Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
U.S. Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA) and Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced legislation this week, HR 712 / S. 179: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2019 to facilitate federally-sponsored clinical research into the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis among veterans.
At the state level this week, activists gathered in Denver in conjunction with Colorado and Denver NORML chapters to lobby their state lawmakers in favor of workplace drug testing reforms, social consumption, parental protections and expanding access to the state’s medical cannabis program.
Opioid dependency was added to New Jersey’s list of conditions for medical cannabis eligibility.
And a North Dakota bill to permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes was defeated in a Senate committee this week.
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.
Actions to Take
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 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.
Update: HB 115 was heard by the House Rules Committee on 1/23, but no action was taken on the bill.
Democratic State Senator Bill Montford re-introduced Senate Bill 384, which would allow qualified patients to use medical cannabis while in school.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 708, to legalize the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of small amounts of marijuana for adults.
The measure would allow adults 21 and over to purchase one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six cannabis plants in their own home.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 673, to expand medical cannabis access.
The proposed changes:
- Expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients;
- Allows licensed dispensaries to possess up to two additional manufacturing or processing facilities separate from their production facilities; and
- Allows licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis and cannabidiol products
House Bill 698 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 131 / Senate Bill 1335, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
House Bill 19-1028 would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Update: The House Committee on Health & Insurance referred the bill unamended to the Committee of the Whole, meaning the bill will now be considered by the full House.
Legislation is pending, Senate File 71, to allow medical cannabidiol (CBD) to be administered to patients at school.
Legislation is pending, SF 77, to expand access to certain medical cannabis products in Iowa.
The proposed changes:
- Allow physicians to recommend low-THC medical cannabis oil to any patient whom they believe will benefit from its therapeutic use; and
- Raises the cap on THC limits from three percent to 13 percent.
Legislation is pending, HF 265, to permit a public vote on the question of legalizing adult marijuana use.
The measure proposes the following question on the 2020 ballot to voters:
“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to allow a person who is 21 years of age or older to personally possess, use, and grow cannabis and to possess cannabis-infused products, and to require the legislature to prescribe by law a manner to license and regulate the commercial sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products?”
Legislation is pending, House Bill 551, to legalize the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 261, to protect medical cannabis patients who require Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits.
Under this proposed measure, “applicants or recipients who test positive for marijuana consumed lawfully pursuant to the Missouri Constitution shall not be declared ineligible for TANF benefits on the basis of that consumption.”
Legislation is pending, House Bill 567, to protect the rights of prospective parents looking to adopt children.
The measure would prohibit the government from denying prospective parents the opportunity to adopt a child based solely on their status as a medical cannabis patient or as an employee in the medical cannabis industry.
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.
Update: HB 1417 was heard by the Human Services Committee on 1/23, but no action was taken on the bill.
Legislation is pending, LB 657, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 481, to allow for the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana by adults.
The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or up to five grams of concentrate, and to grow up to six marijuana plants.
Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee is holding a hearing on HB 481 on 2/5.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 399, to permit those convicted of past marijuana offenses to seek an expungement of their criminal records.
If passed, HB 399 would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting that the court annul any past marijuana violations involving the possession of up to ¾ of an ounce of marijuana.
Update: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved HB 399 by a 18-2 vote on 1/22.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 356, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1557, to expand the state’s low-THC medical cannabis oil program.
The measure would allow Virginia’s licensed practitioners to recommend and pharmaceutical processors to dispense full therapeutic-strength medical cannabis oil.
Update: SB 1557 was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Eduction Committee on 1/24, and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Senator Glen Sturtevant filed SB 1632 and Delegate Chris Hurst filed HB 1720, which seek to permit any student who is a registered Virginia medical cannabis patient to use Virginia-allowed medical cannabis oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity.
Update: SB 1632 was unanimously approved by the Senate Health and Eduction Committee on 1/24, and now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, to allow adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.
Update: The House Committee on Commerce & Gaming heard HB 1131 on 1/21, but no action was taken on the bill. Separately, SB 5155 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce at 8:00 AM on 1/31.
That’s all for this week! Check back next Friday for more legislative updates.
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Author: Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator