Medical Marijuana

Maryland Medical Marijuana Program Facing Delays

May 20th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Maryland’s comprehensive medical marijuana law took effect on June 1, 2014. Over 23 months later, no patients have been registered, no ID cards have been issued, and dispensary licensees are not expected to be announced until this fall.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC), the state agency in charge of establishing Maryland’s medical marijuana program, announced another delay Tuesday in implementation of the medical marijuana law enacted over two years ago.1280px-Flag_of_Maryland.svg While this delay is only a few additional months, it is the latest in a series of delays that will result in medical marijuana not being available until 41 months after the law’s enactment, giving Maryland among the slowest rollouts of a medical marijuana program in the nation.

While we appreciate that the commission is regulating an industry that is new to Maryland, this delay is unreasonable and unnecessary, and every day it continues is another day patients must suffer. Nine states were able to issue patient ID cards in less than one year, with the average being less than seven months.

Although Maryland law requires patients to obtain medical marijuana from a medical dispensary, an ID card would help patients use the existing affirmative defense, protecting them if they are arrested with their medicine. Please ask the commission to issue ID cards NOW and to make sure there are no more delays in getting patients the medicine they need.

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Medical Marijuana

Texas GOP Supports Medical Marijuana

May 16th, 2016 No Comments Heather Fazio

Over the weekend in Dallas, the Republican Party of Texas convened for their state convention where, among other business, delegates adopted a platform to express their position on various political issues.

With support from 78% of delegates, the following is now the official position of the Texas GOP: “We call upon the Texas Legislature to improve the 2015 Compassionate Use Act to allow doctors to determine the appropriate use of cannabis to prescribed patients.”TX GOP

Thanks to the work of dedicated Republican delegates who support marijuana law reform, the Texas GOP is now officially in support of medical marijuana!

Of course, this confirms what we already knew: Marijuana law reform is not a partisan issue. Texans of all political persuasions acknowledge that cannabis is medicine and support the reform of outdated policies. This move by Republican delegates affirms the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship by declaring that patients should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it, consistent with another section of the platform which states, “Health care decisions…should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion.”

While this new position does not change current state law, it does demonstrate that even the most conservative Texans agree: Cannabis should be accessible to patients.

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Medical Marijuana

Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Louisiana House

May 13th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

On Wednesday, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed Sen. Fred Mills’ SB 271 in a 62-31 vote, bringing your state one step closer to a workable medical marijuana program. Now the bill returns to the Senate for a concurrence before moving on to Gov. John Bel Edwards — who is supportive — for his signature. You can read a summary of the bill here.Seal_of_Louisiana.svg

However, SB 271 alone will not end the flaws in Louisiana’s current medical marijuana law, which is why Sen. Mills has also introduced SB 180. This bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the House. Should both bills pass, Louisiana becomes the first state in the Deep South to adopt a workable medical marijuana program!

If you are a Louisiana resident, please click here to find out how your lawmakers voted and ask them to show support for a compassionate program. (Once you type in your zip code, the correct email will automatically load based on how your legislators voted.)

The end of the legislative session is drawing near, and we only have a few more weeks to seek reform from lawmakers in Baton Rouge.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Dispensaries Beginning to Open in New Hampshire

May 11th, 2016 No Comments Matt Simon

At long last, the first New Hampshire dispensary has opened! Sanctuary ATC opened its doors in Plymouth on May 1 and began serving patients, including many who told The Manchester Union Leader they were seeking a less harmful and more effective alternative to opioids.

Temescal Wellness, which will operate dispensaries in Dover and Lebanon, has opened as well. A fourth approved dispensary, slated for Merrimack, has not yet announced when it will be opening.2000px-Seal_of_New_Hampshire.svg

We would like to thank the countless Granite Staters who advocated for safe, legal access to cannabis over the years and helped make this victory possible. We also think it’s important that we take a moment to remember the patients who worked to pass this law but did not live long enough to see the first dispensary open. This list includes Clayton Holton, Scott Turner, Barbara Filleul, Hardy Macia, and Linda Horan.

There were no celebrations in 2013 when this law was passed because we knew it would be a long time before any patients could benefit and we knew some patients could not afford to wait for safe, legal access to cannabis. Today, now that a dispensary is open and now that over 600 patients have been issued ID cards protecting them from arrest, we believe it is finally time to declare victory! We will, of course, continue pushing for further improvements to the law.

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Medical Marijuana

Louisiana Mothers Plea for Medical Marijuana Protections in Billboard Campaign

May 10th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

This morning, two MPP-designed billboards were launched in Baton Rouge and Shreveport, featuring mothers and their young children who face intractable epilepsy. The billboards read: “Medical marijuana would help my child. Will our legislators?” and urge viewers to ask their representatives to support medical marijuana legislation.1TOgIxv

The full Louisiana House could vote on SB 271 — which would fix a fatal flaw in the state’s existing medical marijuana bill — as soon as tomorrow.  Please, call or email your representative before they cast their vote.

