Earlier this month, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services issued proposed regulations for a single medical marijuana compassion center that could only cultivate 150 plants – far too few to meet patients’ needs. MPP submitted comments on behalf of Delaware’s patients and potential providers urging the department to revise the regulations to ensure a workable program.
The regulations unnecessarily restrict the compassion center program to a single pilot center that can possess no more than 150 plants and 1,500 ounces of medical marijuana. Gov. Jack Markell announced this approach at a time when the federal government indicated it was concerned about large-scale grows. However, since then, the Department of Justice directed federal prosecutors to stop considering “the size or commercial nature of a marijuana operation alone” as a reason to take legal action against it.
The plant limit will result in shortages, forcing patients to go without or driving them to the criminal market. Meanwhile, a single compassion center does little to help patients who happen to live miles from it. DHSS should register three centers as called for by law.
You can read MPP’s proposed revisions here.
Del. Manypenny (left) and Matt Simon
A January poll showed that a majority of West Virginia voters support a law allowing medical marijuana in their state, and now their representatives are listening. The WV Joint Committee on Health recently held hearings into the advantages of medical marijuana, and heard stories from patients around the state who seek its relief. In addition, Del. Mike Manypenny (D-Taylor) plans to reintroduce a bill this January that would establish a program to regulate medical marijuana. Until then, lawmakers are studying medical marijuana policies across the country to find a plan that fits for West Virginia.
Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for MPP, wrote to the Charleston Gazette:
Lawmakers in Charleston are fortunate in that they can look at 20 other states’ laws and determine which features would work best for West Virginia. The fact that this process has already begun provides hope to countless seriously ill residents and their families, some of whom worry they might one day have to leave the state in order to follow their doctors’ advice.
It is time for state lawmakers to take a long, hard look at the evidence surrounding this issue and build upon the knowledge that has been gained from the hearings held this year. If they do so objectively, they will surely agree that West Virginia should be the next state to enact a sensible medical marijuana law.
Kentucky advocates for medical marijuana received a pleasant surprise last week when several media outlets reported that House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) is now “leaning in favor” of passing a medical marijuana law.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Stumbo, formerly the state’s attorney general, has long been considered an opponent of reforming marijuana laws. When Kentucky was considering a bill to allow industrial hemp earlier this year, Stumbo’s attempt to block the bill resulted ina public dispute with the state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Stumbo eventually relented under strong public pressure and allowed the bill to pass.
Although industrial hemp and medical marijuana are very different issues, advocates feared Stumbo would take a similar attitude toward medical marijuana legislation. His recent comments would appear to pave the way for the Kentucky House to seriously consider a medical marijuana bill in 2014.
If you are a Kentucky resident, please click here to write your elected officials and ask them to sign on in support of medical marijuana legislation.
In a recent poll commissioned by the Oklahoma chapter of NORML, voters spoke loud and clear in favor of improving marijuana laws in the state, and an overwhelming majority support legal access to medical marijuana. If you live in Oklahoma and you agree it’s time to establish a compassionate and sensible medical marijuana law, tell your legislators today!
Over 71% of voters in the state support allowing seriously ill patients to possess marijuana for medical purposes with a physician’s recommendation, with broad support among both parties. Medical marijuana is a safer alternative to many pharmaceutical medications, which can have harmful side effects and even lead to overdose deaths. Seriously ill patients in the state deserve an option that will not make them criminals just for seeking a safer alternative.
Sen. Constance Johnson has long been a champion of medical marijuana in the state, but her efforts to bring relief to seriously ill patients have been blocked by leadership. If you are an Oklahoma resident, send a clear message to your senator and representative that it’s time to stop frustrating the will of the voters and support a compassionate law for Oklahomans!
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) informed state lawmakers Thursday that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be moving forward with drafting regulations for a medical marijuana dispensary program. This is very welcome news that is long overdue. In a letter to the legislators who sponsored the state’s medical marijuana law, Markell said:
As a result of our review of policies in Rhode Island, New Jersey and other states, I have become convinced that proceeding with our program, while making considered modifications to address federal concerns, is the appropriate course for Delaware. Therefore, I am writing you to inform you that [the Department of Health and Human Services] will proceed to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for a pilot compassion center to open in Delaware next year.
Despite enacting the law in 2011 and ordering DHHS to issue regulations for medical marijuana patient ID cards, Markell halted the process of setting up compassion centers in 2012 after receiving a somewhat threatening letter from the U.S. attorney. As a result, patients have not been able to legally obtain medical marijuana because the law does not allow home cultivation. If you live in Delaware, please take a moment to email our legislative champions to thank them for their hard work on behalf of medical marijuana patients. You can also email Gov. Markell to thank him for moving forward. Finally, please share this great news with your friends and family in The First State.