Medical Marijuana

Georgia Representative Working to Fix Medical Marijuana Program

February 4th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey

The Georgia government enacted an ineffective law last year that was intended to provide relief to patients with epilepsy, but which didn’t provide for a source of medical marijuana within the state.

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Rep. Allen Peake

Since then, state Rep. Allen Peake (R) publicly admitted to illegally transporting medical marijuana from Colorado to Georgia to help some parents with epileptic children, and he’s now pushing hard to fix the ineffective law by legalizing dispensaries for patients to purchase medical marijuana.

If you are a Georgia resident, please tell your lawmakers to support a workable medical marijuana bill. 

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Medical Marijuana

Illinois Governor Rejects Adding Conditions to Medical Cannabis Program

February 2nd, 2016 2 Comments Chris Lindsey

Despite a recommendation from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner decided not to add eight medical conditions to the state’s medical cannabis pilot program. This is the second time his health department has turned down expanding the list of qualifying conditions.

Bruce Rauner, Chairman, GTCR, LLC was one of the panelists at the  George W. Bush Institute forum at the Art Institute in Chicago Tuesday Sept 18, 2012. The forum titled "The 4% Growth Project" featured panels with conservative business people and politicians . B582381798Z.1  (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune) ct  ......OUTSIDE TRIBUNE CO.- NO MAGS,  NO SALES, NO INTERNET, NO TV, CHICAGO OUT, NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION...
Gov. Bruce Rauner (IMAGE: Local150.org)

The petition included four pain syndromes and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The first time Gov. Rauner’s health department rejected new conditions, the governor noted that the program was not yet fully up and running. However, now that dispensaries have opened in Illinois, that reasoning no longer applies. The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board reviewed relevant studies and heard testimony from patients who could find relief if their conditions were added to the program.

Adding qualifying conditions would significantly improve the state program. The medical cannabis program recognizes only a narrow range of conditions, and Illinois is one of very few medical marijuana states that excludes patients with serious pain.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Marijuana Policy Bills Progressing in Kansas

January 28th, 2016 1 Comment Kate Bell

Two bills that would improve Kansas’ marijuana policies have passed the House and are moving in the Senate.

The first bill, now called SB 147, would permit patients with seizures to access low-THC cannabis, called medical hemp preparations in the bill.Seal_of_Kansas.svg While it is not a full medical marijuana law and would leave many patients behind, the bill proposes a workable system to provide immediate relief to some seriously ill Kansans. In addition, by passing the House, it has advanced much further than any medical marijuana bill ever has in Kansas.

The second bill, which is currently designated as the Senate Sub. for HB 2049, would reduce the penalty for first, second, and third-time marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail, and a second offense would no longer be a felony, removing many of the associated collateral consequences. The Senate combined the marijuana-related provisions with another bill that increases penalties for burglary, on which MPP does not take a position.

If you are a Kansas resident, please urge your senators to support common sense reform.

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Medical Marijuana

Congress Members Urge VA to Change Medical Marijuana Policy

January 27th, 2016 1 Comment Robert Capecchi

In a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald released Wednesday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senate and House members urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow VA doctors to write medical marijuana recommendations to veterans in accordance with state laws.

The letter comes four days before the expiration of a directive that prohibits VA doctors from recommending medical marijuana, even in states that have made it legal.

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

The Congressional members, led by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in the House, say the current policy “disincentivizes doctors and patients from being honest with each other,” noting, “It is not in the veterans’ best interest for the VA to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.”

“Congress has taken initial steps to alleviate this conflict in law and we will continue to work toward this goal,” the senators and representatives wrote. “However, you are in a position to make this change when the current VHA directive expires at the end of this month. We ask that you act to ensure that our veterans’ access to care is not compromised and that doctors and patients are allowed to have honest discussions about treatment options.”

The letter also highlights the “sea change in the legal framework surrounding marijuana in the United States” since the directive was issued in 2011. Comprehensive medical marijuana laws have been adopted in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and Congress has twice approved appropriations amendments intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana programs.

 

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Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Bill to Add PTSD as Qualifying Condition Introduced

January 25th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project
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Assemblyman Joe Lachance

Now that medical marijuana cards are finally being issued to qualifying patients in New Hampshire, one lawmaker is working to make sure others who could benefit are not left behind. On Thursday, Assemblyman Joe Lachance introduced a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions.

Al Jazeera America reports:

The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire grapples with an opioid and heroin addiction and overdose crisis. Medical marijuana advocates argue that better access to cannabis would offer an alternative means of pain relief to people now using painkillers or heroin. In 2015 the state’s medical examiner attributed 385 deaths to opiates, almost double the 192 fatalities in 2013, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Also, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses approved for cannabis treatment could provide another option to people who’ve found no relief with standard anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication, advocates say.

Joe Lachance, a Republican state assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD measure, is one of the 62 medical marijuana cardholders in the state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, ailments only marijuana has helped ease. He also said marijuana helped him kick an opiate habit.

