This week’s update highlights legislative advancement in California, Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, and more!
Pain patients rights legislation, AB 1954, passed through the committee process and now heads to the Assembly floor. This bill prohibits a physician and surgeon from automatically denying treatment or medication to a qualified patient, as defined, based solely on a positive drug screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
AB 2595, which seeks to protect parental rights of cannabis consumers, also passed in its committee hearings and now moves to the Assembly floor.
AB 2188, which seeks to protect employment rights of cannabis consumers, cleared its third hurdle as it passed in the Assembly Appropriations committee, where it awaits a vote.
House Bill 371 removes all penalties associated with either the possession or not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults. However, possession above this limit and the public consumption of marijuana would still be classified as a misdemeanor.
Update: House members voted 26 to 14 and Senate members voted 13-7-1 to advance this legislation. It now heads to the Governor’s Desk. Governor Carney has long expressed opposition to legalizing marijuana and a spokesperson for the Governor has said that his position hasn’t changed. The Governor has ten days to act on the bill. If he were to veto it, lawmakers would need to have a three-fifths majority to override his veto.
House Bill 372, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, seeks to establish a regulated, adult-use cannabis market in the state. The bill taxes and regulates marijuana products in a similar manner to alcohol.
Update: HB 372 passed the House Appropriations Committee and now heads to the House floor.
Current Illinois law requires that individuals petitioning for either the expungement or sealing of their criminal records must pass a drug test 30 days before filing their petitions.
Legislation is currently pending, House Bill 4392, to remove this drug testing requirement.
Update: HB 4392 has passed both chambers and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
House Bill 629 prohibits the warrantless search of a person’s residence based solely upon the odor of marijuana.
Update: House members passed HB 629 by a vote of 66 to 28.
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.
Update: HB 988 was heard by members of the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations this week, where it was deferred.
Senators voted last week against House Bill 629, which sought to eliminate civil fines for minor marijuana possession and would have legalized the limited home cultivation of cannabis. House members had passed the bill by a vote of 241 to 113, but members of the Senate decided 15 to 9 against the measure.
Update: House lawmakers attached the language as an amendment to an unrelated bill (SB 299), forcing the Senate to once again act on it. On Thursday, members of the Senate failed to pass the bill by the same vote count, 15 to 9.
Currently, cannabis is legal under New Jersey Constitution after 2.8 million voters passed Question 1 in November 2020. A series of required implementation laws were passed in February 2021 by the NJ legislature that accommodate possession, production, and sale of regulated cannabis for those age 21 or older. Employment protections were a crucial part of those reforms, and these rights extend to all workers, discriminating against none on the basis of their chosen profession.
Three pieces of separate but similar legislation have been filed in New Jersey, Assembly Bills 3868, 3870, and 3914, which seek to discriminate against recreational cannabis consumers by removing important employment protections. A3868 and A3914 specifically target paid first responders and law enforcement officers, respectively.
On the specific issue of police becoming cannabis consumers: We believe there should be no discrimination against off-duty consumption.
Vermont’s current state law imposes a THC cap of 30 percent for cannabis flower and 60 percent in solid concentrates. NORML maintains that such caps are arbitrary and are not in the best interest of cannabis consumers, especially medical patients who deserve the legal option to access varying strains of cannabis in varying potencies.
As filed, H 548 sought to remove the 60 percent cap on certain cannabis products.. It also sought to exempt solid concentrates, oils, and tinctures from the 50 mg THC limit per package, further expanding access to regulated cannabis products.
Update: Differing versions of H.548 passed the House and Senate. The House opposed the Senate version that removed the 60% solid concentrate cap, which the Cannabis Control Board recommended, creating an impasse between chambers and effectively killing the bill. However, amendments were made to an unrelated cannabis agriculture bill (S.188) that included the provisions exempting solid concentrates, oils, and tinctures from the 50 mg THC limit, per package. (Read more.)