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Legislative Update

  • 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!

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate March 30, 2018

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

    I first want to bring your attention to a key development at the federal level. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) intends to introduce a bill to legalize industrial hemp next month.

    At the state level, Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey made dramatic changes to the state’s regulatory program. Changes include: reduced cost of the medical marijuana registry for patients by 50%; reduced cost for veterans, seniors, and those on disability by 90%; expanded the qualifying conditions list to include Tourette syndrome, chronic pain, and other conditions; among others.

    Also at the state level, Regulators in Iowa awarded five businesses medical cannabis dispensary licenses, and activists in North Dakota are saying they’ve gathered over half the needed signatures to certify a marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

    At a more local level, New Orleans, Louisiana marijuana arrests have significantly dropped after the implementation of a measure that allows police to issue summonses for minor possession violations.

    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

    The Connecticut Legislature is considering several bills to to regulate and tax the retail sale of marijuana to adults. HB 5111 and HB 5112 are still pending in the Joint Committee on General Law, and HB 5458 died in a House committee last week.

    Update: The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on 3/28 on another proposal, HB 5394, 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.

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

    South Carolina

    Legislation is pending, H 3521 and S 212: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions. If passed, the bill would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    Update: The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved S 212 on 3/29 on an 8-6 vote, after it was approved by the subcommittee on a 3-2 vote last week. H3521 was tabled after the House Medical, Military, and Public and Municipal Affairs Committee held a hearing, but the Chairman didn’t put the bill on the agenda.

    SC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

    Tennessee

    Medical Extracts
    State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to establish a limited medical marijuana access program in Tennessee.
    The measure permits 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: HB 1749/SB 1710 was significantly amended at the request of the sponsor. As amended, the measure depenalizes the possession of CBD extracts by qualified patients, and also provides protections to those from out of state. It does not provide an in-state regulated supply system for CBD products. Members of the House Criminal Justice Committee approved the amended bill on 3/28.

    HB 1749 will be heard by the Health Committee on 4/3, and SB 1710 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee also on 4/3.

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

    Medical Cannabis
    Legislation is pending, HB 830 and SB 1119, to establish a medical marijuana access program.

    The bill would provide qualified patients with access to cannabis therapy through licensed dispensaries or pharmacies, under the supervision of a certified practitioner. The bill would also prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient.

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

    New Jersey

    Legislation is pending, S2426 and A3740, to further expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

    The measures provide doctors the discretion to recommend medical marijuana to any patient for whom they believe it will provide a benefit.

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

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, SB 388, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

    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. Currently there are only four licensed dispensaries operating across the state to serve an estimated 3,500 patients.

    Update: SB 388 passed the Senate on 3/22, and now awaits action in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.

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

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    California

    Legislation has been introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 930, to assist financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    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

    Hawaii

    Legislation is pending, HB 2729, to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii. It already passed the House earlier this month.

    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.

    Update: HB 2729 will be heard by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday 3/29 at 10:50am in Conference room 211.

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

    Oklahoma

    HB 2913 is pending: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. If passed, this bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes. It already passed the House unanimously earlier this month.

    Update: HB 2913 was approved by the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee on 3/27, and is now awaiting action from the Appropriations Committee.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of a hemp pilot program

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program. It was already approved by the Senate last month.

    Update: SB 263 was approved by the House on 3/28 by a 123-1 vote. It now awaits action from the Governor.

    KS resident? Click here to email your Governor in support of hemp research

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

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate March 23, 2018

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

    I first want to bring your attention to a key development at the federal level. As a part of the newly proposed appropriations package known as an omnibus bill, a spending restriction on the Department of Justice from prosecuting state-legal medical marijuana programs will remain in place through the end of September. Known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, it explicitly states that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    At the state level, lawmakers in Colorado created the first ever state level Cannabis Caucus to work on issues like social consumption, product testing, and the use of medical cannabis on public campuses. Governor Eric Holcomb (R) of Indiana signed legislation into law to permit CBD sales. And Ohio medical marijuana sales are expected to begin this fall, as regulators began accepting applications from doctors who want to become certified to issue recommendations.

