Cannabis Legislation This Week: California Considers Electronic Pot Payments, Colorado May Soon Deliver the Goods
Politicians in California, Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will ponder some rather potent legislation for the week of April 16, 2018.
In cannabis policy reform, Southern California lawmakers will talk “event” licensing, tax payments, resentencing of prior cannabis convictions, and the need for access to financial institutions for the Golden State’s newest billion-dollar industry. Meanwhile, Colorado’s elected officials will debate rolling out their pilot marijuana delivery program.
In Pennsylvania, some elected officials are seeking to amend the state’s definition for drug trafficking, while Louisiana’s policymakers have three key pieces of legislation of their own to consider. While one of Louisiana’s proposed bills seeks to decriminalize marijuana, another bill would replace the state’s existing law by enacting civil penalties for small amounts of pot. And for Louisiana’s perpetually disenfranchised entrepreneurs, yet another bill benefits minority-owned cannabis businesses.
Trump’s Pot Promise
Cannabis has been a demonized substance for the past 80+ years. The casualty list from prohibition has been long and foul. With the 2018 midterm and general elections on the horizon, a lot of politicians seeking office are going after the cannabis vote, including President Donald Trump. The president told Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner on Friday that he respects the 10th Amendment, and he’ll “fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.” A political feat of strength, or pandering for votes? Even if Trump were to “fix” our national policy of ignorance with the stroke of his pen, he’ll still face an uphill battle to retain the highest office in the land in 2020.
California: Banks, Research, and Past Convictions
California AB 1741 seeks to amend specific requirements for electronic funds transfers for cannabis tax payments to the state. This legislation will be heard on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. during the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Hearing in Room 126 of the Capitol in Sacramento.
AB 1793 addresses the resentencing of past cannabis convictions. The Justice Department would be required to review the records of Californians convicted of cannabis-related charges and reduce or dismiss penalties unless challenged by a prosecutor. The proposed bill will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 9 a.m. during the state’s Assembly Public Safety Hearing in Room 126 of the Capitol.
AB 1996 seeks to establish the California Cannabis Research Program. The program would develop and allow for studies intended to ascertain the general safety and efficacy of medical cannabis and, if found valuable, would develop medical guidelines for the appropriate administration and use of medical marijuana. California Assembly Bill 1969 is due to be heard on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 9 a.m. before the Assembly Business and Professions Committee in Room 126 of the Capitol.
AB 2020 proposes amending The Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 to authorize a state licensing authority to issue a temporary state event license. The licensee would authorize onsite cannabis sales to individuals ages 21 and older at a county fair or district agricultural event. The proposed legislation will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17 at 9 a.m. before the Assembly Business and Professions Committee in State Capitol Room 4202.
SB 930 would create the Cannabis Limited Chartered Banking Law, to be administered by the Commissioner of Business Oversight and the Department of Business Oversight. California’s need for banking services for the cannabis industry is at an “all-time high,” with the new industry anticipated to generate approximately $8 billion in revenue annually, according to the bill. This legislation is scheduled for Wednesday, April 18, 2018 At 1:30 p.m. before the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee in Room 112 of the Capitol.
Colorado: Stand and Deliver
Colorado HB 18-1092, a bill that would create a pilot program to allow cannabis delivery services will receive a hearing on Wednesday, April 18 at 8 a.m.. before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Capitol in Denver.
Pennsylvania: 49 Pounds Would Not be Trafficking
Pennsylvania SB 1071 seeks to amend the definition for drug trafficking to refer to those involved in the transportation or possession of at least 50 pounds or the cultivation of at least 51 live plants. This bill is scheduled to receive an appropriations hearing on Monday, April 16 at 9 a.m. in the Rules Committee Conference Room in the Capitol in Harrisburg.
Louisiana: Decriminalization, Civil Penalties and Minority Businesses
Louisiana HB 274, a bill that “provides for the decriminalization of marijuana possession and distribution” will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. before the House Committee on Criminal Justice in Hearing Room 6 in the Capitol in Baton Rouge.
H B 611 seeks to enact civil penalties for personal marijuana possession. The legislation provides that personal marijuana possession would be defined by no more than 5 grams, or 0.18 ounce, of marijuana concentrates and less than 28 grams, or just less than 1 ounce, of marijuana. The bill will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. before the House Committee on Criminal Justice in Room 6 of the Capitol in Baton Rouge.
HB 826 would require that a minimum portion of the state’s cannabis pharmacy licenses be granted to minority-owned businesses. This legislation will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 9 a.m. before the House Committee on Health and Welfare in Room 5 of the Capitol in Baton Rouge.
New Hampshire: Therapeutic Cannabis and Dispensary Locations
New Hampshire SB 380 would clarify legal language for the therapeutic use of cannabis will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 8 a.m. before the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Executive Sessions in the Legislative Office Building, Room 205 in Concord.
SB 388 would allow New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services to establish a second dispensary location for therapeutic cannabis distribution — one for Carroll, Coos and Grafton counties, the other for Cheshire and Sullivan counties. It will receive a hearing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 10 a.m. before the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Executive Session in the Legislative Office Building, Room 205 in Concorn.
South Carolina Compassion
South Carolina H3521, also known as the Compassionate Care Act, will receive a hearing on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 9 a.m. before a full Committee in Blatt Building Room 427 at the Statehouse in Columbia.
While opponents of cannabis law reform opine that legalization is a menacing hazard for society, more Americans are understanding the real threat of legalization is to the bottom line of those billion-dollar merchants of doom who support prohibition. You know, the usual suspects: big alcohol, big tobacco, corporate lobbyists, corrupt politicians, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ favorite, America’s corporate prison industrial complex.