Lawmakers in many states have started pre-filing marijuana law reform legislation and some sessions have already begun holding hearings. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.

ADULT-USE LEGALIZATION

DELAWARE

Update: HB2 has passed out of the House Revenue & Finance Committee.

House Bill 2, otherwise known as the Delaware Marijuana Control Act, regulates and taxes adult-use sales, promotes equity and inclusion in the legal industry from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, and reinvests a portion of tax revenue into disproportionately impacted communities.

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HAWAII

House Bill 237 and its companion bill Senate Bill 375  legalize cannabis for adult use. Adults 21 years and older will be permitted to purchase the equivalent of four ounces of cannabis within a consecutive period of fifteen days. Adults can also home cultivate up to 10 plants. There are equity provisions for retail licensing. In addition, provisions in the bill would expand home-cultivation rights to out-of-state patients.

Senate Bill 669 legalizes the personal cultivation and use of small amounts of cannabis..

House Bill 1216  legalizes and regulates the sale and use of up to 30 grams of marijuana for adults

House Bill 1425 legalizes the purchase and possession of up to 28.5 grams of cannabis flower.

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IOWA

Senate File 73 seeks to legalize marijuana possession, manufacturing, delivery, and retail sales. Residents that are 21 years or older may possess 30g of marijuana flower, 5g of marijuana concentrate, and 500mg of THC in an infused product. Non-residents may possess up to half of those amounts. No more than one ounce of marijuana or its equivalent in retail marijuana products may be purchased per transaction.

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MARYLAND

House Bill 556 and Senate Bill 516 regulates cannabis sales for adults 21 and older by allowing all cannabis businesses to serve both medical patients and adults. The bills create an avenue to allow for on-sight consumption licenses, where consumers over 21 can purchase and consume cannabis in a social setting. Additionally, the legislation institutes certain parental and personal protections for medical and adult-use consumers.

The bills further make some changes to the allowances of registered medical patients, increasing the amount of possession to 4 ounces of flowers, 36 grams of THC-infused products, and up to four plants for home cultivation. The bills also create a social equity commission to allow cannabis business licensees disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs to take priority in the allotted number of cannabis businesses registered in the fiscal year. Under these bills, a 6% tax on cannabis sales will be implemented, with a 1% increase each year (ending with a 10% tax by 2028).

Under state law, patients are not currently allowed to cultivate plants in their homes. Simple possession and home cultivation by adults 21 and older were already legalized via the passage of separate legislation, effective July 1, 2023. 

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MINNESOTA

UPDATE: HF 100 has passed six committees in the House. Its next hearing is scheduled for 2/8/23.

HF 100/SF73 allows adults 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and to home-cultivate up to eight plants (of which four may be mature). In addition to creating a system of licensed, private cannabis businesses, municipalities, and counties could own and operate government dispensaries. Those with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. The legislation also allows for on-site consumption lounges and cannabis delivery services. It also contains language banning the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids, which is consistent with Board of Pharmacy rules put into place last year.

Additionally, the legislation seeks to promote social equity and inclusion among licensees by prioritizing licensure to underrepresented populations, such as people living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost their honorable status because of a cannabis-related offense.

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NEBRASKA

Update: LB 634 is scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 2/9/23.

Legislative Bill 634, the Adopt the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Conviction Clean Slate Act, legalizes the adult use of cannabis. Adults 21 years and older could possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or its equivalent in cannabis products and home cultivate up to six plants. It additionally institutes certain parental protections and pathways for the expungement of records for individuals convicted of a non-violent cannabis offense.

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TENNESSEE

Senate Bill 0168 and House Bill 88, also known as the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act,” creates an adult-use regulated cannabis market. Adults 21 years of age and older would be able to use, possess, and transport up to 60 grams of cannabis flower and 15 grams of concentrates.

Additionally, the bill allows for the cultivation of up to 12 marijuana plants at one’s residence. It also makes nonviolent, non-felony marijuana offenders to be eligible for immediate release from incarceration, probation, and parole. This bill will take effect on January 1, 2024, if successfully passed.

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REDUCED PENALTIES

DELAWARE 

Update: HB1 has passed the House Health & Human Development Committee.

House Bill 1  removes all penalties for possession of a personal use quantity of cannabis, except for those who are under 21 years of age. Possession of more than a personal use quantity of cannabis and public consumption would remain unclassified misdemeanors. A personal use quantity would be defined as one ounce or less of leaf cannabis, 12 grams or less of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products containing 750 milligrams or less of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).​

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GEORGIA

Senate Bill 30 increases the amount of cannabis an individual may possess on their person while still qualifying as a low-level misdemeanor violation from one to two ounces. 

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MARYLAND

Senate Bill 73 seeks to substitute civil penalties in place of criminal penalties for certain offenses relating to manufacturing, cultivating, possessing, and possessing with intent to distribute cannabis products outside of the regulated market.

House Bill 280 amends state law so that citizens found with more than 1.5 ounces of marijuana are subjected to civil fines rather than criminal penalties. Citizens fined penalties may opt for community service hours instead of paying a fine. Under HB 280, civil cannabis violations will be subject to a fine not exceeding $250.

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IOWA

Senate File 178 seeks to decriminalize the possession of up to five grams of cannabis by adults.

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NEBRASKA

Update: LB 22 is scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 2/9/23.

Legislative Bill 22 seeks to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) in the state of Nebraska. If passed, this bill would depenalize the use and possession of marijuana, remove marijuana from the “marijuana and controlled substances tax,” and rename and repurpose a fund related to oversight of the cultivation of hemp.

