Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the state level this week, adult use marijuana sales began in Arizona on Friday! This is the fastest any state has ever moved to implement a voter-approved marijuana legalization ballot measure, from the time of voter-approval (Nov. 3, 2020) to when retail sales began today.
At a more local level, city council members in Burlington, Vermont voted unanimously to put a question before voters on the March ballot on whether or not to allow marijuana sales in the city. And, city council members in Las Cruces, New Mexico voted to endorse marijuana legalization in the state (a statewide adult use legalization bill is expected to drop any day now!).
Following are new legislative developments from the past week, and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state, and the NORML blog for regular updates.
Don’t forget to sign up for the NORML 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
Join the caucus: Key Congressional allies have formed a Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
Efforts are underway to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over in Connecticut.
Governor Lamont released a draft marijuana legalization bill and is asking various state agencies for feedback on the proposal. Under Lamont’s measure, the state’s standard 6.35 percent sales tax would apply to adult use marijuana sales. The measure would also facilitate the expungement of past convictions involving the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.
House Bill 343 and Senate Bill 710 are pending to legalize marijuana for adults. The measures would revise provisions related to licensing and functions of medical marijuana treatment centers, allowing them to sell both adult use and medical marijuana.
Under this proposal adults would be allowed to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time, and possess no more than four ounces at a time. The measure would also allow those convicted of a possession offense involving up to four ounces of marijuana to get their record expunged or be eligible for sentencing review.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
House Bill 7 would allow adults 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six (up to three mature) marijuana plants for personal use.
Legislation is pending that would expand Hawaii’s decriminalization law.
Senate Bill 47 would remove all penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth ounce of marijuana concentrate outside of a personal residence and up to ten ounces of marijuana or one ounce of marijuana concentrate inside a personal residence.
Legislation enacted in 2019 decriminalized the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, imposing a civil fine of $130.
Legislation is pending to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.
Senate Bill 64 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or term or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder. The bill specifies that an employer may use a fit-for-duty test as a tool for medical cannabis qualifying patients in potentially dangerous occupations.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 144, to regulate public on-site marijuana consumption for adults.
The bill would allow “a county or municipality to issue licenses for temporary events, cannabis clubs, and cannabis tours that will allow for the sale and consumption of cannabis or cannabis-infused products and for the sale of cannabis paraphernalia at such temporary events, clubs, or tours.”
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Senate File 83 would remove all penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, and impose a civil penalty of $100 for for the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.
The measure also removes penalties for the possession with intent to deliver one ounce or less of marijuana, reduces penalties for possession by those under age 21, and allows those with certain past possession convictions to petition the court for expungement after two years.
Legislation is pending to legalize marijuana in Maryland.
House Bill 32 would allow adults 21 and older to use and possess cannabis and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
The measure also includes automatic expungement for marijuana offenses, home delivery, and on-site (social use) consumption establishments! Tax revenue would be directed toward reinvesting in communities most harmed by prohibition.
Update: HB 32 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/16/21 at 1:30pm.
House Bill 324 / Senate Bill 143 are pending to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law. If passed, the bills would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense.
Under current law, the possession of more than ten grams of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Update: HB 324 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 1/18/21. SB 143 was heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 1/20/21.
Legislation is pending to end employment discrimination against medical marijuana patients.
Senate Bill 504 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against potential or current employees solely for testing positive for THC on a drug screen if they have written certification for the use of medical cannabis.
Senate Bill 190 / House Bill 415 / House Bill 543 is pending to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland. The measures prohibit 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 190 was heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 1/20/21.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use and possession of marijuana for adults in Mississippi.
Senate Bill 2585 would remove all civil and criminal penalties for the adult possession of up to 70 grams (about 2.5 ounces) of marijuana for personal use.
House Bill 905 was introduced to allow first-time offenders convicted of minor marijuana offenses to have their records automatically expunged upon the completion of their sentence.
Senate Bill 2595 was introduced, which would reduce the civil fine for the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana from a $250 fine to a maximum $100 fine.
And House Bill 984 clarifies that a first offense of possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1098, that seeks to allow local banks and credit unions to service medical marijuana treatment centers.
LB546 would legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults. The measure would allow adults to legally possess and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six (up to three mature) marijuana plants for personal use. The bill would also facilitate a “clean slate relief” program, which would allow those with certain prior marijuana-related convictions to get their record wiped clean.
Senator Anna Wishart (D) has re-introduced legislation to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis, with a doctor’s recommendation
If passed, LB 474 would allow registered patients to purchase and possess up to two and a half ounces of medical cannabis via licensed providers, with a doctor’s recommendation.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 237, 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 (up to 3 plants can be mature) for personal use.
Update: HB 237 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/27/21 at 11am.
Legislation is pending to remove all criminal and civil penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults.
