NORML write, “2019 has been a monumental year for cannabis reform across the United States. Over 60 cannabis-related bills were signed into law in states across the country. Illinois and the US territory of Guam legalized adult-use cannabis and its retail sale, medical cannabis programs were enacted and expanded in several states, and 27 states considered legislation that would have legalized adult-use cannabis, a record-high. This report contains a detailed summary of 2019’s federal and state legislative victories.”
2019 has been an unprecedented year for the passage of state-level marijuana law reforms. As documented in this report, legislators across the country approved a litany of new marijuana legislation this year addressing a wide spectrum of issues. Now, nearly 1 in 4 Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal, and 33 states regulate medical marijuana access.
Public opinion continues to grow in support of ending marijuana prohibition, with two-thirds of adults — including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, and independents — now in favor of making the plant legal. Alongside growing public support, politicians, including those at some of the highest levels of government, are now recognizing the rapidly changing cultural and legal status of cannabis. After this historically successful year, we expect to see public and political support continue to increase in 2020 as more and more states implement sensible cannabis regulatory policies.
Executive Director, NORML
Federal Legislative Victories
“Never before in American history has marijuana policy advanced in Congress as far or as fast in one year as 2019. From dozens of bills being introduced to multiple hearings, markups, and votes, the era of prohibition is nearing its end.”
Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act
- On July 23, 2019, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced comprehensive legislation, The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3884 / S. 2227), to end federal marijuana criminalization. The Act removes the marijuana plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act, requires the federal courts to expunge prior marijuana-related convictions, and provides grants to communities which have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war, among other changes.
- On November 20th, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee passed the MORE Act by a bipartisan vote of 24 to 10, with all Democrats voting in favor. The vote marks the first time in the history of the United States Congress that a Congressional committee has approved legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition in the United States. During the markup, an attempt was made by a small number of Republicans to remove the descheduling component and replace it with watered-down language that would maintain the Schedule 1 status of marijuana. That amendment was soundly voted down.
- Shortly after the vote, many leaders in Congress celebrated its passage, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer thanked the committee for holding the markup session.
- A House floor vote on HR 3884 is anticipated in 2020.
Advancements in the US House of Representatives
House Committee on Small Business Highlights Need for Federal Reforms
- On June 19, 2019, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing entitled “Unlocked Potential? Small Businesses in the Cannabis Industry” to discuss the economic and employment opportunities in the emerging legal cannabis industry and the challenges that federal prohibition and criminalization pose to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Shortly after the hearing, on June 27, 2019, Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez introduced The Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act to end federal marijuana prohibition and ensure that cannabis companies have access to the SBA. In doing so, Chairwoman Velázquez became the first Committee Chair in US history to introduce a bill to deschedule marijuana.
Historic House Judiciary Hearing on Marijuana Policy
- On July 10, 2019, members of the US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security heard expert testimony challenging the federal government’s policy of cannabis prohibition. The hearing, entitled “Marijuana Laws in America: Racial Justice and the Need for Reform”, debated the merits of various alternative policy options – including ending cannabis’ longstanding Schedule I criminal status under federal law. The hearing marked the first time in decades that members have entertained debate regarding the need to end the federal criminalization of cannabis and deschedule it from the Controlled Substances Act, which would end federal prohibition and allow states to determine their own policies.
Progress on the SAFE Banking Act
Historic Committee Hearing and Vote on HR 1595/S. 1200
- The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, HR 1595/S.1200, would allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions. If enacted, banks would no longer face the threat of federal sanctions for working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.
- The bill is supported by a diverse coalition of allies ranging from The American Bankers Association to the Students for Sensible Drug Policy and has advanced further in the federal legislative process than any stand-alone cannabis legislation since the implementation of prohibition.
FY 2020 Successful House Appropriations Advancements
Continued Protections for State Legal Medical Programs
- Since 2014, annual appropriations bills have been amended to include a spending restriction to prevent the Department of Justice from enforcing the federal prohibition of marijuana against state-legal medical cannabis programs, businesses, and patients. For the first time, the FY 2020 Appropriations package contained this protection for 47 states within the base language of the text. (Included in the final FY 2020 spending package)
A Pathway Towards SAFE Banking
- In the existing state-legal regulated marijuana marketplaces, businesses struggle to access basic banking services due to the federal prohibition of marijuana. This forces the industry to operate largely on an all-cash basis, placing a difficult and undue burden on both businesses and consumers while creating a ripe target for criminals. The House Appropriations FY 2020 base text includes language mirroring the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act (HR 1595 / S. 1200) to provide protections for banking institutions to service state-legal businesses.
