Weekly Legislative Roundup 4/20/18

By | April 20, 2018

Welcome to the 4/20 edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

Today’s the day. The High Holy Day for cannabis consumers everywhere. Happy Holidaze, my people! Check out all the 4/20 events happening around the country, and remember to be safe and smoke responsibly!

There have been lots of significant developments in the marijuana space recently, specifically at the federal level. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced his intention to sponsor a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

Republican Senator Cory Gardner (CO) says that he has received a verbal commitment from President Donald Trump specifying that the administration will not take action to disrupt marijuana markets in states that legally regulate the substance. Also, Senator Bernie Sanders signed on as a co-sponsor of The Marijuana Justice Act. Yesterday,  Sen. Sanders joined Senator Cory Booker on a live stream for a conversation about ending prohibition and co-sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act.

Additionally, legislation was introduced this week to facilitate federally-sponsored clinical research into the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis among veterans, HR 5520: The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018.

At the state level, Pennsylvania’s health secretary approved a recommendation from the medical cannabis law Advisory Board to allow sales of medical cannabis in flower form and to add new qualifying conditions. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed into law a sweeping criminal justice reform bill that includes expungement for prior marijuana convictions. And unfortunately, South Dakota’s secretary of state rejected a proposed medical cannabis ballot measure because not enough signatures in a random sample were valid.

At a more local level, Los Angeles, California’s top marijuana regulator said the city is considering allowing consumption lounges, and Denver, Colorado’s mayor is proposing raising the city’s marijuana sales tax from 3.5% to 5.5% to fund affordable housing.

Following are the bills from around the country 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.

Your Highness,
Carly

Priority Alerts

Federal

End Prohibition: Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) have introduced bipartisan legislation, HR 1227, to exclude marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, thus leaving states the authority to regulate the plant how best they see fit.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” eliminates federal criminal penalties for possessing and growing the plant. This legislation gives states the power and flexibility to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal interference.

Click here to e-mail your Representative and urge them to support this important legislation

Louisiana

House Bill 274 seeks to entirely decriminalize the possession and distribution of marijuana, contingent on the creation of a sales tax system that would regulate the legal sale of marijuana.

Update: HB 274 was heard by the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on 4/17.

LA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of decriminalization

Maine

Legislation is pending, LD 1539, to greatly expand patients’ access to medical cannabis. Among changes proposed by the bill: Physicians would be able, at their sole discretion, to recommend cannabis therapy to any patient for whom they think it would benefit; Caregivers would be able to manage more than five patients at one time; Regulators would increase the total number of licensed dispensaries from eight to 14.

Update: The Senate voted 25-10 to pass LD 1539 on 4/18, and it now heads to Governor LePage for his signature or veto. He has 10 days to act on the bill, but is expected to veto it.

ME resident? Click here to email Governor LePage in support of expanding the medical marijuana program

South Carolina

Legislation is pending, H 3521 and S 212: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, to allow for the physician-authorized use of marijuana for patients with specific debilitating medical conditions.

Update: The House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs held a hearing on H 3521 on 4/19, and then approved the bill by a 14-3 vote.

SC resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of medical marijuana access

New Hampshire

Senate Bill 388 would authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location in the geographic area that includes Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties for therapeutic cannabis.

Update: SB 388 was unanimously approved by the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 4/18, after holding a public hearing and then an executive session on the bill.

NH resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expanding the medical marijuana program

California

Assembly Bill 1793 would “allow automatic expungement or reduction of a prior cannabis conviction for an act that is not a crime as of January 1, 2017, or for a crime that as of that date subject to a lesser sentence.

Update: The Assembly’s Public Safety Committee unanimously approved AB 1793 on 4/17 after a hearing was held. The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee.

CA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of expunging past cannabis convictions

Alaska

Senate Bill 184 prohibits the release of past records for any marijuana offense that is no longer defined as a crime under state law. The bill’s intent is to reduce barriers to employment for people who have been convicted of low-level marijuana possession crimes that would be legal under today’s laws, and to make it more likely that people convicted of only low-level crimes will become contributing members of society.

Update: The House of Representatives approved similar legislation by a 30-10 vote on 4/15, HB 316, which restricts the release of certain records of convictions to the public. The bill now heads to the Senate.

AK resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of sealing past records

Hawaii

House Bill 2729, to allow for out-of-state medical marijuana cardholders to access medical cannabis while visiting Hawaii. Other provisions in the bill prohibit employers from either discriminating against or taking punitive actions against employees solely based on their medical cannabis use or patient status.

Update: The Senate approved HB 2729 with amendments on 4/10, but the House disagreed with the proposed amendments. Both Chambers will have to work to come up with a satisfactory compromise.

HI resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of reciprocity

 

Additional Actions to Take

Oklahoma

Democratic Representative Mickey Dollens has introduced HB 2913: The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. The bill would allow universities to cultivate hemp for research and development purposes.

Update: HB 2913 was approved by the Senate by a 39-1 vote on 4/16, and now awaits action by Governor Mary Fallin.

OK resident? Click here to email Gov. Fallin in support of industrial hemp research

Missouri

Senate Bill 547 seeks to modify provisions relating to industrial hemp. It would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue a registration or permit to growers and handlers of agricultural and industrial hemp. It would also create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp.

Update: SB 547 was approved by the House Rules Legislative Oversight Committee on 4/18 after holding an executive session. It was on the calendar to be considered by the full House on 4/23.

MO resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of hemp modifications

Iowa

Senate File 2398 would establish The Iowa Industrial Hemp Act. The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture to establish a research pilot program that engages in the licensed cultivation, production, and marketing of industrial hemp. SF 2398 was already unanimously approved by the Senate earlier this month.

Update: The House Ways and Means Subcommittee approved SF 2398 on 4/11.

IA resident? Click here to email your elected officials in support of industrial hemp research

California

Senate Bill 930 seeks to assist financial institutions to safely conduct transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

Update: SB 930 was unanimously approved by the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee on 4/18 after a public hearing was held.

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

That’s all for this week, check back next Friday for more legislative updates, and I wish everyone the happiest 4/20!

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/04/20/weekly-legislative-roundup-4-20-18/

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