Here is NORML’s weekly update on state legislative activity.

Highlights 

Alabama

Legislation is pending in Alabama, Senate Bill 160, to decriminalize personal marijuana possession. Specifically, it amends offenses involving the possession of two ounces or less to a violation, punishable by a $250 maximum fine. The bill also facilitates the expungement of criminal records specific to certain low-level marijuana-related crimes.

Update: This bill was heard by members of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022. NORML submitted written testimony in support of the bill, which was passed by the committee with a vote of 5 to 4. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Colorado

Legislation is pending in Colorado, Senate Bill 099, to streamline the existing automatic record sealing process for those with marijuana-related convictions. If passed, this bill would also provide employment and tenant protections for those who have had their records sealed. 

Update: This bill is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, February 24, 2022 in the Judiciary Committee at 1:30PM. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation has been filed in Colorado, House Bill 1152, prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against an employee, including an applicant for employment, who engages in the use of medical marijuana. The bill’s language also requires certain employers to make accommodations for medical cannabis patients who require their medicine while at work.

Update: This bill is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, February 24, 2022 in the Judiciary Committee at 1:30PM.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Hawaii

Multiple bills seek to expand medicinal marijuana access in the state of Hawaii.

House Bill 2053 authorizes medical cannabis dispensaries to distribute cannabis propagules and cuttings to individuals authorized to cultivate cannabis plants for medical use.

Update: This bill was heard on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 in the Health, Human Services and Homelessness Committee, where it later passed unanimously. 

Senate Bill 2718 amends the definition of “qualifying patient” so that senior citizens – anyone age 65 or older – may automatically access the state’s established medical cannabis program.

Update: This bill was heard on Monday, February 7, 2022 in the Senate Health Committee where it later passed unanimously.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of these efforts. 

Maine 

Legislation is pending in Maine, Legislative Document 1957, to allow those with prior drug offense convictions to participate in the licensed cannabis industry. If passed, the bill would amend rules so that individuals can no longer be denied registry identification cards on the sole basis of a prior drug offense. In addition, they will be able to act as caregivers for qualifying medical patients and they will be able to serve as long-term care facility staff.

Update: This bill is scheduled for a hearing on Friday, February 25, 2022 in the House Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs at 9:00 AM in State House, Room 437.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Maryland

The Maryland Cannabis Reform bill (HB0837) is intended to define what a legal system would look like if the cannabis legalization referendum is passed by voters in November. NORML is calling for improvements to the bill. 

Update: This bill was heard on Monday, February 14, 2022 by members of  the Judiciary Committee. Itawaits a vote. 

Send a message to your lawmakers requesting improvement to this legislation. 

Nebraska

NORML is taking a ‘no’ position on this bill, as is the Marijuana Policy Project. You can read their summary here.

Legislation has been filed, LB 1275, that is designed to be a stumbling block for the 2022 ballot initiative campaign. Last month, medical cannabis advocates pointed out in the Lincoln Journal Star that LB 1275 is a “poison pill” bill, a medical cannabis bill that fails to provide for a regulated system of  cannabis access. The fact that the proposal has received praise from SAM — a lobbying group that has fought for years against medical cannabis access — tells you all you need to know: LB 1275 is NOT a true medical cannabis bill.

Send a message to the committee in opposition of this bill.

Ohio

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 261, to expand medical marijuana access for patients in Ohio. If passed, this bill would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis to any patient at their discretion. 

Update: This bill passed the Ohio State Senate with a vote of 26 to 5 and was scheduled for a hearing in the House Government Oversight Committee on Thursday, February 17th. NORML submitted testimony in support. The bill awaits a vote by this committee. 

Send a message in support of this legislation. 

South Dakota 

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 177, to expand access to the state’s nascent medical marijuana program by allowing qualified patients from tribal communities to purchase medicine outside of their reservation. It also allows tribes to establish medical cannabis programs absent obtaining a state license. 

Update: This bill was heard on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022 where it passed with a vote of 4 to 2.

Send a message in support of this effort.

Utah

Legislation is currently pending, Senate Bill 195, to allow for student patients to access their medical cannabis while on school grounds. In addition, the bill expands qualifying conditions to include those experiencing acute pain that would otherwise be treated with opioids..

