6 States Plus D.C. Sign Cannabis Bills Into Law in Less than a Month
It’s been an incredibly busy, and productive year thus far for the cannabis reform movement, and the past month has been a shining example of this progress. Here’s a look at some of what’s been accomplished.
On March 21st, Utah’s governor signed into law a proposal which legalizes cannabis extracts (such as oils and tinctures) for medical purposes. The measure takes effect on July 1st.
On March 31st, Washington D.C.’s mayor signed a measure into law which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. The new law reduces the penalty from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a $25 ticket.
On April 13th, Kentucky’s governor signed a bill which allows universities in the state with a school of medicine to produce and distribute the cannabis extract cannabidiol to qualified patients who receive a recommendation from one of the university’s physicians. The measure would also allow anyone enrolled in an FDA trial (two such trials were approved by the FDA last year) to be legally treated with cannabis oil.
On April 14th Maryland’s governor signed two cannabis proposals into law, one to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, making it a simply $100 ticket for someone’s first offense ($250 for their second offense, $500 for subsequent offenses), and one to legalize medical cannabis, including a minimum of 94 state-licensed dispensaries.
On April 16th Alabama officially legalized medical cannabis extracts with the governor’s signature of Senate Bill 174. The new law allows the University of Alabama’s Department of Neurology to prescribe, produce and distribute low-THC cannabis extracts to those with seizure disorders. The bill is being funded by $1 million from the state’s Education Trust Fund.
On April 18th Wisconsin’s governor signed a measure into law which legalizes the possession, use, production and distribution of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis. The same day, Mississippi’s governor signed a similar proposal into law which allows for the possession of cannabis extracts for medical purposes, and authorizes the University of Mississippi Medical Center to distribute the medicine.
Other states, such as Florida and Missouri, have bills actively moving through their state’s legislature. Nebraska’s governor recently signed a measure into law which legalizes industrial hemp, and Hawaii’s Legislature has approved a bill to establish a hemp research program.
Although these proposals don’t go nearly far enough, they all represent a significant step forward.
If you support cannabis law reform, now is a better time than ever to get involved; spread the word, contact lawmakers, etc.!