Georgia Governor Signs Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

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Gov. Deal (Photo: David Goldman/AP)

On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law HB 1, the Haleigh’s Hope Act. This new law, which was sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake, will allow qualified patients to legally possess up to 20 fluid ounces of low-THC cannabis oils with their doctors’ recommendations. While this is an improvement to current law, it leaves the vast majority of medical marijuana patients without legal protections for using and possessing the medicine their doctors think is best for them. It also forces patients to smuggle the oil back from other states in which medical marijuana products can be legally produced.

If you are a Georgia resident, please email your lawmakers today. Thank them for taking this modest first step, and encourage them to support a more comprehensive medical marijuana program.

Georgia took a step forward this year, but the law is so incomplete that MPP will not be counting it as a “medical marijuana state.” Nonetheless, in some ways HB 1 is better than the 12 other CBD-focused laws: It includes eight medical conditions, while most of the other CBD laws only protect patients with intractable epilepsy, and it allows up to 5% THC, which is more than most of the other states with CBD-focused laws.

For more information, please see our summary of the law.

Unified Coalition Files Arizona Initiative to Regulate Marijuana in 2016

The ballot initiative campaign to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is officially underway! 

11138549_384476455065413_4683620496115184291_n.jpgThe Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona filed an initiative with the Secretary of State’s Office this afternoon that, if approved by voters in November 2016, would legalize marijuana for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

In summary, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act would:

–       allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess and privately consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana (it will remain illegal to consume marijuana in public);

–       create a system in which licensed businesses can produce and sell marijuana to adults and establish a Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control to regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, transportation, and sale of marijuana;

–       provide local governments with the authority to regulate and prohibit marijuana businesses; and

–       establish a 15% tax on adult marijuana sales in addition to standard sales taxes.

Once the Secretary of State approves the initiative, the campaign must collect 150,642 signatures from registered Arizona voters in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Far more will be needed to ensure enough of the signatures are valid, so the campaign will need as much help as it can get.

President Obama to Restate Support for Medical Marijuana

This Sunday, President Obama is expected to voice his support for allowing medical marijuana and moving away from jailing people for drug abuse.

The Daily Caller reports: 

In a CNN special to be aired on Sunday, not only will President Barack Obama state his full support of medical marijuana, he’ll also advocate for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don’t involve incarceration.

The television special, called “Weed 3,” features CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who came to support medical marijuana after reviewing the evidence. This time around, he’ll be delving into the politics of medical marijuana research and interviewing President Barack Obama, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Obama has previously predicted that more states will follow the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, and confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, the Department of Justice will look the other way.

You can read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s newest article on medical marijuana here.

Iowa Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

The Iowa Senate voted 26-19 yesterday in support of a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana proposal! The bill now crosses over to the House of Representatives for debate.

The program approved by the Senate would allow Iowansiaflag who suffer from a variety of debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations. The bill also requires the state to register in-state businesses to produce and distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients. This is a huge step forward, but for Iowa patients to receive the protections they deserve, the bill must first survive the House and then the governor.

If you are an Iowa resident, please urge your representative to support this comprehensive approach to medical marijuana for the good of all seriously ill Iowans.

Largest City in Kansas Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

Yesterday, voters in Wichita, Kansas approved a ballot measure that greatly reduces the penalties for marijuana possession.

The Wichita Eagle reports:

Of the 37,000 Wichita voters, 54 percent said they wanted more lenient penalties for first-time offenders. About 45 percent wanted to keep the status quo.

The major provision of the ballot initiative was to reduce the punishment for a first-time marijuana conviction to a $50 fine. Violations would be an infraction that wouldn’t have to be disclosed on most job and college scholarship applications.

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Rep. Gail Finney

Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, attended an Election Night party with the measure’s supporters and said she hopes the win in Wichita will send a message to the capital for the state to ease up on marijuana.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt has issued an opinion that the initiative is unlawful, primarily because it conflicts with state law.

Under state law, first-time marijuana possession is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of as much as a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. Legally, that puts it on par with violent offenses including assaulting a police officer.

Marijuana Policy Project