November 9, 2018
Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week was a big week for marijuana with Michigan voters approving the legalization and retail sale for adults, and Utah and Missouri voting to allow medical marijuana access.
There were also 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin that approved non-binding marijuana related ballot measures, as well as five cities in Ohio that voted to remove all criminal possession penalties. Read more here.
In other news unrelated to the election, Massachusetts regulators are saying that adult use retail sales will begin within days, after being delayed from the original start date on July 1.
The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board, mainly made up of physicians, voted in favor of adding autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but rejected PTSD, bipolar disorder and ADHD. They also voted to keep the THC cap at 3%. This recommendation now has to be approved by the Iowa Board of Medicine. Separately, the state’s first dispensary will begin selling low-THC medical cannabis products on December 1.
In light of Michigan’s new legalization and regulation policy, Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D) is considering options to expunge marijuana records.
Two Tennessee lawmakers are preparing to file medical cannabis legislation.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and lawmakers are still negotiating tax rates for marijuana legalization legislation. They had originally set a date for a vote on the measure for October 29.
New York’s Assembly speaker said “sealing low-level marijuana possession convictions” should be a priority for 2019.
At a more local level, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that she plans to pursue legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital in early 2019.
The Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council approved an ordinance to lower the penalties for marijuana possession and the Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council is considering a resolution calling for “legalization, decriminalization and/or regulation of cannabis and cannabis-related products for recreational use.”
Additionally, in huge non-U.S. news, a key Mexican senator who will be a member of the new presidential administration filed a bill to legalize marijuana production and sales. The move comes less than one week after the nation’s Supreme Court struck down the criminalization of cannabis.
Following are the bills 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.
Penalize States that Maintain Criminalization: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.
A11390 seeks to require public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana related costs.
The measure amends state law so that publicly funded health programs, including the largely-publicly funded Essential Plan, would treat medical cannabis like any other legal prescription drug “for the purposes of coverage under medical assistance.”
Update: Companion legislation, S9189, was introduced on 11/2/18 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee.