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Lawmakers in many states have started pre-filing marijuana law reform legislation and some sessions have already begun holding hearings. This week’s update highlights legislative developments in Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.
The sales of legal marijuana flower and marijuana products started earlier this month, with home cultivation allowances beginning in July. Adults can possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flowers or an equivalent amount of cannabis concentrates in public and up to five ounces of marijuana in their private residences. Additionally, state law prohibits police officers from using the smell of cannabis as a pretext for a search.
NORML opposes the following legislation:
House Bill 6094 seeks to repeal the “Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult Use Cannabis Act”. If passed, this bill would end the possession of and market for legal cannabis in Connecticut, a regression previously unseen in any state that has legalized adult use.
House Bill 05460, House Bill 6268, and Senate Bill 00232 seek to restore the ability of law enforcement officers to use the odor of cannabis as a basis to stop and/or search a person or motor vehicle. If passed, this bill would repeal restrictions on cannabis-related stops or searches of a person or motor vehicle.
Hawaii has a medical marijuana access program. Under state law, marijuana is decriminalized, but low-level possession (up to 3 grams) remains a violation resulting in a fee of $130. Incoming Governor Josh Green is supportive of the legalization of cannabis for adults, thus raising expectations that lawmakers can move this issue forward in the new year.
House Bill 237 and its companion Senate Bill 375 seek to legalize cannabis for adult use. Adults 21 years and older will be able to purchase the equivalent of four ounces of cannabis within a consecutive period of fifteen days. Adults would also be permitted to also home cultivate up to 10 plants.
House Bill 238 provides medical cardholders in the state of Hawaii protection against employment discrimination based solely upon their medical cannabis use. Employers will be able to use a fit-for-duty test for medical cannabis-qualifying patients in potentially dangerous occupations, with certain exceptions.
Senate Bill 440 seeks to approve in-vehicle receipt of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products on or near the premises of dispensaries. If passed, this bill would allow medical cannabis patients to go through a drive-thru dispensary and allow medical patients to place an order at a dispensary to pick it up.
Senate Bill 464 seeks to remove penalties for up to one ounce of marijuana. If passed, this bill would repeal criminal penalties for petty misdemeanor offenses, redefining the limits of marijuana possession and the fines and penalties allocated for marijuana use and possession in Hawaii.
HB 1263 would permit the use of medical marijuana by persons with serious medical conditions as determined by their physician while also instituting patient protections.
SB 0237 would permit the use of medical marijuana by those with qualifying conditions or a serious medical condition that their doctor deems could benefit from the use. It permits qualified patients to possess 8 oz or less of dried marijuana and to home-cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants.
Senate Bill 70 seeks to amends the law so that the possession of over 1 oz is a Class B misdemeanor, while the possession of lesser amounts is no longer a criminal offense.
House Bill 1297 seeks to decriminalize simple possession of less than 2 oz of marijuana in the state of Indiana.
Senate File 73 seeks to legalize marijuana possession, manufacturing, delivery, and retail sale in the state of Iowa. Under this proposal, residents that are 21 years or older may possess 30g of marijuana flower, 5g of marijuana concentrate, and 500mg of THC in an infused product. Non-Residents may possess up to half of those amounts. No more than one ounce of marijuana or its equivalent in retail marijuana products may be purchased per transaction.
It does stipulate that it is illegal to have cannabis in any “driver or passenger” area of a vehicle on public roads or highways, thus meaning that vehicular travel with cannabis must be done with any cannabis confined to the trunk space of a vehicle including when delivering cannabis). In cases of one ounce or less, marijuana delivered or possessed with intent to deliver with no remuneration was shall not be prosecuted. It further institutes certain parental and tenant protections.
UPDATE: SB 88 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/2/23.
Senate Bill 88 seeks to require that certain records relating to a certain conviction of cannabis possession that has been completely pardoned by the Governor be automatically expunged. The bill would also establish the procedure for automatic expungement of pardoned individuals with cannabis possession convictions. This bill will take effect from the date it is enacted.
UPDATE: SB 73 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/1/23.
Senate Bill 73 seeks to substitute civil penalties in place of criminal penalties for certain offenses relating to manufacturing, cultivating, possessing, and possessing with intent to distribute cannabis products outside of the regulated market.
UPDATE: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on 2/2/23.
Senate Bill 51 seeks to amend statutes relating to the determination of reasonable suspicion and probable cause with regard to cannabis possession in the state of Maryland.
UPDATE: HF 100 has passed two House committees. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee on 1/24/23.
HF 100/SF73 seeks to allow adults 21 and older to purchase up to two ounces of cannabis and to home-cultivate up to eight plants (of which four may be mature). In addition to creating a system of licensed, private cannabis businesses, municipalities and counties could own and operate government dispensaries. Those with prior marijuana convictions would have their records automatically expunged. The legislation also allows for on-site consumption lounges and cannabis delivery services. It also contains language banning the sale of unregulated synthetic cannabinoids, which is consistent with Board of Pharmacy rules put into place last year.
Additionally, the legislation seeks to promote social equity and inclusion among licensees by prioritizing licensure to underrepresented populations, such as people living in low-income neighborhoods and military veterans who lost their honorable status because of a cannabis-related offense.
House Bill 598 seeks to provide that a first offense of simple possession of thirty (30) grams or less of cannabis or ten (10) grams or less of synthetic cannabinoids would be a civil offense and not a criminal offense. If passed, this bill will take effect on July 1, 2023.
Senate Bill 2414 seeks to reduce the punishment for the simple possession of a small amount of marijuana to a civil penalty. If passed, this bill would impose a $100 fine to those in possession of thirty grams of marijuana or less, and a fine of $100 and not more than $250 for possession of ten grams of synthetic cannabinoids or less, rather than criminal penalties.
