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NORML Blog

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator April 26, 2019

    At the state level, Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota signed a package of bills into law to expand the state’s medical cannabis access program. Among the changes are: allowing physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis to their patients, adding several new qualifying conditions, and authorizing cancer patients to possess greater quantities of cannabis than typically allowed.

    Republican leaders in Wisconsin’s state legislature said that Governor Evers’ medical cannabis and decriminalization budget proposals will not be passed through the legislature this session.

    Maine regulators are finally moving forward with draft regulations to implement the state’s 2016 voter-approved initiative legalizing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana.

    After Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota vetoed a bill to regulate industrial hemp production last month, the legislature is set to study the topic during the interim session.

    At a more local level, the Jefferson County (population: 658,000) Sheriff’s Office announced that local law enforcement will begin citing, rather than arresting, low-level marijuana offenders. Days later, the Chief Deputy announced that the cite and release program will be put on hold, without further details.

    Nassau County, New York voted to prohibit retail cannabis sales in the county once it becomes legal in New York state. A bill to remove certain restrictions on social cannabis consumption sites was killed in Denver, Colorado’s city council. Meanwhile, members of the Fairbanks, Alaska city council approved an ordinance to allow on-site cannabis consumption at licensed retail outlets.

    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

    End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

    Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

    Alabama

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 96 / Senate Bill 98, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    The measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, to a non-criminal violation punishable by a maximum fine of $250.

    Update: HB 96 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Judiciary on 5/1/19 at 1:30pm.

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

    House Bill 243, as well as Senate Bill 236, would provide registered patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.

    Update: SB 236 was approved by the Senate Committee on Judiciary on 4/25/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 225, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 225 was heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on 4/24/19.

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

    Arizona

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1286, to expand patient access to medical cannabis in Arizona.

    The measure would allow additional dispensaries to operate in unincorporated areas of the state that are not within 25 miles of an existing dispensary.

    Update: SB 1286 was approved by the House Rules Committee on 4/25/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1494, to require the Department of Human Services to establish standards related to testing medical cannabis products.

    The measure would establish a licensing scheme for third party testing laboratories.

    Update: SB 1494 was approved by the House Rules Committee on 4/25/19.

    AZ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis testing standards

    California

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

    Update: AB 286 was heard by the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 4/23/19.

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

    AB 1465 (Bloom) would allow licensing of cannabis consumption cafés and lounges in California.

    Update: Ab 1465 was approved by the Assembly Business And Professions Committee on 4/23/19.

    CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of social consumption lounges

    SB 51 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

    Update: SB 51 was heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on 4/24/19.

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

    Colorado

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1230, to allow the social consumption of cannabis by adults in licensed and regulated establishments.

    The measure would establish a license permit process for hospitality spaces to allow cannabis products to be legally purchased and consumed on site.

    Update: HB 19-1230 was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on 4/25/19.

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

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 19-1234, to allow licensed marijuana businesses to deliver both medical and adult use marijuana to private residences.

    The measure would establish a licensing system for such delivery services and also require training for delivery permit holders.

    Update: HB 19-1234 was heard by the Senate Finance Committee on 4/25/19.

    CO resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis delivery services

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 19-220, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: SB 19-220 was approved by the House Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs on 4/24/19, and was then approved by the House Committee on Appropriations on 4/25.

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

    Connecticut

    Senate Bill 893 would establish a pilot program for the purpose of studying the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp.

    Update: SB 893 was approved by the Senate on 4/2519, and will now be transmitted to the House.

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

    Florida

    Legislation is pending, H. 333, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Separately, SB 1020 would also regulate industrial hemp production, and a third measure, SB 7102 would allow for the retail sale of hemp extracts.

    Update: SB 1020 was approved by the Senate on 4/24/19, and now will be transmitted to the House.

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

    Iowa

    Legislation is pending, HF 754 and SF 599, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HF 754 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 4/18/19, and SF 599 was approved by the House of Representatives on 4/23, and will now head back to the Senate for concurrence on House amendments.

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

    Louisiana 

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 358, to give qualified patients the option to inhale herbal cannabis for medical purposes.

    Update: HB 358 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Health & Welfare on 5/1/19 at 9am.

    LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of this effort

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 138, to remove hemp and “cannabidiol when contained in a drug product approved by the FDA,” from the state’s list of controlled substances.

    Update: HB 138 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/1/19 at 9am.

    LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of descheduling hemp

    House Bill 579 and House Bill 491 seek to regulate the production of industrial hemp in Louisiana, in compliance with new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 491 was approved by the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development on 4/25/19.

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

    Nevada

    Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 192, to allow individuals to get their records vacated for offenses that are no longer a crime in Nevada.

    Update: AB 192 was approved by the Assembly on 4/23/19, and now heads to the Senate.

    NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of vacating prior conviction records

    Legislation is pending, AB 132, to protect cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.

    This measure prohibits employers from arbitrarily discriminating against prospective employees who legally consume cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

    Update: AB 132 was approved by the Assembly on 4/23/19, and now heads to the Senate.

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

    New Hampshire

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 364, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

    The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings, and to possess up to two ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.

    Update: HB 364 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/23/19.

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

    Oklahoma

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 868 / House Bill 2628, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: HB 2628 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 4/15/19, and will now go back to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

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

    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.

    Update: SB 420 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/23/19, and was then approved by the full Senate on 4/25. The bill now heads to the House.

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

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 970, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients, as well as those with prior or pending cannabis convictions, from housing discrimination.

