Pot Legalization Efforts Forge Ahead in Key States
By Alex Dobuzinskis - Jan 31, 2012 (Reuters) | Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are
gain*ing momen*tum in Washingto*n state and Colorado, despite fierce
opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural
battle over America's most commonly used illicit drug.
Officials in Washington state on Friday said an initiative to legalize
pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In
Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination
about an initiative there.
Supporters are prepared to possibly spend millions of dollars ahead of
the November ballot, when they hope a strong voter turnout, particularly
among youth, for the U.S. presidential election will aid their cause.
"Whether it's make or break depends on what public opinion does after
2012, but in terms of voter turnout this is the best year to do it,"
said Alison Holcomb, director of New Approach Washington, the
While 16 states, including Washington and Colorado, along with the
nation's capital, now allow marijuana use for medical purposes, cannabis
remains an illegal narcotic under U.S. law - and public opinion is
sharply divided on the merits of full legalization.
California voters turned back a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana
for recreational use in 2010, in part because of concerns about how
production and sale of the drug would be regulated.
Since then, the U.S. Department of Justice has cracked down on medical
cannabis operations in California, Washington state and elsewhere,
raiding dispensaries and growing operations and threatening landlords
"Our highest priority are the folks that violate both state and federal
law," said Rusty Payne, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement
Administration. "There are places that have made a lot of money who
claim to be nonprofit, and they have faced both local and federal scrutiny."
Undeterred, supporters of the Washington state initiative say it
represents the "grown-up" approach to legalization.
Learn more >>.
Urge President Obama to End His War on Cannabis Patients
Over the past several months, the Federal government escalated its war against medical marijuana to previously unseen heights. The Drug War machine kicked into high gear starting in October when the IRS began applying an obscure part of the US tax code, meant to target drug cartels, against medical dispensaries in attempts to shut them down.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined in the fight when it issued a heavy handed one page memo to every gun and ammunition dealer nationwide informing them that they must, by law, deny sales to lawful medical cannabis patients.
The hammer really fell when the US Attorneys for the four federal districts in California formally announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensing operations and began issuing memos threatening operators and landlords of these properties. Threats were even waged against news publications who ran advertisements for medical marijuana businesses.
All of this in an environment where over 70% of Americans support medical use of cannabis, the country's largest physicians group endorsed full legalization, and at least four governors are petitioning the DEA to reclassify marijuana based on overwhelming evidence of its medicinal value. Unfortunately, It doesn't appear an end is in sight as new threats of intervention are looming in Colorado.
That is why today, in cooperation with other reform organizations like NORML, the folks at Marijuana Library is encouraging you to contact President Obama and tell him to end his administrations war on cannabis patients.
Enter your zip code thru this link to directly email the White House and tell President Obama to stand by his promise to not interfere with state medical marijuana laws.
Support The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011
HELP! People Needing Medical Cannabis Across America. TAKE ACTION NOW!
Help make Hemp happen in Oregon and beyond.
Texas Republican Ron Paul and a coalition of 25 co-sponsors are once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.
House Bill 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
Several states -- including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont -- have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1831 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.
"We are pleased to see the re-introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress. Vote Hemp is currently working with a Democratic Senator who is preparing to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in support of industrial hemp farming," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. "It is due time for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers and to take action like Rep. Paul and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits," adds Steenstra.
According to a 2010 Congressional Resource Service report, "approximately 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America currently permit farmers to grow hemp." But the United States does not. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.
Previous versions of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act were introduced, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote. Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to end the federal prohibition of industrial hemp production. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be e-mailed to your member of Congress when you enter your contact information below. Act NOW!>>, and Thank you for assisting federal law reform efforts.
For more information about industrial hemp, please visit: www.VoteHemp.org.
Support the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act
Federal lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to provide for additional and necessary legal protections for state-authorized medical marijuana patients.
House Bill 1983, the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, would ensure that medical cannabis patients in states that have approved its use will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from federal law enforcement agencies. It states, “No provision of the Controlled Substances Act shall prohibit or otherwise restrict in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed or recommended by a physician for medical use under applicable State law.”
The measure also calls for an expedited rescheduling review by the federal government that would reclassify cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act, recognizing the plant's accepted medical use and streamlining the federal approval process for medical marijuana research.
