Take Action To Reform Marijuana Laws In Your State

The 2015 state legislative session has been the busiest on record.

State lawmakers have debated nearly 100 different marijuana law reform bills this session and some 60 bills remain pending.

NORML’s Take Action Center here provides you with the ability to track pending legislation in your state and to contact your elected officials and urge them to support marijuana law reform.

So far this legislative session, some 65,000 letters have been sent by NORML members to their elected officials in support of pending legislation. These efforts are paying dividends.

Below are some examples of pending legislation that need your support:

Delaware: Legislation to decriminalize minor marijuana offenses has passed committee and awaits a House floor vote. Take action here.

Hawaii: House and Senate lawmakers have approved legislation permitting medical cannabis production facilities and dispensaries. The measure now awaits the Governor’s signature. Take action here.

Illinois: Marijuana decriminalization legislation passed the House and now awaits action on the Senate floor. Take action here.

Minnesota: Legislation to legalize hemp farming has passed the House and now awaits action from the Senate. Take action here.

Missouri: Legislation establishing a licensed hemp cultivation program has been passed by the House and now awaits a vote on the Senate floor. Take action here.

New Hampshire: House lawmakers voted 3 to 1 to decriminalize marijuana possession offenses. The bill now awaits Senate action. Take action here.

Texas: Legislation to remove marijuana-related offenses from the Texas criminal code has passed out of committee and now awaits action from the House of Representatives. Take action here. Separate legislation decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses has also passed out of committee and awaits further House action. Take action here.

Additional legislation seeking to legalize the adult use and retail sale of cannabis remains pending in over a dozen states, while decriminalization and medical marijuana measures are pending in nearly 20 others. For a full listing of pending legislation and approved legislation, visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

20 thoughts

  1. Thanks Paul,
    For bringing us back to the priority; everybody tell everyone you know that if they don’t call their Congressman now they have no right to complain about prohibition!
    Here in Texas, HB507 has a real chance to get out of Calendar Committee and get a vote; an historic achievement in itself, as it reveals prohibitionist representatives leading up to 2016 elections!
    My pitch is simple; if the Federal government failed by three votes to stop 17 soldiers from committing suicide EVERY DAY from PTSD treatable by consuming marijuana then It ‘s time for Texas to step up and save our veterans now!
    It worked to stir up my Republican representative and Senator. Remember that HB507 to Decriminalize has a better chance to get a vote so make sure you mention it after HB2165 to fully legalize. HB2165 was introduced by Libertarian David Simpson, who is a minority among Republicans in Texas. Even if Governor Greg Abbott vetoes, its still a victory to make Texas politicians show what side of history they’re on prior to elections.

    What a great time to legalize marijuana… The seeds are starting to sprout…

  2. Another way to take action which will increase your State’s likelihood to legislate on cannabis, is to sign this petition to instruct the new DEA administrator to reinterpret the federal definition of marijuana in a way that conforms to the
    Constitution by distinguishing marijuana from cannabis.

    http://wh.gov/iBhYU

    This year is a good time to take action.

  3. I am trying to change law in Illinois…but first I need help understanding the law…The language below is beyond my ability to decipher?…Does/will Illinois HB 218 allow cannabis criminals the opportunity to apply for safe access to cannabis therapy under Illinois HB 1 ?…or will we be forced to look through the window from outside…thereby maintaining a huge black market for ill and disabled cannabis criminals…who should be made to suffer for life?…under The Compassionate Act?

    Amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Provides that if a person was convicted of a felony under the Cannabis Control Act or a similar provision of a local ordinance or of a law of another jurisdiction, and the action warranting that felony is no longer considered a felony after the effective date of the amendatory Act, that person shall be eligible to receive a registry identification card. – Illinois House Bill 218

    [Paul Armentano responds: House Bill 218 reduces personal use possession penalties (up to 15 grams) to a petty offense, punishable by a fine only — no arrest, and no criminal record.]

  4. Legal for medical therapy here…illegal for medical therapy there…Is the cannabis criminal a patient?…or… Is the cannabis patient a criminal?

    It depends…on what?

