Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This was a HUGE week for marijuana. New York became the 16th state to legalize marijuana for all adults. Virginia and New Mexico are likely to join this growing list shortly, as Govs. Northam and Lujan Grisham are both expected to sign legalization measures into law imminently.
Additionally, Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 1862 into law, which provides employment protections for state-registered medical cannabis patients.
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 scheduled for a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 3/31/21, and once again consideration was delayed another week to 4/7.
Legislation is pending to expand the medical use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in California.
Assembly Bill 384 would require new guidelines for veterinarians to follow when recommending medical cannabis treatment to any animal (excluding livestock).
Update: AB 384 was approved by the Committee on Business and Professions on 3/31/21.
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 heard in the House Education Committee on 4/1/21.
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 House Health & Human Development Committee on 3/31/21.
Senate Bill 468 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.
Senate Bill 470 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 Criminal Justice Committee on 3/30/21, and now head to the Appropriations Committee.
Legislation is pending, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.
Senate Bill 368 would make possession by a minor of marijuana and paraphernalia used with marijuana a juvenile status offense, rather than a criminal offense.
Update: SB 368 was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee on 3/31/21.
House Bill 2184: The Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act is also pending to allow qualifying patients to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of medical cannabis. This measure would prohibit smoking and vaping.
Update: HB 2184 was approved by the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs on 3/29/21.
Currently under state law, those under 21 can face up to 8 hours of drug education or counseling and a $100 fine for up to one ounce of marijuana possession.
House Bill 517 would remove these penalties for those between 18-20, and remove the fine for those under 18 caught in possession of any amount of marijuana.
Update: HB 517 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/1/21.
Legislation is pending to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.
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.
Update: LB 474 was approved by the Judiciary Committee on 3/31/21. The bill will head to the floor next.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 400, to remove existing ‘per se’ criminal limits for individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC in their body — regardless of whether he/she is behaviorally impaired.
Update: AB 400 was heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 3/29/21.
Assembly Bill 341 would allow for the licensure of businesses as “cannabis consumption lounges” that would permit cannabis to be consumed on-site.
Update: AB 341 was heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 3/29/21.
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 Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee on 3/30/21.
Legislation is pending to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults in Rhode Island.
S568, which is sponsored by the Senate president and majority leader, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.
Update: S568 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/1/21.
- Prohibit a cardholder’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites from constituting evidence that the person is under the influence of marijuana;
- Allows a person whose rights under this act have been violated to commence a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief; and
- Strengthens protections prohibiting discrimination by schools, landlords, or employers because of lawful medical cannabis use.
Update: S397 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/1/21.
Senate Bill 252 would allow veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis treatment to animals with a debilitating medical condition.
Update: S252 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/1/21.
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s supervision.
Update: S. 150 was approved by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on 3/31/21.
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 approved by the Senate Health And Welfare Committee on 3/31/21. HB 880 was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health Subcommittee on 3/30/21, but it was deferred until 4/6.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.
House Bill 413/Senate Bill 1439 would remove criminal and civil penalties for the possession or casual exchange of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults.
Update: HB 413 was scheduled for consideration in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 3/21/21, but was deferred until 4/6.
House Bill 1330 / Senate Bill 1359 would prohibit a public or private employer from discriminating against an applicant or employee in hiring, termination, or a term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee based on a drug test that indicates the use of marijuana by the applicant or employee.
House Bill 489 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.
Update: HB 1330 was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Banking & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on 3/31/21, but was deferred until 4/7. SB 1339 was scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on 3/30/21, but it was deferred until 4/6. HB 489 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Health Subcommittee on 4/6/21.
House Bill 1086 is pending, which would amend penalty weights as well as reduce penalties for cannabis possession.
Update: HB 1086 was approved by the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 3/29/21.
Several additional bills are pending to reduce criminal penalties for certain marijuana possession offenses.
Update: A number of these bills are scheduled for a hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 4/6/21.
HB 1535 which would add Cancer, Chronic Pain, and PTSD for Veterans while allowing the Department of State Health Services to add new qualifying conditions through their administrative rule-making process. HB 1535 would also raise the THC cap to 5% and create “Institutional Review Boards” which will facilitate research and track the impact of medical cannabis on patients participating in the program.
Update: SB 1535 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Public Health Committee on 4/7/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 231, which seeks to expand patient access to medical marijuana in West Virginia. If passed, the bill would:
- Increase the allowable number of dispensaries in the state
- Expand the list of qualifying medical conditions
- Add flower and edibles as acceptable methods of delivery
- Establish Compassion Certificates, permitting patients and caregivers to grow small amounts of cannabis for therapeutic use (12 mature and 12 seedlings)
- Establish reciprocity so out-of-state patients can access medicine while visiting West Virginia
Update: SB 231 was approved by the Senate on 3/31/21, and now heads to the House.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!