Allowing DC Self-Determination on Marijuana-Related Issues
- In 2014, residents of the District of Columbia voted overwhelmingly to end the prohibition and the criminalization of cannabis and paved the way for the DC Council to implement a regulated marketplace for responsible adult-use cannabis sales. Despite this, a rider has been included annually to prevent DC from self-determination on this issue. The House FY 2020 Appropriations bill marks the first time that this language has not been included.
Federal Employment Protections Demanded
- For the first time, the FY 2020 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations package includes language seeking to protect the rights of federal employees who consume cannabis in legal jurisdictions. The language encourages the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to review its policies and guidelines regarding the hiring and firing of individuals who use marijuana off-the-job in states where that individual’s private use of marijuana is no longer prohibited under state law.
Protections for State-Legal Marijuana Marketplaces Advance
- On June 20, 2019, the House of Representatives voted to amend the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations bill by approving the bipartisan Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing US states and territories from implementing laws allowing marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, possession, or use. The amendment passed 267-165 in a bipartisan vote.
State Legislative Victories
“Over 60 state-specific cannabis law reform measures have been signed into law thus far in 2019 — making it the most productive state legislative session on record. The dedication and fervency of grassroots activists has gotten us to where we are today, and it will continue to propel us forward. We won’t stop until we win.”
Carly Wolf, NORML State Policy Coordinator
- State lawmakers passed SB 236, which establishes a commission to study medical cannabis legalization and dispensing in the state. The law took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature on June 5, 2019.
- State regulators signed off on new provisions establishing procedures for licensing on-site cannabis consumption facilities. The rules took effect on April 11, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 1494, requiring the state’s Department of Human Services to establish standards related to testing medical cannabis products and establishes a licensing scheme for third-party testing laboratories. The law was signed by the Governor on June 7, 2019. It requires that all medical marijuana products sold in licensed dispensaries be independently lab tested by November 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 420, which authorizes the University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research to cultivate cannabis for clinical trials. The new law went into immediate effect upon the governor’s signature on October 12, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 34, which provides tax breaks for facilities that provide free medical cannabis to economically-disadvantaged patients. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 223, which allows parents to administer non-smoking forms of medical cannabis to their children on school campuses if the district permits it. Under previous law, no cannabis was allowed within 1,000 feet of any K-12 school campuses. The law will take effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1028, expanding the pool of patients qualified to access medical cannabis to include those with autism spectrum disorder. The legislation was signed on April 4, 2019, and the new law took immediate effect.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1230, which establishes regulations for the licensing of “marijuana hospitality spaces.” Under the measure, licensed dispensaries and retailers may apply for on-site consumption permits. Hotels, restaurants, and other private business would also be permitted to apply for similar licensing. At indoor facilities, marijuana smoking will be permitted unless prohibited by local rules. The new law takes effect onJanuary 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1234, which establishes regulations for the delivery of cannabis products from state-licensed retailers to private residences. Under the legislation, which was signed into law on May 29, the delivery of medical cannabis products will begin on January 2, 2020, while retail cannabis deliveries will begin on January 2, 2021.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1263, which reduces criminal penalties for the possession of large quantities of cannabis. Specifically, it amends penalties for the possession of over six ounces of marijuana and/or three ounces of marijuana concentrate from a level 4 felony to level 1 misdemeanor. It also mandates that police may not arrest a defendant for violations involving the possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis. The new law takes effect on March 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 13, permitting physicians to recommend cannabis therapy for any condition for which the physician “could prescribe an opioid.” The new law took effect on August 2, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed a substitute for SB 24, which allows for patients who have “a severe and debilitating condition” that is not on the qualifying conditions list to apply for a compassionate use medical marijuana card with a physician’s recommendation and only after meeting certain requirements. The new law went into effect on June 4, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 37, which expands the pool of those eligibleto seek an expungement of their criminal records. The new law takes effect on December 27, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 45, which eliminates criminal penalties forlow-level marijuana possession offenses (up to one ounce) for those under the age of 21. The bill was signed into law by the governor on July 31, 2019. It took immediate effect upon passage.
