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State By State Legislative Overview


The Senate Democrats' crime bill, S.9, "The Safe Schools, Safe Streets, and Secure Borders Act of 1999" contains a study on certain effects of the California and Arizona initiatives concerning the medicinal use of marijuana and other controlled substances. Specifically, this legislation would look at:

1. Marijuana usage in Arizona and California
2. Usage of other controlled substances in Arizona and California
3. Perceptions of youth of the dangerousness of marijuana and other controlled substances in Arizona and California
4. Emergency room admissions for drug abuse in Arizona and California
5. Seizures of controlled substances in Arizona and California
6. Arrest rates for use of controlled substances in Arizona and California
7. Arrest rates for trafficking of controlled substances in Arizona and California
8. Conviction rates in cases concerning use of controlled substances in Arizona and California
9. Conviction rates in jury trials concerning use of controlled substances in Arizona and California.

Contact Info:
California NORML
2215-R Market St. #278
San Francisco 94114


Senator Dorothy Rupert (D-Boulder) has introduced a prison moratorium bill (S.B.99-95) which would suspend prison expansion in Colorado for three years and establish a legislative task force to evaluate current sentencing policies, particularly their impact on people of color, people with mental illness, women, youth, and families. The task force would also research alternatives to incarceration, reintegration programs for people released from prison, and the current availability (or lack thereof) of affordable drug and alcohol treatment in Colorado communities.

Contact Info:
Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
P.O. Box 729
Nederland, CO 80466
(303) 448-5640


At a conference in Orlando, Governor Jeb Bush asked 300 top state, local and federal police and prosecutors to help launch a campaign to:

1. Reinstate minimum mandatory prison sentences for people who sell drugs.
2. Use the Florida National Guard to help federal authorities stem the flow of illegal drugs at ports.
3. Change laws and court procedures to give prosecutors the upper hand against people arrested on drug charges.
4. Double the number of prosecutors assigned to drug cases.

Contact Info:
Florida NORML
19 SE 12th Ave. Apt #3
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 522-1812


The state Senate unanimously passed a bill yesterday to provide additional prosecutors across the state to go after drug peddlers.

Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor proposed the bill last fall during an election campaign in which he also admitted he had used cocaine in his 20s. He was never charged and has since apologized. Hiring, equipping and training one additional prosecutor for each of the 47 judicial circuits in Georgia would cost an estimated $3.6 million the first year.

Contact Info:
Georgia NORML
16 Beech St.
Rome, GA 30161-4910


Governor Benjamin Cayetano believes hemp production would be a boon to the economy, and has introduced HB 32. The bill would take the first step of instructing the University of Hawaii, Hilo to, "Study the feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production in Hawaii."

Contact Info:
Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
P.O. Box 61233
Honolulu, Hawaii 96839
(808) 988-4386


S.B.1216 is before the Idaho legislature establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for meth offenses. "Any person convicted of trafficking in methamphetamine and/or amphetamine by manufacturing shall be sentenced to a mandatory fixed term of imprisonment of five (5) years and not to exceed life imprisonment and fined not less than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). The maximum number of years of imprisonment for trafficking in methamphetamine and/or amphetamine by manufacturing shall be life, and the maximum fine shall be one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)."


Gov. Tom Vilsack has proposed life imprisonment for anyone who manufactures and/or distributes methamphetamine to minors.


Lawmakers introduced hemp bills in both chambers of the legislature. State senate majority leader Roger Moe (DFL-Erskine), is the author of SF0122, which if enacted, would, "Classify hemp as an agricultural crop subject to regulation and registration by the [MN] commissioner of agriculture." On the house side, Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) is the chief sponsor of HF0064, which is a companion to the Senate bill. New governor Jesse Ventura is an outspoken supporter of industrial hemp.

Contact Info:
Drug Policy Reform Group
15 Crocus Hill
St. Paul, MN 55102


A bill to reform Montana asset forfeiture policies, HB 595, has been introduced and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The bill would:

1) Require a criminal conviction before property could be forfeited;
2) Protect the interests of innocent owners and those with security interests in the property;
3) Allow those whose property is wrongfully seized to sue the individual officers who seized the property.

Contact Info:
F.E.A.R. Foundation
P.O. Box 15421
Washington, D.C. 20003

New York

Gov. George Pataki has asked the state Legislature to effectively end parole in New York. The Pataki plan was unveiled as the Republican governor delivered his fifth State of the State address. Under Pataki's plan, parole would be phased out by requiring that all new violent or non-violent felony convictions carry definite sentences­­such as 8 years instead of five-to-10 years ­­with no chance of parole.

Contact Info:
ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy
205 Onondaga Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13207


Assembly Bill 196, which has been referred to the Judiciary and Ways and Means committees, would set the state's tolerance for driving while using any illegal drug at zero. It states that a driver could be charged with DUI if there is "a detectable amount" of any illegal drug in his system. In addition, it would mandate prison for any DUI involving substantial bodily harm or death.

Contact Info:
Las Vegas NORML
PO Box 70314
Las Vegas, Nevada 89170
(702) 392-1098

North Dakota

House Bill 1265 would eliminate hemp from the list of "prohibited noxious weed seeds" in the North Dakota Century Code. The elimination could be a step toward the legalization of hemp crops in North Dakota, something some legislators would like to see. Rep. Dave Monson, R-Osnabrock, introduced the bill. He will also introduce legislation that would classify hemp as a crop.


Virginia legislators have proposed the following bills:

HB1699, 1808 & SB880 Life sentence for juveniles involved in drug sales.
HB 1796 &1819 Increases marijuana felonies by adding weight of seeds and stems.
HB1517 Creates additional penalty for drug sales within 100 yards of a bus stop.
HB1548 Adds drug sales to inmates to offences leading to asset forfeiture.
HB 1718 Creates additional penalty for drug sales within 1000' of preschool.
HB 1896 Increases penalties for "imitation controlled substances" like oregano.
HB2144 & SB1135 More zero tolerance in schools.
HB1524 Creates an exception to "smoke-a-joint-lose-your-license".
HB1486 Prohibits strip searches of students.
HJ 94 Industrial hemp study.
SB997 Criminalizes kaht as a schedule one drug.
SB1313 No driver's license for minors caught with tobacco.

Contact Info:
Virginians Against Drug Violence
Rt. 3 Box 692
Crewe, Virginia 23930
(804) 645-7838


Rep. Ida Ballasiotes, R-Mercer Island, hopes to save money and free up prison beds by altering drug laws. A bill she introduced would reduce sentences for drug offenses not involving weapons or sexual violence.

Joseph Lehman, director of the Department of Corrections, said in The Seattle Times that the heavy punishments the state has set up in the past decade have helped deter and imprison violent criminals. But he isn't so sure the prisons should be filling up with drug users.

Contact Info:
The November Coalition
795 South Cedar
Colville, WA 99117
(509) 684-1550


A Wisconsin legislator wants to legalize industrial hemp - a virtually non-potent form of marijuana - to provide another cash crop for beleaguered farmers.

State Rep. Eugene Hahn (R-Cambria) said Monday that he's drafting a bill to legalize industrial hemp to help Wisconsin farmers facing bankruptcy from plummeting pork prices. Industrial hemp was grown in Wisconsin and other states during World War II to assist in the war effort.

Contact Info:
Wisconsin NORML
P.O. Box 22081
Green Bay, WI 54305 

(This is a sampling of proposed state legislation, and is not comprehensive.) 

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