Lawmakers in many states are filing marijuana law reform legislation and some sessions are holding hearings. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
UPDATE: HF 100 has passed eleven committees in the House. SF 73 has passed six committees in the Senate.
HF 100/SF73 allows adults 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and to home-cultivate up to eight plants ( four of which may be mature). In addition to creating a system of licensed, private retail cannabis businesses, municipalities, and counties could own and operate government dispensaries. Those with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. The legislation also allows for on-site consumption lounges and cannabis delivery services. It also contains language banning the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids, consistent with Board of Pharmacy rules put into place last year.
House Bill 551 seeks to authorize unincorporated areas of the county to impose reduced penalties for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana. If passed, counties may adopt ordinances where the maximum punishment does not exceed a fine of $1,000, where the fine is paid into the county’s treasury.
UPDATE: After passing the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the bill failed to pass the Senate floor with a vote of 14 to 21.
Senate Bill 205 reduces cannabis penalties related to certain marijuana possession charges.
Update: HB 218 was heard in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 2/28/23 and is pending a vote.
HB 218 reduces the penalties for possession of 1 oz or less of cannabis flower or cannabis concentrates while also instructing officers to no longer make arrests for the possession of personal use amounts of either marijuana or related paraphernalia. Additionally, it facilitates a process for the expungement of past marijuana convictions.
UPDATE: SB3 was amended and passed the Senate 36 to 10.
Senate Bill 3, also known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, seeks to create a medical cannabis program in line with other states that have done so for the citizens of North Carolina.
UPDATE: The Senate has amended and passed SB 2068 with a vote of 33 to 14. Originally, the bill sought to double the maximum purchasable THC purchasable from 4,000 mg to 8,000 mg. The bill now seeks to institute a maximum amount of 6,000 mg. SB 2068 has a hearing scheduled in the House Human Services Committee on 3/1/23.
Senate Bill 2068 seeks to increase the maximum monthly purchasable amount of products containing THC by qualified patients. Currently, the maximum monthly allowance is 4,000 mg.
UPDATE: S0423 has passed the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
H3226, H3486, and S0423 seek to authorize the use of medical marijuana in South Carolina. If passed, this bill would not only authorize the use of medical marijuana but would also create numerous protections for registered patients, caregivers, and physicians. Further, the “Put Patients First Act” prohibits schools, landlords, and employers from discriminating against people registered to engage in the medical use of marijuana
UPDATE: SD1 has passed the Senate chamber as well as the House Health and Human Services Committee.
SD1 adds certain conditions but also removes the ability of patients and others to petition the Department of Health to add additional qualifying conditions in the future. If passed, new conditions could only be added by an act of the legislature.
The legislation looks to add the following conditions: AIDS/HIV, ALS, Multiple sclerosis, Cancer or its treatment, if associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy and seizures, Glaucoma, or Post-traumatic stress disorder.
House Bill 3939 allows counties to license and regulate businesses operating as public accommodation spaces to permit the use of cannabis on their premises. Public accommodations include facilities where cannabis goods are offered, sold, or made available to the public.
Legislative Document 839 permits cannabis businesses to establish on-premise cannabis consumption spots in a designated area separate from the location/room where cannabis is purchased.
Update: HB 232 passed the House Judicial Proceedings Committee. SB 653 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 3/15/23.
House Bill 232 redefines child neglect policies to exclude certain instances involving parents’ legal use of cannabis.
Senate Bill 653 protects parents who legally use cannabis from prosecution for child neglect. The bill would codify into law that “neglect does not include the use of cannabis by a parent or individual who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility supervision of a child.”
House Bill 420 seeks to remove the 4% tax imposed upon medical cannabis products.
House Bill 673 removes the names and related court records of persons who have had simple possession marijuana charges expunged. If passed, the Judicial branch will pose a general notice on their public internet website providing that information regarding expunged convictions has been removed from the site and is no longer publicly accessible.
House Bill 2562 seeks to require certain groups of benefits plans offered to government employees to cover low-THC cannabis.
Update: SB 5123 was amended and passed the Senate 28 to 21. The bill now heads to the House.
SB5123 prohibits employers from hiring an applicant based solely upon a failed drug test for cannabis.
Update: HB 1614 was pulled from consideration ahead of a planned committee vote on the final day before a key legislative deadline, killing the bill for this session.
House Bill 1614 allows Washingtonians to home-cultivate up to six cannabis plants. A single household may possess up to fifteen cannabis plants, regardless of the number of individuals residing in the home.
BILLS NORML OPPOSES
Update: HB 1053 had passed the House of Representatives 61 to 8. It has also passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 10 to 2.
HB1053 and SB3 prohibit pregnant and breastfeeding women from being issued a medical cannabis card.
NORML opposes this effort because we believe that medical decisions are best made between a patient and their physicians absent undue interference from lawmakers.
UPDATE HB 1147 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on 3/3/23.
House Bill 1147 establishes arbitrary THC potency levels for marijuana flower and solid/liquid concentrates. If passed, this bill will prohibit adults from accessing any product containing more than 15% THC.
NORML opposes proposed bans on cannabis products because imposing such bans only perpetuates the unregulated market. That is because outlawing these products will drive the production and sale of them exclusively underground. This result undermines the primary goal of legalization, which is to disrupt and ultimately replace the underground market with a transparent, regulated marketplace, wherein products are tested for safety and are clearly labeled so that consumers can make educated choices.
Assembly Bill 4890 seeks to create a 15% THC potency cap on flower products and a 25% THC cap on cannabis concentrates for retail sales.