?, are there some restrictions or are people in fear, or simply believe they are a waste of time? Thank you, and keep up the fight we are winning!

  6. Guys, the best thing that we can do is to educate, educate, educate everyone we meet. Some people still think of it as the devil’s weed. We must educate everyone so we can stop the madness.

  7. banjo Brad says:
    January 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    As a native Tennessean I think there are plenty of people here that are very much aware of how safe Cannabis is but lack the ability to ‘come out of the closet’ to family and friends

    Lack of ability = coward. I came out, posted several videos, lost a lot of work and a lot of family as a result. Fuck ’em. My father didn’t fight the Batlle of The Bulge so I could go to jail for a joint!!!!!!!

  8. I dont understand what the big deal is. How many deaths have been caused by marijuana use? None. How many people have died smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol? Too many to count. This should be legalized by the federal government for the whole country for recreational use, medical use, possetion and growing. You could argue that its a “gateway” drug but majority of the time its not. Many people who smoke marijuana onli smoke marijuana and they dont feel the need to try anything else. Weed is weed, not heroine. The only reason its considered a “gateway” drug is because its illegal and people want to do more illegal things. There is no logical reason to have this natural herb with a bad rep an illegal substance. We should have the right to smoke it if we want, its from the earth is it not? Even if taxes are added to it, we could brig this country out of this recession. The government has no good reason to not legalize marijuana. Peace, love, and smoke some bud.

  9. Knock over one domino in a line and this is what happens,the chickens all get in a line! Ive moved to Colorado!!!!

  10. This is not the time to get weary! This now more than ever is time for action! We are in the midst of changing history folks!! 🙂

  11. I am a cancer patient & would like to see Indiana become a medical Marijuana state. I am currently doing chemo treatment, but I have done research on hemp oil & would like to be able to have access to it. This is my life we are talking about. As a resident & a tax payer, I feel that I should have the right to use hemp oil if that’s what I want to do..PLEASE PUSH FOR US!!! GOD BLESS

  12. TO: Annette from Jan. 9,2013 at 12:22pm. Please contact your elected officials. That is step one for us here in Indiana also go to the INORML and ReLegalize Indiana FaceBook pages and “like” them. Have all of your friends and family do the same. Check out I was told to avoid chemo!

  13. @lockedoutoftheshed i really enjoyed reading your comment i feel the same way! I can’t believe im saying this but i work at a hospital and i think i am a kind respectable man as well and i prefer smoking anyway over drinking a drop of any alcohol.. Its nasty! But anyways i just grew the balls to sign that petition that didn’t make it :/ and i tend to keep informing others of the positives as well. best of luck to everyone involved i hope this tubs around sooner rather than later! LEGALIZE THE PLANT!

  14. I live in Florida and this covernor is right out of the dark ages.
    when the elections come up there will be at least one who is for the reform of the MJ laws, and thats the one to vote for!

  15. Jeff, New Jersey does not have a medical marijuana program, even if that is the name. It really is the one and only “Hospice-Care Marijuana Program”.

    Calling “Medical” is a slap in the face to New Jersey health care.

  16. Tennessee needs to change their marijuana laws. they have “ridiculous” views! 1 year in prison for a half ounce and a fine! That’s ridiculous! They don’t even have a medical program yet. We live in the stone age bible belt where people believe that Jesus has said that Marijuana is evil! It’s stupid living here!

  17. yall are taking way too long!!!! a ten year old can do it better!!! the way things are now in louisiana,a ten year old can get better weed than I can,and faster!!!

  18. State Senator Mike Stack sent me an email crying about Philadelphia’s money problems. I replied to his email suggesting legalizing marijuana.Here is the correspondence.

    Mr. Stack,
    Thanks for reading and replying to my suggestion.

    First of all, compared to alcohol, which has absolutely no medical or health benefits, marijuana is much less dangerous to society and health.
    I’ve never heard of someone smoking a joint and then going home to beat their wife and children, or dying of marijuana poisoning.
    Additionally, cigarettes are far more dangerous to a person’s health than marijuana. They are prove to be very addictive and carcinogenic.
    But there is no legislation to ban either of these dangerous drugs, which I would be in favor of banning for the reasons above. (and countless other reasons)
    Would you be in favor of banning spray paint because irresponsible huff it to get high, and deface public property with it?
    That would be ridiculous. There will always be irresponsible people, no matter what is banned or legal.

    Secondly, I’m not sure if you ever smoked pot, but if you did, did it lead you to smoke crack or shoot heroine?
    And your third point is the same as your second point.

    Look, I don’t smoke pot, drink or do drugs, but I have smoked pot in the past.
    I never went any further. I never smoked crack, dropped acid, or shot heroine.

    The reason for my request is not to spawn a drug addicted society, it is a sure way to raise money for your ill fated programs and issues.

    Because of your views, your afraid to even ask your constituents if they would be in favor of such a measure?

    As an elected representative of the public, you are REQUIRED to ask your constituents how they feel about issues that impact society.
    Your not even willing to ask!
    To me, this means you are not doing the job that you were elected to do.

    You don’t have to reply to this email, but keep in mind, I will post this correspondence to as many public outlets as possible.

    Thanks for being honest on your views, but I will not vote for someone who ignores the will of the public that elected them.

    Steve Prinkey

    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 16:44:52 -0500
    Subject: Marijuana Legalization

    Dear Mr. Prinkey:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation to decriminalize marijuana. I appreciate hearing your views on this issue. Many people with varying opinions have contacted me about this issue. I have many concerns with legalizing marijuana. First, I have not seen any academic, peer-reviewed studies that show marijuana has a medical or health benefit. Secondly, marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to additional drug abuse. Third, I am concerned that marijuana will lead to additional drug abuse.

    While, I appreciate hearing your views on marijuana, I am opposed to the legalization of marijuana and will not introduce or support legislation to decriminalize it. If the issue comes before the Senate for consideration, I will keep your thoughts in mind.

    Again thank you for contacting me. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Senator Mike Stack

    Senator Mike Stack
    Fifth Senatorial District
    12361 Academy Road
    Philadelphia, PA 19154
    Phone: 215-281-2539
    Fax: 215-281-2798

  19. Texas needs to get over themselves and legalize the use of marijuana just like Colorado, for the simple fact of people are going to do it regardless of what is going on. The facts are it has never been the main cause of an accident and nor has been considered a “gateway” drug, because if you have the right mind set it would be a personal choice if you did anything harder such as crack, LSD, and cocaine. Tax it, make it available like alcohol, where you must be 21 to get it. Medically I beleiive it helps on so many levels its unreal, anxiety, depression, adhd, muscle spasms, and many more things.

  20. How about Utah. What a stupid state. As for the whole country, their is just to many people trying to stick there nose in other peoples business when they don’t care about you anyway, like our Government. And if you have never tried Marijuana more than once, how can anyone be against something they have never tried, that’s stupid. What I want to know is how a Dangerous drug like alcohol is legal.
    God, yea, legalize Marijuana and get a million homeless school kids off the streets.
    I hope the people in congress see this one!!!!

  21. This really needs to be said, I know this is a long complicated process, but someone needs to stick up for us here in Utah. Iv been watching and waiting patiently for years for something to happen, but here i sit. I look at this page on almost a weekly basis, and still to this day Utah has no supporters, no chapters, nothing. There are people here that need this, but our religious goverment is to stubborn to let change in. Some of the most intelligent medical engineers and scientists are working at universities and hospitals here, if we only had the chance we could do great things.

  22. Georgia, needs to added too, and we the people need to change the old ways. Its has a lot of use. Hemp will save our trees, make paper,etc.

  23. I saw in a NORML email that Maryland was considering a decrim bill, so I fired off an email to my state senator in support. I hope I get a response showing a little more effort than the one Steve Prinkey got.