Sixteen states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington -- and the District of Columbia have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. Yet in all of these states, patients and providers still face the risk of federal sanction -- even when their actions are fully compliant with state law. In fact, in recent months federal officials have stepped up their threats against state recognized patients and providers, stating, "The United States Attorneys Office ... will vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in ... activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law."
It is time that we allowed our unique federalist system to work the way it was intended. Patients and their state representatives should have the authority to enact laws permitting the medical use of cannabis -- free from federal interference.
Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to stop targeting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be e-mailed to your member of Congress when you enter your contact information thru this link.
Act NOW!>>, and Thank you for assisting federal law reform efforts.
Support Federal Legislation To End Marijuana Prohibition;
Urge Your Representative to Support and Co-Sponsor HR 2306
Lawmakers for the first time have introduced legislation in Congress that seeks to end the federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana.
HR 2306, entitled the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011,’ prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Under present law, all varieties of the marijuana plant are defined as illicit Schedule I controlled substances, defined as possessing ‘a high potential for abuse,’ and ‘no currently accepted medical use in treatment.’
HR 2306 seeks to federally deregulate the personal possession and use of marijuana by adults. It marks the first time that members of Congress have introduced legislation to eliminate the federal criminalization of marijuana since the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
Language in this Act mimics changes enacted by Congress to repeal the federal prohibition of alcohol. Passage of this measure would remove the existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those sixteen states that allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physicians’ supervision. It would also allow state governments that wish to fully legalize and regulate the responsible use, possession, and production of marijuana for all adults to be free to do so without federal interference.
The federal criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce the public’s demand or access to cannabis, and it has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people. It is time to end this failed public policy and to provide state governments with the freedom to enact alternative strategies — such as medicalization, decriminalization, and/or legalization — without running afoul of the federal law. Please urge your United States Representative to co-sponsor and/or support HR 2306: ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ by entering your zip code below.
Help Out! PRINT OFF, POST and DISTRIBUTE >
Quarter Sheets in WORD, or
Quarter Sheets in PDF.
Help Out! PRINT OFF, POST and DISTRIBUTE >
Quarter Sheets in WORD, or
Quarter Sheets in PDF.
This is a chain e-mail you can't refuse. Unlike most, this will actually
help you - and a whole buncha others - just by passing it on.
Cannabis consumer or not - from the folks just trying to take care of themselves or a loved one to those who simply see the expensive, immoral waste of making war on the sick and dying - everyone is affected by this issue.
There are a number of medical cannabis (marijuana) bills in play in
states across the US. We need to get the word out and people contacting
reps and officials and get this legislation into law.
To accomplish this you need to click on the following links and send a
message to all the reps and media you can on the issue. Then get
everybody else to do the same.
To do this you need to tell everybody you know. And can confide in.
Then/or anonymously tell everybody you don't know - or can't confide in.
Tell everybody you can by e-mailing a link to this website to them and/or printing off the info and
handing out where necessary. Also phone call and visit. Take literature
with you and approach businesses, organizations and even people on the
street while you're out and about. Wear your pot-leaf shirt and register
voters, as feasible.
Organize an event or action item to attract people in order to inform,
educate and activate. Don't forget to alert the media!
Tell everybody else by Letters-to-the-Editor, displaying signage at
street corners and over-passes (wear trenchcoat, fedora and sunglasses
if afraid of exposure), and/or anonymously leaving literature and
posting on-line at places where people are likely to find it.
Coffeeshops are good places to leave printed material and you can go to
the websites of the local newspapers to post items as well. More ideas
and supporting tools via the links below.
And we're sure you'll come up with more. Exchange notes at the websites provided.
Help medical cannabis in Alabama | NORML is pleased to announce that 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. Full text of HB 66 can be read here. NORML will keep you updated if/when this measure moves forward.
- click > here
Help cannabis law reform in Arizona | Legislation has been reintroduced to defelonize marijuana possession penalties in Arizona. House Bill 2044 amends state law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is reduced from a potential felony (punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a $150,000 fine) to a “petty offense” punishable by a $500 fine. Passage of this measure would amend Arizona law from one of the strictest in the nation to one of the most lenient.
