Lawmakers in many states have started to pre-file marijuana law reform legislation and some sessions have already begun holding hearings. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
HB 48 places a question before voters asking them to legalize the adult-use of cannabis for those 21 and older. If approved by voters the measure would allow for an adult to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower, and to cultivate up to five plants at one time in their private residence.
Complementary legislation, HB 22, creates a new state agency, the Kentucky Cannabis Control Board, and also prohibits employers from sanctioning workers who use cannabis while away from their jobs. This governing agency will be responsible for establishing commercial regulations regarding the retail production and sale of cannabis products, setting excise taxes, and the dispensing of business licenses.
SB 51 seeks to legalize the possession, cultivation, production, processing, packaging, transportation, testing, marketing, sale, and use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis. The bill allows for an individual to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower, and cultivate up to five plants at one time in their private residence. It would also expunge past marijuana related convictions.
SB47 and HB107 seek to establish a medicinal cannabis program by allowing patients with a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship to access medical cannabis if their practitioner deems they could benefit from the use. The legislation institutes a governing body to decide daily THC limits, methods of use and consumption. A patient will be allowed to have a 30-day supply of their medication at their residence and a 10-day supply on their person.
The bills provide certain patient and caregiver protections while allowing for the medical use of cannabis at school. Patients are not considered under the influence solely based on THC metabolites being in their system. The legislation does not allow for inhaled cannabis uptake methods nor does it allow for home cultivation.
House Bill 47 seeks to eliminate the civil and/or criminal penalties currently associated with the sale of personal-use quantities (up to one ounce of cannabis flower, up to five grams of concentrate) of marijuana.
UPDATE: HF 100 is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, January 11th in the Committee on Commerce, Finance, and Policy.
Legislation, HF 100/SF73, seeks to allow adults 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and to home-cultivate up to eight plants (of which four may be mature). In addition to creating a system of licensed, private cannabis businesses, municipalities and counties could own and operate government dispensaries. Those with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. The legislation also allows for on-site consumption lounges and cannabis delivery services. It also contains language banning the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids, which is consistent with Board of Pharmacy rules put into place last year.
Additionally, the legislation seeks to promote social equity and inclusion among licensees by prioritizing licensure to underrepresented populations, such as people living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost their honorable status because of a cannabis-related offense.
Missouri legislation, HB504, seeks to make those currently incarcerated for a marijuana-related offenses eligible for early release.
This bill allows those serving a sentence for a marijuana-related offense to petition the court for early release. The legislation requires the Department of Corrections to immediately release petitioners from custody if they are being incarcerated solely for a marijuana-related offense.
Another bill, SB443, seeks to prevent family court participants from being discriminated against for their participation in Missouri’s medical marijuana program.
If passed, this bill would make it clear that qualified medical marijuana patients are not in violation of family court conditions for their use of medical cannabis. Further, it prevents family courts from restricting parental rights just because of a person’s status as a qualified medical marijuana patient.
Senate Bill 457 seeks to criminalize the disclosure of medical marijuana patients’ information to unauthorized parties.
House Bill 687 seeks to explicitly permit for the use of medical cannabis by qualified, registered patients on college campuses.
Pending legislation, HB82, seeks to enhance the employment rights of qualified medical marijuana patients. If passed, this bill would prevent employers from refusing to hire, or firing qualified medical marijuana patients solely because of a positive drug test.
Legislation, Assembly Bill 4944/Senate Bill 3394, seeks to authorize medical cannabis access for patients diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. According to a 2020 study, medical cannabis use is associated with less frequent hospitalizations among patients living with sickle cell disease.
Senate Bill 2068 seeks to increase the maximum monthly purchasable amount of products containing THC by qualified patients. If passed, the maximum allowable amount of THC purchasable in a month will be doubled, raising it to 8,000 mg.
H3561 seeks to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, reducing penalties to a civil rather than a criminal violation..
SD1 expands the list of qualifying conditions eligible for medical cannabis access to include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy, and PTSD.
Texas lawmakers have filed multiple bills related to cannabis law reform.
SB 121 seeks to let doctors decide who should be a qualified patient. It creates protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers. Additionally, it creates a Medical Cannabis Research Advisory Board.
SB 127 seeks to let Doctors decide who should be a qualified patient. It creates parental protections for medical cannabis patients
HB 218 reduces the penalties for possession of 1 oz or less of cannabis flower or cannabis concentrates while also instructing officers to no longer make arrests for the possession of personal use amounts of either marijuana or related paraphernalia. Additionally, it facilitates a process for the expungement of past marijuana convictions.
HB 388 seeks to reduce the penalties of possession of 2 oz or less of marijuana while also striking certain enhancements.
HB 520 seeks to remove and reduce penalties related to multiple levels of possession of cannabis flower.
SB 208 reduces penalties related to activities involving the delivery and possession of cannabis flowers.
SB 209 seeks to regulate the cultivation, manufacture, processing, distribution, sale, testing, transportation, delivery, transfer, possession, and use of cannabis and cannabis products. Those 21 and up could possess up to 2.5 oz of cannabis flower or 15 g of cannabis concentrates. It would also allow the home cultivation of up to 12 plants. It creates parental protections for legal cannabis consumers.
SJR 22 proposes a constitutional amendment to direct the legislature to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis for adults. If the legislation passed both chambers with a super-majority, the following ballot measure would appear on the November 2024 ballot: “The constitutional amendment directing the legislature to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.”
Legislation, HB72, seeks to allow medical cannabis pharmacies to deliver medical cannabis to qualified, state-registered patients.
Washington legislation, SB5123, seeks to prevent the restriction of job opportunities based on an applicant’s past cannabis use. If passed, this bill would make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant solely based on their off-the-clock cannabis use away from the workplace.
Currently under state law, employers have the discretion to disqualify applicants if they test positive for cannabis on a pre-employment screening test. Washington voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, and it’s time to resolve this disconnect with the hiring process.