Home Business Here’s the 2017-2018 Federal Legislation that Could Affect Your Cannabis Business

Here’s the 2017-2018 Federal Legislation that Could Affect Your Cannabis Business

Here’s the 2017-2018 Federal Legislation that Could Affect Your Cannabis Business
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We’ve rounded up all the cannabis-related bills that have been introduced this legislative session to keep you informed of possible regulatory changes that could impact your operation.

Nearly 50 cannabis-related bills have been introduced in Congress this 2017-2018 session, tackling issues from rescheduling to states’ rights to criminal justice reforms.

“Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition, and that is reflected by the sheer number of bills introduced in the Congress,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal told Cannabis Business Times. “From lawmakers experimenting with policy tweaks to expand access to research by the VA to the bipartisan effort to outright reschedule marijuana with The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, for the first time ever, the full spectrum of reform efforts is pending.”

Among the most notable efforts is Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would essentially legalize cannabis at the federal level and achieve certain social justice goals.

“This robust legislation not only removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, but it also provides a path forward for the individuals and communities that have been most disproportionately targeted by our nation’s failed war on marijuana consumers,” Strekal said.

Also significant is legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and allow states to regulate it as they see fit.

“The importance of this bill’s emphasis on facilitating the expungement the criminal records of individuals for marijuana possession cannot be overstated,” Strekal said. “Millions of individuals have suffered from the lifelong collateral consequences of criminal prohibition, making it harder for them to find a job, obtain housing and access higher education.”

Finally, the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018, introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner, would exempt state-legal regulated marijuana markets from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, echoing Cole Memo policy.

“With the introduction of the STATES Act by Sens. Warren and Gardner, the movement to end the federal government’s failed policy of cannabis criminalization has truly become a bipartisan effort,” Strekal said. “The majority of states now regulate marijuana use and more than six out of ten voters endorse legalizing the plant’s use by adults, making it time for the federal government to no longer stand in the way of this progress at the state level.”

And with President Donald Trump making a commitment to Sen. Gardner to support a federalist approach to state cannabis laws earlier this year, Strekal said that Congress must now do its part to move forward on the STATES Act and provide states with the authority to regulate cannabis without fear of a Department of Justice (DOJ) crackdown.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has made supporting the STATES Act one of its top priorities after Trump expressed his support for the legislation last month, according to Don Murphy, MPP’s director of federal policies.

“No disrespect to any of the other [bills], but when the President of the United States decides on the Gardner bill, you should focus all your energy on the Gardner bill,” Murphy told Cannabis Business Times.

The STATES Act is the essential first step in cannabis policy reform, he added. “The [Marijuana] Justice Act is about the justice side of this. The Schumer bill is about the economic side of this—who gets what piece of the pie. The STATES Act is more about the Tenth Amendment perspective,” Murphy said, adding, “Before we turn back the clock on the justice side of this, we have to lift federal prohibition first. To me, the STATES Act is the one thing you need to do first before you can then do some of these other things. To try to do them all at the same time is probably too big a lift to get through Congress.”

“The [Marijuana] Justice Act is about the justice side of this. The Schumer bill is about the economic side of this—who gets what piece of the pie. The STATES Act is more about the Tenth Amendment perspective.”

-Don Murphy, Director of Federal Policies, The Marijuana Policy Project

And while these and the vast number of other cannabis reform bills are encouraging for the industry, the issue still faces adversity.

“Unfortunately, Judiciary Chairmen in both chambers, Sen. Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Goodlatte (R-VA), both refuse to give their colleagues a hearing on any legislation, including the bipartisan STATES Act, which is supported by the president,” Strekal said.

If a bill like the STATES Act were to pass, however, it would likely open the door for other reforms, Murphy said. “[It] would open the floodgates, in my opinion, for all of these other issues, … whether they be banking or tax or veterans’ access or firearms,” he said. “There are a number of different bites at the apple for different people, depending on their political persuasion, that they can approach. All those things will come next, and this will open the door for all of that.”