    Say again?

  5. MY LIFE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER CANNABIS USE

    I’m a proud Texas resident and I DO NOT want to leave Texas. I grew up in Garland and in November of 1998, when I was 22, I was in a bad car accident there that put me in a coma for 2 weeks and in a hospital for 6 weeks.

    I had a skull fracture w/ traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung and a large cut on my face. I got out of the hospital on December 24th and after spending the holidays with my family I went back to complete 4 months of outpatient rehab. With several scar revision procedures done during rehab the scar on my face was improved.

    During rehab I found out that the Texas Rehabilitation Commission would help me if I wanted to go back to college so after rehab I started taking classes at Richland Community College in Dallas. I was recovering very well and by September of 1999 I was ready to move out of my parents’ house to go to Bryan where I went to Blinn College.

    While I was in Bryan I had some strange experiences that left me really scared. I later learned that they were partial seizures caused by damage from the accident. Those partial seizures didn’t last long and I was awake and aware of everything when they were happening. I was confused and left with a dreadful, frightening feeling like something bad was about to happen. Those short-term feelings would leave and everything went back to normal after about 10 seconds. I had at least 2 of them while I was in Bryan. I don’t like to see doctors so I decided just to wait and see if they got worse. At that time I had no idea that they were seizures.

    I earned an A.S. degree in Chemistry and an A.A. degree in English from Blinn but I wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering. I had been trying to transfer to Texas A&M but their engineering program is tough to get into. I wasn’t giving up on an engineering degree so in January of 2003 I moved to San Marcos to go to college at Texas State University. I had gotten into the Manufacturing Engineering program there. I moved into a 12-bedroom house in San Marcos close to campus and on the first day, when I was moving in, one of my roommates asked me if I wanted to smoke some cannabis. I thought it would be a great way to break the ice and get to know my new roommates better. I smoked some cannabis with him and some other roommates. I wouldn’t have another partial seizure until years later.

    I didn’t smoke it every day but it was always around while I lived in that house. Sometimes I’d smoke with my roommates after a tough day of classes or just to relax. In August, 2006 I graduated with a B.S. in manufacturing engineering and became a manufacturing engineer at a company in New Braunfels. I moved into another house with one of those roommates and we’d smoke cannabis every 2-3 days or so. In 2008 I started dating a girl that didn’t like to be around me when I smoked cannabis so I didn’t smoke it around her. Soon we were getting to know each other better and we were spending a lot of time together. I was always around her so I stopped smoking cannabis. A few weeks later I had my first ever full-blown grand mal seizure at work in New Braunfels. I woke up in a hospital with a black-eye from hitting the floor.

    I just spent a few hours in the hospital that day. The next day I went to a neurologist in San Marcos and he sent me to get an MRI. It was found that scar tissue in my brain from the accident in 1998 was causing the seizures. I was put on Trileptal, an expensive anti-seizure med, twice a day. Those strange feelings (partial seizures) that I had in Bryan came back but now they were much stronger. I was put on Dilantin to control the partial seizures.

    Most of the seizures were prevented with these two meds for several years until March of last year. I lost a really good job I had in North Austin not long after I had a seizure while working there. The stress that this job loss gave me and stress from problems I was having with my wife came together and gave me some of the worst seizures I’d ever had. They started while I was asleep in bed, at home alone. I was there in bed for two days having uncontrolled seizures. My roommate came home to find me in bed having convulsions. There was blood all over the wall next to my bed where my knuckles had been scraping during the convulsions.

    I was in an Austin hospital for a week and then I had to go back to Dallas for three weeks to recover at my parents’ house. It was tough. My body was sore and it felt like I was back in rehab, starting all over again. Over those three weeks my seizure-damaged brain and body healed again and I moved back to San Marcos. Now I’m taking more Trileptal, Dilantin and several vitamins twice a day to keep seizures away.

    Since I stopped smoking cannabis in 2008 things have really changed…

    • I have to take those pills twice a day and I have to be sure that I always have enough to take every day.

