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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Marijuana Law Updates in Several States

Key Takeaways:

  • California: Senate Bill 51 (SB 51) is under review, aiming to promote equity in the cannabis industry by issuing provisional licenses to local cannabis equity applicants.
  • Ohio: House Bill 168 (HB 168) is progressing towards establishing a regulated market for adult-use marijuana, including an expungement process for minor possession charges.
  • Florida: House Bill 387 (HB 387) has been signed into law, enhancing access to medical marijuana and promoting diversity in the industry by granting licenses to Black farmers.
  • Oregon: The state has pardoned 47,144 convictions for simple possession of cannabis. However, it still lacks employment protections for cannabis users, which House Bill 3428 aims to address.
  • Marijuana law reform continues to evolve across the United States, reflecting changing attitudes and understanding surrounding cannabis.

Marijuana law reform is an ever-evolving topic that is gaining momentum across various states in the United States. Significant progress has been made in California, Florida, Ohio, and Oregon, with each state implementing important changes to their marijuana laws. Let’s delve into the latest updates and developments in these states.

Oregon: Missed Opportunities for Progress

Oregon has been a trailblazer in cannabis policy reform. The state was the first to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis in 1973 and legalize adult-use cannabis in 2014. In November 2022, then-Gov. Kate Brown issued pardons for 47,144 convictions for simple possession of cannabis and forgave more than $14 million in unresolved fees and fines. However, the state still lacks employment protections for cannabis users. House Bill 3428, which would provide limited protections, is currently under review. The bill prohibits public healthcare employers from denying employment or taking adverse employment action against a worker due to testing positive for cannabis, provided the employee is not suspected of being impaired at work.

Ohio: Establishing a Regulated Adult-Use Market

In Ohio, House Bill 168 (HB 168) is on the path to establish a regulated market for adult-use marijuana. This proposed legislation would permit individuals who are 21 years of age or older to possess up to 5 ounces of flower, 15 grams of hashish, and 8 grams of cannabis concentrates. Furthermore, residents would have the option to cultivate up to 12 plants within the privacy of their own homes. HB 168 also includes an expungement process for minor possession charges, aiming to address the consequences of past marijuana-related offenses.

Florida: Expanding Access to Medical Marijuana

Florida has made significant strides in expanding access to medical marijuana. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed House Bill 387 (HB 387) into law. This legislation brings positive changes to the state’s medical marijuana program. One notable provision of HB 387 is that it allows medical marijuana patients to renew their physician certifications through telehealth providers, enhancing accessibility and convenience. Additionally, the bill addresses the need for diversity and inclusion within the industry by granting medical marijuana treatment center licenses to Black farmers who have faced historical challenges in entering the cannabis market.

California: Pushing for Equity in Cannabis Licensing

The Assembly Business and Professions’ Committee in California is diligently reviewing Senate Bill 51 (SB 51), a piece of legislation that could greatly influence the cannabis industry. SB 51 is designed to empower the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to issue provisional licenses to local cannabis equity applicants involved in retail activities for up to five years, provided they meet the department’s requirements. This bill is a step towards promoting equity within the industry by offering fair opportunities to individuals from historically marginalized communities.

Marijuana law reform continues to be a topic of significant interest and progress in various states across the country. From California’s push for equity in cannabis licensing to Ohio’s efforts to establish a regulated adult-use market, and Florida’s expansion of access to medical marijuana, these developments reflect the evolving attitudes and understanding surrounding cannabis. Although not all endeavors are successful, the conversations and actions surrounding marijuana law reform contribute to a more informed and inclusive approach to cannabis regulation in the United States. Stay informed and engaged as these changes continue to shape the future of marijuana laws in our nation.

Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers
Dr. Jen Chalmers is an accomplished writer and cannabis enthusiast. With a Ph.D. in Botany and years of experience as a researcher, she brings a scientific perspective to her captivating articles on cannabis news, recipes, and the fascinating world of psychedelics.

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