Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the state level, activists in Florida and Missouri gathered in their state capitals along side state and local NORML chapters to lobby state lawmakers in favor of sensible marijuana policy reform.
John Fetterman, Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, is beginning a state-wide listening tour to find out where PA residents stand on cannabis legalization.
Several mayors across the state of New Jersey are calling for automatic expungement provisions to be included in the state’s marijuana regulation bill, and are threatening to ban retail sales in their jurisdictions if state lawmakers pass legislation without it.
At a more local level, officials will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses in Baltimore, Maryland, as a new policy was implemented by the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.
Manor Township, Pennsylvania is considering a proposal that would decriminalize cannabis possession. And officials in San Francisco, California are considering a proposal to allow marijuana to be socially consumed and sold at temporary events.
Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.
Actions to Take
Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2555, to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession.
The measure would impose a civil penalty of $100 for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Legislation is pending, AB 286, to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.
Legislation has been reintroduced from last year, Senate Bill 34, which 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. Last session, the measure was vetoed by Governor Brown.
Legislation has been re-introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg [D], SB 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.
Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.
House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Update: SB 19-013 was heard by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on 1/31, but no action was taken yet. Separately, HB 19-1028 is awaiting final consideration from the full House.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 6849, to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The measure would permit medical cannabis patients to grow up to six cannabis plants.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5442, to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in Connecticut.
The measure would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with generalized chronic pain.
Legislation has been filed, Senate Bill 372, and Senate Bill 182, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.
Update: S. 182 is scheduled for a hearing in the Health Policy Committee on 2/4/19 at 1:30 pm, 412 Knott Building
Legislation is pending, House Bill 557, to allow access for out of state medical marijuana card holders to access their physician recommended medication in Florida.
The bill would establish what’s known as reciprocity, allowing medical marijuana card holders visiting from outside of the state to purchase medical marijuana while visiting Florida.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 708 / Senate Bill 686, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants in their own home.
Update: SB 686 was heard by the Committee on Judiciary on 1/31. The committee will vote on the bill on 2/7.
Legislation is pending, SF 77, to expand access to certain medical cannabis products in Iowa.
The proposed changes:
- Allow physicians to recommend low-THC medical cannabis oil to any patient whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use; and
- Raises the cap on THC limits from three percent to 13 percent.
Update: On 1/31, subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary committee recommended that the measure be passed.
Legislation is pending, HF 93, which seeks to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.
The measure would impose a civil penalty of $25 for for the possession of up to 42.5 grams of marijuana.
Legislation is pending, SF 104, to expand Iowa’s narrow medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.
If passed, this bill would establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program that provides qualified patients access to physician-authorized medical cannabis via licensed providers.
House Bill 341 would allow registered medical marijuana patients to have their records expunged if they were convicted of a possession offense that occurred prior to their participation in the state’s cannabis access program.
Update: HB 341 was heard by the Special Committee on Criminal Justice on 1/31, but no further action was taken on the bill yet.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1371, to allow qualified patients to use and possess medical marijuana when authorized by a physician.
If passed, this bill would provide registered patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.
A separate measure, Senate Bill 2643, would establish a defense against criminal prosecution for individuals who can provide evidence confirming their therapeutic need for medical cannabis.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, to permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.
If passed, HB 399 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana. Lawmakers decriminalized minor marijuana possession offenses in 2017.
Update: On 1/31, HB 399 was approved by the House of Representatives on a voice vote. The bill will now be transmitted to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.
The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.
Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is holding a public hearing on HB 481 on 2/05/19 at 1:00pm, Reps Hall.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 335, to expand access to medical cannabis in New Hampshire.
The measure would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to authorize additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state. Under existing law, only a handful of licensed dispensaries are permitted in the state. This means that some patients must travel long distances and pay exorbitant prices to obtain their medicine.
Update: The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs is holding a work session on HB 335 at 10:00am on 2/7/19, Legislative Office Building 212
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 204, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.
Update: On 1/30, the Senate Public Affairs Committee recommended that the bill be passed.
Legislation is pending to amend marijuana possession penalties.
Senate Bill 323 removes the threat of jail time as a penalty for first time offenders convicted of possessing up to one half an ounces of marijuana.
Senate Bill 408 reduces the penalty for the possession of marijuana from a felony to a misdemeanor, but does not remove the threat of jail time.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 406, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.
The proposed changes:
- Allows medical practitioners to use their discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient for whom they believe will benefit from cannabis therapy;
- Allows primary caregivers to obtain a license to grow medical cannabis;
- Removes medical cannabis use as a violation of probation or parole;
- Protects patients who require organ transplants
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 639, to allow the social consumption of cannabis by adults in licensed and regulated establishments.
The bill allows the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to issue licenses for permanent cannabis consumption venues as well as cannabis events.
Legislation is pending, S. 161, to expand access to medical cannabis in Rhode Island
The measure would authorize three additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state, for a total of six. Under existing law, only three licensed dispensaries are permitted in the state. This means that some patients must travel long distances and pay exorbitant prices to obtain their medicine.
Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.
The measure would decriminalize criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1719, to expand access to medical cannabis for certain patients.
The measure would allow “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities and those who rely on home healthcare providers.
Update: SB 1719 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.
Senator Glen Sturtevant has filed SB 1632 and Delegate Chris Hurst filed HB 1720, which seek to permit any student who is a registered Virginia medical cannabis patient to use Virginia-allowed medical cannabis oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity.
Update: SB 1632 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.
The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil.
Update: SB 1557 was unanimously approved by the Senate. The bill will now be transmitted to the House.
Legislation is pending, S. 54 to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.
Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on S. 54 on 1/31, and will consider the bill again on 2/6.
Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, to allow adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.
Update: On 1/31, SB 5155 was heard by the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce, but no further action was taken on the bill yet.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 234, to reduce certain marijuana possession penalties.
The measure would amend certain felony possession offenses to criminal misdemeanors.
That’s all for this week!