Medical Marijuana

Limited Medical Cannabis Oil Bill Heads to Virginia Governor

March 10th, 2016 No Comments Maggie Ellinger-Locke

Virginia is in its final week of its 2016 legislative session and of the many marijuana-related bills Virginian lawmakers considered this year, only one — SB 701 — has made it to the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

This limited bill allows the cultivation of cannabis by pharmaceutical processes that would then produce cannabidiol oil. Patients suffering from intractable epilepsy could receive the oil with a written certification from their doctor. While Gov. McAuliffe is expected to sign the legislation, epileptic patients won’t receive any benefit until at least 2017, as the bill requires a second passage next year.

While MPP applauds the Commonwealth’s effort to bring relief to residents suffering from epilepsy, this measure does not go nearly far enough. If you are a resident of Virginia, please ask your elected officials to show compassion for our sickest residents, including those with other serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, intractable pain, and PTSD. Medical marijuana is far less harmful and poses fewer negative side effects than most prescription drugs — especially painkillers — and patients often find it to be a more effective treatment.

We celebrate this narrow victory and look forward to a future where patients can benefit from the expertise of their doctors by finding relief in medical cannabis.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Two Good Bills Passed the Oklahoma House This Week

March 10th, 2016 No Comments Kate Bell

Two moderate marijuana policy improvement bills passed the Oklahoma House this week, and will now move on to the Senate. One, HB 2479, would reduce Oklahoma’s draconian penalties for marijuana possession.Seal_of_Oklahoma.svg It would cut, from two years to one year, the mandatory minimum sentence for a second or subsequent marijuana possession conviction within 10 years of the first. It would also reduce the maximum sentence for such a conviction from 10 years to five years.

The second bill, HB 2835, which has been improved by amendment, would add people with numerous additional medical conditions to the list of patients given limited protections for possession of CBD cannabis oil. Although the bill still limits such oil to 0.3% THC and fails to provide in-state access, it is an acknowledgement by the legislature that cannabis can help patients with many different conditions, including chronic pain.

While both of these bills are limited in scope, this is a rare opportunity to see the Oklahoma Legislature reform the state’s marijuana policy.

If you are an Oklahoma resident, please urge your senator to support both of these common sense reforms.

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Medical Marijuana

Nebraska Senate Considering Medical Marijuana Bill

March 3rd, 2016 1 Comment Becky Dansky
floatcharacter
Sen. Tommy Garrett

Last year, the Nebraska Senate approved Sen. Tommy Garrett’s Medical Cannabis Act (LB 643), which would allow patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, and other serious ailments to safely access medical cannabis. Despite that victory, the bill has a long way to go to become law — it needs two more favorable Senate votes, and will likely need a 33-vote supermajority to stop a filibuster.

If you are a Nebraska resident, please write your senator now to support advancing LB 643 to a final reading.

The Senate is currently split on the issue, with some senators opposing medical marijuana altogether and some only supporting a limited, and likely ineffective, CBD oil bill.

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Medical Marijuana

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana Release Details of Proposed 2016 Ballot Measure

March 2nd, 2016 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a campaign committee formed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), posted the full initiative text, the official initiative summary, and a Q&A with MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia on its website Tuesday morning.OMM_horizontal-green_logo

The initiative text, summary, and Q&A are available at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

In summary, the initiative would:

  • allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it and protect them from arrest, prosecution, or discrimination with regard to housing, health care (such as organ transplants), and child custody.
  • permit qualifying patients to grow a limited amount of marijuana for their medical use, designate a caregiver to grow it for them, or purchase medical marijuana from licensed and well-regulated dispensaries;
  • maintain commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, such as prohibitions on public marijuana use and driving under the influence of marijuana; and
  • establish a Medical Marijuana Control Division to oversee a tightly controlled system of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, distributors, processing facilities, and testing facilities.

Initiative backers plan to submit the initiative to state officials later this week. They will need to collect at least 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Three out of four Ohio voters (74%) support amending the state constitution to make medical marijuana legal for patients with terminal or debilitating conditions, according to statewide survey conducted in February by Public Policy Polling. Only 22% said they are opposed. The full results are available at http://bit.ly/1Vt3vdA.

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Medical Marijuana

Montana Court Ruling Hurts Medical Marijuana Program

February 29th, 2016 2 Comments Chris Lindsey
4fc776dcf0f83.image
Montana Supreme Court (Photo: Eliza Wiley)

The Montana Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to thousands of patients last week in the legal challenge to the state’s medical marijuana law. Under the ruling, medical marijuana providers, known as caregivers, will be limited to two patients — or three if the caregiver is also a patient. By comparison, the average caregiver in Montana serves 14 patients.

