Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
At the federal level, the SAFE Banking Act was reintroduced this week by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), along with 27 other members of the Upper Chamber. The House companion was already reintroduced last week.
Senate lawmakers in Tennessee defeated a bill that would have provided medical cannabis access to qualifying patients.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation into law amending the state’s medical cannabis access law to allow for the production and dispensing of botanical cannabis products. An operational improvements bill was also signed by Governor Northam, to ensure patients in hospice and other residential facilities are able to access medical cannabis, and makes permanent improved telehealth allowances adopted during the public health crisis. Meanwhile, Gov. Northam is considering moving the effective date of marijuana legalization legislation up to this summer, instead of 2024.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation into law to facilitate social equity in the state’s marijuana industry.
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.
Legislation is pending to establish a medical marijuana access program for qualified patients with a physician’s recommendation to access medical marijuana from licensed retail outlets.
Senate Bill 46 would not allow patients to smoke herbal marijuana or vape, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges patches, nebulizers and inhalers.
Update: Senate-approved SB 46 was heard by the House Judiciary Committee, and after several delays, committee members are expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday March 31, 2021.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 311, to permit qualified patients the ability to access medical cannabis preparations while in health care facilities.
Update: SB 311 was unanimously approved by the Senate on 3/22/21, and now heads to the Assembly.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 56, which seeks to expand cannabis-based medicine access for registered patients in public schools.
The bill requires school boards to implement policies allowing for the storage, possession, and administration of cannabis-based medicine by school personnel. It also allows school personnel to volunteer to possess, administer, or assist in administration of cannabis-based medicine and protects those who do from retaliation.
Update: SB 56 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Committee on 4/1/21.
House Bill 6377 is pending to legalize adult use marijuana. This measure would allow adults to grow up to six marijuana plants, establish an equity-focused task force, a permanent cannabis commission, a long-term cannabis job training program, and more.
Update: HB 6377 was approved by the Labor and Public Employees Committee on 3/25/21.
Legislation to legalize and regulate the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults in Delaware has been reintroduced.
House Bill 150 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.
The bill also includes provisions expanding expungement eligibility for those with past marijuana related convictions, as well as a 15 percent point of sale tax. HB 150 would allow for the licensing of 30 retail businesses in the first 16 months, and includes a designated social equity applicant status, in which qualifying applicants would be eligible for technical assistance, reduced fees, loans, and other programs to reduce barriers of entry for the communities most adversely impacted by prohibition.
Update: HB 150 was approved by the House Health and Human Development Committee on 3/24/21.
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.
Update: SB 60 was approved by the Senate on 3/23/21, and was transmitted to the House Health & Human Development Committee, where it will be heard on 3/31/21.
Senate Bill 468 would allow individuals convicted of misdemeanor offenses involving the possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana to petition the court to get their record expunged.
Senate Bill 470 would exempt a marijuana offense that has been expunged from public records, ensuring that the expunged conviction remains confidential.
Update: SB 468 and SB 470 are scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on 3/30/21.
House Bill 3085 would allow for the automatic expungement of any marijuana possession or delivery offenses that occurred on or after January 1, 1970, and would allow those incarcerated for these offenses to be released. This measure would also remove criminal penalties for any amount of marijuana possession.
Update: HB 3085 was approved by the Senate Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/23/21.
If passed, House Bill 1952 would require courts to expunge cannabis offenses committed before an individual turned 18 if the offense would have also been considered a crime if committed by an adult.
Update: HB 1952 was approved by the Senate Judiciary – Criminal Committee on 3/23/21.
Legislation is pending, to amend certain marijuana penalties for juvenile offenders.
Senate Bill 368 would make possession by a minor of marijuana and paraphernalia used with marijuana a juvenile status offense, rather than a criminal offense.
Update: SB 368 was heard in the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee on 3/24/21.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 201, to provide a defense to DUI 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 House on 3/23/21, and now heads to the Governor.
House Bill 2184: The Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act is also 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 being considered by the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, with a possible vote next week.
Introduced by House Majority Leader Winkler, House File 600 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 Agriculture Committee on 3/24/21, and now heads to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
House Bill 1325 prohibits a family court from barring its participants from participating in the medical cannabis program.
Update: HB 1325 was unanimously approved by the House Emerging Issues Committee on 3/24/21.
