Archive for the ‘state’ category

POLL: Essentially No One Believes Marijuana Users Should Go to Jail

May 17th, 2013

Reason-Rupe has just released new polling data that revealed only a minuscule percentage of Americans believe that marijuana use and possession should result in jail time. When asked which approach they thought the government and law enforcement should take toward someone found smoking marijuana or in possession of a small amount of marijuana, only 6% responded that they should be sent to jail. 35% of respondents said that these individuals shouldn’t be punished at all, 32% responded they should pay a fine, and 20% said they should have to attended substance abuse courses.

The survey also found that 52% of Americans favor federal legislation that would prevent the federal government from prosecuting people who grow, possess, or sell marijuana in the states that have legalized it. Recently, Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” which would do exactly that. You can click here to easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support this measure.

Full results of this poll are available here.

PA State Senator Daylin Leach Formally Introduces Marijuana Legalization Bill Today in Harrisburg

February 11th, 2013

Today, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach will formally introduce a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“This past November, the people of Washington State and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana,” said Leach. “It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition, and ending a policy that has been destructive, costly and anti-scientific.”

“NORML applauds Senator Leach for taking this important step forward to end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in his state. Pennsylvania has long been considered a bellwether state that sets the precedent for politics across the country, as such it is both exciting and encouraging to see the Keystone State take up this crucial dialogue,” said Erik Altieri, Communications Director for NORML, “Marijuana prohibition costs the state of Pennsylvania over 300 million dollars a year in enforcement costs and tens of millions a year in lost potential tax revenue, while doing little to keep the substance out of the hands of children or lower use rates. It is time for a new policy that works for the state and its people. We encourage all of Senator Leach’s colleagues in Harrisburg to join him in this call for rational marijuana laws.”

Speaking at Monday’s press conference will be Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Dr. David Nathan, a clinical associate professor from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The press conference will be aired live online here at 2pm EST on February 11th.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you can easily contact your state representatives and tell them to support this legislation by visiting NORML’s Take Action Center here.

Senator Daylin Leach will be the keynote speaker at the NORML Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, you can purchase your tickets to that event by clicking here.

NORML will keep you updated as this important reform effort moves forward in Pennsylvania. For further information, please visit PhillyNORML or Pittsburgh NORML’s websites here and here.

New Poll Shows Huge Support for Marijuana Law Reform in New Hampshire

January 16th, 2013

Polling data released this week by Public Policy Polling shows a large base of support for marijuana law reforms in New Hampshire. Not only is there majority support from New Hampshire voters for the medical use of marijuana and decriminalizing its possession, but more than half support regulating and taxing marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

When asked if they would support or oppose changing New Hampshire law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older, 53% responded they would support this law and only 37% were opposed.

62% stated that they would support a change in the law to provide for a fine of up to $100 without jail time or the threat of arrest for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana and 68% support allowing for its physician supervised use. Even more enlightening, 52% stated an elected official’s support of medical marijuana made them more likely to support them.

Fortunately for New Hampshire lawmakers, they have the opportunity to capitalize on this groundswell of support for sensible marijuana laws. Legislation has already been introduced to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and a separate measure has been introduced to allow patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. The incoming governor has even voiced her support for legalizing medical use.

If you live in New Hampshire, you can use NORML’s Take Action to easily contact your elected officials in support of these measures. Click here to view our alert for decriminalization and here for medical use.

You can view the full polling data here.

Two Southern States Show Majority Support for Medical Marijuana

January 16th, 2013

In another sign of the changing times, this past week two new polls have been released demonstrating majority support for allowing the medical use of marijuana in two southern states, a region historically less supportive of cannabis law reforms.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling revealed that most North Carolinians believe that a doctor should possess the legal option to authorize marijuana for patients. Support for legalizing medical marijuana is at 58% overall, with 33% opposed and 9% undecided. A majority of every age group under age 65 supports allowing for the medical use of marijuana. The poll surveyed 608 North Carolina voters between January 10 and January 13, 2013.

Another Public Policy Polling survey had the majority of West Virginians supporting the medical use of cannabis, 53% in favor to 40% opposed. Further, when asked which is a safer treatment for debilitating pain: the medical use of marijuana or Oxycontin, 63% responded medical marijuana. You can view more data from this poll here.

