In recent years, the United States has experienced a major shift in its attitudes towards cannabis. These bills represent an unprecedented effort to transform the way that marijuana is regulated. Offering new opportunities for businesses and consumers. While also addressing longstanding issues of social justice and equity. Several states have passed or are well within the legislative process of these bills, with many more expected to follow suit in the coming months.
Here are some key bills that are currently in the works:
House Bill 98 (HB 98) suggests lower penalties for possession of controlled substances. Such as cannabis, and sets up “harm reduction centers” to offer medical treatment, counseling, and drug screenings to those charged with possession. These centers would require individuals to complete 15 hours of community service and educational programming instead of facing standard penalties.
House Bill 48 (HB 48) would add a ballot question to Kentucky’s state constitution: Allowing those over 21 to possess, use, buy, or sell up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to five plants for personal use without criminal repercussions. The Kentucky General Assembly would regulate the process, but the details of state approval and regulation remain unclear.
House Bill 47 (HB 47) proposes decriminalizing marijuana possession without voter approval. As well as providing the opportunity for individuals with previous convictions for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana to have their records expunged.
House Bill 22 (HB 22) & Senate Bill (SB 51) are Kentucky’s most comprehensive cannabis bills yet. Seeking to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, while stating that full legalization is in the state’s best interest. The bills establish a Cannabis Control Board to regulate marijuana. As well as prohibit employers from discriminating against workers who use cannabis during non-work hours. Provided, it does not affect job performance.
House Bill 107 (HB 107) & Senate Bill 47 (SB 47) propose medical marijuana use without smoking. SB 47 leaves the medical conditions that qualify up to doctors, making it less restrictive than a previous bill. Meanwhile, HB 107 establishes a medical cannabis program. Regulating it under the Department for Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control, mirroring SB 47.
Senate Bill 78 (SB 78) suggests adding a ballot question asking Kentucky voters about legalizing cannabis, including language to legalize medical marijuana and protect patients and healthcare providers from criminal sanctions.
House Bill 556 (HB 556) & Senate Bill 516 (SB 516) regulates cannabis sales for adults 21 and older, allowing businesses to serve both medical patients and adults. On-sight consumption licenses would be available, in addition to parental and personal protections. Such as increasing the possession limit for registered medical patients and creating a social equity commission. The bills also implement a 6% tax on cannabis sales, with plans to increase that to 10% by 2028.
State Question 820 (SQ 820) proposes legalizing the possession and purchase of cannabis for Oklahomans aged 21 and above. With a limit of one ounce of cannabis flower, 8 grams of concentrate, six mature, six seedling plants for personal cultivation.
House Bill 1937 (HB 1937) proposes giving counties and municipalities the power to legalize recreational marijuana. Adults 21 and older could possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 15 grams of concentrates. With a maximum of 10 ounces stored securely at home. The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation would oversee regulation. And impose a 10% tax on cannabis products, with the revenue funding regulation, testing, and quality control. Any remaining revenue would go to public schools.
House Bill 17 (HB 17) proposes allowing the Department of Agriculture to issue 10 cultivation and processing licenses and 40 retail dispensary permits. Applicants must undergo criminal background checks. The aim is to control and track the growth and distribution of cannabis.
House Bill 24 (HB 24) seeks to decriminalize cannabis possession and distribution by introducing a licensing system, similar to that of alcohol sales. The bill would regulate recreational marijuana sales if passed.