Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy approved a significant increase to the number of medical cannabis dispensaries allowed to operate in the state. Applications for new business license are expected to become available this summer.
Members of the Philadelphia, PA city council voted to approve a measure to ban most employers from testing for marijuana as a condition of employment. Mayor Kenney is expected to sign it into law.
The Mayor of Denver, Colorado signed a bill into law to permit marijuana delivery services and social consumption sites in the city.
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
In a bipartisan vote of 321-101, members of the US House of Representatives this week approved HR 1996, The SAFE Banking Act, which would create a legal safe harbor for financial institutions to engage in business relationships with state-licensed and regulated cannabis companies.
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 was approved by 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 on 4/13/21. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
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 approved by the Senate on 4/21/19, and both bills now head to the House.
Multiple pieces of legislation are pending to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana in Louisiana.
Rep. Newell’s House Bill 637 would legalize and regulate adult use cannabis sales with a focus on a social equity licensing structure that would reduce barriers of entry into the industry for communities most harmed by prohibition.
Separately, House Bill 243 would remove penalties for marijuana possession and distribution, but only if lawmakers approve separate legislation to regulate production and retail sales.
House Bill 524 would allow localities (parishes) within Louisiana to regulate marijuana retail sales only if a majority of voters in that parish approve it via a proposed ballot measure during the 2022 election. If approved by lawmakers and then by voters, it would allow an individual to purchase and possess up to one ounce and cultivate up to six cannabis plants for personal use.
Update: HB 243 and HB 524 are scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on 4/27/21. HB 637 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development on 4/29/21.
Legislation is pending which seeks to reduce penalties for the low-level possession of marijuana.
House Bill 652 would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana from up to 15 days in jail and a maximum $300 fine, to a $50 fine only.
Update: HB 652 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on 4/27/21.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 391, which would repeal the prohibition on physicians recommending medical marijuana for “inhalation” and in “raw or crude” form.
It also allows dispensaries to dispense two and a half ounces of marijuana per 14 day period.
Update: HB 391 was approved by the House Health and Welfare Committee on 4/22/21.
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 two more legislative committees this week, for a total of eight committees that have approved legalization. The bill will head to the House Public Safety Committee next, before an anticipated vote on the House floor next month.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 400, to remove existing ‘per se’ limits for individuals who drive with certain detectable levels of THC in their body — regardless of whether they are behaviorally impaired.
Update: AB 400 was approved by the Assembly on 4/20/21, and now heads to the Senate.
Legislation is pending to regulate social marijuana use at certain public establishments.
Assembly Bill 341 would allow for the licensure of businesses as “cannabis consumption lounges” that would permit cannabis to be consumed on-site.
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 341 was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 4/19/21. AB 322 was approved by the Assembly Revenue Committee on 4/19/21.
Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 158, which seeks to revise penalties imposed on minors caught in possession of marijuana for first-time offenders.
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 approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 4/19/21, and was then approved by the full Assembly on 4/20. The bill now heads to the Senate.
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 were heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/21/21. HB 89 was unanimously approved by the committee.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2272, which seeks to limit the number of medical cannabis dispensaries permitted to operate in the state of Oklahoma.
The bill would end the distribution of additional licenses to new businesses this fall, and allow currently operating businesses to have their licenses revoked if they don’t meet certain criteria.
Update: HB 2272 was approved by the Senate on 4/21/21, and will now head back to the House for a concurrence vote to approve or deny the Senate’s amendments.
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 was heard in the Senate Labor and Business Committee on 4/20/21.
House Bill 3772 reduces penalties for low-level possession of cannabis flower AND THC concentrates. The bill also allows for expungement of a Class C marijuana or paraphernalia charge if it is dismissed, and removes the 180-day driver’s license suspension for Class C marijuana or paraphernalia convictions.
Update: HB 3772 was heard in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 4/19/21.