Jan 312013
 January 31, 2013

marijuana reform cannabis 20132013 isn’t even a month old, and already we’re seeing numerous senators and representatives across the country ride the wave of reformation that was generated in November 2012. Since Washington and Colorado put the question of marijuana regulation on the ballot, more and more state leaders have come to the realization that prohibition is not what the people want, and it’s definitely not what the country needs.

Prior to the end of 2012, Indiana Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) announced plans to introduce a proposal in the 2013 session that would alter the legal repercussions associated with marijuana possession. Rather than facing jail time, individuals in Indiana caught with 10 grams of marijuana or less would be served a fine.

Iowa Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) has pushed for medical marijuana and declared his intention to introduce HF 2270 in the Iowa General Assembly. If passed, Iowans with qualifying conditions would be allowed to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana. HF 2270 also includes terms for the creation of a licensing system for eligible patients and for the creation of nonprofit suppliers to sell marijuana to those licensed to buy.

In Illinois, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) introduced HB 1 to protect medical cannabis patients. Mississippi Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D-Pass Christian) is seeking to add the Magnolia State, which has already decriminalized personal use marijuana possession, to the ever-growing list of states that have legalized medical marijuana. Other states actively seeking to adopt compassionate medical marijuana legislation include New YorkNew Hampshire, and West Virginia.

On January 17, Hawaii Speaker of the House Joseph Souki (D-8th District) took – or photocopied – a page from Amendment 64, and introduced HB150, which essentially mirrors the latest article in Colorado’s constitution. If passed, adults 21 and over would be permitted to possess and purchase up to an ounce of marijuana at a time, as well as paraphernalia. (Under current state law, paraphernalia possession is a felony and carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.)

Many of the calls for marijuana policy reforms have come out of states with the harshest marijuana laws on record. In Oklahoma, Sen. Connie Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) successfully introduced SB 710and SB 914. Respectively, the bills call for (1) the establishment of a medical marijuana program, and (2) the reduction of penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Both are scheduled to receive first readings on February 4.

In Alabama, Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) and Rep. K.L. Brown (R) pre-filed House Bill 2, which would authorize the use of medical marijuana. HB 2 will be introduced to the legislature on February 5. And, a history of rejection didn’t dissuade Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) from introducing SB 9 in the Kansas Senate. It turns out third time’s a charm: for the first time in three years, an introduced medical marijuana bill will be heard at the committee level in Kansas.

Even Texas jumped – or at the very least, hesitantly crawled – on the reform bandwagon. Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has proposed decriminalizing possession of one ounce or less, instead fining users $500. Rep. Dutton’s fellow representative Elliot Naishtat (D-Austin) reintroduced a bill that would give patients with serious illnesses an “affirmative defense” against charges of possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Refusing to become complacent is one of, if not the most, important elements in the fight to end prohibition. Marijuana reform will not happen overnight, and individuals like Sen. Haley and Rep. Todd have shown us that determination does indeed yield results. Even small measures like substituting fines for jail time are a step in the right direction.

If these early weeks of 2013 can assure us of anything, it’s that this year has the potential to be one of the most significant and memorable years in reform history. With public opinion for marijuana regulation on the rise, we expect multiple states to follow suit and offer up similar legislative proposals in the months to come.

Source: Marijuana Policy Project

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Vixxis

    They forgot to mention Pennsylvania. Senator Daylin Leach (D) prefiled a marijuana legalization bill in early January 2013. This comes after introducing medical marijuana bills that never made it out of committee in 2010 & 2011.

  • SadForIowa

    Unfortunately, the Iowa effort has already been killed by the GOP:

    1 hour ago • By Rod Boshart, Courier Lee News Service
    House panel dispenses with medical marijuana bill

    DES MOINES, Iowa — Any hope for a medical marijuana debate in the Iowa House went up in smoke Thursday.

    “This bill will not advance any further,” declared Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper and one of two GOP members of a House subcommittee that refused to pass House File 22 onto the full House Public Safety Committee for consideration this legislative session.

    • stellarvoyager

      Then we must target this guy and all prohibitionist politicians for defeat. They think that “getting tough on pot” will further their political careers, so let’s make an example of them. Prohibitionist politicians take notice: Dwight Holton is exhibit A in our movement’s new found political clout. His fate will be theirs as well. May the marijuana reform community become as fearsome a political force as the NRA. Piss us off, and kiss your political career goodbye.

      • tryingtocalmdown

        good call.

  • tryingtocalmdown

    gotta tell you how nice it is to live in WA now. as a libertarian/conservative, it is about one of the only nice things (politcally) about this leftist state. i can legally get stoned so i can tune out the goofballs on the far left that want an income tax. if the useless feds leave us alone to establish the growing/licensing/distribution/retail system, some decent tax money could roll in. the initiative wasn’t perfect but it will get fine tuned in 3 years.

  • THX1138

    “””””FLORIDA”””” Please,, anything will do,,,anything to stop the madness here.

    A 36-year-old Palm Coast woman was arrested
    for possession of marijuana under 20
    grams after deputies stopped her vehicle which
    was observed on Belle Terre Parkway. Deputies said they
    found a small hand-rolled joint cigarette on the floor board.

  • http://www.facebook.com/floridabadger Steven Learn

    WILL FL EVER WISEN UP OR JUST LAGG BEHIND CUZ OF STUBBORN BRAINWASHED FOLKS!! WHAT ABOUT “WE THE PEOPLE”! FIRST WORDS OF CONSTITUTION!! NOT TOO BE RULED BY THOSE “IN CHARGE”, ISN”T THAT WHY AMERICA WAS “DISCOVERED” TO ESCAPE THE TYRANNY OVERSEAS? COMING FULL CIRCLE & WERE RIGHT WHERE IT ALL STARTED!!

  • Happy Bud

    HEY FLORIDA……. WE ARE COMING!!! It’s now just a matter of time. Marijuana Reform will continue to be like a slow moving tsunami that overtakes this country. You too, will soon be able to ride this wave my friend.
    Most Americans would already have no choice to conclude that the war on weed is a huge loss. When we look back at the history of alcohol or racism, there will be pockets that are left behind for years to come. No matter what happens you can count of this wave coming your way! It’s now just a matter of time.
    Peace from HappyBudFarms