Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, 37 members of Congress, led by Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, sent a letter to President Biden calling upon him to issue a blanket pardon to those with federal nonviolent marijuana offenses.
With adult use legalization legislation receiving hearings and/or advancing in seven states this week alone, here’s a summary of of progressing marijuana legalization efforts thus far and where they stand in key states across the country. And you can take action in support of all of these proposals below!
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
President Biden was crystal clear on the campaign trail when he stated: “I think we should decriminalize marijuana, period. And I think everyone – anyone who has a record – should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.” Now, as President, he has the power to do just that.
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 was heard in the Joint Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on 2/18/21.
Legislation is pending to expand the pool of providers that are eligible to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.
Senate Bill 60 would allow physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to issue medical cannabis recommendations to qualifying patients.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
Senate Bill 767 would allow adults 21 and over to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six (up to three mature) marijuana plants for personal use.
Update: SB 767 was approved by the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on 2/16/21.
Legislation is pending that would expand Hawaii’s decriminalization law.
Senate Bill 758 would increase from 3 grams to 1 ounce: (1) the minimum amount of marijuana that a defendant must possess to be charged with a petty misdemeanor; and (2) the maximum amount of marijuana that a defendant convicted of possessing marijuana could have possessed without being disqualified from the subsequent expungement of the record of that conviction.
Update: SB 758 was approve by the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs on 2/16/21.
Senate Bill 64 would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or term or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder. The bill specifies that an employer may use a fit-for-duty test as a tool for medical cannabis qualifying patients in potentially dangerous occupations.
Update: SB 64 was approved by the Committees on Labor, Culture, and the Arts; and Health on 2/17/21.
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 Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce on 2/16/21. SB 1332 was also approved by the Senate Committees on Health, and Commerce and Consumer Protection on 2/16.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for personal use.
House Bill 1028 (Rep. Lucas) would decriminalize possession for adults with up to 30 grams of marijuana and/or five grams of hashish.
Update: HB 1028 was approved by the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code on 2/16/21. The bill was amended to no longer decriminalize marijuana possession, but instead “establish a THC-blood intoxication limit of five nanograms while operating a vehicle.”
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 201, to provide a defense to prosecution for a person who operates a vehicle with marijuana or its metabolite in the person’s blood under certain conditions.
Update: SB 201 was approved by the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law on 2/16/21.
Legislation is pending to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Iowa.
Senate File 406 would allow adults 21 and older to legally possess and purchase up to 30 grams of marijuana (up to 15 grams for out-of-staters) for personal use. Retail marijuana sales would be taxed at 20 percent.
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 2184: The Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act is pending to allow qualifying patients to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of medical cannabis. This measure would prohibit smoking and vaping.
Update: HB 2184 is scheduled for public hearings in the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs on 2/24 and 2/25/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 467, to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Kentucky!
The bill would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Adults that apply for a permit and pay a $250 fee would be allowed to grow up to five mature plants for personal use. The measure would also facilitate the expungement of certain prior misdemeanor marijuana convictions.
House Bill 32 would allow adults 21 and older to use and possess 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 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/16/21.
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.
Update: HF 600 was approved by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee on 2/17/21.
Legislation is pending, House File 1020, which would allow those on probation, parole, pretrial conditional release, or supervised release to use medical cannabis legally without sanction.
The measure would prohibit courts and corrections officers from revoking a person’s probation, parole, pretrial conditional release, or supervised release solely due to participation in the medical cannabis program.
LR2CA would put the issue of legalizing the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults on the ballot before voters to be decided in the 2022 election.
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: LR2CA and LB 546 were heard 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 was heard in the Judiciary Committee on 2/19/21.
Legislation is pending to expand medical cannabis access.
House Bill 89 would add “moderate to severe insomnia” as a qualifying condition for eligibility for medical cannabis treatment.
House Bill 605 would add “moderate to severe insomnia” as well as “opioid use disorder” to the definition of qualifying medical condition.
The measure also would allow out-of-state residents qualified in other jurisdictions to purchase therapeutic cannabis at New Hampshire dispensaries, and allow patients and caregivers to cultivate up to 3 mature cannabis plants, 3 immature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings in private.
Update: HB 89 and HB 605 are scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/23/21.
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 Bill 12 was approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/15/21.
House Bill 1420 would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed retail outlet.
House Bill 1501 would impose a 15% tax on adult use marijuana retail sales if and when adult use marijuana is legalized by lawmakers.
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: HB 1420 was approved by the House Human Services Committee and HB 1501 was approved by the House Finance and Taxation Committee on 2/18/21. HCR 3031was defeated in the House Judiciary Committee on 2/18 and is now dead.
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 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 2/18/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1391, to allow licensed dispensaries to sell edible medical cannabis products.
Update: HB 1391 was approved by the House by a 63 to 31 vote on 2/18/21. The bill now heads to the Senate.
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 was heard 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 heard by a House Committee on 2/17/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1203, that seeks to allow local banks and credit unions to service marijuana businesses.
Update: HB 1203 was approved by the House Commerce and Energy Committee on 2/17/21.
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 was killed by the House Health and Human Services Committee on 2/16/21 and is now dead.
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 was heard in the Senate Government Operations Committee on 2/17/21, and will be heard again in the same committee on 2/24.
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.
Senate Bill 192 would authorize DOH to issue an additional medical cannabis pharmacy license to dispense medical cannabis to patients in a specific geographic region.
Update: SB 192 was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 2/18/21. SB 170 was approved by the Senate on 2/17/21, and now heads to the House.
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 on 2/17/21.
Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary until 2025.
Update: SB 5004 was approved by the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on 2/17/21.
Legislation is pending to protect marijuana consumers from employment discrimination.
House Bill 2517 would remove marijuana as a tested substance from the screening requirements of the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Act.
Legislation is pending to allow certain patients to grow medical cannabis.
Senate Bill 231 would create a “compassion certificate” issued by a practitioner which would allow patients and caregivers to grow up to 12 mature plants and up to 12 seedlings for therapeutic use.
This measure would also expand reciprocity to allow any patient from another state with medical cannabis access, not just terminally ill cancer patients, to access medical cannabis while visiting West Virginia; and would allow additional conditions to be approved for patients to become eligible for a medical cannabis recommendation.
Legislation is pending to expand the allowable forms of medical cannabis that can be dispensed to registered patients.
House Bill 2356 and House Bill 2534 would allow patients to smoke dry leaf medical cannabis, and would also allow patient access to edible medical cannabis products.
Previously enacted legislation removed the prohibition on dry leaf medical cannabis, but only “for administration by vaporization or nebulization.”
House Bill 2346 would allow edible medical cannabis products to be dispensed to patients.
This measure would also allow visiting registered patients from other medical cannabis states to possess their medicine while in West Virginia; as well as add “migraines” and “spasms and cramps” to the list of eligible medical conditions for a medical cannabis recommendation.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!