This week’s update highlights legislative developments in California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, New York and North Carolina.
Several pieces of reform-friendly legislation have advanced out of their chambers of origin and are now awaiting hearings in their second chambers.
The Employment Rights for cannabis users bill, AB 2188 (Quirk), was passed by the California Assembly and now heads to the Senate Floor. However, this bill is still facing opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce. Be sure to take action on this one!
Senate Bill 099 streamlines the existing automatic record sealing process for marijuana offenders and extends it to all offenses including civil infractions. This bill also provides employment and tenant protections for those with a sealed criminal record.
Update: SB 099 has been signed into law by the Governor.
Current state law classifies the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana as a civil penalty punishable by up to a $100 fine, but no threat of jail time.
House Bill 371 removes all criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults. Possession above this limit and the public consumption of marijuana would still be classified as a misdemeanor. This legislation would also allow for adults to transfer cannabis among themselves within the possession limits and without remuneration.
Update: House Bill 371 was advanced by super-majorities in the Delaware House and Senate. Governor Carney vetoed this important legislation, the first Democratic Governor to ever take such action on cannabis policy. This week, a motion to overturn Governor John Carney’s veto was declined by the Delaware House with a vote of 20 yes, 20 no, and 1 not voting.
“I feel exasperated that lawmakers have failed to enact this common sense policy reform,” said Delaware NORML executive director Laura Sharer. “While we the people are committed to ending prohibition in Delaware, it’s clear that our process and some of our lawmakers aren’t up to the task. We’ve seen too many near-misses for legalization in Delaware, this has been nothing short of justice denied.”
Illinois law previously required that individuals petitioning for either the expungement or sealing of their criminal records must pass a drug test 30 days before filing their petitions. House Bill 4392 removes this drug testing requirement.
Update: HB 4392 has passed both chambers and has now been enacted.
House Bill 135 and House Bill 137 seek 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.
Update: Both bills passed the House and the Senate committee. They now head to the Governor’s desk.
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 passed the House and the Senate committee. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.
House Bill 629 prohibits law enforcement from conducting a search of a person’s residence based on the odor of marijuana without first obtaining a warrant
Update: HB 629 passed the House and the Senate committee. It is now before theGovernor..
House Bill 190 authorizes nurse practitioners with prescriptive authority to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
Update: HB 190 passed the House and the Senate committee. It now awaits action from the Governor.
Senate Bill S8837 redefines how medical marijuana is classified in order to qualify it for insurance coverage.
Update: S8837 has passed the Senate and now heads to the House.
According to statewide polling data, 82 percent of North Carolinians believe that “marijuana should be legalized [in the state] for medical purposes,” — including 75% of Republican voters.
Legislation is pending to regulate medical cannabis for patients in North Carolina. Senate Bill 711 is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. This bill would allow qualifying patients, with a physician’s recommendation, to access a 30-day supply of medical cannabis at a time via licensed retail outlets.
Update: SB 711 has passed the Senate 36 to 7 and now heads to the House.