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Legislative Update

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate February 20, 2019

    In New Jersey, there has been a great deal of progress in the last few years. Several bills have been introduced in the state legislature, ranging from legalization to expungement, and the fight for freedom has never been more widely supported than now. New Jersey residents overwhelmingly support marijuana legalization; in a recent poll conducted by Monmouth University,  62 percent of New Jerseyans support legalizing the responsible adult-use of marijuana, and several members of the New Jersey State Legislature are finally listening to the will of the people and pushing for meaningful marijuana reform. However, marijuana reform has stalled in the past few months. It is urgent that these measures get to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible.

    Send a general letter in support of sensible marijuana reform in New Jersey NOW.

    There are three major reform bills in the New Jersey State Legislature during the current legislative session.

    • S. 2318 would allow for expedited expungement of records for those previously convicted of a marijuana crime upon passage of decriminalization or legalization measures in the state of New Jersey, as long as those past violations are no longer considered a crime under state law. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/22/2018 and is still stuck in committee. The passage of this bill is incredibly important; legalization alone does not provide a clear roadmap for expungement and the millions of people whose lives have been altered by prior marijuana-related convictions may still be left with the stain of those convictions even after legalization is a reality in New Jersey. For more information on this bill (and similar measure S. 3205) and to send a message to your state lawmaker in urgent support of this legislation, click here.
    • Companion bills S. 2703 and A. 4497 would legalize marijuana for personal adult-use in the state of New Jersey and provides expungement relief for people with certain past marijuana offenses. The bill was voted out of committee on 11/26/2018 and is now on its second floor reading and waiting for a scheduled vote. For more information on this bill and to send a message to your state Senator or state lawmaker in support of this legislation, click here.
    • Companion bills S. 10 and A. 10 would expand patients’ access to medical cannabis through several means. It would allow doctors the discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient they believe with benefit, phases out sales taxes on medical cannabis, and establishes additional legal protections for patients and caregivers. It also allows for additional growers and providers and expands on the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. S. 10 is in the amending stage as of 1/31/2019, and A. 10 most recently passed the Assembly Floor on 1/31/2019. For more information on this bill and to send a message to your state Senator or state lawmaker in support of this legislation, click here.

    Send a general letter in support of sensible marijuana reform in New Jersey NOW.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 15, 2019

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

    This was a big week for marijuana in Congress. The House Financial Services subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing Wednesday to address the lack of access to basic banking services by state-legal marijuana businesses.

    Also this week Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.

    At the state level, John Fetterman, Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania began his listening tour in central Pennsylvania to get feedback from the public on marijuana legalization. You can submit your own feedback here.

    The Arkansas House Rules Committee killed a bill that would have expanded the list of qualifying medical conditions eligible for medical cannabis. On the same day, the Department of Health, Surgeon General, and Drug Director issued a public health advisory regarding “the risks of harm associated with use of products derived from Cannabis, including marijuana and hemp, that claim to benefit health.”

    At a more local level, the decriminalization policy in Dayton, Ohio went into effect this week. And Denver, Colorado’s mayor and district attorney launched a new program seeking to help those convicted of certain marijuana offenses expunge their records.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

    Click here to email your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    Colorado

    Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.

    Update: SB 19-013 was approved by the full Senate on 2/14, and now awaits action from the House Health & Insurance Committee.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis as an alternative to opioids

    Florida

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 372, Senate Bill 182, and House Bill 7015, and another House version PCB HHS 19-01, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.

    Update: The House Health and Human Services Committee approved PCB HHS 19-01 which would allow smoking in the form of pre-rolled, filtered medical cannabis cigarettes. The provision to require patients to get approval from a review panel before being permitted to smoke was removed. The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee.

    Update #2: The Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee approved S182, removing the provision to require patients to get approval from two doctors before being permitted to smoke. The bill is on the agenda for hearings (if the bill is received) in the Rules Committee for 2/20/19, 4:00 pm, 110 Senate Building, and then the Appropriations Committee for 2/21/19, 10:00 am, 412 Knott Building

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing patients to smoke medical cannabis

    Georgia

    House Bill 324 seeks to expand and facilitate patients’ access to medical cannabidiol (CBD) products.

