Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the federal level this week, Representative Brendan Boyle (PA-02) introduced legislation (HR 1614) to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by removing marijuana offenses as grounds of inadmissibility or consideration in a good moral character determination, among other legal changes.
In response to recent calls to re-criminalize cannabis products containing elevated levels of THC in several states — including Colorado, Florida, Montana and Washington — NORML is reiterating its opposition to these proposed legislative efforts.
The Mississippi House of Representatives defeated a bill that would have established a medical cannabis program in the state, an alternative to the one approved by voters in November, but the effort was then revived when House members tacked an amendment onto a separate bill.
Legislation in South Dakota seeking to delay the implementation of Measure 26, the voter-approved medical marijuana access law, was defeated on Wednesday after lawmakers failed to reconcile difference between House and Senate proposals. Meanwhile, the proponents behind Amendment A, the adult use ballot measure, officially filed an appeal in attempts to reverse the decision by the circuit court that the measure is unconstitutional.
And internationally, lawmakers in Mexico’s lower chamber voted 316 to 129 on Wednesday in favor of amended legislation to legalize and license the adult-use marijuana market. Because House lawmakers made changes to the language of the bill, it must now go back to the Senate for reconsideration.
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
President Biden was crystal clear on the campaign trail when he stated: “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone – anyone who has a record – should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.” Now, as President, he has the power to do just that.
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: Senate-approved SB 46 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/10/21, and is scheduled for consideration in the same committee on 3/17.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Senate Bill 499 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and and a maximum $2,500 fine, to a violation punishable by a $200 fine only.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 311, to permit qualified patients the ability to access medical cannabis preparations while in health care facilities.
Update: SB 311 was approved by the Senate Health Committee on 3/10/21.
Legislation is pending that would increase the amount of marijuana adults can legally possess as well as expand expungement eligibility for past marijuana convictions.
Under current state law, possession of between one and two ounces of marijuana is a petty offense punishable by a $100 fine.
House Bill 1090 would eliminate the penalty for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.
The measure would also require the court to seal a conviction record, without opportunity for the district attorney to object, for a marijuana possession offense that is otherwise not sealed, if the person has not been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense since. The bill also allows a person who was convicted of a class 3 felony marijuana cultivation offense to petition to have their conviction record sealed.
Update: HB 1090 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 3/9/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 56, which seeks to expand cannabis-based medicine access for registered patients in public schools.
The bill requires school boards to implement policies allowing for the storage, possession, and administration of cannabis-based medicine by school personnel. It also allows school personnel to volunteer to possess, administer, or assist in administration of cannabis-based medicine and protects those who do from retaliation.
Update: SB 56 was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 3/12/21.
Legislation is pending, HB 1455 / SB 1958, which seeks to impose numerous restrictions on Florida’s existing medical marijuana program, one of them being to arbitrarily limit the potency in medical marijuana products to 10 percent THC for smokeable products, and to 60 percent THC for all other product forms.
The measure would also reduce the patient purchase limit from a 70-day supply to a 35-day supply, and prohibit a qualified physician from issuing a medical marijuana recommendation to a minor patient, except for low-THC cannabis, and restrict the ability of doctors who specialize in medical cannabis from advertising their services to the public.
Update: HB 1455 was approved by the House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee on 3/9/21.
Legislation is pending to expand eligibility to allow those with certain prior cannabis convictions to get their records cleared.
Senate Bill 468 / House Bill 189 would allow individuals convicted of misdemeanor offenses involving the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana to petition the court to get their record expunged.
Separately, Senate Bill 470 / House Bill 191 would exempt a marijuana offense that has been expunged from public records, ensuring that the expunged conviction remains confidential.
Update: SB 468 and SB 470 are scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/15/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 117, to expand Georgia’s limited medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.
The measure would expand the pool of patients eligible to receive an authorization for CBD therapy to include those with ulcerative colitis.
Update: HB 117 was approved by the House on 3/8/21, and now heads to the Senate.
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.
Update: SB 767 was approved by the Senate on 3/9/21, and now heads to the House.
Senate Bill 758 would increase from 3 grams to 1 ounce: (1) the minimum amount of marijuana that a defendant must possess to be charged with a petty misdemeanor; and (2) the maximum amount of marijuana that a defendant convicted of possessing marijuana could have possessed without being disqualified from the subsequent expungement of the record of that conviction.
Update: SB 758 was approved by the Senate on 3/9/21, and now heads to the House.
Senate Bill 241 would authorize qualifying patients and qualifying out-of-state patients to transport cannabis between islands of the State for personal medical use.
Update: SB 241 was approved by the Senate on 3/4/21 and now heads to the House.
House File 751 was introduced, which would remove all penalties for offenses related to the possession, delivery, manufacturing of marijuana. It also allows for the expungement of past offenses related to possession and transfer of marijuana.
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.
Update: LD 216 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Committee on Judiciary on 3/18/21.
House Bill 415, and House Bill 543 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: HB 415 and HB 543 were heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/10/21.
House Bill 1325 prohibits a family court from barring its participants from participating in the medical cannabis program.
Update: HB 1325 was heard in the House Emerging Issues Committee on 3/9/21.
Senator Anna Wishart’s (D) legislation is pending 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. The measure would prohibit home cultivation and smoking herbal cannabis.
Update: LB 474 was heard in the Judiciary Committee on 3/10/21.
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 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/17/21.
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-site consumption lounges.
Update: The Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee approved HB 12 and SB 288 on 3/9/21.
House Bill 1501 would impose a 15% tax on adult use marijuana retail sales if and when adult use marijuana is legalized by lawmakers.
Update: HB 1501 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee on 3/16/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2272, which seeks to limit the number of medical cannabis dispensaries permitted to operate in the state of Oklahoma.
The bill would end the distribution of additional licenses to new businesses this fall, and allow currently operating businesses to have their licenses revoked if they don’t meet certain criteria.
Update: HB 2272 was approved by the House on 3/10/21, and now heads to the Senate.
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.
House Bill 666/Senate Bill 1493 would allow disabled veterans with quadriplegia to possess and use liquid extract cannabis if certain criteria met.
Update: HB 239 and HB 666 were scheduled for consideration in the Health Subcommittee on 3/9/21, but it was deferred until 3/16/21.
SB 667/HB 880 would request a study on the licensure and regulation of cannabis for medical use by departments of health and medical professional licensing boards in states contiguous to Tennessee and report findings to the general assembly’s health committees by December 15, 2021.
Update: SB 667 was scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health And Welfare Committee on 3/10/21, but it was deferred until 3/17.
Legislation was introduced to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession in West Virginia.
Senate Bill 591 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, to a civil infraction, punishable by a $25 fine.
Legislation was introduced, Senate Bill 590, which would allow edible medical cannabis products to be dispensed to patients.
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 public hearing in the House Committee on Finance on 3/16/21.
Legislation is pending to legalize and regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Wyoming!
House Bill 209 would allow adults 21 and older to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 6 mature plants at a time.
However, adults would be permitted to possess up to three ounces of marijuana in public and 16 ounces in private (if above 2.5 ounces, must be stored in locked area). Adults would also be allowed to grow up to 12 mature plants in a private residence for personal use. The measure would tax marijuana retail sales at 30 percent.
Update: HB 209 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 3/12/21.
Legislation is pending that would provide funding for the Dept. of Health to develop a report with recommendations on how to best regulate medical cannabis access in Wyoming.
House Bill 82 would require recommendations on: medical conditions likely to benefit from therapeutic cannabis use, regulations for recommending physicians, a timeline for implementation, and more.
Update: HB 82 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/12/21.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!