by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies CoordinatorMay 24, 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

An activist group in North Dakota filed paperwork to begin petitioning for another adult use marijuana legalization ballot initiative in 2020. The group then withdrew the measure so they can amend the language.

Members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission have decided to advance plans to regulate social marijuana use facilities.

Governor Jared Polis (D) of Colorado signed legislation into law that allows physicians to recommend medical cannabis for any condition for which an opiate would otherwise be prescribed.

Legislation that would have removed the threat of jail time for low-level possession in Louisiana was defeated on the House floor this week.

Legislation that would have significantly expanded patient access to medical cannabis in Rhode Island was held in a senate committee for further study, ultimately killing the bill.

At a more local level, county commissioners of Macon-Bibb County, Georgia approved an ordinance that removes the threat of jail time for low-level marijuana possession.

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.

Your Highness,
Carly

Actions to Take

Federal

The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and to provide funding for the expungement of criminal records for those with past marijuana convictions.

Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

Alabama

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 236, to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.

Update: A substitute version of SB 236 that would create a commission to study the use of medical CBD is scheduled for a hearing and vote in the House Committee on Health on 5/28/19.

AL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

California

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 34, which would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Update: SB 34 was approved by the Senate on 5/20/19, and now heads to the Assembly.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of compassionate care programs

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 305, to permit qualified patients the ability to access medical cannabis preparations while in health care facilities.

Update: SB 305 was approved by the Senate on 5/20/19, and now heads to the Assembly.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expanded medical access

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

Update: SB 51 was approved by the Senate on 5/21/19, and now heads to the Assembly.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

Illinois

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 455, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

Update: SB 455 was approved by the House of Representatives on 5/21/19, and now heads to the governor.

IL resident? Click here to email your governor in support of medical cannabis access in schools

Louisiana

Legislation is pending, House Bill 358, to give qualified patients the option to inhale cannabis for medical purposes through vaporization.

Update: HB 358 was heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare on 5/22/19.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of removing the ban on inhalation

Legislation is pending, House Bill 507, to exempt “marijuana recommended for therapeutic use” from state and local sales and use taxes.

Update: HB 507 was approved by the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs on 5/13/19.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of tax exemptions

House Bill 491 would regulate industrial hemp production as well as allow the production and retail sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

Update: HB 491 was approved by the Senate Committee on Finance on 5/23/19.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulating hemp and CBD

Legislation is pending, House Bill 138, to remove hemp and “cannabidiol when contained in a drug product approved by the FDA,” from the list of controlled substances.

Update: HB 138 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary on 5/28/19.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of descheduling hemp

Nevada

Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 192, to allow individuals to get their records vacated for offenses that are no longer a crime in Nevada.

Update: AB 192 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/20/19, and was then unanimously approved by the Senate on 5/21/19. The bill now heads to the governor.

NV resident? Click here to email your governor in support of vacating records

Legislation is pending, AB 132, to protect cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.

This measure prohibits employers from arbitrarily discriminating against prospective employees who legally consume cannabis off-the-job in accordance with state law.

Update: AB 132 was approved by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on 5/20/19 and was amended on the Senate floor on 5/21.

NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of employment protections

Legislation is pending, SB 430, that would expand the pool of individuals eligible for medical cannabis.

The measure would permit physicians to recommend cannabis therapy to those diagnosed with anxiety, autism, opioid addiction or dependence, anorexia nervosa, among others.

Update: SB 430 was approved by the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee on 5/21/19.

NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 347, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Separately, Senate Bill 209 would establish testing standards for industrial hemp products.

Update: SB 209 was heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 5/21/19.

NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp testing standards

New Hampshire

Legislation is pending, House Bill 335, to expand access to medical cannabis in New Hampshire.

The measure would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to authorize additional dispensary licenses in certain geographic areas of the state.

Update: HB 335 was approved by the Senate Executive Departments and Administration Committee on 5/22/19.

NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

Legislation is pending, House Bill 459, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: HB 459 was approved by the Senate on 5/23/19, and now heads to the governor.

NH resident? Click here to email your governor in support of industrial hemp production

New Jersey

S3205 / A4498 would make more crimes eligible for expungement — including offenses involving controlled dangerous substances — and cut the wait time down to five years. It also includes a “clean slate” process that will wipe away all offenses at once for anyone who has a clean record for 10 years after their last offense.

Update: A4498 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/20/19.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

Senate Bill 10 and Assembly Bill 10 would expand patients’ access to medical cannabis.

The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, amongst other changes.

Update: A10 was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/20/19, and was then approved by the full Assembly on 5/23. The bill now heads to the Senate.

NJ resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

North Carolina

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 315, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: S. 315 was heard by the Agriculture/Environment/Natural Resources Committee on 5/23/19, and is scheduled for another hearing in the same committee on 5/30.

NC resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

Oregon

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, to expand upon Oregon’s expungement law.

The measure would direct the Department of Justice to automatically conduct a review of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions, and to “set aside” offenses that are no longer a crime under state law.

Update: The House Judiciary Committee held several hearings and work sessions on SB 420 this week.

OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

Texas

Legislation is pending, HB 3703, to expand access to medical CBD in Texas.

The measure expands qualifying conditions to include all epilepsy and seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, incurable neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, etc.), autism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Update: HB 3703 was approved by the Senate on 5/22/19, and will now go back to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

TX resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion