By Paul Armentano
It’s January 2010, and that means it is time once again for NORML’s Weekly Legislative Round Up — your one-stop guide to pending marijuana law reform legislation around the country, along with tips for influencing the policies of your state.
** 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 make the changes they want to see. We can’t do it without you.
Virginia: Members of the Virginia House Courts of Justice, Criminal Subcommittee are scheduled to hear testimony on Wednesday in favor of House Bill 1134, which seeks to dramatically reduce the state’s marijuana possession and cultivation penalties. Representatives from NORML’s national staff and state affiliate will be in attendance and testifying in support of this measure. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the subcommittee here; NORML’s letter in yesterday’s Washington Post appears here.
Virginia residents are urged to contact their House delegates today. If your delegate is one of the members of the House Courts of Justice, Criminal Subcommittee, then it is especially important that he or she hears from you today. Phone and e-mail contact information for these members is available here. A pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your Virginia state House member when you go here. Finally, those seeking to attend Wednesday’s hearing in Richmond should contact Sabrina at Virginia NORML at: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. You can also track the legislative progress of this effort on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/vanorml.
New Hampshire: Lawmakers on the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held hearings last week on two pending proposals, HB 1652 (legalization) and HB 1653 (decriminalization). You can read NORML’s written testimony in favor of these measures here, and you can voice your support for these efforts here. You can also watch video highlights (and lowlights) from last week’s hearing, care of our friends at New Hampshire Common Sense, by clicking here.
Colorado: Members of the Colorado Senate, Health and Human Services Committee are scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday morning regarding proposed state regulations to Colorado’s medical marijuana law. You can read more about these controversial guidelines here, here and here, and you can contact members of the Committee here.
Washington: House Committee lawmakers rejected a pair of marijuana law reform proposals last week that sought to remove criminal penalties for the adult, personal use of marijuana. You can see how House members voted here. A Senate companion bill to decriminalize marijuana possession, SB 5615, still awaits floor action and can be supported by going here.
For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.