Earlier this week, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe took a question about legalizing and regulating marijuana for adults’ use, as Colorado has done. While he is not “yet” supportive of this sensible policy change, he did use the question as an opportunity to express his support for medical marijuana. The Virginia General Assembly should follow suit by sending Gov. McAuliffe a comprehensive medical marijuana bill in 2015.
Virginia law already recognizes marijuana’s medicinal benefits, but, because of the way the law is written, patients are left without a legal way to access, possess, or even use their medicine without a change in federal policy. Virginia can and should enact a law similar to the laws in 23 states and D.C. that allow the terribly ill to use, possess, and access medical marijuana in state despite the failed and draconian federal prohibition.
Perhaps the most glaring flaw of the legislation was ceding regulatory power to the Department of Consumer Protection, an agency that never expressed any interest in being entrusted with this important task. In fact, the department failed to take part in a single stakeholder meeting. While we are certainly disappointed that the legislature failed to pass a regulatory bill, we are relieved that they did not pass one that would have caused more harm than good.
The Marijuana Policy Project has submitted our initial comments on the partial draft rules regulating medical marijuana manufacturers in Minnesota. The Department of Health is accepting public comments on these and other medical marijuana rules until further notice is published in the State Register. MPP will keep you appraised of timeline updates as we know more. If you are interested in commenting, please visit the Department’s site for instructions on how to do so.
After more than three years and numerous delays, Delaware’s first pilot medical marijuana dispensary has finally been approved! On Monday, August 11, the Department of Health and Social Services finalized a two-year agreement with the aptly named First State Compassion Center. The center will be located at an industrial park on the outskirts of Wilmington, and will begin growing medical marijuana this fall.
Medical marijuana was legalized in the First State in 2011, when Gov. Jack Markell signed S.B. 17 into law. The law required one dispensary per county. However, implementation was stalled in early 2012 when Gov. Markell received a letter from the U.S. Attorney’s office threatening federal intervention. In 2013, the governor finally agreed to move forward with a single pilot center, and a limit of 150 plants per dispensary. Shortly afterwards, federal policy relaxed, meaning there is no reason not to fully implement Delaware’s compassionate medical marijuana law.
Additional forms were also made available, including documents for physicians to use for recommendations, fingerprint consent forms, caregiver applications, frequently asked questions, and preliminary versions of applications for both dispensaries and cultivation centers. All those documents and other information are available here.
While they are available now, the department will not accept patient applications until later this year. Applicants whose last names begin with the letters A through L may apply between September 2 and October 31. Applicants with last names that start with M through Z may apply between November 1 and December 31. Beginning January 1, 2015, applications for registry identification cards will be accepted year-round.
The Department of Public Health also announced town hall meetings to answer questions from those who want to apply for patient registry IDs. Meetings are schedule to take place in Collinsville on August 14, Peoria on August 18, and Chicago on August 20.