An Updated, State-By-State Look at Cannabis Reform Across the U.S.

An Updated, State-By-State Look at Cannabis Reform Across the U.S.

  • North Carolina

House Bill 637, which would make the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis a simple tickemarijuanat rather than a criminal misdemeanor, passed its first reading in the house, though stalled in subcommittee. Advocates in the state should contact their lawmakers, urging them to support this common-sense proposal to free-up police resources to focus on serious offenses.

  • Ohio

In May the Ohio Ballot Board unanimously approved an initiative to legalize medical cannabis (as well as hemp), sending it through the initial hurdle towards putting it to a vote; advocates will now need to collect roughly 385,000 valid signatures to place the initiative on the 2014 ballot.

  • North Dakota

Although there’s not much new to report on, Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson continues to consider running an initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

  • Oklahoma

Although there’s not much new to report on, Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson continues to consider running an initiative to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

  • Oregon

In July, Oregon’s governor signed a measure drastically reducing the penalties for most cannabis-related charges, including making the possession of up to an ounce a ticket, rather than a misdemeanor.

Just a couple weeks ago the governor signed a proposal legalizing medical cannabis dispensaries, a move which remedies a problem which found medical cannabis legal for qualified patieoregon-cannabis-tax-act-octa-2012nts, despite access points being entirely illegal. Under the regulations set forth in the initiative, over 200 dispensaries are expected to open.

Last week advocates of last year’s Measure 80 to legalize cannabis announced that, starting next month, they’ll begin to collect signatures on two new initiatives aiming for the 2014 ballot; one a state-law change, one a constitutional amendment.

  • Pennsylvania

In June the NCAAP officially endorsed a proposal in the state’s Senate which would legalize the possession, private home cultivation and state-licensed retail sale of cannabis for adults.

Polling released in May found that over 80% in the state support medical cannabis legalization.

  • Rhode Island

On April 1st the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis became decriminalized in Rhode Island. In just 4 months – from April 1st to August 1st – nearly 1,000 misdemeanors were avoided because of this new law.

  • South Carolina

Members of Columbia NORML are actively lobbying lawmakers in the state in an attempt to bring forth the legalization of cannabis.

  • South Dakota

Earlier this year a piece of legislation was introduced and discussed in South Carolina which would have added legal protections to those using cannabis for medical purposes. The bill didn’t advance out of committee, but will be filed again in 2014.

  • Tennessee

Tennessee State Senator Frank Nicely is considering drafting legislation to legalize hemp in the state.

  • Texas

A few months back Texas lawmakers held a public hearing on House Bill 594, which would have added an “affirmative defense” for patients who possess and use marijuana. The law never advanced beyond that, but began a conversation which is vital to the eventual passage of such measures. Advocates in the state should be constantly communicating with their lawmakers, urging them towards cannabis law reform.

  • Utah

A poll released this week found that a large majority in Utah support medical cannabis legalization; 61% to 28%.

  • Vermont

On June 6th Vermont’s governor signed a proposal decriminalizing cannabis possession – the law took effect on July 1st. Also in July, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors for qualifying patients.

  • Washington

The state’s Liquor Control Board continues to finalize regulations for the newly-legal recreational cannabis industry, with retail outlets to be licensedswlogo by the end of the year. In the meantime, the nonprofit organization Sensible Washington is working on legislation that they plan to have filed in the upcoming legislative session which would defelonize the possession of all drugs (when not intended for distribution), making the charges misdemeanors rather than felonies (in Washington State the possession of any amount of a controlled substance, or over 40 grams of cannabis a felony with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prisons). So far the effort has at least 4 legislative cosponsors.

  • West Virginia

House Bill 2961, sponsored by 10 state legislators, would allow qualifying patients in the state (as well as their caregiver) to purchase, grow and possess cannabis. The measure would allow patients to grow up to 12 plants, and would also legalize dispensaries. Although the proposal stalled in committee, advocates plan to continue building support for the proposal.

  • Wisconsin

Several lawmakers in Wisconsin are in the process of drafting legislation to legalize medical cannabis, which they plan to introduce in the upcoming session.

  • Wyoming

Earlier this month the newly-formed Wyoming NORML announced an initiative campaign to put a cannabis legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot. The group will need to collect roughly 37,000 signatures to do so.

As one can easily see, support for cannabis law reform is building at a tremendous, unprecedented pace, and change is occurring everywhere; an end to cannabis prohibition has never seemed more inevitable.

We look forward to updating you again in a few months. Expect more of the same; progress.


1 Comment

  • me
    August 29, 2013

    as a norml nebraska member I’m still gathering signatures for the 2014 ballot which are due by next july i was told…sure hope i’m right and maybe your just misinformed? :/

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