    Also at the state level, legalization bills died in committees in Connecticut and New Hampshire, as did a Maryland bill to let the voters decide on legalization.

    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

    Maryland

    SB 127 would expand the state’s decriminalization law so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense. Under current law, the possession of more than ten grams of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    Update: SB 127 was approved by the Senate on 3/19 by a 36-11 vote. Amendments approved by the Senate includes a provision “prohibiting a driver of a motor vehicle from smoking or consuming marijuana in the passenger area of a motor vehicle on a highway; prohibiting an occupant of a motor vehicle from smoking marijuana in the passenger area of the motor vehicle on a highway.”

    SB 127 will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on 4/3 at 1pm.

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of an expanded decriminalization law

    Tennessee

    Medical Marijuana
    Senator Sara Kyle (D) and Representative Larry Miller have introduced legislation SB 2320 and HB 2391 seeking to place a ballot initiative before voters with regard to the legalization of medical marijuana.

    If passed, these bills would place the following advisory question on the November 2018 ballot: Should the Tennessee legislature approve the use of medical marijuana?

    Update: SB 2320 was put on the calendar for The Senate State & Local Government Committee for 3/27/18, and HB 2391 was put on the Local Government subcommittee calendar for 3/28/18.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters decide

    Medical Marijuana Extracts
    State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) have introduced legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to 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: HB 1749 is on the Criminal Justice Committee’s calendar for 3/28. The committee has amended the bill significantly to require patients seeking to use medical cannabis to obtain a prescription from a doctor. Because marijuana is categorized as a schedule I controlled substance, it remains unlikely that many physicians would ‘prescribe’ it, even if this legislation was signed into law. Therefore, the proposal’s language ought to be amended to read ‘recommend’ rather than prescribe.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of amending this bill

    Arizona

    Legislation is pending, HB 2064, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence. It already passed the House earlier this month.

    The bill was originally intended only to ban dispensaries from selling edibles in packaging that could be appealing to children, but an amendment to the bill would also add opioid use disorder to the list of medical conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana.

    Update: HB 2064 was approved by the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee on 3/13, and now awaits action from the Rules Committee.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of adding opioid abuse to the qualifying conditions list

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 282, to allow for the possession and retail sale of cannabidiol (CBD) products containing zero percent THC. It was already approved by the Senate unanimously last month.

    While such products are often used in other states for therapeutic purposes, 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.

    Update: SB 282 was approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee on 3/16.

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

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, HB 1477, to permit those convicted of past marijuana convictions to seek expungement. It was already approved by the House last month.

    If passed, HB 1477 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: HB 1477 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/27 at 9:45am in SH room 100.

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

    Alaska

    Senator Tom Begich has introduced legislation, SB 184, to seal the convictions of past marijuana possession offenders.

    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 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/28 at 1:30 pm in BELTZ 105 (TS Bldg).

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

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    Arizona

    Republican State Senator Sonny Borrelli has introduced Senate Bill 1420, which seeks to enhance quality testing practices for medical marijuana products. If passed, this bill would improve product testing procedures and requirements, leading to an increase in product quality for patients. After passing the Senate last month, it was heard and passed by the House Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee last week.

    Update: SB 1420 was heard and then approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 3/21.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of better testing practices

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program. It was already passed by the Senate last month, and heard by the House Committee on Agriculture last week.

    Update: SB 263 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture on 3/20. A vote by the full House is expected in the upcoming weeks.

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

    Oklahoma

    Democratic Representative Mickey Dollens has introduced HB 2913: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. If passed, this bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes.

    Update: HB 2913 passed the House by a 92-0 vote on earlier this month, and now awaits action in the Senate Appropriations committee.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of an industrial hemp pilot program

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

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate March 16, 2018

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

    I first want to highlight some key developments happening at the state level.

    Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey reiterated his intentions to legalize marijuana in the state this year during a budget address. A budget overview document indicated that his Administration plans to legalize adult use marijuana by January 1, 2019. Also, efforts in Wyoming to make offenses involving edible and drinkable cannabis products a felony failed.

