Marijuana reform legislation advances in several states. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
House Bill 168 creates a regulated market for the adult use of marijuana. Adults over the age of 21 would be able to possess up to 5 ounces of flower, 15 grams of hashish, and 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, and they may cultivate up to 12 plants in their own homes. Additionally, the legislation establishes an expungement process for minor possession charges.
UPDATE: Lawmakers last week resolved differences between House-backed and Senate-backed adult-use legalization measures and re-approved them. Democratic Gov. Tim Walz is expected to sign the legislation into law early next week, making Minnesota the 23rd legal marijuana state.
HF 100/SF73 permits adults to purchase (up to two ounces from state-licensed retailers, as well as lesser quantities of concentrates and/or edibles), home-cultivate (up to eight plants, no more than four of which can be mature), and possess cannabis (up to 2 pounds in private). The bill also facilitates the automatic review and expungement of records for those previously convicted of certain marijuana-related violations. On-site consumption will be allowed at certain permitted events. Municipal officials will be able to impose regulations regarding the total number of cannabis businesses and their locations, but they may not prohibit their operations.
UPDATE: HB 286 passed the House by a vote of 39 to 30.
House Bill 286 allows those with marijuana possession misdemeanor offense convictions to file a motion for the expungement of their records ninety days following their conviction. First-time offenders would be exempt from processing fees.
Legislative Document 1952 creates Cannabis Hospitality Establishments, which will allow consumers over the age of 21 to smoke or ingest cannabis at an on-site location where the cannabis has been purchased. It also regulates delivery services and permits consumers to order marijuana products online.
UPDATE: SB 277 was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on 5/22/23 and is pending a vote.
Senate Bill 277 allows dispensaries to obtain dual licensure, therefore allowing them to serve both medical patients and adult-use customers. The bill also increases the allowable purchasing limit to 2.5 ounces.
Update: HB 431 has been tabled until next year.
HB 431 sought to permit qualifying patients and designated caregivers to home-cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use. Under existing law, qualified patients must purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
Assembly Bill 7159 enacts tenant protections for medical marijuana patients. The bill prohibits landlords from engaging in eviction proceedings against certified medical marijuana patients solely upon the basis of their medical cannabis use.
Assembly Bill 7014 repeals Section 490 of the tax law, pertaining to the taxation of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products.
House Bill 983 amends Pennsylvania’s DUI laws by eliminating the existing zero-tolerance THC per se standard for authorized medical cannabis patients. Under the measure, prosecutors would need to show proof of actual impairment in order to find a patient guilty of a marijuana-related DUI.
BILLS NORML OPPOSES
Legislative Document 1946 seeks to increase taxes on adult-use cannabis and cannabis products beginning on or after October 1st, 2023, increasing the tax rate from 5.5% to 10%.
Senate Bill 7199 would provide additional authority to local communities to enact additional prohibitions on cannabis use and dispensary operations.
House Bill 1071 prohibits the odor of cannabis, the suspicion of the possession of cannabis, and the presence of money near cannabis, from being considered probable cause for police to search a person’s vehicle. It stipulates: “A law enforcement officer may not initiate a stop or search of a person, a motor vehicle, or a vessel based solely on one or more of the following: the odor of burnt or unburnt cannabis, the possession or suspicion of possession of cannabis that does not exceed the personal amount limit, the presence of cash or currency in proximity to cannabis. … Evidence discovered or obtained in violation of this section … is not admissible in a trial, a hearing, or any other proceeding.”
Provisions in the new law also reduce penalties for the public use of cannabis to a civil fine of either $50 (for a first offense) or $150 (for a subsequent offense.)
HB 128 extends an existing moratorium restricting the pool of applicants eligible to obtain licensure to participate in the adult-use marijuana market to only those with prior involvement in the state’s medical cannabis industry. This bill extends this moratorium from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2025.
UPDATE: HB 639 and HB 360 were both previously passed by members of the House of Representatives. However, they failed in the Senate, 14 to 10 largely along party lines, with all but one of the Senate Democrats voting ‘yes’ and all but one of the Senate Republicans voting ‘no.’ Both bills sought to legalize the adult use of marijuana and establish a state-licensed marketplace.
After the vote, Governor Sununu issued a statement reversing his past opposition to adult-use legalization, but indicating that he only supported a system that allows for the retail sale of cannabis products in state-run stores. The House is now working on sending a compromised adult-use bill to the Senate. Stay tuned for more developments!
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