Here, we’ve compiled a list of those bills and then some. In the 115th U.S. Congress, which spans 2017 and 2018, legislators from both major political parties have introduced bills that would reform federal policies on controlled substances, hemp cultivation, banking access and states’ rights in the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The Bill to Watch

S.3032 – STATES Act
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018 on June 7, 2018. The legislation has nine cosponsors, including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rand Paul (R-KY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). It has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.6043 – STATES Act
The House version of the STATES Act was introduced by Rep. David P. Joyce (R-OH) on June 7, 2018 and has amassed 21 cosponsors. It has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker.

The Criminal Justice Angle

S.1689 – Marijuana Justice Act of 2017
Introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Aug. 1, 2017, the Marijuana Justice Act seeks to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I in the CSA and to eliminate criminal penalties for importing, exporting, manufacturing, distributing or possessing marijuana. The legislation also prohibits and reduces certain federal funds for states without a statute legalizing marijuana if the Bureau of Justice Assistance determines that the state has disproportionate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana offenses. The bill would also direct federal courts to expunge convictions for marijuana use or possession and would establish a fund to reinvest in communities that have been most affected by the war on drugs. The bill has six cosponsors: Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). As of Aug. 1, 2017, the bill had been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.4815 –  Marijuana Justice Act of 2018
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the House version of the Marijuana Justice Act on Jan. 17, 2018. The measure is identical to Sen. Booker’s, seeking to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I in the CSA; eliminate criminal penalties for importing, exporting, manufacturing, distributing or possessing marijuana; prohibit and reduce certain federal funds for states without a statute legalizing marijuana if the Bureau of Justice Assistance determines that the state has disproportionate arrest or incarceration rates for marijuana offenses; direct federal courts to expunge convictions for marijuana use or possession and establish a fund to reinvest in communities that have been most affected by the war on drugs. The legislation has 28 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry on Feb. 8, 2018.

Democrats’ Midterm Hail Mary

S.3174 – A bill to decriminalize marijuana, and for other purposes
Introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on June 27, 2018, this sweeping marijuana decriminalization bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and leave regulation in the hands of the states. The legislation’s seven cosponsors include Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). As of June 28, the bill had been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Rescheduling

H.R.714 – LUMMA
On Jan. 27, 2017, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced the legislation to change marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance in the CSA. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is the only cosponsor. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health on Feb. 3, 2017.

H.R.715 – Compassionate Access Act
Introduced by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) on Jan. 27, 2017, the Compassionate Access Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to submit to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) a recommendation to transfer cannabis from Schedule I to another controlled substances schedule. The DEA must then consider the recommendation and issue a final rule to classify cannabis. The CSA will then be amended to exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana and remove it from coverage under the CSA; limit the concentration of THC in CBD to 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis; and allow marijuana to be grown or processed to make CBD as long as it complies with the THC concentration limit and is in accordance with state law. The bill has three cosponsors, and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Feb. 14, 2017.

H.R.1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017
Rep. Thomas A. Garrett, Jr. (R-VA) introduced the legislation on Feb. 27, 2017, and it has amassed 33 cosponsors. The measure would amend the CSA to remove marijuana and THC from Schedule I and eliminate criminal penalties for those who import, export, manufacture, distribute or possess the substance. On March 16, 2017, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

H.R.975 – Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced the measure on Feb. 7, 2017, to amend the CSA so that its regulatory controls and penalties do not apply to individuals who produce, possess, distribute, dispense, administer or deliver marijuana in compliance with state laws. The legislation has 45 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Health on Feb. 10, 2017.

H.R.2273 – Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act of 2017
On May 1, 2017, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced the bill to amend the CSA to add definitions for the terms “cannabidiol” and “cannabidiol-rich plants” and to exclude cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants from the definition of marijuana and from coverage under the CSA and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The measure has gained 31 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on June 2, 2017.

S.1008 – Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act of 2017
Similar to the Charlotte’s Web Medical Access Act, the Therapeutic Hemp Medical Access Act seeks to amend the CSA to add definitions for the terms “cannabidiol” and “cannabidiol-rich plants” and to exclude cannabidiol and cannabidiol-rich plants from the definition of marijuana and from coverage under the CSA. The measure was introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on May 2, 2017 and has 12 cosponsors. It was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary on May 2, 2017.

