Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, members of the Morgantown, West Virginia city council approved an ordinance to allow police to issue $15 fines to those caught with up to 15 grams of marijuana instead of making an arrest.
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 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 8-1 vote on 2/19/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2049, that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.
The measure would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder as well as opioid use disorder.
Update: HB 2049 was approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/20/20.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 2355, to protect registered medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.
The bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer or other entity to refuse to hire or employ a person, or to discriminate against an employee, because of the employee’s use of medical cannabis.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 847, that seeks to criminalize the possession and transportation of hemp flower in the state.
This bill comes after lawmakers passed legislation in 2019 that allows the growing and production of hemp and hemp-derived products, as long as the THC concentration is below 0.3%. This created issues for law enforcement and testing facilities in determining the difference between legal hemp and illegal marijuana.
Update: HB 847 was approved by a House committee this week.
LD 1621 / SP 518 would allow licensed dispensaries to home deliver adult use cannabis to consumers 21 and older, only in jurisdictions that allow delivery services to operate.
Update: LD 1621 is scheduled for a public hearing in the State House on 2/24/20 at 10am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1648, to remove all criminal and civil penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults.
The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to 3/4 ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to three mature, three immature).
Update: HB 1648 was approved by the House of Representatives on 2/20/20.
House Bill 1386 “prohibits an employer from firing an employee solely because the employee has a positive drug test for cannabis if the employee is a qualified patient.”
Update: HB 1386 is scheduled for a work session in the Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee at 1pm on 2/25/2020 in Legislative Office Building 104.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1343, which seeks to eliminate the possession of marijuana as grounds for the denial of an individual’s pretrial release.
Update: Hb 1343 is scheduled for a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Executive Session at 1pm on 3/3/20 in Legislative Office Building 204.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 697, to expand access to medical marijuana.
The bill would allow qualifying patients to access all the alternative treatment centers instead of having to designate just one.
Update: SB 697 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 2/20/20.
House Bill 3227 would allow licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to contract with licensed medical marijuana transporters to deliver marijuana products to patients, legal guardians of patients who are minors, and caregivers at private residences.
Update: SB 3227 was approved by the House Rules Committee on 2/20/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 3960, to repeal the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety ban for THC and its metabolites.
The bill would require that such prosecutions can no longer move forward based on the detection of THC alone, and halt prosecutors from making any decisions based upon the detection of carboxy-THC.
Update: HB 3960 was heard in the House Rules Committee on 2/18/20.
Rep. Jake Wheatley introduced legislation once again, House Bill 2050, to legalize and regulate adult use marijuana in Pennsylvania. The bill would also expunge certain past marijuana conviction records.
- Allow physicians, as well as nurse practitioners, to recommend medical cannabis to any patient whom they believe would benefit from it
- Allow financially disadvantaged patients to receive discounts on medical cannabis products
- Prohibits government agencies from discriminating against a person solely based on their status as a medical cannabis patient
- Remove the numerical cap on the number of dispensary licenses allowed within the state
- Reduce the business license fee from $500,000 to $5,000
- Remove the provision that bars those with past drug convictions from participating in the medical cannabis industry
- Eliminates the plant tagging system to tax plants cultivated for personal use
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.
Senate Bill 2 is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Update: SB 2 was heard by the House Appropriations Committee on 2/21/20.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1015, to make participation in Virginia’s medical cannabis program legal under state law.
Currently, patients, caregivers, agents, pharmaceutical processors and their employees are only afforded an affirmative defense for participating in the state-licensed program.
Update: SB 1015 was unanimously approved by the House Criminal Courts Subcommittee on 2/20/20.
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 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/18/20.