General

North Dakota becomes 25th state to eliminate jail time for marijuana possession!

Good news! With Gov. Doug Burgum’s signature on House Bill 1050, we’ve reached a milestone: half the states in the country have eliminated jail time penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana!

It is encouraging to see lawmakers in a conservative state like North Dakota acknowledge and rectify the injustice of jailing people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Politicians can no longer ignore public support for marijuana policy reform, which is growing quickly in every part of the country.

North Dakota’s new law goes into effect on August 1 of this year. It reclassifies possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana as an infraction punishable by no jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000 for adults 21 and older. Previously, it was a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail in addition to a fine. The bill also reclassifies penalties for possession offenses involving amounts greater than a half ounce, and it calls on the Legislative Assembly to study adult-use legalization. A more detailed summary of HB 1050 is available here.

The compromise bill sent to Gov. Burgum by the legislature is far from ideal, but it is a substantial step in the right direction. We must keep pushing forward. Support our efforts to enact sensible marijuana laws around the country by becoming a contributor today!

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Prohibition

Hawaii: Decriminalization bill sent to Gov. Ige’s desk!

If you live in Hawaii, contact the governor today and ask him to sign HB 1383.

Yesterday, the Hawaii House and Senate approved a bill to stop arresting and jailing Hawaiians for small amounts of marijuana. It now heads to the governor’s desk.

Ask Gov. Ige to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis in the Aloha State by signing HB 1383!

The bill would make possession of three grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $130 fine. Under current law, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

While we are disappointed that the possession limit is low — three grams is the smallest amount of any decriminalization or legalization state — this legislation will still save Hawaiians from arrest, possible jail time, and a life-altering criminal record for possession of a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Currently, 24 states and D.C. have stopped jailing their residents for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Hawaii is lagging behind. Removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis is an important step towards sensible marijuana policies.

Contact Gov. Ige now and ask that he sign the decriminalization bill. Then, forward this message to your friends and family to Hawaii and encourage them to do the same.

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Prohibition

Texas House of Representatives approves decriminalization!

If you live in Texas, contact your state senator in support of marijuana decriminalization.

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 63, a bill that would stop arresting and jailing individuals who possess up to an ounce of cannabis. The bill now heads to the Texas Senate for a vote. Already, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted that HB 63 is “dead” in the Texas Senate.

Let your senator know that marijuana decriminalization is not dead in Texas today!

While the bill removes the threat of jail time, we are disappointed that the fine was raised to $500 on the House floor yesterday. Such a steep fine will disproportionately effect Texans with lesser means. The Senate should lower the fine or allow community service in lieu of a fine.

Please contact your senator today, and let’s send the bill to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk!

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General

Texas House to vote on marijuana decriminalization THIS Thursday

If you live in Texas, contact your lawmakers today in support of HB 63.

After passing in a 5-2 vote in the House Jurisprudence Committee, HB 63 is scheduled for a vote in the Texas House of Representatives this Thursday. Please contact your lawmakers in support of marijuana decriminalization right now.

If HB 63 passes, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would be punishable by a $250 fine for the first two offenses, and it would be considered a class C misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. Currently, possessing any amount of marijuana is punishable by jail time in Texas.

Given that the Texas Republican Party endorsed marijuana decriminalization and Gov. Gregg Abbott has expressed willingness to sign a bill that reduces penalties for possession, the environment has never been better for change in Texas.

So please, contact your lawmakers today and then forward this email to friends and family and ask they do the same. Together, we can reform marijuana laws in Texas.

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General

Alabama Senate committee passes marijuana decriminalization

If you live in Alabams, contact your lawmakers now in support of decriminalization!

Today, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved SB 98, which would reduce the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis to a fine. The bill now heads to the Senate floor. Don’t let this chance to stop jailing cannabis consumers pass the state by.

Contact your lawmakers in Montgomery and ask them to support this commonsense policy reform.

Currently, anyone found possessing marijuana in Alabama faces up to a year in jail. Under SB 98, people caught with one ounce or less would be punished by a fine of up to $250 for the first two offenses and up to a $500 fine on all future offenses. Twenty-four states, including neighboring Mississippi, have stopped jailing adults for possession of small amounts of marijuana. It’s time for Alabama to reform outdated laws that do nothing to make the state safer. A recent report from the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that marijuana prohibition is a costly and ineffective law that harms thousands of people. Enforcing prohibition costs the state roughly $22 million a year when you add up the costs incurred by the police, courts, and corrections.

Please contact your lawmakers today, and then get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family. Together we can stop arresting Alabamans for possessing a substance safer than alcohol.

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General||Prohibition

Hawaii: Restrictive decriminalization bill heads to Senate floor

If you live in Hawaii, contact your senator and ask them to vote YES on HB 1383, then ask your representative to get the bill to a conference committee to refine it.