    The bill would establish a regulatory framework to permit the retail sale of medical CBD products to registered patients.

    GA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical CBD access

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 131 / Senate Bill 1335, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: The House Committee on Judiciary approved HB 131 with amendments. Meanwhile, The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment killed SB 1335.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The proposed changes:

    • Expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients;
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to possess up to two additional manufacturing or processing facilities separate from their production facilities; and
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis and cannabidiol products

    Update: The House Committee on Judiciary approved HB 673 on 2/15 after holding a hearing on the bill earlier in the week.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Idaho

    House Bill 140, which seeks to reduce marijuana possession penalties penalties for first time offenders.

    If passed, the bill would reduce the penalty for first time offenders convicted of possessing one half ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine, to an infraction, punishable by a mandatory drug abuse education course, a $250 fine, and/or community service.

    ID resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions

    Maine

    Legislation is pending, LD 846 / HP 620, to mandate that state agencies review and expunge prior marijuana convictions.

    Under the plan, those convicted of marijuana-related activities that are no longer defined as criminal will have their records automatically sealed and no longer disseminated.

    ME resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending to expand access to medical cannabis in the state.

    HF 766 would:

    • Authorize each dispensary to open four additional locations in specified areas throughout the state
    • Allow specific formulations of medical cannabis to be administered to qualified patients on school grounds

    MN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Missouri

    House Bill 341 would allow registered medical marijuana patients to have their records expunged if they were convicted of a possession offense that occurred prior to their participation in the state’s cannabis access program.

    Update: The Special Committee on Criminal Justice approved HB 341 on 2/14. The bill now goes to the Rules Committee.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Montana

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 176, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    MT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    New Hampshire

    House Bill 335 would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to authorize additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state. Under existing law, only a handful of licensed dispensaries are permitted in the state. This means that some patients must travel long distances and pay exorbitant prices to obtain their medicine.

    Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee approved HB 335 on 2/12

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of additional dispensary locations

    HB 350 would expand the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

    Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee approved HB 350 on 2/12

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis expansion

    House Bill 481 would allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.

    Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety is scheduled to hold an executive session on HB 481 on 2/21 at 11:00am in LOB 204.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

    Update: HB 356 was approved by the Health & Human Services Committee on 2/11.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 204, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    The measure permits children with serious conditions for which medical marijuana has been recommended to have their medicine administered to them while on school property.

    Update: SB 204 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/14 after holding a hearing on the bill the day before.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis in schools

    Senate Bill 477 states that an individual’s status as a medical cannabis patient “shall not in itself constitute grounds for intervention, removal or placement into state custody of a child in that individual’s care.”

    Update: SB 477 was heard by the Senate Public Affairs Committee on 2/15.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of parental protections

    North Carolina

    Legislation is pending, S. 58, to expand upon the state’s decriminalization law and also to provide for the expungement of certain prior cannabis convictions.

    Under current law, the possession of 1.5 ounces of cannabis is classified as a misdemeanor. This proposal raises that threshold to three ounces.

    The bill would also allow those with past marijuana possession convictions to petition the court to expunge their record.

    NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded amounts

    North Dakota

    House Bill 1417 seeks to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in North Dakota.

    The original proposed changes:

    • Expands the pool of eligible patients by permitting providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with neuropathy; opioid use disorder; opioid withdrawal; migraine; rheumatoid arthritis; and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome;
    • Allows physicians to explicitly authorize select patients to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.

    Update: HB 1417 was amended by the Human Services Committee, removing the provision adding new qualifying conditions, and only allowing doctors to authorize those with cancer to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis.

    Separately, House Bill 1519 would permit providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with 13 additional conditions, including anorexia nervosa, anxiety, opioid use disorder or withdrawal, and autism.

    Update: The Human Services Committee approved HB 1519 on 2/14.

    ND resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis expansion

    South Dakota

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1191, to establish an industrial hemp pilot program that will operate in compliance with newly enacted federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 1191 was approved by the full House on 2/11. The bill now awaits action from the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

    SD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 357 / HB 844, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 357 was placed on Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee calendar for 2/20/2019

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    Washington

    Legislation is pending, SB 5605 / HB 1500, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of vacating records

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 5276 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2/18 at 3:30 PM

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

    That’s all for this week!

