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Marijuana/Medical Marijuana: More States, More Bills, More Hearings

It's becoming difficult to keep up with all the marijuana bills being filed at statehouses around the county. In addition to the bills in Washington state (see related story here), in the past 10 days we saw a medical marijuana bill introduced in Missouri, another in Alabama, and another in Virginia. There was also a decriminalization bill introduced in Virginia, and in New Hampshire a decrim bill and a "tax and regulate" legalization bill got hearings.
marijuana plants (photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia)
In Missouri, Rep. Kate Meiners (D-Kansas City) and 16 cosponsors introduced HB 1670, which would allow patients with debilitating diseases to use marijuana upon a physician's recommendation. Patients or caregivers could possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana and three mature and four immature plants. Previous bills have failed to move in the Republican-dominated legislature, but the presence of a Republican cosponsor this year could make a difference.

In Alabama, Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) has introduced HB 207, which would allow patients with specified debilitating conditions to use marijuana. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Previous medical marijuana bills died in 2007 and 2008.

In Virginia, Delegate Harvey Morgan, a 79-year-old Republican, filed HB 1136, a medical marijuana bill that would protect from prosecution patients who have "a valid prescription issued by a medical doctor." The bill's prospects are uncertain. Morgan is a senior Republican and committee chair, but the measure also faces opposition.

Another bill introduced by Morgan, HB 1134, would make small-time marijuana possession a civil offense rather than a criminal one and mandates a maximum $500 fine. It would also create a rebuttable presumption that anyone growing five plants or less is growing for personal consumption, and treats small grows like small amounts of marijuana. The bill would also do away with a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for selling less than an ounce and a five-year mandatory minimum for selling more than an ounce. Like Morgan's medical bill, the prospects for the decrim bill are uncertain.

In New Hampshire, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Wednesday held public hearings on two bills, HB 1653, which would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and HB 1652, which would legalize the possession of up to one ounce and three plants, and provide for the regulated and taxed sale of marijuana to adults. The decrim bill is sponsored by Rep. Steven Lindsey (D-Keene), while the tax and regulate bill is sponsored by Reps. Calvin Pratt (R-Goffstown), Joel Winters (D-Manchester), Carla Skinder (D-Cornish), and Timothy Comerford (R-Fremont).

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Medical Cannabis in MO

The amount in ounces isn't entirely correct. It is once ounce per mature plant. This part of the bill is here:

195.580. As used in sections 195.580 to 195.589, the following terms mean:
(1) "Adequate supply", an amount of marijuana collectively possessed between the qualifying patient and the qualifying patient's primary caregivers that is not more than is reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marijuana for the purpose of alleviating the symptoms or effects of a qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition; provided that an "adequate supply" shall not exceed three mature marijuana plants, four immature marijuana plants, and one ounce of usable marijuana per each mature plant;

let's go virginia!

I have hoped and hoped to see anything come up in the Virginia legislature and here it is. I can only hope that some more people come to realize that marijuana is not evil and can truly help some people. Let's go Virginia!

Don't forget about Wisconsin

Bills were introduced to WI's Assemby and Senate late last year with many co-sponsors and much support. A public hearing mid December on the bill saw standing room support of over 100 people. Only 5 registered or spoke in opposition. A lobby day at the state capitol in Madison this past wednesday saw over 100 people (many patients) from all across the state. Hundreds of others called their reps from home. The bills are now in respective committees being amended and revised. We may loose the ability to grow our own plants at home, but longtime activist Ben Masel joked this is the first time any medical marijuana bill has come this far in WI so it is, in a way, positive to know if they are proposing revisions, at least they are reading it this time. It should go for a full floor vote in April. WI has a Democratic majority in both houses and a Democratic Gov. on record saying he will sign the bill if it makes it to his desk.

Contact anyone you know in WI and tell them to help us pass this bill!

About Time

It is about time Va got into the ever expanding marijuana movement and put some laws into effect that would not persecute those who use the herb, but make it rationally feasable to use it as it is much safer than alcohol or pills which in my part of Va is a gosh darn bad problem.

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