Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
U.S. Representative Lou Correa (D-CA) this week introduced HR 493: The Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act, which would codify the protections that were outlined in the now-rescinded Cole Memo.
Additionally, a bipartisan coalition of U.S. House lawmakers introduced The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019 (HR 601), to facilitate federally-approved clinical trials involving cannabis.
At the state level, patients in Ohio and Oklahoma now have access to medical cannabis, as sales began in both states this week.
Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York and Governor Gina Raimondo (D) of Rhode Island both included plans for cannabis legalization as a part of their budget proposals in their respective states.
A medical cannabis access bill was signed into law in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, a decriminalization bill was defeated in the Virginia House this week.
At a more local level, Westchester County, New York’s district attorney will no longer prosecute low level cannabis possession cases; Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin approved two different advisory questions to appear on an April ballot; and Oklahoma City public schools will now allow students to be administered medical cannabis by a caregiver while at school.
Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center for legislation pending in your state.
Don’t forget to sign up for our email list, and we will keep you posted as these bills and more move through your home state legislature and U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.
Regulate Nationally: The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2019 — (HR 420) seeks to deschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5595, to permit the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over.
The measure allows adults to cultivate up to six cannabis plants in their own homes; provides for the expungement of prior cannabis possession convictions; and allows for home deliveries.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2331, to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults.
The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for personal use, but it would give localities the authority to restrict or ban the retail sale and production of cannabis through county referenda.
Legislation is pending, The Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act, to permit the retail sale of cannabis to adults in the District.
The measure allows those 21 and over to legally purchase personal use quantities of cannabis from licensed retail outlets.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1540, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The measure would impose a class C infraction for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, which translates to a civil penalty punishable by a fine between $100 and $200.
Senator Anna Wishart (D) has re-introduced legislation, LB 110, to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.
If passed, this bill provides registered patients with regulated access to medical cannabis via licensed providers.
Update: LB 110 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Comittee at 1:30pm on 1/25/19 in the Warner Chamber.
Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture.”
This bill allows adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.
Update: HB 1131 is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming at 8:00am.
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon introduced Senate Bill 82, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The measure would impose a civil penalty for any “personal use quantity”of cannabis, punishable by a $100 fine.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 136, to permit physicians to authorize access to medical cannabis for any patient whom they believe would benefit from its therapeutic use.
The measure allows registered patients to use, possess, and cultivate specified quantities of medical marijuana.
Legislation is pending, Senate File 1012, to amend marijuana possession penalties for first-time offenders.
Senate File 1012 reducea criminal penalties for possession of 5 grams of marijuana or less from a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000, to a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and/or a $625 fine.
Criminal penalties for all subsequent offenses would remain unchanged under these legislations.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 305, to protect registered medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.
The measure would prohibit employers from arbitrarily discriminating against employees who legally consume medical cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.
Legislation has been introduced in Oklahoma, Senate Bill 325, to restrict access to medical cannabis in the state.
The measure would allow counties within Oklahoma to hold a referendum on whether or not to restrict or ban the production and sale of medical cannabis in their jurisdiction.
Senator Tom Begich has re-introduced legislation, Senate Bill 8, to seal the convictions of past marijuana possession offenders.
The measure prohibits the release of past records for any marijuana offense that is no longer defined as a crime under state law.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 37, to permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those struggling with opioid abuse or dependence.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 372, to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1417, to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in North Dakota.
The proposed changes:
- Expands the pool of eligible patients by permitting providers to recommend medical cannabis to those diagnosed with neuropathy; opioid use disorder; opioid withdrawal; migraine; rheumatoid arthritis; and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome;
- Allows physicians to explicitly authorize select patients to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the law.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1150, to expand the state’s nascent medical cannabis access law.
The measure expands the pool of applicants eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with a wide array of conditions, including asthma, ADHD, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and traumatic brain injury, among other diagnoses.
Legislation is pending in Colorado that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.
Senate Bill 19-013 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.
House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Other Actions to Take
Legislation is pending, House Bill 5442, to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis in Connecticut.
The measure would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis by allowing physicians to recommend it to those with generalized chronic pain.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 2387, that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.
The measure would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Legislation to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for dogs, cats and other pets in New York State is pending in the Assembly (A. 970) Health Committee. The bill would allow veterinarians to recommend marijuana for our furry companion animals.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 625, to establish an industrial hemp pilot program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 5276, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 171, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Legislation is pending, H. 333, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
That’s all for this week!
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Author: Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator