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  1. chillinwill
    Coming To A State House Near You: Legal Cannabis?

    January 2010 is off to a ’smoking’ start. Lawmakers in three key states — New Jersey, California, and Washington — are taking action this week on legislative measures that seek to significantly amend, or end, marijuana prohibition. Here’s a quick look at the week ahead.

    Monday: Lawmakers in New Jersey are scheduled to vote on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. This is the final day that lawmakers will be voting on issues from the 2008-2009 legislative session. This means that the bill must pass the Assembly floor, and then be rectified with the Senate version of the bill, before it can be sent to outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine for his approval. NORML’s local affiliates have spent months urging Assembly leaders to act on this legislation, and to expand upon several of its provisions.

    New Jersey NORML and the Coalition for Medical Marijuana — New Jersey have scheduled a press conference to take place in the Capitol Rotunda following the vote. If you reside in New Jersey you still have time to make your voice heard by going to NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here and/or and by going to the State House in Trenton on Monday afternoon to show your support. (CMMNJ has reserved a room for patients and other out-of-town attendees who wish to participate in the day’s events.)

    Tuesday: Members of the California Assembly, Public Safety Committee will vote on Assembly Bill 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, which seeks to regulate and control the production, distribution, and personal use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older. This vote will mark the first time since 1913, when California became one of the first states in the nation to enact cannabis prohibition, that lawmakers have reassessed this failed policy. (See my op/ed in today’s Sacramento Bee here.) A press conference is anticipated to take place immediately following the vote. You can read NORML’s prepared testimony here and here, and you can voice your support for this effort by going here.

    Wednesday: Washington state House lawmakers will hear testimony at 1:30pm in favor of a pair of bills seeking to significantly reduce state marijuana penalties. Members of the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness will debate two pending proposals, House Bill 1177 and House Bill 2401. House Bill 1177 seeks to reclassify the possession of forty grams or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a class 2 civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine. House Bill 2401 seeks to “remove all existing civil and criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana.” This will be the first time state lawmakers have ever debated regulating marijuana production, distribution, and use by adults.

    NORML representatives will be testifying in Olympia on Wednesday (Read testimony here.), and NORML Advisory Board member Rick Steves will also be hosting a public forum on the topic at Olympia’s Capitol Theater on Tuesday evening. If you live in Washington, you can urge the Committee to vote ‘yes’ on one or both of these measures by going here and here.

    For information on additional state and federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    By: Paul Armentano
    January 10, 2010
    NORML Blog
    http://blog.norml.org/2010/01/10/coming-to-a-state-house-near-you-legal-cannabis/

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  1. guldenat
    Medical Marijuana Takes Root In New Jersey

    Any day now New Jersey is expected to become the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana. But don't expect the Garden State to become a pot-smoker's paradise.

    [IMGL=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=12494&d=1263376278[/IMGL]New Jersey is poised to join 13 other states in recognizing marijuana as medicine. (David McNew/Getty Images)

    The "New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act", which passed both the state assembly and senate with comfortable majority votes, is a lot less sympathetic to the herb than its name may suggest.

    Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), one of the bill's sponsors, calls it "the strictest medicinal marijuana law in the nation."

    The original bill would have allowed access to medical marijuana for persons diagnosed with a "debilitating medical condition," strictly defined by a specific list of ailments, including cancer, glaucoma, positive HIV/AIDS status, and seizure. But a series of amendments added to the bill would make New Jersey one of the only states to bar home-growing, making state-run "alternative treatment centers" the only legal access point to the healing herb for those with a prescription. Another of the amendments would also limit the amount of marijuana that may be dispensed in a one-month period to two ounces.

    Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, told us this makes New Jersey the only state to prohibit home growing under medical marijuana legislation. "We certainly initially advocated for home cultivation, as the 13 other states have it, and that was taken out, which is unfortunate," he said. But Wolski said that even with the stricter language, the law would bring relief to many people. "There are restrictions in the New Jersey bill, yes, but there are also mechanisms that will allow for greater access as time goes on."

    Not everyone is gung ho about that prospect. In fact, Governor-elect Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney, is uneasy with the current bill precisely because of what he calls a potential "loophole" for expanding access--: a clause in the original bill that allows other medical ailments to be included in the list of "debilitating medical conditions" at the discretion of the state health department in addition to those already in writing.

    California's experience with medical marijuana has New Jersey lawmakers taking a different tack. "I think we all see what's happened in California. It's gotten completely out of control," said Christie to the New York Times.

    Despite some objections, the bill is expected to be signed into law by lame duck Gov. Jon S. Corzine before he leaves office next week, the New York Daily News reports. But it will then be up to the new administration to implement the law. And if the governor-elect has given any indication, "control" may be the key word.

    By Nadja Popovich
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/01/its_official_new_jersey_is.html
    January 12, 2012
    NPR
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