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 8, 2019

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

    This week, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden introduced legislation in the Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

    A subcommittee of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on cannabis business banking issues next week.

    At the state level, activists in Texas, Maryland, and Kentucky gathered in their state capitols alongside state and local NORML chapters to lobby for sensible marijuana policy reform legislation.

    Activists in Mississippi have already collected thousands of signatures in hopes of qualifying a medical cannabis ballot initiative for the 2020 ballot.

    A Georgia bill to reduce marijuana possession penalties was defeated in a senate committee this week. So was a Mississippi medical cannabis proposal.

    At a more local level, efforts are underway in Ann Arbor, Michigan to put a cannabis social use question before voters on the 2020 ballot. Clark County, Nevada officials deferred consideration of a proposal to allow social cannabis lounges in the county.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

    Click here to email your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    Arizona

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2362, to allow those with certain past cannabis-related arrests or convictions to petition the court to have their records expunged.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2400, to provide courts the discretion to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of certain crimes.

    Under existing state law, marijuana possession (of two pounds or less) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of four months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of removing mandatory minimum sentences

    Colorado

    Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.

    Update: The Senate Health & Human Services committee recommended the bill be passed with amendments on 2/6. The bill will now go to the Senate floor for consideration by the full chamber.

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: The bill was approved unanimously by the full House, and will now be transmitted to the Senate.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

     

    Connecticut

    Legislation is pending, Proposed Bill 350, to limit patients who use medical cannabis in compliance with state law from seeking civil actions if they are discriminated against by their employer. NORML opposes this legislation.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in opposition to restricting patients’ employment rights

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 5442, to expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with generalized chronic pain.

    Update: HB 5442 is scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Committee on Public Health on 2/11.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid withdrawal.

    Update: SB 45 was heard by the Joint Committee on Public Health on 2/4, but no action was taken on the bill.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis as a substitute for opioids

    Florida

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 182, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.

    Update: SB 182 was approved by the Health Policy Committee on 2/6 with some more restrictive amendments, of which include requiring patients to get a second opinion from an unrelated physician in order to be authorized to smoke medical cannabis. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on 2/12/19 at 4:00 pm, 110 Senate Building.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers and urge them to pass a bill without arbitrary restrictions

    Democratic State Senator Bill Montford re-introduced Senate Bill 384, which would allow qualified patients to be administered medical marijuana in schools.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access in school

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 708 / Senate Bill 686, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

    Update: SB 686 was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee on 2/7.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The proposed changes:

    • Expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients;
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to possess up to two additional manufacturing or processing facilities separate from their production facilities; and
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis and cannabidiol products

    Update: HB 673 was approved by the Committees on Health on 2/8, and now awaits action from the Judiciary Committee.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1524, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.

    The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: The Committee on Labor, Culture, and Arts approved SB 1524 on 2/6

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, SF 104 / HF 221, to expand Iowa’s narrow medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.

    If passed, this bill would establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program that provides qualified patients access to physician-authorized medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical access

    Indiana

    Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    House Bill 1540 would impose a class C infraction for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, which translates to a civil penalty punishable by a fine between $100 and $200.

    Separately, House Bill 1283 would impose a class D infraction for the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana, which translates to a civil penalty punishable by a fine of up to $25.

    A third measure, House Bill 1658, would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.

    IN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Kentucky

    State Sen. Jimmy Higdon introduced Senate Bill 82 / House Bill 265, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The measure would impose a civil penalty for any “personal use quantity”of cannabis, punishable by a $100 fine.

    KY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Maryland

    Legislation is pending to legalize and regulate adult marijuana use in Maryland.

    House Bill 656 would permit adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four marijuana plants in their home.

    House Bill 632 would amend the state’s constitution by putting a question before voters on the 2020 ballot regarding whether or not the state should regulate marijuana sales. If approved by voters, adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 862, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients and their caregivers from housing discrimination.

    The measure would prohibit landlords from arbitrarily refusing to provide housing access to an individual based solely on their possession or consumption of medical cannabis.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 864, to protect registered medical cannabis patients and their caregivers from employment discrimination.