    Several marijuana related legislation died this week after failing to be voted on before crossover deadlines, including legalization bills in Kentucky and Missouri. The Indiana state legislature failed to pass hemp pilot program legislation before the end of the legislative session; the bill will go to an interim study committee this summer. And an Arizona bill to enhance quality testing practices failed to pass in the House Appropriations Committee.

    At the local level, Los Angeles, California advocates are holding events to help people with past marijuana convictions get their records expunged.

    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 5458 is pending to regulate and tax the retail sale of marijuana to adults. The tax revenue raised by commercial retail sales would be used to fund substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs.

    Update: The General Law Committee held a public hearing on HB 5458 on Thursday 3/15. The committee will vote on the bill by Tuesday.

    CT resident? Click here to email your elected officials in favor of legalization, regulation, and taxation

    Maryland

    Legalization
    House Bill 1264 would put an amendment to the Maryland Constitution on the ballot to be decided by voters to ensure that citizens have the right to possess, smoke, and cultivate marijuana.

    Update: The House Judiciary committee held a hearing on HB 1264 on Tuesday 3/13 (I was there to testify!).

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters decide

    Decriminalization
    Legislation is pending, SB 127, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

    If passed, SB 127 would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense. Under current law, the possession of more than ten grams of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    Update: SB 127 was approved by the Judicial Proceedings Committee on 3/15.

    MD resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the decriminalization law

    Louisiana

    Legislation is pending in the House, House Bill 611, to decriminalize offenses involving the possession of marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia.

    The measure amends criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis to a civil violation punishable by a fine only — no arrest and no criminal record. Possessing paraphernalia items would be treated similarly.

    Update: Another, more favorable proposal was introduced on 3/12, HB 274, which seeks to entirely decriminalize the possession and distribution of marijuana, contingent on the creation of a sales tax system that would regulate the retail sale of marijuana.

    LA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of complete decriminalization

    Washington, DC

    Legislation is pending, B22-446, to expand patients’ access to medical marijuana under District law.

    This measure seeks to increase access among qualified patients by: establishing same-day registration, permitting home delivery, establishing safe-treatment facilities, establishing reciprocity with other jurisdictions, allowing existing dispensaries to expand their operations, and capping taxes, among other changes. These changes will assure that District patients — as well as those visiting from other jurisdictions that have similar programs in place — will have safe, consistent and reliable access to affordable medicine.

    DC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of improved medical marijuana access

    New Jersey

    New Jersey lawmakers are set to consider legalizing marijuana this legislative session. Sen. Scutari, as expected, re-introduced his marijuana legalization bill from last session for 2018, S830 and companion bill A1348. Both were referred to committee.

    Update: Another proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis was introduced by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, A3581.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them that it’s time to legalize marijuana

    Tennessee

    SB 1710 and HB 1749 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: HB 1749 was originally on the Criminal Justice Committee’s calendar for 3/14, but got deferred until 3/21. SB 1710 is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, SB 547 and HB 2034, seeking 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.

    Update: SB 547 passed the Senate on 3/15 by a 29-3 vote, and now awaits action in the House. HB 2034 passed the House last month, and is currently pending in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee.

    MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of an industrial hemp pilot program

    Indiana

    Senate Bill 52 seeks to legalize the possession, use, manufacture, and retail sale of cannabidiol products, as well as to provide protections so that employers may not discriminate against anyone using CBD in compliance with the law.

    Update: After a conference committee was appointed due to failure of both houses to agree on amendments, the conference committee report was approved by both the Senate (36-11 vote) and House (97-0 vote) on 3/14, and now awaits action from the Governor. Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated that he will sign the bill.

    IN resident? Click here to email your Governor and urge him to sign this bill into law

    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 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 21, at 1:30 pm in BELTZ 105 (TS Bldg)

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

    California

    Legislation is pending, AB 3157, to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and cultivation of cannabis.

    State and local taxes currently imposed upon retail cannabis sales can total in upwards of 40 percent. This excessive taxation places an undue financial burden, particularly on patients, many of whom are now unable to consistently afford their medicine.