Update: This week, the  bill passed the Senate floor with a vote of 21-7-1. It now advances to the House. 

Send a message of support to your legislator. 

Vermont

Legislation has been filed in Vermont, H 548, which would allow adult-use retailers to provide higher potency (over 60% THC) concentrates and oil products. It would also exempt solid concentrates, oils, and tinctures from the 50 mg THC limit, per package. Current state law in Vermont provides a THC cap at 30 percent for cannabis flower and 60 percent in solid concentrates.

Update: This bill was heard on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, where Vermont NORML offered testimony in support.

Send a message to your legislator in support of this effort. 

Washington

Legislation is pending to exempt medical marijuana from excise taxes. Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana products purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary. Patients, many of whom are on disability or fixed income, should not be seen by lawmakers as a viable source of new tax revenue.

Update: This bill is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, February 21, 2022 in the House Committee on Finance at 10:00 AM and again on Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 8:00 AM.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Additional

Arizona

Legislation is pending, House Bill 2736, to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession involving two pounds or more from a felony to a misdemeanor. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

California

Assembly Member Quirk has introduced a bill (AB 1954) to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. It prohibits their denial of any treatment or medication based solely on a positive drug screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or because it has been reported that they use medical cannabis.  

Send a message to your lawmaker in support of this effort.

AB 2188 (Quirk) bans employers from denying workers’ jobs or firing them based on a positive drug test for inactive metabolites of THC, which can be detected for days or weeks after use, and have no correlation with on-the-job impairment. It would still allow employers to maintain a safe, drug-free workplace by allowing performance testing or other technologies..

Send a message to your lawmaker in support of this effort.

New Hampshire

Legislation is pending, House Bill 1598, to legalize the retail sale of cannabis to adults age 21 and older. However, this legislation would create a state run monopoly and likely place state-run businesses in direct conflict with federal law. For these reasons, NORML has called for amendments to this language.

Update: On Thursday, February 17, 2022 this legislation passed the House and is anticipated to be advanced shortly to the Senate.

Send a message to your lawmakers to amend this effort.  

Virginia

Legislation has been introduced, SB 671, to provide operational improvements to the medical cannabis program. These improvements would be to the benefit of the over 40,000 registered patients participating in this program.

Update: This bill passed the Senate Floor unanimously and now heads to the House. 

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation has been introduced, SB 391, to regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults 21 and older. Forcing Virginians to wait until 2024 in order to legally access retail cannabis fails to provide for public and consumer safety, and continues to cede control of the cannabis market to unregulated, untaxed, illicit operators.

Update: This bill passed the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 21 to 18 and now advances to the House.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort. 

West Virginia

Legislation is pending in West Virginia, House Bill 4745, to legalize the possession of cannabis and cannabis products by individuals who are 21 and older. If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults. It would also authorize a special excise tax on cannabis and would create a new fund whose proceeds would be directed towards the funding for a variety of programs.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation is pending, House Bill 4744, to permit medical cannabis to be dispensed in edible form. If passed, this bill would also remove the restrictions that prevent medical cannabis from being incorporated into edible form while providing restrictions related to the shape of the edible product.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Wyoming 

Legislation is pending, House Bill 106, to eliminate criminal penalties for the use of marijuana and for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia and to replace them with civil, fine-only penalties. If passed, this bill would decriminalize the adult possession of up to three ounces of cannabis flower, up to sixteen ounces of solid form products (including edibles, ointments, and tinctures) or seventy-two ounces of liquids, and up to thirty grams of concentrates. Possession of these amounts or less by adults would be classified as a civil penalty punishable by a $100 fine.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.

Legislation is currently pending, House Bill 143, to create the Wyoming Patient Cannabis Act of 2022 and establish a regulatory framework for the retail sales and licensing of medical marijuana.

If passed, the bill would provide for the operation of medical marijuana establishments, prevent local regulation prohibiting the development or operation of medical marijuana establishments, and prevent the prescription of synthetic marijuana. It outlines more than sixteen qualifying conditions and symptoms for enrollment in the program. Patients would be able to possess up to four ounces of cannabis flower and up to twenty grams of product within a thirty day period. They would also be able to home cultivate no more than eight mature marijuana plants.

Send a message to your lawmakers in support of this effort.


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