East Coast Gets Serious About Marijuana

From the stage of the Boston Freedom Rally - Chris GoldsteinFrom the stage of the Boston Freedom Rally – Chris GoldsteinIn the eastern United States a dramatic change is stirring for cannabis laws. Medical marijuana, decriminalization and even fully taxed legalization are on the march forward from Maine to Florida. Backed by striking public support, new bills are being introduced and old ones are getting a second chance.

The surge in recent polling is important to note. Most polls show that 70% to 80% of voters (in all demographics) favor their local marijuana reform legislation.

To put this into perspective; the most popular individual politicians quickly open bottles of champagne when they break 45% in their approval ratings. Soon there may be a safer, greener choice than the old bubbly.

It is not just about the future; existing laws are being implemented in three states. Just this week Maine opened their first medical marijuana dispensary and Rhode Island announced three medical marijuana operators will get permits. Although legislators and advocates here in New Jersey are trying to fix some badly broken regulations, Garden State officials are set to announce the six Alternative Treatment Center sites on March 21st.

Here’s a rundown of cannabis reform on the East Coast. Most links go to NORML’s Take Action Center so if you are a resident of any of the states below take a moment to contact your elected officials.

Maine: Medical marijuana dispensary implementation, decriminalization bill LD754 & LD750

New Hampshire: Medical marijuana bill HB442 – Cleared committee on 3/10/2011

Vermont: Medical marijuana bill SB 17, decriminalization bill HB 427

Connecticut: Medical marijuana bill HB 6566, decriminalization bill SB953

Massachusetts: Medical marijuana bill HB 625, tax and regulate bill HB 1371

Rhode Island: Medical marijuana implementation, decriminalization HB 5031 tax and regulate bill HB 5591

New York: Medical marijuana bill S2774

New Jersey: Medical marijuana law implementation

Maryland: Medical marijuana bill HB 291, decriminalization bill HB 606

Delaware: Medical marijuana bill SB 17

Virginia: Decriminalization bill HB 1443 – stopped in committee 1/17/2011

West Virginia: Medical marijuana bill HB 3251

Florida: Medical marijuana resolution HJR 1407

North Carolina: Decriminalization bill HB 324 – (thanks to freedom readers for the NC update)

Keep up with the cannabis reform effort across the country in NORML Take Action Center.?

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. He volunteers with local groups to change prohibition laws including PhillyNORML and The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. He enjoys old-school hip-hop, vintage airplanes and changing the world. Contact chris at freedomisgreen.com

– Article from freedomisgreen.com.