Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
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
Veteran Access: HR 1647, the Veterans Equal Access Act, would allow V.A. doctors to fill out the state-legal medical marijuana recommendations. Presently, V.A. doctors are forbidden from providing the paperwork necessary to complete a recommendation, thus forcing military veterans to seek the advice of a private, out-of-network physician.
Update: HR 1647 was approved by the House Veterans Affairs Committee on 3/12/20.
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 on 3/12/20. The bill now heads to the House.
Legislation is pending, HCR 2045, that seeks to arbitrarily cap the potency of cannabis flowers at two percent THC. NORML opposes the passage of this legislation.
Update: HCR 2045 was approved by the House on 3/10/20. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2359, to reduce barriers to employment for those harmed by the War on Drugs.
The bill would prevent applicants from being denied occupational licenses for having previous drug charges, including for cannabis.
Update: HB 2359 was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee on 3/12/20.
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 Rules Committee on 3/9/20 by a 5-3 vote, and was then approved by the full House on 3/12/20.
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 scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Labor & Public Employment on Thursday 3/12/20 at 9am in House conference room 309.
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 is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Health on Thursday, 3/12/20 9am in House conference room Auditorium.
Legislation is pending, HB 2097 / SB 2024, which would authorize licensed medical cannabis facilities to sell edible products.
Update: HB 2097 was heard by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health on 3/13/20.
HF 2589 would:
Allow physicians assistants, podiatrists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and advanced practice registered nurses to recommend medical cannabis to their patients;
Remove the prohibition of patients and caregivers with disqualifying felony offenses from receiving a medical cannabis recommendation;
Replace the existing 3% potency cap on THC with a 4.5 gram per 90 day limit;
Update: HF 2589 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/10/20 by a 52-48 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate.
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 approved by the House on 3/11/20. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 83, to automatically expunge certain prior cannabis convictions.
The bill would require all court records and police records relating to certain charges of possession of marijuana to be automatically expunged if the possession charge is the only charge in the case. If marijuana possession was not the only charge, one must wait four years before becoming eligible for automatic expungement.
Update: HB 83 was approved by the House on 3/12/20.
House Bill 617 / Senate Bill 604 would also develop guidelines for public schools regarding the administration of medical cannabis to students
Update: HB 617 was approved by the House Health and Government Operations on 3/12/20.
Legislation is pending, S. 1119 / H. 4522, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.
This measure prohibits employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.
Update: H. 4522 was approved by the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy on 3/9/20.
Legislation is pending to allow licensed on-site cannabis consumption.
- 4524 would permit cities within Massachusetts to license certain establishments where cannabis is sold to also permit social consumption via city voter initiative or ordinance.
Update: H. 4524 was approved by the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy on 3/9/20.
Mississippi voters will receive the opportunity to vote this November on whether or not to allow medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions.
Under Speaker Gunn’s pressure, House members of the Mississippi Legislature did pass the alternate proposal, HCR 39, that will now go to the Senate for a vote. If approved, this alternative would appear alongside Initiative 65 on the November ballot to confuse voters and split the vote, which threatens and dilutes the possibility of medical marijuana passing in November at all.
This alternate, more restrictive proposal is a clear attempt by lawmakers and House Speaker Philip Gunn to undermine and confuse voters and to kill medical marijuana in Mississippi altogether.
Update: HCR 39 was approved by the House of Representatives on 3/11/20. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings, and to possess up to eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.
Update: SB 420 is scheduled for Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee hearing and a decision making next week.
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 was approved by the House on 3/11/20. The bill now heads to the Senate.
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 on 3/10/20 by a 73-20 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Under current Pennsylvania state law, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance or its metabolite under the Controlled Substance Act in his or her blood.
House Bill 2337 would amend this law and treat medical cannabis patients the same as patients using a prescription medication.
Legislation is pending to regulate medical cannabis distribution and access, H. 3660 / S. 366: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, but it prohibits the inhalation or smoking of herbal medical cannabis.
Update: S. 366 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs on 3/19/20.
State lawmakers are considering legislation, HB 2454 / SB 2334, to allow registered patients to use, possess, and consume medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Legislation is pending from 2019, SB 486 / HB 637, to provide qualifying patients access to medical cannabis via licensed retailers.
Update: SB 486 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/17/20. SB 2334 was approved by the Senate Government Operations Committee on 3/11/20 by a 6-3 vote. HB 2454 is schedule for a hearing in the House Health Committee at 8am on 3/17/20.
Legislation is pending, HB 883/SB 686, to allow individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses, upon the completion of their sentence, to petition the court to have their records sealed.
Update: SB 686 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/17/20.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 350, to amend the state’s existing zero-tolerance per se traffic safety law, which makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with trace levels of inactive marijuana metabolites in one’s blood or urine.
Provisions in HB 350 explicitly states that this criminal prohibition would no longer apply to those who test positive for the presence of the carboxy-THC metabolite.
Lawmakers are considering senate-approved legislation, S. 54, to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.
Update: The compromise bill for S.54 was heard in House and Senate committees this week.
Legislation is pending, S. 114, to expunge the records of those convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses.
The measure also depenalizes activities involving the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.
Update: S. 114 was heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary on 3/11/20.