Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the state level this week, a Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of litigation backed by the state Governor’s office that seeks to overturn Constitutional Amendment A – a voter-approved measure legalizing the adult-use marijuana market in South Dakota. Amendment A proponents are expected to appeal the decision.
And Idaho activists got the green light from the Secretary of State to begin gathering signatures to qualify a medical cannabis ballot measure for the 2022 election.
Following are new legislative developments from the past week, and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state, and the NORML blog for regular updates.
Don’t forget to sign up for the NORML email list, and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and U.S. Congress.
Actions to Take
End criminalization: Senators Cory Booker, Ron Wyden, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement declaring their intention to release a draft discussion bill outlining how best to legalize and regulate cannabis and cannabis commerce in a post-prohibition America.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Bill 149 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to two ounces 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 only by a maximum fine of $250.
The bill would also remove the threat of jail time for any amount of marijuana possession exceeding two ounces.
Further, the bill allows individuals convicted of marijuana possession to get their records expunged after a 5 year, conviction free waiting period.
Update: SB 149 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/10/21.
Legislation has been reintroduced, Senate Bill 311, to permit qualified patients the ability to access medical cannabis preparations while in health care facilities.
At the request of Governor Lamont, Senate Bill 888 was introduced, which would allow adults to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. The possession of any amount greater than 1.5 ounces would be punishable by a fine.
Separately, House Bill 6377 would allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants, establish an equity focused task force, a permanent cannabis commission, and a long-term cannabis job training program.
Update: HB 6377 was heard in the Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees on 2/9/21.
Senate Bill 612 would establish a process to exempt qualifying veterans from the fees for registration and written certification for medical marijuana.
Update: SB 612 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Joint Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on 2/18/21.
House Bill 477 / Senate Bill 1332 would increase the allowable number of production and retail dispensary locations. It will also allow dispensaries to purchase medical cannabis from each other in order to ensure satisfactory patient access.
Update: HB 477 was approved by the House Health, Human Services, & Homelessness Committee on 2/10, and was heard in the House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce on 2/12/21.
Legislation is pending, H 108, which seeks to authorize qualifying patients to purchase, use, and possess medical cannabis from a licensed pharmacy with a physician’s recommendation. The measure would treat medical cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance.
House Bill 715 was introduced, which would allow localities to “license or regulate businesses operating as a public accommodation that permit the consumption of cannabis on the business premises.”
Legislation is pending that would expand access to medical CBD for qualifying patients in Iowa.
SSB 1177 would:
- Reduce patient application fees from $100 to $10;
- Extend the expiration date for patient license renewals from one to two years;
- Require DPS to accept new dispensary licenses (currently only five statewide); and
- Remove the prohibition on dispensaries from referring patients to a healthcare provider.
Update: SSB 1177 was approved by a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on 2/11/21.
House Bill 32 would allow adults 21 and older to use and possess cannabis up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. The measure also includes automatic expungement for marijuana offenses, home delivery, and on-site (social use) consumption establishments!
Update: HB 32 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/16/21 at 1:30pm.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 324 / Senate Bill 143, to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.
If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense.
Update: HB 324 was approved by the House on 2/12/21 by a 93-36 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate.
Senate Bill 504 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against potential or current employees solely for testing positive for THC on a drug screen if they have written certification for the use of medical cannabis.
Update: SB 504 was heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/9/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 884, would allow a visiting registered patient from another state to access medical cannabis while in Maryland.
Update: SB 884 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on 3/11/21 at 1:30pm.
Legislation is pending to legalize marijuana for adults in Minnesota.
Senate File 757, companion to House Majority Leader Winkler’s , HF 600, was introduced which would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to ten pounds of marijuana in a private residence, up to 1.5 ounces in public, and grow up to eight plants (up to four mature) for personal use. The bill also includes expungement, on-site consumption, delivery, and social equity provisions.
Legislation is pending to ease the restrictions on formulations of medical cannabis available for patients to use and purchase.
