State Policy Weekly Update 2/25/2022

Here is NORML’s weekly update on state legislative activity.

Highlighted

Utah

Legislation is currently pending, Senate Bill 195, expands qualifying conditions to include those experiencing acute pain that would otherwise be treated with opioids.

Update: This week, the  bill passed the Senate and House. After a procedural reading, it advances to the Governor. 

Send a message of support to your Governor. 

South Dakota

Legislation is currently pending, Senate Bill 3, to establish a regulated, adult-use cannabis market in the state. If passed, the bill would permit individuals age 21 and older to possess up to four ounces of marijuana or an equivalent weight of marijuana products (eight grams of concentrates and five grams of oils).

Update: Wednesday, February 23, the Senate advanced SB 3​ in a 18-17 vote. ​It now heads to the House for further consideration.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation is currently pending, Senate Bill 151A, to seal certain marijuana-related convictions from a person’s background check. 

Update: Wednesday, February 23, the Senate advanced SB 151A in a 19-1 vote. It now heads to the House.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Oregon

NORML Opposes the following legislation.

Legislation is currently pending, Senate Bill 1506, to increase the maximum percentage of taxes that a locality may impose on the retail sale of marijuana and marijuana products from three percent to ten percent. 

Update: This bill passed out of the Finance and Review Committee with a vote of 3 to 2.

Send a message to your lawmakers opposing this effort.

New York 

Legislation that seeks to secure a smooth and timely transition to the adult-use marijuana market has been signed into law. A9283/S8084-A, authorizes already licensed hemp growers to obtain temporary conditional licenses to commercially cultivate and process cannabis for the state’s forthcoming adult-use market.

Read more. 

Maryland

Members of the state’s House of Delegates have given approval to a pair of legalization bills. The first, House Bill 1, would let voters decide on whether to legalize cannabis possession and sales via a binding referendum question on the November ballot. Statewide polling from October finds that Maryland residents support such a plan by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. A second bill, HB 837, compliments HB 1 by setting up a limited framework for legalization, establishing personal possession limits, and providing for the expungement of past convictions, among other issues. Lawmakers have made several changes to the bill to comport with requests from NORML and other reform organizations, and we are continuing to ask for additional reforms. 

Update: The chamber had debated the proposals, rejected several GOP-led amendments and advanced them to third reading on Wednesday. Now lawmakers have given final passage to the referendum and implementation measures—in votes of 96-34 and 92-37, respectively—sending them to the Senate.

Send a message to your lawmakers requesting improvement to this legislation. 

Kentucky

Legislation is currently pending, House Bill 521 and Senate Bill 186, to legalize the possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by individuals age 21 and older and to establish a regulatory framework for retail sales.

This legislation, the L.E.T.T.’s (Legalize, Expunge, Treat, and Tax) Grow Bill, creates a Cannabis Control Board to regulate both medical and adult-use cannabis markets. It outlines social equity provisions for the Board and for the industry at large, provides employment protections for lawful cannabis consumers, and permits individuals with prior marijuana-related misdemeanor convictions to petition the courts for the expungement of their criminal records.

The bills allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in a public place and up to twelve ounces in private, to transfer up to one ounce among adults without remuneration, and to home cultivate up to ten mature plants. If the legislation is passed, the legal sale of medical and adult-use cannabis to consumers would take effect beginning July 1, 2024.

Under current state law, the possession of less than eight ounces is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Delaware 

HB 305 – Delaware’s freshly revised adult-use legalization bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Osienski. 

Update: This bill was advanced to the House floor, where it awaits a vote from the full chamber. It requires a 60 percent super-majority in order to advance to the Senate. 

Learn more about the process by reviewing the HB 305 Toolkit. Follow Delaware NORML on Facebook and visit their website.

Send a message to your legislators in support of this effort. 

Additional

Washington

Legislation is currently pending , House Bill 2122 and House Bill 2123, to protect consumers from untested and unregulated cannabinoid products.

If passed, HB 2122 & HB 2123 would expand agency regulatory authority over cannabinoids, prohibit the sale of certain cannabinoid products except by licensed cannabis businesses, regulate the use of additives in cannabis products, require product testing and disclosures, and prohibit the manufacture and sale of artificial cannabinoids. This would ensure that consumers have legal access to cannabinoid products that have been lab tested and that meet standards for quality and safety while preventing intoxicating products from being sold outside of the regulated adult-use cannabis market.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation is pending to exempt medical marijuana products from excise taxes. Senate Bill 5004  provides a tax exemption on medical marijuana 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.

Update: This bill was scheduled for two hearings this week and subsequently was referred to Rules for review. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

South Dakota

Senate Bill 177 would expand access to the state’s already existing medical marijuana program by allowing qualified patients from tribal communities to purchase medicine outside of their reservation, and would also allow a tribe the right to develop the tribe’s cannabis programs under tribal law.

Update: This bill failed on the Senate bill with a vote of 14 to 20.

NORML Opposes the following legislation.

Legislation has been filed, Senate Bill 116, to restrict a physician’s ability to recommend the number of cannabis plants that a patient may cultivate in their home. 

Update: This legislation passed in the Senate unanimously and now heads to the House.

Send a message to your lawmakers in opposition of this effort.

New York

NORML Opposes the following legislation.

Legislation is currently pending, Assembly Bill A9292, to prohibit firefighters and their operational members from consuming recreational cannabis while off-the-job, despite its legal status in the state. 

Send a message to your lawmakers opposing this effort.

Louisiana

Legislation is currently pending, House Bill 135 and House Bill 137, to provide reciprocity for patients within the state’s medical cannabis program. 

HB 135 permits the dispensing of medical marijuana to certain qualifying patients who are not Louisiana residents, and HB 137 ensures that those individuals have immunity from prosecution for the purchase and possession of medical marijuana.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation is currently pending, House Bill 125, to protect consumers from untested and unregulated cannabinoid products.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Georgia

Legislation has been recently filed, House Bill 1400, to  revise, and increase, the number of Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses that can be issued by the commission in an effort to expand the future medical marijuana market.

Current state law allows the sale of low-THC oil extract for qualified medical patients. Despite this, patients still, after seven years, have no legal way to legally purchase their physician-recommended medication. HB 1400 aims to improve accessibility by expanding the state’s medical access by increasing the number of state licenses from 6 to 22. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Alaska

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 207, to shield the records of low-level marijuana possession crimes from specific types of criminal history background checks.

If passed, the bill would prevent the Alaska Court System from publishing on a publicly available website the court records of a criminal case in which an adult  defendant was convicted for possession of less than one ounce of cannabis. This would reduce barriers to employment and allow those who have low-level marijuana crimes on their records to seek better job opportunities and contribute to being productive members of society.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.


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