More than 50 bills to legalize marijuana have already been introduced in state legislatures across the United States for 2019 sessions. These far-reaching pieces of legislation typically generate the biggest headlines and attract the most attention, but outright legalization efforts are far from the only cannabis-related proposals that lawmakers are considering in 2019.
Less wide-ranging, but also important, cannabis reform bills are cropping up by the day.
Here's a look at some of the most interesting cannabis legislation filed in 2019:
In Colorado, a bill would give large marijuana companies a boon by repealing provisions that require background checks on initial investors and allowing publicly traded companies to obtain cannabis licenses.
Connecticut lawmakers are looking at a bill that would protect veterinarians from punishment if they discuss using cannabis therapeutically for pets. Another piece of legislation, which many legalization advocates are likely to oppose, would protect employers who terminate or decline to hire workers because they tested positive for marijuana from being sued.
Health insurers would be required to cover hemp-derived CBD oil under legislation introduced in Hawaii this month. Another bill would let Hawaiian medical cannabis patients transport their marijuana from island to island.
Maine lawmakers are pushing a bill that would create an open-container policy for marijuana similar to laws that are already in effect for alcohol. Individuals would not be allowed to keep an open container of cannabis in the passenger seat; instead, it would have to be secured in a trunk, behind the last upright seat of the vehicle or somewhere else “not normally occupied by the operator or passenger.”
A bill that would allow medical cannabis patients to purchase, possess and carry firearms is making its way through the Maryland legislature. Prospective firearm buyers still have to submit a federal application that inquires about the use of cannabis, and federal law prohibits marijuana consumers from purchasing guns regardless of state law, however. Lawmakers in Oklahoma and Colorado are considering similar bills.
Child adoptions wouldn't be delayed or denied just because a prospective adoptive parent has a medical marijuana card or works in the cannabis industry under legislation introduced in Missouri in early 2019. Another bill would allow individuals enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to maintain their benefits even if they're registered medical cannabis patients.
New Mexico senators filed a bill that would allow the government to “enter into an intergovernmental agreement with any sovereign Indian nation, tribe, or pueblo located in New Mexico that elects to implement the provisions of the medical cannabis program.”