Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the state level, North Dakota activists collected enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for this November’s ballot. The campaign for one of the Missouri medical cannabis initiatives filed lawsuits attempting to block the other two measures from being on the ballot.
New Jersey lawmakers are close to finalizing a draft of marijuana legalization legislation, and a vote could happen next month. Law enforcement in Oklahoma expressed concerns to the state’s medical marijuana working group at a meeting, and Utah lawmakers met to consider medical cannabis issues.
At a more local level, activists in Nelsonville, Ohio are submitting new petitions for a possible marijuana depenalization ballot initiative after errors arose with their first attempt. Voters in Fremont, Ohio will see a marijuana depenalization question on the November ballot. Sacramento, California approved an equity plan to let people negatively affected by the war on drugs participate in the legal cannabis industry.
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
House Bill 20-178 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp. HB 20-178 was re-introduced by Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) after amending SB 20-62 by Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar (R-Saipan) since the latter’s bill had revenue-generating sections that led to procedural issues. The bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.
Update: The bill is expected to unanimously pass and could be on Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ desk before the year ends.
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. The bill was already approved by the Assembly earlier this year.
Update: AB 1793 was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee again on 8/16, and approved by the committee with a 5-2 vote.
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. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Update: SB 829 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee with a 12-0 vote on 8/16.
Senate Bill 930 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.
Update: SB 930 was heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 8/16, and then tabled by the committee, killing the bill for this year.
That’s all for this week!