Significant Marijuana Reform Bills Cultivated For 2014

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More than half of all Americans live in states that have reformed their marijuana laws by allowing medical marijuana, imposing a fine — not possible jail time — on marijuana possession, or making marijuana legally available and regulated for adults’ use. With polls showing that a majority of Americans support making marijuana use legal, and with 86% support for allowing medical marijuana, state legislators are increasingly realizing the public supports marijuana policy reforms.

Although some legislative sessions have not begun yet — and four states have no regular session this year — 27 states and Washington, D.C. have already had bills introduced to either create new medical marijuana laws, to impose only a fine for possession of marijuana, and/or to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. Several additional state legislatures are expected to consider similar proposals.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a medical marijuana ballot measure was certified for the November 2014 ballot, and in Alaska signatures have been submitted to allow voters to decide whether to legalize and regulate marijuana this August. Marijuana policy initiatives are also possible in other states and the District of Columbia in 2014.

Click on the state name to take action and contact your state legislators. For the text of each bill, its sponsors, and its status, visit the “legislation” page after clicking on the state name. In most cases, if the bill status is not mentioned, it is pending in the first committee it has been assigned to or it has not yet been assigned to committee.


TEN STATES AND ONE DISTRICT CONSIDERING REGULATING MARIJUANA SIMILARLY TO ALCOHOL

 State  Bill Number(s)
 Hawaii  H.B. 150, H.B. 699, H.B. 1708, S.B. 467, S.B. 738, S.B. 2733
 Massachusetts  House Bill 1632
 New Hampshire  HB 492 was approved by the state House of Representatives on January 15, 2014 in a 170-162 vote; it was then referred to House Ways and Means Committee.
 New Mexico  SJR 10 — this proposal would put the issue of whether to regulate marijuana before voters in the form of a constitutional amendment
 New York  SB 6005
 Ohio  HJR 6 — this proposal would put the issue of whether to regulate marijuana before voters in the form of a constitutional amendment
 Oklahoma  SB 2116
 Oregon  SB 1556 — this proposal would put the issue of whether to regulate marijuana before the voters
 Pennsylvania  SB 528
 Vermont  SB 306; in addition, SB 160 would study taxing and regulating marijuana
 Washington, D.C.  B20 466

Legislators also plan to introduce bills to regulate marijuana in ArizonaMarylandNew JerseyRhode Island, andWisconsin this year. 

 

ELEVEN STATES CONSIDERING BILLS TO CREATE EFFECTIVE NEW MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS

 State  Bill Number(s)
 Kansas  HB 2198, SB 9
 Kentucky  SB 43
 Minnesota  HF 1818/SF 1641
 Mississippi  SB 2763
 Missouri  HB 1324
 New York  SB 4406, AB 6357; AB 6357 passed the Assembly in 2013, but SB 4406 did not advance. Both bills can still be considered in 2014.
 Ohio  HB 153
 Pennsylvania  HB 1181, SB 770, SB 1182
 Tennessee  HB 1385
 West Virginia  HB 4264
 Wisconsin  AB 480, SB 363

Legislators also plan to introduce medical marijuana bills in AlabamaFloridaIowa, and Maryland this year.

FIVE STATES CONSIDERING BILLS TO CREATE NEW MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAMS THAT FALL SHORT OF COMPREHENSIVE, EFFECTIVE LAWS

 State  Bill Number(s)
 Alabama  HB 104, HB 207, SB 174 — these bills would simply provide a defense in court – rather than preventing arrests – and they would only apply to one component of marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD)
 Georgia  SR 756 — this bill would direct committees to study the issue of medical marijuana
 Indiana  HB 1185 — among other shortcomings, this bill references doctors “prescribing” marijuana, which they cannot do because of federal law
 Nebraska  LB 1102 — this bill would only apply to marijuana with no more than 0.3% THC and to patients with seizures or spasms
 North Carolina  H 941 — this bill carries over from 2013 and would simply study the issue of medical marijuana; another bill — H 84 — would have created a medical marijuana program, but was defeated in committee

ELEVEN STATES AND ONE DISTRICT CONSIDERING BILLS TO REDUCE THE PENALTY FOR MARIJUANA POSSESSION TO A FINE

 State  Bill Number(s)
 Alabama  HB 76 — would make first offense possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a violation, punishable by a fine only
 Arizona  HB 2474 — would reduce the penalty for possession of under an ounce of marijuana to a civil fine of up to $100
 Hawaii  H.B. 455, H.B. 1709, S.B. 472, S.B. 2358, and S.B. 2735; S.B. 472 passed out of the Senate unanimously in 2013 and carried over to this year. It would replace criminal penalties for up to 20 grams of marijuana with a civil fine.
 Illinois  HB 4299 would reduce several marijuana penalties, including reducing the penalty for possession of up to 30 grams to a fine of up to $100. Unfortunately, the classification would be criminal – a petty offense; it would also be a misdemeanor for a subsequent offense involving over 10 grams.
 Indiana  SB 314 — among other reforms, this would make possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a Class C infraction
 Maryland  SB 364 — would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana to a civil fine punishable by a fine of up to $100
 Michigan  HB 4623 — would reduce the penalty for up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil fine; depending on the number of prior convictions, the fine would range from up to $25 to up to $100
 Missouri  HB 1325 — except for people with certain prior convictions, this would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana to a fine of up to $250; however, the offense would still be a criminal offense – a misdemeanor
 New Hampshire  HB 1625 — would reduce the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a violation carrying a $100 civil fine; would also reduce some other marijuana penalties
 New Jersey  A218 — would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana with a civil fine ranging from $150 to $500, depending on the number of prior offenses
 Washington, D.C.  B20 409 — would replace the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana with a $25 civil fine; passed the council’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee in January
 Wyoming  HB0049 —would reduce the penalty for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil fine; up to half an ounce would be a $50 civil penalty, more than half an ounce, but less than one ounce, would be a $100 civil penalty


TWO STATES CONSIDERING IMPROVING EXISTING “DECRIMINALIZATION” LAWS

 State  Bill Number(s)
 New York  A6716 passed the Assembly in 2013, but the Senate companion bill — S3105 — remained in the Senate Codes Committee. Both bills can still be considered in 2014. The bills would remove an exception to New York’s decriminalization law for when marijuana is possessed somewhere that is open to public view.
 North Carolina  H 637 — would change the penalty for possession of a modest amount of marijuana to an infraction instead of a criminal misdemeanor that carries a suspended sentence

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Born in Long Beach, raised on the central coast: I surf, dab, burn, and blog, though not necessarily in that order. I'm a husband, a father and a lifelong consumer of connoisseur grade weed. I don't drink booze, or do any other "drugs." I consider myself living proof that weed is not a gateway drug - If it were, I'd be in some serious trouble. Instead, as a 50-year-old ex-realtor that has been smoking weed for nearly 80% of my life (just did the math), I can only say, marijuana is safer than prescription pills or alcohol could ever hope to be.