District of Columbia
- In August of 2019, District regulators approved expedited rules permitting licensed medical cannabis providers to service patients enrolled in out-of-state marijuana access programs.
- District lawmakers passed B23-0336, which “prohibits the District of Columbia government from discriminating, in employment, against an individual for participation in a medical marijuana program.” The law went into effect on October 24, 2019.
- District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an order on September 17, 2019 providing explicit protections for certain District employees who consume cannabis while away from the job. Under the rules, many would-be employees will no longer face pre-employment drug screenings. The new rules apply to all District government agencies under the direct administrative authority of the Mayor.
- State lawmakers passed SB 182, which repeals a previously enacted legislative ban on the smoking of medical cannabis. Under the law, which took effect on March 18, 2019, qualified patients are permitted to possess up to four ounces of herbal cannabis if a recommending physician opines “that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks for the qualified patient.”
- State lawmakers passed HB 324, which establishes a regulatory commission to oversee the eventual “production, manufacturing, and dispensing” of products possessing specified quantities of plant-derived THC to qualified patients. The law allows for the licensing of up to six privately-owned cultivation operations, and also seeks collaboration with the University of Georgia in the manufacturing of THC-infused extracts and oils. The law went into effect on July 1, 2019.
- Guam lawmakers passed the Guam Cannabis Industry Act, Bill No. 32-35, which legalizes the personal use and possession of marijuana by adults aged 21 and older and establishes regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sale. The law allows for the personal possession of one ounce of marijuana flower and/or eight grams of concentrated cannabis, and allows for the private cultivation of six cannabis plants, with no more than 3 flowering at a time. The new law took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature on April 4, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1383, which decriminalizes activities involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana. The law takes effect on January 11, 2020. Until then, low-level marijuana possession offenses remain criminalized, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- HB 1383 also provides procedures for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams of cannabis.
“As a Republican, I’m a strong supporter of individual freedom and empowering states to set their own cannabis policies. Very frankly, the federal government should not be standing in the way of states pursuing modernization of their cannabis laws. As an Alaskan, I’ve seen first-hand that legalization can work. Federal prohibition is not smart or humane policy, and I am proud to work with NORML and my other Co-Chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to advance solutions that allow state governments and the people to decide for themselves, not Washington, D.C.”
US Representative Don Young (R-AK)
- The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, HB 1438, legalizes the personal use and possession of marijuana by adults and establishes regulations governing the plant’s commercial production and retail sales. The law permits those adults 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and decriminalizes activities specific to the cultivation of cannabis for personal use, among other changes.
- HB 1438 also facilitates the automatic expungement of low-level marijuana convictions. Over 770,000 individuals are anticipated to receive judicial relief from the new law. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 455, permitting children with serious conditions for which medical marijuana has been recommended to have medical cannabis-infused products administered to them while on school property. The law will take effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 2023, which expands the state’s medical cannabis program by adding several new qualifying conditions, allowing physicians assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to recommend medical cannabis to their patients, and allowing minor patients to have up to three caregivers instead of two, among other changes. The new law went into effect on August 9, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 28, Claire and Lola’s Law, creating an affirmative defense to prosecution for the possession of any cannabidiol (CBD) preparation being used for therapeutic purposes to treat a diagnosed debilitating condition. The measure also protects parents from losing custody of their children as a result of the possession of CBD products. The law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 358, permitting patients to obtain “medica lmarijuana in a form to be administered in a metered-dose inhaler.” The new law took effect on August 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 507, which exempts medical cannabis products from state and local sales taxes. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed LD 538, which permits out of state patients with a valid medical marijuana certification from their state of residence to access Maine’s medical marijuana retail establishments and possess limited amounts of medical cannabis. The law took effect on June 6, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 17, which permits dispensaries for the first time to sell “edible cannabis products.” Separate provisions in the law permit academic institutions and research facilities seeking to research the “medical use, properties, or composition of cannabis” to obtain source materials from a state-licensed cannabis dispensary. The law took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature on May 13, 2019.
- State regulators advanced plans in May to license social marijuana use facilities in up to a dozen self-selected cities throughout the state.
