Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
The Nevada legislature sent multiple marijuana reform measures to the desk of Governor Steve Sisolak this week amending marijuana penalties for minors, rescinding per se driving thresholds for THC, and permitting consumers to obtain cannabis products via curbside pickup.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) signed legislation into law expanding the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis access.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (D) signed legislation into law that includes provisions permitting registered medical cannabis patients who are 21 or older to access medical cannabis flower.
The Colorado House approved a bill seeking to make unnecessary restrictions on medical cannabis access for doctors and young patients.
Louisiana senators voted 62 to 34 to kill an adult use marijuana legalization bill on the Senate floor.
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
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, along with Cannabis Caucus co-Chairs Earl Blumenauer and Barbara Lee, and others re-introduced the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act of 2021, better known as The MORE Act. The Act repeals the long-standing federal prohibition of marijuana — thereby ending the existing state/federal conflict in cannabis policies and providing state governments with greater authority to regulate marijuana-related activities.
House Bill 1317 seeks to place undue limitations upon patients’ medical cannabis access.
It provides overly burdensome requirements upon physicians issuing medical cannabis recommendations. For the first time ever, it requires physicians to create an explicit dosing regimen for patients. It also requires health care providers to conduct a “full assessment” of the patients’ “mental health history,” even in cases where patients have no pre-existing or underlying mental health issues.
For those patients ages 18 to 20, it requires “two physicians from two different medical practices … to diagnose the patient as having a debilitating or disabling medical condition after an in-person consultation.”
Update: HB 1317 was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on 5/25/21, then approved by the full House on 5/27, and then approved by the Senate Finance Committee on 5/28.
Backed by Governor Lamont, Senate Bill 888 would legalize and regulate adult use marijuana, allowing adults to legally possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana in public and up to five ounces at home.
Update: SB 888 was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 5/28/21, and will head to the Senate floor next, which would be as soon as next week.
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 $100 fine only.
Update: HB 652 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/25/21, and will head to the Senate floor next.
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 Senate on 5/27/21, and will now head back to the House for final approval of Senate amendments before it can be sent to the governor.
Assembly Bill 400 would 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 lawmakers, and now heads to the governor’s desk.
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 24 hours of community service.
Update: AB 158 was approved by lawmakers, and now heads to the governor’s desk.
Assembly Bill 341 would allow for the licensure of businesses as “cannabis consumption lounges” that would permit cannabis to be consumed on-site.
Update: AB 341 was approved by the House, and now heads to the Senate.
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 605 was approved by the Senate, and will now head back to the House for final approval of Senate amendments before it can be sent to the governor.
House Bill 1024 seeks to make provisions enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic permanent. These include:
- Increased possession allowances and monthly maximum purchase limits from dispensaries to provide for less frequent visits
- Allowing safe curbside pickup and telemedicine certifications for less-mobile patients
- Removing limitations on the amount of patients a caregiver may help
Update: HB 1024 was approved by the House Health Committee on 5/24/21.
Rep. Scott Slater (D) introduced a third adult use legalization proposal that would allow adults to possess and purchase up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for personal use. The measure also includes automatic expungement and social equity provisions.
House Bill 1535, authored by Rep. Stephanie Klick, seeks to expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program and qualify more patients for medical cannabis.
Update: A substitute version of HB 1535 was approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee on 5/24/21. The substitute changes the proposed THC cap from 5 percent to 1 percent, removes chronic pain as a qualifying condition, and removes the ability for the review board to approve new qualifying conditions. The bill was then approved by the Senate and House on 5/28/21. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.
HB 2593 reduces the penalty for possession of up to two ounces of cannabis concentrate. Currently, possessing cannabis concentrate is a state jail felony, however with the passage of this bill it becomes a Class B misdemeanor.
Update: HB 2593 has been sent to a conference committee to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions. The Senate amendment seeks to prohibit Delta-8 THC, whether it meets the definition of synthetically derived/controlled substance or not. If enacted, this would require all products contain no more than a total 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol by dry weight.