Here is NORML’s weekly update on pending state legislation.
Legislation is pending to exempt medical marijuana from excise taxes. Senate Bill 5009 and Senate Bill 5004 provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana products purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary. Patients, many of whom are on disability or fixed income, should not be seen by lawmakers as a viable source of new tax revenue.
Senate Bill 5517 protects marijuana consumers from employment discrimination by prohibiting employers from refusing to hire an individual solely because they use marijuana off the job or test positive for THC on a drug test.
Update: The bill was heard on Wednesday, January 26th, 2022, but no further action was taken.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced to regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older.
- HB 211 Retail sale of cannabis products by certain pharmaceutical processors; sunset.
- HB 430 Cannabis control; retail market; penalties.
- HB 950 Cannabis control; retail market; penalties.
- SB 313 Retail sale of cannabis products by certain pharmaceutical processors and industrial hemp.
- SB 391 Cannabis control; retail market; penalties.
- SB 621 Cannabis products; retail sales by certain pharmaceutical processors.
The question is no longer whether or not Virginia should legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. That question was asked and answered in 2021 with the passage of legalization legislation. The time has come to make sure that Virginians have access to cannabis that is safe, legal, and affordable.
House Bill 461 limits employees of state and local governments and agencies from being sanctioned solely because of their participation in the state’s medical cannabis access program.
Legislation has been introduced, HB 287, to replace all instances of the word “marijuana” in the Cannabis Control Act with “cannabis.”
NORML Opposes the following measures:
- HB 79 Marijuana and certain traffic offenses; issuing citations.
- HB 960 Issuing citations; marijuana and certain traffic offenses; exclusion of evidence.
- HB 1030 Issuing citations; marijuana and certain traffic offenses
Under current law, police in Virginia are prohibited from stopping, searching, or seizing any person, place, or thing based solely on the odor of cannabis. Any evidence seized as a result of such unlawful search is inadmissible. Cannabis is legal in Virginia for medical use and for adults 21 and older. Those lawfully possessing cannabis ought not be subject to stops and searches based solely on its odor.
NORML Opposes the following measure:
House Bill 72 has been introduced to prevent the sale of seeds and immature plants by licensed cannabis cultivation facilities:
Virginia residents 21 and older are permitted to grow up to four plants at their primary residence. They should therefore be able to purchase seeds and immature plants from legal, above-ground sources.
Legislation has been proposed, House Bill 181, to repeal provisions facilitating the expungement and sealing of records related to certain marijuana convictions.
Virginians do not deserve for the rest of their life to be derailed because of a cannabis conviction that would not have been prosecuted today.
Update: This bill had a hearing on Thursday, January 27th, 2022, where it was passed out of committee by a vote of 9 to 2.
Senate Bill 46 would strengthen protections for medical cannabis patients, and make other technical changes to the state’s nascent medical cannabis access program.
The proposed changes:
- Provide certain employment protections for a state or political subdivision employee who declines to participate in a job duty required by the state’s medical cannabis laws;
- Repeal a provision allowing courts to discriminate against a parent based solely upon their lawful use of medical cannabis during a custody proceeding; and
- Include protections for parents and legal guardians of certain minor patients.
Legislation is pending in Tennessee, House Bill 1968, the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act,” to establish an adult-use regulated cannabis market.
If passed, this bill would regulate the adult-use cannabis market. It would also allow for nonviolent, non-felony marijuana offenders to be eligible for immediate release from incarceration, probation, and parole.
Current Tennessee law criminalizes the possession and adult use of marijuana as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail as well as mandatory fines. As recently as 2016, on average over 18,000 Tennesseans are arrested each year due to marijuana possession.
Senate Bill 1847 and House Bill 1747, adds quadriplegia as a qualifying medical condition for the lawful possession of cannabis oils.
NORML Opposes the following measures:
Legislation is pending in South Dakota, House Bill 1088, to place restrictions on the potency of medical marijuana, limiting the concentration of THC to fifteen percent among all dispensary products.
If passed, this bill would significantly limit medical patients’ access to stronger forms of medicine. Just as conventional medicines are readily available in a variety of strengths and potencies in order to meet individual patients’ needs, medicinal cannabis products should also be available to patients in varying potencies and formulations.
NORML Opposes the following measures:
UPDATE: The House voted 41-29 to repeal a medical cannabis patient’s ability to grow their own medicine, a practice previously approved by voters through IM 26. HB 1004 now goes to the Senate.
Nearly 70 percent of South Dakota voters decided in favor of ballot Measure 26 during the November 2020 election, allowing patients to legally obtain medical cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries and to grow a limited amount at home.
