Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries announced their intentions to introduce legislation known as the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), thus ending the nearly century-long federal policy of criminalization and prohibition.
Governor Doug Bergum (R) of North Dakota signed a bill into law that will remove the threat of jail time for the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana.
Governor Kevin Stitt (R) of Oklahoma signed legislation into law to permit osteopaths to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.
Governor Eric Holcomb (R) of Indiana and Governor Ned Lamont (D) of Connecticut signed industrial hemp legislation into law.
A campaign committee called Smart and Safe Arizona is preparing to launch a campaign to qualify a 2020 adult use marijuana legalization ballot initiative in the state.
Members of an Ohio medical board committee recommended that autism and anxiety be added to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying conditions list, but rejected petitions to add depression, insomnia, and opioid addiction.
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
End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 236, to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.
Update: SB 236 was approved by the Senate on 5/9/19, and now heads to the House.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 96 / Senate Bill 98, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, to a non-criminal violation punishable by a maximum fine of $250.
Update: HB 96 was defeated in the House Committee on Judiciary on 5/8/19 by a 6-5 vote.
Legislation is pending, AB 1465, that would allow licensing of cannabis consumption cafés and lounges in California.
Update: AB 1465 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/16/19.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.
Update: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on 5/13/19 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 19-220, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Separately, SB 19-240 would create a working group to study industrial hemp and also allow localities within the state to adopt ordinances to regulate hemp products.
Update: Both SB 220 and SB 240 were approved by the House of Representatives on 4/30/19, and will now be delivered to the governor.
A package of bills, soon to be combined into one omnibus bill, to permit the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over is pending.
Update: Lawmakers in the state’s legislature are confident that the ‘yes’ votes are there to pass the legislation through the House of Representatives, but remain unsure about the bill’s future in the Senate.
Bipartisan legislation is pending, SB 37, that would reform the expungement processes for individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses.
If enacted, the bill would expand the pool of those eligible to seek expungement to include those convicted of a single misdemeanor or felony charge related to marijuana.
Update: SB 37 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 5/8/19.
Legislation is pending, HF 754 and SF 599, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Update: SF 599 was delivered to the Governor’s desk on 5/6/19.
Legislation is pending, The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (an amendment to SB 7), to regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of adult use marijuana.
The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 5 marijuana plants in the home.
The proposal also includes provisions facilitating the automatic expungement of certain prior convictions as well as equity within the industry.
IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of efforts to regulate adult use marijuana and level the playing field for social equity applicants to receive a fair opportunity to compete in the legal market
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 455, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.
Update: SB 455 was approved by the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee on 5/8/19.
House Bill 509 would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and permit the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the state Board of Pharmacy to issue the licenses for production and sale, respectively.
House Bill 462 would amend the Louisiana constitution to allow municipalities within the state to hold referendums on whether or not to allow the use, possession, and retail sale of adult use cannabis in their jurisdictions.
House Bill 564 seeks to regulate adult use cannabis. The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to issue up to 15 cannabis production licenses. Retailer licenses would be issued by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to sell up to one ounce per customer per day. This measure would also allow adults to obtain a permit to grow personal use quantities of cannabis at home.
Update: Both HB 509 and HB 462 are scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/14/19 at 9am in room 6. HB 564 was heard in the House Committee on Agriculture on 5/8/2019, and the committee reported the bill without action. The bill will be recommitted to the Committee on Judiciary.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 59, to reduce marijuana possession penalties for first time offenders.
The measure removes the threat of jail time for first-time offenders who possess no more than 14 grams of marijuana (about half an ounce).
Update: HB 59 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/14/19 at 9am in room 6.
House Bill 491 would regulate industrial hemp production in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Update: HB 491 was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on 5/7/19. The bill was amended to include provisions regulating the production and retail sale of hemp-derived CBD products.
LB 110 is pending to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis via licensed providers.
Update: LB 110 was approved by the Judiciary Committee on 5/10/19, and is set to be considered on the floor of the unicameral legislature next week.
Legislation is pending, LB 657, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Update: LB 657 was approved by the legislature on 5/2/19, and now awaits action from the governor.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 192, to allow individuals to get their records vacated for offenses that are no longer a crime in Nevada.
Update: AB 192 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/6/19 and again on 5/10.
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.
Update: The House concurred with Senate amendments on 5/3/19, and the bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2614, to amend the possession penalties for individuals who use cannabis for a qualifying condition, but are not in possession of a medical marijuana identification card.
The measure would reduce the penalty for this offense from a criminal misdemeanor to a citation, punishable by a maximum fine of $400.
Update: The House disagreed with the Senate’s amendments to HB 2614, so the bill will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 970, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients, as well as those with prior or pending cannabis convictions, from housing discrimination.
Update: The House Human Services and Housing Committee held a work session on SB 970 on 5/6/19.
Legislation is pending, HB 1365, to expand medical cannabis access in Texas by allowing doctors to recommend it to those with several additional conditions.
Update: HB 1365 was approved by the House of Representatives on 5/6/19, and now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending, HB 1325, to regulate the production of industrial hemp in Texas.
Update: HB 1325 was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on 5/7/19.
S. 54 is pending to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.
Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committees on Ways and Means and Appropriations this week.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Update: S. 58 was heard by the House Committee on Appropriations on 5/7/19.
Senate Bill 5605, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated, is awaiting action from Governor Inslee.
Update: Gov. Inslee stated that he intends to sign the bill into law.