- State lawmakers passed Senate Bill 265, which expands patient access to medical cannabis in Montana. The measure allows patients to access up to five ounces of medical cannabis per month or up to one ounce per day from any licensed provider. The entirety of the new law will go into effect by July 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed AB 131, restoring voting rights to felons immediately following their release from prison. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed legislation, AB 132, making it unlawful for certain employers “to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.” The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed AB 140, which prohibits the courts from denying child custody or visitation solely based upon a parent’s medical marijuana patient status. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed AB 192, facilitating the ability of those convicted of marijuana-specific activities which have since been decriminalized or legalized to have their criminal records sealed. The law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 430, which expands the pool of individuals eligible for medical marijuana. The measure adds anxiety, autism, opioid addiction or dependence, anorexia nervosa, among other qualifying conditions. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 335, which facilitates the licensing of additional medical cannabis dispensaries. The new law took effect on September 8, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 350, which expands the pool of medical professionals who are eligible to recommend medical cannabis by permitting physician assistants to issue recommendations to their patients. The new law took effect on August 20, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 399, allowing those with low-level (up to three-quarters of one ounce) marijuana possession convictions to petition the court for an annulment. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 20, which institutes various changes to the state’s medical access program. Specifically, it expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those with chronic pain, menstrual cramps, and epilepsy. It also permits physicians assistants and advanced practice nurses to make medical cannabis recommendations. It increases the total quantity of herbal cannabis that patients may obtain monthly from two ounces to three, and phases out the existing sales tax on medical cannabis goods. The new law also, for the first time, permits dispensaries to provide edible cannabis products.
- Assembly Bill 20 also states, “[Q]ualifying patients and designated caregivers may not be discriminated against when enrolling in schools andinstitutions of higher education, when renting or leasing real property, or in the issuance of professional licensing certifications.” It also “prohibits employers from taking any adverse employment action against an employee based on the employee’s status as a registry identification cardholder,” and restricts hospitals from denying organ transplant eligibility solely based on one’s patient status. It also restricts judges from denying custody or visitation rights to parents who are registered in the state’sprogram, among other changes.
- Assembly Bill 20 also establishes rules to permit the on-site consumption of cannabis at certain medical cannabis facilities. The new law took effect on July 2, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed A. 5981, which facilitates the expungement of low-level marijuana crimes and other offenses. The measure establishes an expedited and automatic process for expunging the criminal records associated with minor marijuana-related violations, among other changes. While some provisions of the new law took immediate effect upon the governor’s signature on December 18, 2019, other parts of the measure will not be enacted for 180 days from the date of signature.
- State lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 183 with super-majorities, which places a marijuana legalization ballot question before voters in 2020. The ballot question will read: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’? Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The State commission created to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal use cannabis market. Cannabis products would be subject to the State sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.” If voters approve the amendment, lawmakers will still have to finalize the language before implementing the new law. Election Day is November 3, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed HB 370, which permits those convicted of certain violations, misdemeanors, or felonies — following the completion of theirsentence and payment of applicable fines — to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 204, which establishes regulations and procedures for the storage and administration of certain medical cannabis products to students while on school grounds. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 323, which removes the threat of jail time for those convicted of possessing up to one-half-ounce of marijuana. Under the new law, violators face a maximum penalty of a $50 fine. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 406, which enacts explicit legal protections prohibiting employers, social service workers, and hospitals from arbitrarily discriminating against patients solely for their medical cannabis status and/or for their failure to pass a drug test. The law also expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, severe chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, sleep apnea, and neuropathy, among other newly specified conditions. It prohibits regulators from placing limits on the percentage of THC or other cannabinoids in therapeutic products and it establishes reciprocity with other states’ medical cannabis programs, among other changes to the state’s medical access program. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 8420-A, which reduces the penalty for possessing up to one ounce to a $50 fine. Additionally, the bill amends penalties for offenses involving possession of more than one ounce but less than two ounces of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation, punishable by a $200 fine. It also makes the public use or possession of marijuana a fine-only offense, rather than a criminal misdemeanor.
- Assembly Bill 8420-A also includes provisions automatically reviewing and expungement past low-level marijuana possession convictions. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are anticipated to have their criminal records cleared under the new law. The new law took effect on August 28, 2019.
- New York City lawmakers passed Bill No. 1427, which 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 took effect onMay 10th, 2019.
