Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the state level, Vermont’s marijuana depenalization law took effect on July 1, and so did Georgia’s law allowing low-THC medical marijuana products for PTSD and intractable pain. Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey said that although marijuana legalization didn’t make it into the state’s budget proposal, lawmakers have agreed to get it done “sooner rather than later.” Senate president Sweeney stated that legislators are committed to passing marijuana regulation this summer.
At a more local level, voters in Rock County, Wisconsin will see a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot. Forest Park, Georgia voted 3-2 for decriminalization and a Savannah, Georgia law allowing police an alternative to arrest for minor marijuana possession took effect on Sunday.
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.
End Cannabis Criminalization: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Senate Bill 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.
Update: The House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee recommended the passage of SB 20-62 on 7/2.
Senate Bill 197 seeks to permit those convicted of past marijuana possession convictions to seek expungement.
The measure would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting the expungement of any past marijuana possession violations that are no longer defined as a crime under state law. The bill was already passed by the Senate last month.
Update: on 7/2, SB 197 was unanimously approved by the House. The bill now awaits action from Governor John Carney (D).
Assembly Bill 1793 seeks “to allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.
Update: AB 1793 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 8/6 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.
Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.
Update: On 7/2, SB 829 was approved by the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation by a vote of 8-1, and was re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on campus to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms.
Update: SB 1127 was heard by the Judiciary Committee on 7/3, and then approved by the Committee by a 7-3 vote.
That’s all the legislative updates for this week!