Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Congressman Drew Ferguson (R-GA) filed a new bill in the US House of Representatives this week to prevent federal employees from being fired for marijuana use that is legal in the state they live in.
The Oklahoma Board of Health rescinded their prior set of proposed rules that went against the intent of SQ 788, which voters approved in June. This change of course comes just after the state’s Attorney General warned health officials that they “acted in excess of their statutory authority” when they amended State Question 788. The new rules now go to Governor Mary Fallin, and she has 45 days to approve or reject them. If approved, the rules would remove the ban on the retail sale of herbal cannabis, remove the requirement that dispensaries must hire state-licensed pharmacists, and no longer mandate that women of childbearing age take a pregnancy test in order to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation.
Three separate medical marijuana initiatives have enough signatures to qualify for Missouri’s November ballot. The Missouri Constitution says that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one that gets the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three measures will have the support of a majority of the voters. Two of the measures are constitutional amendments and one is a statutory initiative.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York established a working group to draft marijuana legalization and regulation legislation for lawmakers to consider in 2019. And Hawaii regulators started a working group to address employment issues for medical marijuana patients and the manufacturing of edibles.
Also at the state level, about half of the medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania began selling medical cannabis in herbal form to registered patients, and the other half are expected to do the same this coming week. And Rhode Island medical marijuana dispensaries began serving patients from outside the state.
Additionally, Governor Bruce Rauner (R) of Illinois signed legislation into law to allow medical marijuana on school grounds. Also, autism and obstructive sleep apnea were added to the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions in Minnesota this week.
At a more local level, Manhattan’s district attorney announced that he will no longer prosecute marijuana use or possession cases.
Racine, Wisconsin is debating placing a non-binding marijuana legalization question on this November’s ballot, and similarly, an Eau Claire County, Wisconsin committee voted to advance consideration of non-binding marijuana ballot questions. Voters in Oregon, Ohio will also see a marijuana depenalization measure on the November ballot, but a marijuana decriminalization measure in Nelsonville, Ohio failed to qualify for the November ballot.
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 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 of Representatives sent SB 20-62 back to committee on 8/1, but will soon introduce its own version of the legislation that should solve procedural issues around it being a revenue generating measure.
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 930 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.
Update: SB 9030 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 8/8 at 9am in the State Capitol, Room 4202.
That’s all the legislative updates for this week!