Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Governor Lujan Grisham of New Mexico signed legislation into law on Monday to legalize marijuana for all adults in the state, as well as separate legislation to automatically expunge records for offenses made legal under the new law. New Mexico is the fourth state to enact marijuana legalization this year, and the 18th state in the country to do so.
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb signed legislation into law this week to amend the state’s zero-tolerance per se driving law.
The Mississippi Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a legal challenge that seeks to nullify a November vote legalizing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis to qualified patients.
Michigan’s Attorney General posted information online about a new expungement program where people can apply to get their past misdemeanor marijuana convictions cleared.
City council members in both Maplewood and St. Louis County, Missouri voted to approve marijuana decriminalization proposals.
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
This week, Brian Schatz (D-HI), along with Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dave Joyce (R-OH), introduced The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act (S. 1183 / HR 2588), bipartisan legislation to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.
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, consume baked goods, or vape, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges patches, nebulizers and inhalers.
Update: SB 46 was approved by the House Health Committee on 4/15/21, and is now eligible for a House floor vote after passing the Senate earlier this year.
Legislation is pending to expand the medical use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in California.
Assembly Bill 384 would require new guidelines for veterinarians to follow when recommending medical cannabis treatment to any animal (excluding livestock).
Update: AB 384 was approved by the Committee on Business and Professions on 4/13/21, and now heads to the Appropriations Committee.
Legislation is pending that would increase the amount of marijuana adults can legally possess as well as expand expungement eligibility for past marijuana convictions.
Under current state law, possession of between one and two ounces of marijuana is a petty offense punishable by a $100 fine.
House Bill 1090 would eliminate the penalty for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.
The measure would also require the court to seal a conviction record, without opportunity for the district attorney to object, for a marijuana possession offense that is otherwise not sealed, if the person has not been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense since.
Update: HB 1090 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/22/21.
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 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 4/13/21.
Senate Bill 468 / House Bill 189 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.
Separately, Senate Bill 470 / House Bill 191 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 were heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on 4/15/21, and will be considered again on 4/19. SB 469 received unanimous approval from the committee.
House Bill 477 would increase the allowable number of production and retail dispensary locations.
Update: HB 477 was approved by the Senate on 4/13/21, and then the House disagreed with Senate changes. The bill will now head to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions.
House Majority Leader Winkler’s House File 600 would legalize and regulate marijuana, allowing 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.
Update: HF 600 was approved by both the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy, and the Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committees this week, the fifth and sixth legislative committees to approve the bill. The bill will head to the House State Government Finance and Elections Committee next, before an anticipated vote on the House floor next month.
House Bill 89 would add “moderate to severe insomnia” and “autism spectrum disorder” as qualifying conditions for eligibility for medical cannabis treatment.
House Bill 605 would add “opioid use disorder” to the definition of qualifying medical condition. The measure also would allow out-of-state residents qualified in other jurisdictions to purchase therapeutic cannabis at New Hampshire dispensaries.
Update: HB 89 and HB 605 are scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/21/21.
Legislation is pending to regulate cannabis delivery services.
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 public hearing in the Senate Labor and Business Committee on 4/20/21.
H5021 would prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging or otherwise discriminating against any individual because of their medical use of marijuana.
Update: H5021 was heard in the House State Government & Elections Committee on 4/12/21. Committee members recommended that the measure be “held for further study.”
House Bill 5190 would allow veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis treatment to animals with a debilitating medical condition.
Update: H5190 was heard in the House State Government & Elections Committee on 4/12/21. Committee members recommended that the measure be “held for further study.”
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 4/14/21, but was deferred for the fourth time until 4/21.
HB 490/SB 118 would establish a medical cannabis commission to study laws and legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis and report findings and recommendations for future legislation on how to best establish an effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state.
This legislation is specifically problematic because it mandates that “licenses for such a program shall not be issued, or authorized to be issued, until marijuana is removed from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”
Update: SB 118 was recommended for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/14/21, and was transmitted to the Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee.
SB 667/HB 880 would allow certain qualifying patients, with a physician’s approval, to use and possess medical cannabis extracts obtained legally elsewhere.
House Bill 666/Senate Bill 1493 would allow disabled veterans with quadriplegia to possess and use liquid extract cannabis if certain criteria are met.
Update: SB 667 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/13/21, and will head to the Senate floor next. HB 880 is scheduled for consideration in the House Health Committee on 4/21/21. HB 666 is scheduled for consideration in the House Criminal Justice Committee on 4/21/21.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more!