Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Two Governors reiterated their calls for marijuana legalization in their state this week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham during her State of the State address, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz during a budget briefing.
New Jersey lawmakers reached a compromise with Governor Murphy on “cleanup” legislation to address underage marijuana possession penalties, avoiding a potential conditional veto (for now) on separate legalization implementation measures already on his desk.
In New Hampshire, two adult use legalization bills were defeated after committee members voted to “retain” the bills, essentially killing them for this year.
Similarly in North Dakota, senators voted 42-4 to defeat legislation to allow patients to grow medical cannabis for therapeutic use.
A new economic analysis out of Delaware estimates that the state could see $43 million in revenue annually as a result of adult use marijuana legalization.
At the local level, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a citywide executive order suspending pre-employment drug screenings for public employees in non-safety sensitive positions.
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.
Legislation is pending to establish a medical marijuana access program for qualified patients with a physician’s recommendation to access medical marijuana from licensed retail outlets.
Senate Bill 46 would not allow patients to smoke herbal marijuana or vape, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges patches, nebulizers and inhalers.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5664, 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 for therapeutic use.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5577, to allow out-of-state medical cannabis patients to legally access their medicine while visiting Connecticut.
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 Connecticut.
Several pieces of legislation are pending to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
House Bill 7, Senate Bill 704, and Senate Bill 767 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.
Separately, House Bill 238 would also allow adults to legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. The measure would allow existing medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for a license to dispense marijuana to all adults over 21.
House Bill 1202 and Senate Bill 1376 would allow adults to possess small amounts of marijuana and grow up to ten marijuana plants for personal use. The measure would also provide grants and loans to social equity applicants to reduce barriers of entry into the industry, and facilitate the expungement of past records for any possession offense made legal under the bill, and allow qualifying out-of-state patients to cultivate medical cannabis while in Hawaii.
House Bill 421 would require an advisory referendum question to be placed on the ballot for the general election of 2022 on whether Hawaii voters wish for the State to legalize the sale and use of recreational cannabis.
House File 163 was introduced, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 42.5 grams of marijuana, imposing a civil fine of $25.
Legislation is pending to allow qualified patients access to medical cannabis via licensed retailers.
Senate Bill 92: The Kansas Equal Access Act, would allow medical cannabis access for qualifying patients and offers broad patient protections in schools, at work, and for parents.
Legislation is pending, LD 216, to seal criminal history record information regarding convictions or adjudications for crimes and civil violations relating to personal adult use of marijuana by making the information confidential.
Legislation is pending to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland.
House File 435 would 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.
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.
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.
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 were heard and approved by the Assembly Health Committee on 1/26/21.
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 was heard in the House Human Services Committee on 1/26/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1391, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.
Update: HB 1391 was heard in the House Human Services Committee on 1/26/21.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Bill 107 would decriminalize the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana, imposing a fine of $25, with no possibility of jail time. The penalty for smoking in public under this measure would become a summary offense punishable by only a $100 fine. The bill also mandates that a violation of these laws will no longer result in any driver’s license suspension.
House Bill 204 would reduce the penalty for small amounts of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a summary offense, imposing a fine of $100, and will no longer result in driver’s license suspensions.
Currently under Pennsylvania state law, possession of a small amount of cannabis is treated as a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, and a maximum fine of $500.
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.
A forthcoming bill (previously SB 1206) by Senator Bartolotta would amend this law and treat medical cannabis patients the same as patients using a prescription medication by requiring proof of actual impairment as the basis for a DUI conviction.
Legislation is pending to expand the medical use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in Oklahoma.
House Bill 5190 would allow veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis treatment to any domestic pet with a condition that would be a “debilitating medical condition” if it were suffered by a person.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 141, seeking to automatically remove certain marijuana-related charges and convictions from appearing on background checks.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.
House Bill 413 would remove criminal and civil penalties for the possession or casual exchange of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults.
Under current state law, the possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
Legislation is pending, SB 1406 and HB 2312, to legalize and regulate the responsible use of cannabis by adults 21 and older. The legislation 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 bills also provide 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 legislation creates the Cannabis Control Authority, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board, and the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council.
Update: HB 2312 was heard by the House General Laws Committee this week. SB 1406 was heard in the Senate Judiciary’s Expungement Subcommittee on 1/28/21. It will be heard by the full committee on 2/1/21.
Legislation is pending, HB 1862, which seeks to prohibit an employer from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against an employee for such employee’s lawful use of medical cannabis pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee’s diagnosed condition or disease.
Update: HB 1862 was approved by the House Labor & Commerce Committee by a 5 to 2 vote on 1/26/21.
Legislation is pending, SB 1283 and HB 2113, which seeks to establish a process for the automatic expungement of criminal records for certain convictions, deferred dispositions, and acquittals and for offenses that have been nolle prossed or otherwise dismissed.
Update: HB 2113 was heard and approved by the House Courts of Justice Committee on 1/27/21, and then heard in the House Appropriations Transportation and Public Safety Subcommittee on 1/29. SB 1283 was heard by the Senate Judiciary Expungement Subcommittee on 1/29 and will be heard by the full Judiciary Committee on 2/1.
Legislation is pending, SB 1333 and HB 2218, which seeks to improve Virginia’s Medical Cannabis Program by permitting pharmaceutical processors to produce and distribute cannabis products other than cannabis oil.
Update: SB 1333 was heard and approved by the Senate Education and Health Committee on 1/26/21. HB 2218 was approved by the House Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee on 1/28.