S.1276 – Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the legislation on May 25, 2017. If passed, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services would be required to evaluate whether CBD should be a controlled substance under the CSA. After considering the evaluations, the DEA would then be required to initiate proceedings for classifying CBD as a controlled substance if control is warranted. The measure expands the authority for conducting research on CBD and the other non-psychoactive components of cannabis and for processing or transporting CBD or other non-psychoactive components for certain medical purposes. The bill has seven cosponsors and has not advanced since its introduction, having been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary on May 25, 2017.

H.R.1841 – Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
Introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) on March 30, 2017, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act would direct the DOJ to issue a final order that removes cannabis in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the CSA. It has 24 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry on April 24, 2017.

S.776 – Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act on March 30, 2017 to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances and establish requirements for taxation and regulation on marijuana products. The measure has not gained any cosponsors and was referred to the Committee on Finance on March 30, 2017.

H.R.1823 – Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act
The House version of the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act was introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on March 30, 2017 to amend the Internal Revenue Code to impose an excise tax on any marijuana product produced in or imported into the United States and an occupational tax on marijuana production facilities and export warehouses. The bill has nine cosponsors and was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

H.R.2020 – To provide for the rescheduling of marijuana into schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), directs the DEA to transfer marijuana from schedule I to schedule III of the CSA. The measure was introduced on April 6, 2017 and has three cosponsors. On April 7, 2018, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

H.R.5050 – Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act of 2018 
Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-CA) introduced the measure on Feb. 15, 2018 to direct the Attorney General to focus on certain enforcement priorities in enforcing the CSA. It has three cosponsors and has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

H.R.2851 – SITSA Act 
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) introduced the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017, or the SITSA Act, on June 8, 2017 to amend the CSA to clarify how controlled substance analogues are regulated. It was ordered to be reported (amended) by voice vote on July 12, 2017. The measure has 59 cosponsors.

States’ Rights

H.R.3534 – State Marihuana and Regulatory Tolerance Enforcement Act
Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (D-WA) introduced the bill on July 28, 2017 to amend the CSA to prohibit federal enforcement of marijuana in states that have legalized and regulated cannabis. The legislation has four cosponsors and was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health on Aug. 4, 2017.

S.1374 – CARERS Act of 2017
The measure was introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on June 15, 2017, to amend the CSA so its regulatory controls and administrative, civil and criminal penalties do not apply to individuals who produce, possess, distribute, dispense, administer, test, recommend or deliver medical marijuana in compliance with state law. The legislation would also exclude CBD from the definition of marijuana, limit the concentration of THC in CBD to 0.3 percent and allow marijuana to be grown or processed to make CBD as long as it complies with the THC concentration limit and is in accordance with state law. The bill has not yet gained a cosponsor and has been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

S.1764 – CARERS Act of 2017
Identical to S.1374, S.1764, also introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), was debuted on Sept. 5, 2017 and has amassed 12 cosponsors. It has also been referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.2920 – CARERS Act of 2017
The House version of the CARERS Act was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) on June 15, 2017 and has 26 cosponsors. Identical to the Senate version, the legislation seeks to amend the CSA so its regulatory controls and administrative, civil and criminal penalties do not apply to individuals who produce, possess, distribute, dispense, administer, test, recommend or deliver medical marijuana in compliance with state law; exclude CBD from the definition of marijuana; limit the concentration of THC in CBD to 0.3 percent and allow marijuana to be grown or processed to make CBD as long as it complies with the THC concentration limit and is in accordance with state law. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health on June 16, 2017.

H.R.2528 – Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO-1) introduced the bill on May 18, 2017 to amend the CSA to declare that no provision of the CSA can supersede a state law that relates to marijuana. The measure has five cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on June 23, 2017.

S.780 – Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017
The measure, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on March 30, 2017, amends various provisions of law and sets forth numerous new provisions, including the elimination of regulatory controls and penalties under the CSA for marijuana-related activities authorized by state or tribal law, the allowance of businesses that sell marijuana in compliance with state or tribal law to claim certain federal tax credits and deductions, the elimination of restrictions on print and broadcast advertising of state-authorized marijuana-related activities and more. The bill has not gained any cosponsors and was referred to the Committee on Finance on March 30, 2017.

