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Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/6/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate April 6, 2018

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

    I first want to bring your attention to some key developments happening at the state level. A representative from the Lt. Governor’s Office shared that proponents of a 2018 medical marijuana ballot measure in Utah collected 117,000 validated signatures from registered voters — well over the 113,000 required to qualify for the ballot.

    Also at the state level, The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs plans to collect public comment on how marijuana is classified under state law and whether any changes should be made regarding its classification status. The Division will solicit comments during several different public events, or “informal conferences,” in Newark and Trenton this month. Written submissions will also be accepted.

    At a more local level, Albuquerque, New Mexico approved a measure decriminalizing marijuana; Portland, Oregon will use $300,000 in marijuana tax revenue to fund a public education program on safe driving; and voters in Naturita and Berthoud, Colorado will see ballot questions this November on whether or not to allow marijuana businesses to operate.

    Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act for legislation pending in your state.

    Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level.

    Your highness,
    Carly

    Priority Alerts

    Federal

    End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

    The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

    Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    Connecticut

    House Bill 5394 is pending to develop a plan to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana in the state and to provide for substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs and measures.

    Update: HB 5394 was approved by the Joint Appropriations Committee by a 27-24 vote on 4/5. This marks the first time any committee in the state has ever approved an adult use legalization measure.

    CT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    Missouri

    House Bill 1488 seeks to establish provisions regarding the legalization of marijuana as well as establish certain licensing requirements.

    Update: HB 1488 will be heard by the House General Law Committee on 4/10 at 5 PM or upon adjournment (whichever is later) in House Hearing Room 5.

    MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of legalization

    New Hampshire

    Senate Bill 388 is pending, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program. It already passed the full Senate last month.

    The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis.

    Update: The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on SB 388 on 4/11 at 11am in LOB room 206.

    NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical expansion

    Tennessee

    SB 1710 and HB 1749 would permit qualified patients to possess marijuana-infused oil products, as well as other non-herbal forms of cannabis, from state-licensed dispensaries. Both patients and physicians would be required to participate in a state registry.

    Update: Senator Steve Dickerson, sponsor of SB 1710, killed the bill for this year due to the lack of support from the legislature, but HB 1749 is still scheduled to be heard by the House Health Committee on 4/10.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana extracts

    California

    Expungement
    Assembly Bill 1793 is pending, “to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.

    Update: The Assembly’s Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on AB 1793 on 4/17 at 9am.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expunging past convictions

    Employment Protections
    AB 2069, to strengthen employment rights for medical cannabis patients. The bill would explicitly bar employers from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to testing positive for medical marijuana use on a workplace drug test.

    Update: The Assembly’s Labor And Employment Committee will hold a hearing on AB 2069 on 4/18 at 1:30pm.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of employment protections for patients

    Alaska

    Senate Bill 184 prohibits the release of past records for any marijuana offense that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. The bill’s intent is to reduce barriers to employment for people who have been convicted of low-level marijuana possession crimes that would be legal under today’s laws, and to make it more likely that people convicted of only low-level crimes will become contributing members of society.

    Update: SB 184 was approved by the Judiciary Committee and referred to the Finance Committee on 3/29.

    AK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of sealing past convictions

     

    Other Actions to Take

    Hawaii

    House Bill 2729 seeks to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii. Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status. The bill already passed the full House last month.

    Update: The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved HB 2729 with amendments on 4/6, and will now go before the full Senate.

    HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reciprocity

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, HB 3468, to create the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission, contingent upon the results of State Question 788, the statewide ballot measure that would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis. NORML endorses State Question 788.

    Should the voters decide in favor of SQ 788, the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission would serve to address any issues related to the medical marijuana program in Oklahoma and ensure the swift implementation of the provisions outlined in SQ 788.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission

    Georgia

    House Bill 65 seeks to expand Georgia’s limited medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.

    The measure would expand the pool of patients eligible to receive an authorization for CBD therapy to include those with post traumatic stress disorder and intractable pain. The bill also creates a study commission to review and make policy recommendations with regard to whether the state should provide in-state production and distribution of CBD products. Lawmakers failed to take action this session on separate legislation which sought to establish rules regulating CBD production and dispensing.

    Update: HB 65 was approved by the House and Senate, and now awaits action from Gov. Nathan Deal.

