Little Rock City Board Member Ken Richardson is proposing to make marijuana arrests the lowest possible police priority. This measure — which would effectively reduce marijuana possession to a citation — will save court and law enforcement resources while not needlessly punishing adults with jail time.
While attitudes on marijuana policy are changing all over the country, we can't rest now. In fact, Little Rock voted down a similar ordinance last year!
To find your Ward Director, please click here. Be sure to reach out to them before the meeting and let them know you support this proposed ordinance. (If Richardson is your board member, you can thank him for his leadership.)
Here are a couple of points you can make in support:
* Please support Board Member Richardson's proposal to cite, not jail, people for marijuana possession. Incarceration is a traumatic, disproportionate penalty for possessing marijuana.
* This measure would allow law enforcement to spend more time on crimes with victims, instead of wasting their time booking individuals for using a substance most Americans think should be legal.
You can also show up in person to demonstrate your support for this important measure:
What: Little Rock Board of Directors meeting
When: Tuesday, August 20 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Little Rock City Hall, 500 West Markham Street, Board of Directors' Chambers, 2nd floor
The city will vote on this next week and needs to hear from constituents beforehand. Reach out to your city board member today. If you or anyone you know is a resident of Little Rock, please let them know about the meeting and forward this email to them.
On July 31, Gov. John Carney signed a bill into law that expands decriminalization for cannabis possession of one ounce or less to those under 21. The law became effective upon the governor's signature.
This important legislation will save young adults from life-altering criminal convictions, which can close the door on opportunities including jobs, housing, and higher education. For more information on Delaware's decriminalization law, check out our summary here.
In other news, the adult-use legalization bill, HB 110, will pick up where it left off in the House Appropriations Committee in 2020. You can read our summary of HB 110 here.
Yesterday, Gov. David Ige let a modest decriminalization bill — HB 1383 — become law without his signature. Effective January 11, 2020, possession of three grams or less of marijuana will be punishable by a $130 civil fine. The bill also provides for the expungement of criminal records for convictions of possession of three grams or less of marijuana.
Hawaii is now the 26th state to stop jailing residents for possessing modest amounts of marijuana. However, three grams is the smallest possession limit of any decriminalization or legalization state. Unfortunately, with such a low possession limit, needless marijuana arrests will continue. A more sensible approach would be to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
In other news, Gov. Ige has unfortunately vetoed a bill that would allow limited transport of medical cannabis between the islands. The bill — HB 290 — was approved by the legislature in May.
While the decriminalization law is an extremely timid step forward, there is still work to be done to improve Hawaii's marijuana laws. Contact your lawmakers today, then forward this message to your family and friends in Hawaii.
Yesterday, Gov. David Ige announced that he will allow a modest decriminalization bill, HB 1383, to become law. The bill will 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. The bill will take effect on January 11, 2020.
This bill will save some Hawaiians from traumatic arrests, possible jail time, and life-altering criminal records. However, it's an extremely timid step forward. Three grams is the smallest possession limit of any decriminalization or legalization state. Unfortunately, with such a low possession limit and steep fine, lives will continue to be needlessly derailed. And, decriminalization does nothing to control the illicit market.
A more sensible approach would be to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. Eleven states — including every state on the West Coast — have chosen this approach. Hawaii is lagging behind.
By legalizing taxing, and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and older, Hawaii would dramatically reduce marijuana arrests, displace the illicit market, and ensure consumers have a safe, tested product.
Contact your lawmakers today! With your help, Hawaii can take a more sensible approach to marijuana
Recently, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring submitted an op-ed to the Daily Press urging the state to "decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, address past convictions and start moving toward legal and regulated adult-use." Shortly after, lawmakers from both parties, including Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R), also voiced support for decriminalization.
The 2019 legislative session adjourned on February 23. While both legalization and decriminalization bills were introduced this past session, those bills were defeated in committee. With increasing support from elected officials, the focus now shifts to 2020.
Virginia is lagging behind the rest of the country on marijuana policy. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. have stopped jailing their residents for possession of modest amounts of marijuana, and 11 of those states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for individuals over 21.
Polling has also shown that almost eight of 10 Virginia residents support replacing criminal convictions for simple marijuana possession with a fine, and 62 percent favor ending marijuana prohibition altogether.
It is past time Virginia reform its marijuana laws. Please contact your lawmakers today, and forward this message to your family and friends in Virginia.
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.
HB 481 won’t receive a committee vote until December, but we’re still working to pass bills to allow home cultivation and enable annulments for past convictions — contact your senator about the annulment bill today!
On Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously decided to postpone action on the legalization bill until later this year. Three of the five senators on the committee said they wanted to spend more time working on HB 481 and understanding the details before bringing it to a vote in the full Senate, so it’s clear that this is only a temporary setback. The committee will vote on the bill before the end of 2019, and it will come before the Senate in January 2020.
We are now turning our attention to two critical bills that need our help to get across the finish line. One very important bill, HB 399, would allow people who received misdemeanor possession convictions prior to decriminalization to apply to have their records annulled. It has already passed the House in a voice vote, and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. However, the committee vote was only 3-2 (Senators Shannon Chandley and Sharon Carson voted no), so victory remains far from certain.
No Granite Stater should have to be burdened with a criminal record for having possessed small amounts of cannabis prior to decriminalization. Please email your state senator today!
Meanwhile, the medical cannabis home cultivation bill will receive a final vote in the House on May 23, and we expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin. After that, it will proceed to Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. Call Gov. Sununu’s office today and urge him to support HB 364!
Please share these important updates with your friends and family!
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!