Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Judge Orders State to Issue ID Card to Cancer Patient

November 25th, 2015 No Comments Matt Simon

New Hampshire patients who have been desperately waiting for the state to begin issuing ID cards can finally breathe a sigh of relief. This afternoon, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Robert McNamara ruled in favor of Linda Horan, a terminal lung cancer patient who wishes to obtain medical marijuana legally from a dispensary in Maine. The state will now have to issue Linda an ID card without delay (you can read the full court order here). The card will protect Linda from arrest in New Hampshire and allow her to comply with the terms of Maine’s law, which allows dispensaries to serve visiting patients if they possess ID cards from their home states.

Paul Twomey, Linda Horan, and Rep. Cushing (PHOTO: InDepthNH)

This lawsuit was needed because although New Hampshire passed its medical marijuana law in 2013, the attorney general’s office blocked the issuance of ID cards, advising that the state must wait until the first dispensary was ready to open (which is not expected until 2016). Congratulations and many thanks to Linda, her attorney, Paul Twomey, and state Rep. Renny Cushing for their courageous leadership!

Twomey summed the case up perfectly with the following quote: “Linda is a hero. Facing death, she has chosen to fight for the rights of all the critically ill patients in New Hampshire, who should not have to fear arrest because they are sick. She may be dying, but we all owe her our thanks for showing us how to live.”

If you are a patient, you can learn more about the registration process and download the relevant forms by visiting the program’s website here.

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Alaska Regulators to Allow Onsite Consumption in Some Marijuana Retail Stores

November 23rd, 2015 No Comments Chris Lindsey

The Alaska Marijuana Control Board voted on Friday to create a class of retail marijuana license that will allow onsite consumption. This is an important decision that benefits adult consumers, those who will be licensed to provide to them, and the communities that want to regulate use.Alaska-StateSeal.svg

Despite clear language contained in Measure 2, some state staff members had advised the board that it could not authorize retail licenses to allow onsite consumption. Many of those who supported Measure 2 were concerned that the issue would be confused and needlessly delayed as the board deferred to lawmakers rather than exercise its own authority. Public comments submitted to the board overwhelmingly supported this change, and we applaud the board for taking this important step.

While the definition of “public,” adopted by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in February, did improve with this change, it unfortunately still falls short of acknowledging the rights private business owners have under the law. Nonetheless, this decision marks an important moment in the rule-making process and a victory for those who worked so hard to make Alaska’s regulations successful.

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Medical Marijuana, Video

Rep. Blumenauer Calls for Firing of DEA Director

November 18th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

Recently, we shared a story about interim DEA head Chuck Rosenberg referring to medical marijuana as a “joke.” Since then, a petition started by Marijuana Majority calling for Rosenberg to be fired for his lack of compassion for patients and poor understanding of marijuana has garnered almost 100,000 signatures!

Today, Rep. Earl Blumenaur (D-OR), who has been a champion of marijuana policy reform at the federal level, called on Congress to demand that Rosenberg be replaced!

You can watch the coverage from C-SPAN.

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Pittsburgh to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana

November 17th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

While Pennsylvania patients and activists struggle with the state legislature to get a viable medical marijuana bill introduced, one local government will consider removing criminal penalties for possession.

Associated Press reports:

Councilman Daniel Lavelle (PHOTO: Hadley Pratt)

[Pittsburgh] City Councilman Daniel Lavelle is expected to introduce legislation on Tuesday. It would give city police the ability to fine people found to be in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hashish.

The ordinance sets a civil fine of up to $100 and lets police seize the drugs. It would not supersede state law.

He said in a release that the bill will help end the consequences of unemployment, lack of education, and being stuck in the criminal justice system.

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Medical Marijuana

Colombia to Make Medical Marijuana Legal

November 13th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

On Thursday, the Colombian government announced that it will make medical marijuana use, cultivation, and sale legal in the near future!

Washington Post reports:

Pres. Juan Manuel Santos

The change is coming in an executive decree that President Juan Manuel Santos will soon sign into law. It will regulate regulating everything from licensing for growers to the eventual export of products made from marijuana, Justice Minister Yesid Reyes said.

With the new policy, Colombia joins countries from Mexico to Chile that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization as part of a wave of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies to combat it in Latin America. But unlike many of its neighbors, Colombia has long been identified with U.S.-backed policies to eradicate drug production and a sharp decline in levels of violence over the past 15 years is largely attributed to the no-tolerance policing.

Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, who last year introduced legislation that tracks with the government’s decree, said that as many as 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments could benefit from the clearer regulatory framework to be provided by the decree.

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Medical Marijuana

Veterans One Step Closer to Getting Access to Medical Marijuana

November 11th, 2015 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

On this Veterans Day, MPP would like to thank those who served for their sacrifice, and we are excited to note that a Senate vote yesterday brought them one step closer to being able to access medical marijuana.

U.S. News reports:

On the eve of Veterans Day, the Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would for the first time allow Veterans Health Administrationheader-logo doctors to authorize medical marijuana use for patients.

The Veterans Health Administration currently does not allow its physicians to discuss marijuana as a treatment option with patients in the nearly two dozen states with medical pot laws, forcing veterans to turn elsewhere for guidance and the paperwork necessary to acquire the drug.

The Senate legislation won’t change the federal illegality of using marijuana as medicine or open the door to greater legal research through changing its classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act – which deems it without medical value – but it’s nonetheless a big win for reform advocates.