Currently under state law, those under 21 can face up to 8 hours of drug education or counseling and a $100 fine for up to one ounce of marijuana possession.
House Bill 517 would remove these penalties for those between 18-20, and remove the fine for those under 18 caught in possession of any amount of marijuana.
Update: HB 517 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/1/21.
Currently in the state of Nevada, minors caught with up to one ounce of marijuana face a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in the county jail.
This bill would revise the current penalties to eliminate the possibility of jail time or a fine on the first offense. The penalty under this measure for a minor in possession of under one ounce of marijuana, or who falsely represents themselves to be 21 years of age or older to obtain cannabis, would be up to 100 hours of counseling or participation in support groups.
Update: AB 158 was heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 3/24/21.
Assembly Bill 322 would allow the licensure and regulation of certain events at which the sale and consumption of cannabis or cannabis products is allowed.
Update: AB 322 was heard in the Assembly Revenue Committee on 3/25/21.
House Bill 12 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.
Update: Last weekend, the New Mexico state House and Senate failed to approve marijuana legalization legislation prior to Saturday’s adjournment of the 2021 legislative session. However, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called for a special session during which time lawmakers will reconvene to address the issue. The session may start as soon as March 31.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), has been re-introduced this legislative session. The Senate version, S854, was introduced with nearly a third of senate lawmakers as cosponsors. The Assembly companion is also pending, A1248.
The measures would allow adults 21 and older to legally purchase and possess small amounts of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants for personal use, and also include automatic expungement, and other provisions to promote social equity in the industry and direct revenue toward communities most harmed by the drug war.
Update: Legislative leaders say they are “really, really, really close on marijuana” and have come to an agreement with Governor Cuomo on marijuana legalization provisions. New language is expected to be released in the coming days.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2004, which seeks to expand Oklahoma’s medical marijuana law.
The bill would:
- Allow patient licensees to possess 12 mature marijuana plants, rather than six mature plants and six seedling plants;
- Reclassify the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana by someone without a patient license as an offense not subject to imprisonment and punishable by a fine and court costs not to exceed $400;
- Provide tax waivers and reduced patient license application fees for certain disabled veterans; and
- Allow out of state patients to access their medicine while visiting Oklahoma.
Update: HB 2004 was heard by the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee on 3/25/21.
House Bill 2519 would allow licensed dispensaries to home deliver adult use cannabis to consumers 21 and older “within city or county in which marijuana retailer is located and to consumers in cities or counties that have adopted ordinances allowing for delivery of marijuana items from adjacent cities or counties.”
Update: HB 2519 is scheduled for a work session in the House General Government Committee on 3/23/21.
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 considered by the Senate Health Care Committee on 3/24/21.
S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow qualifying patients to use, purchase, and possess medical cannabis with a physician’s supervision.
Update: S. 150 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on 3/31/21.
SB 667/HB 880 would request a study on the licensure and regulation of cannabis for medical use by departments of health and medical professional licensing boards in states contiguous to Tennessee and report findings to the general assembly’s health committees by December 15, 2021.
Update: SB 667 was scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health And Welfare Committee on 3/24/21, but was deferred until 3/31. HB 880 was scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health Subcommittee on 3/23/21, but it was deferred until 3/30.
Legislation is pending to decriminalize the possession small amounts of marijuana in Tennessee.
House Bill 413/Senate Bill 1439 would remove criminal and civil penalties for the possession or casual exchange of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults.
Update: HB 413 was scheduled for consideration in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on 3/24/21, but was deferred until 3/31.
House Bill 1330 / Senate Bill 1359 would prohibit a public or private employer from discriminating against an applicant or employee in hiring, termination, or a term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee based on a drug test that indicates the use of marijuana by the applicant or employee.
Update: HB 1330 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Banking & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on 3/31/21. SB 1339 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on 3/30/21.
House Bill 1086 is pending, which would amend penalty weights as well as reduce penalties for cannabis possession.
Update: HB 1086 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 3/22/21.
Senate Bill 5004 would provide a tax exemption on medical marijuana purchased by registered patients from a licensed dispensary.
Update: SB 5004 was scheduled for an executive session in the House Committee on Finance on 3/25/21.
Senate Bill 590 would allow edible medical cannabis products to be dispensed to patients.
Update: SB 590 was approved by the Senate on 3/24/21, and now heads to the House.