The bill has yet to be assigned a committee or hearing date. Please contact your House member and urge him or her to support HB 2044 by entering your zip code below.
- click > here
Help cannabis law reform in California | Assembly Considers Reducing Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation;
Urge Your Elected Officials to Support AB 1017
The California Assembly will be voting this month on a bill that would reduce penalties for marijuana cultivation from a mandatory felony to a "wobbler" or optional misdemeanor.
Assembly Bill 1017 would allow prosecuters and courts the discretion of treating marijuana cultivation as a misdemeanor offense, avoiding costly felony charges against small-scale home growers and medical marijuana patients.
The bill is co-sponsored by Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster, who argues that it will save taxpayers money by avoiding unnecessary enforcement expenses in minor marijuana cases.
The number of felony cultivation prosecutions has increased in recent years, costing the state tens of millions of dollars.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Florida | Legislature Considers Medical Marijuana Measures;
Urge Your Elected Officials to Support HJR 353 and SJR 1028
Legislation that seeks to limit the criminal prosecution of those who use marijuana under a doctor’s supervision has been introduced in the Florida legislature.
House Joint Resolution 353 and its Senate companion Senate Joint Resolution 1028 amend state law so that certain qualified patients will possess an affirmative defense against charges of possessing and growing marijuana. Full text of the measures can be read here and here.
This is the first time that legislation seeking to protect medical marijuana patients has been simultaneously introduced in both chambers of the Florida legislature.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Idaho |
Legislation that seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana has been
reintroduced in the Idaho Legislature.
House Bill 370, The Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, amends state law so that physician-supervised patients with an authorized “debilitating medical condition” can possess and use marijuana for medical purposes.
The measure also allows for the establishment of up to six “alternative treatment centers” to dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients. Home cultivation is not explicitly authorized under the bill. According to a Boise State University public policy survey, an estimated three out of four Idaho voters support the measure.
While NORML believes that barring patients from home cultivation is unduly restrictive, we also recognize that passage of this legislation will likely protect certain qualified medical marijuana patients from arrest while also seeking to provide these patients with a safe and legal source for their medicine.
It is our hope that this measure may be expanded or amended during the legislative process so that it is in even better accordance with patients' needs and practices.
- click > here
Help cannabis law reform in Indiana | Bill to Amend Marijuana Penalties Introduced in Indiana;
Tell Your Senator to Support SB 347. Senate lawmakers heard testimony on Tuesday, January 24, in favor of legislation to decriminalize marijuana possession penalties in Indiana. Senate Bill 347, introduced by Sen. Karen Tallian, amends state law so that the adult possession of up to three ounces of marijuana is reduced from a potential felony (punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine) to a noncriminal infraction. Passage of this measure would amend Indiana law from one of the strictest in the nation to one of the most lenient.
Senate Bill 347 also amends Indiana’s traffic safety code to halt the prosecution of motorists who test positive for the presence of inactive marijuana metabolites in their urine (so-called zero tolerance per se legislation) but who do not otherwise manifest any other evidence of behavioral impairment.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Kansas | Legislature Considers Medical Marijuana;
Ask Your Representative to Support HB 2330 |
House Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday, January 24th. You can read media coverage of the hearing by clicking on the link below. The Marijuana Library will continue to update you when/if additional hearings or committee votes are scheduled regarding this legislation.
House Bill 2330 will help to ensure that medical marijuana patients in Kansas will no longer have to fear arrest or prosecution from state law enforcement. As introduced, this act would allow qualified patients diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” to possess up to 12 cannabis plants (not including as many as 12 seedlings) and/or 6 ounces of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The measure seeks to establish not-for-profit “compassion centers” to provide medical marijuana for patients in a safe, above-ground environment. Full text of the measure can be read here > - click > here
Help medical cannabis in Massachusetts | Legislature Considers Medical Marijuana Measures;
Urge Your Lawmakers to Support HB 625 and SB 1611 |
Legislation that seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana has been reintroduced in the Massachusetts legislature.