The Senate measure was adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee in May by a vote of 18-12, with four Republicans joining Democrats in favor. The larger spending bill to which it was attached – funding veterans and military construction projects – passed the Senate without opposition Tuesday.

The medical marijuana language still must survive a negotiated spending deal between leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The lower chamber narrowly rejected the proposal in April when it passed its own version of the bill.

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Medical Marijuana

Time Running out for PA House to Act on Medical Marijuana

November 10th, 2015 No Comments Becky Dansky
still waiting room 3
Patients at the Pennsylvania Statehouse in a symbolic doctor’s office, still waiting for the House to act.

With very few session days remaining this year, Republican leadership in Pennsylvania still has not introduced medical marijuana legislation in the House. Early reports about the contents of the draft still raise serious concerns — including a 10% THC cap, an explicit prohibition on dried flowers and plants, and no immediate legal protections for patients.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call your representative today! Let him or her know it is critical that these problems are addressed and the bill is brought to the floor for a vote immediately. You can click here to find your representative’s contact information along with talking points to guide your call.

It has been almost six months since the Senate passed sensible medical cannabis legislation. Seriously ill patients have been suffering while waiting for the House to take action. They should not have to wait one more day. It is time for the House to vote on comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana legislation. Let them know that Pennsylvanians are tired of waiting. They need to do it right! Do it now! Let them know that compassionate use legislation should be focused on the needs of patients and not politics as usual.

Urge them to tell leadership our concerns and to demand safe and affordable access for Pennsylvania’s most fragile citizens.

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois’ First Dispensaries Open

November 9th, 2015 9 Comments Chris Lindsey

Over half a dozen dispensaries have been authorized to open today, finally bringing relief to medical cannabis patients across Illinois. 2000px-Seal_of_Illinois.svgThe store openings mark the most significant milestone since the law was passed nearly two and half years ago.

So far, eight dispensaries are approved to begin operating. The Illinois Medical Cannabis Community reports that at least five are confirmed to open today, including Harbory (Marion), Herbal Remedies (Quincy), EarthMed (Addison), Salveo Health and Wellness (Canton), and the Clinic Mundelein (Mundelein). The complete list of approved dispensaries and their locations is available here.

The medical cannabis pilot program has faced challenges since the law went into effect in January 2014. The state missed its deadline for issuing business licenses, and fewer patients signed up for the state registry than many expected. Further, the state has so far refused to expand the program to include numerous additional medical conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), despite support from medical experts on the health department’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

State patients are entitled to some good news, and these store openings are a welcome relief. MPP wishes to congratulate those businesses that are opening, and we thank Rep. Lou Lang, patient advocates, and the Illinois agency staff who worked so hard to bring this program to reality. We hope the program can finally relieve suffering for Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.

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Clinton Explains Position On Marijuana Policy

November 9th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

Over the weekend, Hilary Clinton expanded on her position regarding marijuana policy reform. Specifically, she stated that she would like to see marijuana rescheduled.

Huffington Post reports:

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton wants to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous substance in order to allow more research into the drug’s medicinal properties, the Democratic presidential candidate said Saturday in South Carolina.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous of five substance categories listed in the Controlled Substances Act. According to the federal classification, Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use.” Other Schedule I substances include heroin, ecstasy and LSD. 

Under Clinton’s proposal, marijuana would become a Schedule II substance, which are considered to have “less abuse potential.” Cocaine, OxyContin, Adderall and meth are Schedule II drugs. The move, Clinton said Saturday, would allow federal researchers to explore how to best use marijuana as medicine.

“What I do want is for us to support research into medical marijuana because a lot more states have passed medical marijuana than have legalized marijuana, so we’ve got two different experiences or even experiments going on right now,” Clinton said after being asked about marijuana prohibition during a town hall. “And the problem with medical marijuana is there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence about how well it works for certain conditions, but we haven’t done any research. Why? Because it’s considered what’s called a Schedule I drug and you can’t even do research in it.” 

“If we’re going to have a lot of states setting up marijuana dispensaries so that people who have some kind of medical need are getting marijuana, we need know what’s the quality of it, how much should you take, what should you avoid if you’re taking other medications,” she continued. 

Clinton has said previously that she does not support legalizing marijuana, but believes in the medical use of cannabis and reforming the criminal justice system to keep low-level drug offenders out of jail. 


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The New York Times Asks Obama and Congress to Take Lead Ending Marijuana Prohibition

November 6th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

Continuing its support for sensible marijuana policies, The New York Times published an editorial Thursday asking Congress and the president to support a bill, introduced this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders, that would allow states to determine their own marijuana laws.

Support for making marijuana legal is increasing around the world, and that is a good thing. Earlier this week, the Mexican Supreme Court opened the door to legalizing the drug by giving four plaintiffs the right to grow cannabis for personal use.New-York-Times-Logo

In Canada, the newly sworn in prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has said he intends to change the law so people can use the drug recreationally; medicinal use is already legal in that country. And in the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, recently introduced a bill that would let states decide if they want to make the drug legal without worrying about violating federal law.

Laws banning the growing, distribution and possession of marijuana have caused tremendous damage to society, with billions spent on imprisoning people for violating pointlessly harsh laws. Yet research shows that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, and can be used to treat medical conditions like chronic pain.

What’s needed now is responsible leadership from President Obama and Congress. They ought to seriously consider the kind of legislation Mr. Sanders has proposed.

You can read the full editorial here.

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