Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Let’s talk about some new state-level developments. The Maine House of Representatives and Senate overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) veto of marijuana legalization implementation legislation this week. The enactment of the legislation establishes a framework for the retail sale of marijuana to adults, but also amends numerous provisions of the 2016 voter-approved measure — including those specific to home grow limits and taxation.
The New Approach Missouri medical cannabis campaign submitted 372,483 petition signatures to put their language first on this November’s ballot.
Also at the state level, the Alaska legislature approved a resolution urging the federal government to respect the state’s marijuana laws, the Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require medical cannabis testing, and The New Hampshire Senate voted 14-10 to hold a medical cannabis homegrow bill for interim study, effectively killing it for the year.
At a more local level, Seattle, Washington’s mayor and city attorney are asking a court to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for marijuana possession. And the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Council approved a resolution calling on Congress to pass the Marijuana Justice Act.
Following are the bills from around the country that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check http://norml.org/act 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 at the federal level.
End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.
The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.
SB 388 would expand the state’s medical cannabis program.
The bill would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis.
Update: Members of the House passed SB 388 on a voice vote on 4/28. Governor Chris Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt said that the governor plans to sign SB 388 into law.
House Bill 579 would expand the state’s nascent medical cannabis program.
The measure would expand the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis by permitting physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to those suffering from chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, severe muscle spasms or glaucoma. The bill was already approved by the House last month.
Update: The Senate Health & Welfare Committee voted 4-2 to approve HB 579 on 5/2 with amendments. The committee amendments were adopted on 5/3.
Assembly Bill 1793, would “allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.
Update: The Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on AB 1793 on 5/2, but no action was taken on the bill.
House Bill 374 would expand the state’s medical cannabis access program.
The measure would expand the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis by permitting physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to those suffering from: chronic debilitating migraines, pediatric autism spectrum disorder, and pediatric sensory processing disorder.
Update: HB 374 passed the House on 5/1, and now awaits action in the Senate Health, Children & Social Services Committee.
SB 197 was just introduced, to permit those convicted of past marijuana possession convictions to seek expungement.
The measure would allow individuals to file a petition with the court requesting the expungement of any past marijuana possession violations that are no longer defined as a crime under state law. State officials estimate the legislation could affect up to 1,250 people convicted of a single marijuana crime from 1977 to 2015.
House Bill 2367 provides for the automatic expungement of past marijuana possession or paraphernalia violations.
The measure mandates the automatic expungement of any citation for a civil law violation of either: subsection (a) of Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act, or subsection (c) Section 3.5 of the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act.
Update: HB 2367 was amended on the House floor on 4/27, then re-referred to the Rules Committee.
House Bill 2729 would allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii.
Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status. A Conference Committee was appointed last month to reconcile disagreement between the House and Senate on proposed amendments.
Update: The Conference Committee recommended the measure be passed on 4/27, and both the House and Senate agreed to pass HB 2729 with amendments on 5/1. The bill now awaits action from Governor Ige.
Additional Actions to Take
Senate Bill 1302 would prohibit local governments from banning home deliveries from state-licensed cannabis providers into their jurisdictions.
Update: SB 1302 was heard by the Senate Governance & Finance Committee on 5/2, and then approved by the committee. It’s expected to soon be considered by the full House.
Senate File 2372 seeks to expand the state’s medical cannabidiol (CBD) law by removing the arbitrary 3 percent cap on THC content, and would allow doctors to recommend CBD to those suffering from chronic pain as well as to any other patient for whom they believe it would benefit. The bill was recently approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but was never assigned to another committee.
Update: Similar legislation, SF 2405, is facing strong opposition by House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, stating that she wants to wait to hear recommendations from a state advisory board set up under last year’s legislation. Gov. Kim Reynolds agrees with her.
Senate Bill 547 and House Bill 2034would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue a registration or permit to growers and handlers of agricultural and industrial hemp. It would also create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp.
Update: HB 2034 passed the House 133-6 5/3. The Senate passed the bill 29-3 5/2. It now awaits action from Governor Eric Greitens.
Senate Bill 2298 provides for the ability for individuals to cultivate hemp with a state license even if they are not part of the state’s Agriculture Department pilot program. That program only permits hemp cultivation as part of a state-sponsored research program. The bill was already passed by the Senate last week.
Update: SB 2298 will be heard by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee at 2pm on 5/8/18 in Room 413 Stratton Building.
That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates!