This week’s update highlights important legislative advancements in New Hampshire and Minnesota, focuses on several upcoming hearings, and provides updates on several other important bills moving forward across the country as well as an update on Nebraska and Arkansas’ ballot initiative efforts.
Legislation is currently pending in New Hampshire, House Bill 1598, to legalize the use and possession of cannabis by adults age 21 and older. However, this legislation would only make cannabis available at retail at state-owned stores, which would greatly limit participation in the market and likely runs afoul of federal law..
Update: The committee narrowly voted to approve this legislation by 12-10, with some amendments. The bill now heads to the House Floor.
Legislation is currently pending in Minnesota, House File 1355 and Senate File 2348, to reduce penalties for the limited possession of non-flower cannabis products and streamline the expungement process for cannabis-related offenses.
If passed, the bill would:
- Authorize the expungement of felony records for marijuana offenses if the charge would not maintain a felony classification after bill’s passage
- Provide for the automatic expungement of lower-level cannabis offenses, and
- Restore second amendment rights to those with personal cannabis convictions.
Although Minnesota decriminalized cannabis flower in the 1970s, other popular forms of THC such as edibles and concentrates, remain criminalized.
Update: HF 1355 was heard on Wednesday and voted out of committee 13 to 3.
NORML opposes this legislation.
Current state law has partially decriminalized cannabis for adults age 21 and older. While the laws still maintain penalties for cannabis use and possession, limited personal possession carries no threat of jail time.
House Bill 700 seeks to provide penalties for the possession of cannabis/marijuana by individuals under eighteen years of age. Young people should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.
Tennessee law allows for the use of cannabis extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC in instances where a physician has recommended such treatment to a patient with a state-qualifying condition.
SB 1847 / HB 1747, adds quadriplegia as a qualifying medical condition for the lawful possession of cannabis oil.
HB 2641 / SB 2532 seeks to establish a medical cannabis program under the purview of the medical cannabis commission, including establishing a patient registry for qualified patients and authorizing the possession of certain medical cannabis products by qualified patients and designated caregivers. This bill also redefines the term “marijuana” to exclude products containing less than 0.9 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.
Update: HB 1747 and HB 2641 will be heard by the House Health Subcommittee on Wednesday, March 30th. SB 2532 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 29th.
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act allows qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s recommendation. The bill has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House’s Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee, where it is awaiting a hearing. With only a few weeks left in the session, it is imperative the bill advance soon.
Legislation is currently pending in Maine, Legislative Document 1928, streamlining the state’s medical access program and limiting the actions that law enforcement can take against registered card holders.
Update: In its most recent work session, the bill was voted Ought to Pass (OTP) by an overwhelming majority of the committee with strong bipartisan support.
Legislation is currently pending , House Bill 4116, to protect cannabis consumers from employment discrimination. It mandates that an employer may not refuse to hire an individual or discipline an employee solely because of a positive marijuana test.
Update: HB 4116 passed the House with a vote of 61 – 41. It has now been assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.
Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana (NMM) has issued an urgent plea for volunteers and donors due to “a personal and tragic circumstance” which has left a “committed donor” no longer able to fund its petition drive this year. The petition drive is for two medical cannabis initiatives; 1.) the Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act to protect patients with serious health conditions and their caregivers from arrest for the use of medical cannabis as recommended by a healthcare provider, and 2.) the Medical Cannabis Commission Act regulates private businesses that provide medical cannabis to qualified patients.
“Our campaign has an incredible amount of grassroots support,” said State Sen. Adam Morfeld (D) of Lincoln, a leader of the petition drive. “We have hundreds of well-organized volunteers who are out gathering signatures, and more supporters sign up to help every day.”
Arkansans for Compassionate Care have withdrawn their current ballot initiative proposal in the hopes of submitting a new proposal to have more time to get signatures.