Send a message to your lawmakers in opposition to this effort, and hold them accountable for undermining the will of voters in South Dakota.
NORML Opposes the following measures:
Legislation is pending in South Dakota, House Bill 1094, would place restrictions on public school children’s use of cannabis medicine on school property. This would reverse the current protections for patients to be able to access their medicine at school. Many of these minors need to take a dose of medical cannabis at regular intervals, which often includes during school hours.
Update: This bill had a hearing on Thursday, January 27th, 2022 where it was passed out of committee with a vote of 7 to 5.
EDIBLE BAN DEFEATED
HB 1058, a bill designed to ban a variety of forms of medical cannabis from being sold in South Dakota was defeated in the House by a vote of 21 to 47!
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, allows qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s recommendation. While opponents of medical cannabis access have said they will do everything they can to block the bill from receiving the consideration it deserves, Sen. Tom Davis, the bill’s sponsor, is prepared to fight back.
Update: HB 150 is being debated in the Senate. Further debate is expected on Tuesday, February 1st, 2022.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1024, which would allow medical marijuana patients in the state of Pennsylvania to grow and cultivate up to six plants at one time in their own residence.
Currently under state law, medical marijuana patients are not allowed to grow their own medicine, and must bear the high financial burden of purchasing it from a dispensary without the ability to utilize their health insurance.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 261, to expand medical marijuana access for patients in Ohio. If passed, this bill would expand conditions eligible for medical marijuana access in Ohio to include any condition from which a patient could benefit or experience relief in the opinion of a physician.
Update: After passing the Ohio State Senate with a vote of 26 to 5, SB 261 is now up for discussion in the House.
Legislation has been recently filed in Kansas, House Concurrent Resolution 5025, which would amend the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana beginning in July of 2023. If passed, the bill would place on the ballot a question regarding the recreational use of cannabis, allowing Kansas voters to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana in November 2022.
Current Kansas law criminalizes the possession of any amount of marijuana as a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. There are nearly 5,000 marijuana-related arrests a year, reported as current as 2016.
Legislation is pending in Illinois, House Bill 4799, to permit the personal home cultivation of marijuana by residents age 21 or older.
If passed, this bill would allow Illinois adults to personally cultivate cannabis plants with a limit of 5 plants over 5 inches tall per household. It would also allow those individuals to purchase safe, tested cannabis seeds from a licensed dispensary.
Current law restricts this access to registered qualifying medical marijuana patients only , and penalizes the cultivation of up to 5 plants by non medical patients with a violation and fee of $200.
NORML opposes the following legislation:
Legislation is pending in Illinois, House Bill 4709, to impose restrictions on the potency of regulated marijuana, limiting the concentration of THC to ten percent for cannabis flower and fifteen percent for concentrates and other cannabis-infused products.
If passed, this bill would significantly limit access to stronger forms of cannabis, with the most detrimental impacts falling on those who rely on marijuana for its medicinal properties. Just as conventional medicines are readily available in a variety of strengths and potencies in order to meet individual patients’ needs, medicinal cannabis and regulated products in general should be available in varying potencies and formulations.
Furthermore, there is no substantiated evidence that higher potency cannabis can cause harmful effects to its consumers. Unlike alcohol, THC, regardless of potency or quantity, cannot cause death by lethal overdose. Imposing THC limits on cannabis products not only limits a patient’s ability to access the type of medicine they need, but it can also bolster an illicit market with marijuana consumers unsatisfied with what regulated dispensaries are permitted to offer.
Multiple bills are pending to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
Newly filed Senate Bill 2455 & House Bill 1907 legalize, regulate, and taxes cannabis and manufactured cannabis products for adults.. In addition, it would extend medical cannabis access to out-of-state patients.
Multiple bills are pending which seek to expand medicinal marijuana access in the state of Hawaii:
- Senate Bill 2340 permits authorized dispensaries to offer high-quality, tested plant propagules and cuttings for qualifying patients or their primary caregivers.
- Senate Bill 2718 amends the definition of a “qualifying patient” and makes it easier for senior citizens – anyone age 65 or older – to access the state’s established medical cannabis program.
- House Bill 2053 authorizes medical cannabis dispensaries to distribute cannabis propagules and cuttings to individuals authorized to cultivate cannabis plants for medical use.
HB 305 – Delaware’s freshly revised adult-use legalization bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Osienski.
Update: HB 305 advanced out of the House Health and Human Development Committee with a 10-4 vote.
(Please note that authors of this bill are excluded from this action. We will follow up with a thank you campaign shortly.)