Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Board of Physicians Meeting on Wednesday

August 17th, 2015 No Comments Becky Dansky

On Wednesday, August 19, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection’s Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians will meet to discuss adding complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) to the list of conditions covered under the state’s medical marijuana law.

Complex regional painCT DCP Logo syndrome is a chronic pain condition that usually arises following a brain injury or a trauma. The symptoms of CRPS are prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and swelling of the affected area. It typically affects arms, legs, hands, and feet and is thought to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. Medical marijuana could provide much needed relief to Connecticut patients suffering with CRPS.

Earlier this year, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection added four new conditions to the list of qualifying medical conditions. It agreed with the Board of Physicians to include sickle cell disease, post laminectomy syndrome (“failed back syndrome”), severe psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. If the board recommends including CRPS, it is likely the Department will follow that recommendation. Please join advocates on Wednesday to show your support for CRPS patients.

The meeting is open to the public and will take place at 8:00 a.m. at 165 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, in Room 126.

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Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Towns to Hold Medical Marijuana Forums

August 17th, 2015 No Comments Matt Simon

It appears that New Hampshire is finally ready to move forward with its process of approving medical marijuana dispensary locations. The good news is that a DHHS spokesman has said “we do have several sites that are fairly well finalized.” However, the law requires that a public hearing be held in each town where dispensaries or cultivation facilities are being planned.

As part of this process, the Department of Health and Human Services is holding public meetings to consider local input. If you live in or near one of these towns, please attend and speak up in favor of allowing the proposed dispensary or cultivation facility to move forward!

Here are the details for each public hearing:

Peterborough: Tuesday, August 18 — 5:00 p.m. at Peterborough Town House, 1 Grove Street

(NOTE: This location has been proposed for a cultivation facility only, not a dispensary. It’s worth pointing out that patients and caregivers who live in or near Peterborough will have to drive all the way to Merrimack or Lebanon to obtain cannabis.)

Lebanon: Wednesday, August 19 — 7:00 p.m. at Lebanon City Hall, 51 North Park Street

Merrimack: Tuesday, August 25 — 7:00 p.m. at Merrimack Town Hall, Matthew Thornton Room, 8 Baboosic Lake Road

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

DOJ Misled Congress to Influence Medical Marijuana Vote

August 5th, 2015 No Comments Morgan Fox

In a exclusive, Tom Angell reports that the Department of Justice intentionally misled Congress to discourage2000px-Seal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svg passage of a budget restriction that would prevent them from spending funds to interfere with state implementation of medical marijuana programs.


Justice Department officials misinformed members of Congress about the effects of a medical marijuana amendment being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an internal memo obtained by

The amendment, which lawmakers approved in May 2014 by a vote of 219-189 despite the Obama administration’s objections, is aimed at preventing the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

But in the days leading up to the vote, department officials distributed “informal talking points” warning House members that the measure could “in effect, limit or possibly eliminate the Department’s ability to enforce federal law in recreational marijuana cases as well,” according to the document. [Emphasis added.]

The newly obtained memo, drafted by Patty Merkamp Stemler, chief of the Criminal Division’s Appellate Section, admits that the talking points were “intended to discourage passage of the rider” but do not “reflect our current thinking.”

Basically, the DOJ told Congress that a piece of legislation they did not like would have more impact than intended. Now that it has been enacted, despite their efforts, they are saying that it does less than intended!

Please take the time to read the full report.

We need laws based on facts. Congress should be able to count on law enforcement to give them accurate information, not propaganda to support their policy preferences.

If you would like to tell the DOJ what you think about these tactics, you can contact the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs at (202) 514-2141 or via email.


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Medical Marijuana

New York Awards Medical Marijuana Licenses

August 4th, 2015 No Comments Brendan Valentine

On Friday, New York’s Department of Health awarded five organizations licenses allowing them to produce and dispense medical marijuana. Each of the five businesses will be allowed to operate up to four dispensaries within the state and must be doing business within six months.

The companies awarded licenses are Bloomfield Industries Inc.,NY health dept Columbia Care NY, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, and PharmaCann. They plan to operate dispensaries that will serve only parts of the eastern portion of the state, with the exception of Monroe County, where Columbia Care NY plans to operate a dispensary. The Department of Health selected these five companies out of 43 applicants.

The Compassionate Care Act was signed last summer by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he insisted on revisions that made the program among the most restrictive. Patients may neither smoke marijuana nor cultivate it at home, and several important conditions have been left out of the law. In addition, the number of registered organizations is extremely limited and will force some patients to travel long distances to get their medicine. Patients are in need of medical marijuana and continue to wait for access, but by January, eligible New Yorkers should finally have some legal in-state options for treatment.

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Medical Marijuana

First Medical Dispensary Opens in Nevada

August 1st, 2015 No Comments Chris Lindsey

On Friday, Silver State Relief became the first medical dispensary to open in Nevada.

Silver State Relief dispensary 2

In the year 2000, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative that made Nevada one of the earliest states to adopt a medical marijuana law. It took another 12 years for the legislature to create a law allowing regulated businesses to provide safe access to medical cannabis. A little over two years from the date the bill was signed into law, that system is finally rolling out.