House Bill 625 (and companion bill SB 1611) amends state law to “authorize an individual to use marijuana for medical purposes as directed by a physician.” The proposed legislation would allow for authroized patients to obtain their marijuana from state-licensed non-profit distribution centers. Qualified patients would also be permitted under the law to possess 24 plants and four ounces of usable marijuana.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Maryland | Medical Marijuana Measure Introduced In Maryland;
Urge Your House Member to Support HB 15
Legislation that seeks to allow for the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana has been introduced in the Maryland legislature.
House Bill 15 amends state law to “authorize an individual to use marijuana for medical purposes as directed by a physician.” The proposed legislation would allow for authorized patients to obtain their marijuana from state-licensed non-profit distribution centers. This effort builds off SB 308, which the legislature passed last year, that allowed patients to use an affirmative defense in cases of marijuana possession and established a Medical Marijuana Model Program Work Group to make recommendations for a proposed program.
- click > here
Help cannabis law reform in New Hampshire | Bill to Regulate Adult Marijuana Use and Sales Introduced in New Hampshire;
Urge Your House Member to Support HB 1705 | 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.
- click > here
Help cannabis law reform in New Jersey | Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Re-Introduced In New Jersey;
Tell Your Assembly Member to Support AB 1465
A coalition of lawmakers have pre-filed legislation for introduction in the 2012 session to significantly reduce penalties for those who possess personal use quantities of marijuana.
Assembly Bill 1465 removes criminal penalties for the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana, replacing them with civil penalties punishable by no more than a $150 fine.
Under present law, the possession of minor amounts of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to six-months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Fourteen states have enacted similar decriminalization legislation, including Connecticut, which enacted a similar measure last year.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Ohio |
Legislature to Consider Regulating Medical Marijuana;
Urge Your Representative to Support HB 214
Legislation that seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana has been reintroduced in the Ohio Legislature.
House Bill 214, the Ohio Medical Compassion Act, amends state law so that physician-supervised patients with an authorized “debilitating medical condition” can possess and grow marijuana for medical purposes. Full text of the measure can be read here.
HB 214 would allow qualifying patients to possess up to two hundred grams of usable marijuana and twelve mature cannabis plants. Qualifying patients from other medical marijuana states would be provided legal protection under this measure.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Pennsylvania | Legislation to Allow for Medical Use of Cannabis Reintroduced in Pennsylvania;
Tell Your State Senator and House Member to Support SB 1003 and HB 1653
Legislation to allow for the physician supervised use of marijuana has been re-introduced in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 1003 and House Bill 1653, The Governor Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act, would allow state-authorized patients to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes. These measures also seek to allow for the state-licensed distribution and sale of medical marijuana by authorized 'compassion centers.'
Nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvanians support the measure according to a 2010 Franklin & Marshall poll. SB 1003 has been referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, but has yet to be assigned a hearing. - click > here
Help cannabis law reform in Virginia | Resolution Aiming to Study the Potential Revenue Impact of Legalization Introduced in Virginia;
Tell Your Elected Officials to Support HJR 140 |
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 has been introduced in the Virginia House of Delegates.
House Joint Resolution 140 would establish a joint study committee that "shall examine the feasibility and practicality of selling marijuana under the restrictions and conditions as allowed by law, the impact of these sales in Virginia's ABC stores and on its patrons, as well as the potential revenue impact upon the Commonwealth."
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in Wisconsin | Wisconsin Legislature to Consider Medical Marijuana Measure; Urge Your Elected Officials to Support AB 475/SB 371
Legislation that seeks to legalize the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana has been reintroduced into both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature.
Assembly Bill 475 and Senate Bill 371 would amend state law to “authorize an individual to use marijuana for medical purposes as directed by a physician.” The proposed legislation would allow for authorized patients to obtain their marijuana from state-licensed distribution centers. Qualified patients would also be permitted under the law to possess up to 12 plants and three ounces of usable marijuana.
AB 475 has been referred to the House Committee on Health. SB 371 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health. Neither bill has been scheduled for a hearing.
Sixteen states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington -- in addition to the District of Columbia have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. There is no legitimate reason why Wisconsin patients should not enjoy these same legal protections.
- click > here
Help medical cannabis in South Dakota - click > here
Help medical cannabis in Tennessee - click > here
Help medical cannabis in Texas - click > here
This info and and more at NORML’s Legislative Action Alerts page, visit
For more info on medical cannabis in America, visit -
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