Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden introduced legislation in the Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.
A subcommittee of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on cannabis business banking issues next week.
At the state level, activists in Texas, Maryland, and Kentucky gathered in their state capitols alongside state and local NORML chapters to lobby for sensible marijuana policy reform legislation.
Activists in Mississippi have already collected thousands of signatures in hopes of qualifying a medical cannabis ballot initiative for the 2020 ballot.
A Georgia bill to reduce marijuana possession penalties was defeated in a senate committee this week. So was a Mississippi medical cannabis proposal.
At a more local level, efforts are underway in Ann Arbor, Michigan to put a cannabis social use question before voters on the 2020 ballot. Clark County, Nevada officials deferred consideration of a proposal to allow social cannabis lounges in the county.
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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.
Actions to Take
Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2362, to allow those with certain past cannabis-related arrests or convictions to petition the court to have their records expunged.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2400, to provide courts the discretion to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of certain crimes.
Under existing state law, marijuana possession (of two pounds or less) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of four months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.
Update: The Senate Health & Human Services committee recommended the bill be passed with amendments on 2/6. The bill will now go to the Senate floor for consideration by the full chamber.
House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Update: The bill was approved unanimously by the full House, and will now be transmitted to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, Proposed Bill 350, to limit patients who use medical cannabis in compliance with state law from seeking civil actions if they are discriminated against by their employer. NORML opposes this legislation.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5442, to expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with generalized chronic pain.
Update: HB 5442 is scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Committee on Public Health on 2/11.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 45, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid withdrawal.
Update: SB 45 was heard by the Joint Committee on Public Health on 2/4, but no action was taken on the bill.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 182, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.
Update: SB 182 was approved by the Health Policy Committee on 2/6 with some more restrictive amendments, of which include requiring patients to get a second opinion from an unrelated physician in order to be authorized to smoke medical cannabis. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on 2/12/19 at 4:00 pm, 110 Senate Building.
Democratic State Senator Bill Montford re-introduced Senate Bill 384, which would allow qualified patients to be administered medical marijuana in schools.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 708 / Senate Bill 686, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
Update: SB 686 was unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee on 2/7.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 673 / Senate Bill 1430, to expand medical cannabis access.
The proposed changes:
- Expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients;
- Allows licensed dispensaries to possess up to two additional manufacturing or processing facilities separate from their production facilities; and
- Allows licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis and cannabidiol products
Update: HB 673 was approved by the Committees on Health on 2/8, and now awaits action from the Judiciary Committee.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1524, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.
The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.
Update: The Committee on Labor, Culture, and Arts approved SB 1524 on 2/6
Legislation is pending, SF 104 / HF 221, to expand Iowa’s narrow medical cannabidiol (CBD) law.
If passed, this bill would establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program that provides qualified patients access to physician-authorized medical cannabis via licensed providers.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
House Bill 1540 would impose a class C infraction for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, which translates to a civil penalty punishable by a fine between $100 and $200.
Separately, House Bill 1283 would impose a class D infraction for the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana, which translates to a civil penalty punishable by a fine of up to $25.
A third measure, House Bill 1658, would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon introduced Senate Bill 82 / House Bill 265, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The measure would impose a civil penalty for any “personal use quantity”of cannabis, punishable by a $100 fine.
Legislation is pending to legalize and regulate adult marijuana use in Maryland.
House Bill 656 would permit adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four marijuana plants in their home.
House Bill 632 would amend the state’s constitution by putting a question before voters on the 2020 ballot regarding whether or not the state should regulate marijuana sales. If approved by voters, adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 862, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients and their caregivers from housing discrimination.
The measure would prohibit landlords from arbitrarily refusing to provide housing access to an individual based solely on their possession or consumption of medical cannabis.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 864, to protect registered medical cannabis patients and their caregivers from employment discrimination.
If passed, this measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against qualifying patients who legally consume cannabis off-the-job.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, 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.
Update: The bill is scheduled for a full Committee Work Session on 2/12/2019 at 10:00am in LOB 204
Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.
The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2687, to protect medical cannabis patients who require organ transplants from being deprived treatment solely due to their status as a medical cannabis patient.
Legislation is pending, SB 256/HB 235, to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.
The measure would decriminalize criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Legislation is pending, SB 486/HB 637, to provide qualifying patients access to medical cannabis via licensed retailers.
The measure would allow registered patients to use, possess, and consume medical cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Legislation is pending, HB 883/SB 686, to allow individuals convicted of certain cannabis-related offenses, upon the completion of their sentence, to petition the court to have their records sealed.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.
The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil. The bill was already approved by the Senate.
Update: SB 1557 was approved by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions on 2/7.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1719, to allow “registered agents” for those patients physically unable to pick up or receive delivery of their medical cannabis, like those in hospice, assisted living facilities and those who rely on home healthcare providers. The bill was already approved by the Senate.
Update: SB 1719 was approved by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions on 2/7.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 278, to regulate medical marijuana access to qualified patients.
The measure would allow state-registered patients who possess a recommendation from their physician to use, possess, and access medical cannabis via licensed providers.
That’s all for this week!