    GA resident? Click here to email Governor Deal in support of medical CBD expansion

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 282, to allow for the possession and retail sale of cannabidiol (CBD) products containing zero percent THC. Under this proposed legislation, Kansas citizens would not need to be a part of a patient registry or be diagnosed with a certain qualifying condition in order to legally possess or purchase CBD products. The bill was already passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this year, and the full House last week, with amendments.

    Update: The Senate did not agree with the House’s proposed changes, so a conference committee of three members from each house were appointed to work out a version of the bill that will be satisfactory to both houses. The report from the Conference Committee is now available, and will require approval from both chambers.

    KS resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD sales

    California

    Senate Bill 930 seeks to assist financial institutions safely conduct transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    SB 930 would allow financial institutions to work with licensed cannabis businesses to issue certified checks and conduct payroll for certified California employees, pay their state and local taxes and fees while lessening the burden on local government to collect and manage large sums of cash, pay their rent, and invest in California’s economy

    Update: SB 930 will be heard by the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on 4/18 at 1:30pm in Room 112.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of banking access

    Maryland

    House Bill 698 seeks to expand the state’s nascent industrial hemp pilot program. The bill would “authorize and facilitate the research of industrial hemp and any aspect of growing, cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transporting, marketing, or selling industrial hemp for agricultural, industrial, or commercial purposes.” It already passed the full House last month.

    Update: HB 698 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/4, and will now go to Governor Larry Hogan for his signature or veto.

    MD resident? Click here to email Governor Hogan in support of an industrial hemp pilot program

    Missouri

    Senate Bill 547 and House Bill 2034 seek to modify provisions relating to industrial hemp.

    If passed, the bills would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue a registration or permit to growers and handlers of agricultural and industrial hemp. It would also create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp. Both bills have already passed their respective chambers.

    Update: A hearing is scheduled for SB 547 in the House Agriculture Policy Committee on 4/10 at 12PM or upon conclusion of morning session-whichever is later in HR 1. HB 2034 is still pending in committee in the Senate.

    MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp modifications

    Iowa

    Senate File 2398 seeks to establish The Iowa Industrial Hemp Act. The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture to establish a research pilot program that engages in the licensed cultivation, production, and marketing of industrial hemp.

    Update: SF 2398 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/4, and now awaits action in the House.

    IA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp research

    That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

    22 responses to “Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/6/18”

    1. Julian says:

      For example, cannabis had an enormous amount to do with our shared American identity regardless of color or nation of origin. Going further back in time, Sativas were cultivated by white Scythians, early Chinese civilization while brown skinned Indians were growing indicas (in India, not to be confused with American Indians who presumably had later access to cannabis, though there is some debate on when).

      By complaining about “white tourist traps” and the “cheapening” of indigenous spirituality, we not only subject indigenous people of color to the retraumatization of stolen spirituality and symbolism, we subject victims of “white privilege identity” to further abandon their own medicinal heritage. By focusing on reperations on people of color, a much needed subject in marijuana policy, we should also include helping our “white” brothers and sisters reconnect with our own native medicinal heritage, and our genealogical and cultural connection with all Americans of all races. Let’s value our mixed race medicinal history. Otherwise, we risk allowing “white privilege” to be the crutch of not only marijuana reform, but a barrier to our shared spiritual identities.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        I tend to agree, Julian.

        White ain’t a pure breed, it’s only a culture without roots in the natural world. We’re all mixed breeds, and so why fight it? Join the human family, Blancos! White ain’t nothing to take pride in. All our roots come from Africa.

        • Julian says:

          Dain, I love and take pride in all of my ancestors, regardless of their race, origins or spiritual identities.
          My comment was meant to illustrate how our shared global marijuana heritage can work to bond our differences and heal our cultural wounds across all races and nationalities.

    2. jeff newberry says:

      Please encourage reform in Ohio!!!

    3. Evening Bud says:

      I just heard the great news: pot is now decriminalized in Albuquerque!!

      And for those of you keeping score–the Albq city council voted last year to decriminalize, but the GOP mayor vetoed it. Now, we have a Democrat as Mayor, Tim Keller, and he DID THE RIGHT THING.

      I’ll take any comments from the “both parties are the same” crowd.

      Anyway, hell yes!!

      • Julian says:

        Congratulations Bud! That’s awesome news! Might have to detour my summer Road Trip… Like I said before, it should be a crime NOT to get stoned in New Mexico! 🙂

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