A bill to stop arresting and jailing Hawaiians for small amounts of cannabis was sent to Gov. Ige's desk before the legislature adjourned on May 2. Unfortunately, the governor remains undecided on the bill, and there's a risk he could veto this extremely small step forward.
The bill would make possession of three grams or less of cannabis 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 three grams would be the smallest possession limit of any decriminalization or legalization state, and $130 is a steep fine that can be a hardship for low-income residents, this legislation is still an improvement.
Signing HB 1383 into law will save Hawaiians from arrest, possible jail time, and a life-altering criminal record for possession of a substance that is safer than alcohol. Twenty-five states and D.C. have already stopped jailing their residents for possessing small amounts of cannabis. Hawaii is lagging behind.
Gov. Ige has until July 9 to sign HB 1383. Please contact the governor today and ask him to sign the decriminalization bill, then forward this message to your friends and family in Hawaii and encourage them to do the same.
Earlier this week, the Texas Legislature adjourned after its 140-day legislative session. This year's session brought successes and setbacks. Prohibitionists went to great lengths to keep the status quo and some of their reefer madness unfortunately worked.
Industrial Hemp Legalization – HB 1325 legalizes industrial hemp in Texas and establishes a regulatory structure so that Texans may soon start growing hemp.
Limited Low-THC Medical Cannabis Expansion – HB 3703 removes the two-physician requirement for a medical marijuana card and expands the qualifying conditions to include: epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, ALS, autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. It does not change the 0.5% THC cap. HB 3703 is currently on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.
What Fell Short:
Marijuana Decriminalization – HB 63, which would have replaced possible jail time with a fine, passed in the Texas House but stalled in the Texas Senate after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made it his mission to kill the bill.
Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Expansion – HB 1365 would have expanded qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, increased the number of dispensaries, and established a research review board that could allow different amounts of cannabinoids. This bill passed in the Texas House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Texas Legislature won't be back in session until 2021. That means two more years of patients suffering and needless arrests. We want to congratulate everyone who worked so hard to make progress, including Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.
Support for marijuana reform is at an all-time high so let's keep our chins up and keep pushing. Together, we can change marijuana laws in Texas.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 236 in a 6-2 vote. The bill would establish a medical marijuana program in Alabama and would allow patients 19 years or older to use medical marijuana to treat 33 different conditions, including autism, chronic pain, and anxiety.
Contact your lawmakers in support of SB 236 today. Medical marijuana won’t pass in Alabama without robust grassroots outreach, so please email them now.
Last week, the same committee approved a bill that would decriminalize marijuana.
Please contact your public officials today and then help get the word out by forwarding this email to friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to the South.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.