Prohibition

Illinois Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

July 29th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey

Illinois Gov. Rauner just signed SB 2228, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana everywhere in Land of Lincoln. The change in the law is effective immediately.

Illinoisans or visitors found in possession of marijuana are no longer subject to arrest or jail time.IL_decrim The change also removes the possibility of a harmful criminal record for cannabis possession, which can last a lifetime. Instead, those found in possession would face a simple fine of between $100 and $200.

Previously in Illinois, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana was a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500; possession of 2.5-10 grams was a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 Illinois communities had already removed local criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession.

This change comes from MPP’s multi-year effort to help bring fairness to the state’s possession law. Even though many cities and towns had already lowered penalties, but individuals could still be arrested and charged for possession under state law. This change moves the state away from its former patchwork system.

Illinois is now the 21st state in the nation, in addition to the District of Columbia, to remove the threat of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

We wish to thank bill sponsors Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy for their strong advocacy for a better system. Their tireless effort on behalf of fairness made this law a reality.

Read more



Uncategorized

Northern Mariana Islands May Vote to End Marijuana Prohibition

July 28th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

2000px-Seal_of_the_Northern_Mariana_Islands.svgSixto Igisomar, a senator serving in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI), a territory of the United States, has pre-filed a measure that would allow residents in CMNI to vote to end marijuana prohibition on November 8. If the referendum is successful, it would establish a law similar to those in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — implementing a taxed and regulated market for recreational marijuana consumers 21 and older and a medical marijuana program for patients with doctors’ recommendations. It would also allow people to grow up to six mature marijuana plants and 25 immature plants.

The revenue from marijuana industry and sales taxes would go to building schools, drug education, treatment programs, and CMNI’s pension program. Should the measure pass, CMNI’s government will be expected to accept license applications by April 2017.

In 2010, the CMNI House of Representatives approved a proposal to end marijuana prohibition, but it failed to pass the Senate. A 2015 medical marijuana bill stalled in the legislature.

Read more



Uncategorized

DNC Approves Marijuana Platform

July 27th, 2016 5 Comments Rory McPeak

This week at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, the Democratic Party approved a platform that would dismantle marijuana prohibition. Calling for “a reasoned pathway for future legalizat6262125702_a086dd49f1_bion,” the Democrats’ platform endorses the removal of marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, a category reserved for substances with a high potential for abuse and without medical benefit. It also calls for states to decide their own marijuana laws and for medical marijuana states to provide safe access for patients without federal interference.

According to Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, “It’s not particularly surprising that the platform calls for rolling back the failed policy of marijuana prohibition, seeing as the vast majority of Democrats – and a majority of Americans – support making marijuana legal for adults.”

Advocates for marijuana policy reform were present and active at the DNC and held a series of protests outside the convention on Monday to bring attention to the issue.

Read more



Uncategorized

Can Marijuana Treat Alzheimer’s?

July 26th, 2016 1 Comment Rory McPeak

 

recent study conducted at Salk Institute for Biological Studies showed that medical marijuana might be a potentially effective treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the study, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) “stimulates the removal of toxic plaque in the brain, a common

14119738 - spark of genius symbol represented by a glowing part of the central brain section showing the concept of intelligence and creativity

feature of the disease” and treats inflammation, preventing neuron damage in the brain.

While Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association has expressed optimism about the study, referring to marijuana as a “legitimate avenue of research,” other researchers advise caution. Dr. Donovan Maust, who has studied marijuana’s effects on dementia, has said that there are still too many unknowns to start treating Alzheimer’s patients with medical marijuana.

These results correspond with earlier findings, such as a 2014 Dutch study showing that THC can treat symptoms of dementia, and a 2016 study that found “THC helped decrease symptoms of delusions, agitation or aggression, irritability, apathy and sleep in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

While these fascinating discoveries hold a great deal of exciting potential, medical marijuana researchers continue to face enormous obstacles due to federal restrictions that come with marijuana’s Schedule I status.

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Florida Dispensaries to Open in Florida, but Most Patients Still Left Behind

July 25th, 2016 1 Comment Kate Bell

The first dispensary in Florida to offer low-THC medical marijuana products is expected to open in Tallahassee on Tuesday. Unfortunately, there are still huge flaws in Florida’s law. Dispensaries may be opening up, but for most patients, the doors are still shut.YesOn2Florida

First, only low-THC marijuana will be available, and only patients with cancer, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms will qualify, leaving many patients behind. Although cannabis with more THC will eventually be available, it will only be for terminally ill patients.

Second, doctors are required to “order” a specific amount of cannabis, which is perilously close to prescribing it. This puts doctors at risk of violating federal law, and we expect that it will be very difficult for patients to find doctors willing to take this risk, which is why MPP does not classify Florida as a true medical marijuana state.

