Yesterday, we told you about an amendment to H.R. 1947, “the farm bill,” that would allow universities and colleges to cultivate industrial hemp. We asked you to call your representatives and help pass this amendment, and you came through! Earlier today, by a vote of 225-200, the House adopted the amendment. Despite the full bill being voted down because of partisan differences, this is a big victory.
Why is it so important? First, the DEA lobbied hard against us and lost. This is perhaps the first time that Congress has listened to arguments from the DEA and advocates for marijuana policy reform, then sided with us. Second, even though this bill won’t pass, there’s a good chance the amendment will get inserted into other legislation now that the full House has approved it.
Here’s the bottom line: the tide is turning. No longer do members of Congress blindly listen to the DEA and ignore advocates. We’re making real progress, and with your help, we can continue building support for further reforms.
Just this week, DEA agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. The raid came one day after the owner of one of the facilities testified at a city council hearing on regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Ironically, it also comes as the Obama administration announces their new drug control strategy, which they call a “21st century approach to drug policy.” To hear them tell it, we’re now focused on treatment and prevention rather than arrests and prosecutions. Of course, that’s not true, and no one knows that better than medical marijuana providers in California and elsewhere. Fortunately, there is a way to change all that.
Ask your elected officials in Congress to support H.R. 689.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act. If passed, his bill would reschedule marijuana, recognizing its medical value, and prevent the DEA from going after patients, doctors, or dispensaries.
It’s vital that your representatives in Congress know that you support medical marijuana and that people who provide doctor-recommended medicine to sick people are not criminals. Please write your elected officials today, and when you’re done, forward this to friends so they can do the same.
Last year, the Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills tweaking Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law, and most of those changes took effect yesterday. Among other things, the law now defines and requires a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” — which includes an in-person evaluation — between a patient and recommending physician. Also, newly issued registry ID cards will be valid for two years instead of only one. A requirement that patients transporting marijuana by vehicle keep it in a case in the trunk took effect in January.
Here’s our handout with full summaries of these new laws. More information, including new forms anyone applying for or renewing a registry ID card will need to use, is available at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
One change that we hope will take effect soon is state and locally recognized dispensaries. State Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) and 16 other representatives are sponsoring HB 4271, which would allow cities and towns to choose whether or not to recognize and regulate dispensaries. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your legislators to give patients more options for access by voting “yes” on HB 4271.
A medical marijuana bill that could allow academic medical centers to provide marijuana to patients whose doctors recommend it took a significant step toward becoming law minutes ago when it was approved by the Maryland House of Delegates. In a sign of just how uncontroversial this bill is, there was no debate and the vote was an overwhelming 108-28! The bill now moves over to the Senate, so you know what to do.
If you live in Maryland, please ask your state senator to support HB 1101.
Unlike medical marijuana programs you’ve heard about in other states, HB 1101 would allow academic medical centers, like Johns Hopkins, to apply to an independent commission for the ability to administer a research-focused program through which participating patients could obtain marijuana without fear of arrest and prosecution. The bill is far from perfect – it could take years to get up and running and would require either federal cooperation or medical centers in Maryland to violate federal law – but it’s a start. The bill could be amended down the road if the current version proves unworkable.
Sen. Richard Segerblom
Until recently, things had been all quiet on the marijuana front in Nevada. That changed suddenly last week when Sen. Richard “Tick” Segerblom introduced SB 374, a bill to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada, and Assemblyman Joe Hogan introduced AB 402, which would regulate marijuana like alcohol.
We’re already halfway through Nevada’s scheduled session, with adjournment slated for June 3, so time is short. If you live in Nevada, please contact your elected officials today and urge them to support the dispensary bill and to support removing criminal penalties and regulating marijuana like alcohol.
Assemblyman Joe Hogan
Sen. Segerblom’s bill would fix current Nevada law, which prohibits buying or selling marijuana. Last year, a Nevada judge called that “ridiculous” and “absurd” and called upon the legislature to pass a bill much like SB 374. And of course, Hogan’s bill would be a financial boon for the cash-strapped state. Rather than spending millions locking up adults for using a substance safer than alcohol, the state could make millions in tax revenue.