Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
The legalization effort in New Mexico was killed as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 to table the bill this week.
New Approach Montana, the campaign committee behind a marijuana legalization ballot initiative in the state, submitted a revised proposal to the Secretary of State’s office, removing provisions that address medical marijuana law changes.
One of two initiative petitions to put marijuana legalization on the ballot in Oklahoma was cleared for signature gathering.
Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas said he will begin pardoning those who have received municipal violations for marijuana possession and those non-violent offenders who were convicted for having marijuana drug paraphernalia.
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.
Actions to Take
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884 / S. 2227) is bipartisan legislation that removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and enabling states to set their own policies.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 165, to establish a medical marijuana access program for qualified patients with a physician’s recommendation to access medical marijuana from licensed retail outlets.
It would not allow patients to smoke herbal marijuana or vape, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges and patches.
Update: SB 165 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 8:30am on 2/19/20 in Committee Room 325.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2638, that would create an official policy for “deflection programs,” police protocols that allow officers to not arrest individuals for various minor offenses, including incidental marijuana possession—cannabis that turns up while a suspect is being searched for a different offense.
Senate Bill 2543 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder or a positive drug test for THC.
Update: SB 2543 was approved by the Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts on 2/11/20.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 2787, to regulate medical cannabis delivery services.
The bill allows the department of health to issue permits to medical cannabis dispensaries for the delivery of medical cannabis and cannabis products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers if certain conditions are met.
Update: SB 2787 was approved by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee on 2/13/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 4706, to regulate public on-site marijuana consumption for adults.
The bill would allow counties and municipalities to issue licenses to businesses to permit the consumption of cannabis on the business’ premises.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 136, to permit physicians to authorize access to medical cannabis for any patient whom they believe would benefit from its therapeutic use.
Update: HB 136 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 2/12/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 550, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.
If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense, rather than the current threshold of ten grams.
Update: HB 550 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/11/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 331 / Senate Bill 605, to allow registered medical cannabis patients to access their medicine while at school.
The bill requires the Department of Education and the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Commission jointly to develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to certain students during school hours and school-sponsored after-school activities.
House Bill 617 / Senate Bill 604 would also develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to students
Update: SB 604 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on 2/18/20 at 12pm. HB 331 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health and Government Operations on 2/19/20 at 1pm.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 179, to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland.
The measure prohibits a person from being denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis.
Update: SB 179 was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/10/20, and was then approved unanimously by the Senate on 2/14.
House Bill 1150 would establish reciprocity, which would allow qualifying patients from out-of-state to purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New Hampshire.
Update: HB 1150 is scheduled for an executive session in the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/18/20 at 1pm.
House Bill 972 is pending, reducing penalties for offenses involving the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana to a civil violation — punishable by a maximum $25 fine, no arrest, and no criminal record.
Similar legislation, SB 2, is pending in the Senate.
Update: HB 972 was approved by the House by a 64-34 vote on 2/10/20. SB 2 was approved by the Senate.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 608, to allow those with certain past cannabis convictions to get their records cleared.
The measure would allow those convicted of a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony offense to petition the court to expunge their record if at least eight years has passed and the individual has no other convictions on their record.
Update: SB 608 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 2/10/20.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1015, to transform Virginia’s medical cannabis from an affirmative defense to prosecution to a permanent state-legal regulatory program.
Update: SB 1015 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 2/10/20.
Lawmakers are considering senate-approved legislation, S. 54, to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.
Update: S.54 was heard by the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees this week.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 752, to expand access to medical marijuana in West Virginia.
The bill would:
- Permit regulators to enter into reciprocity agreements with other states to allow out-of-state patients to use and transport medical marijuana while visiting West Virginia;
- Allow physicians to authorize compassion certificates which would allow a patient or caregiver to grow up to 12 mature flowering cannabis plants and up to 12 cannabis seedlings at any one time;
- Increase the geographic locations of dispensaries and the forms of acceptable medical cannabis;
- Allow accredited colleges, universities, or medical schools to be eligible to participate in marijuana research
Update: SB 752 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/17/20 at 3pm.