Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware introduced the Clean Slate Act to seal the records for marijuana charges one year after the sentence is completed. The bill was introduced with 22 original cosponsors.
At the state level, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed an industrial hemp bill into law, and he also signed legislation allowing medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. Similarly, Governor John Carney (D) of Delaware signed legislation into law to expunge certain past marijuana convictions, as well legislation to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
New Jersey lawmakers agreed on major details for pending marijuana legalization legislation that could possibly be voted on next month, with more details that still need to be finalized. Separately, the NJ attorney general released guidance to prosecutors in the state saying that while they may use their discretion about whether or not to pursue individual cannabis cases, but may not adopt categorical marijuana decriminalization policies.
A Connecticut committee voted unanimously to add intractable headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy and others to the list of medical marijuana qualifying conditions.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York announced a series of 15 listening sessions on marijuana legalization that will be held across the state. The first one will take place on Wednesday, September 5 in Albany, NY. Find a session near you and register to attend here. Separately, New York City police will implement a loosened marijuana enforcement policy beginning on Saturday.
Activists in Oregon are preparing a 2019 effort to allow marijuana social use sites in the state. They will support legislation and will also pursue a ballot measure if lawmakers don’t take action.
At a more local level, Denver, Colorado regulators awarded the city’s second marijuana social use license to a vaping bar and lounge which is expected to open this fall. The City Council also approved increasing marijuana taxes to fund affordable housing.
Louisville, Kentucky is considering a measure to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority in the county. Dayton, Ohio City will see an advisory question on the November ballot on marijuana decriminalization. A Racine, Wisconsin committee discussed, but deferred action on, a measure to mandate that police issue citations for first-time marijuana violations instead of applying state charges.
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.
In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day today, please join us as NORML chapters around the country take action in highlighting the positive role that marijuana legalization can play in combating America’s opioid crisis.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
House Bill 20-178 would end cannabis prohibition for adults over 21 and create a system of taxed and regulated sales. It would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp. The bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.
Update: On 8/30, HB 20-178 was unanimously passed by the Senate. The bill now awaits action from Governor Ralph Torres (R).
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 approved by the Senate last week.
Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.
Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.
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: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.
That’s all for this week!