Archive for the ‘decriminalization’ category

New Mexico Misses Opportunity to Decriminalize Marijuana

March 24th, 2015

The New Mexico legislative session ended on Saturday, and with it died SB 383, a bill that would have decriminalized marijuana throughout the state.

SB 383 would have replaced criminal penalties for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana with a $50 civil fine. It also would have removed the possibility of jail time for possession of up to eight ounces. Although SB 383 passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote, the House did not take it up. It is disappointing that the New Mexico2000px-Flag_of_New_Mexico.svg House chose not to review a bill that would have reduced the punishment for individuals who possessed a substance safer than alcohol.

Time ran out not only on decriminalization — but also, fortunately, on a harmful bill that would have unfairly targeted marijuana consumers. HB 120 would have declared anyone with an extremely small amount of THC per milliliter of blood guilty of driving under the influence — even if the person could prove they were actually not impaired! HB 120 passed in the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

The post New Mexico Misses Opportunity to Decriminalize Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.

Now Is The Time To Support Marijuana Law Reform In Your State

March 19th, 2015

Marijuana law reform legislation is presently pending in states over 30 states. Is your state one of them? Visit NORML’s online ‘Take Action Center’ here to find out.

By clicking this link, you will have access to up-to-date bill status information. You can also quickly contact your elected officials and urge their support for these reforms with just one click.

Right now, nearly 20 states — including Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont — are debating measures to legalize the adult use and sale of the plant.

Some dozen states — including Delaware, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee — are debating decriminalizing marijuana possession offenses.

Medical marijuana legislation is also pending in 17 states, including Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia.

Click HERE to view NORML’s full list of pending state and federal legislation.

Get active; get NORML.

New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill

March 12th, 2015

Yesterday, the New Hampshire House passed HB 618, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation. This was the sixth time the House has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill since 2008, and this time the vote was an overwhelming 297-67!

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Rep. Adam Schroadter

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

The next step will be the state senate, which has rejected previous efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senator today!

The post New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill appeared first on MPP Blog.

New Hampshire Governor Says She Still Opposes Decriminalization

March 10th, 2015
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Gov. Maggie Hassan

As New Hampshire legislators move closer to achieving consensus in favor of decriminalization, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says she remains opposed. She told the Nashua Telegraph last week that she did not support HB 618, a modest bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please take a moment to call her office today and urge her to change her mind!

You can also urge her to rethink her position on Twitter and Facebook. (Please be respectful if you do — rude or hostile public comments will not help convince legislators to pass HB 618).

The post New Hampshire Governor Says She Still Opposes Decriminalization appeared first on MPP Blog.

New Mexico Legislature to Consider Reducing Marijuana Penalties

February 18th, 2015
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Sen. Joseph Cervantes

Last November, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties in New Mexico weighed in on whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. They responded with overwhelming support, with Bernalillo County voting 60% and Santa Fe County voting 73% in favor. Now, legislators from across the state have the opportunity to act on the will of their constituents. SB 383, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of $50. 

This common-sense policy will save the state time, money, and resources, while also improving public safety. Millions of dollars every year are wasted on processing thousands of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenders. It takes time for police to book marijuana users, prosecutors to try cases, and labs to test marijuana. This is an egregious waste of law enforcement’s limited resources, which could be better spent addressing more pressing public safety needs.

Support is growing for more sensible marijuana policies in the state Senate. Just last week, the Rules Committee approved of Sen. Ortiz y Piño’s resolution to place a question on the ballot asking voters to end marijuana prohibition. Please email your legislators today and ask for their support on this long overdue reform. 

The post New Mexico Legislature to Consider Reducing Marijuana Penalties appeared first on MPP Blog.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Consider Reducing Marijuana Penalties

January 29th, 2015

A bill has been introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The House passed a nearly identical bill last year by a vote of 215-92, but the Senate refused to consider it.

