Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in favor of overturning a November 2020 vote legalizing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients.
The Democratic-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives approved an adult use marijuana legalization bill, sending it to the Republican-majority Senate.
Nebraska’s medical cannabis access bill failed to gain enough votes in the unicameral legislature to pass this year. Activists will take the issue to the 2022 ballot instead.
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
Republican Representatives David Joyce (OH) and Don Young (AK) have introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby repealing the federal prohibition of cannabis and making states the primary regulators of the plant.
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 prohibits patients from accessing medical cannabis in forms such as smoking herbal marijuana, vaping, and baked goods, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges, patches.
Update: SB 46 was approved by lawmakers on 5/6/21, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
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 5/13/21.
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 on 5/13/21, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
Multiple pieces of legislation are pending to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana in Louisiana.
Rep. Newell’s House Bill 637 would legalize and regulate adult use cannabis sales with a focus on a social equity licensing structure that would reduce barriers of entry into the industry for communities most harmed by prohibition.
Separately, House Bill 243 would remove penalties for marijuana possession and distribution, but only if lawmakers approve separate legislation to regulate production and retail sales.
House Bill 699 would also legalize and regulate marijuana, allowing adults to legally possess up to two pounds of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
Update: HB 699 is scheduled for consideration on the House floor on 5/18/21. HB 637 was approved by the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/12/21.
Legislation is pending which seeks to reduce penalties for the low-level possession of marijuana.
House Bill 652 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana from up to 15 days in jail and a maximum $300 fine, to a $50 fine only.
Update: HB 652 was approved by the House of Representatives, and now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 391, which would repeal the prohibition on physicians recommending medical marijuana for “inhalation” and in “raw or crude” form.
It also allows dispensaries to dispense two and a half ounces of marijuana per 14 day period.
Update: HB 391 was approved by the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare on 5/13/21.
House Majority Leader Winkler’s House File 600 would legalize and regulate marijuana, allowing 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.
Update: HF 600 was approved by the House of Representatives on 5/13/21, and now heads to the Republican-majority Senate.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 400, to remove existing ‘per se’ limits for individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC in their body — regardless of whether they are behaviorally impaired.
Update: AB 400 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/12/21.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 158, which seeks to revise penalties imposed on minors caught in possession of marijuana for first-time offenders.
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 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/12/21.
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 approved by the Senate Labor and Business Committee on 5/11/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 307, to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.
The measure waives fees for obtaining a medical marijuana card for veterans who have a total disability rating of at least 50 percent as a result of injury or illness incurred or aggravated during active military service, and who received discharge or release under other than dishonorable conditions.
Update: SB 307 was approved by the House General Government Committee on 5/13/21.