By striking references to cannabis from the state’s CSA, the bill would eliminate existing criminal penalties for most all marijuana-related activities. While it is unrealistic to think that lawmakers would ultimately agree to such an option, this bill can serve as a starting point to begin important legislative discussions regarding further reducing marijuana possession penalties and regulating the commercial cannabis market.

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NEW YORK

Senate Bill 2772 seeks to create civil penalties for minors for the sale, possession, use, and distribution of under 3 ounces of marijuana or less than 24 grams of concentrated marijuana.

If passed, civil penalties will be imposed on any person under the age of 21 who is found with marijuana or is found using marijuana. Criminal penalties will be imposed if a person under the age of 21 knowingly or unlawfully sells more than 5 lbs of cannabis or more than 2 lbs of concentrated cannabis.

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TENNESSEE

House Bill 309 by Rep. Jesse Chism decriminalizes the possession of a personal-use quantity of marijuana by making these possessions a civil violation punishable by a $25 or community service. The bill defines “personal-use quantity” as one (1) ounce (28.35 grams) or less of cannabis, five grams (5 g.) or less of cannabis concentrates, and infused products containing one thousand milligrams (1,000 mg.) or less of delta-9 THC.

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MEDICAL ACCESS 

NEBRASKA

Update: LB 588 is scheduled for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on 2/9/23.

Legislative Bill 588, “Medicinal Cannabis Act” creates a medical cannabis access program. Qualifying patients may purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or 2000 mg of THC concentrate. 

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Update: HB 431 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/9/23. Submit your support for this legislation here.

HB 431 permits qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use. Registered patients would be permitted to grow up to six plants, of which 3 could be mature. Under existing law, qualified patients must purchase cannabis from retailers, but are not allowed to home-cultivate. Recently, New Hampshire’s Therapeutic Cannabis Medical Oversight Board voted to endorse legalizing medical marijuana home cultivation.

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NEW YORK

Senate Bill 2263 seeks to protect medical marijuana patients from eviction based on their consumption of marijuana. If passed, this bill would protect consumers from being evicted from their homes because of medical marijuana use, and their landlords may not seek to recover the property based solely on marijuana use.

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NORTH CAROLINA

Senate Bill 3, also known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, seeks to create a medical cannabis access program.

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SOUTH DAKOTA

UPDATE: SD1 has passed the Senate, YEAS 20, NAYS 15, and now heads to the House.

SD1 expands the state’s medical access program to include the following qualifying conditions: AIDS/HIV, ALS, multiple sclerosis, cancer or its treatment, if associated with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy and seizures, Glaucoma, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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TENNESSEE

House Bill 172/ Senate Bill 1461  creates a medical cannabis access program. Qualified patients are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower and 2000mg of the cannabis-derived products

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WASHINGTON 

House Bill 1563 seeks to provide legal protections for  qualifying patients who possess  valid state authorization,  but who have not yet been entered into the medical cannabis authorization database and have not been issued a recognition card. 

Senate Bill 5608 seeks to protect medical cannabis patients by allowing patients to use  copies of their medical identification cards as a valid authorization of use. In addition, those who have not received their cards, but who are registered in the cannabis authorization database are protected under this bill.

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ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION

MISSOURI

House Bill 830 prohibits the odor of marijuana alone as  probable cause for law enforcement to search a home, vehicle, or other private property.

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NEW YORK 

Senate Bill 3289 seeks to allow certain qualifying incarcerated individuals serving an indeterminate sentence to be granted a new, reduced sentence of up to one third off of the original time given.

If passed, this bill would relieve otherwise law-abiding citizens of a portion of an imposed penalty which does not fit their deemed offense. New York recently legalized cannabis, and keeping people incarcerated for what is now no longer considered a crime is not only illogical, but inhumane. There are other avenues, such as those outlined in this bill, that should be pursued before imprisonment and loss of freedoms.

Currently, incarcerated individuals can complete a court-ordered program to be released early. This law would expand that provision and allow for offenders to be placed in court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment plans to reduce the time on their sentence.

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OHIO

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 26, to amend the state’s traffic safety law so that those with trace levels of THC in their system can no longer be convicted of operating a motor vehicle under the while influence without further evidence of impaired driving.

Under existing law, persons are guilty of a traffic safety violation if they operate a vehicle with trace amounts of either THC in their blood or THC metabolites in their urine — even absent any demonstrable evidence of impairment. Because both THC and particularly THC metabolites may be detectable for days or even weeks post-abstinence — long after any impairing effects have worn off — this law criminalizes virtually anyone who consumes cannabis, and state-authorized medical cannabis patients especially.

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WASHINGTON

SB5123 prohibits an employer from discriminating against a job applicant solely based on their off-the-clock cannabis use away from the workplace.

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WASHINGTON 

Update: SB5662 has passed the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.

Senate Bill 5662 seeks to create a system to protect established employees that work in the cannabis industry from employment discrimination and wrongful termination.

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WEST VIRGINIA 

House Bill 2771 removes marijuana as a controlled substance from the screening requirement of the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Act.

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LEGISLATION NORML OPPOSES 

WASHINGTON

House Bill 1641 and House Bill 1642 impose 35% THC caps for concentrates.

HB 1641 seeks to create THC caps of 35% to all cannabis concentrates sold in the state of Washington and create fines for businesses that do not comply with THC capping requirements. Additionally, the bill sets laws and regulations for the advertising and marketing of adult-use cannabis concentrates containing over 35% tetrahydrocannabinol, including a “MANDATORY HEALTH WARNING” on the product.

HB 1642 creates a cap of 35% total tetrahydrocannabinol for cannabis concentrates and seeks to raise public health awareness on the dangers of high-potency cannabis concentrates.

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