The best way to fix these problems is to support United for Care’s efforts to pass Amendment 2, which would create an effective medical program for Florida.

Read more



Uncategorized

New Study: Alcohol Increases Aggression, Marijuana Doesn’t

July 20th, 2016 3 Comments Rory McPeak

The results of a recent study in the Netherlands confirmed the long-held claim by supporters of marijuana policy reform that marijuana is much safer than alcohol, specifically as itNMBarScene relates to violent behavior. According to the findings, alcohol users demonstrated more aggressive tendencies while intoxicated than while sober, while marijuana users became less aggressive while under the influence.

The Washington Post reports:

They found, first of all, that “alcohol intoxication increased subjective aggression in the alcohol group.” The alcohol users, in other words, acted more aggressive when they were drunk than they did when they were sober. By contrast, the smokers became less aggressive when they were high.

These findings held through both the self-assessments — alcohol users rated themselves as more aggressive when drunk — and through the responses to the tests: The drinkers tried harder to undermine their computer opponents when they were drunk. But the smokers actually acted less aggressive toward their computer opponents when they were high.

“The results in the present study support the hypothesis that acute alcohol intoxication increases feelings of aggression and that acute cannabis intoxication reduces feelings of aggression,” the researchers conclude.

Read more



Uncategorized

Poll: Majority of NH Voters Support Regulating Marijuana

July 20th, 2016 No Comments Rory McPeak

Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svgThe findings of the latest WMUR Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center show that a majority of likely New Hampshire voters support making marijuana legal and regulated for adults. According to the survey, “61% support legalizing marijuana for recreational use (39% strongly and 22% somewhat), 32% oppose (22% strongly and 10% somewhat), and 7% are neutral or unsure.” If marijuana were legalized in New Hampshire, 69% said they would support taxing and regulating it like alcohol, while 26% said they would oppose, 2% are neutral, and 2% are unsure. When asked what type of legislation they would prefer regarding marijuana, 48% said they want marijuana legalized and taxed like alcohol, 24% supported decriminalization, 24% supported maintaining current marijuana laws, and 3% were unsure.

Recent attempts to decriminalize marijuana or regulate it like alcohol have stalled in the legislature. Advocates are hopeful that lawmakers will heed the voices of their constituents and move forward with sensible marijuana policy reforms in the next session.

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Kentucky Nurses Association Supports Medical Marijuana

July 13th, 2016 2 Comments Matt Simon

On July , the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations held a public hearing to consider testimony on the medical use of marijuana. At a press conference prior to the hearing, patients received a strong endorsement from the Kentucky Nurses Association, which announced its support for the proposed reform.Kentucky_Nurses_Association_Logo

“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” said Maureen Keenan, executive director of the KNA.

It is apparent that some Kentucky legislators are evolving on the issue and becoming supporters of allowing medical marijuana. However, others remain vigorously opposed, and many still seem reluctant to discuss the issue in public. If you are a Kentucky resident, please take a moment to send your elected officials a message in support of medical marijuana legislation.

Read more



Uncategorized

Marijuana Question Officially on Massachusetts Ballot

July 12th, 2016 1 Comment Rory McPeak

On Monday July 11, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin announced the four measures that have qualified for the November ballot, including the initiative entitled “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana,” which will appear as Question 4 on the ballot.

The initiative would allow persons aged 21 and older to purchase, possess, use, and transfer marijuana and products containing marijuana concentrates, including edible products.  It would also allow a taxed and regulated marijuana market in the state.

This is exciting news for proponents of legalized marijuana in Massachusetts, as it was only last week that, after the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted enough signatures to qualify, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of allowing the marijuana question on the ballot after it had been challenged by opponents.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, go here to find out how you can help Question 4 win this November!

Read more



Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot

July 7th, 2016 11 Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

On July 7, the Arkansas Secretary of State announced that Arkansans for Compassionate Care’s (ACC’s) medical marijuana initiative qualified for this November’s ballot. The measure, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, would allow seriously ill patients who have a certification from their doctor to obtain medical cannabis from nonprofit compassion centers. In addition, patients – or their licensed caregivers – could cultivate up to 10 cannabis plants at home provided they take steps to ensure it is secure. For a complete summary, please click here.ARCompassion logo

However, the measure is facing competition from a second initiative, and polling suggests that if both initiatives make the ballot, it’s almost certain that both will fail. Therefore, ACC is urging the competing campaign to end their signature drive and unite behind the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.

If you wish to volunteer to help work towards reform, you can visit ACC’s webpage to sign up and get involved in this important effort. With your support, 2016 may be the year that voters approve medical marijuana in the Natural State.

Read more