In addition, the court ruled that doctors who recommend medical marijuana to 25 or more patients in a 12-month period will face an audit of their practice by the state. The only provision of the law the court blocked is the ban on compensation for caregivers. A copy of the ruling is available here.

We expect the Department of Public Health and Human Services will send letters out to patients and caregivers with more information, and those affected should watch the state’s website for updates.

It is possible the state legislature could reconsider its harmful law when it reconvenes in 2017. In addition, the Montana Cannabis Information Association, which brought the legal action, has vowed to take the matter to voters through a voter initiative aimed at the November 2016 election. Another initiative effort currently gathering signatures for this year’s election would legalize marijuana for all adult consumers 21 or over, similar to alcohol.

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Key Marijuana Bill Passes Oregon House

February 16th, 2016 No Comments Chris Lindsey

A bill that would make several changes to the Oregon medical and adult use marijuana programs passed the House yesterday on a vote of 48-11.2000px-Seal_of_Oregon.svg

HB 4014 would lower the annual patient registration fee for veterans from $200 to $20, and it would allow medical cannabis patients on probation to be treated the same as if they were administering a prescribed pharmaceutical medication. It would also allow patients who have submitted physicians’ statements to receive medical marijuana before the state issues registration cards — avoiding what for many can be a long delay.

HB 4014 also makes significant changes for businesses. In particular, it would remove current residency requirements for business owners and investors. This has been somewhat controversial — while many support this change as a way for local businesses to get access to much-needed loans, others oppose it as creating more competition for smaller, locally owned shops.

If you are an Oregon resident and support HB 4014, please take a moment to ask your senator to support this important bill and pass it without delay.

Two other bills may also advance this week, including one that makes clear that banks serving marijuana businesses would not be subject to state criminal laws, and another that would allow nonmedical retail businesses to serve medical patients without imposing taxes.

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Medical Marijuana

North Carolina Lawmaker Starts Petition to Gather Support for Medical Marijuana

February 16th, 2016 3 Comments Becky Dansky
579
Rep. Kelly Alexander

State Rep. Kelly Alexander has been a strong advocate for comprehensive, workable medical marijuana policies in North Carolina. Last year, he filed HB 78, which would have allowed seriously ill patients to use, possess, and cultivate a limited amount of marijuana if recommended to do so by their physicians. Unfortunately, the bill was voted down in committee.

As part of this effort, Rep. Alexander is collecting signatures on a petition to show his colleagues in the legislature that North Carolinians support allowing the terminally ill to access medical marijuana — and he plans to introduce a bill that would do so during the short session this year.

Rep. Alexander is also hosting an Early Voting Kick Off Block Party — which is also a fundraiser for his campaign — to help get out the vote. This is a chance to thank Rep. Alexander for his leadership on behalf of compassionate medical marijuana laws.

Wednesday, March 2
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Label Charlotte
900 NC Music Factory Blvd., Ste. B6
Charlotte, NC 28206
General admission tickets: $45, VIP tickets: $75

If you live in North Carolina, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support comprehensive medical marijuana legislation when the new session starts this year.

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Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Patients, Advocates Hold Rally at Statehouse

February 9th, 2016 No Comments Morgan Fox

Eight months after the Pennsylvania Senate last approved medical cannabis protections, patients are still waiting for the House to follow suit. On Monday, they held a rally at the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to make passing a comprehensive medical marijuana bill a priority.

The Patriot-News reports:

Several dozen supporters of a bill to permit use of certain cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes in Pennsylvania ramped up the pressure on hesitant state House leaders Monday.

The group of parent, patients and other caregivers – which has flooded the Capitol in support of their cause regularly over the past several years – staged an impromptu sit-in on the House side of the Rotunda Monday afternoon.

The point, said rally spokeswoman Latrisha Bentch, was to show House leaders in a very tangible way their patience is wearing thin as the 2015-16 legislative session enters its second half.

The group took seats on the Capitol’s Mercer tile floor shortly before 3 p.m., all but blocking session day traffic and a few perplexed staffers, for 18 minutes: Two minutes for each month since the Senate sent the leading medicinal marijuana bill to the House with a 40-7 vote.

“I feel like our kindness has been mistaken for weakness, and we don’t have to be kind to them (lawmakers). We don’t,” Bentch said as the rally was breaking up.

Last May, the Senate approved S.B. 3, which would allow patients with serious illnesses to obtain and use medical cannabis recommended by their doctors. Over the summer and fall, a House work group developed recommendations and the Rules committee moved the bill to the House floor. But it has yet to get a vote — and the most significant amendment includes troubling provisions such as a cap on the amount of THC.

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Medical Marijuana

Georgia Representative Working to Fix Medical Marijuana Program

February 4th, 2016 8 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.

allen_peake
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 3 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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