    • I’ve had to get 5 expensive MRI’s over the years at $1,800 each.($9,000)

    • I had to stay in bed for three days straight while an EEG was being done.($3,000)

    • I’ve had at least 7 grand mal seizures (with a hospital stay after every one).

    • I’ve had over 30 partial seizures. A few have come right before grand mal seizures(auras). They scare the heck out of me.

    • I’ve lost at least two jobs because of my seizures.

    • I’ve had kidney stones (a known side-effect of Trileptal) and I had to have surgery for those in 2013. I’m feeling that same kidney pain coming back and will probably need to go through that painful surgery again soon.

    • I don’t sleep well at night (another side-effect) and I must take another pill for that.

    • I’ve been to countless doctors’ appointments.

    • My moods change easily and those changes have caused a lot of fights between my wife and me. We were separated for 6 months last year.

    • I owe a lot of money to several doctors, hospitals, medical imaging offices and I spend a lot more money on pills than I ever spent on cannabis. The pills don’t even work as well and they’re destroying my body.

    • My shoulder hurts sometimes. My left shoulder gets pulled out of socket by my own muscles when I have a seizure. It takes a long time to stop hurting after a seizure and it hasn’t healed completely.

    I’ve learned the triggers that I need to stay away from that will cause a seizure.
    • I can’t drink too much water. (It lowers my blood sodium level.)
    • I don’t drink beer or any alcohol anymore.
    • I can’t be around welding. (Bright light can cause a seizure.)
    • I have to get plenty of sleep every night. (The pills make it hard to sleep without another pill.)
    • I have to try to stay away from stress. (That’s tough to do with a 2 year-old and a 5 year-old.)

    I never had problems with any of these triggers during the 5 years that I smoked cannabis. I lived a normal and healthy life. I didn’t have to worry about a seizure coming out of nowhere because I HAD NO SEIZURES. What if I’m doing 70 mph down I-35 with my kids in my truck and I have a seizure? What if I wake up in the hospital next time and find out that my kids got hurt or even worse? I’ve had partial seizures doing the same thing but what if a big one comes?

    I’d love to go back to using cannabis to stop my seizures. I could reduce or even eliminate those meds. I’ve already had complete control of my seizures with only the use of cannabis. I’ve been really tempted to break the law and start smoking cannabis again but my wife and I fear that CPS could come take our kids away. Why? For medicating myself naturally at home with the safest and best seizure med there is? I fear that I could be thrown in jail for this and/or lose my great job as a quality engineer.

    I have no desire to use cannabis for recreation. I just want to be seizure-free and live a better, healthier and safer life. Why hasn’t Texas and every other state opened its eyes and seen what a great medication this is? It’s been proven by human use over several thousands of years. Currently it’s being proven by 23 other states where patients like me are having great successes with epilepsy and other serious conditions. It WILL be proven in the future and it’s time for Texas to show some compassion for Texans like me.

    Update: I just had a seizure on 4/24/15 and I was in bed for a week afterwards. It really felt like I was slowly dying, like my body was slowing down more and more every day headed towards a stop. I was scared of what another seizure would do to me so I went back to the only med that has prevented every seizure, cannabis. My soon to be ex-wife called the police and I went to jail, for being scared for my own life! There is so much wrong when a person that has an authentic reason to be using cannabis as a medication goes to jail for it. This has to change!

    TC

  6. New Hampshire never enacted their controlled drug laws the way they were supposed to.

    Prior to 2011 the Commissioner of Health and Human Services never made or published the NH Controlled Drug Schedule. The entire code is Void for Vagueness.

    RSA 21:32 The law governing statutory construction and publication was changed in 2011, but Weeda Claus saw them when they thought they could pull a cover up. It’s not nice to try to fool a jolly Old Elf. Merrimack County Superior Court even ruled “no local drug schedule exists” when I took them to court….ooops.

  7. My Pennsylvania state senator is now Ryan Aument, and I participated in one of his telephone conference town hall meetings this past Thursday. He took questions, and my question was about why he isn’t for legalizing cannabis not even form medical purposes.