Legislation to allow for the medical use of cannabis is expected to be introduced in both states this year. If you live in North Carolina, you can currently use NORML’s Take Action Center to write your elected officials and tell them to support this legislation by clicking here.

These recent polls are indicative of the attitude shift towards cannabis that is occurring across the country. Check NORML’s Take Action Center to see if marijuana related legislation has been filed in your state and use our form to easily contact your elected officials in support of these important measures. Check back often, as new legislation is being introduced constantly.

NORMLIZE CONGRESS: Marijuana Law Reform Heating Up in 2013

January 7th, 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

Indiana State Police Chief: If It Were Up To Me, I’d Legalize and Tax Marijuana

November 27th, 2012

The scent of reform and rational marijuana policies must be drifting across the Rockies into distant areas of the country, as today the Indiana State Police Chief stated that he would tax and regulate marijuana.

Speaking during a budget committee hearing, Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell was asked about marijuana, his answer was quite frank:

“It’s here, it’s going to stay, there’s an awful lot of victimization that goes with it. If it were up to me, I do believe I would legalize it and tax it, particularly in sight of the fact that several other states have now come to that part of their legal system as well.”

When officials holding upper echelon positions in state law enforcement start calling for the end of prohibition and the implementation of sensible reforms, a nationwide awakening can’t be too far off.

Read more here.

NEW I-502 TV Ads: Former Federal Law Enforcement Officials Support Marijuana Legalization

October 10th, 2012

New Approach Washington, the campaign behind Washington State’s marijuana legalization initiative (I-502), has just released two new television ads that began airing today. What makes these advertisements even more notable is that they both prominently feature former federal law enforcement officials. The importance of this is perfectly summed up by former NORML Board Member and writer for Washington’s “The Stranger,” Dominic Holden:

This is a big deal: The new ads for Initiative 502 that begin airing today, which encourage Washington to become the first state to legalize marijuana, star former federal law enforcement.

I know—if you watch politics around here, you know they’re on board and their endorsement seems… banal. Don’t be jaded. Former US Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer, along with the FBI’s Charlie Mandigo, make the most persuasive case for legalization: Pot laws result in using limited law enforcement resources that should instead be focused on violent crime.

Every time that pot legalization—even decriminalization—has gone to voters in other states, federal law enforcement have delivered the coup de grace, largely by virtue of their credibility. This time, it’s the opposite. These prosecutors and an agent get in the first word for legalization, and with $1 million in the bank and up to $2 million more on the way, the New Approach Washington campaign is going to hit this message hard. This is a coup.

SOURCE

You can view the new TV spots below. Please share as widely as possible with your friends and family. Together we can end marijuana prohibition, let’s Smoke the Vote in November. Previous polling for I-502 in September had support for the effort at 57%, help us keep up the momentum going into election day by educating everyone you know about the importance of cannabis reform in the 2012 election. You can learn more about these initiatives and the presidential candidates’ statements on marijuana by reading NORML’s voter guide available here.

YES ON I-502!

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

You can visit the campaign’s website for more info here.

Poll: Support for Marijuana Legalization Initiative Growing in Washington

July 23rd, 2012

New polling data from SurveyUSA shows growing support for Washington State’s marijuana legalization initiative, I-502.

The new survey found that 55 percent approve of the initiative, with just 32 percent opposed and 13 percent undecided. The poll was conducted from July 16th through 17th and involved 600 likely voters. You can read more about the SurveyUSA poll here. This is a significant upward swing in support for I-502, previous polling in June had only 50% of voters supporting Initiative 502 to 37% opposed.

The Seattle Times is also reporting that initiative proponents plan on kicking off a million dollar advertising campaign in August.

NEW POLL: Majority of Washington State Voters Support Marijuana Legalization Initiative I-502

June 19th, 2012


The good news just keeps rolling in this week, as just released polling data from Public Policy Polling (PPP) shows that the majority Washington voters support their state’s legalization initiative, I-502.
This data is great news for New Approach Washington‘s campaign to become the first state to relegalize the adult use of cannabis this November.

From PPP:
Washington is also leaning toward legalizing marijuana. 50% of voters now say they’ll support Initiative 502 to 37% who are opposed. That’s a slight increase in support for the initiative relative to our last poll, which found it ahead 47/39.

