New York City: Municipal Legislation Enacted Prohibiting Drug Testing for Cannabis as a Condition of Employment, Probation

Generic 15 May 2019 | 0 Comments

City lawmakers have successfully passed a pair of municipal bills limiting situations where those seeking employment or on probation may be drug tested for past cannabis exposure.

Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio on Thursday permitted both bills to become law absent his signature.

Commenting on the new laws, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “These reforms protect the civil liberties of New Yorkers and promote fair treatment. There is no reason to treat cannabis consumers as second class citizens. We shouldn’t penalize those who privately use cannabis responsibly from gainful employment, nor should the courts seize upon this behavior as a justification to return someone to jail or prison.”

Bill No. 1427 states, “The department of probation shall not require individuals to submit to marijuana testing unless a determination is made, based on an individuals’ history and circumstances, that abstinence from marijuana is necessary to otherwise lead an otherwise law-abiding life.” The new law takes immediate effect.

Bill No. 1445 states, “[I]t shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency, or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols or marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment.” Exceptions to the new law include those employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions – such as police officers or commercial drivers – or those positions regulated by federal drug testing guidelines. The law take effect in one year.

Additional information is available from the NORML fact-sheet, “Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace,” online here.

Tagged in , , ,

Washington: Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law

Generic 15 May 2019 | 0 Comments

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has signed legislation, Senate Bill 5605, facilitating the expungement of past low-level marijuana convictions.

The measure states: “Every person convicted of a misdemeanor marijuana offenses, who was 21 years of age or older at the time of the offense, may apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of the applicant’s record of conviction for the offense. … If an applicant qualifies under this subsection, the court shall vacate the record of conviction.”

Governor Inslee said: “This is a matter of fairness and justice. We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in this state.”

The new law takes effect on July 27, 2019.

Additional information on pending marijuana legislation is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

Tagged in , , ,

Legal marijuana reduces chronic pain, but increases injuries and car accidents

Did you know that? 15 May 2019 | 0 Comments

The legalization of recreational marijuana is associated with an increase in its abuse, injury due to overdoses, and car accidents, but does not significantly change health care use overall, according to a new study.

Arkansas: Licensed Medical Cannabis Sales Begin

Generic 14 May 2019 | 0 Comments

Marijuana CBD OilQualified patients now have limited access to medical cannabis products, after the state’s first licensed dispensaries began making sales this week. Voters initially approved medical cannabis access by passing a statewide initiative in November 2016.

Under the law, qualified patients may obtain both herbal preparations of cannabis and infused cannabis products from state-licensed dispensaries. Products must be derived from plants harvested by one of five state-licensed cultivators. To date, only one cultivator is operational. Two additional cultivators are expecting to harvest their initial crops this summer.

Nearly 12,000 patients are licensed in the state to participate in the medical cannabis access program.

Arkansas is one of 33 states that permits medical cannabis access.

Weekly Legislative Roundup 5/10/19

Generic 11 May 2019 | 0 Comments

Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries announced their intentions to introduce legislation known as the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), thus ending the nearly century-long federal policy of criminalization and prohibition.

Governor Doug Bergum (R) of North Dakota signed a bill into law that will remove the threat of jail time for the possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana.

Governor Kevin Stitt (R) of Oklahoma signed legislation into law to permit osteopaths to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.

Governor Eric Holcomb (R) of Indiana and Governor Ned Lamont (D) of Connecticut signed industrial hemp legislation into law.

A campaign committee called Smart and Safe Arizona is preparing to launch a campaign to qualify a 2020 adult use marijuana legalization ballot initiative in the state.

Members of an Ohio medical board committee recommended that autism and anxiety be added to the state’s medical cannabis qualifying conditions list, but rejected petitions to add depression, insomnia, and opioid addiction.

Following are the bills that we’ve tracked this week and as always, check NORML’s Action Center 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 U.S. Congress. Another great way to stay up to date is Marijuana Moment’s daily newsletter, which you can subscribe to HERE.

Your Highness,
Carly

Actions to Take

Federal

End Prohibition: The Marijuana Justice Act would (1) remove marijuana from the US Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal criminalization of cannabis; (2) incentivize states to mitigate existing and ongoing racial disparities in state-level marijuana arrests; (3) expunge federal convictions specific to marijuana possession; (4) allow individuals currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana-related violations to petition the court for resentencing; (5) and create a community reinvestment fund to invest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.

Send a message to your federal lawmakers in support of this important legislation

Alabama

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 236, to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.

Update: SB 236 was approved by the Senate on 5/9/19,  and now heads to the House.

AL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

Legislation is pending, House Bill 96 / Senate Bill 98, to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The measure would reduce the penalty for the possession of one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a maximum fine of $6,000, to a non-criminal violation punishable by a maximum fine of $250.

Update: HB 96 was defeated in the House Committee on Judiciary on 5/8/19 by a 6-5 vote.

AL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

California

Legislation is pending, AB 1465, that would allow licensing of cannabis consumption cafés and lounges in California.

Update: AB 1465 is scheduled for a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on 5/16/19.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of cannabis consumption lounges

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 51, to assist financial institutions in safely conducting transactions with licensed cannabis businesses.

Update: SB 51 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on 5/13/19 at 10am in the John L. Burton Hearing Room.

CA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of banking access

Colorado

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 19-220, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Separately, SB 19-240 would create a working group to study industrial hemp and also allow localities within the state to adopt ordinances to regulate hemp products.

Update: Both SB 220 and SB 240 were approved by the House of Representatives on 4/30/19, and will now be delivered to the governor.

