Cannabis Regulatory Update: Delaware, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee

Complementary Marijuana & Regulations Bills Get Green Light From Delaware House Committees

Delaware lawmakers passed a pair of complementary bills to legalize marijuana and set up regulations for cannabis commerce on Wednesday.

Sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski (D), both measures were approved in separate House committees, reported Marijuana Moment.

The lawmaker opted to take a two-track approach to reform after a comprehensive bill that would have accomplished both goals was killed after failing to receive the required three-fifths supermajority vote on the floor last month.

The basic legalization measure HB 371, which requires a simple majority to pass,  is set to allow adults 21 and older to possess and share up to an ounce of cannabis and has passed the House Health & Human Development Committee

The other bill, HB 372, was approved hours later by the House Revenue & Finance Committee. Once enacted, it will set up a specific regulatory framework for the recreational cannabis market.

South Dakota Activists Urge Supporters To Gather More Signatures To Put Legalization On Ballot As Deadline Nears

Cannabis activists in South Dakota seem to be falling behind on signature gathering for a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state, writes Marijuana Moment.

Advocates are pleading with supporters to work harder to secure the remaining signature as the deadline approaches.

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws (SDBML) gave a status update on the campaign on Wednesday during a press conference, emphasizing the importance of giving voters a chance to decide on reform after the legislature failed to enact it this year.

Activists must submit at least 16,961 legitimate signatures from registered voters until May 3 to qualify for the ballot. Currently, around 13,500 valid signatures are processed.

South Dakotans passed legalization during the 2020 election, only to get struck down by the state Supreme Court after being declared unconstitutional.

The signature-gathering events will be held in major cities such as Grand Rapids over the next couple of weekends.

Pennsylvania Senators Approve Marijuana Banking Bill, Next Stop - House

A bill to protect banks and insurers against being penalized by state regulators for working with state-legal medical cannabis businesses was passed on Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Senate. The bill is now heading to the House.

Sponsored by fellow Democrats, Sens. John DiSanto (R) and Sharif Street (D), the bipartisan measure advanced through two committees in recent days prior to being taken up on the floor and approved in a 46-3 vote, reported Marijuana Moment.

“Federal prohibition has forced the cannabis industry to deal with cash, as proceeds may be considered a federal crime,” DiSanto said on the floor on Wednesday, adding that the cash-intensive nature of the existing marketplace “makes dispensaries a target for armed robbery.”

“Improved access to financial services will reduce this public safety risk,” he said. “Banking this cash in Pennsylvania will grow our economy and lower costs for medical patients.”

In the meantime, Pennsylvanians may be able to purchase medical cannabis edibles soon, as state Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) plans to introduce a new bill that would allow the Keystone State to join 25 others where patients can buy edibles legally.

The new bill would expand the current law that allows patients to purchase medical cannabis products such as pills, oils, topicals, dry leaf - which can be vaporized but not smoked - tinctures and liquids.

Illinois Senate Passes Bill To Streamline Application Process For Cannabis Workers

Illinois lawmakers recently passed a bill that would streamline the process for prospective dispensary and cultivation center employees to obtain their identification cards by consolidating the application process, reported Illinois Senate Democrats.

“The cannabis industry has provided a boost to the Illinois economy,” Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), who has championed a measure, said. “Streamlining the process for people to get involved in this business will ensure a more equitable, diverse workforce and bring multiple cannabis laws on the books in line with each other.”

Currently, Illinois residents who plan to work for a cannabis dispensary or cultivation center are subject to two different application processes – one for medical and one for recreational.

“Equity has always been a top priority as we’ve been implementing the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act,” Castro noted. “This commonsense measure continues to work toward that goal.”

The state’s House of Representatives recently approved a bill - sponsored by Rep. Bob Morgan - that seeks to prohibit most employers from letting go of workers or discriminating against job applicants for testing positive for marijuana use.

Tennessee Bill To Create Medical Cannabis Program Gets Hearing In Committee

Legislation sponsored by the two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee that seeks to create a medical cannabis program in the state will get a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday, reported Fox 17.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Terry and Sen. Ferrell Haile, a medical cannabis commission created in the state, would supervise the establishment of a medical cannabis program.

Under the bill, products with less than 0.9% THC would not be considered marijuana under the definition.

In addition, patients and caregivers with a qualified patient ID or designated caregiver ID would be allowed to possess 3 grams or less of a concentrated product or 3,000 milligrams or less of infused products.

Photo: Courtesy of Benzinga

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