    Further, these tax rates make it exceedingly difficult for retail providers to compete with those in the underground market. One of the primary goals of Proposition 64 was to bring the black market above ground and to make this market transparent. In order to do so, it is necessary to reduce existing tax rates. Otherwise, compliant businesses are at a significant disadvantage due to their inability to compete with illicit actors who do not pay similar taxes.

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

    Oklahoma

    Senate Bill 1120 seeks to preemptively challenge provisions in State Question 788.

    Voters will decide on June 26 in favor of State Question 788, which permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis therapy to qualified patients at their discretion. Under this plan, patients would be authorized to possess up to eights ounces of herbal cannabis in private and grow up to six mature plants.

    NORML endorses State Question 788 and opposes SB 1120.

    Update: Senate Bill 1120 was brought back for reconsideration after it failed to secure the necessary number of votes on the Senate floor on 3/12, and Senator Yen held it on a procedural motion to reconsider. SB 1120 then passed by the Senate on 3/15 by a 26 to 11 vote and awaits action from the House.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in OPPOSITION to this effort

    Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

     

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML Political Associate March 9, 2018

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

    First, I want to bring your attention to the dedicated activists lobbying in conjunction with Delaware NORML! Activists in Delaware lobbied state lawmakers in the capital on Thursday 3/8 in favor of a bill that would legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of adult use marijuana.

    Also at the state level, support is growing among voters for a potential marijuana legalization ballot measure in Michigan, as a recent poll showed that 61 percent of voters say they would vote yes on the measure “if the election were held today.” Reform advocates will continue collecting signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouri and Utah. The South Dakota Secretary of State’s office is still reviewing signatures submitted for a medical marijuana initiative.

    Additionally, lawmakers in New Jersey listened to testimony about legalization on Monday. And, regulators in Massachusetts took another step forward in the process of opening retail cannabis shops; they approved initial marijuana rules governing the industry and will start accepting applications for retail stores on April 1. They still hope to begin adult use sales this summer.

    Several marijuana related legislation died this week after failing to be voted on before crossover deadlines, including legalization and decriminalization bills in Hawaii. Florida and Washington state legislatures adjourned for this year, effectively killing FL decriminalization and patient protection efforts, and a WA bill to provide financial services to marijuana businesses.

    At a more local level, the Sonoma County, California district attorney instructed staff to review and vacate thousands of prior marijuana convictions. Officials estimate that about 3,000 cases would be eligible for expungement or a reduced sentence. And, Juneau, Alaska police announced that marijuana businesses are now permitted to transport product by airplane.

    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

    Rhode Island

    Rep. Scott Slater (D) has introduced legislation, HB 7883, to place a non-binding marijuana legalization question on the state’s November ballot.

    The proposal question would read: “Do you support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, subject to regulation and taxation that is similar to the regulation and taxation of tobacco and alcohol?”

    RI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters weigh in

    Illinois

    Legislation is pending, SB 2275, to place a non-binding marijuana legalization question on the state’s November ballot.

    The question posed to voters would read: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

    Update: SB 2275 passed the Senate by a 37-13 vote on 3/1, and now awaits action from the House.

    IL resident? Click here to email your elected officials and tell them to let the people have a say

    Maine

    Legislation is pending, LD 1539, to greatly expand patients’ access to medical cannabis, as well as expand the pool of patients who are eligible.

    Among changes proposed by the bill: Physicians would be able, at their sole discretion, to recommend cannabis therapy to any patient for whom they think it would benefit; Caregivers would be able to manage more than five patients at one time; Regulators would increase the total number of licensed dispensaries from eight to 14.

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

    Kentucky

    House Bill 166 was introduced by Rep. John Sims Jr. [D] to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions. Additional legislation, Senate Bill 118, is also pending to allow medical marijuana use in the Commonwealth.

    If passed, these bills would provide patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    Update: The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 166 on 3/6, and then decided to  table the bill for this session as a result of strong opposition from law enforcement. SB 118 is still awaiting action from the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs, & Public Protection Committee.

    KY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

    Tennessee

    Senator Sara Kyle (D) and Representative Larry Miller have introduced legislation SB 2320 and HB 2391 seeking to place a ballot initiative before voters with regard to the legalization of medical marijuana.

