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Thursday, September 21, 2023

State Policy Weekly Update 6/21/2023

Cannabis reform legislation continues to make significant strides in various states, reflecting the dynamic landscape of cannabis policies. In this update, we’ll delve into the latest legislative developments in Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. These developments underscore the ongoing efforts to broaden access to medical marijuana, revise cultivation regulations, and address penalties for cannabis possession, especially among minors.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Louisiana: Expansion of Medical Marijuana Pharmacies and Expungement of Records
  2. Nevada: Dual Licenses for Dispensaries and Increased Purchasing Limit
  3. Vermont: Enhanced Home Cultivation and Medical Cannabis Program Changes
  4. Pennsylvania: Potential Expansion of Medical Cannabis Program to Include Edible
  5. Medications Maine: Consideration for Increased Cultivation Limits
  6. New Jersey: Proposal to Reinstate Harsher Penalties for Minors in Possession of Cannabis

Louisiana (Enacted Legislation):

  • House Bill 460: Immediate Expansion of Medical Marijuana Pharmacies The recently enacted House Bill 460 in Louisiana allows existing licensed medical marijuana pharmacies in regions with at least 3,500 active patients to apply for additional locations as the patient population grows. If current pharmacies choose not to expand, the law grants new licenses to upcoming medical marijuana pharmacies to meet the rising demand. This regulation aims to ensure a fair geographic distribution of marijuana pharmacies throughout the state, with regulators issuing additional licenses to increase the availability of medical cannabis dispensaries.
  • House Bill 286: Expungement of Records for First-Time Offenders Another signed law, House Bill 286, allows individuals convicted of first-time marijuana possession misdemeanor offenses to file a motion for record expungement within ninety days of their conviction. This measure recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration into society for those convicted of low-level cannabis offenses.

Nevada (Enacted Legislation):

  • Senate Bill 277: Dual Licenses and Increased Cannabis Purchasing Limit Republican Governor Joe Lombardo has signed Senate Bill 277 into law in Nevada. The bill enables dispensaries to acquire dual licenses, allowing them to cater to both medical patients and adult-use customers. Additionally, it raises the permissible purchasing limit for herbal cannabis to 2.5 ounces, among other regulatory adjustments.

Vermont (Enacted Legislation):

  • House Bill 270: Expanded Home Cultivation and Medical Cannabis Program Enhancements House Bill 270 became law in Vermont without the Governor’s signature. The bill expands the number of plants patients can cultivate at home, allowing for up to six mature plants and twelve immature plants. It also raises the maximum THC content in a single edible cannabis product from 50 to 100 mg, broadens the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatment, increases the number of patients a caregiver may assist simultaneously, and eliminates annual registration fees for qualifying caregivers.

Pennsylvania (Pending Legislation):

  • Senate Bill 538: Prospects for an Expanded Medical Cannabis Program Senate Bill 538 is currently being reviewed by the Senate Law and Justice Committee in Pennsylvania. The bill aims to expand the state’s medical cannabis program by allowing patients to access edible cannabis medications in alternative forms beyond pills, tinctures, and liquids. This proposed change would provide patients with greater options for consuming medical cannabis, enhancing their ability to find relief from their specific conditions.

Maine (Pending Legislation):

  • Legislative Document 555: Increasing Cultivation Limits for Adults Legislature Document 555, which has passed the legislature and now awaits action by the Governor, seeks to raise the number of mature plants and immature seedlings that adults can cultivate for personal use. This potential change would allow adults to have a higher quantity of cannabis plants, supporting their self-sufficiency and personal choices within legal boundaries.

New Jersey (Pending Legislation):

  • Senate Bill 3973: Revisiting Penalties for Minors in Possession Currently awaiting a hearing and vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Bill 3973 proposes stricter penalties for minors found in possession of cannabis. If passed, this bill would elevate the charge to a disorderly person offense, potentially leading to up to six months of juvenile detention. The proposed legislation aims to address concerns surrounding underage cannabis consumption.

Failed Initiatives:

While progress has been made in many areas, it’s essential to note that certain proposals did not gain traction:

  • Maine: Legislative Document 1647 aimed to establish provisions prohibiting workplace discrimination against adults above the age of 21 who consume cannabis.
  • Maine: Legislative Document 1680 sought to legalize the delivery of marijuana to residential homes and businesses outside designated “safe zones,” subject to obtaining a special license for delivery and transport.
  • Nevada: Assembly Bill 253 aimed to legalize public cannabis consumption at specific events and introduce “Cannabis Event Organizer” licenses in the state.

These initiatives, despite not succeeding, signify ongoing discussions and exploration of diverse approaches to cannabis legislation.

As the landscape of marijuana-related reform continues to evolve, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest developments in your state and advocate for the changes you believe will contribute to a fair, equitable, and responsible cannabis industry.

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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