Senate Bill 2266 and Senate Bill 2267 seek to allow those with qualifying past marijuana-related convictions to petition the courts for expungement.. Under this bill, the court has the power to administer up to a $50 fee for petitioners to file their claims. If passed, this bill would allow citizens to file for a petition with the court if they have a marijuana possession charge under or equal to the legal limit of medical cannabis (under 30 grams) in the State of Mississippi.
Senate Bill 2296 mandates that the odor of cannabis alone does not provide law enforcement officers with probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of a motor vehicle, home, or other private property.
Legislative Bill 634, the Adopt the Cannabis Control Act and the Cannabis Conviction Clean Slate Act, seeks to legalize the adult use of cannabis. Under this act, adults 21 years and older would be permitted to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or its equivalent in cannabis products and home cultivate up to six plants. It additionally institutes pathways for the expungement of records for individuals convicted of a non-violent cannabis offense.
Legislative Bill 588, “The Medicinal Cannabis Act,” creates a medical cannabis access program in Nebraska. If passed, the legislation would create a program where qualifying patients may purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or 2000 mg of THC concentrate. It additionally offers some protections to patients while prohibiting the smoking of cannabis.
UPDATE: HB 639 and HB 544 are scheduled for a hearing in the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee on 1/25/23. Submit your support for this legislation here. HB 344, HB 360, and HB 643 are scheduled for a hearing in the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on 1/26/23. Submit your support for this legislation here.
HB 639 seeks to legalize the home cultivation of up to six plants, of which three could be mature, for adults 21 and older, and it also authorizes a new, stand-alone Cannabis Commission to regulate production and sales, with oversight from an independent advisory board. Sales to adults would be subjected to the 8.5% Meals and Rooms Tax.
HB 344 seeks to permit adults to possess up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis, 5 grams of hashish, and certain cannabis-infused products. It legalizes the home-cultivation of up to six plants, of which no more than three could be mature.
HB 643 seeks to authorize the Liquor Commission to regulate cannabis and administer sales to adults and patients. Home cultivation would remain prohibited. Fifty percent of revenue would go to the education trust fund, and 50% would go to DHHS to develop programs for increased mental health services.
HB 544 seeks to authorize the Liquor Commission to regulate cannabis and administer sales to adults and patients. Home cultivation would remain prohibited. Fifty percent of revenue would be distributed to cities and towns, and 50% would go to the general fund.
House Bill 360 which seeks to legalize possession and use of cannabis for persons over the age of 21. If passed, this bill would strike most all current references to cannabis (marijuana) in the state’s Controlled Drugs Act, amending the statutes to provide for safe and legal possession and consumption for those over the age of 21.
NORML opposes Senate Bill 3438 which seeks to create a potency cap on THC concentrations, allowing no more than 30% for cannabis flower and 60% concentration for a solid or liquid concentrate.
Senate Bill 2263 seeks to protect medical marijuana patients from eviction based on their consumption of marijuana.
Senate Bill 440 seeks to impose limits on the THC potency of medical marijuana products and prohibit licensed medical marijuana dispensaries from selling medical marijuana products that exceed potency limits. The bill states that medical cannabis limits cannot exceed 30% delta-9 THC potency for medical cannabis, 60% delta-9 THC potency for medical products, 2% delta-8 THC potency for medical products, and 0% potency of delta-10 THC and all other variations of THC for medical marijuana products. If passed, this bill would become effective on January 1, 2025.
Senate Bill 1012 seeks to offer a drug testing exemption for school employees that are medical marijuana patients licensed by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
H3226, H3486, and S0423 authorize the use of medical marijuana in South Carolina. If passed, the bills would not only authorize the use of medical marijuana but would also create numerous protections for registered patients, caregivers, and physicians. Further, the “Put Patients First Act” prohibits schools, landlords, and employers from discriminating against people registered to engage in the medical use of marijuana
Legislation is pending, House Bill 3486, which seeks to authorize cannabis for medical use in the state of South Carolina. The bill would also create criminal penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis products.
House Bill 172 seeks to create a medical cannabis access program. Under the proposal, qualifying patients would be permitted to possess of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower and 2000mg of the cannabis-derived product by medical patients.
House Bill 309 by Rep. Jesse Chism seeks to decriminalize the possession of a personal-use quantity of marijuana by making these possessions a civil violation punishable by a $25 or community service. The bill defines “personal-use quantity” as one (1) ounce (28.35 grams) or less of cannabis, five grams (5 g.) or less of cannabis concentrates, and infused products containing one thousand milligrams (1,000 mg.) or less of delta-9 THC.
Under current state law, the possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
Senate Bill 0168 and House Bill 88, also known as the “Free All Cannabis for Tennesseans Act,” seeks to create an adult-use regulated cannabis market. Adults 21 years of age and older would be permitted to use, possess, and transport no more than 60 grams of cannabis flower and 15 grams of concentrate
The bill allows for the cultivation of no more than 12 marijuana plants at one’s residence. The legislation also has equity provisions for disadvantaged and veteran-owned businesses with a pre-existing hemp license. Additionally, there are consumer protections that make nonviolent, non-felony marijuana offenders eligible for immediate release from incarceration, probation, and parole. This bill will take effect on January 1, 2023, if successfully passed.
House Bill 204 seeks to protect the right of parents to be part of the state of Utah’s medical cannabis program. The bill would do so in part by banning the administration of certain types of drug tests.
HB72 seeks to allow medical cannabis pharmacies to deliver medical cannabis to qualified, state-registered patients.