CANNABIS BILL TRACKER
Weekly Legislative Updates On Active Cannabis Bills From All 50 States
As the cannabis industry anxiously awaits direction from the White House, it appears that states are not going to be as patient. As more states move forward with cannabis bills, we’ll continue providing relevant updates on the latest cannabis laws and legislation that affect our industry and your business. Something we missed? Let us know here and we’ll make sure to include it in next week’s update!
Rand Paul (R-KY) is attempting to include 2 amendments that would provide protections for state legal cannabis operations. The amendments, both attached to HR 195, would restrict the Department of Justice from interfering with state businesses or penalizing banking institutions that have cannabis customers.
Legislators in Hawaii have filed a bill that would protect patients from state and federal interference. SB 2217 clarifies that medical use of cannabis is not considered to be a state or federal crime.
Legislators in Massachusetts are joining other states in submitting bills to preclude state agencies from assisting federal attempts at interfering with cannabis businesses. The Refusal of Complicity Act argues that taxpayers should not bear the burden for enforcement efforts in conflict with voter preference.
A bipartisan group of legislators in Pennsylvania are seeking a resolution to gun ownership rights concerns from medical cannabis patients. SR 253 would amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 to protect the constitutional rights of patients.
Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced his intention to sign H 511, a bill that will legalize cannabis use for adults 21 and over. Once signed, the law will take effect on July 1st and permit the home cultivation of 2 plants.
A bill to replace jail time with a fine has been introduced in Virginia. SB 954 would also allow first-time offenses to be expunged. Fines collected would go to the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Experiment Fund.
In response to AG Jeff Sessions rescission of the Cole Memo, Democratic Representative Barbara Lee introduced the REFER Act of 2018, also known as the Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement & Regulations of Cannabis Act. The act aims to expand the protection of Rohrabacher-Farr and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to after state-sanctioned cannabis activities.
A group consisting of 69 bipartisan members sent a letter to congressional leaders expressing their concern with the recent moves from the Department of Justice. Rep Jared Polis, from Colorado, is urging leadership to include his amendment in the funding bill set to be voted on January 19th. If included, the amendment would preclude the DOJ from using funds to go after cannabis businesses in legal states.
HR 1227, an act that would end Federal cannabis prohibition, received 9 new cosponsors in the last week bringing the total to 24.
The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, known as HR 975, is up to 39 cosponsors having added 15 new supporters in since the DOJ Cole Memo position was announced.
Senator Nicholas Scutari has introduced legislation that would legalize cannabis for adult use in New Jersey. If passed, the state would regulate cannabis similar to alcohol and tobacco with adult permitted, but not in public.
The New Hampshire House overwhelmingly passed a cannabis legalization bill last week 207-139. If approved by the Senate, persons at least 21 years old will be able to cultivate 3 plants at home and possess up to ¾ of an ounce of cannabis flower.
Legislators in Vermont moved a measure to legalize cannabis forward in spite of aggressive rhetoric from the DOJ. If passed, residents 21 and over would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of cannabis flower, cultivate 2 mature plants and have 4 immature plants.
In Florida, Democrat Randolph Bracy III put forth S1602, a bill that would create a civil violation for certain amounts of cannabis possession statewide.
Mississippi Republican Congressman Joel Bomgar introduced the MS Medical Marijuana Pilot Program. The therapeutic use program will allow up to 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis for patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV, seizures, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Intractable pain among in addition to other “serious medical conditions” added by the Department of Health. Click here for more on HB 391.
New Mexico legislators have pre-filed State Joint Resolution 4, which would legalize adult use cannabis pending the passage of regulations that monitor the seed to sale production process. Taxes generated would go to the states general fund.
New Hampshire legislators filed a bill that would create a cannabis control commission. If passed, HB1768 would likely be implemented in preparation of expanding the states’ medical market, or perhaps full adult use.
A bill in Virginia would increase the threshold for possession with intent to sell from a half ounce to a full ounce. SB40 would also reduce the penalties for intent to distribute.