Last week, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means voted to pass a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession in the Aloha State — making possession of three grams or less punishable by a $30 fine. The bill will now head to the Senate floor.

An earlier version of the bill, HB 1383, was already approved by the full House. While the Senate amendment improved the bill by reducing the fine, HB 1383 still only decriminalizes possession of up to three grams, which would be the smallest amount of any decriminalization or legalization state. Typically, decriminalization laws apply to one ounce, which is around 28.5 grams.

However, if the bill passes the Senate and goes to conference committee, there will be an opportunity to increase the possession limit.

Click here to ask your senator to vote "yes" on the bill and to ask your representative to NOT agree to the Senate amendments. That way, the bill can be improved in a conference committee. If the Senate approves the bill and the House accepts the Senate amendments, it will be sent to the governor as is.

Hawaiians should not be jailed or branded with a life-altering criminal record for simple possession of marijuana. The current possession limit of three grams is too low, and lives will continue to be needlessly derailed as a result.

Hawaii is lagging behind the 24 states and D.C. that have decriminalized marijuana. Contact your senator and representative today, and forward this message to your friends and family in Hawaii. Together, we can bring sensible marijuana policy to Hawaii!

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General

North Dakota Senate approves marijuana decriminalization measure​

Contact your state legislators and ask them to support decriminalizing marijuana possession.

Great news! In a 37-10 vote, senators in North Dakota’s legislature passed legislation last Thursday to replace criminal penalties for possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of $250. The proposal, introduced by Fargo Republican Sen. Kristin Roers, gained traction as the local marijuana policy reform organization, Legalize ND, announced plans to pursue a 2020 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use.

Please take a minute to send a message to your state legislators and urge them to pass marijuana decriminalization this year!

Members of the North Dakota House narrowly defeated a similar decriminalization proposal earlier this year, but lawmakers are expected to reach an agreement on the details of this legislation and ultimately send it to Gov. Doug Burgum, who has expressed support for decriminalization in the past.

The bill would also establish a process for the state to study the possibility of legalizing marijuana for adult use. Advocates with Legalize ND say that passage of this law will not deter them from efforts to put a legalization measure on the ballot in 2020.

It’s encouraging to see state lawmakers acknowledging the harms of marijuana prohibition and taking steps to end arrests for low-level possession offenses. There is more work to be done, but thanks to the tireless work of local advocates, we are finally seeing significant progress in the North Dakota Legislature. 

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General

New Mexico governor signs decriminalization bill!

New Mexico becomes the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana.

On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 323, which decriminalizes up to half an ounce of marijuana. Starting on July 1, the penalty for possessing up to half an ounce of marijuana will be a $50 civil fine, instead of potential jail time.

Unfortunately, a bill to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults died in the Senate Finance Committee after passing the House. Adults should have access to safe, regulated places to purchase marijuana, and 60% of New Mexico voters agree, according to a poll from last year.

Please reach out to your lawmakers in support of marijuana legalization. Then, share the good news about decriminalization by forwarding this email to friends and family.

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General

Hawaii: Hearing needed for decriminalization bill to advance

Contact Chair Dela Cruz today and request a hearing for HB1383.

Two Senate committees recently amended and approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of just three grams of cannabis, reducing the penalty to a $30 civil fine. However, the bill will die unless a hearing is scheduled by this Friday, April 5!

Click here to email Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and ask him to schedule a hearing on the bill — HB1383 HD2 SD1. You can also call Chair Dela Cruz at 808-586-6090. Be sure to be respectful.

The bill has already been approved by the full House. The two Senate committees amended the bill to lower the fine for a first offense from a steep $200 to $30. Still, it only decriminalizes possession of up to three grams, which would be the smallest amount of any decriminalization or legalization state. However, any hope of improving it also dies if the bill does not get a hearing. So please, contact Chair Dela Cruz today!

This legislation is crucial to the marijuana policy reform movement in Hawaii. Please contact Chair Dela Cruz today, then forward this message to your family and friends in Hawaii.

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Prohibition

Texas legislative committee passes marijuana decriminalization

If you live in Texas, ask your state lawmakers to support decriminalizing marijuana.

A bill to stop arresting and jailing marijuana consumers in Texas cleared an important hurdle yesterday, when it passed the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. But it has a long way to go before it becomes law.

Ask your state lawmakers to support decriminalizing marijuana in Texas.

Currently, possession of two ounces or less is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. HB 63 would make the penalty for possessing one ounce or less a fine of $250. This would apply to an individual's first two offenses; after the second offense, it would be a class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine with no jail time.

Texas is punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol and it's costing the state millions in tax dollars and ruining thousands of Texans' lives. In 2017 alone, there were more than 64,000 arrests for marijuana possession in Texas.

Please ask your lawmakers to support decriminalizing marijuana today. Together, we can bring sensible marijuana policies to Texas.

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