House Bill 629 would permit adults 21 and over to possess up to 3/4 ounce of marijuana and five grams of hashish, and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to three mature, three immature).
Update: HB 629 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/27/21 at 11am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 350, which permits qualifying patients to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The measure would permit registered patients to grow up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings for therapeutic use. The measure also legalizes the personal possession of up to eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.
Update: HB 350 is scheduled for a public hearing the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/1/21 at 3pm.
Governor Cuomo released his proposed adult use marijuana legalization plan as part of his 2021 budget proposal, which includes $100 million in tax revenue funds directed toward grants for communities most impacted by prohibition, a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the industry, and a 10.25 percent surcharge tax on retail sales in addition to state and local sales taxes.
S183 is pending to protect medical marijuana patients from housing discrimination. The measure would prohibit the eviction of tenants for using medical marijuana for a certified medical use.
Update: S183 was unanimously approved by the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee on 1/19/21. The bill will head to the Senate floor for a vote next.
A242 is pending to allow health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs. The measure amends state law so that medical cannabis would be treated like any other legal prescription drug for purposes related to health insurance coverage.
Update: A242 was unanimously approved by the Assembly Health Committee on 1/20/21.
A531 would remove the “serious” designation in order for a condition to qualify for medical cannabis treatment, increase possession limits from allowing a patient to possess a 30-day supply to up to a 60-day supply of medical cannabis, allow certified caregivers and caregiver facilities to legally acquire, handle, and administer medical cannabis to qualified patients, and establish a medical cannabis research program.
Update: A531 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on 1/26/21 at 9am.
A413 would add dysmenorrhea as an eligible condition for lawful medical marijuana use, while A1150 would add autism spectrum disorder to the list.
Update: A531, A413, and A1150 are scheduled for a public hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on 1/26/21 at 9am.
A169 would allow qualified medical practitioners to recommend medical cannabis to any patient who they believe is “likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from primary or adjunctive treatment with medical use of medical marihuana.”
Update: A169 was approved by the Assembly Health Committee on 1/20/21.
Legislation is pending, A2101, to protect marijuana consumers from employment discrimination. The bill would ban pre-employment drug testing for the presence of marijuana.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in North Dakota.
House Bill 1420 would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed retail outlet.
Legislation is pending to permit qualifying patients to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Senate Bill 2234 would permit registered patients to grow up to eight marijuana plants for therapeutic use.
Update: SB 2234 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/26/21 at 10am.
Legislation is pending to expand access to medical cannabis in North Dakota.
House Bill 1400 would give doctors the discretion to recommend medical cannabis to any patient with a “condition a health care provider determines is appropriately treated by the medical use of marijuana.”
The measure would also allow qualifying out-of-state patients to access medical cannabis temporarily while in North Dakota after paying a $50 application fee.
Update: HB 1400 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Human Services Committee on 1/26/21 at 10am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1391, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Oklahoma.
House Bill 1961 would put the issue on the 2022 ballot, allowing voters to decide on whether or not the state should legalize and regulate marijuana for adults. If passed by lawmakers and approved by voters in 2022, the measure would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana.
Legislation is pending to regulate medical cannabis delivery services.
House Bill 1960 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.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2216, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally access their medicine while visiting Oklahoma.
Under this measure, patients who are registered to use medical cannabis in the jurisdictions that permit its use may legally possess and purchase medical cannabis from dispensaries in the state of Oklahoma.
Legislation is pending to expand the medicinal use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in Oklahoma.
House Bill 2179 would create a new patient license application category for pet owners that would require a recommendation from a veterinarian.
Legislation is pending to double the legal marijuana possession limit for adults in Oregon.
House Bill 2973 would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana in a public place.
Under current state law, the possession of between one and two ounces of marijuana is a violation punishable by a maximum $650 fine.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 210, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid use disorder.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 208 and House Bill 239, to allow certain cancer patients to possess and use full extract cannabis oil that is intended to be ingested orally or used topically.
Legislation is pending, SB 1406, to legalize and regulate the responsible use of cannabis by adults 21 and older.
The bill provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes, and establishes a regulatory scheme for the regulation of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities, wholesalers, and retail cannabis stores. The bill also provides that net profits attributable to regulatory activities shall be appropriated to pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk three and four year olds, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, substance use disorder prevention and treatment programs, and public health programs. The bill creates the Cannabis Control Advisory Board, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board, and the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council.
Update: SB 1406 was approved by the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Marijuana Committee on 1/22/21.
House Bill 1019 is pending to allow adults in Washington to cultivate marijuana for personal use. The measure would allow adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants.
Update: HB 1019 was approved by the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming on 1/22/21 by a 7 to 2 vote.
Senate Bill 5009 is pending to exempt medical marijuana from excise taxes. The measure would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary.
Update: SB 5009 was heard in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 1/18/21.
That’s all for this week, check back on the NORML blog every Friday for more!