    I never got to speak with him because somebody else, some Kirby guy, asked a similar question first. Senator Aument told Kirby that he had met with the parents of sick children and told them that he empathized with them wanting to help their children with cannabis. He met with other patients who could benefit from medical marijuana, but he told them he won’t vote for it because it needs more research to prove to him that what his constituents are telling him is really true. He mentioned that understands the plight of the parents because he has two kids of his own. He mentioned that he had recently visited a school, and he’s concerned about minors getting access to cannabis if it’s legal and that all the kids he met with at the school were against legalization of any kind.

    I got to leave a message afterward, which he must have promptly deleted or ignored.

    Basically, here I am, a cancer patient, fighting for my life, and he is basing his decision about medical cannabis on what school kids are telling him. Rather than having medical experts and scientists and parents and patients in his brain trust this guy’s brain trust is a bunch of school kids. I mean, come on! WTF! Your brain trust, the freakin’ experts you turn to for advice is a bunch of school kids. When the F did they pass their medical exams, a-hole? Then he has the balls to say the local newspaper’s editorial staff is liberal. Liberal? Really? Maybe Senator Aument, you are just plain old wrong!

    MPP emailed me to contact this guy because he voted against the cannabis legislation first time around, so I have been.

    Somebody really needs to pull this guy aside, and give him a stern talking-to that it’s total bullshit to base your decision on a bunch of kids, and that he’d damn well better get a better brain trust. Prohibitionsit dick!

  8. @Tim;
    Share that story with your representative by clicking on the Take Action link. And for God’s sake buy a vaporizer! Theres no smell to bother your wife and you can self medicate with dignity and privacy. Then get a little coffee grinder to make your bud last.
    If you can get where you don’t need a hit for at least two hours, go to visit your Congressman at the state capitol in Austin. Tell the staff members your story. (The offices are small, your Congressman can hear you). I know this is asking a lot, and you need to get back into consuming cannabis again before you go, but there will be great personal satisfaction on your part.
    If that doesn’t cheer you up, go downtown to Austin or Dallas today or stream it later and watch all the people marching for you today. You are not alone. Let your Congressman know this personally.

  9. And furthermore, I find it hard to believe that more kids will be able to get their hands on weed once it’s legal than now because dealers don’t freakin card. And he spouted off that same old gateway theory bullshit, too. Today he’s speaking to the old folks at the retirement home called Masonic Village. He’s knocking ObamaCare, and if I told him once I’ve told him 10 times that if he wants to get a handle on the rising cost of health care then he should craft legislation that forces hospitals to give average estimates of what their services cost, how much ball park for an appendectomy, home much for cancer drip chemo of this and that type so patients can shop around instead of this OMG schedule me for surgery or the operation or whatever and let’s pray my health insurance will cover it no questions asked.

  10. @Tim;
    Here’s your cue card;
    “Hello [staff member] I am calling today because I suffer from severe brain seizures and I wish to know if Representative _______ will support HB 3785 to legalize medicinal marijuana in the State if Texas?”

    And

    “Hello,_[staff member] I am calling because I suffer from severe brain seizures and I would like to know if the Senator will support SB1339 to legalize medicinal marijuana in the State of Texas?”

    Be polite, be direct and be personal. You can make the difference.

  11. Never thought I’d be catching updates on the republican perspective of the marijuana march in Austin from a Fox news report:

    http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/29023570/texas-activists-march-in-support-of-reforming-marijuana-laws

