Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the federal level this week, Senators Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement declaring their intention to release a draft discussion bill outlining how best to legalize and regulate cannabis and cannabis commerce in a post-prohibition America.
In a historic, first-of-its-kind vote, Virginia House and Senate lawmakers separately approved a pair of adult use legalization measures.
Several marijuana-related bills in Mississippi are effectively dead for 2021, as they failed to advance before a key deadline for committees to report bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own chamber.
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
End criminalization: Senators Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement declaring their intention to release a draft discussion bill outlining how best to legalize and regulate cannabis and cannabis commerce in a post-prohibition America.
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.
Update: SB 146 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/3/21, and will head to the Senate floor next.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Bill 149 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, to a non-criminal violation punishable only by a maximum fine of $250.
The bill would also remove the threat of jail time for any amount of marijuana possession exceeding two ounces.
Further, the bill allows individuals convicted of marijuana possession to get their records expunged after a 5 year, conviction free waiting period.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2084, to impose ‘per se’ criminal penalties to individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC or any other controlled substances in their body — regardless of whether he/she is behaviorally impaired. NORML opposes the passage of this legislation.
Legislation is pending to expand the medical use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in Oklahoma.
Assembly Bill 384 would require new guidelines for veterinarians to follow when recommending medical cannabis treatment to any animal (excluding livestock).
House Bill 6377 would allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants, establish an equity focused task force, a permanent cannabis commission, and a long-term cannabis job training program.
Update: HB 6377 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees on 2/9/21.
Senate Bill 77 was introduced, which would remove the threat of jail time for the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana, and instead impose a fine of $300.
Currently under state law, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. Any possession amount greater than one ounce is a felony.
House Bill 477 would increase the allowable number of production and retail dispensary locations. It will also allow dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis from each other in order to ensure satisfactory patient access.
Senate Bill 241 would authorize qualifying patients and qualifying out-of-state patients to transport cannabis between islands of the state for medical use.
Update: SB 241 was approved by the Senate Committees on Health and Transportation on 2/3/21. SB 477 was heard in the House Health, Human Services, & Homelessness Committee on 2/5.
The Senate State Affairs Committee approved legislation that would amend Idaho’s constitution to prevent psychoactive substances, including marijuana, from being legalized in the future.
SJR 101 provides that “the production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, dispensing, distribution, possession, or use of a psychoactive drug shall not be permitted in the state of Idaho.”
If approved by lawmakers, the measure would place a question before voters to weigh in on the 2022 ballot, which would supersede any marijuana legalization initiative that may appear alongside it.
Update: SJR 101 was approved by the Senate by a 24 to 11 vote on 2/3/21. The measure now heads to the House.
House Bill 2184: The Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act was introduced, which would allow qualifying patients to legally purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of medical cannabis with a physician recommendation. This measure would prohibit smoking and vaping.
Legislation is pending to legalize marijuana for adults in Minnesota.
Introduced by House Majority Leader Winkler, House File 600 would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to ten pounds of marijuana in a private residence, up to 1.5 ounces in public, and grow up to eight plants (up to four mature) for personal use. The bill also includes expungement, on-site consumption, delivery, and social equity provisions.
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 was heard in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/1/21.
Legislation is pending to permit the personal cultivate of cannabis for adults.
Senator Cardinale’s (R) bill, S3407, would allow all adults to grow up to six marijuana plants, contingent on the passage of separate legislation to implement adult use marijuana legalization.
Senator Singleton’s (D) bill would permit registered patients and caregivers to grow up to four mature plants and four immature plants, after registering as a home cultivator with the state.
Under current state law, growing up to five marijuana plants is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Legislation is pending, S3406 / A1708, to require workers’ compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for medical marijuana under certain circumstances.
Multiple pieces of legislation are pending to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
House Bill 12 would allow adults to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six mature plants for personal use. Those who possess more than two ounces must store it in a locked space. Under this measure, those convicted of an offense involving up to two ounces of marijuana possession would be eligible for automatic expungement after two years, those currently incarcerated for these offenses would be eligible for dismissal.
Senate Bill 288 would allow adults to legally possess and purchase up to two ounces of marijuana. This measure includes a two percent excise tax on retail sales, and would also allow licensed on-sit consumption lounges.
Senate Bill 13 and House Bill 17 would also allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. Under this measure, personal cultivation of up to three plants would be decriminalized, punishable by a $500 fine, and retail sales would be taxed at 21 percent.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 187, to impose ‘per se’ criminal penalties to individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC or any other controlled substances in their body — regardless of whether he/she is behaviorally impaired.
Update: HB 187 was heard in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on 2/4/21.
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.
House Bill 1501 would impose a 15% tax on adult use marijuana retail sales if and when adult use marijuana is legalized by lawmakers.
HCR 3031 was introduced to amend the state’s constitution to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults. If approved by lawmakers, this measure would place a ballot measure before voters to weigh in on during the 2022 election.
Update: HB 1420 was heard in the House Human Services Committee on 2/3/21. HB 1501 was heard in the House Finance and Taxation Committee on 2/3/21.
Legislation is pending that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.
House Bill 60 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
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.
Update: HB 2973 was heard in the House Committee On General Government on 2/2/21.
Legislation is pending to regulate cannabis delivery services.
House Bill 2519 would allow licensed dispensaries to home deliver adult use cannabis to consumers 21 and older “within city or county in which marijuana retailer is located and to consumers in cities or counties that have adopted ordinances allowing for delivery of marijuana items from adjacent cities or counties.”
Update: HB 2519 was heard in the House Committee On General Government on 2/2/21.
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.
Senator Bartolotta’s Senate Bill 167 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 permit those with past marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.
H5307 allows those who have previously been convicted of misdemeanors and felonies for possession of marijuana to have their conviction records expunged. The bill also prohibits past criminal misdemeanors and felonies for possession of marijuana from being used against a person entering the cannabis industry or any government assistance programs.
Legislation is pending to facilitate equity among those licensed to operate in the medical cannabis industry.
H. 5273 would direct the Department of Business Regulation to conduct an analysis to “examine whether racial disparities exist in the process to obtain a state license to sell marijuana, and in arrest and conviction rates pertaining to marijuana.”
Legislation is pending, H 3782, which would prohibit a drug test for marijuana from being performed during urinalysis or blood test on an individual on probation.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 141, seeking to automatically remove certain misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and convictions from appearing on a background check after ten years.
Update: SB 141 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/9/21.
Legislation is pending to expand access to medical marijuana in South Dakota.
House Bill 1147 would allow physicians to examine patients using “telehealth” services, or virtual visits, as an alternative to in-person examinations.
Legislation is pending to protect certain cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.
House Bill 489 / Senate Bill 153 would prohibit government agencies from taking adverse actions against certain individuals based on positive urine tests for THC at the level of 35 nanograms per milliliter or less.
The measures would also create a “rebuttable presumption” that it is not abuse for a parent or guardian to provide hemp products to a child, and prohibit a court from revoking a person’s bail, probation, or parole solely due to a positive drug test for THC.
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 approved by the House on 2/5. SB 1406 was approved by the Senate on 2/5/21.
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 on 2/2/21 by a 86 to 12 vote.
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 approved by the House on 2/3/21. SB 1283 was approved by the Senate 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: HB 2218 was approved by the House on 2/3. SB 1333 was approved by the Senate on 2/5.
House Bill 1019 would allow adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants.
Update: HB 1019 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on 2/9/21 at 3:30pm.
Senate Bill 5009 and Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary.
Update: SB 5004 is scheduled for an executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2/11/21.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!