H.R.1824 – Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the House version of the Responsibly Addressing the Marijuana Policy Gap Act of 2017 on March 30, 2017 and has gained eight cosponsors. On April 24, 2017, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

H.R.331 – States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act
The bill would amend the CSA to protect property from civil forfeiture due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by state law. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the measure on Jan. 5, 2017 and six cosponsors have joined her. On Jan. 31, 2017, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

S.1662 – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
The measure provides FY2018 appropriations to the Department of Commerce, DOJ, science agencies and several related agencies, and prohibits the use of funds to prevent states from implementing their own laws legalizing medical marijuana or hemp. Introduced by Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) on July 27, 2017, it was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. The bill has no cosponsors.

S.1557 – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
Introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) on July 13, 2017, the bill provides FY2018 appropriations for the Department of Defense (DOD) for military construction, military family housing, etc., and it includes a provision that prohibits funds provided by the measure from being used to interfere with veterans participating in state-legal medical marijuana programs. The measure has no cosponsors and was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.

H.R.3280 – Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2018
Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) introduced the bill on July 18, 2017 to provide FY2018 appropriations to agencies responsible for regulating the financial, telecommunications and consumer products industries; collecting taxes and assisting taxpayers; managing federal buildings and the federal workforce; and operating the Executive Office of the President, the judiciary and the District of Columbia. The measure includes a provision that restricts funds and affects policy on local District of Columbia issues such as marijuana legalization. The measure has no cosponsors and hearings were held July 26, 2017 prior to the House receiving the bill.

H.R.4779 – REFER Act of 2018
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the REFER Act of 2018 on Jan. 11, 2018 to prohibit the use of federal funds to restrict a state or local law that authorizes cannabis use, distribution, possession or cultivation; to detain, prosecute, sentence or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, property or business involved in state-legal cannabis activities; or to penalize a financial institution for providing financial services to a business engaged in state-legal cannabis activities. The bill has 10 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Jan. 17, 2018.

H.R.244 –  Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017
Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) introduced the bill on Jan. 4, 2017 to provide FY2017 appropriations for most federal agencies for the remainder of FY2017, and the measure was signed into law on May 5, 2017 with 28 cosponsors. Provisions in the law prohibit the DOJ from using funds to prevent specified states, the District of Columbia, Guam or Puerto Rico from implementing their own laws regarding marijuana.

Criminal Justice

H.R.4816 – Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act of 2018
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced the bill to prohibit amounts in the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund from being used for the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Suppression/Eradication Program. The measure also prohibits the transfer of property to a federal, state or local agency for a purpose pertaining to such a program and expresses the idea that the DEA’s marijuana prohibition policy is an inappropriate use of resources. The legislation was introduced on Jan. 17, 2018 and has gained four cosponsors. It was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Jan. 24, 2018.

H.R.3252 – Second Chance for Students Act
Introduced by Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) on July 14, 2017, the Second Chance for Students Act amends a portion of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to modify federal student aid eligibility for a student who is convicted of a drug offence involving marijuana possession. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on July 14, 2017 and has 11 cosponsors.

Banking and Tax Reform

S.1152 – SAFE Banking Act
The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or SAFE Banking Act, was introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on May 17, 2017. The measure prohibits a federal banking regulator from: terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution based solely on the fact that the institution provides financial services to a legitimate marijuana business; prohibiting depository institutions from offering financial services to legitimate marijuana businesses; recommending, incentivizing or encouraging a depository institution not to offer financial services to an account holder solely because he or she is affiliated with a legitimate marijuana business; or taking any adverse supervisory action on a loan made to a person solely because the person either owns a legitimate marijuana business or owns real estate or equipment leased or sold to such a business. The bill has 15 cosponsors and the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held hearings on June 8, 2017.

H.R.2215 – SAFE Act of 2017
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced the House version of the SAFE Act of 2017 on April 27, 2017 and the bill has amassed 89 cosponsors. The measure was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Sept. 21, 2017.

