This week’s update highlights important legalization advancement in Maryland, medical cannabis advancement in South Carolina, and additional important movements in Delaware, Illinois and other states.
Twenty-five years after the passage of Prop. 215, California still has many regions lacking access to medicinal cannabis on account of the enactment of local bans on licensed providers. In some areas, patients must travel for hours to locate the nearest dispensary.
SB 1186 remedies this situation by requiring all local governments to provide avenues to patients’ access either via the establishment of licensed dispensaries or by delivery services.
Update: This legislation continues to advance through the committee process with its next hearing set for April 21st, 2022.
An anti-tobacco bill that bans single-use vape pens, AB 1690, has been amended to include a ban on single-use cannabis vapes.
Update: This legislation advances to the next stage of the committee process.
After the legislature failed to advance HB 305 by just two votes, new legislation has been filed by Rep. Ed Osienski to legalize adult-use cannabis.
House Bill 371 legalizes the possession of cannabis by adults age 21 and older. The bill removes all criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults. Possession above this limit and/or the public consumption of marijuana would be classified as a misdemeanor. This legislation would also allow for adults to transfer cannabis among themselves within the possession limits and without remuneration.
House Bill 372, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, seeks to establish a regulated, adult-use cannabis market in the state. The bill would tax and regulate marijuana products in a similar manner to alcohol.
Update: On April 13th, 2022, HB 371 will be heard in the House Health & Human Development Committee at 11am and HB 372 will be heard in the House Revenue & Finance Committee at 1pm.
Current Illinois law requires that individuals petitioning for either the expungement or sealing of records must pass a drug test 30 days prior to filing their petitions.
Legislation is currently pending in Illinois, House Bill 4392, to remove this drug testing requirement.
Update: The Senate Criminal Law Committee held a hearing on HB 4392 on April 5th and voted it out of committee. It now advances to the Senate Floor.
Senate Bill 221 reconsiders criminal sentences for those individuals convicted of marijuana possession in an amount of 14 grams or less.
Update: SB 221 was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary on April 5th, 2022 and is pending a vote.
House Bill 137 provides reciprocity for qualifying patients from other states who visit Louisiana.
Update: HB 137 was scheduled for a hearing on April 6th in the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice and is pending a vote.
NORML opposes this legislation: House Bill 700 seeks to impose new criminal 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.
Update: HB 700 has passed out of committee and was advanced to the House floor for discussion on Tuesday, April 5th, where it was amended and returned to the calendar.
House Bill 988 offers employment protections to patients who lawfully consume medical marijuana while away from their jobs. This provision does not alter existing law regarding the consumption of cannabis while at work, which is strictly prohibited.
Lawmakers last week gave final approval to a proposed Constitutional Amendment, House Bill 1, which asks voters: “Do you favor the legalization of adult–use cannabis in the State of Maryland?” Voters will decide the issue in November. Recent statewide polls find that between 62 and 70 percent of Marylanders support legalizing cannabis. If approved by voters, the referendum takes effect on July 1, 2023.
State lawmakers also approved complementary legislation, HB 837, which defines marijuana possession limits and facilitates the automatic review and expungement of past criminal records. That bill awaits approval from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Lawmakers would still need to enact additional legislation next session to establish rules and regulations governing a legally regulated cannabis marketplace.
House Bill 629 permits adults 21 and over to legally possess up to 3/4 ounce of marijuana and five grams of hashish, and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to three mature, three immature). Statewide polling data shows that 68 percent of New Hampshire adults support “legalizing [the] possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal recreational use.”
UPDATE: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on HB 629 on Thursday and is pending a vote.
Senate Bill S8738-A, entitled the “Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act,” provides new requirements for cannabis operators to allocate a portion of their profits toward local community reinvestment plans. The bill requires that new applications submitted by cannabis operators include plans to reinvest in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, prioritizing the community in which the operator is located, if possible.
Senate Bill 1167 seeks to legitimize banking practices for medical cannabis businesses and addresses the lack of insurance options for medical patients who rely on cannabis. It allows for state tax deductions of business expenses and permits state credit unions to interact with cannabis businesses. The bill’s provisions to allow insurers to lawfully work with cannabis businesses would significantly benefit medical patients who currently have no options for insurance coverage for their medical cannabis products.
Update: The Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously passed the bipartisan banking legislation. The legislation now advances to the Senate floor.
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act allows qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s recommendation.
Update: After having been passed in the Senate weeks ago, members of the House Medical, Military and Municipal Affairs Committee on Thursday finally advanced the bill to the House floor.
On Tuesday, April 5th, DC Councilmembers vetoed emergency legislation proposed by Councilmember Phil Mendelson that aimed to effectively end the grey-market cannabis gifting economy formed by the enactment of Initiative 71 in 2015. The emergency legislation intended to allow the District, as well as the landlords of brick and mortar stores that host them, to close down any and all I-71 cannabis gifting businesses. Adults 21 and over would instead be allowed to purchase cannabis from existing licensed medical dispensaries in DC by self-certifying that they would personally benefit from medical cannabis, ending the need for a physician’s recommendation. The bill failed to pass by 1 vote.