    If passed, these bills would place the following advisory question on the November 2018 ballot: “Should the Tennessee legislature approve the use of medical marijuana?”

    Update: HB 2391 was placed on the Local Government subcommittee calendar for 3/14/18. SB 2320 was put on the final calendar for The Senate State & Local Government Committee, date TBD.

    TN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of letting the voters decide

    State Representative Jeremy Faison (R) and State Senator Steve Dickerson (R) are sponsoring legislation, SB 1710 and HB 1749 to establish a limited medical marijuana access program.

    The measure permits 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: HB 1749 is on the Criminal Justice Committee’s calendar for 3/14. SB 1710 is still awaiting action from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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

    New York

    Legislation is pending, A 9945, to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.

    The measure waives administrative fees for patients who are veterans and/or who have been ‘honorably discharged’ from military service.

    NY resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of better access for veterans

     

    Additional Actions to Take

    New Jersey

    Legislation is pending, A3535, that would limit certain employers from discriminating against employees based solely upon their testing positive for marijuana on a drug test.

    The bill “prohibits businesses receiving financial assistance from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority from taking any adverse employment action against an employee or prospective employee based upon a finding that the employee or prospective employee has used or tested positive for the use of marijuana” off the job.

    NJ resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of employment protections for consumers

    Rhode Island

    Legislation is pending, H 7899, to protect state-registered medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.

    The measure reads: “It shall be unlawful for any employer to refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against a person with respect to any terms, conditions or privileges of employment, or any other matter directly or indirectly related to employment because of their status as a cardholder, including because of a positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient cardholder possessed marijuana or was impaired on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.”

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

    Indiana

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 52, to legalize the possession, use, manufacture, and retail sale of cannabidiol products.

    Update: HB 1214 was passed by the Senate by a 37-12 vote with amendments on 3/6, and now will be sent back to the House for approval. The House dissented from the Senate’s amendments on HB 1214 on 3/7, meaning they do not agree with the Senate’s proposed changes. A conference committee of two members from each house were appointed to work out a version of the bill that will be satisfactory to both houses.

    IN resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD access

    Idaho

    Legislation is pending, HB 410, to provide “for the lawful use and possession of Cannabidiol Oil (CBD), if prescribed by a (licensed) practitioner.” Similar legislation, HB 577, is also pending, and already passed the House last month.

    Update: Members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved a motion to hold HB 577 in committee on 3/5 — a legislative procedure essentially halting the bill from moving forward. They then voted on 3/6 to vacate the decision to halt HB 577 from moving forward because the motion violated procedure.

    ID resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of CBD access

    Oklahoma

    Democratic Representative Mickey Dollens has introduced HB 2913: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. If passed, this bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes.

    Update: HB 2913 passed the House by a 92-0 vote on 3/5, and now awaits action in the Senate.

    OK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of an industrial hemp pilot program

    Kansas

    Legislation is pending, SB 263, to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp research program. It already passed the Senate last month.

    Update: The House Committee on Agriculture is holding a hearing on SB 263 on Wednesday, 3/14 at 3:30pm in Room 582-N.

    KS resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of an industrial hemp pilot program

    Indiana

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1137 to authorize the Indiana state department of agriculture to establish an agricultural pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp and industrial hemp products.

    Update: Senate lawmakers decided on a voice vote on 3/2 to significantly amend HB 1137. As amended, farmers would no longer have the opportunity to grow hemp. Instead, lawmakers have suggested a summer study session to consider the prospect of moving forward with a hemp research program. The changes came after Gov. Eric Holcolm voiced his opposition to the bill.

    Then, the bill was passed by the Senate 43 to 6, and was sent back to the House to approve the amendments. The House filed a motion to dissent on 3/7, meaning they do not agree with the Senate’s amendments to HB 1137. Now, a conference committee of two members from each house were appointed to work out a version of the bill that will be satisfactory to both houses.

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

    Missouri

    Legislation is pending, SB 547 and HB 2034, seeking 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.

    Update: The Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee approved SB 547 on 3/6, and is scheduled to be considered before the full Senate on 3/12.

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

    Check back next Friday for more legislative updates!

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