Cannabis Bills Gaining Momentum
April 3, 2017
*We’ve launched our Cannabis Bill Tracker page after receiving interest in ongoing cannabis-related legislative updates. Check back every Monday!
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 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!
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has seen over 12 cannabis related bills in the last week. Act 1369 requires that the state be reimbursed for the medical cannabis program’s operating expenses with the excess going to the state’s general fund. Also signed, HB 1400, prohibits smoking cannabis anywhere smoking tobacco is prohibited.
Colorado has introduced 2 pieces of legislation that should positively impact the medical cannabis market. HB 1221 would create a program to provide funding for training, education, and law enforcement, related to gray and black market cannabis activity. Additionally, SB 111 would allow medical dispensaries to carry cannabis products from more sources. Under current law, dispensaries must grow the majority of the cannabis they sell. SB 111 would allow dispensaries to increase non-in-house inventory from 30% to 50% if passed.
Last week, Georgia sought to increase the number of conditions that qualify a medical cannabis patient, now follows legislation that creates the regulatory framework. SB 295 would allow the Department of Revenue to establish licensing requirements and determine regulations for cultivation, production, and retail sale of cannabis, which is a crucial step in developing accessible medical cannabis programs, which several other states have seemingly overlooked.
Hawaii’s SB 174 seeks to increase the number of qualifying conditions by adding lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and autism. If passed, Hawaii could see a significant increase to their nearly 16,000-patient registry. Additionally, Hawaii recently passed SB 786, which replaces the term “marijuana” with “cannabis” in all of the state’s cannabis-related legislation. The term “marijuana” is commonly associated with racial stereotypes and the state believes “cannabis” to be a more accurate representation.
SB 579, known as the Catherine A. Zanga Medical Marijuana Bill, was filed last week. Named for ovarian cancer victim Catherine Zanga, the bill would allow over 30 qualifying conditions and lay the framework for a regulated medical cannabis program.
Oregon’s SB 319 would increase the distance requirement for medical cannabis operations near schools to 1000 ft. Previously, a medical dispensary only needed to be 500 feet away from a school. Additionaly, SB 1042 would authorize Oregon’s Governor, Kate Brown, to create cross-jurisdictional partnerships with neighboring states for the purpose of enforcing cannabis regulations. Is this the first step towards interstate cannabis commerce?
Utah has passed the Cannabinoid Research Act. Signed last week, House Bill 0130 allows for, “a person to possess cannabis, a cannabinoid product, and an expanded cannabinoid product, and to distribute the cannabis to a patient pursuant to an institutional review or board approved study”. In essence, this lays the groundwork for dispensaries to distribute medical cannabis to registered patients.
Last week’s Medical Cannabis Act was just a warm up for legislators in West Virginia. Senate Concurrent Resolution 50, filed on March 29th, urges Congress to reschedule marijuana. With the move, West Virginia joins a growing list of states calling for the re-evaluation of cannabis’ Schedule 1 status at the federal level.
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