3 House Bills Put Marijuana Laws In Perspective

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Legislators have been busy with marijuana laws across the country. Here’s a recap, in case you missed it.

When it comes to the cannabis industry, numerous changes occur at the state and federal levels — often in a short amount of time.

Here’s a look at the latest legislation news to come out of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Minnesota

On Sunday, the Minnesota Senate voted to eliminate the previously passed provision that allowed medical marijuana patients to buy raw and whole-plant forms of cannabis.

Since the endorsement of medicinal cannabis in Minnesota, sales of the flower are not allowed. Only the sale of extracts is supported, undermining the rights of marijuana users.

In a session of less than 30 minutes, the Senate passed legislation that reflected the bill passed by the house, but extracted the cannabis flower from it. Since Republican senator Paul Gazelka stated that any special session will advocate Covid-19 related policies only, hopes for short-term re-examinations were dashed.

Louisiana

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed bills sponsored by Republican member Larry Bagley to significantly expand the state’s medical cannabis program. It will allow doctors to issue recommendations for any debilitating conditions instead of a shortlist of particular diseases as is the case under current law.

“It’s something that deserves to be done,” Bagley told Marijuana Moment after the floor votes. “I knew that it was bipartisan. I never thought it had a chance to fail unless I messed up somewhere in the presentation.”

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Original image from Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress collection, Digitally enhanced by rawpixel

People that have physical problems will be able to have an alternative to opioids, he explained.

“I know we have a terrible addiction here in Louisiana with the opioid epidemic,” Bagley added. “Opioids can kill you. I don’t think anybody’s ever died from medical marijuana. It’s just a safety issue.”

The approved bills now head to Senate seeking further promulgation.

Coronavirus Bill

The House recently approved a provision in the coronavirus relief package that grants protection for banks that provide services to marijuana companies from being penalized by federal regulators.

The inclusion of the SAFE Banking Law was previously approved by the House as an independent bill last year, and it is unclear how the issue will fare in the Senate.

“I’m encouraged that the House recognizes the urgency of this issue and has taken this strong and necessary position,” Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project stated in a press release.

“Continuing to exclude the cannabis industry from accessing basic and essential financial services during this time will result in more harm than good,” he said. “Not only will it make the country’s economic recovery that much harder, but the provisions intended to help minority-owned businesses would continue to be absent within the industry.”

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