 

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Medical Marijuana

MPP to Support Medical Marijuana Initiative in Ohio for 2016

January 25th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Last week, MPP and a coalition of allies began moving forward with a campaign to put a medical marijuana initiative before Ohio voters on the 2016 ballot!

There are still many factors to be worked out, but given the overwhelming support for allowing safe access for patients in the Buckeye State,2000px-Seal_of_Ohio.svg we are confident that this issue will begin gaining momentum very soon.

This initiative and campaign will be very different from the controversial and ultimately unsuccessful initiative to make marijuana legal in Ohio in 2015.

State lawmakers may also be considering medical marijuana legislation, and there is currently a task force that will be touring the state to speak with medical professionals, patients, and experts in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for more details!

 

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Medical Marijuana

Arizona Lawmakers Are Trying to Restrict Medical Marijuana

January 25th, 2016 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Arizona’s constitution allows the people themselves to pass laws by initiative. After years of legislative meddling in the people’s laws, Arizonans approved the Voter Protection Act (VPA) to protect their laws from legislative interference. Despite the VPA, legislators have passed multiple measures to undermine the medical marijuana program that the people of Arizona voted for in 2010 — and they’re at it again.

A series of bills proposed by the legislature would limit Proposition 203, which made medical marijuana legal in the state, and run afoul of the medical marijuana law and the VPA:

HB 206, introduced by Rep. Kelly Townsend, would ban the use of medical marijuana by pregnant women, inappropriately inserting the legislature into the doctor/patient relationship; and

HB 2404 and 2405, introduced by Rep. Vince Leach, would limit where marijuana can be grown and increase some patients’ fees.

If that wasn’t bad enough, now Rep. Bob Thorpe has introduced a resolution (HCR 2023) to gut the VPA and allow the legislature to change ballot initiatives passed by the voters in ways that are contrary to the purpose of the initiative.

An additional bill, HB 2019, introduced by Rep. Jay Lawrence, would have limited access to medical marijuana by restricting the types of medical professionals who can recommend it. Thanks to hundreds of patients and supporters calling and emailing Rep. Lawrence in opposition the bill, he decided to withdraw it, saying that he had not done enough research and would not support similar legislation in the future.

If you are an Arizona resident, please ask your lawmakers to stop interfering with medical marijuana!

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Medical Marijuana

Site of First New Hampshire Medical Grow Site Approved

January 15th, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

New Hampshire officials announced the approval of a location for the first registered medical marijuana growing facility, marking a sign of progress in an implementation that has experienced serious delays.

NHPR reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a conditional registration certificate to Sanctuary ATC, which plans to open a dispensary in Plymouth, to start growing medical marijuana at a designated cultivation site in Rochester.shop-exterior

The move to issue conditional certifications is an attempt by DHHS to speed up the launch of the dispensaries by allowing the companies to start growing the plants before their dispensaries are ready to open.

According to state health officials overseeing the therapeutic cannabis program, it can take three to four months to cultivate usable medical marijuana.

It’s been a long road to see New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program through to reality. The law setting up such a program went into effect in July 2013, but no dispensaries have actually opened to the public. DHHS says it’s expecting Sanctuary ATC’s dispensary to open sometime this spring.

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Medical Marijuana

California NAACP Endorses “Adult Use of Marijuana Act”

January 15th, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

The California State NAACP has formally endorsed an initiative to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in the state in 2016, joining a growing coalition of supporters for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

From the press release:

“Creating a legal, responsible and regulated framework for marijuana is a predominant civil rights issue and it’s long overdue,” said Alice Huffman, longtime President of California State NAACP.  “The current system is counterproductive, financially wasteful and racially biased, and the people of California have repeatedly called for it to be fixed.  This measure will ensure that California is not unjustly criminalizing responsible adults while also ensuring that our children are protected while the State receives hundreds of millions of new dollars for vital government and community-based programs.”

MPP announced our support for AUMA late last year.

 

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Medical Marijuana

Comprehensive Med. Marijuana Bill to Be Introduced in Georgia

January 6th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey
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Rep. Allen Peake

Rep. Allen Peake, who championed Haleigh’s Hope Act in 2015, is prefiling HB 722, which would greatly improve on last year’s legislation. Most importantly, the bill would allow regulated cultivation, processing, testing, and dispensing of medical cannabis in Georgia — protecting families and seriously ill patients who otherwise have to risk breaking laws to get access.

Currently, the more than 400 patients in Georgia are required to travel out of state to obtain much-needed medicine. Traveling out of state is a huge risk, since law enforcement officials in other states treat them like criminals. In addition to this critical change, HB 722 would also remove the current cap on THC. Since the vast majority of medical marijuana patients in the U.S. count on THC for medical benefit, the bill would provide meaningful access for a broad range of qualified patients in Georgia.

Rep. Peake has once again stepped forward on behalf of patients, and he deserves our appreciation and support.

If you are a Georgia resident, please contact your legislator today and make sure they know you want their support for HB 722.

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