Weekly Legislative Roundup 6/22/18

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator June 22, 2018

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

    At the federal level, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill to protect state-lawful marijuana consumers from housing discrimination. And the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment that would have protected banks that serve marijuana businesses from being punished.

    The STATES Act, which was recently introduced by U.S. Senators Warren (D-MA) and Gardner (R-CO) is expected to face some tough hurdles in Congress, as Republican chairs of key committees in the House and Senate have no plans to schedule the bill for a hearing. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, currently does not intend to consider the bill in committee, and neither does Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

    At the state level, the Republican Party of Texas approved a new platform endorsing marijuana decriminalization, expanding medical cannabis access, industrial hemp and rescheduling. And New Jersey reduced patient fees, added new qualifying conditions, and made other changes to the state’s medical marijuana program that would expand access for patients.

    Next Tuesday, June 26, voters in Oklahoma will have the chance to vote to provide medical marijuana access to patients with State Question 788, which will be on the June 26 ballot. Under this measure, physicians — not lawmakers — will have the final say on making health care decisions involving the use of medical marijuana.

    At a more local level, New York City police will no longer arrest people for smoking marijuana in public, with some exceptions, as of September 1. Brooklyn’s district attorney spoke out in support and announced he will be expunging prior cannabis convictions. Manhattan’s district attorney is also supportive of this. Also, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania approved a marijuana decriminalization measure.

    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,

    Priority Alerts


    Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have introduced bipartisan legislation, The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, to remove the threat of federal intervention and prosecution in states that regulate marijuana use and sales. A bipartisan House companion bill has been introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

    This marks the first bicameral, bipartisan legislation to end the federal enforcement of prohibition in states that have reformed their marijuana laws.

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

    Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

    Senate Bill 20-62, to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services. The bill was already approved by the Senate last month.

    Update: The House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee reconsidered SB 20-62 on 6/21 after it was supposed to get a full House vote, but was instead referred back to committee. The committee made several revisions to the bill that are expected to clear the path to passage.

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

    New York

    Legislation is pending in both chambers to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.

    Update: A separate version of similar legislation, S. 8987A, has been approved unanimously by the Senate. The bill awaits action from the Assembly. Also, The New York State Health Department publicly announced on June 18 that the agency would be updating its rules to permit patients to be eligible for medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids, making the bills somewhat moot.


    Assembly Bill 1793 seeks “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. The bill was already approved by the Assembly last month.

    Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Public Safety Committee on 6/26 at 8:30am in Room 3191.

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

    Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

    Update: The Assembly Committee on Business and Professions approved SB 829 by a 13-1 vote on 6/19 after holding a hearing. The bill now awaits action from the Committee on Revenue and Taxation, where it will be heard on 6/25.

    CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of tax-exempt compassionate care programs

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

    Update: The Assembly’s Banking Committee approved SB 930 by a 10-0 vote on 6/18. The bill now goes to the Business and Professions Committee, where it will be heard on 6/26 at 9am.

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

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

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