House File 813 / Senate Fil 803 would allow patients to inhale herbal, whole-plant medical cannabis.
House Bill 485 would ensure that “placement of a child in an adoptive home shall not be delayed or denied on the basis that a prospective adoptive parent has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry.”
Update: HB 485 was heard in the House Emerging Issues Committee on 2/9/21.
Senate Bill 509 was introduced, which would allow certain marijuana-related offenses to be expunged if the violations occurred in Missouri prior to the issuance of a patient identification card.
LB 546 would legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults. The measure would allow adults to legally possess and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six (up to three mature) marijuana plants for personal use. The bill would also facilitate a “clean slate relief” program, which would allow those with certain prior marijuana-related convictions to get their record wiped clean.
Update: LB 546 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 2/19/21.
LB 481 would remove all criminal and civil penalties for any amount of marijuana possession.
The measure would also facilitate a “clean slate relief” program, which would allow those with certain prior marijuana-related convictions to get their record wiped clean. It would also prohibit the termination of parental rights based solely on a parent’s marijuana use or possession.
Update: LB 481 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 2/19/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 350, which permits qualifying patients to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The measure would permit registered patients to grow up to three mature plants, three immature plants, and 12 seedlings for therapeutic use. The measure also legalizes the personal possession of up to eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.
Update: HB 350 was approved by the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/1/21.
Multiple pieces of legislation are pending to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
House Bill 12 and Senate Bill 363 would allow adults to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six mature plants for personal use. Those who possess more than two ounces must store it in a locked space. Under this measure, those convicted of an offense involving up to two ounces of marijuana possession would be eligible for automatic expungement after two years, those currently incarcerated for these offenses would be eligible for dismissal.
Senate Bill 288 would allow adults to legally possess and purchase up to two ounces of marijuana. This measure includes a two percent excise tax on retail sales, and would also allow licensed on-sit consumption lounges.
Senate Bill 13 and House Bill 17 would also allow adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. Under this measure, personal cultivation of up to three plants would be decriminalized, punishable by a $500 fine, and retail sales would be taxed at 21 percent.
Update: House Bills 12 and 17 are scheduled for public hearings in the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/13/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 187, to impose ‘per se’ criminal penalties to individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC or any other controlled substances in their body — regardless of whether he/she is behaviorally impaired.
Update: HB 187 was heard in the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee on 2/4/21.
A5171 provides that testing positive for marijuana on a drug test does not constitute performing his or her employment duties while impaired by a controlled substance and may not be the basis for a hiring decision or disciplinary action against such patient.
HCR 3031 would amend the state’s constitution to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults. If approved by lawmakers, this measure would place a ballot measure before voters to weigh in on during the 2022 election.
Update: HCR 3031 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/16/21 at 9:30am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1201, to reduce the penalty for the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
If passed, the bill would amend penalties so that the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is classified as a civil rather than a criminal offense, punishable by a ticket of up to $50. The measure also reduces penalties for the possession of larger quantities of marijuana.
Update: HB 1201 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/16/21 at 9am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1391, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.
Update: HB 1391 was approved by the House Human Services Committee on 2/10/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 307, to expand veterans’ access to medical marijuana.
The measure waives fees for obtaining a medical marijuana card for veterans who have a total disability rating of at least 50 percent as a result of injury or illness incurred or aggravated during active military service, and who received discharge or release under other than dishonorable conditions.
Update: SB 307 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Healthcare on 2/17/21 at 1pm.
Legislation is pending that seeks to delay the implementation of Measure 26, the voter-approved ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis access for qualifying patients.
After Governor Kristi Noem, along with legislative leaders, announced their plan to delay the implementation of Measure 26, House Bill 1100 was amended by lawmakers to reflect this plan.
Measure 26 was scheduled to take effect on July 21, 2021, just eight months after voter approval, but this new piece of legislation would delay that timeline by at least one year.
Update: HB 1100 was approved by the House State Affairs Committee on 2/10/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 141, seeking to automatically remove certain misdemeanor marijuana possession charges and convictions from appearing on a background check after ten years.
Update: SB 141 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 2/9/21.
Legislation is pending to expand access to medical marijuana in South Dakota.
House Bill 1147 would allow physicians to examine patients using “telehealth” services, or virtual visits, as an alternative to in-person examinations.
Update: HB 1147 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/16/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1477, to legalize marijuana in Tennessee.
If passed, the bill would legalize the personal possession and use of up to one half ounce of marijuana. It will also legalize the retail sale of marijuana, which would be taxed at 12 percent.
HB 490/SB 118 are pending, which would establish a medical cannabis commission to study laws and legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis and report findings and recommendations for future legislation on how to best establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state.
Update: SB 118 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee on 2/17/21.
Legislation is pending to expand Tennessee’s limited medical cannabis law.
House Bill 208 and House Bill 239 to allow certain cancer patients to possess and use full extract cannabis oil that is intended to be ingested orally or used topically.
House Bill 666 would allow disabled veterans with quadriplegia to possess and use liquid extract cannabis if certain criteria met.
Legislation is pending to establish a medical marijuana access program in Tennessee.
House Bill 621 would allow qualifying patients to legally purchase, possess, and use medical cannabis from a licensed retail outlet, with a recommendation from a medical provider.
House Bill 490 / Senate Bill 118 are also pending, which would establish a medical cannabis commission to study laws and legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis and report findings and recommendations for future legislation on how to best establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state.
SB 667/HB 880 would request a study on the licensure and regulation of cannabis for medical use by departments of health and medical professional licensing boards in states contiguous to Tennessee and report findings to the general assembly’s health committees by December 15, 2021.
Legislation is pending that would expand Utah’s medical cannabis program.
Senate Bill 170 would:
- Expand the pool of medical professionals who can recommend medical cannabis to patients, and
- Allow patients to access their medicine while their application is being reviewed, before they receive an ID card.
Update: SB 170 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 2/11/21.
Legislation is pending, SB 1406 and HB 2312, to legalize and regulate the responsible use of cannabis by adults 21 and older. The legislation provides for an automatic expungement process for those convicted of certain marijuana-related crimes, and establishes a regulatory scheme for the regulation of cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities, wholesalers, and retail cannabis stores
Update: SB 1406 was approved by the House General Laws Committee on 2/11/21 and HB 2312 was approved by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on 2/12.
Legislation is pending, SB 1333 and HB 2218, which seeks to improve Virginia’s Medical Cannabis Program by permitting pharmaceutical processors to produce and distribute cannabis products other than cannabis oil.
Update: HB 2218 was approved by the Senate Education and Health Committee on 2/11/21.
House Bill 1019 would allow adults 21 and older to cultivate up to six marijuana plants.
Update: HB 1019 was heard in the House Committee on Appropriations on 2/9/21 at 3:30pm.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1463, which seeks to limit the THC concentration in adult use marijuana concentrate products to 30 percent.
Update: HB 1463 was heard in the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming on 2/12/21.
Senate Bill 5009 and Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary.
Update: SB 5004 was scheduled for an executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2/11/21, but no action was taken on the bill.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2291, which seeks to legalize the personal use and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults in West Virginia, regulated under the Bureau of Health.
Legislation is pending to amend the penalties for those caught in possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Bill 26 would remove the threat of jail time for possessing less than 15 grams of marijuana for personal use, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000, without any possibility of confinement.
House Bill 2060 seeks to reduce the penalty for personal possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana to a fine of $500 and a maximum sentence of 72 hours in a detention facility. On a first offense, a person may face up to one year of probation as an alternative to confinement.
Currently under state law, possession of any amount of marijuana in West Virginia is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in prison.
Legislation is pending that would provide funding for the Dept. of Health to develop a report with recommendations on how to best regulate medical cannabis access in Wyoming.
House Bill 82 would require recommendations on: medical conditions likely to benefit from therapeutic cannabis use, regulations for recommending physicians, a timeline for implementation, and more.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!