Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, there’s been talk that the US Customs and Border Protection Agency will implement a federal policy denying any individual involved in Canada’s marijuana industry entry into the United States. Under the policy, US officials would have to ban entry to Canadians who admit to having consumed marijuana in their past, as well as those who are involved in the legal cannabis industry in any capacity. NORML responded here.
The U.S. Senate’s VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 got one more cosponsor, for a new total of five. And The U.S. House’s Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act gained two cosponsors, for a new total of three.
At the state level, the New Jersey Department of Health removed the ban that prohibited licensed medical cannabis dispensaries from selling concentrates to patients. Separately, details came up about New Jersey’s forthcoming marijuana legalization and regulation bill, which includes what could be the lowest tax rate in the country, home delivery, social consumption sites, and provisions promoting small businesses, but nothing about home cultivation. Nothing is final yet.
Assembly committees in New York are scheduled to hold four joint hearings this fall on the issue of legalizing marijuana for adults in the state. This comes as the Governor’s administration is holding a series of separate listening sessions across the state to gain public input about marijuana legalization implmentation.
Mississippi activists started gathering signatures in hopes of qualifying a 2020 medical cannabis ballot initiative. Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any licenses at their meeting this week. Kentucky lawmakers held an interim hearing on medical marijuana, and the West Virginia Joint Committee on Health discussed banking issues for medical marijuana businesses.
Governor Ralph Torres (R) of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands signed a marijuana legalization bill into law.
Governor Jerry Brown (D) of California signed two bills into law this week, one preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information, and another that says marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test marijuana grown at home. Brown also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.
At a more local level, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma approved a measure regulating medical marijuana businesses.
Following are the bills we’ve tracked this week pending before California Governor Jerry Brown, 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.
Decriminalize Cannabis: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is sponsoring 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. 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!