U.S. House Plans December Vote on the MORE Act, New Jersey Lawmakers Consider Bill to Implement Adult-Use Cannabis Program: Week in Review

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This week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced plans for a December vote on the MORE Act, which would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. Elsewhere, in New Jersey, Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced legislation to implement the state’s adult-use cannabis program, just days after voters passed a legalization initiative on Election Day.

Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.

  • Federal: The U.S. House is planning a December floor vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation that would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act. In a Nov. 9 letter to colleagues, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer outlined the legislative schedule for the lame-duck session in November and December, and said lawmakers will take up the bill next month after postponing a September vote on the legislation. Read more
  • Nearly seven in 10 Americans support legalizing the possession and use of cannabis by adults, according to nationwide polling data compiled and reported by Gallup. Sixty-eight percent of respondents endorse legalization—the highest percentage of support ever reported in a national Gallup poll. Read more
  • New Jersey: New Jersey Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) has introduced legislation to implement the state’s adult-use cannabis program, just days after voters passed a legalization initiative on Election Day. The bill, S.21/A.21, outlines how the state’s newly legal cannabis industry will operate, and largely mirrors an unsuccessful legalization bill Scutari sponsored last year. Read more
  • In another effort to roll out the state’s adult-use cannabis market, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has named two members to the state’s five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which will oversee the state’s medical and newly legal adult-use cannabis industries. Murphy has named Dianna Houenou, associate counsel and senior policy adviser to the governor and former policy counsel for the ACLU-NJ, as the chair of the commission, and Jeff Brown, the current assistant commissioner of the Department of Health who oversees the state’s medical cannabis program, as the executive director of the commission. Read more
  • Tennessee: Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) has announced plans for a new medical cannabis legalization bill. Bowling, who has backed legislation to legalize medical cannabis in the state for years, plans to introduce the new bill when the state legislature re-convenes in January. Read more
  • Massachusetts: Gov. Charlie Baker has issued an executive order to implement a coronavirus-related business curfew that requires all adult-use cannabis sales to end at 9:30 p.m., although medical cannabis sales can continue past the curfew under the order, which went into effect Nov. 6. The rules are part of a new stay-at-home advisory, which aims to address a second wave of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts. Read more
  • Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board held a quarterly meeting this week, where it rejected adding insomnia to the state’s list of qualifying conditions. The board voted 7-4 to reject insomnia as a new qualifying condition, and tabled a discussion on whether to add traumatic brain injuries to the list. Read more
  • Texas: State lawmakers have pre-filed several bills that would expand Texas’ medical cannabis program and legalize adult-use ahead of the 2021 legislative session. New legislation introduced by Sen. Jose Mendez, S.B. 90, would allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with any condition they deem necessary, while Rep. Roland Gutierrez has pre-filed S.B. 140 to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. Read more
  • Illinois: Sangamon County Judge Adam Giganti has allowed Illinois regulators to rescore cannabis applications as part of the state’s controversial licensing process to issue 75 new dispensary licenses. On Nov. 12, Giganti denied a request to bar officials from rescoring the applications, ruling that the plaintiffs have not shown that they will be irreparably harmed by allowing the licensing do-over to continue. Read more
  • Montana: The Montana Department of Revenue has announced preparations for licensing adult-use cannabis businesses. The department will make cultivation and retail licenses available by Oct. 1, 2021, and under Montana’s recently approved adult-use cannabis law, only licensed medical cannabis businesses can apply for adult-use licenses for the first 12 months after they become available. Read more
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