Happy New Year and welcome to the first Weekly Legislative Roundup of 2019!
The new Congress was just sworn in yesterday, and they are not wasting any time. U.S. Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Don Young (R-AK) re-introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which protects those engaged in state-lawful medical marijuana programs from federal prosecution. Separate provisions in the bill exclude cannabinodiol from the federal definition of marijuana, permit VA doctors to authorize medical cannabis access to qualified patients, and remove undue federal barriers to clinical trial research to better assess the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.
At the state level, Alaska regulators have voted in favor of plans to permit on-site marijuana consumption at designated retailers. And lawmakers in Maryland are planning to establish a working group to explore marijuana legalization implementation, if and when voters approve a ballot initiative in 2020.
And at a more local level, Dayton, Ohio is considering a proposal to completely decriminalize marijuana and remove the $150 possession fine.
Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state.
Don’t forget to sign up for our email list and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and at the federal level. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.
Join the Caucus: With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, key Congressional allies have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.
State Senators Daylin Leach (D) and Sharif Street (D), as well as Rep. Jake Wheatley (D), plan to file marijuana legalization bills in their respective chambers this legislative session.
The measures would regulate the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.
Lawmakers will consider legislation this legislative session to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.
Pre-filed legislation seeks to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.
The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants. The bill would also establish a Cannabis Control Commission to oversee the regulated market.
Additional Actions to Take
State Senator Jason Lewis announced plans to introduce legislation to protect responsible adult cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.
The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume marijuana off-the-job in accordance with state law.
Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.
The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.
Lawmakers in Georgia will consider a proposal to expand and facilitate patients’ access to medical cannabidiol (CBD) products.
The pending legislation seeks to establish a regulatory framework to permit the retail sale of medical CBD products to registered patients.
Legislation is pending, HB 1839, to establish an industrial hemp program that is in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
The measure expands and amends Virginia’s existing hemp law to conform it “to the provisions of the federal 2018 Farm Bill by amending the definitions of cannabidiol oil, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to exclude industrial hemp that is grown, dealt, or processed in compliance with state or federal law.”