Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Two pieces of legislation were reintroduced at the federal level this week, one to provide marijuana businesses with access to banking and other financial services (SAFE Banking Act), and a separate bill to provide these businesses with greater access to insurance coverage (CLAIM Act).
At the state level, Governor Spencer Cox (R) of Utah signed two pieces of legislation into law to expand medical cannabis access in the state.
New data provided to NORML upon request by the Pennsylvania State Police shows that state and local law enforcement made 20,200 marijuana-related arrests in the Commonwealth in 2020, that’s about 55 Pennsylvanians arrested every day.
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
Representatives Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and Warren Davidson (R-OH), along with over 100 additional co-sponsors, have reintroduced The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the US House of Representatives, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.
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 by the House Judiciary Committee, and after several delays, committee members will be voting on the bill on Wednesday March 31, 2021.
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 on 3/17/21 by a 45 to 19 vote, and now heads to the Senate.
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 on 3/17/21 by a 33 to 1 vote, and now heads to the House.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1058, which seeks to promote social distancing in the marijuana industry by allowing telehealth and other services.
The bill permits a physician to treat, counsel, and conduct appropriate personal physical examinations, in person or remotely via telephone or video conference, to establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship with a patient seeking a medical marijuana card.
Update: HB 1058 was heard in the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee on 3/18/21.
Legislation to legalize and regulate the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Delaware has been reintroduced.
House Bill 150 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
The bill also includes provisions expanding expungement eligibility for those with past marijuana related convictions, as well as a 15 percent point of sale tax. HB 150 would allow for the licensing of 30 retail businesses in the first 16 months, and includes a designated social equity applicant status, in which qualifying applicants would be eligible for technical assistance, reduced fees, loans, and other programs to reduce barriers of entry for the communities most adversely impacted by prohibition.
Update: HB 150 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health and Human Development Committee on 3/24/21.
Legislation is pending to expand the pool of providers that are eligible to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.
Senate Bill 60 would allow physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to issue medical cannabis recommendations to qualifying patients.
Update: SB 60 was approved by the Senate Health & Social Services Committee on 3/17/21.
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 were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3/15/21.
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 smokable 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, 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 Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on 3/18/21. Meanwhile, a new statewide poll shows that 58 percent of Floridians are opposed to imposing restrictions on THC content in marijuana.
Legislation is pending to expand Georgia’s limited medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.
House Bill 645 would allow patients to access other “products” in addition to oils, and also allows the commission to recommend new delivery methods and license additional businesses.
Update: HB 645 was heard in the Senate Health And Human Services Committee on 3/17/21.
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.
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.
Update: HB 477 was heard in the Committees on Health and Commerce & Consumer Protection on 3/19/21 at 9am.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 201, to provide a defense to DUI prosecution for a person who operates a vehicle with marijuana or its metabolite in the person’s blood under certain conditions.
Update: SB 201 was heard in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee on 3/17/21.
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 was heard in the Committee on Judiciary on 3/18/21.
Currently in the state of Nevada, minors caught with up to one ounce of marijuana face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in the county jail.
This bill would revise the current penalties to eliminate the possibility of jail time or a fine on the first offense. The penalty under this measure for a minor in possession of under one ounce of marijuana, or who falsely represents themselves to be 21 years of age or older to obtain cannabis, would be up to 100 hours of counseling or participation in support groups.
Update: AB 158 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 3/24/21.
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 was heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/17/21.
House Bill 605, as originally written, would have added “moderate to severe insomnia” as well as “opioid use disorder” to the definition of qualifying medical condition, allowed out-of-state residents qualified in other jurisdictions to purchase therapeutic cannabis at New Hampshire dispensaries, and allowed patients and caregivers to cultivate up to 3 mature cannabis plants, 3 immature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings in private.
Update: HB 605 was approved by the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs, with amendments. The measure, as amended, removes provisions that would have permitted home cultivation by patients as well as provisions that would have added “moderate to severe insomnia” as a qualifying condition.
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 Judiciary Committee approved HB 12 on 3/18/21. The measure is being debated on the Senate floor today. If and when the Senate approves HB 12, the measure must go back to the House for concurrence before noon on Saturday 3/20/21.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), has been re-introduced this legislative session. The Senate version, S854, was introduced with nearly a third of senate lawmakers as cosponsors. The Assembly companion is also pending, A1248.
The measures would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants for personal use, and also include automatic expungement, and other provisions to promote social equity in the industry and direct revenue toward communities most harmed by the drug war.
Update: Legislative leaders say they are ” extremely close” to a deal with Governor Cuomo on marijuana legalization provisions, but have hit “a little bit of an impasse” over certain aspects such as impaired driving, and home cultivation provisions. Meanwhile, a new statewide poll shows that 61 percent of New York State residents believe that recreational sales of marijuana to adults ought to be legal and 52 percent agree that adults ought to be legally able to row personal use amounts of marijuana at home.
Legislation was introduced, H 290, which seeks decriminalize marijuana by reducing the penalty for the possession of up to one and one half ounces of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.
Currently under state law, possession of between ½ and 1 ½ ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Possession of less than ½ ounce is also currently a misdemeanor punishable by a $200 fine.
This measure would also decriminalize the possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Possession of paraphernalia can currently yield up to 45 days of incarceration and a maximum $1,000 fine.
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 was heard in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee on 3/16/21.
Legislation is pending to remove all civil and criminal penalties for the possession, use, and personal cultivation of small amounts of marijuana.
House Bill 210 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 200 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use.
The measure would also allow those convicted of an offense involving the possession of up to 200 grams or 12 marijuana plants to get their record expunged.
Currently under state law, the possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2004, which seeks to expand Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law.
The bill would:
- Allow patient licensees to possess 12 mature marijuana plants, rather than six mature plants and six seedling plants;
- Reclassify the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by someone without a patient license as an offense not subject to imprisonment and punishable by a fine and court costs not to exceed $400;
- Provide tax waivers and reduced patient license application fees for certain disabled veterans; and
- Allow out of state patients to access their medicine while visiting Oklahoma.
Update: HB 2004 was approved by the House on 3/9/21, and was transmitted to the Senate on 3/15.
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 is scheduled for a work session in the House General Government Committee on 3/23/21.
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 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health And Welfare Committee on 3/24/21. HB 880 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health Subcommittee on 3/23/21.
House Bill 1086 is pending, which would amend penalty weights as well as reduce penalties for cannabis possession.
Update: HB 1086 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 3/22/21.
Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary.
Update: SB 5004 was heard in the House Committee on Finance on 3/16/21.
Senate Bill 590 would allow edible medical cannabis products to be dispensed to patients.
Update: SB 590 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee on 3/18/21.
Senate Bill 649 was introduced, which seek to legalize the personal use and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults, and provides for a county option election to allow for the production and sales in that county.
House Bill 3205 was introduced, which seeks to scale back employment protections for registered medical cannabis patients, giving more discretion to employers.
Currently under state law, employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening, refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee for their status as a medical cannabis patient. HB 3205 would remove this protection for patients. The measure would also prohibit employees from taking action against an employer for discrimination or wrongful discharge based on medical cannabis use.
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 approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 3/18/21.