S.777 –  Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017
The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017 amends the Internal Revenue Code to exempt a trade or business that conducts marijuana sales in compliance with state law, removing the prohibition on allowing business-related tax credits of deductions for expenditures in connection with trafficking in controlled substances. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the bill March 30, 2017 and it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. It has six cosponsors.

Medical

H.R.6152 – Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act of 2018
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced the legislation on June 19, 2018 to help protect people who use medical marijuana. The bill would mandate that an individual who uses cannabis in compliance with state law cannot be denied federal housing. The bill does not yet have any cosponsors and was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services June 19.

H.R.3391 – Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2017
The Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2017 was introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) on July 25, 2017 and has gained seven cosponsors. The bill amends the CSA to establish a new and separate registration process to facilitate medical marijuana research. Under the legislation, the DEA must register practitioners to conduct the research and manufacturers and distributors to supply the cannabis for the research. The measure was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Sept. 6, 2017.

H.R.5634 – Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) introduced the 2018 version of the Medical Cannabis Research Act on April 26, 2018 to increase the number of manufacturers registered under the CSA to manufacture cannabis for research purposes. The measure has attracted 30 cosponsors and has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committees on the Judiciary and Veterans’ Affairs for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker.

S.1803 – MEDS Act 
The Marijuana Effective Drug Studies Act of 2017, or the MEDS Act, was introduced on Sept. 13, 2017 by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) to improve medical research on cannabis. The legislation would encourage more research on the medical uses of marijuana by streamlining the research registration process; make cannabis more available for legitimate scientific and medical research and the commercial production of any FDA-approved drugs derived from marijuana; and require the Attorney General to increase the national marijuana quota to meet the changing medical, scientific and industrial needs of cannabis, among other provisions. The bill has gained six cosponsors, was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

H.R.4825 – MEDS Act 
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the House version of the MEDS Act on Jan. 18, 2018 and it has gained 13 cosponsors. On Jan. 24, 2018, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

H.R.1820 – Veterans Equal Access Act
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Veterans Equal Access Act on March 30, 2017 and the measure has amassed 24 cosponsors. The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to authorize VA health care providers to give veterans recommendations and opinions regarding participation in their states marijuana programs and complete forms documenting such recommendations and opinions. On March 31, 2017, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.

H.Res.590 – Calling on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a clinical study assessing the effectiveness of treating chronic pain in veterans with cannabis in comparison to opioids.
Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-CA) introduced the resolution on Oct. 26, 2017 to recognize the urgency and importance of finding alternative successful treatments to opioids for veterans’ health care and that it is imperative to the health and safety of veterans that a study is conducted on the medical applications of cannabis to treat wounds resulting from their service. The measure currently has no cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Health on Oct. 26, 2017.

H.R.2900 – Synthetic Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Education Act
Introduced by Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) on June 14, 2017, the Synthetic Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Education Act amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study strategies for preventing and treating the use of synthetic recreational drugs that are made to resemble a controlled substance and are not medications. The measure has three cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Health on June 16, 2017.

H.R.5520 – VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018
Introduced by Rep. Timothy J. Walz (D-MN) on April 16, 2018, the bill authorizes the VA to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of certain forms of cannabis and cannabis delivery for veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system diagnosed with conditions such as chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill has 39 cosponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Hemp

While the following bills have been introduced in the 115th U.S Congress, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell rolled his Hemp Farming Act into the 2018 Farm Bill, a comprehensive agricultural bill that received Senate approval in late June. Once that bill receives the president’s signature, industrial hemp cultivation will be legal in the U.S.

H.R.3530 – Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. James Comer (R-KY) on July 28, 2017, seeks to amend the CSA to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. It has 43 cosponsors and was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on Sept. 6, 2017, but will likely be abandoned with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes industrial hemp legalization.

S.2667 – Hemp Farming Act of 2018 
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 on April 12, 2018 to formally legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp. The measure was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar on April 18, 2018 gained 22 cosponsors before being rolled into the 2018 Farm Bill.

H.R.5485 – Hemp Farming Act of 2018 
The House version of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Rep. James Comer (R-KY) on April 12, 2018 and has one cosponsor. It was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, the Committees on Energy and Commerce, and the Judiciary, for a period to be determined by the Speaker, but was then rolled into the 2018 Farm Bill.

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