Historic legislation was introduced earlier today in the United States Senate. Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act. This is the first time legislation that would make medical marijuana legal under federal law has been introduced in the Senate.
First and foremost, the bill would make production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for medical purposes that’s legal under state law legal under federal law. The bill would also remove barriers to scientific research, allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend medical marijuana, allow interstate transportation of CBD oils, ensure medical marijuana dispensaries are taxed fairly, and allow all marijuana businesses — including adult-use stores in Colorado and elsewhere — to access the banking system and no longer be forced to operate on a cash-only basis.
There’s no reason your senators shouldn’t be co-sponsoring this bill. Please email their offices and ask them to sign on.
Last week, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill into law that will provide limited legal protections to patients with intractable epilepsy who find relief from low-THC marijuana. MPP does not consider Virginia a medical marijuana state because the law is so limited that it does not meet our definition of an effective medical marijuana law.
The new law allows certain patients and their parents to raise a defense in court for possession of certain strains of marijuana, which must have no more than 5% THC. It does not prevent the trauma and expense of an arrest or prosecution.
HB 1445 also fails to include any means of accessing those oils. The only realistic way to obtain them is for families to travel across the country to one of the very few states that allows out-of-state patients to access medical cannabis preparations. Even then, patients will have to travel through states where all marijuana is illegal to get home.
If you are a Virginia resident,please ask your legislators to make sure this is only a first step. Ask them to champion a compassionate, comprehensive law next year that doesn’t leave thousands of patients with other serious conditions behind. Let them know Virginia should join the 23 other states that leave medical decisions to patients and doctors, and allow safe, in-state access to this beneficial medicine.
The West Virginia House has considered medical marijuana bills in recent years, but such bills had not been introduced in the Senate. Yesterday, that situation changed in a big way, as a bipartisan group of three Senate leaders introduced a bill that would make medical marijuana legal for seriously ill West Virginians. An identical bill, HB 2909, was introduced today in the House.
SB 546, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley), Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale), and Senate Majority Whip Daniel Hall (R-Oceana), has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources. The bill would allow qualifying patients to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and possess up to six ounces. It would also allow for the creation of state-regulated dispensaries that would serve the needs of patients.
HB 2909, which mirrors SB 546, is sponsored in the House by Delegate Stephen Skinner (D-Shepherdstown) and a bipartisan group of 10 co-sponsors.
House lawmakers scrapped a bill Wednesday aimed at making North Dakota the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana, saying it was premature and carried too many risks that outweighed the potential benefits.
House Bill 1430 failed 26-67, with one member absent.
The bipartisan bill would have allowed patients and caregivers to possess a certain amount of cannabis or products such as cannabis oils, beverages, vapors and pills, for medical use.
Rep. Robin Weisz, a member of the House Human Services Committee that recommended 8-3 against passing the amended bill, commended the parents who gave emotional testimony about how they hoped medical cannabis would relieve the pain and seizures of their children suffering from debilitating and terminal conditions.
Last December, the New York Department of Health released more than a hundred pages of regulations related to the medical marijuana program. Over the past month, advocates for the Compassionate Care Act have voiced major concerns that the regulations are far too restrictive and would leave many patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions without safe, legal access to their medicine. The state is accepting public comments until February 13.
Our allies at Compassionate Care New York, who led the grassroots effort to pass the medical marijuana law, have submitted several pages of comments outlining their concerns. You can read them by clicking on “CCNY Concerns with Draft MMJ Regulations” here. Their major concerns include:
— A lack of access or accommodation for low-income patients;
— Too few dispensaries and a ban on delivery services;
— A prohibition on whole-plant medicine and a ban on edibles, topicals, and other medical preparations; and
— No clear process for adding more qualifying conditions, even with scientific and medical support.