Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
We’ve got a new piece of legislation at the federal level. In conjunction with NORML’s 2018 Lobby Day, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) introduced The Marijuana Data Collection Act. The act calls upon the National Academy of Sciences to collect and synthesize relevant data and to generate a formal report to Congress quantifying the impact of statewide marijuana legalization on matters specific to public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues. The report would also outline best practices for state-led data collection, as well as recommendations to overcome any barriers preventing data collection and gaps in data. Watch the press conference.
Earlier in the week, the US House Rules Committee, chaired by prohibitionist Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), blocked two amendments related to marijuana from being considered by the full House, thus ending their consideration and removing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from the DOJ when it comes to state-legal marijuana.
At the state level, New Jersey’s Attorney General has instructed county and municipal prosecutors to suspend all marijuana-related prosecutions until early September. Pennsylvania dispensaries are set to begin selling medical cannabis in flower form this week.
Oklahoma’s secretary of state said that proposed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis expansion initiatives are unlikely to appear on the November ballot even if they do collect enough signatures. But regulators will meet on August 1 to revisit restrictive medical marijuana rules. The newly proposed changes remove several restrictive amendments implemented by the Department earlier this month, including removing the ban on the sale of herbal cannabis, removing the requirement that dispensaries must hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer requiring women of childbearing age to take a pregnancy test in order to receive a medical marijuana recommendation. None of these restrictions appeared in the initial voter approved State Question 788.
At a more local level, voters in Marathon County, Wisconsin Board will see a non-binding medical cannabis advisory question on the November ballot. Ostego County, Michigan is opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, and Grand Rapids, Michigan will allow medical cannabis businesses in its jurisdiction.
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.
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.
House Bill 166 seeks to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions.
Update: Rep. Jason Nemes, one of the bill’s cosponsors, announced on Twitter that the bill will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 9/7.
That’s all for this week!