CO resident? Click here to email your governor in support of industrial hemp production

Connecticut

A package of bills, soon to be combined into one omnibus bill, to permit the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of marijuana for adults 21 and over is pending.

Update: Lawmakers in the state’s legislature are confident that the ‘yes’ votes are there to pass the legislation through the House of Representatives, but remain unsure about the bill’s future in the Senate.

CT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

Delaware

Bipartisan legislation is pending, SB 37, that would reform the expungement processes for individuals convicted of non-violent marijuana-related offenses.

If enacted, the bill would expand the pool of those eligible to seek expungement to include those convicted of a single misdemeanor or felony charge related to marijuana.

Update: SB 37 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on 5/8/19.

DE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement expansion

Iowa

Legislation is pending, HF 754 and SF 599, to establish an industrial hemp program to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: SF 599 was delivered to the Governor’s desk on 5/6/19.

IA resident? Click here to email your governor in support of this effort

Illinois

Legislation is pending, The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (an amendment to SB 7), to regulate the use, possession, cultivation, and retail sale of adult use marijuana.

The measure would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to 5 marijuana plants in the home.

The proposal also includes provisions facilitating the automatic expungement of certain prior convictions as well as equity within the industry.

IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of efforts to regulate adult use marijuana and level the playing field for social equity applicants to receive a fair opportunity to compete in the legal market

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 455, to allow medical cannabis to be administered to patients at school.

Update: SB 455 was approved by the Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee on 5/8/19.

IL resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access in schools

Louisiana

House Bill 509 would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and permit the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the state Board of Pharmacy to issue the licenses for production and sale, respectively.

House Bill 462 would amend the Louisiana constitution to allow municipalities within the state to hold referendums on whether or not to allow the use, possession, and retail sale of adult use cannabis in their jurisdictions.

House Bill 564 seeks to regulate adult use cannabis. The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture and Forestry to issue up to 15 cannabis production licenses. Retailer licenses would be issued by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to sell up to one ounce per customer per day. This measure would also allow adults to obtain a permit to grow personal use quantities of cannabis at home.

Update: Both HB 509 and HB 462 are scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/14/19 at 9am in room 6. HB 564 was heard in the House Committee on Agriculture on 5/8/2019, and the committee reported the bill without action. The bill will be recommitted to the Committee on Judiciary.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of legalization

Legislation is pending, House Bill 59, to reduce marijuana possession penalties for first time offenders.

The measure removes the threat of jail time for first-time offenders who possess no more than 14 grams of marijuana (about half an ounce).

Update: HB 59 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Criminal Justice on 5/14/19 at 9am in room 6.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of decriminalization

House Bill 491 would regulate industrial hemp production in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: HB 491 was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives on 5/7/19. The bill was amended to include provisions regulating the production and retail sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

LA resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

Nebraska

LB 110 is pending to allow qualifying patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis via licensed providers.

Update: LB 110 was approved by the Judiciary Committee on 5/10/19, and is set to be considered on the floor of the unicameral legislature next week.

NE resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

Legislation is pending, LB 657, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: LB 657 was approved by the legislature on 5/2/19, and now awaits action from the governor.

NE resident? Click here to email your governor in support of industrial hemp production

Nevada

Legislation is pending, Assembly Bill 192, to allow individuals to get their records vacated for offenses that are no longer a crime in Nevada.

Update: AB 192 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on 5/6/19 and again on 5/10.

NV resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of expungement

New Hampshire

Legislation is pending, HB 350, to expand medical cannabis access.

The measure expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients.

Update: The House concurred with Senate amendments on 5/3/19, and the bill now heads to the governor’s desk.

NH resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical expansion

Oklahoma

Legislation is pending, House Bill 2614, to amend the possession penalties for individuals who use cannabis for a qualifying condition, but are not in possession of a medical marijuana identification card.

The measure would reduce the penalty for this offense from a criminal misdemeanor to a citation, punishable by a maximum fine of $400.

Update: The House disagreed with the Senate’s amendments to HB 2614, so the bill will now go to a conference committee for reconciliation.

OK resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of penalty reductions

Oregon

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 970, to protect state-sanctioned medical cannabis patients, as well as those with prior or pending cannabis convictions, from housing discrimination.

Update: The House Human Services and Housing Committee held a work session on SB 970 on 5/6/19.

OR resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of housing protections

Texas

Legislation is pending, HB 1365, to expand medical cannabis access in Texas by allowing doctors to recommend it to those with several additional conditions.

Update: HB 1365 was approved by the House of Representatives on 5/6/19, and now heads to the Senate.

TX resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of medical cannabis access

Legislation is pending, HB 1325, to regulate the production of industrial hemp in Texas.

Update: HB 1325 was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on 5/7/19.

TX resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

Vermont

S. 54 is pending to establish a regulatory framework for the regulation of a commercial, adult use marijuana market.

Update: S. 54 was heard by the House Committees on Ways and Means and Appropriations this week.

VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of regulation

Legislation is pending, Senate Bill 58, to amend the state’s existing industrial hemp law to be in compliance with the new federal hemp regulations.

Update: S. 58 was heard by the House Committee on Appropriations on 5/7/19.

VT resident? Click here to email your lawmakers in support of industrial hemp production

Washington

Senate Bill 5605, to allow individuals with prior misdemeanor cannabis convictions to apply to the sentencing court to have their record vacated, is awaiting action from Governor Inslee.

Update: Gov. Inslee stated that he intends to sign the bill into law.

WA resident? Click here to email your governor in support of expungement

Tagged in , , ,