    Incidentally, I would have responded to Steve’s state senator’s comment about having seen no peer reviewed studies showing the benefits of medical marijuana with a list of the studies. NORML has a ton of them available on its website. I believe any study published in a medical journal would have been peer reviewed.

  24. We need to get somthing going here in North Dakota! i know we are not a BIG state but none the less we have some of the most UNJUST marijuana laws in the U.S of A! this needs to change! i have written my congress many times but i feel i cant doing anything else, NORML.. HELP!

  25. This plant that can be converted into MONEY what we need to live or just save. The essential left over oils could fuel and lubricate all machinery and we could go back to using all the plants resources to better the economy greatly.

    The NONE

  26. The key to getting this plant legal and accepted is to get the truth out about it.There are several different ways to get this info out to people who still think it is an evil weed.Fliers can be made up and passed out at major events with links to the scientific studies.These web addresses can also be slipped into mags at the Dr.s office.If the info gets widespread about the benefits of cannabis it will change minds.

  27. What about Louisiana? This state is still way too old fashioned, come up to speed and get with the program. The scientific proof that marijuana will cause very little harm to anyone. When you smoke all you get is the munchies and not want to move, not go out and kill someone just to get the high again. This would a. make the states money b. make people who need it, ease anxiety, lower depression, and help insomniacs sleep much better. c. the people who just want to smoke keeps them out of trouble because hell if they walk around high they are not out to hurt anyone but themselves, just like alcohol make it to where you have to be 21 or 18 just like cigarettes. Both alcohol and nicotine are both drugs because of the additives but what about the natural weeds growing way back into Indian times? No one has showed anything bad to come from the use of weed. Also if its legal in 2 states and you visit someone in those states and you smoke why is it illegal to smoke it in other states? Come on now can someone answer all these questions, NO just because the government don’t want to. Free country ha that’s funny, true freedom would mean we can say what we want and do what we want and smoke what we want as well. What else is bad our state officials won’t comment on here to hear what the people have to say.

  28. I have now smoked weed for give or take now 12 years and I have never had one bad episode due to marijuana! I’ve never beat my wife had anger problems or overdosed using this herbal medicine. I have alson smoked cigarettes as well! For the benefit of my health not that I’m in bad health but to stay in good health I have quit smoking cigarettes but I do still smoke weed! Weed is very beneficial to the psychy of this country and those who opposed to this being a legal part of society is just a fool and I hope their children are incarcerated when they get caught then they will see how stupid and morally wrong it is to take ones family member away from them for simply smoking or eating THC products. To all those incarcerated due to possessing using or selling herbal medicine, I feel for you and pray that u soon return to your love ones who have had to deal with the insensible jail time that you are serving! And thanks for risking what u do to make sure people such as myself are still able to enjoy this medicine.. I am from Florida and I will be a real man and do what I choose that hurts no one and stays respectful to the people around me and I will be smoking as long as I’d like regardless of the laws of this country!!!

  29. We need to start a country-wide petition to decrim… Marijuana as well as Hemp!! What a way to boost this economy by allowing growers to grow and sell weed with the manufacturing jobs we need in this country with hemp and the manufacturing of all that hemp can be used for!!

  30. i thank it should be legal in wv but sold like cigs in stores the goverment could make more money selling them like that and sell to 18 or older

  31. You should legalize it if so meany workers out of jobs that will open up the door for people with out a job to have jobs the our economy wouldn’t be so low. And people wouldn’t be out there robbing and stealing for there habits, mother wouldn’t go crazy over there kids.

    Get the drugs and the people that are hurting us like these rapist our kids don’t deserve to get hurt or anything. Crack, coke, molly, get them drugs weed helps everything even your health so to legalize weed you have my vote.

  32. This country would be so much better. After all this is a free country. If its run by people then why don’t we have a sayso

  33. the way i see it is the states need more money if they legalize it they take the money from the dealers and shit and maybe they will go get an actual job itll help get the country out of debt.. it heals people its none addictive i bet that itll help get people off the other shit there on if they get to smoke weed legally and id prolly replace cigs with doobies anyway so that would help me there and other people there too.. there is so many reasons why they should just try it if anything they are the like head people of the country if they issue it im sure they can take it back if it dont go as well we all think but i think itll work find and more people will cowaperate than youd think.. weed is chill we just gotta not make it a stoner country that aint ready for like surprise attacks or some crazy shit that may happen some day cus shit happens and you never know just gotta smoke weed and stay alert not let it go to far which im sure that there will be people that still wont do it and other people that wont do it but are ok with it being done around them or whatever i just wanna see this happen in my life time it could be a good change youll just have to let it happen to find out id say go for it though sounds like the best thing for everyone right now

  34. If the current president( Barack Obama ) can say that he himself has partaken in the so called illegal substance of marijuana than what gives the tyrants in congress the right to take our god given fredom away by saying that a natural ( not man made ) plant is a drug classified in a higher more severe categorie than cocain.

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  36. I been smoking pot since i was sixteen and i dont see anything wrong with it. This is pots motto. Hungry, Happy, Sleepy. How many people do you know that has wrecked or overdosed off pot, but then again how many people die from pills and shooting up. Hell why is alchohol legal when you can get alchohol poisoning, or even drink and drive and die. whats the since of making something like that legal and not pot. Marijuana was here before any pill, or anything else man has made. Honestly, marijuana is the best medicine out there, and if it cant be legal then why should anything else ?

  37. Hello, i am trying to help iowa pass the bill for medicinal purposes, as well as educate people on why it should be legal. i have been smoking for about 3 years and within that time i have never once been addicted to marijuana. in fact b4 i started i was totally against it. i would have chosen to take a pill like tramedol, hypdros, or even oxycottin for my knee, shoulder and insomnia. with pills you can od… like my grandmother, but with marijuana that is not possible for you to od on pot u have to smoke your body weight with in an hour. i know i way 180 pounds and for me to injest that either by smoking or eating it is in fact an impossible feat for any human. Not to mention the fact that even when you do injest pot the side effects are gone with in an hour and half. but with alcohol or pills the effects are much more intense and longer lasting. yes you can argue that a pill is usually out of your system completly within roughly 72 hours depending on your body build, with drinking 3 beers in an hour you are already over the legal limit and you must wait at least 4 hours for you to be safe to drive. just by those facts you can see witch one is the better choice.

    The main reason marijuana is illegal today is from the prohibition period, because the government cant tax marijuana as easily because it can be grown anywhere. unlike alcohal where you need a spacific amount of ingrediants to make at home. plus with the glabal recession marijuana taxed is expected to bring in over 2 billion dollars annually. enough money that within a few years OUR economy in the U.S.A it will be back to a profiting nation.

  38. Shouldn’t the decision be made by the voters, after all it’s our voice your ignoring. the penalty for marijuana in Texas carry’s a higher penalty than a D.U.I 5th offense, think about it.

  39. ive smoked for three years and never once have i did anything of those bad things people say about pot and for one its not addictive at all. how do i know you may ask well for the last three years i have ran track so as you know i have to take random drug tests so when school and track season starts i quit smoking and let my system clean itself out and as of right now i have 3.75 gpa and made a 26 on my ACT and i sprint and throw javalin and do the long jump and i only start smoking during he summer and second there isnt as many health issues as smoking cigarettes

  40. When is marijuana going to be lagelized here in the state of missouri I wish I could find out some way some how because the day it gets legaluzed here in missouri I am going to fire up the biggest blunt I have ever smoked in my life

  41. too many Christian groups in Texas believe it is the Devils weed. Mabe they they know that GOD MADE THE PLANTS IN THE FIRST PLACE. so the lawmakers are spending the tax payers monies because Nixion made weed a schedele 1 drug including coke and herion big difference. Lets not forget what he did not much later WATERGATE!!!

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