Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
Good news – on Thursday the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee for the first time heard and passed language, known as the Joyce amendment, to restrict funding for the Department of Justice to prosecute state-legal medical marijuana programs.
At the state level, Governor Jeff Colyer (R) of Kansas signed a bill exempting CBD from the definition of marijuana. Until then, Kansas was one of the four states in the US that had not reformed it’s marijuana laws to any extent. Now, it’s just down to three – South Dakota, Idaho, and Nebraska.
Additionally, Governor Doug Ducey (R) of Arizona signed hemp legislation into law, the Illinois Senate sent a bill allowing medical cannabis at schools to the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), and Michigan’s House speaker said the legislature won’t take up marijuana legalization and will instead leave it up to the voters this November.
At a more local level, district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn announced that with limited exception, low-level marijuana-related offenses would no longer be prosecuted. And The Allentown, Pennsylvania City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.
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.
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.
Senator Joshua Miller introduced legislation, SB 2895, to regulate adult use marijuana possession and provide for adult use retail sales.
The measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to two marijuana plants in private, and establish a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
SB 20-62 seeks to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
If passed, the bill would legalize the personal use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for adults age 21 or older, and establish a licensing scheme for its commercial production and retail sale. The tax revenue would be used to fund the implementation of the program and other government services.
Update: SB 20-62 was approved by the Senate on 5/15.
HB 579 and HB 627 seek to expand the state’s nascent medical cannabis program.
The measures would expand the pool of patients eligible for medical cannabis by permitting physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to those suffering from chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, severe muscle spasms, autism or glaucoma.
Update: HB 579 was approved by the House on 5/16 by a 55-33 vote. HB 627 was also approved by the House on 5/16, by a 59-27 vote. Both bills now await action from Governor John Bel Edwards.
S 10, to expand the state’s medical cannabis program. The measure would increase the number of licenses the Department of Health can issue to new providers in order to meet New Jersey’s increased patient demand.
Other provisions in the bill would protect medical cannabis patients from employment, housing, and education discrimination.
AB 2069 seeks to strengthen employment rights for medical cannabis patients.
The bill would explicitly bar employers from discriminating against workers solely because of their status as a medical cannabis patient, or due to testing positive for medical marijuana use on a workplace drug test.
Update: AB 2069 was supposed to be heard by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on 5/16, but the hearing was postponed by the committee.
Additional Actions to Take
AB 3157 seeks to temporarily reduce tax rates imposed on the retail sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis.
Update: AB 3157 was supposed to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/16, but the hearing was postponed by the committee.
SB 930 seeks to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.
Update: SB 930 will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on 5/22 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.
That’s all for this week, check back next week for more legislative updates!