The sheriffs’ association is lobbying vigorously against the bill, and representatives need to hear an outpouring of support from constituents calling on them to do the right thing. SB 271 has already passed the Senate — after initially falling short in a vote — and Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he will sign it.

If you’d like to help reform marijuana laws in Louisiana, please contact Sensible Marijuana Policy for Louisiana and find out how you can get involved.

 

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition, Uncategorized

Kansas Lawmakers Reduce Possession Penalties

May 5th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Early Monday morning, the Kansas Legislature ended their session after meeting for only 78 of the 90 scheduled days. They did take a small step forward by passing a bill that reduces the penalties for 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.index The bill now heads to Gov. Brownback’s desk, and will become law if he does not veto it within 10 days.

Unfortunately, the legislature did not pass any type of protections for medical marijuana patients, although it considered several bills to do so. The House did pass a bill, sponsored by Rep. John Wilson, which would have allowed patients to use low-THC medical cannabis and provided for in-state access. Although those provisions did not pass the Senate, it is significant because this is the first time any type of medical marijuana bill was passed by either chamber of the Kansas Legislature.

If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your legislators to consider a comprehensive medical marijuana bill next year.

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Medical Marijuana

Connecticut Considers Expanding Medical Marijuana Program to Include Pediatric Patients

April 25th, 2016 1 Comment Becky Dansky

On June 1, 2012, Connecticut enacted a medical marijuana program that allows seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana. However, the law does not allow access for minor patients, many of whom would benefit greatly from access to this safe and effective treatment.Seal_of_Connecticut.svg Of the 24 states that have effective medical marijuana programs, Connecticut is the only state that does not allow access for younger patients.

A bill currently being considered, HB 5450, would allow minors to be qualifying patients. It would also allow dispensaries to distribute marijuana to hospices and other inpatient facilities and would allow nurses to administer marijuana in licensed health care facilities.

If you are a Connecticut resident, please urge the senate to swiftly pass legislation to help Connecticut’s seriously ill children.

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Medical Marijuana, Research

DEA Approves Study on Treating PTSD With Marijuana

April 22nd, 2016 6 Comments Morgan Fox

On Thursday, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) announced in a press release that they had received approval to study the effects of marijuana on treating PTSD in veterans.q4g89gcyl385qpt0vmeo

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has formally approved the first-ever randomized controlled trial of whole plant medical marijuana (cannabis) as a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in U.S. veterans. The DEA’s approval marks the first time a clinical trial intended to develop smoked botanical marijuana into a legal prescription drug has received full approval from U.S. regulatory agencies, including the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study will test the safety and efficacy of botanical marijuana in 76 U.S. military veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD. The study is funded by a $2.156 million grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to the California-based non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is sponsoring the research.

The trial will gather safety and efficacy data on four potencies of smoked marijuana with varying ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). By exploring the effectiveness of a variety of marijuana strains, the study seeks to generate naturalistic data comparable to how many veterans in medical marijuana states currently use marijuana. Results will provide vital information on marijuana dosing, composition, side effects, and areas of benefit to clinicians and legislators considering marijuana as a treatment for PTSD.

Congratulations and thanks go to Dr. Sue Sisley, who has long been the foremost champion of studying the effects of marijuana on PTSD, and the rest of the staff at MAPS for working so diligently in this area.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Becomes 24th Medical Marijuana State

April 17th, 2016 5 Comments Becky Dansky

Today, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act (SB 3) into law, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. This tremendous victory was made possible through the hard work of families, advocates, and lawmakers.PA_24-2

SB 3 will allow patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana. Once applications are available from the Department of Health, eligible patients whose doctors recommend cannabis will be able to obtain identification cards. The law allows for up to 150 dispensary locations across the state.

When dispensaries open, medical marijuana will be available as pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, and liquids. Vaporization is allowed but smoking is initially prohibited. Dispensaries cannot sell edibles, but medical cannabis products can be mixed into food or drinks. Dry leaf/flower is not allowed immediately but the Department of Health can change that following an advisory board report two years after enactment. For more details, visit MPP’s summary of the Medical Marijuana Act.

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Medical Marijuana

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves VA Physician Recommendation Amendment

April 14th, 2016 9 Comments Robert Capecchi

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that is intended to ease access to medical marijuana for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, serious injuries, and other debilitating conditions.US-DeptOfVeteransAffairs-Seal-Large

The amendment, authored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), would prohibit the spending of funds on enforcement of a Veterans Health Administration directive that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana to their patients, even in states that have made it legal.

If enacted, VA physicians would no longer face penalties for discussing medical marijuana with their patients or completing the paperwork patients must submit in order to participate in state medical marijuana programs. Currently, veterans in states with medical marijuana laws must find a doctor outside of the VA system to discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option and provide the requisite documentation.

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