Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
This week, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester introduced the Clean Slate Act, HR 6669, along with 22 original cosponsors, to seal the records for marijuana charges one year after the sentence is completed.
At the state level, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) signed an industrial hemp bill into law, and he also signed legislation allowing people prescribed opioids to use medical cannabis instead. Similarly, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation to expunge some marijuana convictions, as well as a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
New Jersey lawmakers agreed on key details for a pending marijuana legalization bill that could be voted on next month, with more provisions yet to be determined. Separately, the NJ attorney general released guidance to municipal prosecutors saying that while they may not adopt categorical marijuana decriminalization policies, they may use their discretion about whether or not to pursue individual cannabis cases.
The Connecticut legislature’s Regulations Review Committee unanimously voted to add intractable headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy and other disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a series of 15 “listening sessions” on marijuana legalization that will be held across the state. The first one will take place on Wednesday, September 5 in Albany, NY. Find a session near you and register to attend here. Separately, New York City police will implement a relaxed marijuana enforcement policy starting this Saturday.
A coalition of Oregon activists is preparing a 2019 push to allow marijuana social use areas in the state. They will support a bill in the legislature and will also pursue a ballot measure if lawmakers don’t act.
At a more local level, Denver, Colorado regulators granted the city’s second marijuana social use area license to a vaping bar and lounge set to open this fall. The City Council also approved a plan to use increased marijuana taxes to fund affordable housing.
The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is considering a proposal to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority in Jefferson County. The Dayton, Ohio City Commission voted to place an advisory question on the November ballot asking voters if they support decriminalizing marijuana. The Ashland, Wisconsin City Council approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to legalize marijuana and medical cannabis. A Racine, Wisconsin City Council committee discussed, but deferred action on, a proposal to order police to issue citations for first-time marijuana offenses instead of applying state charges.
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.
In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day today, please join us as NORML chapters around the country take action in highlighting the positive role that marijuana legalization can play in combating America’s opioid crisis.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
House Bill 20-178 would end cannabis prohibition for adults over 21 and create a system of taxed and regulated sales. It would also allow medical marijuana and industrial hemp. The bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.
Update: On 8/30, HB 20-178 was unanimously passed by the Senate. The bill now awaits action from Governor Ralph Torres (R).
Assembly Bill 1793 seeks to 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. The bill was approved by the Senate last week.
Update: AB 1793 awaits action from Governor Brown.
Senate Bill 1127 would help students with severe medical disabilities attend school by allowing a parent or guardian to come on school grounds to administer medical cannabis to them in non-smoking and non-vaping forms. The bill was already approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Update: After failing to gain enough votes for passage in the Assembly on 8/23, a motion to reconsider was granted and on 8/27, SB 1127 was approved by the Assembly with a 42-29 vote. The bill now awaits action from Governor Brown.
Senate Bill 829 would exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical cannabis to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.
Update: SB 829 was approved by the full Assembly with a 65-2 vote on 8/29. The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence since it was amended in the Assembly. SB 829 is being heard by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Friday 8/31, and then will go to the Senate floor for a vote.
That’s all for this week!