This issue isn’t quite as polarizing along party lines as gay marriage. 70% of Democrats support legalizing marijuana, less than the 82% who support gay marriage. But 22% of Republicans support legalizing marijuana to only 10% who support gay marriage. Independents support both measures with similar numbers- 54% for marijuana, 53% for marriage.

Washington Initiative 502 would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues. If the election was today, would you vote yes or no on Initiative 502?

Yes 50%
No 37%
Not sure 12%

More information is available from PPP here.

This poll comes on the back of last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey that had likely Colorado voters supporting their legalization initiative, Amendment 64, by 61%. If these trends continue it is very plausible, even probable, that marijuana legalization will go 2 for 2 in November.

North Carolina Democratic Party Passes Resolutions in Support of Medical Marijuana and Industrial Hemp

June 19th, 2012

Hot on the heels of the Texas Democratic Party’s endorsement of marijuana decriminalization, the North Carolina Democratic Party endorsed two resolutions in support of marijuana law reform of their own. On Saturday, June 16th, the party held their state convention in Raleigh, NC. During this meeting they passed two reform minded resolutions, one calling for the legalization of medical marijuana and one for the industrial cultivation of hemp. The official text of the resolutions are as follows:

51. IN SUPPORT OF LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN NORTH CAROLINA (11TH CD)

WHEREAS, “Medical Marijuana” has been demonstrated to be an effective drug for treatment of certain human ailments; and
WHEREAS, Current North Carolina law denies doctors the right to treat patients by prescribing
Medical Marijuana; and
WHEREAS, Many states currently allow doctors to prescribe Medical Marijuana, a policy resulting in relief from pain and suffering for their patients; and
WHEREAS, Many other treatments legally prescribed by doctors are known to be extremely dangerous when misused.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the State of North Carolina grant doctors the right to prescribe Medical Marijuana in the same way they prescribe other drugs; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That the State of North Carolina legalize the use of Medical Marijuana.

52. IN SUPPORT OF THE RENEWAL OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP AS AN AGRICULTURAL CROP IN NORTH CAROLINA (11TH CD)

WHEREAS, in 2006, the N.C. State Legislature passed a Bill (House 1723/Senate 1572) to create an independent commission to study the beneficial uses of industrial hemp, among other studies, but there has never been any report or follow through to the study, and
WHEREAS, American companies are forced to import millions of dollar’s worth of hemp seed and fiber products annually from Canada, Europe, and China, thereby effectively denying American farmers an opportunity to compete and share in the profits; and
WHEREAS, nutritious hemp foods can be found in grocery stores nationwide and strong durable hemp fibers can be found in the interior parts of millions of American cars; and
WHEREAS, buildings are being constructed using hemp and lime mixture, thereby sequestering carbon; and
WHEREAS, retail sales of hemp products in this country are estimated to be over $400 million annually; and
WHEREAS, industrial hemp is a high-value low input crop that is not genetically modified, requires little or no pesticides, can be dry land farmed, and uses less fertilizer than wheat and corn; and
WHEREAS, the reluctance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to permit industrial hemp farming is denying agricultural producers in this country the ability to benefit from a high value, low-input crop, which can provide significant economic benefits to producers and manufacturers; and
WHEREAS, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has the authority under the Controlled Substances Act to allow this state to regulate industrial hemp farming under existing laws and without requiring individual federal applications and licenses.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That N.C. Democratic Party urge legislators to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity; to define industrial hemp in Federal law as non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis; to acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp; and to assist United States producers by removing barriers to State regulation of the commercial production of industrial hemp; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we urge the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to allow the State to regulate industrial hemp farming under existing state laws and regulations, or those to be passed, without requiring federal applications, licenses, or fees; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State shall forward copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, and to each member of the state’s Congressional Delegation.

Source: North Carolina Democratic Party 2012 Resolutions

When politicians long considered opposed to marijuana law reform, such as those in Texas and North Carolina, openly endorse rational marijuana policy measures, you have to ask yourself: Just how many more dominos need to fall before our federal politicians finally wake up and end our country’s war on cannabis consumers? At lest one thing is certain, however, and that is all the momentum is behind reform and these recent victories for sensible marijuana laws are only just the beginning.