    There’s quite a lot on the table here in Texas. The hemp research bill even has support from the Sherriff’s association. Glad that all the “hemp is conservative; hemp conserves water ” slogans are paying off. The CBD only bill just bothers me. But the Senate version of 507 to decriminalize is encouraging.
    @Tim,
    I have to apologize; my remark about vaporizers may have been a bit callous not knowing your financial situation. A good vaporizer can cost up to $100, but I know people who just empty the cheaper CBD only oil out of the hemp pens and make their own cannabis oils. There are good deals on line. Look for promotions. (There was a study recently here from NORML that was giving them away for data collection).
    The most effective treatment for seizures is a cannibutter which is hard to make unless you have some help in the kitchen and can create a lot of smell around the wife and kids, hence the vaporizer recommendation. This is something you can mention to your Congressman when calling or visiting; while any law favoring cannabis legalization is great, what patients need is a medicine prepared for them just as any medicine should, which this medical marijuana bill in Texas provides. Furthermore, the benefits of herbal marijuana work synergistically, meaning a patentable CBD only oil doesn’t necessarily treat seizures the way special strains of marijuana like Charlotte’s web can. And you can cite recent studies on this blog as well as Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Weed trilogy on that. (Sorry to piss you off Big Pharma but the single-molecule patent-for-profit formula just doesn’t work here for medicinal marijuana diagnosis). You may require access to a variety of strains to see which one works better for you, but in your situation, I’d say any clean variety of the herb is better than none.
    Another bill being considered wants to give medical marijuana patients in your situation the ability to seek judicial review and have charges dropped… Which is better than nothing, but as I told my Congressman in person, “but without legal medical marijuana available, a patient is still arrested, and are they receiving the medicine they need in jail? No, they’re not.”
    The staff member I spoke with as my Republican Congressman, Jason Isaac, listened, replied, “We just had a person with epilepsy visit our office. It was scary because he was clearly ill and at one point we didn’t know if he was about to have a seizure…” When she said this it really choked me up. Then I said,
    “That really strikes a chord with me… Because as I stand here before you, representing people like my own nephew who suffers from epilepsy, I can attempt to be a voice for those who can’t be here representing themselves… But imagine just having to risk having a seizure in the state capitol just so your elected official will legalize the one safe, effective non toxic treatment available for seizures? That’s not a fair way to run a Democracy. Think about it; in order to lobby your Congressman while suffering from seizures, one can’t bring marijuana into the state capitol; and the prescribed pharmaceuticals have side effects that prohibit a coherent conversation, as well as motor skills, attention and even worse symptoms yet. The preferred oral treatments last longer but are hard to prepare without legal assistance, so a person with epilepsy would have to consume the marijuana outside of the capitol prior to entering, probably by smoking or vaporizing cannabis which, in effect, lasts only about two hours. … Now, I consider myself a healthy man, but I barely made time getting through the line on the steps in the hot sun getting through security, finding my Senator’s office, getting all the way to the other side if the building here to find you and Parking, and I’ll be lucky if I can get in and out of this capitol in two hours… Now can you imagine what that must be like for someone struggling to control their seizures?”
    The wide-eyed staff member nodded “no, I can’t.”
    “Then let ‘s do the right thing and provide legal access to cannabis for those who need it.”

  12. @tim I hope that we have strength in numbers to contact representatives and get HB passed. I know it won’t be quickly, and pray for you to be safe and continue living a beatiful life with your family while using medicine (get a vaporizer!). I uope your wife understans and becomes thankful that you know how to treat yourself the natural way, with one of God’s own medicines. Pharmaceuticals have way too many side-effects.

    I think hearing stories like yours should help the cause. From a fellow Garland, Texan.. praying for you. Love and light to your family.

  13. Most drugs of abuse suppress neurogenesis Only Cannabis promotes Neurogenesis
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073523.htm

    Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants
    http://yournewswire.com/us-government-patent-on-marijuana-for-treating-disease-discovered/

    Patents on Cannabis Curing Cancer
    http://www.infowars.com/u-s-government-owns-patent-on-cannabis/

    Cannabis and Neurogenesis
    http://www.truthonpot.com/2013/03/30/marijuana-and-neurogenesis-whats-it-all-about

  14. @Tim:
    If you’ve read any of the replies on this blog, please pay attention to this:

    Senate Bill 339 to provide low thc cannabis to Texans suffering from seizures is about to be called for an historic vote!

