January 19, 2020
Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
The US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a legislative hearing entitled “Cannabis Policies for the New Decade.”
This marks the first time that members of the Energy and Commerce Committee will hear and debate issues specific to marijuana policy reform.
At the state level, a new decriminalization law took effect this week in Hawaii involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana, as well as a procedure for expungement of past convictions for the same amount.
At a more local level, a Cleveland, Ohio ordinance that would eliminate fines and jail time for possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana was unanimously approved by a city council committee this week.
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.
Actions to Take
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1089, to protect cannabis consumers from employment discrimination.
The bill would prohibit employers terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law, such as consuming cannabis.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1389 / Senate Bill 1860, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of marijuana for adults.
The bills would also allow for the expungement of certain prior convictions, delivery of medical marijuana to qualified patients, and restructures the medical marijuana licensure process to eliminate the requirement that business be vertically integrated.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 1810, to strengthen medical cannabis patient protections.
Also known as The Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, this bill would prevent healthcare providers from refusing to treat patients solely because the patient uses medical cannabis.
House Bill 1359 would create a 5 year medical marijuana pilot program, allowing patients to access their medicine from licensed dispensaries.
LD 1621 / SP 518 would allow licensed dispensaries to home deliver adult use cannabis to consumers 21 and older, only in jurisdictions that allow delivery services to operate.
Update: LD 1621 is scheduled for a public hearing in the State House on 1/27/20 at 10am.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 83, to automatically expunge certain prior cannabis convictions.
The bill would require all court records and police records relating to certain charges of possession of marijuana to be automatically expunged if the possession charge is the only charge in the case.
Update: HB 83 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on 1/28/20 at 1pm.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 179, to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients in Maryland.
The measure prohibits a person from being denied the right to purchase, possess, or carry a firearm solely on the basis that the person is authorized to use medical cannabis.
Update: SB 179 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 1/29/20 at 1pm.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 1648, to remove all criminal and civil penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by adults.
The pending measure permits adults 21 and over to possess up to 3/4 ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants (up to three mature, three immature).
Update: HB 1648 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/23/20 at 1:30pm.
House Bill 1543, “prohibits an employer from using a failed drug test for cannabis use as grounds for terminating the employment of, or to deny promotion to any employee.”
Update: HB 1543 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee on 1/23/20 at 11am.
House Bill 1614 would reduce the penalties for the possession of large quantities of marijuana from felonies to misdemeanors.
Update: HB 1614 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/23/20 at 11am.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 420, permit qualifying patients to cultivate personal use quantities of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
The measure would permit patients to grow up to three mature plants and 12 seedlings, and to possess up to eight ounces of home-grown medical cannabis.
In 2019, a similar bill, House Bill 364, passed the state legislature but was then vetoed by Governor Sununu. Lawmakers did not garner enough votes to override the veto.
Update: SB 420 is scheduled for a hearing in the Health and Human Services Committee on 1/22/10 at 1pm.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 697, to expand access to medical marijuana.
The bill would allow qualifying patients to access all the alternative treatment centers instead of having to designate just one.
Legislation is pending, A1897, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The bill would impose a civil penalty for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana, punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for all subsequent offenses.
A2254 / S65, and A610 / S411 would all eliminate sales and use tax for medical cannabis sales.
Legislation is pending, A2210, to create a state bank to provide financial services to licensed marijuana business operating in accordance with state law.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 115 / House Bill 160, to permit the use, possession, and retail sale of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
The bill includes provisions for the automatic expungement of prior possession convictions, as well as provisions decriminalizing the home cultivation of up to three mature and six immature plants.
Legislation is pending, S.4117 / A.7764, that would prohibit the eviction of tenants for using medical marijuana for a certified medical use.
Update: S.4117 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Housing, Construction and Community Development Committee on 1/21/20 at 11am.
Governor Raimondo has included language for the regulation of adult use marijuana sales in her 2021 budget proposal.
If passed, the proposal would establish a for the regulation and taxation for the adult use of marijuana in the state of Rhode Island via state-run stores
The bill would allow for the possession of up to five ounces of cannabis and for the purchase of up to one ounce at a time.
H7142 allows those who have previously been convicted of marijuana possession, which would now constitute a decriminalized offense, to have their conviction records automatically expunged regardless of their criminal history.
Separately, H7141 prohibits past criminal misdemeanors and felonies for possession of marijuana from being used against a person entering the cannabis industry or any government assistance programs.
Legislation is pending to regulate medical cannabis distribution and access, H. 3660 / S. 366: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, but it prohibits the inhalation or smoking of herbal medical cannabis.
Update: H.3660 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs on 1/21/20.
For the first time in recent history, there is a clear pathway to advance a decriminalization bill, Senate Bill 2, to the desk of Governor Northam, an issue which is a top priority for him in the 2020 General Assembly.
Update: SB 2 was heard in the Senate Committee on Judiciary on 1/15/20.
Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 6085 / House Bill 2263, seeking to ensure greater and more diverse participation in the cannabis industry.
The measure establishes a social equity program for providing more opportunities for minority and women-owned marijuana businesses by removing residency barriers and providing access to capital for qualifying businesses through a fee on certain investments and/or low to no-interest loans.
Update: HB 2263 was heard in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming on 1/16/20.
Legislation is pending in the House and Senate, HB 1131 / SB 5155, “Allowing residential marijuana agriculture.”
This bill allows adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants in their home.
Update: HB 1131 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming at 1:30 PM.
Legislation is pending, House Bill 4186, which seeks to protect marijuana consumers from employment discrimination.
The bill would remove marijuana from the list of tested substances that employers must screen for as a requirement of the West Virginia Alcohol and Drug-Free Workplace Act.
That’s all for this week!