    If passed, this measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against qualifying patients who legally consume cannabis off-the-job.

    MD resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants. The bill would also establish a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the regulated market.

    Update: The bill is scheduled for a full Committee Work Session on 2/12/2019 at 10:00am in LOB 204

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.

    The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of automatic expungement

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2687, to protect medical cannabis patients who require organ transplants from being deprived treatment solely due to their status as a medical cannabis patient.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of protections for patients needing organ transplants

    Rhode Island

    Legislation is pending, H. 5290, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.

    The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would decriminalize criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SB 486/HB 637, to provide qualifying patients access to medical cannabis via licensed retailers.

    The measure would allow registered patients to use, possess, and consume medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    Legislation is pending, HB 883/SB 686, to allow individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses, upon the completion of their sentence, to petition the court to have their records sealed.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of record sealing

    Virginia

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.

    The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil. The bill was already approved by the Senate.

    Update: SB 1557 was approved by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions on 2/7.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1719, to allow “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities and those who rely on home healthcare providers. The bill was already approved by the Senate.

    Update: SB 1719 was approved by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions on 2/7.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing registered agents

    Wyoming

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 278, to regulate medical marijuana access to qualified patients.

    The measure would allow state-registered patients who possess a recommendation from their physician to use, possess, and access medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    WY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    That’s all for this week!

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator February 1, 2019

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

    At the state level, activists in Florida and Missouri gathered in their state capitals along side state and local NORML chapters to lobby state lawmakers in favor of sensible marijuana policy reform.

    John Fetterman, Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, is beginning a state-wide listening tour to find out where PA residents stand on cannabis legalization.

    Several mayors across the state of New Jersey are calling for automatic expungement provisions to be included in the state’s marijuana regulation bill, and are threatening to ban retail sales in their jurisdictions if state lawmakers pass legislation without it.

    At a more local level, officials will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses in Baltimore, Maryland, as a new policy was implemented by the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

    Manor Township, Pennsylvania is considering a proposal that would decriminalize cannabis possession. And officials in San Francisco, California are considering a proposal to allow marijuana to be socially consumed and sold at temporary events.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

    Click here to email your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    Arizona

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 2555, to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession.

    The measure would impose a civil penalty of $100 for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    California

    Legislation is pending, AB 286, to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of temporary lower taxes

    Legislation has been reintroduced from last year, Senate Bill 34, which 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. Last session, the measure was vetoed by Governor Brown.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of protecting compassionate care programs

    Legislation has been re-introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

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

    Colorado

    Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: SB 19-013 was heard by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on 1/31, but no action was taken yet. Separately, HB 19-1028 is awaiting final consideration from the full House.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of adding autism and opioid use to the list qualifying medical conditions

    Connecticut

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 6849, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The measure would permit medical cannabis patients to grow up to six cannabis plants.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 5442, to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in Connecticut.

    The measure would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with generalized chronic pain.

    CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of adding chronic pain to the qualifying medical conditions list

    Florida

    Legislation has been filed, Senate Bill 372, and Senate Bill 182, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.

    Update: S. 182 is scheduled for a hearing in the Health Policy Committee on 2/4/19 at 1:30 pm, 412 Knott Building

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of your right to inhale herbal medical cannabis

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 557, to allow access for out of state medical marijuana card holders to access their physician recommended medication in Florida.

    The bill would establish what’s known as reciprocity, allowing medical marijuana card holders visiting from outside of the state to purchase medical marijuana while visiting Florida.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of reciprocity

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 708 / Senate Bill 686, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

    The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants in their own home.

    Update: SB 686 was heard by the Committee on Judiciary on 1/31. The committee will vote on the bill on 2/7.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, SF 77, to expand access to certain medical cannabis products in Iowa.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allow physicians to recommend low-THC medical cannabis oil to any patient whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use; and
    • Raises the cap on THC limits from three percent to 13 percent.

    Update: On 1/31, subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary committee recommended that the measure be passed.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Legislation is pending, HF 93, which seeks to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

    The measure would impose a civil penalty of $25 for for the possession of up to 42.5 grams of marijuana.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Legislation is pending, SF 104, to expand Iowa’s narrow medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.

