Marijuana reform legislation continues to advance in several states. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas. 

LEGALIZATION

Arkansas 

SB 580 legalizes the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and repeals the conviction of anyone convicted of possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. 

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Maryland

Update: Lawmakers have finalized the language of HB 556 in conference. The bill now heads to Governor Moore’s desk, who is expected to sign the legislation.

House Bill 556  implements a voter-approved referendum legalizing the production, sale, and use of cannabis. The legislation allows for as many as 300 total retailers to operate in the state. Existing medical cannabis dispensaries are to apply (for a fee) for dual licensure to sell to the adult-use market beginning this July. The bill imposes a sales tax on adult-use cannabis products of 9 percent, similar to the rate charged for alcohol. Products sold to registered medical patients will not be subject to taxes. Localities will not be permitted to impose additional taxes, nor may local governments prohibit existing medical dispensaries from serving the adult-use market. 

The legislation increases the amount of cannabis that qualified patients may possess and also permits them to grow up to four plants at home. Under the state’s current medical law, patients are not currently allowed to cultivate plants in their homes. 

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New Hampshire 

UPDATE: HB 639 was passed by the House 272 to 109. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration. 

As amended, HB 639 allows adults 21 and older to purchase, possess, and gift up to four ounces of cannabis. The newly renamed Liquor and Cannabis Commission will be responsible for regulating the marijuana market and issuing business licenses. Localities could limit or ban marijuana businesses from operating in their area. 

Within 18 months of enactment, the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the commission would need to develop regulations allowing existing medical cannabis dispensaries to apply for dual licenses to start serving adult consumers.

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MEDICAL ACCESS 

California

UPDATE: SB 302 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4/18/23. 

SB 302 expands the current law requiring specified types of healthcare facilities to allow a terminally ill patient’s use of medicinal cannabis within the healthcare facility. The legislation would expand the law to provide access to those patients at least 65 years of age who struggle with a chronic disease.

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South Carolina

UPDATE: S0423 passed the Senate Medical Affairs Committee, but it did not advance from its chamber of origin by the crossover deadline. While this typically means that the legislation is considered dead, the author, Senator Davis, believes it still has the potential to pass this session. 

S0423 authorizes the use of medical marijuana in South Carolina. If passed, this bill would not only authorize the use of medical marijuana but would also create numerous protections for registered patients, caregivers, and physicians. 

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Texas 

UPDATE: HB1805 was advanced by members of the House by a vote of 121 to 23. The bill will still have a second reading, which is a formality before it heads to the Senate.

HB 1805 amends the Texas Compassionate Use Program so that physicians may recommend certain products containing fixed levels of THC to patients with “a condition that causes chronic pain, for which a physician would otherwise prescribe an opioid.” It also empowers state health officials, rather than lawmakers, to add additional qualifying conditions. The measure also replaces the THC cap by instituting a volumetric dose of 10mg.

Approximately 55,000 Texans are currently participating in the program. 

Send a message to support this effort. 

ADDITIONAL 

California 

UPDATE: SB 51 unanimously passed the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee. It is now pending a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

SB 51 authorizes the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to issue provisional retail licenses to local cannabis equity applicants for up to five years if the applicant meets the requirements of the Department.

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Colorado

UPDATE: HB 1279 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance​ Committee on 4/13/23.

House Bill 1279 permits residents to purchase marijuana products online with the opportunity to pick up their product or deliver it to their homes.

Send a message to support this effort.

Maine 

LD 1530 authorizes on-site cannabis consumption at certain medical dispensaries. In order to comply with new regulations for on-site cannabis consumption, a medical dispensary must administer the product after obtaining a department permit and creating a space physically separate from the dispensary or prescription site. 

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Maryland 

Update: HB 232 passed the House and Senate. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.

House Bill 232  redefines child neglect statutes so that parents’ use of cannabis is no longer considered to be prima facie evidence of a crime.

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UPDATE: HB 1071 passed the House and Senate. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.

House Bill 1071 prohibits the odor of cannabis, the suspicion of the possession of cannabis, and the presence of money near cannabis, from being considered probable cause for police to search a person’s vehicle.

Send a message to support this effort. 

Missouri 

UPDATE: HB 425 passed the House Financial Institutions Committee.

House Bill 425 seeks to authorize financial institutions to provide services to organizations that participate in the state-licensed marijuana industry.

Send a message to support this effort. 

Pennsylvania 

SB 538​ expands the Pennsylvania medical cannabis program to include other edible formulations of cannabis beyond pills, tinctures, and liquids.

Send a message to support this effort.

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