This week’s update highlights important legislative advancements in Maryland, Utah, Louisiana, Georgia, and several other states.
Under state law, those with qualifying medical conditions may possess 20 ounces of infused cannabis oils containing not more than 5 percent THC and an amount of CBD equal to or greater than the amount of THC. The law permits the establishment of up to 30 state-licensed retailers of high-CBD/low-THC oil products to qualified patients. However, no such retailers exist yet within the state, leaving qualified patients without access to their medicine.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1425 and Senate Bill 609, to revise provisions relating to Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses by eliminating the previous competitive application process and asking the Commission to purchase or obtain low level THC oil in such quantities as are necessary to reasonably meet the needs of all registered patients on the Low THC Oil Patient Registry.
Update: HB 1425 was favorably reported by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Members of the state’s House of Delegates have given approval to a pair of legalization bills. The first, House Bill 1, lets voters decide on whether to legalize cannabis possession and sales via a binding referendum question on the November ballot. Statewide polling from October finds that Maryland residents support such a plan by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. A second bill, HB 837, was also advanced. It compliments HB 1 by setting up a limited framework for legalization, establishing personal possession limits, and providing for the expungement of past convictions, among other issues. Lawmakers have made several changes to the bill to comport with requests from NORML and other reform organizations, and we are continuing to ask for additional reforms.
Update: The House debated the proposals, rejecting several GOP-led amendments and advanced them to the Senate with votes of 96-34 and 92-37, respectively. The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing last week and voted 7 to 3 this week to advance this legislation to the Senate floor. Of note, SB 833 was amended to reflect much of what was in HB 1 & HB 837 along with additional changes. The Senate is expected to approve HB 1, the referendum measure, later today.
Legislation is currently pending in New Hampshire, House Bill 1598, to legalize the possession of cannabis by adults and to establish a system for retail sales. However, this legislation would only make cannabis available at retail at state-owned stores, which would greatly limit participation in the market and likely runs afoul of federal law.
Update: The bill passed the House Floor with a vote of 169 to 156. It now heads to the Senate.
With the recent legalization hearings having concluded in the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Senator Regan’s office has asked NORML to reach out to our friends and followers across Pennsylvania for comment and testimony. NOW is the time to stand up and speak out! We are collecting the personal testimonies of patients, caregivers and other Pennsylvania stakeholders to provide to lawmakers so that consumers’ interests are put first.
Please note the deadline to submit your testimony will be Monday, April 4th, 2022.
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act allows qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s recommendation.
Update: After having been passed in the Senate weeks ago, House members this week finally began advancing the bill. With only a few weeks left in the session, it is imperative that House lawmakers hear from you in support of this bill.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem last week vetoed legislation that would have authorized the automatic removal of marijuana-related convictions from a person’s background check. The Governor claimed that enacting the reform would set a “bad precedent.”
NORML’s State Policy Manager Jax James responded: “The voters of South Dakota have shown their support for comprehensive marijuana reform by voting to create regulated medical and adult-use markets. Yet, despite the obvious will of the voters, Gov. Noem is intent on perpetuating the failed policies of the past. People with otherwise clean records do not deserve to have the rest of their lives derailed because of a marijuana possession conviction.”
Governor Cox has signed Senate Bill 46, which limits state employers from taking punitive actions against employees who consume cannabis products at home in compliance with the state’s medical marijuana access law. The measure also forbids judges and juries from discriminating against medical cannabis patients in the course of a judicial proceeding.
Governor Cox has also signed Senate Bill 195, which expands the ability of doctors to recommend medical cannabis products to patients suffering from chronic pain, particularly for those for whom they would otherwise prescribe opioids.
SB 324 creates restrictions for women who participate in the state’s limited medical marijuana program. In order to purchase medical cannabis products under the bill, women between the ages of 25 and 50 would be required to produce “a negative pregnancy test either from her physician or documentation from a certified medical lab that has been ordered by a physician licensed in Alabama.” NORML and other groups oppose this bill.
Update: The bill passed out of the committee and quickly moved to the floor.
The Colorado House Business Affairs & Labor Committee defeated HB 1152. As originally drafted and introduced, the measure provided protections for workers who consumed marijuana off the job and also permitted additional allowances for patients. Lawmakers eventually scaled back the scope of the bill, but it was still rejected.
Current state law has partially decriminalized cannabis for adults age 21 and older. While the laws still maintain penalties for cannabis use and possession, limited personal possession carries no threat of jail time.
House Bill 629 prohibits the warrantless search of a person’s residence based on the odor of marijuana alone.
House Bill 774 outlines provisions for when a person may file to have their marijuana convictions expunged and exempts the payment of expungement fees for a person with those convictions.
House Bill 430 and House Bill 125 establish a regulated adult-use cannabis market. The bills would allow the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to exercise regulatory authority over the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of cannabis for adult recreational use.
NORML opposes this legislation: House Bill 700 seeks to provide new criminal penalties for the possession of cannabis/marijuana by individuals under eighteen years of age. Young people should not be saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.
Update: HB 700 has passed committee and advances to the House floor for discussion on Tuesday, April 5th.