Legislators in a number of states are contemplating permitting or increasing entry to medical hashish

With state legislative sessions in full swing in 2021, at least a dozen states have pending legislation to pass a comprehensive medical cannabis program or significantly expand an existing law. With state lawmakers actively reviewing and advancing medical cannabis proposals, here is a breakdown of past legislative efforts and their position in key states across the country.


Legislation is pending in Alabama to establish a medical cannabis access program for qualified patients through licensed retailers after medical advice has been obtained. Senate Bill 46 would not allow patients to smoke herbal marijuana or vape, but would allow forms such as pills, oils, lozenge patches, nebulizers, and inhalers. This bill is based on recommendations from a commission appointed in 2019 to examine the issue in more detail. The move was approved by the Senate last month and is awaiting action from the Alabama House Judiciary Committee after a public hearing on Wednesday, 3/10/21.


Senator Anna Wishart (D) has passed legislation to allow qualified patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis. If passed, LB 474 would enable registered patients to purchase and possess up to two and a half ounces of medicinal cannabis through licensed providers on the recommendation of a doctor. The measure would prohibit home growing and smoking of herbal cannabis. The bill is currently awaiting a decision from the Judiciary Committee after a hearing on Wednesday March 10th.


Laws are pending in the State House and Senate to allow qualified patients access to medical cannabis through licensed retailers. House Bill 2184: The Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act is also pending to allow qualified patients to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of medical cannabis. This measure would prohibit smoking and vaping.

House Bill 2184 was heard by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee on 2/24/21 but no action has been taken yet. The two Senate bills are still awaiting action from two separate committees.

Also pending is Senate Bill 92: The Kansas Equal Access Act, which would give qualified patients access to medicinal cannabis and provide comprehensive patient protection in schools, at work, and for parents. Patients would be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants for therapeutic purposes and have four ounces of medicinal cannabis. At the request of Governor Laura Kelly, Senate Law 287 was also introduced, a separate proposal to legalize medical cannabis to help fund Medicaid’s expansion.

South carolina

Legislation is pending to give qualified patients in South Carolina access to medical cannabis for doctors.

H. 3361 / S. 150: The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would enable qualified patients to consume, buy and possess medical cannabis. The Senate measure is slightly more restrictive than the House measure in terms of the types of products available to patients, the qualified medical conditions eligible for referral, ownership restrictions, and patient protection. The two measures differ slightly. H. 3174: The Put Patients First Act is also pending, which would allow registered patients to use and own up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 6 plants (up to 3 mature ones).

The first public hearing on p. 150 is scheduled for Thursday, March 18, in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.


There are several laws pending access to medical cannabis in Tennessee.

House Bill 621 / Senate Bill 854 would establish a comprehensive program to enable qualified patients to legally purchase, own, and use medicinal cannabis from a licensed retail store on the recommendation of a medical provider. SB 854 was approved by the Senate Government’s Operations Committee earlier this month and is now awaiting action by the Justice Committee.

Separate pending measures are much more limited in scope. House Bill 239 / Senate Bill 1209 would allow certain cancer patients to own and use full-extract cannabis oil to be taken orally or applied topically. Both measures are to be taken up on Tuesday, March 16, 21 in the committee of their respective chambers.

House Bill 666 / Senate Bill 1493 would allow disabled veterans with quadriplegia to own and use liquid extract cannabis if certain criteria are met. Both measures are still awaiting action in the committee.

SB 667 / HB 880, in order to request a study on the approval and regulation of cannabis for medical purposes and to report the results to the health committees of the General Assembly, is to be examined in the Health and Welfare Committee of the Senate on 3/17/21.


Legislation is pending to significantly expand the state’s medical cannabis program by easing restrictions on formulations of medical cannabis available to patients for use and purchase.

Senate Act 803, which would have allowed patients to smoke herbal medicinal cannabis for whole plants, was amended and incorporated into SF 1179 and approved by the Senate Finance and Policy Committee on Health and Human Services earlier this month. The amended measure would also allow doctors to recommend cannabis as an alternative to opioids and allow patients to smoke herbal medicinal cannabis for whole plants.


House Bill 645 was approved by the Georgia House of Representatives last week. The measure, should it go into effect, would give patients access to low-THC products other than oil under the state’s Medical Cannabidiol (CBD) Act. The bill would also clarify the powers and duties of the state medical cannabis commission to facilitate the production and distribution of low-THC products to patients, and allow designated colleges and universities to conduct research related to medical cannabis .


Legislation awaits action from Governor Cox that, if passed, would expand Utah’s medical cannabis program. Legislature approved Senate Bill 170, which would expand the pool of medical professionals who can recommend medicinal cannabis to patients and allow patients to have access to their medicines while their application is being considered. Senate Draft 192, also approved by the legislature, would authorize DOH to grant an additional license for medical cannabis dispensaries to dispense medical cannabis to patients in a specific geographic region.

Governor Cox has until March 25, 2021 to take action.


Governor Northam is already awaiting several measures to expand medical cannabis. Legislators approved SB 1333 and HB 2218 to allow pharmaceutical processors to manufacture and distribute cannabis products other than cannabis oil, such as botanical medicinal cannabis for whole plants.

Legislators also approved HB 1988, the aim of which is to ensure that those in hospice, nursing and assisted living facilities can safely access medical cannabis and that the continued approval of telemedicine for patient certification after the pandemic is maintained. Finally, HB 1862 is pending with the governor, which would prohibit an employer from dismissing, disciplining, or discriminating against an employee for the lawful use of medicinal cannabis by such an employee according to a valid written certificate from a practitioner

Governor Northam has until March 31, 2021 to take action.

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