    If passed, this bill would establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program that provides qualified patients access to physician-authorized medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Missouri

    House Bill 341 would allow registered medical marijuana patients to have their records expunged if they were convicted of a possession offense that occurred prior to their participation in the state’s cannabis access program.

    Update: HB 341 was heard by the Special Committee on Criminal Justice on 1/31, but no further action was taken on the bill yet.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Mississippi

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1371, to allow qualified patients to use and possess medical marijuana when authorized by a physician.

    If passed, this bill would provide registered patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    A separate measure, Senate Bill 2643, would establish a defense against criminal prosecution for individuals who can provide evidence confirming their therapeutic need for medical cannabis.

    MS resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, to permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.

    If passed, HB 399 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana. Lawmakers decriminalized minor marijuana possession offenses in 2017.

    Update: On 1/31, HB 399 was approved by the House of Representatives on a voice vote. The bill will now be transmitted to the Senate.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.

    Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is holding a public hearing on HB 481 on 2/05/19 at 1:00pm, Reps Hall.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 335, to expand access to medical cannabis in New Hampshire.

    The measure would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to authorize additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state. Under existing law, only a handful of licensed dispensaries are permitted in the state. This means that some patients must travel long distances and pay exorbitant prices to obtain their medicine.

    Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs is holding a work session on HB 335 at 10:00am on 2/7/19, Legislative Office Building 212

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

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 204, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    Update: On 1/30, the Senate Public Affairs Committee recommended that the bill be passed.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis to be administered at school

    Legislation is pending to amend marijuana possession penalties.

    Senate Bill 323 removes the threat of jail time as a penalty for first time offenders convicted of possessing up to one half an ounces of marijuana.

    Senate Bill 408 reduces the penalty for the possession of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor, but does not remove the threat of jail time.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of possession penalty reductions

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 406, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allows medical practitioners to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient for whom they believe will benefit from cannabis therapy;
    • Allows primary caregivers to obtain a license to grow medical cannabis;
    • Removes medical cannabis use as a violation of probation or parole;
    • Protects patients who require organ transplants

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Oregon

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 639, to allow the social consumption of cannabis by adults in licensed and regulated establishments.

    The bill allows the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to issue licenses for permanent cannabis consumption venues as well as cannabis events.

    OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of social consumption sites

    Rhode Island

    Legislation is pending, S. 161, to expand access to medical cannabis in Rhode Island

    The measure would authorize three additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state, for a total of six. Under existing law, only three licensed dispensaries are permitted in the state. This means that some patients must travel long distances and pay exorbitant prices to obtain their medicine.

    RI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Tennessee

    Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.

    The measure would decriminalize criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

    TN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

    Virginia

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1719, to expand access to medical cannabis for certain patients.

    The measure would allow “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities and those who rely on home healthcare providers.

    Update: SB 1719 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senator Glen Sturtevant has filed SB 1632 and Delegate Chris Hurst filed HB 1720, which seek to permit any student who is a registered Virginia medical cannabis patient to use Virginia-allowed medical cannabis oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity.

    Update: SB 1632 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis for patients at school

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.

    The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil.

    Update: SB 1557 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Vermont

    Legislation is pending, S. 54 to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

    Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on S. 54 on 1/31, and will consider the bill again on 2/6.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulating cannabis sales

    Washington

    Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, to allow adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.

    Update: On 1/31, SB 5155 was heard by the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce, but no further action was taken on the bill yet.

    WA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of home cultivation rights

    Wyoming

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 234, to reduce certain marijuana possession penalties.

    The measure would amend certain felony possession offenses to criminal misdemeanors.

    WY resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of possession penalty reductions

    That’s all for this week!

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator January 25, 2019

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

    U.S. Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA) and Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced legislation this week, HR 712 / S. 179: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019 to facilitate federally-sponsored clinical research into the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis among veterans.

    At the state level this week, activists gathered in Denver in conjunction with Colorado and Denver NORML chapters to lobby their state lawmakers in favor of workplace drug testing reforms, social consumption, parental protections and expanding access to the state’s medical cannabis program.

    Opioid dependency was added to New Jersey’s list of conditions for medical cannabis eligibility.

    And a North Dakota bill to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes was defeated in a Senate committee this week.

    Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

    Your Highness,
    Carly

    Actions to Take

    Federal

    Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 — (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.

    Click here to email your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

    Arkansas

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1150, to expand the state’s nascent medical cannabis access law.

    The measure expands the pool of applicants eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with a wide array of conditions, including asthma, ADHD, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury, among other diagnoses.

    Update: HB 115 was heard by the House Rules Committee on 1/23, but no action was taken on the bill.

    AR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Florida

    Democratic State Senator Bill Montford re-introduced Senate Bill 384, which would allow qualified patients to use medical cannabis while in school.

    FL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis at school

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 708, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.

    The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants in their own home.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 673, to expand medical cannabis access.

    The proposed changes:

    • Expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients;
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to possess up to two additional manufacturing or processing facilities separate from their production facilities; and
    • Allows licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis and cannabidiol products

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    House Bill 698 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis for autism

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 131 / Senate Bill 1335, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    HI resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp

    Colorado

    House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    Update: The House Committee on Health & Insurance referred the bill unamended to the Committee of the Whole, meaning the bill will now be considered by the full House.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis for autism

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, Senate File 71, to allow medical cannabidiol (CBD) to be administered to patients at school.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical CBD at school

    Legislation is pending, SF 77, to expand access to certain medical cannabis products in Iowa.

    The proposed changes:

    • Allow physicians to recommend low-THC medical cannabis oil to any patient whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use; and
    • Raises the cap on THC limits from three percent to 13 percent.

    IA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Minnesota

    Legislation is pending, HF 265, to permit a public vote on the question of legalizing adult marijuana use.

    The measure proposes the following question on the 2020 ballot to voters:

    “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to allow a person who is 21 years of age or older to personally possess, use, and grow cannabis and to possess cannabis-infused products, and to require the legislature to prescribe by law a manner to license and regulate the commercial sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products?”

    MN resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of letting the voters weigh in on legalization

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 551, to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 261, to protect medical cannabis patients who require Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.

    Under this proposed measure, “applicants or recipients who test positive for marijuana consumed lawfully pursuant to the Missouri Constitution shall not be declared ineligible for TANF benefits on the basis of that consumption.”

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of protections for needy patients

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 567, to protect the rights of prospective parents looking to adopt children.

    The measure would prohibit the government from denying prospective parents the opportunity to adopt a child based solely on their status as a medical cannabis patient or as an employee in the medical cannabis industry.

    MO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of protecting prospective parents

    North Dakota

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1417, to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in North Dakota.

    The proposed changes:

    • Expands the pool of eligible patients by permitting providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with neuropathy; opioid use disorder; opioid withdrawal; migraine; rheumatoid arthritis; and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome;
    • Allows physicians to explicitly authorize select patients to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.

    Update: HB 1417 was heard by the Human Services Committee on 1/23, but no action was taken on the bill.

    ND resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Nebraska

    Legislation is pending, LB 657, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    NE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.

    The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.

    Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is holding a hearing on HB 481 on 2/5.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, to permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.

    If passed, HB 399 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana.

    Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved HB 399 by a 18-2 vote on 1/22.

    NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

    New Mexico

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

    NM resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

    Virginia

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.

    The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil.

    Update: SB 1557 was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Eduction Committee on 1/24, and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

    Senator Glen Sturtevant filed SB 1632 and Delegate Chris Hurst filed HB 1720, which seek to permit any student who is a registered Virginia medical cannabis patient to use Virginia-allowed medical cannabis oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity.

    Update: SB 1632 was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Eduction Committee on 1/24, and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

    VA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of allowing medical cannabis at school

    Washington

    Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131/SB 5155, to allow adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.

    Update: The House Committee on Commerce & Gaming heard HB 1131 on 1/21, but no action was taken on the bill. Separately, SB 5155 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce at 8:00 AM on 1/31.

    WA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of home cultivation rights

    That’s all for this week! Check back next Friday for more legislative updates.

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