Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed legislation into law legalizing state-regulated medical cannabis access for qualifying patients with a physician’s recommendation.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) signed legislation into law this week doubling the legal marijuana possession limit from one to two ounces of either cannabis flower or concentrates.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation into law amending the state’s 2020 voter-approved adult-use legalization law.
Minnesota lawmakers approved legislation that includes provisions permitting registered medical cannabis patients to access medical cannabis flower.
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.
House Bill 1317, seeks to place undue limitations upon patients’ medical cannabis access.
It provides overly burdensome requirements upon physicians issuing medical cannabis recommendations. For the first time ever, it requires physicians to create an explicit dosing regimen for patients. It also requires health care providers to conduct a “full assessment” of the patients’ “mental health history,” even in cases where patients have no pre-existing or underlying mental health issues.
For those patients ages 18 to 20, it requires “two physicians from two different medical practices … to diagnose the patient as having a debilitating or disabling medical condition after an in-person consultation.”
Update: HB 1317 was approved by the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on 5/18/21.
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 postponed indefinitely by the House Finance Committee on 5/20/21, effectively killing the bill.
Multiple pieces of legislation are pending to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana in Louisiana.
House Bill 699 would 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 was scheduled for consideration on the House floor on 5/18/21, but it was removed from the calendar.
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 reported without Legislative Bureau amendment, and will head to the Senate floor on 5/24/21.
Assembly Bill 158 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 unanimously approved by the Senate, and will now head back to the Assembly for approval of Senate changes before heading to the governor’s desk.
House Bill 89 would add “moderate to severe insomnia” and “autism spectrum disorder” as qualifying conditions for eligibility for medical cannabis treatment.
House Bill 605 would add “opioid use disorder” to the definition of qualifying medical condition. The measure also would allow out-of-state residents qualified in other jurisdictions to purchase therapeutic cannabis at New Hampshire dispensaries.
Update: HB 89 was approved by the Senate, and now heads to the governor’s desk. HB 605 was removed from the table and approved on a voice vote by the Senate, and will now head to the Senate Finance Committee.
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, and now heads to the governor’s desk.
HB 2593 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to two ounces of THC concentrates from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor, which could still carry jail time.
Update: HB 2593 was approved by the Senate on 5/21/21, and will head to the House for final approval next before heading to the governor’s desk.