Sunday, April 10, 2005

Committee hears medical mj, stalls HB 254

I was out of town when HB 658, which would create an affirmative defense for medicinal marijuana use with a doctor's recommendation, was heard last Tuesday in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The hearing got decent media coverage.

(You can watch the hearing if you like. Go
here for the video, and under the Regular Session Broadcasts section click on the link dated 4-5-05 with the time running from 2:07 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Once the broadcast is up and playing, you can skip ahead 46 minutes to the beginning of the hearing for HB 658, which lasts about an hour.)

Committee chairman Terry Keel is a joint author of the bill, so they should get an opportunity to vote on it.

So far, the same can't be said for
HB 254 by Dutton, which would restructure sentences for low level marijuana possession to require stiff fines for possession. That bill has been hung up in the same committee for weeks now, which is never a good sign. They're approving new laws increasing prison sentences they can't pay for -- most recently, a bill Chairman Keel carried for the Motion Picture Assocication of America making it a felony to even turn on a camera phone in a movie theater. (More on that TK.) But legislation that would give needed relief to county jails and, ironically, probably boost enforcement, so far can't get an up or down vote. Frustrating.

1 comment:

Taylor said...

It is the same thing that happened in 2003. They just left the bill pending with no real intention of doing anything with it. Frustrating is an understatement.