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Rep. Adam Schroadter

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six marijuana plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

Virgin Islands Senate Overrides Governor Veto of Marijuana Bill

January 29th, 2015

Earlier this month, Gov. John deJongh Jr. of the U.S. Virgin Islands stated that he supported decriminalizing marijuana, despite the fact that he vetoed a bill that would reduce penalties at the end of 2014. The Senate overrode his initial veto, adding the Virgin IslandsSeal_of_the_United_States_Virgin_Islands to the list of U.S. territories that are changing their marijuana policies.

Sen. Terrence Nelson sponsored the measure, which is now law, to decriminalize the possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and make it a civil offense punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200, with the possible forfeiture of the contraband.

In the case that an offender is younger than 18, the offender could receive a $100 fine, the parents or guardians would have to be notified and the offender will be required to complete an approved drug awareness program within one year of the possession.

Wyoming House Judiciary Committee Approves Decriminalization Bill

January 21st, 2015

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee of the Wyoming Legislature approved a bill – HB 29 ­– that would replace the current criminal penalty for marijuana possession with a more sensible civil fine. By a vote of 7-2, the committee supported the proposal that will end the threat of arrest for first and second possession charges.

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Rep. Jim Byrd

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Byrd, the bill originally sought to impose a civil fine of $50 for the first or second possession of up to a half an ounce of marijuana and a $100 fine for possession of up to an ounce. The committee amended this language and set the fines at $250 for possession of up to half an ounce and $500 for possession of up to an ounce. If you are a Wyoming resident, please encourage your representative to support this bill, and ask her or him to lower the fine as well.

No one should be saddled with a criminal record for the simple act of possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. If HB 29 is made law, Wyomingites will no longer face that overly harsh penalty. Email your representatives in support of HB 29 and encourage your friends and family in Wyoming to do so too!

Arizona Legislature to Consider Bills to Legalize and Decriminalize Marijuana

January 9th, 2015
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Rep. Mark Cardenas

MPP believes legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and over is a more sensible approach than continuing failed prohibition policies, and so does Arizona state Rep. Mark Cardenas. He recently introduced HB 2007, a bill that would treat marijuana like alcohol, similar to the laws of Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. If you are an Arizona resident, please take a moment to contact your state senator and representative and voice your support.

Marijuana prohibition has been just as ineffective, inefficient, and problematic as alcohol prohibition, and both national and Arizona polls now regularly show support for a better approach. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. Regulating it would replace the underground market, and law enforcement officials’ time could be more effectively directed to addressing serious crime.

Rep. Cardenas has also introduced HB 2006, which would establish a $100 civil penalty for the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. In addition to the four states that have legalized marijuana for adults, well over a dozen states have lowered criminal penalties with sensible alternatives to putting people in jail for choosing a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Please support these important bills, and pass this message on to friends, family, and supporters in Arizona!

POLL: 60% of Virginia Voters Support Marijuana Decriminalization

January 6th, 2015

vabillboardA poll conducted by the firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that 60% of Virginia voters would support decriminalizing the adult possession of small amounts of marijuana, indicating strong support for state Senator Adam Ebbin’s marijuana decriminalization measure, Senate Bill 686. Decriminalization had majority support from every age, racial, and gender demographic.

The survey also had support for legalization and regulation of marijuana in the Commonwealth at a record high of 49% support to 44% opposed.

With the legislative session kicking off in Virginia, expect to hear much more about this pending legislation in the coming weeks. If you are a Virginia resident, please CLICK HERE to quickly and easily contact your state Senator and urge their support for SB 686. It is time that our state officials pursued a policy on marijuana that was “Smart on crime and smart for Virginia.”

We strongly encourage you also attend Virginia NORML‘s lobby day in Richmond on January 16th to help put the pressure on state legislators in person. You can click here for more information on lobby day.

If you find yourself traveling in the Richmond area, keep your eyes peeled for Virginia NORML’s billboard in support of SB 686, which should be going on display very soon on Route 360 as you drive over the James River (the billboard image is featured at the top of this post).

This poll was commissioned by MPP and conducted by Public Policy Polling. You can read the full results here.

TAKE ACTION VIRGINIA – CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR IN SUPPORT OF SB 686