    The problem is we need to click on the Take Action link, call our state district Senator and ask to support an amendment to this bill that changes the word “prescribes” to “recommend” cannabis. Otherwise doctors will be violating Federal law and with their hands tied will not “Prescribe” any variety of cannabis at all.
    Its awful that there are Congressman who would toy with peoples lives by denying one of the synergistically medicinal components of cannabis, THC, placing profit over people and public health. We have to call them on it. There will be another amendment trying to remove the cap on THC percentage all together. The applause from the audience at the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee where the legalization and decriminalization bill passed before dying in Calendar Committee should have been a wake up call to all Congressman; the head of the Sheriff’s Association said “this cannabis coming out of Colorado is so good, so potent in THC, it’s outselling Mexican cartel supplies.” …and the subsequent applause was both hilarious and provocative as it demonstrates public opinion’s opposition to the Sheriff ‘s Association ‘s obvious desire to place the profit of nonviolent possession and asset forfeitures and propaganda over public safety or adequate criminal investigation of real violent crimes. People recognize intuitively that as long as the Sheriff supports prohibition, he IS the cartel.

    Advocates from Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, TexasNORML and MPP are also trying to amend the bill to include more strains of cannabis to recommend for more varieties of illness. I just got a strong emotional acknowledgement from the voice of a staff member working for Republican Senator Troy Fraser after I told him,
    “I know Senator Fraser represents Fort Hood. The Senator must know that our U.S. Soldiers are committing suicide at a rate of 17 per day… PER DAY… Due to symptoms of PTSD that are clinically treatable through the consumption of marijuana. I understand there is an effort to amend SB339 to include other illnesses besides seizures, and I pray the Senator will support any efforts to provide our veterans with the safe access to the non-violent, non-toxic cannabis they require.”
    “I will do that,” the staff member replied, then added, “i greatly appreciate your dedication to this matter and I will make sure that Senator Fraser gets this message today.”
    “It would certainly help a lot of sick people, (including Congressman), I thought to myself as I told myself “be poliiiiite… Lose the sarcasm.. ” But I just KNEW it was gonna come out sarcastic so I just said,
    “Thank you and God Bless.”
    “God Bless you too sir.”

  15. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana legislation is, predictably, being halted in the state’s House, and also predictably by a Republican. See excerpts quoted from the articles below.

    House Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker said Friday he has no plans to take up the Senate’s medical marijuana bill — or any medical marijuana bill, for that matter.

    The Tioga County lawmaker says Pennsylvania’s Legislature has never approved a drug outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. Baker says his position is identical to the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s stance.

    http://lancasteronline.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-senate-s-medical-marijuana-bill-hits-opposition/article_16147df1-917a-54f7-859a-4de7f2788eeb.html

    New commentary.

    And here we have the rub. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is using that old prohibitionist tactic of stalling for more research, all the while its august members, highly educated as they are, know damn well the feds have thrown up road blocks to research into positive uses for cannabis.

    See excerpt quoted below:

    The Pennsylvania Medical Society disagrees. It opposes the bill, saying that medical marijuana shows promise but better research is needed before it is legalized.

    http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/marijuana-hemp-advocates-to-rally-in-lancaster-saturday/article_46760440-fa73-11e4-8067-f345963fe2c9.html

    So now some Democrat in the House has to draft a new legislation that won’t go through this prohibitionist dick’s committee, that won’t be held up forever by his committee.

    If this federal high CBD legislation gets passed into law and cannabis for medical use along these lines is rescheduled, these guys will do a 180 turn to quickly grab the flag and act as if they were leading in this issue all along, wanting to take credit. Photo op with members of the Pennsylvania Medical Association and politicians smiling in a congratulatory setting with children whose seizures are being mitigated with cannabis medicine, maybe other patients in the picture but nobody who is not in a wheelchair. Media whore politicians.

  16. The state of Florida will not permit use of any form of medical use or other wise when it comes to marijuana, the gambling commission will not stand for it in fear of losing monies. How sad is that for those who medically have real need-such as those of us with PTSD – Blindness and other real medical issues!!!

  17. I am a 58 year old male with stage 2 Parkinson’s disease. MMJ as I will call it gives me a great deal of relief. I am a Vet so I am treated at a Federal facility. Even if it is legalized here in the bible belt the doctors cannot prescribe or condone it as it is till federally illegal. It is a double edge sword for me. If I smoke it illegally and have a positive urine test I can be discharged from all VA programs. Only in America right?

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