    Update: SB 970 is scheduled for a work session in the House Human Services and Housing Committee on 4/29/19.

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

    Texas

    House Bill 63 would reduce penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail to a civil offense punishable by a $250 fine only.

    Update: HB 63 was debated on the floor of the House of Representatives on 4/25/19.

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

    House Bill 1325 is pending to establish a state-licensed industrial hemp program.

    Update: HB 1325 was approved by the House of Representatives on 4/23/19, and now heads to the Senate.

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

    Vermont

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

    Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committees on Government Operations; Human Services; and Judiciary this week.

    VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

    Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

    Update: S. 58 was heard by the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry each day the committee met this week.

    VT 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.

    Update: SB 5605 was approved by the House and Senate on 4/26/19, and will now be transmitted to the governor.

    WA resident? Click here to email your governor in support of expungement

    Legislation is pending, House Bill 1095 / Senate Bill 5442, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

    Update: HB 1095 was approved by the House on a concurrence vote on 4/19/19, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.

    WA resident? Click here to email your governor in support of allowing medical cannabis for patients in schools

    Legislation is pending, HB 1401 / SB 5719, and 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 was approved by the House on 4/23/19 and the Senate for concurrence on 4/24. The bill will now be transmitted to the governor.

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

    Wisconsin

    Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) introduced LRB 0154, to regulate the use, growing, and distribution of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes.

    The measure permits adults to possess two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants. It also establishes regulations for the production and retail sale of marijuana to anyone over the age of 21, in addition to establishing a regulated system for medical marijuana production and sales for qualified patients.

    The bill also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their off-the-job use of cannabis, provides for the expungement of prior convictions, and allows insurance providers to provide coverage for patients’ use of medical marijuana.

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

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

    Marijuana LawsThe warrantless search of a passenger’s personal property during a traffic stop is unconstitutional, according to a ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court. The judgement overturns a 2007 decision that barred passengers from challenging similar searches by members of law enforcement.

    Justices unanimously opined that the driver’s voluntary consent to allow the police to search her vehicle did not extend to the passenger’s personal belongings. They determined: “In this case, defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in his backpack. Defendant asserted a clear possessory interest in his backpack by clutching it in his lap, and the officer believed that the backpack belonged to defendant because of the way defendant was holding it. Therefore, although defendant had no (and claimed no) legitimate expectation of privacy in the interior of the driver’s vehicle, he had a legitimate expectation of privacy in his backpack that society is willing to recognize as reasonable.”

    Justices concluded, “A passenger’s personal property is not subsumed by the vehicle that carries it for Fourth Amendment purposes.”

    The defendant’s backpack held marijuana and methamphetamine. He had already served nearly three years in prison for the offenses prior to this week’s verdict.

    The case is People v. Mead. A summary of the opinion is online here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 25, 2019

    Marijuana CBD OilRepublican Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation on Wednesday amending and expanding the state’s nascent medical cannabis access program.

    House Bill 1283 permits physician assistants to recommend cannabis to qualified patients. House Bill 1417 permits patients with cancer to possess enhanced amounts of cannabis flower (up to six ounces) when explicitly authorized by a recommending health care provider. House Bill 1519 significantly expands the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, migraine, anorexia, and Tourette Syndrome, among other debilitating conditions.

    Though approved by voters in November 2016, the state’s medical cannabis access program is not yet fully operational. A single dispensary opened in Fargo in March, and additional licensed facilities are anticipated to open later this summer.

    For more information on pending state legislation, visit NORML’s Take Action Center here.

  • by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator April 24, 2019

    On Thursday, April 25, members of the Texas House of Representatives are scheduled to consider a marijuana decriminalization bill.

    House Bill 63 would reduce penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail, to a civil offense punishable by a $250 fine only.

    The bill was approved by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee last month by a 5-2 vote.

    Thursday will be the first time in decades that marijuana decriminalization will be discussed on the House Floor. It is essential to continue to build momentum behind this important piece of legislation so that minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, are no longer saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.

    Click here to send a message to your Texas state representatives now in support of decriminalization, and urge them to co-author HB 63

    The consideration of HB 63 on the House floor comes just days after the state’s House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp production bill, and after a separate House committee approved a bill to expand access to medical cannabis for Texas patients.

    Governor Greg Abbott (R) has expressed his opposition to legalizing adult use marijuana, but has also stated that he is open to reducing low-level marijuana possession penalties.

    For additional information on marijuana reform efforts in Texas, visit the Texas NORML website.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 23, 2019

    After multiple delays, regulators are finally moving forward with draft regulations to implement the state’s 2016 voter-approved initiative legalizing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana.

    Regulators are now deliberating over a 73-page draft of rules governing the adult use marijuana market. The rules will not be finalized until regulators receive input from the public and they are approved by a majority of lawmakers.

    Under the proposed rules, commercial licenses will only be granted initially to state residents. Those with a felony drug conviction within the past ten years will be ineligible for a license.

    The proposed regulations also impose limits with regard to THC content and the appearance of cannabis-infused edible products. Retailers will not be permitted to sell customers more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and/or five grams of concentrate in a single day. Retailers will need to first receive local approval prior to applying for a state operators license.

    Maine voters initially approved the legalization of cannabis sales in November 2016, but lawmakers – led by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage – have repeatedly taken steps to delay the law’s implementation.

    Newly elected Gov. Janet Mills (D) is on record stating that lawmakers “must follow the will of the people [and] implement the [voter-initiated marijuana] law.”

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