Nevada’s medical marijuana program now serves over 9,300 patients across the state, and the opening of Nevada’s first regulated business represents an important milestone in the state’s system. For many patients, it has been a long two years. The agency created and then adopted rules, businesses applied to operate in a lengthy approval process, and legal battles followed in some parts of the state. Recently, the state continued rolling out the program by adopting testing standards to ensure medical marijuana is safe for consumption.

We congratulate Silver State Relief, thank Sen. Tick Segerblom for his effort to pass the regulatory bill in 2012 and for his support for businesses and patients since then, and we applaud the hard work and long hours so many in government and business dedicated to making Nevada’s regulatory system a reality.


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Medical Marijuana, Research

MPP Publishes Report Criticizing New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Program

July 23rd, 2015 3 Comments Matt Simon
Clayton Holton

On this date two years ago, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed HB 573, making New Hampshire the last state in New England to approve a medical marijuana law. Unfortunately, so far this law has failed to benefit patients in any way. Some patients, including well-known patient-advocate Clayton Holton, have passed away while waiting for the law to take effect. Others, such as Ron Mitchell, have had no choice but to leave their families behind and move to another state in search of relief.

To raise awareness about the program’s many shortcomings, MPP has published Confusion, Delays, and Continued Arrests: A Two-Year Retrospective on New Hampshire’s “Therapeutic Use of Cannabis” Law.

This report includes the most recent updates, analyzes why the law is not yet effective for patients, and makes recommendations for improving the law and policy moving forward.

Please read the two-year retrospective today, and then share it with your elected officials and with your friends and family.

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Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Governor Signs Dispensary and Civil Protection Legislation

July 16th, 2015 2 Comments Robert Capecchi

On Tuesday, two key medical marijuana bills were signed into law by Hawaii Gov. David Ige. While we already knew the bills would not be vetoed, we are thrilled the governor decided to personally support these compassionate proposals by signing them into law instead of allowing them to become law without his signature.

Gov. David Ige

One of the bills, HB 321, creates a medical marijuana dispensary system. The law allows, initially, eight medical cannabis businesses (three on Oahu, two each on Big Island and Maui, and one on Kauai) with two dispensing locations each. Starting in 2017, the health department will be allowed to issue more licenses as needed. Each dispensary license will allow the holder to have two cultivation sites with up to 3,000 plants each as well as two dispensing locations that must be separate from the cultivation locations.

The other bill, SB 1291, strengthens existing civil protections for medical marijuana patients and adds new protections. Landlords, schools, and courts may no longer discriminate against medical marijuana patients!

Neither of these good new laws would have been possible without the wonderful work by our allies at Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii and the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii.

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Medical Marijuana

Massachusetts Legislators Consider Bill That Would Improve Patient Protections

July 15th, 2015 1 Comment Matt Simon

On Tuesday, Massachusetts patients and advocates urged the Joint Committee on Public Health to pass H. 2065, a bill that would improve Massachusetts’ medical marijuana law. The bill, which is supported by our allies at the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance,mpaa1-logo would protect patients from being discriminated against (with regard to college admissions, professional licensing, employment, and organ transplants, to name a few examples). It would also allow caregivers to provide up to 10 patients, and it would add a reciprocity provision allowing qualifying patients from other states to benefit from the program.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, please contact your state legislators today and ask them to join you in supporting H. 2065. 

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Medical Marijuana

California Organ Transplant Bill Becomes Law

July 8th, 2015 4 Comments Morgan Fox

Medical marijuana patients in California won a victory Monday when the Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would prevent patients from being denied organ transplants.

The Associated Press reports:

The Democratic governor

Gov. Jerry Brown

announced Monday that he signed AB258 by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael.

Supporters say some patients who use medical marijuana have been denied life-saving organ transplants because they are treated by doctors as drug abusers. Marijuana is often prescribed to cancer and other patients to help with pain and side effects of treatment.

Levine’s legislation ensures that medical marijuana users have the same right to access organ transplants as other patients by prohibiting a hospital or doctor from disqualifying a person solely because of medical marijuana use.

One such patient was Norman Smith, a Los Angeles resident who succumbed to liver cancer after being denied a transplant. You can learn about his story here.

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Medical Marijuana

First Minnesota Dispensary Open Today

July 1st, 2015 5 Comments Robert Capecchi

Today at 12:01 a.m., doors opened to qualified medical marijuana patients at Minnesota’s first dispensary — Minnesota Medical Solutions’ Minneapolis location. The July 1 opening date adheres strictly to the implementation timeline proscribed by lawmakers last spring. To say that MPP is thrilled that some seriously ill Minnesotans finally have legal access to medical marijuana products recommended by their doctors is an understatement. That said, we know there is plenty of work still to do.

While the Minnesota medical cannabis law will offer relief to some seriously ill Minnesotans, it offers no relief to others suffering unnecessarily. For instance, patients suffering from intractable pain are still excluded — though the health department is required to consider whether to recommend adding that condition.

Even for those patients with qualifying conditions, severe limits on the number of dispensing locations and unnecessary health care practitioner participation requirements will make it difficult to benefit from the program. We are hopeful that the program will prove helpful for those who do qualify and that lawmakers will compassionately expand it in the near future.

For more information on the medical marijuana program, visit the Office of Medical Cannabis’s website.

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