November 20, 2017
Several Federal bills received new co-sponsors last week:
- HR 1820- Veterans Equal Access Act: John Yarmuth (Dem-KY)
- HR 3530- Industrial Hemp Farming Act: Rodney Davis (Rep-IL), Paul Tonk (Dem-NY)
In Florida, legislation that would allow judges to break from mandatory minimums has been postponed. S0602 was to be heard on the 13th, a new date has not been set. Also happening in Florida, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz has filed an amendment to the VA infrastructure bill designed to increase participation by Veterans seeking medical cannabis.
Wisconsin legislators received the fiscal impact reports for their proposed cannabis legalization bill, AB 482. The Department of Revenue predicts almost $150million in taxes by 2021. The full reports and estimates can be found here.
November 13, 2017
Illinois Senator Don Harmon is joining a growing body of legislators that are willing to explore cannabis as an alternative to opiates. If passed, the Alternatives to Opioids Act would allow people prescribed opiates to apply for a temporary cannabis card instead.
A bill to require health warnings labels on cannabis products sold in Michigan was introduced last week. In addition to labeling, HB 5222 would establish standards for cannabis storage, transportation, and maximum potency levels.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed NY A07006 today. The Act will add PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis.
The Congressional act to eliminate the tax penalty associated with cannabis businesses gained a new cosponsor last week. Ken Buck, R- CO, is the newest cosponsor bringing the total to 39.
Wisconsin’s bill to legalize and create a rulemaking committee for industrial hemp is nearing passage- SB 119 passed through the Assembly with nearly 60% support.
November 6, 2017
A new bill to allow smoking cannabis for medical use was introduced in Florida. Under the current regulations dictated by Amendment 2- combusting cannabis is illegal. SB 726 was introduced by Democratic Senator Gary Farmer.
Maine’s cannabis legalization efforts took a blow this week when Governor LePage again vetoed an implementation bill. Citing fear of federal intervention, LePage will now hope that the veto is not overridden by a majority vote.
Oklahoma may vote on medical cannabis as early as June 2018. There are rumors that Governor Mary Fallin might move to hold the vote for SQ788 before the general election but it is yet to be determined how that may impact voter turnout and initiative outcome.
In federal news, the House’s Industrial Hemp Farming Act received 2 new co-sponsors. Mike Coffman (R-Co) and Dwight Evans (D-Pa) bring the total to 33 supporters.
October 30th, 2017
A new bill in Illinois seeks to increase expungement eligibility for individuals convicted of lower-level crimes, like cannabis, who have been crime free for 3 years. If passed, HB 4139 would allow people to petition the court and have their records sealed.
A bill in Michigan, HB 5189, would authorize the following plant counts based on license class:
- Class A- 500 plants
- Class B- 1,000 plants
- Class C- 1,500 plants
DC’s Medical Marijuana Improvement Amendment Act of 2017 announced a public hearing for November 9th, 2017. The seeks to establish Safe Use Treatment Facilities that would be operated by registered dispensaries and provide medical cannabis.
Lou Correa, a Democrat from California, is calling on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a clinical study regarding the effectiveness of cannabis use for chronic pain. HR 590 will go to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for review.
The US House bill addressing Industrial Hemp Farming received a new co-sponsor bringing the total to 31. Peter Welch, of Vermont, is the latest Representative to put his support behind the bill originally introduced by Kentucky’s James Comer in July.
October 16th, 2017
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed 2 bills designed to restrict cannabis businesses and decrease social use. AB1120 and AB350 were struck down last Friday.
A Colorado bill to exempt retail cannabis sales from the 2.9% general sales tax failed last week. The Senate Committee on Transportation has postponed further evaluations of SB 001 indefinitely.
The District of Columbia is considering reciprocity rules for medical cannabis. PR22-0526 was introduced last week and has been referred to the Health Committee for review.
Legislation impacting how physicians and patients in Florida interact might have major repercussions for the cannabis industry. S 0280, which would establish telehealth standards, is under review in the state’s Health and Human Services Subcommittee.
Legislators in Massachusetts have introduced a new version of S819, which would eliminate mandatory minimums for drug-related offenses. The efforts are in direct contrast with Attorney General Sessions recent suggestion of increasing enforcement.
Check back next Monday for our Cannabis Bill Tracker updates!