- New York City lawmakers passed Bill No. 1445, which 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.” The new law takes effect in the spring of 2020.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1050, which reclassifies the possession of up to one-half ounce (14.175 grams) of cannabis and/or the personal possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia for a first-time offender to an infraction, punishable by a fine but no possibility of jail time. The new law took effect on August 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1283, allowing physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. The new law took effect on August 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1417, allowing physicians to explicitly authorize patients diagnosed with cancer to legally possess greater quantities of cannabis than are generally allowed under the state’s medical cannabis access program. The new law took effect on August 1, 2019.
- State officials, with the backing of the Governor, approved new procedures permitting those with low-level marijuana possession convictions to seek unconditional pardons. According to the state’s Attorney General, an estimated 175,000 North Dakotans may be eligible for relief under the new rules.
- State lawmakers passed HB 2612, which strengthens patient protections by explicitly stipulating that registered cannabis consumers may not be denied public assistance, access to firearms, or certain types of employment solely based upon their patient status. It states, “No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely based on a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites.” The new law took effect on August 30, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 162, expanding the pool of medical professionals eligible to recommend medical marijuana to include those licensed by the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners. The law took effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature on May 7, 2019.
- State lawmakers approved SB 420, which establishes procedures for persons previously found guilty of low-level (up to one ounce) marijuana possession offenses to file a motion with the court to have their convictions set aside. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 582, which seeks to authorize Oregon to enter into agreements regarding the exportation of cannabis to other states. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 970, which prohibits landlords from refusing to provide housing access to an individual based solely on an individual’s prior cannabis conviction. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
- The state’s Board of Pardons has created an expedited process to review and grant pardon applications for those with marijuana-related records. There is no fee associated with filing an application. Those with low-level marijuana convictions are being encouraged to seek pardons from state officials, and those who receive pardons are then encouraged to apply with county officials to have their criminal records expunged from the public domain.
- State lawmakers passed HB 3703, expanding the pool of patients eligible to access CBD to include those with any type of epileptic and seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, incurable neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, etc.), autism, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The new law took effect on September 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 431, creating a process for the automatic expungement and deletion of certain criminal convictions, including misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions. The new law takes effect on May 1, 2020.
- State lawmakers passed SB 161, which strengthens protections for medical cannabis patients and makes other technical changes to the state’s nascent medical cannabis access program. In addition to adding certain employment protections, the bill repeals a provision allowing courts to discriminate against a parent based solely upon their lawful use of medical cannabis and amends the decriminalization provision to include protections for parents and legal guardians of certain minor patients. The new law took effect on March 26, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1720/SB 1632, permitting school healthcare providers to administer medical cannabis to any student who is a registered Virginia medical cannabis patient. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 1557, permitting nurse practitioners and physician assistants to issue written certifications for medical cannabis, allowing state-licensed pharmaceutical processors to dispense extraction-based medical cannabis products in “any formulation,” and adopting a maximum 10 mg THC per single dose standard. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed SB 1719, permitting Virginia medical cannabis patients to authorize a “registered agent” to obtain medical cannabis on their behalf. The new law took effect on July 1, 2019.
- US Virgin Islands lawmakers passed Bill 32-0135, the Virgin Islands Medical Cannabis Patient Care Act, which allows qualified patients with certain debilitating conditions to cultivate, use, and possess physician-authorized medical marijuana. The measure permits qualified patients to possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 16 mature marijuana plants. The law went into immediate effect upon the governor’s signature on January 19, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1094, which exempts certain qualifying patients from having to undergo an in-person physical examination or having to be physically present and have their picture taken while renewing their medical marijuana card. The new law took effect on July 28, 2019.
- State lawmakers passed HB 1095, permitting parents or guardians “to administer marijuana-infused products to the student while the student is on school grounds.” It also mandates that school districts “permit a student [who is a qualified medical cannabis patient] to consume marijuana-infused products … on school grounds, aboard a school bus, or while attending a school-sponsored event.” The new law took effect on July 28, 2019.
- State lawmakers approved SB 5605, which 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 avacation 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.” The new law took effect on July 27, 2019.
- West Virginia lawmakers passed HB 2538, which encourages financial institutions to provide services to any medical marijuana patient, grower, processor, dispensary, or a person or people involved with the medical program in any capacity. The new law took effect on March 5, 2019.