Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, lawmakers in three states advanced medical marijuana legislation: Kansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. The latter two are headed to Governors’ desks.
Senators in New Hampshire defeated a bill that would have allowed medical cannabis patients to grow a limited number of plants at home.
Wisconsin lawmakers stripped marijuana legalization provisions from Governor Evers’ budget proposal.
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
The bipartisan Marijuana Data Collection Act (MDCA), introduced by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and U.S. Reps. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and Don Young (R-AK) calls upon the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to collect and synthesize relevant data and to generate a formal report to Congress quantifying the impact of statewide marijuana legalization on matters specific to public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues.
Tell your lawmakers to support the Marijuana Data Collection Act now
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 prohibits patients from accessing medical cannabis in forms such as smoking herbal marijuana, vaping, and baked goods, but would allow forms including pills, oils, lozenges, patches.
Update: SB 46 was approved by lawmakers on 5/6/21, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
AL resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis
Senate Bill 158: 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: SB 158 was approved by the House on 5/6/21, and now heads to the Senate.
KS resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access
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 699 would also legalize and regulate marijuana, allowing adults to legally possess up to two pounds of marijuana, and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
Update: HB 699 is scheduled for consideration on the House floor on 5/10/21. HB 637 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/12/21.
LA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization
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 was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/4/21, and is scheduled for debate on the House floor on 5/11/21.
LA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of decriminalization
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 on 5/3/21, and now heads to the Senate.
LA resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of medical expansion
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 its eleventh and twelfth committee this week, the House Tax Committee on 5/4/21 and the Ways and Means Committee on 5/6. The bill’s next stop is the House floor.
MN resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of legalization
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 hearing in the Senate Labor and Business Committee on 5/11/21.
OR resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of delivery services
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 is scheduled for a work session in the House General Government Committee on 5/13/21.
OR resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in support of veteran access
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 approved by lawmakers on 5/5/21, and now heads to the Governor’s desk.
TN resident? Send a message to your lawmakers in opposition to study commissions